Tuesday usual: chatting games with Radio Wammo

It’s Tuesday – and that means I chat games with Glenn “Wammo” Williams on the Kiwi FM breakfast but if today’s segment sounded as if the Skype called dropped out at the end of a sentence that’s because it did.

I’m trialing a Dell XPS 14z laptop at the moment  and decided to do our conversation using a wi-fi connection over that. Bad mistake. As I chatted to Glenn I could see the call quality bars starting to drop from green (good quality) to orange (not so good quality) until it eventually dropped out alltogether and we lost the call. Next week I’ll go back to using a wired connection.

Anyway, in today’s segment we talked about rumours of Kinect 2 floating around the interwebs. Have a listen.Let me know what you think.

Why don’t I play more PC games? Because I can’t afford to upgrade all the time

These days I’m generally a console gamer (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3) but sometimes I’ll play games on my what would these days be considered dinosaur PC (Intel Core Duo CPU @ 2.13Ghz , nVidia Geforce 8600 graphics card and 2Gb of ram) by today’s standards.

I’m playing a PC game at the moment: Batman Arkham City. I loved it on Xbox 360 so jumped at the chance when I was offered a review code to download it from Steam.

Almost 24 hours later the 16Gb download was complete (yes, my broadband really did take that long) and I clicked play, eager to see how it played on PC  – and was prompt for the game’s CD key, which meant I had exit the game to head back into Steam and copy the CD key) . I also had to log-into Games for Windows Live, which also required a copy of the CD key, as well as aan update, which it downloaded and installed – and then just when I thought I was ready to play, I had to request a new password for my GFWL account as it had been so long since I’ve used it that I had forgotten my password and couldn’t log in.

With all that behind me I launched the game, tweaked some of the settings (I’m running it in DirectX 9 as the Geforce 8600, which is below the recommended specifications for the game, doesn’t support DirectX 11, which is what Batman Arkham City is touting). then got stuck in. Not surprisingly, the game stutters from time to time, most noticeably when there’s a lot of foes on-screen but sometimes pauses for a few seconds, usually as I’m  just about to glide kick one of Joker’s hench men into next week.

It goes without saying that I’m also not using the Physix capabilities that the game has – that would slow things down to a slideshow,  (in fact, I might just try it, for a joke, and see what the frame rate plummets to).

The game still looks great, though  – this is on a PC, after all – but all the hassles with Games for Windows Live and recommended systems specifications needed to get the game looking its best is partly the reason why I play my games on a console. I can hear all the PC purists starting to complain about my preference for console gaming but seriously, I can slap an Xbox game into my 360 console – or a friends 360 console – and know that it’s going to work straight out of the box (unless there’s an update required for it, of course – but then they don’t normally take long to download and install). My Xbox isn’t going to ask me to type in a CD key twice then promptly crash back to the desktop/menu because I had my tongue in the wrong position or something.

Also I don’t have the luxury of some powerhouse computer kindly supplied by [insert computer maker’s brand name here] that will run the game at maximum settings and some blisteringly fast frame rate. In my mind, reviewing a game on some sort of top-end computer that has all the fruit isn’t being fair to consumers: how many joe public gamers have the money to buy top-end computers with the latest and greatest components? Maybe it’s more than I realise, though, and I’m talking through a hole in my head …

But these days, I prefer console gaming because of the convenience – and that I don’t have to constantly spend money upgrading the hardware. Yes there’s a trade off with consoles: less system memory and pared down graphics performance compared to a PC but imagine the nightmare PC games must be for developers to make:  how is a developer realistically expected to anticipate all the potential hardware configurations in existence then make sure that the game works on all of them. It just seems a near impossible task.

