Archive for October, 2011

Sony developing PlayStation 4 games – Console news

Looks like it’s not just Microsoft touting its next-gen console wares this week. Sony is hard at work on games for the PlayStation 4, reports Develop.

“Several internal Sony studios” have started to develop games for the console, according to a source. The source said various game projects are at very early stages, though they didn’t reveal which first-party studios were involved.

Last week, sources also pointed to Microsoft’s next-gen console, the ‘Xbox Next,’ which is set to launch in 2013. The PlayStation 4 isn’t expected until 2014, according to industry insiders. Sony undoubtedly has its hands full with the PS Vita launching in February, and the PlayStation TV due before the end of the year.

Develop notes that Sony has a habit of constantly working far ahead, with PS Vita development starting soon after the original PSP launched in 2005. The PS4 concepts currently in development could well go into full production as games if given the nod.

Sony still hasn’t finalised the technology for its PS4 console, though a Sony exec let slip in a conference call to investors in May that the PS4 is in development. Last year, Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida said Sony wanted developers in on the ground level with new console technology, so the fact it’s already developing games doesn’t necessarily mean the hardware is anywhere near finished.

Sony’s strategy is to support consoles with new games for about 10 years, and considering the PS3 isn’t even 5 yet, that 2014 date could  be looking a little optimistic. As anyone who’s ever checked the games launch schedule in a magazine will also know, things have a habit of running late in the world of videogames.

Let’s hope the PS4 gets some original titles rather than just more sequels.

What games and features would you like to see on the PlayStation 4? Let us know on our Facebook page. is updated frequently per day with all latest gaming news and hardware reviews.

Posted on October 31st, 2011 by  |  No Comments »

PS3 news: Resistance 3 Review Lens of Truth

Lens of Truth writes – “In our next inFocus, we put Insomniacs Resistance 3 under our Lens. The Resistance might have failed, but how about this trilogy ending game? Jump inside to see what we thought of one of the PlayStation 3s most anticipated exclusives of the year.” This site is updated frequently per day with the latest Free Slim PS3 news.

Posted on October 31st, 2011 by  |  No Comments »

GTA 5 official, trailer due next week

Grand Theft Auto V is official, with the logo for the latest entry in the open world run-em-over-em-up franchise plastered across developer Rockstar’s homepage.

There’s no word yet on what form the game will take or what platforms it will be available for, but we should know more soon, as the teaser page mentions a trailer coming on 2 November — that’s next Wednesday.

Start making your predictions now. We’d love to see a(nother) GTA game set in London, but that’s because we lack imagination. Our dreams of jumping a half-closed Tower Bridge in a black cab are likely already dashed anyway, as the Roman numeral ‘V’ in the logo sports a dollar-bill aesthetic, suggesting it’ll be set in the US.

The game will be the successor to the wildly popular Grand Theft Auto 4, which spun the yarn of war veteran Niko Bellic, who travels to the United States in pursuit of the American Dream, as well as the chance to drive a fire engine into a speedboat but jump out at the last moment.

The GTA franchise is infamous for the moral panic each crime-drenched iteration provokes. Despite ruffling feathers, the series is hugely popular — the last game sold over 22 million copies, and was awarded 10/10 by our buddies at Gamespot.

By the time that trailer arrives gamers should have worked themselves into a frothing frenzy. We don’t care what form the game takes, as long as it features jetpacks — a feature criminally absent from the last title.

What are you hoping to see in GTA 5? Let us know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall. is updated frequently every day with the latest games consle news and reviews.

Posted on October 31st, 2011 by  |  No Comments »

PS3 news: PS Blog: Skullgirls Dev Diary: Skullgirls Perfected Pugilism

A few weeks ago I gave you a run-down on our new 2D fighter, Skullgirls. Last time I discussed the games story and its characters, and exclusively revealed Ms. Fortune. This week well be talking about the really important part: the gameplay.
As I noted last time, Skullgirls lead designer and programmer is Mike Mike Z Zaimont, a noted tournament fighter and (regretful) creator of the real soviet damage internet meme. While our art team strives to make the game look amazing, gameplay always comes first. Mikes impetus to create Skullgirls was to make a game that was as fun to play as Marvel vs. Capcom 2, but addressed the system and balance problems that kept that game from being competitively viable. is updated several times every day with the very latest Free PS3 news and hardware reviews.

