Crafted by Playdemic and now available on Facebook and Zynga.com, Kingdom Quest (cleverly tagged "A Game of Scones") is a social game that revolves around building a fantasy kingdom, not to be confused with CastleVille, a game about building a fantasy kingdom.
What are the differences between CastleVille and Kingdom Quest? I could not tell you. I was busy with Cafe World when CastleVille came out. All I can tell you is one begins with a white-bearded royal giving you orders, and the other begins with a white-bearded royal giving you orders.
I just had both games running at once and the music started to run together into one song. It's uncanny.
Which one should you play? Why, the newer one of course. Great technological leaps have been made in castle building since the first came out.
Here at Kotaku, we're of two minds on Assassin's Creed III. But whether we think the game is a success or a disappointment, we're all interested in how it came to be the way it is.
Over at Reddit, several of ACIII's developers are currently participating in a Reddit ask me anything thread. They're defending the game from some of the most common criticisms as well as dropping all sorts of interesting tidbits about the game's development and the decisions they made.
Here's Steven Masters on the omission of a crouch or stealth-button, and on the stealth system in general (which is certainly one of my main gripes with the game):
our stealth is primarily "social stealth", and we've been debating having a crouch button since pretty much day 1. It was always the vision that crouching in public spaces is not "hiding in plain sight" - if anything you're calling attention to yourself. We found that the "stalking zones" - the low vegitation where you can crouch down while low profile - are a good compromise since it allows you to crouch but only in circumstances that make sense.
Sounds like Ubisoft is bringing a lot of bug fixes to the game soon, and that the PC version will have the first two patches on day one. Here's Alex Hutchinson:
Lots of bug fixes incoming! PC release will include the first two patches on release.
Gabe Graziani gives more info on the PC version, which on questioner refers to as "delayed":
Not actually delayed, but that's being kind of nit-picky... really, we've added a lot more detail to the PC version and support for DX11. Stuff that we didn't really need to think about for the console versions. Considering the amount we're adding, you aren't really going to end up waiting all that long (not even a month!)
So, the PC version will come with additional patches, both those that have been or are just about to be released on consoles as well as some specific for the PC. I would say it will be less buggy than the console versions AT CONSOLE LAUNCH, but that the console and PC versions will be comparable at PC launch.
They decided not to have the water freeze or hurt the player in the winter, which was probably a good call. Here's Aleissia Laidacker:
We originally were going to have an element where you & NPCs lose health points while navigating in water during the water, but decided against it in the end. It would be more realistic yes, but a pain in the ass to the player if you desynced because of navigating in water in the winter.
Hutchinson on why killing kids isn't an option:
There are lines we don't want to cross: there's only so much publicity bonus you get from being on Fox news, and it doesn't add anything to the experience.
He also defends the combat system, which at least one questioner felt is overly simplified:
Actuaklly we feel it's the opposite: in previous games you could literally counter your way to success endlessly, basically only using a single button, where now you need to make second decision after a counter, and if you want to kill an entire mixed group of enemies in one kill chain, you need to use basically the entire controller.
Steven Masters directly addresses the janky inventory, which he says was a late-game concession, and a frustrating one to ship in the game:
Thanks for the feedback... for the controls, a lot of it was to do with going into the trees with the freerunning. Trees are a much more complex environment than cities; you have many more valid possibilities, and it's way more frustrating to jump to the ground, so we needed to do something - hence Safe Freerunning on RT.
The UI had some technical issues very late in development that meant we had to slow down access to the weapon wheel particularly; it pissed me off as well. Sorry. We're trying to improve it in the patches!
There's a whole lot more in the AMA, and if you're interested in the game, you should really go check it out. It looks like it's still going on for a little while, too, so you can also ask your own questions.
It's great to hear developers be so open about the process behind their games, and if anything, this has got me more optimistic that the PC version will, at least, address some of my more cosmetic issues with the game. If only it made the stealth work a bit better...
Rock music is incredibly powerful. Ducks as also incredibly powerful. Combine the two and damn, man... just damn.
Wild Factor's Duck and Roll, available now on iTunes, tells the age-old story of a duck with rock and roll in his heart, setting out from the pond to find success in the big city. His name is Jeff.