It goes without saying that PC games definitely look better on PC (mostly and if you have a graphics card that can handle all the graphical bells and whistles that developers use to showcase PC games) but I can live with that for the convenience of knowing my copy of Batman Arkham City on Xbox 360 will also play on my brother’s Xbox 360 without any problems. I was also put off PC games a while back after Ubisoft’s clunky DRM on Assassin’s Creed 2 which required a persistent internet connection to play it. I took the game back when I realised that: it meant I couldn’t play it on a laptop when I was out-of-town, which sort of defeated the purpose of me buying it, really

I’m going to stick with Batman Arkham City on PC: it plays fine and looks good, but the experience  has just confirmed for me how much I personally prefer console gaming at the moment. Who knows, things may change  …

Assassin’s Creed Revelations interview (with several people)

I talked to some guys from Ubisoft Montreal a few weeks ago about Assassin’s Creed Revelations. Here’s the resultant story from that interview. In playing through Revelations now and as much as it pains me to say this, I feel that it’s lost some of the spark that Assassin’s Creed 2 and Brotherhood had. Revelations has some great moments – especially a chase through the caverns underneath a Constantinople basilica – but I just don’t feel it reaches the lofty heights of AC2 and Brotherhood. Perhaps this is a good argument not to have yearly updates of franchies?

OK, on with the interview.

“Your playground is Constantinople,” says Darby McDevitt, a scriptwriter for the latest game in the Assassin’s Creed series.

Few major cities have changed hands more frequently and with such drama as this magnificent outpost on the edge of the Bosphorus, he says. It has been known variously as Byzantium, Nova Roma, Constantinople, Tsarigrad and Istanbul.

“We saw in Constantinople an excellent opportunity to introduce players to the beginnings of the golden age of the Ottoman Empire, an era familiar to many in name only, but whose impacts on world history can still be felt to this day.”

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, McDevitt tells me, intertwines the histories of the series’ leads – Altair Ibn La’Ahad, Ezio Auditore da Firenze and Desmond Miles – in one story, and all three are reflecting on their purpose in life.

“At the heart of their struggles to guide and shape the Assassin Order into a force for good,” says McDevitt, “burns a single nagging question: `Have I done enough?’ Over the course of Revelations, we will watch as our three heroes grapple with this problem.

“Through Altair’s story, Ezio will bear witness to the soaring highs and crushing lows of a man who lived as a devoted Assassin his entire life. How much can one man reasonably accomplish in so short a time? And through Ezio, Desmond will watch a middle-aged man come to terms with a situation he was thrown into after the brutal murder of his father and brothers, all the while wondering, how much of our lives do we choose for ourselves, and how much of it chooses us?”

McDevitt says it was no easy task crafting a story that involved all three main characters from the previous Assassin’s Creed games, especially when the timelines and settings were so wildly disparate. Revelations is the fourth game in the well-received series.

“We’re confident that we have crafted a cohesive, epic tale that honours the tones and themes established by all previous instalments. Altair is still as stoic and philosophical as ever, even in the face of overwhelming odds, while Ezio remains a warm and charismatic presence, full of curiosity and love for all who serve the better side of human nature. The biggest challenge for us from the outset was to shape a story that felt natural and necessary, without resorting to any cheap tricks or flights of fancy.”


The Assassin’s Creed series is known for its open-world nature. Revelations is one of the biggest and deepest games Ubisoft has created, and Constantinople suits that well, he says.

“Constantinople is sometimes called `the crossroads of the world’. It was one of the most diverse cities of the era – a nexus where Europe meets Asia, and where an incredible mix of Turks, Greeks, Arabs, Italians, Jews and Romani (to name a few) lived, worked, and worshipped. Similarly, Constantinople serves as the crossroads for our assassins, where east becomes west, where fortunes reverse, and where new connections are made.”

Players will also travel to Masyaf, Altair’s home, and the Cappadocia region of Turkey, a “mysterious city partly above ground but whose true secret is underground,” says McDevitt.

“This is the first time something like this has been done in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. It’s a huge and very rich environment where over 10,000 people have lived for hundreds of years. This massive city is based on actual cities that people can still visit today. Parts of the city are reminiscent of Petra with very busy merchant streets, and awe-inspiring skylights to let the sun through.”