Posted on October 28th, 2011 by  |  No Comments »

PlayStation news: Hands-On Preview: Mass Effect 3 – Multiplayer –

We were lucky enough to get our meaty fists on Mass Effect 3s multiplayer mode. Theres been a lot of talk of whether multiplayer is welcome in Mass Effect, after all its a single player game, right? Of course, at the end of the day, its the players choice to play the multiplayer or not and after playing it ourselves, youll definitely want to give it a go. Slim-PS3 is updated regularly every day with the latest Free Slim PS3 news.

Posted on October 27th, 2011 by  |  No Comments »

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure interview

Latest news:

Alec Sokolow and Joel Cohen, the writers of Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure and Toy Story, talk about bringing toys to life

With Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, Activision has taken a bold and interesting step in video games by marrying its latest IP to a range of toys. When players boot up the game, they need to use a plastic figurine in conjunction with the game’s “Portal Of Power” peripheral, to make a character appear on screen. The technology used to create this effect is impressive, but that’s only half the battle. To keep players of all ages interested, the developer knew it would need a decent plot in place.

To that end, Activision tapped up screenwriters, Alec Sokolow and Joel Cohen. Both profess that an interest in the medium drew them to the project, but it may have been their film credits that caused Activision to give them a call. After all, if you’re making a game in which toys come to life, who better to have write it than the writers of the Pixar classic Toy Story?

How did the pair of you join the project?

Alec Sokolow: We were very fortunate. We got a phone call from our agent – and that’s how a lot of things start in Hollywood – and we were invited in for a meeting in late September last year. We were very curious going in. We had no expectations and we didn’t really know what was going to happen. We met with the guys from Toys For Bob and Activision and you could tell that everyone there was anxiously waiting for… (laughs) something to happen! The first thing we were told was they were developing this game that they felt could be a groundbreaking game in the medium. The analogy they used was very specific. They said: “We feel like we have 75 pages of a brilliant novel but the pages aren’t consecutive and, in some cases, they don’t even feel like they should be in the same book. But if you guys could figure out what the rest of the novel is supposed to look like and make it seamless, we’ll all be very happy!” So that was the beginning.

Joel Cohen: We hit it off with them and everything came about very quickly.

AS: Once we were on board we had this massive battery of meetings and collaborations to get up to speed. There was so much information to have to try and process – some applicable some not – and the job we had was to make it all cohesive.

JC: We also took their analogy literally. We said: “Well, as soon as we get those 75 pages it’ll all make sense!” (laughs)

How much can you tell us about the plot?

AS: Well, in a kind of non-answer answer, I’d say don’t look at the plot of the game as its plot. The plot of Skylanders is a more ambitious and a more multi-dimensional plot where you, the game player, are part of the storytelling. The Skylander figurines, which we as adults call toys, aren’t really toys. They’re actually exiled heroes from Skyland who have been frozen in time in our world and can only be brought back to life to save Skyland by the game player. That’s the overall plot that hopefully enriches the overall experience and gives you some perspective and emotional subtext as you play the game. Once you’re in the game, any of the characters or levels or chapters will seem more familiar to a video game player.

So you’re saying this is a character driven piece?

AS: Absolutely.

JC: Well, that’s what we’d like to believe (laughs). You get tons of action. But our whole thing has always been character – you get them from Toy Story and Money Talks and even the Garfield movies. The developers basically had placeholders for 32 characters. We knew they’d have Spyro and Cinder and couple of other characters who predate the Skylanders game, but there was the opportunity to create 32 new characters here. That’s something we love to do. It’s fun for us. So we created 30 back-stories and biographies and histories for the characters.

AS: Just to add to that without getting to esoteric; if you think about plot, it’s a sequence of events that make up a story. When you think about it from the point of view of a character, plot is a series of challenges that force them to have growth opportunity. We’ve always tried to create plot off the needs of our characters. Now, in the case of Skylanders, it was more challenging and also more fun. We have 32 characters you can play with, but you could also get through the game with just one – everyone’s going to play this game differently. That variety forced us to make the game player into a character in the plot framework – hopefully we did that successfully. We see Skyland as a real place and the Skylanders as real, living characters, just frozen in their figurine form.

