Assassin’s Creed 2

This is episode 2 of 60 Second Gamer, a review of Assassin’s Creed 2. If that’s what you are looking for then you’re in the right place!

The video is below and links for the podcast are at the end of the post. You can also read the podcast transcript beneath the video, or download it here.


Podcast transcript

Simon: Welcome to 60 Second Gamer podcast number two. We are talking about Assassin’s Creed 2. With me playing the game live as we podcast are Rich Hatton.

Rich: Hello.

Simon: He’s playing the game.

Rich: He… HELLO.

Simon: Yes, he’s playing the game. Mr Ant Tremaine.

Ant: Good eve!

Simon: And myself, who is sitting closer to the mic and is in control of the record button. Right this is your review Mr Hatton.

Rich: Yep.

Simon: So please talk us through some of the bits of the game that you didn’t get to talk about in your video copy of the review.

Rich: Yeah well at the moment I’m just running through Venice, admiring the very pretty graphics and the water and such, and I’m about to loot a treasure chest, scattered randomly about the place. You can buy the locations from art dealers in Venice, and other such towns that we visit. To give the location of the treasure. Obviously. You’ve also got, just here… I’ve fell over. The…

Ant: Farmer?

Rich: Blacksmith. To repair your equipment, armour and stuff. Which is also very nice. You’ve already got…

Simon: Yes, I’ve already got quite a bit of the armour. He’s playing my copy of the game, so…

Rich: Yes, I’m just buying… refilling my weapons such as smoke bombs and throwing knives.

Ant: Stocking up.

Rich: Yes, stocking up, as it were.

Simon: Do you want to give a brief overview of the story?

Rich: Well, you basically start as a brand new assassin from the new game.

Simon: Italy.

Rich: Yeah.

Simon: Renaissance Italy.

Rich: Renaissance Italy. His name is Ezio Auditore de Firenze, as I mentioned in the review.

Ant: That’s a gobful and a half.

Rich: It is. Which I assume is something akin to Ezio Auditore “of Firenze”.

Simon: About right.

Rich: But I don’t speak Italian. And your family was… you come from a line of assassins. Your dad was an assassin, and he was betrayed by a big fat man.

Simon: He looks a bit like Dom DeLuis.

Rich: Yeah! And they were promptly murdered. Well, promptly… they were unfortunately murdered even though he had evidence suggesting his innocence.

Simon: Yeah, which was handed to Dom DeLuis.

Rich: Yes.

Simon: Who subsequently…

Rich: Via your good self

Rich: Yeah. And they were murdered and you take up the mantle of the assassin. And you are subsequently on a revenge quest I suppose, it is essentially. It’s not like Assassin’s Creed 1 whereby you’re assassinating historic figures to the betterment of the war or the crusade or whatever it was set in.

Ant: It was the crusades.

Rich: Yeah. The crusades. But yeah, this one’s more, I wanna say a selfish act of retribution but it…

Ant; I’d say it was a just cause.

Rich: Yeah. You could say that. But yeah. But then obviously you’re travelling all around Italy and such sorts. I’ll end up going back to the villa in a minute.

Simon: Yeah, which is where there’s like… rebuilding the city and making it wealthy.

Rich: We’re also on the hunt for a glyph. Which I can see one over there. Now these glyphs are scattered around various towns. Well I say towns, they’re cities aren’t they?

Simon: Yep.

Ant: Yeah.

Simon: And you find them by entering Eagle Vision.

Rich: Yeah.

Simon: Which wasn’t a main feature in the first game, was it?

Rich: No, you could use it but it was more to do with…

Ant: Who’s good, who’s bad, who’s your target…

Rich: Well you use that there in this one, but obviously it becomes important for some missions, especially the side missions such as the beat up missions or assassinations. Some of the assassination targets are just walking around and you have to go into Eagle Vision to show up as it being… they come up as gold. But yeah, we’ve just gone into one of these glyphs and…

Simon: Find the Eagle!

Ant: I’ve never seen this one before.

Rich: Do the puzzle… But they vary in what you do. In this one we’ve had to locate the lunar module that’s landing on the moon.

Simon: Zoomed in again.

Rich: Yes.

Simon: Pulsing….

Ant: Ooooh.

Rich: Ah yes.

Simon: With these formidable weapons the adversaries of freedom plan to consolidate their territory to exploit, to control and finally to destroy. JFK.

Rich: Now we’ve got a puzzle that we need to solve.

Simon: Some of these are irritatingly difficult.

Rich: Yeah.

Ant: Yeah.

Simon: Most of them are quite…

Rich: I remember this one. I’ll admit it’s…

Ant: I haven’t seen this one.

Rich: …extremely taxing. Basically it involves lining up certain portions of what can only be described as a pie chart I suppose.

Ant: Oh it is actually, yeah.

Rich: Yeah, I like the ability to hire various people…

Ant: Courtesans…

Rich: Yeah, to do your bidding. Courtesans.

Simon: Thieves and…

Rich: Mercenaries.

Simon: Who happen to just be lying around the city in full view of the guards. Who don’ t tend to do anything about them. With swords going “argh! Mercenaries!”

Ant: And that’s when they go “Arrr! You we know!”

Rich: And the one thing that does still strike me as being slightly annoying is if you bump into someone who is carrying a box and the guards get a bit angry about that and they will hunt you down and kill you.

Simon: And if you do anything that’s socially unacceptable, so I suppose within the realms of the game it makes sense.

Rich: It does make sense. I suppose.

Simon: But it’s still irritating isn’t it?

Rich: Yeah.

Ant: What on earth are you supposed to do here?

Rich: I thought I had then.

Ant: You nearly have actually.

Simon: That’s it isn’t it?

Rich: No. I need to get this one… this thing needs to go there.

Ant: Ohhhh.

Rich: And now the inner one’s moved. I can do that.

Ant: Oh there you go look.

Simon: Uh-huh.

Ant: Yeah. Have you…?

Simon: What?

Rich: What?

Ant: What?

Simon: Ohh nooo!

Rich: That’s right.

Ant: Yeah. Oh no, hang on.

Simon: You’ve got to line up the dots.

Ant: Use the inner, the white one as your reference look, see. Just shift everything round one.

Rich: Ahhhh. Round one?

Ant: Well, round a lot.

Rich: Round to the left.

Simon: You got it right, you just didn’t get it right with the right one. If that makes sense in podcast land.

Rich: Oh and now it’s not going to work.

Ant: Oh there you are. There’s the ticket!

Rich: So I’ve unlocked, just finished a puzzle now, for part 2 of the glyph thing.

Simon: And now the Apollo lander is landing.

Ant: Landing.

Rich: Landing on the moon.

Simon: In a badly animated moon.

Ant: Oh hello, who’s this?

Rich: It’s Neil Armstrong.

Simon: Photograph released to the public, so does that mean there’s going to be a sphere type thing in this picture somewhere?

Rich: Yeah, the American flag has been replaced with the assassin’s symbol.

Simon: As you can here the… there’s a beep in the background. As you get closer to it.

Ant: There she is.

Rich: And then once you finally finish the puzzles for the glyphs, you unlock a segment of video which at the moment doesn’t make that much sense because it’s about 1 second long.

Ant: Not even that, they’re like half second clips really, aren’t they?

Rich: Yeah. I must say that the graphics have been improved somewhat as well. You notice when you first start up the game, well when I did, it was like this is what the character models used to look like. Then you get broken out by the woman from the first game and she looks a lot better. And it’s as if to say “look what we spent our budget on”. Oh, and the ability to swim as well.

Simon: She has a funnily shaped face though.

Rich: Yes, Kris… we’re on about Kristen, Kirsten Bell? Whatever her name is. She was in Heroes.

Simon: Yes, water is not the death knell it once was.

Rich: No, we can go for a swim.

Ant: You no longer swim like a rock.

Rich: And you can also row a boat. Which I find…

Ant: Always a perk.

Rich: Well, it’s not a boat it’s a gondola. Because we’re in Venice.

Simon: You have to waggle your stick.

Rich: I do like the ability to go rowing, and go swimming.

Simon: Let’s go row a boat. I wonder if you do drive-by assassinations in a gondola?

Rich: You don’t, unfortunately.

Ant: Typical gangster style.

Rich: I got through to the end on my one. And the ability to also…

Simon: Quick travel.

Rich: Quick travel now, yeah. It costs a little bit of money but its’…

Simon: It’s small pence, especially as you get into the game I think.

Rich: Yeah. We’re going back to the villa now so once it’s loaded we’ll talk a little about that.

Ant: I found you could quick travel in the first one though. If you did everything in the kingdom, as it was called, you could fast travel then to wherever you needed to go. I think.

Simon: Well this one it sort of lets you do it at an earlier stage.

Ant: Ohh yeah. I see what you mean now.

Simon: Pretty much as soon as you get there you can quick travel.

Rich: So yeah, now we’ve gone to Monteriggioni.

Simon: And you develop, basically, your home town? Where your family’s from.

Rich: Uncle Mario!

Ant: Mario!

Simon: You can do the town up. You can buy weapons. All the unlockables go towards improving the value of Monteriggioni. And you’ve got your own mansion where your sister looks after the books. And there’s an architect as well where, as soon as you earn money you can use it to upgrade certain areas of the town until you’ve done all of it. Like the shops, there’s a well, this that and the other. You can also collect money that’s earned for you during your time playing. It generates money every twenty minutes?

Rich: Every twenty minutes, yeah.

Simon: There’s also the codex pages, which…

Rich: Which you collect and then put on a wall.

Simon: Yeah, put Eagle Vision on to create a puzzle.

Rich: Another puzzle. And you are then introduced by your uncle to the tombs of the assassins, and there’s six all in all within the game.

Simon: I’ve got four of them at the moment. If you get all six – they’re all downstairs in like a tomb underneath the house, or the mansion I should say. And if you get all six you unlock Altair’s armour from the first game.

Rich: Yes. And it doesn’t degrade, which is also very useful. If you get killed when you get Altair’s armour, it’s going to take a beating for that to happen. So yeah, it’s much improved this game, I must say. Is there anything else…?

Simon: There’s feathers upstairs, and all the paintings. You buy paintings and collect weapons and… is there any other stuff that you unlock?

Ant: There’s Mr DaVinci.

Rich: Oh yeah.

Simon: Yeah, Leonardo DaVinci as well.

Rich: You get to fly his flying machine contraption.

Simon: I haven’t got that far yet.

Rich: No. It’s quite fun. It takes a bit of getting used to because it doesn’t handle like a proper plane! It’s a good level, and there’s an achievement for kicking a guard on the roof if you’ve got that good aim. Oh, you haven’t bought a sword, Prah.

Simon: Yeah.

Rich: I’ll buy that for you.

Simon: Go on then.

Rich: The Milanese sword.

Simon: I didn’t have the money for it at the time.

Ant: It doth look pretty. Warhammer!

Simon: I think I’ve got pretty much everything else. It’s fun killing enemies with the mallet type hammer thing.

Rich: The clubs.

Ant: They are disgusting, the way they go.

Rich: I’ve managed to unlock a warhammer on my game yesterday.

Ant: It’s pleasantly foul the way they go.

Simon: Well some of the… for the most part the game looks nice, but some of the animation lets it down now and again. And the combat system will inevitably be compared with Batman: Arkham Asylum, which is fantastic, and it sort of pales in comparison to that one.

Ant: It’s a small price to pay.

Simon: Yeah, it’s a nice game. I enjoy playing it.

Rich: Yeah, it’s big as well. There’s so much to see and do you’ll be there for a long time.

Simon: If you’re a 100% completist it will take you a while.

Ant: Unlike the first one, which probably wouldn’t of.

Simon: You’re not going to get bored to tears by this one, it’s actually got.

Ant: You didn’t really have the incentive to do it because when I first played the first one I was “Oh, I’ll try and do everything in each city before I do the assassinations”. And it got to the point where in the last two assassinations, or last three, I just went “I can’t be bothered” and just went straight for the assassinations.

Rich: And what’s also quite good as well is the fact you earn notoriety. If you do unsociable things like kill guards or whatnot a little bar builds up in the top left corner of the screen and.

Simon: And the higher that gets the more the guards go for you.

Rich: Yeah. I’m going to break in here and steal some treasure. I’ve just smoke bombed the…

Simon: Guards. You’ve just killed two of them straight away and number three, number four… Dead.

Ant: Oh there’s a glyph here.

Rich: Yep, another glyph. I’ll leave that one for Si to do.

Simon: Thank you.

Ant: “I’ll leave some of the game left for you!”

Simon: I am quite enjoying playing this. I haven’t played it at all this week. I’ve been busy playing Pixeljunk Shooter for the related review for that. But more on that at a later date.

Rich: If you look at the character models here…

Ant: Oh my God!

Rich: Even like incidental characters like this woman, who looks like she’s come from Ethiopia is extremely well detailed.

Simon: Apparently you do see a lot of duplicated character models but I haven’t really paid that much attention to be honest. You have to be looking for it.

Ant: I haven’t seen any. It’s not as obvious as the first one.

Simon: What’s that guy looking at? Is he…?

Rich: I think he’s admiring his wares on the table.

Ant: What is he selling?

Rich: Red, green and yellow.

Ant: Look at all the sacks as well.

Simon: He’s also having a good sniff as well.

Ant: With his very large conk.

Rich: He’s slightly zombie eyed as well.

Ant: Perhaps he is a zombie?

Simon: No.

Ant: Is that a feather? Oh they’re leaves.

Simon: Now you have to collect feathers like in the first game as well,

Ant: Flags in the first game. But unlike the first game, these actually have a purpose. Flags in the first game even the developers turned round and said they had no particular use, they were just there.

Simon: There’s one bit about this game that I like and find annoying at the same time, and it’s the minstrels.

Rich: Yes.

Simon: They come and sing at you, and you pull a knife on them or something and they sort of run off scared, like a little girl.

Rich: They’re not as annoying as the beggar women.

Ant: You beat me to it – from the first one. It’s almost like a lot of this game is going “Here’s what the first one should have been, but we chose not to for some reason.”

Simon: By all accounts Assassin’s Creed 3, because we can pretty much assume there is going to be one…

Rich: When you complete the game it is a set up for the almost inev… well, I say almost inevitable sequel – there will be a third one.

Ant: It’ll probably be a third and final part like God of War.

Rich: Maybe, I don’t know. It depends where they take it.

Simon: There’s spin-off route, so if they decide not to do direct sequels they can always do spin-offs.

Rich: Yeah.

Simon: Like they’ve done with the PSP games. Bloodlines, is it?

Ant: Yes, it is. Yes. That sort of bridges the gaps between this game and the first one. Sort of like the “Here’s what Altair got up to when we weren’t looking at him last”. I can’t remember which country that’s based in. I know it’s a country…

Rich: Bloodlines… don’t know.

Ant: it wasn’t in… where’s the first one again?

Rich: It’s in the Holy Kingdom.

Ant: That was it. It isn’t there. It’s somewhere else.

Simon: I think Ezio has a lot of personality to him as well.

Rich: Yeah.

Ant: Yeah the characters feel more like, story-wise, they’re actually developed. They feel like characters rather than plot devices. Especially Desmond, because in the first one he didn’t really… I couldn’t connect with him. But this one you feel like he’s more of a character.

Rich: I think it also helps that you spend a lot of the time, overall 98% of the game you play as Ezio as opposed to “do a mission, and then go back out of the Animus”.

Ant: You trod on his green eye.

Simon: I find it quite interesting as well that Desmond has got more of a sense of humour to him. Perhaps the influence of Nathan Drake a little.

Ant: Yes. And he does in fact have an Italian accent. In fact everyone in this film, er, film?

Simon: That’s what it feels like.

Ant: Yeah. In this game has the correct accent and actually speaks a bit of Italian, whereas in the first game for some reason Altair was American. Go figure. I don’t know. But they’ve actually gone for historically correct.

Simon: The thing is, when I first heard about Assassin’s Creed I didn’t realise there was a futuristic element to it, I thought it was all set in the Holy Land.

Ant: Funnily enough I thought the same until I had played it as well.

Simon: At first, until I played it, and then I was “Oh, right, okay!”

Ant: Comes as a bit of a shock doesn’t it?

Simon: Yeah.

Ant: Oh, I never saw that coming!

Simon: Oh, okay, that explains a few things.

Ant: All in all it just fits in rather nicely together.

Rich: Also what I quite like as well are the story missions. They don’t involve going and sitting on a bench…

Simon: …and listening to people.

Rich: Or go and pickpocket someone. They actually have a purpose and they build up to the assassination of your target.

Ant: Oh, no. Lucky.

Simon: Water!

Ant: And if there’s more than one memory waiting to be awoken, shall we say, you don’t have to do them in any particular order. And he’s just started a fight on someone!

Simon: It’s got a good system. Dead!

Ant: Dead!

Simon: The graphics aren’t 100%, but it’s certainly competitive.

Ant: Yeah, it’s better than the first one. A lot better than the first one.

Simon: That’s not too difficult is it?

Ant: No.

Rich: Oh, you’ve got torture knife!

Ant: Meat cleaver! Oh dear, that’s someone chin you’ve sliced in twain.

Simon: Bennett-style knifing.

Rich: Yep. Yeah, it’s certainly worth the nine out of ten.

Ant: Mmm. Definitely.

Rich: I look forward with bated breath to the third one.

Ant: Yes.

Simon: Well there’s plenty to keep us occupied in the meantime.

Rich: There is, yeah.

Ant: Indeed there is, yes.

Simon: Okay, well thank you for listening if you have been. This has been a very brief podcast on Assassin’s Creed 2, and we’ll see you next time.

Ant: See yer later!

WWE Smackdown VS Raw 2010

Episode 1 of 60 Second Gamer, where we review WWE Smackdown VS Raw 2010. The video is available below and through our YouTube Channel. The podcast link is at the end of the post, along with subscription links for iTunes and the RSS feed. You can also find us on your podcatcher of choice. We’re quite fond of Pocket Casts.

Feedback and comments are welcome either below this post or sent direct to info@randomstoat.com.

The transcript for the podcast is below, or you can download it here.


Podcast Transcript

Rich and Ant are playing WWE Smackdown VS Raw 2010.

Rich: Glitched onto the table.

Ant: You’ve broken… somehow. Ohhh. Right, time to get something else from the… what am I…? No! No I wanna get something out of the… where are you going?! Oh for… Oh I’ve gone. Ohhhh. I think you’ve just broke something. Ohh! My God! Chair? I double that with sledge ham… oh, maybe not. Ahhh!

Rich: Oh, I’ve bloodied you.

Ant: Ohhh! Oh my God. What are you… oh. I think the ref’s like “Alright, I haven’t seen you two in a while.”

Simon: Right stick down to pin.

Ant: No! No! How do I… Ohhh **Ant loses* That was… what? What on earth happened then?

Rich: I pinned you.

Ant: I know that, but…

Rich: After bloodying you with the…

Ant: I’m on about the game. What just happened?

Rich: I think I may have finally got my head around what’s going on.

Simon: Mmm.

Ant: I just bashed buttons and hoped for the best, and that obviously didn’t work.

Simon: Okay, hello. Welcome to the 60 Second Gamer Podcast, and by 60 Second I mean “six zero” not as in “after 61” which I can see being a bit of an issue later on. This is the podcast number one for Smackdown VS Raw 2010. With me in the studio are Mr Rich Hatton

Rich: Hello.

Simon: Bit louder.

Rich: Hello!

Simon: Yeah, normal, that’ll do. Mr Tez Lowe.

Tez: Hello!

Simon: And Mr Ant Tremaine.

Ant: Good evening!

Simon: And we’re going to talk very briefly about Smackdown VS Raw 2010. I don’t think you’ve played this have you Tez? So I don’t blame you if you just sit here in silence.

Tez: Yeah.

Simon: That’s completely fine. You can have a quick go of it while we’re talking if you like? Have you got the pad? Ant is handing him the pad. So we’re very briefly going to talk about some of the stuff that wasn’t included in the review of the main game. Basically this is the latest in a long line of Smackdown games. They’ve done pretty much one a year since about the year 2000, when THQ took over the licence from Acti… is it Activision? No, Acclaim. Acclaim.

And the THQ games were good because you didn’t have to put in a complex number of combinations for doing certain moves. And it simplified the control system to the point where anyone could pick it up and play it. Now, it’s gone the other way recently. Given that they’ve been doing this for about ten years now, each game they refine the formula ever so slightly. They add bits to it and we’ve reached the stage now where the actual user manual, I’ll just have a quick flick through it now has… one, two, three, four… four pages of controls, plus you’ve got the superstar abilities where they go into further detail.

The kick-out meter, which obviously when someone pins you you either press a button rapidly or have to sort of fill up a meter. And the extra superstar abilities, so on and so forth. I mean, it’s reached the stage now where Mr Hatton here, he first played the game for the first time in a long time last week, I believe it was, and it just didn’t work for you, did it?

Rich: No. Very, very confusing. I played Smackdown 2 on the Playstation 1 and that had one button to hit, one button to run, which is still there, and one button to throw them, and that was it.

Simon: And that’s all you needed. Back in the day.

Rich: Yeah. And this has got counter-grapples and all sorts. It’s just very confusing.

Simon: In the other respect though it is very similar to real wrestling, so it does sort of, has reached the stage of where it’s less arcade, more…

Rich: Simulation.

Simon: More simulation of the real thing. But I can see it being an issue for some people who are new to the game. Especially Ant as well. If you listen to the intro, Ant had one hell of a time trying to play the game and… what do you think?

Ant: Oh my God. It’s a case of the only good thing I managed to get the hang of was if I…

Rich: Running away!

Ant: Run away, or bash him in the face with my fist, or do some strange breakdancing and somehow dismantle a table in the process. Yeah. It made no sense… mind you, I’ve not really played many wrestling games before, and usually when I did I just used to button bash.

Simon: Yeah.

Ant: I just be one of them horrible Tekken ones.

Simon: That’s all the wrestling games used to be, button bash. Because like I say you used to have to put in a combo so “up down, up, circle” that sort of thing. And I mean the control system in this game isn’t exactly brilliant, but it does make more sense than the old Acclaim system, because I never did any moves in the old Acclaim games. I actually did more wrestling moves on the SNES games, wrestling games than I did on the PS1 ones. But there we go. Moving on, amongst the many different features there are 70 different match types, including there’s like triple threat, one on one, various versions of that if someone can pass me the control pad I can have a look at that.

Ant: Yes, here you are sir.

Simon: There’s several different… loads of different match types. I mean, one on one. There’s inferno match where you’ve got to set your opponent on fire. First blood, where you’ve got to make him bleed. Falls count anywhere…

Ant: Set them on fire?!

Simon: Yeah.

Ant: Set them on fire?!?

Simon: Yeah.

Ant: How’d you do that? Just wait for them to spontaneously combust?

Simon: You have to reach the point, in the game obviously it’s scripted in real life – sorry if there’re any kids listening that don’t know that yet.

Rich: It’s a fake! It’s a sham! It’s not real!

Ant: It’s almost as fake as X-Factor!

Simon: But not quite!

Ant: No!

Simon: Almost as fake, but not quite. But yeah, I’ll show you the inferno match in a bit, but the falls count anywhere, Hell in a Cell, which you’d have seen in the video review. Iron Man match, where you have to get the most number of pinfalls within a set time limit. In the real world it’s usually a 60 minute match, but can you really see yourself sitting and playing an Iron Man match for an hour in the game? So rather sensibly they’ve set ten minute, twenty minute or thirty minute Iron Man matches. Which… thirty minutes is even too much I think for me. Ten will probably do it.

Ladder match, where you’ve got to obviously climb up and retrieve a belt from above the ring using a ladder; Last Man Standing where it’s the last person to be standing, pretty much. Pummel your opponent until he can’t stand up. Normal submission which is basically no pinfalls. Steel cage which is what Hell in a Cell used to be like but steel cage is just a cage they put around, literally around the edges of the ring, whereas Hell in a Cell you’ve got some floor space around the outside and you can actually climb on top of it as well. And put people through it as well. Which you will have seen in the review as well, and throw people off it of course.

Table match where the, it’s obviously the clue is in the name, you’ve got to put someone through a table. Simple as. And TLC, which is Tables, Ladders and Chairs. Now again, it’s a Ronseal match. You can use tables, ladders and chairs and, invariably, other weapons as well. And basically it’s the first team or person to be pinned loses. New backstage areas, all of which are locked at the moment because I haven’t played it properly, apart from the Backstage arena brawl which is the only one that you know, obviously, they’ve got to give you one to start with. And the Extreme Rules match which Ant and Hatton played in the intro.

Ant: Is that what we were doing?

Rich: Yeah.

Simon: Extreme Rules Match.

Ant: Right.

Simon: Weapons aplenty. And of course on top of all this you’ve got the 2 on 2 matches, all the tag team style matches, you’ve got the triple threat where agin they throw in the extreme rules, Hell in a Cell, etc etc, same with the six man. Six man you’ve got Armageddon Hell in a Cell, which is six men in the cell together.

Rich: You know if you weren’t talking about  wrestling, it just sounds some sort of gay porno.

Simon: It sounds disgusting, yeah. The Elimination Chamber which, again, sounds very similar. Basically, Elimination Chamber is Hell in a Cell again, with a slightly differently designed cell, but two men start in the ring and you’ve got four people in little compartments on the outside. And every two minute or whatever time limit it is, one person gets released into the ring and then it’s elimination until there’s only one man left.

Ant: Okay.

Simon: Money in the Bank is a ladder match but with six men. Pretty much. Handicap, obviously. Simple as. Royal Rumble, which is a new feature. They’ve had Royal Rumbles in previous Smackdown games, but this one has the new mini-game button bashing thing that was featured in the main review. And Championship Scramble, which we didn’t mention, which is… there’s a set time limit and you’ve got to basically, whoever’s champion after ten minutes wins. And keeps the belt. So the actual champion themselves can not be pinned and still lose the belt. So that’s one thing they build up, “big up” in wrestling and it’s like… blergh. All scripted. But there we go. So that’s some of the various features. Also expanded on this year is the online area.

Ant: Is that just as confusing as everything else?

Simon: Probably, yeah. It’s basically… the online feature lets you download created wrestlers that people have uploaded. It lets you download created storylines which we’ll come onto in a bit as well. You can also download pretty much anything. You can have matches against people online as well, and it’s quite a nice addition to the system which has been sadly missing from recent games. I mean, Smackdown 09 was rubbish quite frankly. Which is why I traded it in. So, yeah. The story mode is another new addition where basically you can pretend to be a WWF writer and create your own stories. That’s pretty much as simple as it gets.

Rich: There’s green and pink men.

Simon: Yeah, that’s created wrestler moves.

Rich: Ahh right.

Ant: Why is there someone called Daffney. Of all the names you could’ve gone with…

Simon: There is a wrestling valet called Daffney. Probably based on her.

Ant: Really? Oh. I thought it was just someone being silly.

Simon: Let’s have a look at this. We’re having a look at the Black Tiger Bomb wrestling manoeuvre.

Ant: Oh, hello.

Simon: Which is one obviously that someone has created online. And that looks… quite, quite silly.

Ant: How fast do they want to do it?

Simon: That’s very fast.

Rich: And how many spins in mid-air? Just one?

Simon: Just one.

Rich: Just the one.

Ant: It looks a little like four doesn’t it?

Simon: Yeah.

Ant: That’s a bit silly.

Simon: That’s, apparently, a Black Tiger Bomb.

Ant: Yeah, course it is.

Simon: But yeah, they’ve pretty much expanded it so you can download wrestlers, you can download moves, you can download finishers, you can download pretty much everyone’s own creations. So it’s basically there are other storylines on here as well that relate to like, current TNA storylines. That’s Total Nonstop Action and not… TNA. And…

Rich: Razor Ramon.

Simon: Yeah, someone’s created Razor Ramon. Let’s have a look at him. “Hey yo”. Let’s press view. So yeah, it’s a much expanded system and you can’t really go wrong. In fairness Smackdown isn’t like the best of games to review straight off, because it’s very compartmentalised. You can’t really go off on one about it. The review of Assassin’s Creed 2, which should be the next one, there will be at least three of us that can talk about that so it should be a bit more of an interesting podcast instead of me just ranting on at you. And yeah we’ve already talked about the controls. We’ve got Razor Ramon up on the thing now. That’s 1993 Razor Ramon. And let’s have a look at this.

Ant: This all means absolutely chuff all to me.

Rich: He’s very hairy.

Simon: Yeah.

Ant: He’s got a bit of bling now.

Simon: Yeah, cinematic attire as well. Same as his intro attire, but that’s actually quite a good representation of him to be quite honest. So yeah, there’s the good and the bad online. So overall it’s quite a good game. Newcomers probably won’t get too much out of it to start with, unless they’re wrestling fans in the first place. Ant, case in point.

Ant: Living proof.

Simon: But yeah if you do like wrestling games you can’t really go much worse than this. I mean, the only other one that’s really available at the moment is TNA, Total Nonstop Action, which has its flaws and we will be reviewing shortly after New Year hopefully. Mostly just to see Hatton punching someone in the groin over and over again.

Ant: Most fun.

Simon: As wrestling games go it’s like most things. With Smackdown, has it’s rival in TNA, EA FIFA has Pro Evo, NHL 2010 has NHL 2K10, that sort of thing. So yeah there’s always sort of like, the main stayer and the upstart rival. But Smackdown has been doing this for quite a long time now and they’ve sort of got the formula pretty decent at this stage.

Rich: Interesting side note. THQ I think have lost the development rights for the next Smackdown game.

Simon: I don’t think it’s been confirmed yet. It’s one of those…

Rich: I think it’s up in the air. EA are rumoured to be sniffing around it.

Simon: Yeah.

Ant: They make everything though don’t they?

Simon: The thing is, with EA if they get it they did destroy WCW.

Rich: Right.

Simon: Because their WCW games were rubbish. They were a little bit better than Acclaim’s WWF games, but… pfft. Don’t trust em. Don’t trust em. Oh yeah, the training facility as well, with the training facility there is a checklist of moves to help you out if you are brand new, so it might be an idea if you’ve never played Smackdown before to give the training facility a go and learn all the controls that way and there’s no pressure then. You can even set the computer opponent to be dumb and not actually do anything so… entirely up to you.

Ant: That’d be right up my street, that. I’m going to set it so I can WIN!

Simon: And create modes as well, there’s create a finisher, create an entrance movie and all of that. You can really do what you like with it. And that pretty much sums it up. Oh the story mode, Road to Wrestlemania, which I still think is a bit boring. I still prefer the storyline mode of the old N64 game No Mercy which was brilliant. Still the best wrestling game in my opinion, that one. And the story mode of the original Smackdown game where you had a choice of route and you could say yes or no to various storylines and so on and so forth.

But with Road To Wrestlemania you don’t really get that option so it’s nice to see the story designer come in, because then you can actually choose where the story goes. The downside is you have actually got to sit there and write the entire story before you can play it, but you know. Swings and roundabouts. Those of you listening at home will not realise there was an edit there. Hopefully. So that pretty much sums up this podcast. Hope you’ve enjoyed. If you have any questions send us an email: info@randomstoat.com. We’ll respond to you hopefully within a day or two. If not, then please feel free to send dog poo through to us in the post. So yeah, get us on randomstoat.com, send us an email, info@randomstoat.com, and we’ll see you next time for Assassin’s Creed 2. Bye for now.