Art director Raphael Lacoste said the company decided to give Constantinople a “hand-crafted” look, and the game makers studied 16th-century maps to get the feeling of the different districts, main roads, public places and streets, as well as the overall shape of Constantinople. Historical maps were used to locate landmarks.

Then 3D software was used to match the elevations based on the actual topography of Istanbul and historical painting were used as reference for the modelling of the houses and landmarks. Developers also visited Istanbul to get a feel for the city.

Falko Poiker, mission design director, said the main goal was to create a cohesive world for players to explore.

“The core experience of Assassin’s Creed is and will always remain based upon player freedom, and Revelations is no exception. The side missions that players have come to expect will still be there, however, the narrative context will change. We’re looking to use the side missions to enhance the richness of the city and the richness of the characters that surround you. It is organic storytelling: Characters will have a story to tell that leads the player to a mission. A very simple and explicit example is that rather than talking to a person who tells you that a man is abusing his wife, you will be walking through the city and come across a man abusing his wife. At this point you’ll have the choice to intervene.”


In Revelations, Ezio, who was first introduced to the series in Assassin’s Creed 2 as a newborn, is now 50 years old, which required a few changes in the way he was portrayed, says Alexandre Breault, the game’s design director.

“Yes, Ezio is indeed older, but he is more efficient and deadlier than ever as he now has the Constantinople’s assassin tools, such as the hookblade and the bombs, at his disposal. With age comes wisdom and Ezio can now use his evolved instincts – called `eagle sense’ (the ability to sense when enemies are present) – to instinctively pick up cues in the environment to analyse a situation and formulate a strategic response.

“Ezio uses eagle sense to feel and visualise where enemies are around him. It provides an approximation of where enemies will go and also allows you to detect traitors in the crowd. For example, you can scan a crowd to feel the heartbeat of each person and detect who the traitor is. In other words, eagle sense gives Ezio the means to plan his attacks with increased efficiency.”


In previous Assassin’s Creed games, historical figures such as Leonardo da Vinci made cameos, and this device continues in Revelations, as do nods to historical events in the region’s history, says McDevitt.

“Multiple historical figurines will be encountered by Ezio but hanging over Ezio’s storyline like a dark thundercloud is the heated Ottoman war for succession to the throne. The ailing, but still canny, Sultan Bayezid II has already named his son Ahmet as his rightful heir but Ahmet’s ambitious brother, Selim, has raised an army in a bid to take the throne for himself. This fight between father and son affects the decisions of every major player in our story. Everyone, as they say, has a horse in this race.

“Other minor details will adorn the backdrop. A few years earlier, Constantinople suffered through a devastating earthquake, from which the city is still recovering. And we will catch glimpses of several historical events that happened on the margins of the Ottomans’ lands, hearing from those who benefited from the spread of the Empire and those who suffered.”

Designer Breault says that the Assassin’s Creed series is known for taking risks – something that continues in Revelations.

“We take risks and try new ideas. On Assassin’s Creed, that’s an element we really focus on. For each title we release, we want to make sure that we have an innovation that makes it stands out. In Brotherhood, the multiplayer was one of the elements that was totally new and innovative. In Revelations, an example is Desmond’s part of the game. We are integrating it in a really interesting and innovative gameplay. That’s the way we are able to manage the risk of the innovation: We make sure that we keep a good balance between the pillars of our game that we improve and solidify, as well as new elements with which we take risk and try something totally different.”

Halo CE Anniversary: an interview with executive producer Dan Ayoub

In my job I get to talk to some pretty passionate people who work in the games industry: one of those people is Dan Ayoub, from 343 Industries and executive producer on Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary.

I spoke to him today about Halo Anniversary and what it took to get it out to the fans. It’s long, so sit back, grab a cup of something warm and settle back …

GC: Halo CE Anniversary has already released here (in New Zealand) but first off, with a game like Halo, which really launched the original Xbox console, how daunting a task was it for the team at 343 Industries to tackle a re-imagining of that?

DA: Once we made the decision to actually do this I think there was that intimidation moment that we all had because, first of all, you know, memory is a funny thing. I always draw the analogy of watching your favourite movie when you were younger 10 years later, and you know, it’s just not the same and second of all, this is such a well-known game that was so perfect in so many ways that it was quite intimidating because we wanted to make sure that  we did something like that justice.

Ironically what we got to was: the best way to do it justice was to change as little as possible and it quickly became out mantra for the game that it needed to play exactly the same as it did so you look at all the features and the graphical improvements that are additive to the core game play but we wanted to make sure that the game played identically so that was one thing that we made sure we didn’t mess with.

GC: As you said, there’s a huge following for Halo and the original, and I guess if you deviated too much from the original, in what had been set in stone, I guess you would have felt the wrath of the fans …

DA: Oh, I think absolutely. I love Halo fans and I always say they don’t miss anything and they’re extremely passionate about their universe so, yeah, I think if we’d gone in there and started messing with it there would have been a huge backlash. I mean that kind of thinking is even what influenced us to use bits of the same engine. I say all the time that there are portions of that original Halo code that shipped 10 years ago in the game – and those are the lengths we went to to make sure that it played exactly the same. I like to joke that we shipped the game warts and all – we didn’t even fix the original bugs because in many cases those bugs have become exploits and things that people use and there are just so many funny moments involved with those that if we started fixing bugs we figured we’d get into trouble as well.

GC: How did you start on this? What was the process when you started this re-imagining?

DA: It was an interesting process. I mean, this is something that the Halo community has been asking for a really long time – in some cases since the Xbox 360 launch and I think it’s the kind of thing I think your hesitant to do just for the sake of doing it. Then when November 15, 2011 started coming around and it’s like “Wow, this is like the 10th anniversary and we’ve got to do something”. We’d talked about it for a while and we finally got to the point that we went off and explored it but as a development team we were clear about one thing: we didn’t just want to do it in high definition and call it a day: that wouldn’t be a good enough treatment for Halo. If we do this we need to be sure we can do something special and make it right for the fans.

We starting thinking from an emotional standpoint and what was it that we wanted to convey. You know, it’s the 10 year anniversary and there’s a lot of nostalgia and then we just got to the point that we want this game to help people relive the experience of what it was like to play this game 10 years ago. That was sort of what gave birth to the classic mode: it was like ‘OK, let’s create this mode where at any point you can hit the back button and see the graphics as they looked 10 years ago’ .

GC: I was really amazed with that classic mode. I remember playing Halo on the original Xbox 10 years ago. I mean, how hard was it to overlay the new look over the old engine?

DA: I was pretty tricky but it was an investment we wanted to make for two reasons. First of all, we believed in the switch mode and second of all, by figuring that problem out it meant that we could run the original Halo code at the same time – so it kind of fixed two of our problems – but it was a really complicated problem. It took us several months to get it to a point where we could see it working and what happens is you have that original game play AI code that we interwoven with the new graphics and audio engine. Probably the simplest way to describe it is imagine two screen running simultaneously and the back button is just helping you decide which screen to see.

GC: Is it a direct overlay: so if you press the back button the scene of the Anniversary edition exactly matches the scene of the original version?

DA: It basically follows you in “new” mode so if you’re in new mode, storming the beach in Silent Cartographer and you’re shooting up a bunch of grunts, and you hit the back button you’ll be at the same moment in the old mode as you were in the new mode. It’s really slick because you can be in the middle of a firefight, you know, emptying out your gun and hit the back button and that continuity is just perfect: you’re at exactly the same moment when you go back.

GC: You said as an engineering feat it was huge task but are you pleased with the end result?