JC: You know, the directors of action movies – always in some sassy way – will say something like “action is character”. Our thing is that we’ve always started with character and it’s the emotional needs of the characters that push the story forward. Even in an action film, you’d never take a character that’s a complete blank and put them in a scary fast-paced car chase, because by the end of it you’d still know nothing about them. You’d need to use the chase to show things; are they afraid of speed? What roads are they taking? How did they react? It’s stuff like that that makes people interested and makes them want to know more. So if you were given 30 placeholders and you had to fill out the back-stories for them, does that mean you were in charge of giving them powers and, to some degree, deciding on their abilities within the game?

AC: Well, the technological abilities were already there.

So were you just deciding who they were and what they looked like?

AC: Right, and we tried to make some connection that lined up with what the developers were telling us. For example, there are characters that work well with certain other characters. Our job is to create a fiction that explains that – were they cohorts in this realm?

JC: Stump-Smash is a good example. At the beginning we were told he’s this character made out of wood and logs.

AC: Right, so we look at this guy and say, “why does he want to go around using his big club-like hands to smash things up?”. So, we developed this back story for him where he was once this beautiful tree in a huge, lush forest and – once again, following a plot point we’d been given in Skylanders – some evil troll lumberjacks deforested his home and killed all of his friends and family. He was left alone and stripped of all his foliage – and so, he’s pissed off! He wants revenge! Given the chance, he’s going to crush anything standing between him and success. So, that’s where we came in. We had to try and figure out a way to have some fun and give the player some information about the character’s motivation at the same time.

JC: It’s the “Rose Bud” moment. Now the player knows why Stump-Smash is the person he is.

AC: But again, not knowing any of that won’t stop you from enjoying the action in the game, which I think was already there by the time we showed up.

So how much was already in place by the time you both stepped in?

AC: It’s hard to give a percentage. I will say that Activision had been creating this technology… maybe some of it already existed, but it certainly hadn’t been used in this manner. Bobby Kotick (Head Of Activision) had talked about being fascinated by the potential of this technology for about 25 years. So the gameplay and technology had been floating around, but Activision figured it out. When they were talking about the “75 pages”, what they were talking about was all of the stuff they had in place. They knew the constraints of it, but they also knew all the possibilities. It was essential to have one big thought or idea to tie it all together – that’s not what they were looking to us for, though.

JC: They had disparate characters with different abilities and we had to live with that – and we were happy to live it. We had to figure out what tied them all together as Skylanders, and how they came to be figurines in your room. The functionality of the game was there, but the explanations as to who the protagonists were and why they were here in our world and who was the bad guy – Kaos – in the story.

AC: Yeah, it’s kind of a tongue-in-cheek way of saying the player has to defeat chaos in the game.

In a way, it’s like you’re revisiting Toy Story, by writing another story about how toys come to life. Is that what attracted you both to the project?

JC: You know, it’s funny, when you’re in the moment you’re not thinking that. It’s only afterwards when someone points it out to you – in our case it was six months into the project – when you go, “hey, I think we may have been here before!” The thing is, when we talk about these characters we do get pretty anthropomorphic. We don’t sit there discussing them saying, “well, they’re just a bunch of toys”. To us they’re real. We’re adult in our conversations but we go back to what we thought was cool when we were kids.

You also have a lot of experience writing material that boasts cross-generational appeal. Do you think that might have influenced Activision’s decision to approach you for Skylanders?

JC: Well, the short answer is yes, but you know, Toy Story was a very serendipitous thing. The measure of that is that they were willing to hire relatively inexperienced writers because Disney didn’t really know what to make of this little outfit called Pixar that was based in San Francisco. They were using new technology for the first time, which, of course, turned out to be a game changer for the entire industry. Once again, we’ve found ourselves in the same position – potentially – here. Marrying toys and games is a first and hopefully that will turn out to be as much of a happy accident as was the case with Toy Story. The thing with Toy Story, is that in the four years it took them to make the movie, all the talk was about the technology. But when the movie came out all the talk became about the storytelling – and that’s our bias anyway. We’re kind of curious to see how it pans out with Skylanders in that regard.

AC: What is fundamentally different is, I think every parent or adult – regardless of whether they saw Toy Story with a child or they saw it on their own – has a romantic and sentimental connection with the toys they grew up with. That’s built into the film. In Skylanders, that may be different. In a way, what we hope to earn – rather than take as a given – is parents and adults being drawn to the game just because it’s fun.

The two of you write for film and television where the audience is a passive member of proceedings. In video games, the audience is an active participant. Was it a struggle to adjust to this change?

AC: The way I’d put it – without wanting to sound too high-falutin’ about it – is that movies are statements; characters have to change and the narrative has to have closure. TV shows are conversations; the characters don’t change all that much from episode to episode, stories begin and end in an episode and maybe narrative arches carry through episodes. Video games are all about asking questions. As a writer you have to ask questions of your player and create a space where they want to ask questions and also explore more. It’s an entirely different set of parameters to get to the same place where you’re loving the experience. It can be frustrating if you are in the mind set where you’re writing a story, but it can be very liberating if you look at what you’re doing as a collaboration with the player. It’s like having another co-writer on the project!


Nick Cowen © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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Posted on October 26th, 2011 by  |  No Comments »

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – review

PlayStation 3; £39.99; Naughty Dog/Sony; 16+

Games exclusive to a single console have apparently been subjected to 1940s-style rationing these days, but rumours of their death have clearly been exaggerated. In recent years, the burden of providing a reason to buy a PlayStation 3 rather than Xbox 360 or Wii has been shouldered by Naughty Dog’s action-adventure franchise Uncharted, so the third iteration, subtitled Drake’s Deception, is the company’s great white hope for this Christmas. So it’s a good job that, like a polar opposite of the England football team, it seems able to feed off the pressure and achieve new heights.

As ever, Uncharted superficially adheres to the blueprint established by the Tomb Raider games, in that the game’s protagonist, Nathan Drake, divides his time between acrobatic leaping, climbing and swinging around, shooting and solving puzzles. That’s where the resemblance ends though. Uncharted 3 has a cinematic grandeur that would make Lara Croft choke with envy.

Talk of adhering to blueprints, commendably, is slightly misleading in Uncharted 3’s case. From the beginning, it makes clear its intention to avoid the predictable and obvious, mixing up its gameplay and exotic locations cleverly. It begins with Drake and his mentor Sully, unarmed, taking part in a great brawl in a London pub. Which illustrates two things: first, the game’s hand-to-hand combat engine has been massively improved (although it takes a back seat once weapons enter the equation). And second, that the franchise has raised its game in terms of virtual acting to a level only previously occupied by LA Noire. Those tiny incongruities that remind gamers they aren’t actually controlling a Hollywood movie have been ruthlessly eradicated, and the dialogue is vibrant rather than clunky.

The game’s narrative flow, as tortuous as we have come to expect, also provides an extra level of immersion. It soon busies itself by filling in a crucial chunk of back-story, as you flash back to control a teenage Drake in Cartagena, Colombia – where he first encounters Sully. The game then returns to the present day, apparently competing with itself to take you to ever more exotic locations as Drake’s treasure hunt takes shape.

You wouldn’t say that Uncharted 3’s gameplay is fantastically innovative. It’s very much a traditional game, and takes care to be forgiving for those who wouldn’t describe themselves as hardcore gamers. It does, nevertheless, feel fresh and ground-breaking. It flows magnificently, and is much more tightly plotted than the average movie, despite lurching across the globe. Drake and Sully’s banter compares favourably with that of the best-buddy movies, and is leavened by the occasional reappearance of various allies from previous Uncharted games. The (British, and nicely observed) baddies dog you every step of the way, so bouts of adventuring are usually followed (or even preceded) by shoot-outs. Drake even gets to show off his horsemanship skills at one point. As ever, the shooting places great emphasis on plundering guns and ammo from dead enemies, and different classes of enemy (including heavily armoured tank characters), keep that side of the game interesting. Uncharted 3 is gratifyingly keen to make its shoot-outs more challenging and hectic than its predecessors.

