Retro Game Friday: Splinter Cell

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a game that really took the Stealth genre and made it popular. It’s Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell!

Plot Synopsis: In April 2004, the President of Georgia is assassinated, allowing Georgian billionaire Kombayn Nikoladze to seize power with a bloodless coup d’état. In August 2004, former U.S. Navy SEAL officer and Gulf War veteran Sam Fisher is recruited by the National Security Agency to work within its newly formed division, “Third Echelon.” Working with his old friend Irving Lambert, Fisher is introduced to technical expert Anna “Grim” Grimsdóttír, and field runner Vernon Wilkes Jr. In October 2004, Fisher is dispatched to Tbilisi, Georgia to investigate the disappearance of two CIA officers.

Plot: The plot is pretty standard Military Thriller which should come as no surprise as this is part of the Tom Clancy franchise.

Gameplay: This game took the stealth genre and made it mainstream paving the way for future games like Assassin’s Creed. The main draw of the gameplay was the use of the light and shadows. You were encouraged to take your time and carefully move from shadow to shadow to get around. You couldn’t really go in with guns blazing and just shoot your way through the game. You had limited ammo, and even than your armaments were usually more non-lethal than anything else.

Artwork: Sadly the art has aged incredibly poorly, but at the time they were pretty damn good.

Music: I don’t remember any of the music sadly.

Overall: A fun game, but with a very aged art and gameplay compared to modern day games, it’s probably best left in the bargain bin.

For those who like: Military-Thrillers, Tom Clancy, Stealth.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

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Video Game Tuesday: E3 2018 Reactions

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with my thoughts on this year’s Christmas in June for gamers. It’s my E3 2018 Reactions!

EA: Well I was expecting pretty much everything that was shown, except for hearing about Jedi: Fallen Order, a game that truly slipped my mind in my predictions post. We knew that it was in development previously, but I had forgotten about it. It’s being developed by Respawn Entertainment, of Titanfall fame, and will release in Late 2019.

Microsoft: We had quite a few surprises, including the news that 4 independent studios have been bought by Microsoft, including Ninja Theory of Heavenly Sword fame, and DmC reboot infamy. My favorite thing was learning about Tales of Vesperia coming to the current set of consoles remastered and featuring everything from the JP only PlayStation 3 version. Considering that it’s one of my top 5 Tales of games, I’m really stoked for this.

Bethesda: We knew about Fallout 76 prior to E3, and rumors were confirmed that it was going to be an Online Multiplayer game. How that works out I’m not too sure, given the turn based nature of previous Fallout games that I’ve played (I haven’t touched 4). Not shocking anyone we learned that Elder Scrolls VI is in development, probably for the next generation of consoles. Maybe they’ll fix the nature of console mods so they don’t screw over mod creators by the time it releases and PlayStation owners won’t be screwed more than the Xbox players already are because they insulted mod makers. I have little hope of that, given the unruly nature of mods.

Square Enix: A really disappointing show, while in the Microsoft conference we learned about Kingdom Hearts III’s release date, we didn’t get much more info from the Square Enix press event. That being said it’ll feature both Frozen and Pirates of the Carribean, so that will be interesting to say the least. No other news of note really came from their event except that Monster Hunter World and Final Fantasy XIV would be getting a collaboration event.

Ubisoft: In probably the most shocking news. and yet not at the same time, from this year’s E3 is the fact that Ubisoft is releasing Just Dance for the Wii. Yes you read that right, for the Wii, not the WiiU or the Switch, the Wii. In less shocking news we saw a bunch of the next Assassin’s Creed game which takes us to Greece as a child of Leonidas of Sparta. Frankly I’m not too excited for that, Unity really ruined the series for me, and despite only hearing good things about Origins, I’ve no desire to get back into that series quite yet. In more disappointing news, Beyond Good & Evil 2 still hasn’t really started development, I mean come on really Ubisoft? Just make the freaking game already.

Sony: In one of the oddest Press Conferences ever, with showgoers being shuffled to multiple locations instead of it being just in a single spot, Sony showed off a bunch of new things including the Spiderman game that I’m personally hoping is amazing. Whether it is once remains to be seen on Launch this September. We also got some more looks at Destiny’s latest “Expansion” Forsaken, which Bungie says will fix all our big issues. I have my doubts, but that’s a post for another day.

Nintendo: In what might just be the biggest news of E3, Nintendo formally announced Super Smash Bros Ultimate, which will feature EVERY character, from EVERY entry in the entire series. Newcomers confirmed thus far are Splatoon’s Squid Kids, and Ridley from Metroid. I was hoping to hear about someone like Isaac from Golden Sun, but Ridley will do for now.

