Pirates sure are popular these days, and for good reason - they know how to have a good time. Sims know how to party in their own way too, so it was practically inevitable that the Sims series would jump on the pirate bandwagon eventually, and now it has with the first expansion for The Sims Medieval, Pirates & Nobles. So how much debauchery will this add-on allow?
Platform: Xbox 360 | Publisher: Rising Star | Developer: Access Games | Price: £14.99
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Deadly Premonition is now available as a digital download from Xbox Live. Now you have absolutely no excuse for not owning this must-play game. Need convincing still further? Check out Dave's ultra-enthusiastic outpourings here - if that doesn't convince you to try the game, nothing will. Assuming you've done that, let's see what else is around of note from alternative downloadable interweb services...
LA Noire's straight-faced dick-in-a-hat Cole Phelps might be good at cross-examining witnesses and interrogating suspects and he's certainly never short of a thing or two to say about naked dead women. But if it's not business, what does a man like Cole Phelps talk about? Is he as adept in the art of conversation as he is in solving crime? Let's take a look at how Cole Phelps handles a conversationally opportunistic moment at the office water cooler:
Formula One in real life is finally exciting again. Sure, Vettel is winning everything in sight, but the new rules and overtaking systems have, if nothing else, at least made the races exciting to watch. That's worked out very nicely for Codemasters, who rode the crest of the wave last year with F1 2010 and are now sitting pretty to deliver a super-sequel. They were showing off the game on Xbox 360, 3DS and PlayStation Vita in London, and we played them all so there's a page about each right here. Engines on? OK, let's go.
In an industry where technology marches relentlessly forward, developers that don’t adapt get left behind. A delicious new bit of tech comes along (like Rockstar’s Euphoria physics) and immediately makes the old way (like bodies that tumble as Tetris blocks) look positively antiquated. We admit, we’re spoiled, but who wants indestructible walls after playing Red Faction: Armageddon? Or invisible ones after Red Dead Redemption? Here are some examples of outdated game design we can stand for no longer...
You may find it hard to believe, but before Rez, Child of Eden and Space Channel 5, Tetsuya Mizuguchi made a straight-faced arcade racing game. Looking at it now, it's hard, if not impossible, to see any of his trademark idiosyncrasies in it. The music isn't linked to the action, the cars are as close to photorealistic as possible… it's nothing like his recent work. Ah, but one trademark remains – sheer, genre-smashing brilliance. Let me tell you about the wonder that is Sega Rally.
With the launch of the eShop, Nintendo 3DS owners now have access to a wide array of DSiWare releases – bite-sized downloadable games originally designed for the Nintendo DSi that also run on the fancy-schmancy new handheld. Unfortunately, DSiWare's best offerings have been criminally overlooked and shrouded by waves of unremarkable junk, but if you dig a little, you'll find some great handheld experiences, many of which are available for just a few bucks apiece...
There's not much love for loading bars. But why should there be? Their ubiquity in games is not based on an overwhelming popularity for their normally-horizontal-but-sometimes-spinning sexy charms. No. They are everywhere in games because games make us wait around a lot and the loading bar merely provides a little graphical reassurance that something is happening. So it's understandable that these hard-working visual devices go largely unnoticed and unloved.
Which is a tragedy, because with a little care and attention from developers, loading bars can be things that are absolutely deserving of love. I know this is true because I'm in love with one right now.
On the one hand, we know that the Wii U's online network is definitely going to be better than the Wii's. The reason? Four words. "Friend Codes. Lack of." A proper unified Gamertag-style system is going to work wonders in getting it taken seriously as a hardcore online machine.
On the other hand though, it sounds increasingly like the Wii U's online connectivity is currently a vague, messy unfocused heap of confusion, and potentially even worse than the old Friend Code debacle. You see it sounds like no-one really seems to know who's actually in charge of it right now, or how the player will be expected to interact with it. Or at least no-one's saying. Nintendo is giving the impression of being comparatively hands-off, and no-one else is giving the impression of being particularly hands-on. So how the hell is this thing going to work, why is no-one claiming responsibility, and how much more could it damage Nintendo's already crappy online reputation? Click on and I'll investigate.
Have you heard of a game by Rockstar North called Wild Metal? No. Don't worry, neither did two thirds of this week's podcast team but that doesn't stop Cundy going on about it for 20 minutes or so. We'd like to say the rant is informative but, well, give it a listen and you'll find out why it isn't.
Also on this week's TalkRadar UK there's prolonged chatter about Shadow of the Damned's brilliance, why one team member won't be returning to the streets of L.A. Noire and why Uncharted 3's multiplayer beta is good, but not great. Oooh, controversial.
There's also a bizarre tale of how one of the men has ended up with a pair of blue arms. This alone makes this week's show worth a listen, so come get some gaming goodness in your ears.