Graphics-wise, Uncharted 3 is beyond impeccable – it is one of the finest looking games ever. The trademark rich, colourful and vibrant environments are present and correct, and the cities are better populated, and therefore much more convincing, than before. And there are a couple of unexpected aspects to the game. At times – thanks to a baddie with a habit of firing darts filled with mind-bending drugs – proceedings become positively psychedelic. And Drake and his cronies have become much more humorous than before, never knowingly sparing the wisecracks.

Decades ago, all the talk in the world of games centred on beating Hollywood at its own game – but what we got, instead, demonstrated how difficult that was. But Uncharted 3, perhaps for the first time, represents what we all hoped games would eventually evolve into. Its production values are sky-high, and it puts you at the centre of a gloriously rich and irresistible world, controlling a character who is heroic, but also convincingly human. It’s also mildly didactic, and feels less dumbed-down than any mainstream movie we’ve come across in years. For once, you’re able to forget that it’s a mere collection of ones and noughts: the sheer slickness and believability of Uncharted 3’s production and characters ought to induce widespread self-flagellation in Hollywood.

Rating: 5/5





Steve Boxer © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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Posted on October 25th, 2011 by  |  No Comments »

PlayStation news: PlayStation PS3 Move.Me Game Designed to Help Kids Cope with Cancer

Over the summer I had the privilege of working with a group of doctors, graduate students, and other professionals on a very special video game code named the “P.E. Game” or patient empowerment game.

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Slim-PS3 is updated several times per day with the very latest Free PlayStation news and reviews.

Posted on October 23rd, 2011 by  |  No Comments »

PlayStation news: Top Tips – Batman: Arkham City

Bring rough justice to the streets of Arkham City– equip these handy tips from Rocksteady Studios into your PlayStation 3 utility belt.

Want to fight like the Dark Knight in Batman: Arkham City? You don’t need to be like Bruce Wayne and travel around the world learning every form of combat that’s ever existed – simply follow these Challenge mode pointers from Sarah Wellock, community manager at Rocksteady Studios.

From the Asylum to the City

The combat in Batman: Arkham City is the same used in Batman: Arkham Asylum. The key is to always make some form of contact with someone, whether you’re evading, stunning or striking. This gets you into the rhythm of the game and you’ll get a better score through the combos you’ll create.

The Cat versus the Bat

Batman is useful to start with if you want to get a high score. You only play as Catwoman for around 10 per cent of Batman: Arkham City’s main story mode, so you’ll be more familiar with Batman’s moves and style when you first play.

Batman is a powerful juggernaut, so you’ll take down thugs efficiently, however, he’s also a bit slower than Catwoman. So counter-attack often to defeat some of the quicker enemies.

Playing the Challenge mode maps with Catwoman requires a bit more time to learn how her moves work effectively in that environment. And, while she has twice the speed of Batman, she does half the damage. So take advantage of her unique skills, such as her whip and caltrops. Keep jumping around to get a bit more breathing space and make use of the whip stun attack if you find yourself backed into a corner.

The art of fighting, without fighting

As the difficulty begins to increase, evading and counter attacking are essential, so make sure you master these techniques during the easier levels of the challenge. Batman: Arkham City is designed to make you look cool no matter who you play as, so if you’re new to the series you’ll still feel like a superhero while you’re learning the ropes.

Think like the Bat

Don’t be afraid to use gadgets in your attacks as Batman. In Arkham Asylum, if you used your gadgets in combat you would lose your combo. In Arkham City you can use gadgets to keep your combos going, so things like the Batclaw and batarangs are useful to help rack up a great score.

Batman’s explosive gel is also very useful once you’re comfortable with it. The gadget can either be sprayed on the ground or an enemy, and then detonated whenever you like, so make best use of it when you want to build a combo or if you’re on the wrong end of a beating and need some space.

Not all criminals are superstitious and cowardly

When you get to the higher difficulty levels and there are lots of tricky baddies to take on, it’s sometimes best to start off by concentrating on countering to reduce their numbers. There will be a lot of guys coming at you at once, so it’s easy to lose track of an incoming attack which can put you on the back foot.

Whittle down their numbers with sneaky counter-attacks and takedowns, and when things become more manageable you can begin a brutal assault without fear of being blindsided.