There are lots more stuff that I haven’t covered, but this post is large enough already. I may, or may not, make a Part 2 of this in the near future.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

 

Video Game Tuesday: E3 2018 Predictions

Hey all I’m back with a look at some of the possibilities from this year’s game development version of Christmas! It’s my E3 2018 Predictions!

NO Next-Gen Console Announcements: I’m not expecting to hear about the next generation of consoles this year. If they announce anything other than slim versions of the XBOX and PS4 Pro I’ll be honestly shocked. Regarding the Switch, I’m expecting to hear nothing new, except maybe a more streamlined version equivalent to a slim version if anything at all.  Next Gen consoles are the announcements I’m expecting to hear about next year at E3, but not this year.

Pride Reductions: I’m expecting to hear that the PS4 Pro and XBOX will get some price cuts, and probably the switch as well.

EA to announce more annual sports games: This is less of a prediction than a certainty to me at least, but I’m fully expecting to hear about the next Madden game and other sports game equivalents. Color me unimpressed and uninterested once more.

Super Smash Front and Center for Nintendo: If they don’t really beat the marketing drums to death on this one I’ll be just as surprised as if Sony and Microsoft announce the next gen consoles. Nintendo has no reason not to keep up the momentum that last year’s launch of the Switch and Breath of the Wild brought to the company. Smash Bros is a surefire way to do that.

Pokemon Switch: I’m also expecting to hear about a mainline Pokemon game for the Switch. The system is just begging for a brand new Pokemon game given it’s dual nature as a portable and a console.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday and my predictions for E3 thus far. I may do a what’s been leaked so far post closer to E3 happening, but we’ll see. Do you expect to see anything that I didn’t mention happen at this year’s E3? Leave a comment below!

Video Game Tuesday: E3 2017 Reactions

 

Hey all I’m back with my thoughts on this years Electronic Entertainment Expo! It’s my E3 2017 Reactions!

Nintendo: Holy crap they announced a new Metroid Prime and a remake of Metroid II! Not only that, but they announced a couple of DLCs for Zelda: Breath of the Wild and gave us a release date for Super Mario Odyssey. Honestly I’m just happy at the fact that new Metroid games are coming out, but everyone should take this with a grain of salt. The last Metroid game to be released was Other M and we all know how terrible of a game that was.

Sony: Nothing really major, but they are definitely doubling down on the PlayStation VR. They also told us that God of War’s next game is set to release in Early 2018. Not only that, but they showed off what might become the best Spider-Man game ever released. I’m actually excited to play that, and we’ve had official confirmation that we won’t be chasing balloons!

Microsoft: They formally announced Project Scorpio’s details, and gave it’s final name, Xbox One X. Frankly they should have just kept Xbox Scorpio, it’s not as ridiculous a name. You’d think they’d have learnt from Nintendo’s mistake with the WiiU.  Crackdown 3 is finally getting released though, so there’s that to look forward to.

Ubisoft: Showed off the now officially confirmed Assassin’s Creed: Origins that takes place in Egypt. I got burned badly by Unity so I’ll probably skip Origins unless I get a review copy. They also showed more of Far Cry 5, and announced Skulls and Bones, which takes AC4: Black Flag’s ship combat system and makes it a standalone game. As I actually enjoyed the ship battles in Black Flag, I might be interested in playing, but I also enjoyed going over and taking down the enemy crew after ramming them.

EA: More sports games of course, Star Wars Battlefront II (DICE) and a new IP from the people behind Mass Effect, Anthem that is pretty much Destiny. If you’ve read my past columns on Destiny you might be able to guess at how thrilled I am by the prospect of another “Destiny”. /run EndSarcasm.exe

Bethesda: Skyrim for the Switch, boring. Wolfenstein II is a real game and is releasing on October 27th though, so maybe Bethesda didn’t just go for obvious cash grabs for the year.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

Retro Game Friday: Assassin’s Creed 2

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Hey all I’m back with a true classic game from the last generation of consoles for this week’s Retro Game Friday! It’s Assassin’s Creed 2!

Plot Synopsis: After the events of Assassin’s Creed, test subject Desmond Miles is rescued from confinement by undercover Assassin Lucy Stillman and taken to a remote safe house, where he meets her team, consisting of historian and analyst Shaun Hastings and technician Rebecca Crane. Using design plans stolen by Lucy, they have constructed their own version of the Animus, dubbed “Baby”, which they intend to use to train Desmond as an Assassin through the so-called “Bleeding Effect”. Desmond is assigned to investigate the memories of his ancestor Ezio Auditore da Firenze, starting with his birth to a wealthy Florentine family in the late 15th century.

Plot: The plot of this entry was excellent, and really brought the series around to the mainstream audience more than it’s predecessor. I enjoyed the hell out of all the mysteries and intrigue that goes on in this game, it’s a shame that it’s not as prevalent in more recent games.

Characters: Desmond is still around, and he’s not as much of a tool as he was in the last game. Ezio was quite fun to play as, but my favorite character was DaVinci hands down. I loved his humor.

Gameplay: This game is probably one of the best entries in the entire series, it’s got an excellent combat system that allows players to infinitely chain counter attacks if they are skilled enough to do so. This was easily abusable, but it was really quite a bit of fun. Everything else was much better than the first game, with the missions being less frustrating, although there are some that still really frustrating.

Art: It’s aged poorly, but they did just release an updated port to the latest generation of consoles along with Brotherhood and Revelations.

Music: Excellent, not much else I can say.

Overall: This is probably one of the best games Ubisoft has ever made, it’s the bar by which almost everything is measured for them.

 

Video Game Tuesday: Dual Audio

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This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering a topic that I, and many others, place a lot of value on. It’s all about Dual Audio!

What do you mean Dual Audio?: I mean the ability to switch between two different languages in a Video Games settings to allow for the main spoken word in the game to be one language instead of the localized version, if the player wishes to do so. Tales of Zestiria, still my all time favorite JRPG, had the ability to switch between English and Japanese at any time out of battle through the settings menu and it was wonderful. The emotions and feelings of the characters came through so much better with the original Japanese dub instead of the English dub. This option should be included in every game that gets localized into another language.

Why?: Because even if you don’t understand the words themselves the emotions are very clear in a person’s tone of voice. Plus what is the subtitle option, which you are going to turn on anyway, used for except for just such things? Now if you actually understand the language and the localization is done poorly, looking at you Digimon Cyber Sleuth and SAO: Lost Song, you can get confused by the conflicting messages of the voice and the text. However that is a problem that is becoming less and less prevalent in today’s games. Most games have excellent Localization. Tales of Zestiria for example was wonderfully done, and while there was maybe one or two points that the text didn’t quite match what the voice was actually saying, it was spot on.

What about (Insert language here) to (Insert your native language here)?: Well it doesn’t just have to be Japanese to English, The Ezio set of Assassin’s Creed games had options to allow you to set the language to French or Spanish or Italian. The last in particular was awesome because the game was set in Italy for the most part and you could just read the subtitles to get the specifics while hearing the emotions being spoken in the actual language that the character would use.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday, do you want more Dual Audio in games in the future? Leave a comment below!

Retro Game Friday: Assassin’s Creed

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This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering the first an a series I loved until the latest couple of entries! It’s Assassin’s Creed!

Plot Synopsis: In 2012, bartender Desmond Miles is kidnapped by agents of Abstergo Industries, the world’s largest pharmaceutical conglomerate. Under the guidance of Dr. Warren Vidic and his assistant Lucy Stillman, he is forced to participate in a series of trials revolving around the “Animus”, a machine capable of translating the genetic memories of his ancestors into a simulated reality. Vidic instructs him to relive the early years of Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, a senior member of the Assassin Brotherhood during the time of the Third Crusade. A flashback reveals that Altair, blinded by arrogance, botched an attempt by the Assassins to retrieve an artifact (the Ark of the Covenant) from the forces of Robert de Sablé, killing a fellow Assassin and leaving another severely wounded. Though Altair manages to partially redeem himself by fighting off a Crusader attack on the Assassin home base of Masyaf, his mentor and superior, Al Mualim, sentences him to assassinate nine individuals in order to regain his honor:

Plot: The plot is pretty decent, although Altair is less interesting than later protagonists in the series.

Gameplay: The gameplay was alright, but it was very unrefined something that Assassin’s Creed II would later fix. That being said it was pretty groundbreaking at the time as there hadn’t been an open-world stealth game that was quite as successful. That being said it quickly became repetitive, a pitfall most open-world games end up making.

Characters: Altair was probably my least favorite protagonist in series until Unity. That being said Desmond’s parts, while being ridiculously short were pretty interesting for him as a character. The rest of the cast was okay, but again they weren’t as good as later entry’s casts.

Art: It’s become a bit dated, but it’s not too bad by today’s standards.

Music: Good, not amazing mind, but it’s not terrible either.

Overall: If you really want to play this game you’re welcome to do so, but otherwise it’s a pretty skippable entry in the series.

For those who like: Action, Adventure, Stealth, Drama, Good Gameplay, Decent Artwork, Okay Music.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.