Jeff plays music by catching stars that rise from the bottom of the screen, tracing the path of them on the screen or slashing through them like some sort of fruit ninja. All of these things are exactly what one does when rocking out in real life, so it fits.
The game features six songs from artists I have never heard of, most of which sound like the late 90's, when rock briefly made a comeback. Here are those songs:
• Saints of Silence – Numb
Saints of Silence – In Motion
Saints of Silence – Finger in the Eye
Dan Phillison – The Journey
Dan Phillison – Time to Shine
Tempero – Tear It Down
It's a rather nifty little game, if you're into 90's alternative duck rock. There are three difficulty levels to challenge even the nimblest fingers, and more levels on the way, giving fans a chance to chart the further career of Jeff.
Really I'm just smitten with the idea of a duck named Jeff. It's enough of a thrill that I can overlook that mildly embarrassing launch video.
Duck and Roll [iTunes]
Welcome, then, to the Panel Discussion
Dozen Trio, where I pick out just-released or out-soon comics that I think are worth paying attention to. Ready? Then, let's meet the sequential art that'll be draining your wallet this week. Be sure to chime in with the books you'll be picking up or that you think everybody should be ready in the comments.
All-New X-Men #1
This new series by Brian Bendis and Stuart Immomen drops in the original five X-Men into the present-day, just as the dust from the Avengers vs. X-Men event starts to settle. Though the use of time travel might feel a bit out-of-place here, a moment where their some of the cast's future selves wind up as unexpected extremists is a great set-up for Bendis to work his signature approach to character.
The Boys #72
This is the last issue of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson's long-running superhero satire series. You could have read The Boys a couple of ways: as a damning critique of how one genre has oversaturated a medium, a treatise on how power corrupts anyone, as a straight-up adventure story or as a metaphor for the backroom dealings that supposed heroes has to make to meet their ends. Either way you read it, it's been a singular piece of sustained creativity and it'll probably go out with a bang.
The return of Batman's archenemy is in full swing in the Bat-books. There's still a shroud of mystery surrounding the reasons that Joker is more vicious than ever and what his true goals may be. But it sure looks like he's trying to take out anyone who Batman and his allies may care for. For a mythos already so stained with grief, the events that transpire will have to be pretty disturbing to leave an impact.
Black Ops II is all about the consequences of unmanned war machines running amok under a hostile power. So the last thing you might be expecting to find is a certain Thunder God's magical weapon as an easter egg.
But Mjolnir—the war hammer wielded by Thor—is exactly what GameFront found in Black Ops II, tucked away in one of the game's early levels. The video above show you how to get to it. A little weird? Yeah, but cool as Asgard, too.
Whenever my brain randomly moves to thoughts of Batman, this is the series of panels that comes to mine. It's a page from Batman #405, part of the Batman Year One storyline. This 1987 arc contained Frank Miller's great re-imagining of Bruce Wayne's first outings as Batman. Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli make up one of comics' best teams when they work together, able to use space and silence to stunning effect.
Part of the appeal of this page is in how quiet and polite the Dark Knight is here. Yes, the cape swirling in silhouette is a great moment. But my favorite panel is the silent one immediately afterward, where the detail of that poor waiter's uncontrollably shaking hand drives home just how scary even a novice Batman must be. Poor guy, he's probably just some actor doing catering gigs in between auditions only to have the wall explode and a creature-of-the-night walk in and commandeer his bananas foster. And the way that Mazzucchelli controls the light sources, so that the terror of that final black panel hits home? Sheer genius.
So, yeah, that's the Batman sequence I can't get out of my head. What's yours?
Hopefully in the hustle and bustle of the big fall releases, everyone hasn't lost sight of Sleeping Dogs, the little Hong Kong open-world crime game that could. At least, I still play the game off and on while rotating between others.
Square Enix is hoping you haven't forgotten, too, as they're releasing yet another chunk of downloadable content for the game. The DLC for Sleeping Dogs has kind of been a mess—there are a seemingly innumerable collection of "packs," all of which contain various costumes and weapons, none of which feel all that essential.
But a couple of downloadable items are meatier: The "Nightmare in North Point" pack added a goofy zombie storyline, and the just-announced "Zodiac Tournament Pack" will give the game a whole new island.