A knuckle sandwich for table nine

Don’t forget to make use of your Beatdown attack, which unleashes a flurry of punches and kicks on your hapless opponent and increases your combo count. There are some dangerous armoured enemies who need to be taken care of quickly and a Beatdown is the most efficient method to do this.

Panic is the enemy

Don’t panic. Batman: Arkham City’s combat is all about rhythm and flow, and while there are a lot of thugs attacking you at once there’s always a way to counter them while fending off other approaching baddies.

Panicking will often result in missing out vital moves such as the double and triple takedowns, which also means you miss out on a massive combo bonus. So just like Batman, you have to stay calm no matter what.

Ready to show the criminals of Gotham the error of their ways? Buy Batman: Arkham City on PlayStation 3 now.

This blog is updated regularly per day with the very latest Free Sony Slim PS3 news and reviews.

Posted on October 21st, 2011 by  |  No Comments »

Slim PS3 news: Weekend Essentials 97

Latest news:

Plunge into the madness of Arkham City, head out on an intergalactic adventure and get your party started on PlayStation this weekend.

Can you escape the Creature Collector with Ratchet and Clank?

A crime-solving Lombax, a loyal robot, an evil doctor and a cowardly space captain join forces this weekend in Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One on PlayStation 3. Team up with this unlikely foursome and journey through a hilarious adventure packed with puzzles, battles and explosive action. Get your hands, paws or mechanical fingers on a copy today.

The Dark Knight has returned

That’s right, the hugely anticipated Batman: Arkham City has arrived on PS3. Playing host to criminal masterminds, thugs and dangerous gangsters, Arkham City is a vast district set within the heart of Gotham City. It awaits you with a brand new storyline featuring classic characters and villains from the Batman universe. Swoop in and pick up your copy today.

Are you ready to join the DanceStar Party?

The weekend is upon us, so what better reason to grab a PlayStation Move motion controller and bust some funky moves with your friends? Turn up the volume for DanceStar Party on PS3 – the perfect way to learn the hottest dance routines of stars like Rihanna, Jessie J and Basement Jaxx and get everyone round for a boogie.

Go walkies with The Sims

Enjoy all the fun of owning a cat or dog with none of the mess in The Sims 3 Pets on PS3. Breed your own animals and teach them skills to turn them into a Sim’s best friend or a naughty companion.

Investigate the mystery of a lifetime with Tintin

Hunt for precious scrolls that may lead Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock to one of the greatest sunken treasures in The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn on PlayStation 3. It’s available in stunning stereoscopic 3D, so grab your 3D glasses and get ready for an action-packed journey around the world.

Open up a can of worms

Head to the tee in Worms Crazy Golf – it’s loaded with bizarre puzzles, hilarious challenges and exploding hazards to keep you entertained all weekend. Download it to your PS3 from PlayStation Store.

GT5 driving downloads

Gran Turismo 5 fans, start your engines – there is now tons more great content for you to download for GT5 including picturesque courses, amazing cars and great driving gear. Make a pit stop at PlayStation Store this weekend to check it out.

Battle with penguins as Hardboiled Chicken

Hardboiled Chicken was flying high until the penguin dictator, Putzki, came along. Battle to overthrow Putzki, uncover the truth about the mysterious penguin party and reveal secrets about Hardboiled Chicken’s own past on PS3. Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is nesting in PlayStation Store – go download it now.

Explore the colourful land of Okabu

Help a tiny tribe save their home this weekend in Okabu. Take on the role of two enchanting cloud-whales and help to bring their once luscious land back to life. Download Okabu from PlayStation Store to your PS3 now – the Yorubu tribe need you.

Get a taste of the race

Whet your appetite for the release of Need For Speed The Run on PlayStation 3 with the free demo – race to PlayStation Store and download it over the weekend.

Discover Your Legacy on Facebook

Ever wanted to step into the Animus? See how you’re linked to the Brotherhood of Assassins with the Assassin’s Creed Revelations Discover Your Legacy app on Facebook. Watch as your legacy unfolds and discover how ancient conspiracies unravel around you.

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Posted on October 21st, 2011 by  |  No Comments »