DA: In terms of classic mode and the game in general, yeah, we’re really thrilled with that mode. Classic mode was kind of tricky for us: we were initially investigating putting it on the menu so when you start the game you choose which mode you wanted to play it in and for a period of time while we were waiting to hook it up we had it in game play where you could do it anytime – and I was playing it and it was clear to me and everybody else who got to play it that this was the magic. You could relive the nostalgia and at any point say “Hey, what did this look like 10 years ago?”. We also realised that it turned into a fun tool – I’m like you, I remember playing the original one – but if you’re an 18 year old gamer you were eight when the first Halo came out and you may have never really seen it and I like to say it’s 10 years of gaming evolution that you’re seeing on your screen at the same time because it’s not just how far Halo has become, it’s how far the technology has come, how far the industry has come, how far our craft has grown. I’m really pleased with how it came out and how well people are responding to it.

GC: I was talking to someone this morning and the game shows how ahead of its time that Halo was for console gaming, but who do you think this anniversary edition will appeal to?

DA: When we were putting this together, I think, if I had to say, our first group was certainly that hardcore Halo fan, right? Who’s really going to remember it, who’s really going to enjoy the nostalgia of playing it but I think there are two other categories: one, is the person that never played the original version and maybe only got in at Halo 2 or Halo 3, and I think that Halo is also important not just to Halo fans but I think it’s also important to shooter fans because Halo ushered in so many new ways of doing a shooter and crafting a shooter that even games today are using. I like to think of it (Halo) as the grand daddy of them all and it just innovated our space so much and pushed it forward.

GC: Do you think that even if it hadn’t been the anniversary of Halo do you think you guys would have remade the game anyway?

DA: Oh, wow, that’s a really great question and I’ve never even stopped to consider that. You know, I think we’re doing this because fans have asked for it for so long and it stands to reason that we probably would have got around to it anyway but I think the fan momentum for the game was picking up as the anniversary was getting closer and it seems such a good way to celebrate the birthday of this title. I think all the stars just aligned for this thing.

GC: It’s probably also a good lead in for Halo 4, isn’t it? Get gamers excited about this and keep the momentum going

DA: I think this is a really good way to reacquaint people with the Master Chief. I think there is definitely that. Also one of the features in the game is terminals, which made there debut early on as a text DOS screen but we’ve taken a much more graphical approach with them and we’ve placed some story hints in the terminals. So if you find the terminals you’ll get some story hints at what we’re planning for Halo 4. I definitely think it’s a great connective piece.

GC: 343 Industries have taken over the Halo franchise but that’s a lot of expectation on you guys, isn’t it? How do you deal with all that pressure?

DA: That’s a fair statement and I think there are tremendous expectations but I think what we have working for us is that 343 not a new studio and we’ve been involved in Halo really since Halo 3 and number of Bungie employees are now working over here but I think we’ve waded our way into the waters. The Defiant map pack was the first map pack we did entirely as 343 and now we’re onto Anniversary and I think it’s been good to show the fans that we love Halo as much as they do. I think that’s the biggest concern people had when that handover happened and we’ve got tremendous kudos from the community and huge pleas of relief with people saying ‘You guys get Halo’ and that’s really important. The big constant is the community and in my view this franchise has always belonged to them and as long as they’re still there we’re going to make great games for them. It was great to have that dialogue with the fans.

Tuesday usual: Chatting with Radio Wammo about Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary

Sorry about the long time between posts but I’m going to make a concerted effort now to make sure I keep the post count up and worthy of your time.

OK, today with Glenn “Wammo” Williams we chatted about the new re-imagined Halo, the game that essentially launched the original Xbox console way back in 2001.

I remember playing the original Halo way back in the day and I didn’t think I’d be keen on replaying through a better looking version, but I’ve been proven wrong: I’m slowly making my way through the campaign and realise what a great game it was all those years ago. How much had I forgotten? Well, I managed to forget where the heck the control switch was to activate the first bridge!

Check out the video: oh, and if near the end you see a pair of black trackpants suddenly appear in the sliding door behind me, don’t fret: it’s not a burglar trying to break in, but my daughter who was home deciding she’d try to come into the house using that door. She’s not there for long – but it’s a bit of a distraction!

Look out for an interview with Halo CE Anniversary’s executive producer Dan Ayoub later tonight or tomorrow. I promise.

Chatting with Radio Wammo: the Uncharted 3 edition

Today is Tuesday, so that the day that I chat to Glenn “Wammo” Williams about all things gaming and today we chatted about Naughty Dog’s latest in the Uncharted series, Uncharted 3.

I liked the game a lot and it’s probably the closest thing you’ll get to a cinematic experience on a gaming console but thinking about it, I don’t think it’s perfect: it has some wonderful set pieces but the difficulty spike in the last quarter is crazy (in one section I had to contend with a sandstorm, two armoured vehicles with gun turrets, several baddies with laser sights and a guy with a rocket launcher)  and some of the melee combat gets a little too samey. I almost felt the melee combat against the tougher enemies was like a rhythm game: square, square, triangle, circle, triangle, square, square.

I’ve also heard people mention that they’re not loving the gunplay compared to that of Uncharted 2. It’s visually stunning, and some of the locations are absolutely huge. I loved when the camera pulled back and Nathan Drake, the game’s hero, was nothing but a speck in the landscape.

Thinking about it today, too, I also realised there are a lot of loose ends in the game, such as the two main baddies Marlowe and Talbot. I’m still not sure who they actually worked for and what was their motivation behind wanting the water hidden deep in the “Atlantis of  the Sands” in the Middle East. Will we ever know?

Even with those criticisms, it’s a great game that is one of the best on the PlayStation 3. I loved the narrative and thought the final battle was very fitting of the series.

Anyway, watch the review and let me know what you think.

Uncharted 3 Drake’s Deception: some thoughts

OK, I finished the single player campaign of Uncharted 3 this afternoon (I haven’t tried any of the multiplayer or co-op) and I have to say it’s probably the best PlayStation exclusive that I’ve ever played. Yes, even better than inFamous 2 which I really, really enjoyed (I tell you, Naughty Dog and Insomniac have to be the best PS3 developers out there).  I enjoyed the story from start to finish and it’s a visually stunning game, too. That said, there are some niggles and situations that prompted a few “WTF?” along the way.

Now, there will probably be spoilers in this write-up, so perhaps you shouldn’t read it if you don’t want your Uncharted 3 experience spoiled before you finish it.

What I liked

The story: While the original Uncharted might have had a better story, Uncharted 3 really captured my attention with its narrative involving Nathan Drake’s hunt for “the Atlantis of the Sands”, a mythical buried city. The game starts in London, with Drake and long-time friend Victor Sullivan in a pub hoping to trade a ring said to have belonged to explorer Sir Francis Drake for a large case of cash. As you’d expect, things turn pear shaped, the deal goes sour and what follows is a game of cat and mouse between Drake and Sully and the two key baddies, each wanting to find the hidden city and its secrets.

The story has flashbacks to when Nathan Drake was a boy, growing up in Cartegena, in Colombia, and Elena and Chole from the previous two games make appearances. Uncharted 3 really does span the globe, too, visiting the aforementioned London and Colombia, Syria and  Yemen. I really liked the dialogue exchanges between Sully and Elena – it really personalised the story and gave the character’s personality – and the writing is the sort of stuff you’d find right at home in a top-rating TV show.

The set pieces: Remember the train sequences in Uncharted 2? Well, that was topped several times  in Uncharted 3 with some set pieces that frankly left me speechless. Top of that list is the latter part of a chapter set in a ship graveyard and takes place on a sinking cruise ship, the base for a ruthless sea pirate. The sequence flips your perspective around dramatically and it truly is a wonderful achievement. Another sequence that was short but just as memorable is one set mid-air aboard a cargo plane that involves Drake having to fight for his life. Another memorable sequence is set in a blazing chateau. I’ve got “epic set pieces” written down several times in my notes – and I’m not kidding: sometimes I had to pick my jaw off the floor things were so epic. Sometimes, too,  the camera will pull back and Drake becomes a tiny figure with the game world around him. It’s then that you really see how big in scale Uncharted 3 is.

The melee combat:  sometimes, even when I was outnumbered, I would take on enemies in melee combat and punch them senseless. Other times I’d creep up behind them and silently take them out. The combat felt visceral and solid, with Drake often flipping an enemy over his shoulder, acrobatically grabbing their gun as it sailed through the air.

The visuals: Uncharted 3 is the best looking game on the PlayStation 3 without a doubt. It really is a stunning game to look at and Naughty Dog must really  have pushed the PS3 to the limit. The game is just stunning to look at. I can’t say anymore than that.

What I didn’t like so much

The difficulty spike:  I played the game in normal difficulty – as I tend to play most games. I reckon it’s the difficulty level that most people will play a game on, but some of the WTF moments came near the end of the game – in the last three chapters – when the difficulty level seemed to spike dramatically. In one situation, where I had to guide Nathan Drake through a blinding sandstorm, I had to take care of not only two armoured vehicles with top-mounted guns, but several guys with laser-sight on their pistols, and a couple of heavies touting shotguns and wearing plate armour. The aim was to blow up the armoured trucks with explosives (rocket launchers, mainly) that were strategically placed around the location (there seemed to be three). I lost count about how many times I died in this sequence and I don’t think I suck as a game player (maybe I do?) but I died a lot. And this was just on normal difficulty – I hate to see what this sequences is like on the highest difficulty level.

The melee combat: Well, some aspects of it. It seemed that sometimes the combat turned into almost a rhythm game: punch a foe, press triangle to duck his punch, pound circle to break out of a hold, punch him again, press triangle again, punch him again then knock them out. It was like a mini-game for fighting. I was also surprised to have to fight the same “big” guy several times throughout the game. Wasn’t beating him in a punch up once enough?

That’s it. Look, as I said the niggles I had with Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception are small but I think worth noting. They didn’t ruin my overall enjoyment of Uncharted 3 but did cause me to curse a few times. Uncharted 3 isn’t the perfect game but it’s one that I had a good time playing. It’ll be interesting to see where the franchise goes from here. Does Nathan Drake have any more adventures in him?

Kaiser Baas Game Recorder: it’s pretty cool

One of the cooler gadgets I’m assessing at the moment is Kaiser Baas’ Series 8 Game Recorder – an amazing little piece of kit that lets you record gameplay footage from a PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 or Nintendo Wii.

It’s about half the size of a ball point pen but has a USB connection at one end, that slots into a free USB port on computer, and on the other end has three RCA connections: red, white and blue which you plug your console into (you need to use an RCA connection not HDMI). What you do is plug the Game Recorder into your computer, connect the RCA connections to your console’s RCA connections, turn your console on, click the Game Recorder icon on your desktop and voila: your console’s dashboard image appears on your computer monitor.

Recording is a one-button affair as is stopping and it saves the file as .avi files, which you can edit in CyberLink’s video editing software. It records in high (720×480, 720×576, 60 frames per second), medium (720×480, 720×576, 30 frames per second) and low (360×240, 360×288) resolution at aspect ratios of either 16:9 or 4:3.

I’m impressed, to be honest, and can see the Game Recorder being a great tool in an upcoming project that I’ve got planned with a colleague at work.

Anyway, I intended uploading some footage I captured from Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood using the Game Recorder – but typically my internet upload speed was so ridiculously slow that it crapped out at almost 100%. So I gave up.

Here’s Tuesday’s chat with Glenn “Wammo” Williams where I reviewed Batman Arkham City instead. Enjoy it.