Join Wei Shen for the fight of his life in the second gameplay-extending add-on pack. Invited to an exclusive tournament on a hidden island off the coast of Hong Kong, Wei must overcome the best-of-the-best as he takes on fighters from across Asia in a fight to the death. The Zodiac Tournament invites you to become the dragon and unleash your fists of fury!
· An exclusive new island off the coast of Hong Kong, featuring multiple themed fight arenas, numerous new enemies, bosses and story-extending cutscenes
· Two new unlockable outfits featuring new looks and powerful new fighting moves
I've always enjoyed the fighting tournaments in Sleeping Dogs, even though the enemies are all a little bit too open to being tackled. But it's challenging, brutal, and very fun. I haven't even had a chance to check out the zombie stuff yet, but I can tell there'll be a time when I sit back down with this game and see everything else it has to offer.
Lately I've been thinking I want to move. Something new, you know? But seeing this, I realize I don't want, I need to move. To a house where I can fit thousands of Xboxes and have friends over all the time.
This guy lives with several floors' worth of games in his house. There are Xboxes, many TVs, lots of (messily-organized) games, and a ton of arcade cabinets. The only thing missing is a full-sized pool. I can't live without a pool.
These are only a handful of images, but you can check out Redditor Citizen_Gamer's album for more of his friend's house, including close-ups of the arcade cabinets.
Spacetime Studios' latest and greatest mobile/browser MMO Arcane Legends is now live on Android devices and the Google Chrome Web Store, giving fantasy fighters everywhere a chance to take on the forces of evil with their best pals by their side. Anyone keen on a Kotaku-exclusive in-game weapon?
Spacetime Studios applies lessons learned over the past few years of creating pocket-sized MMOs for mobile and web browsers to create its most impressive game yet. Arcane Legends sees players and their pets teaming up to take on all sorts of fantasy nasties, gathering powerful equipment, fighting PVP battles and learning a little something about friendship along the way.
Players can choose between the beefy Warrior, nimble Rogue or oddly blue and squiggly Sorcerer. Kotaku readers can make that Sorcerer decidedly less squiggly with the Celestial Staff, an exclusive frost weapon just for you folks. Seriously, share this with anyone else and we'll find you.
Here's the code: kotaku111312
And here's how you use it:
1. Start the app and play through the beginning of the game.
2. Be sure that you are on the correct class of character that matches the Promo Code item.
3. Once you enter Windmoore town, tap on the icon of your character in the upper left
4. In the menu that appears, tap on the button to Quit to Menu in the lower left.
5. Tap the STS Nexus button on the top menu bar
6. Tap the Enter Promo Code button in the lower right of the Offers tab
7. Enter the Promo Code
8. A message will appear stating that the item has been granted to your character
1. Start the app and log in.
2. At character select, make sure you are seeing the character you want the Promo Code item to go to (Axes or big swords for Warriors, daggers or dual blades for Rogues, staves or wands for the Sorcerer.)
3. Tap the STS Nexus button on the top menu bar
4. Tap the Enter Promo Code button in the lower right of the Offers tab
5. Enter the Promo Code
6. A message will appear stating that the item has been granted to your character
Have fun, kids!
Let's be honest for a moment here: pretty much everyone around the world has at the very least thought about calling in "sick" to work or school while their health was perfectly fine, for one reason or another. For some folks, it's a beach day; for others, just a chance to sleep for an extra few hours. And then, of course, there are the gamers.
It's a classic running joke that a Call of Duty launch day means players will stay home "sick" to glue themselves to the TV and shoot virtual weapons all day. And it's a joke that seems well-grounded in truth.
USA Today has a report on the uptick in unscheduled absences and sudden illnesses that take place on a Call of Duty launch day. CNET also chimes in, pointing to poll data gathered by IGN, which found that one in four respondents planned to call in "sick" today to get more Black Ops II time in.
Of course, as much as many of us would like to take a day off just to play a new game, reality often intervenes and we can't always follow through. But plenty of folks, it seems, are. From the schoolkid cutting class to the savvy boss who knows exactly where his employees really are, Twitter is full of the stories of the Call of Duty twenty-four hour flu: