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.

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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.

Video Game Tuesday: E3 2016 Predictions

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It’s nearly that time of year again and I’m going to make some guesses for this week’s Video Game Tuesday! It’s my E3 2016 Predictions!

Things that will be discussed for sure: Sports games (ugh), Call of Duty (let it die already!), Destiny (let’s see how Bungie shoots themselves in the feet this year), and Zelda Wii U. Now for my actual guesses!

Nintendo: I think I remember reading something on Kotaku a month or two back about how Zelda will be the only thing discussed during E3, but I bet we’ll get some word about the NX, if only to learn when we can learn about it in an upcoming Nintendo Direct.

Sony: They’ll be talking about some first party exclusives, and there’s good chances of the PS4.5 being announced formally.

Microsoft: Like Sony, there is a good chance that they’ll be talking about the Xbox One hardware updates they have planned. There’s also a very good chance at them announcing Halo 6. Oh and they’ll bring the yearly sports games onto their conference stage like always.

Ubisoft: Watch Dogs 2 will be announced most likely, hopefully it’ll take the concept of the first game and make it a masterpiece like they did with Assassin’s Creed and Assassin’s Creed II. There will most likely also announce Far Cry 5, but who knows. Thankfully Assasin’s Creed has been confirmed to be taking a break this year, hopefully they can reinvigorate the series, but no high hopes from me on that.

Bungie: They’ll announce the September Destiny expansion and barf up some lines about they’re going to knock our socks off with a real story in Destiny 2. I’ll believe it when I finish playing the review copy.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday! What are some of your guesses about what will be talked about or announced this year? Leave a comment below!

Video Game Tuesday: Blacklisting

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This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering an issue that frustrates me greatly. It’s about Blacklisting.

Last week Kotaku published a very interesting article that infuriated me because of the shortsightedness involved by parties concerned in the article.

The long story short is that Kotaku published leaks about games that would later become Assassin’s Creed Unity, Fallout 4 and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. This put them on a blacklist from Bethesda and Ubisoft.  Some people, who think they are intelligent and aren’t at all close to even being as intelligent as a pile of pond scum, are waving their flags and saying that it was deserved. I say that this is bullshit. Any good journalist will piss people off and if you aren’t doing that you aren’t a journalist.  What Kotaku did was nothing new and despite being one of the biggest websites for gamers in the world, it still got blacklisted. This leads me to think that the people running the companies we love aren’t the people we respect as gamers. We respect good and clever developers and publishers for making games that bring us joy and challenges. We don’t respect them because they can’t take necessary criticism or their product got leaked before being announced without their marketing team’s approval.

Bethesda until last week and Ubisoft until last year around Thanksgiving, were respected developers and publishers whom I always looked forward to seeing what was coming in the future. I’m not going to be bothering with any further Assassin’s Creed or Fallout or Far Cry games until they whip their PR and Marketing teams into line, literally if necessary. I’ve been cheated a bit too much by Ubisoft on games with terrible game-breaking bugs and glitches causing me to be unable to complete games. Bethesda had my respect for years, but after this last week I’ve come to realize that they have stagnated and become like EA. I don’t see innovation or creativity in their games anymore. Skyrim was fun, but it wasn’t anything really new to the Elder Scrolls formula, if anything it was a regression from what Morrowind had.

So when I heard that they blacklisted Kotaku I was furious on Kotaku’s behalf as a fellow journalist and game critic. I don’t hold back on what I see as problems in a game now, I am frank, honest, and brutal to a point in my reviews. Sometimes I even get asked to tone it down, because I’m too brutally honest with my reviews.  I’ve grown a lot since last year when my first review ever was Destiny, and I’ve come to see that sometimes the little guys really do make the best things. Tales of Zestiria was the best game I’ve played all year, easily beating out Destiny: The Taken King for re-playablity and blasting it out of the water in terms of story.  The Tales of team has one person who makes their Battle System. One guy, makes it. That’s outstanding and proves to me that more isn’t necessarily better. So Bethesda and Ubisoft instead of giving us crap like Assassin’s Creed Unity which was broken for over a month and even after being fixed was the single worst game I played last year, make us a game like Tales of Zestiria. Until such a time, you have absolutely no right to offend a critic of your games by blacklisting them. You should be begging them to be your playtesters instead of shunning them.

Video Game Tuesday: Yearly Releases

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This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m talking about a thing that bugs the hell out of me. It’s Yearly Releases!

What do I mean yearly releases?: I mean game series that have a new entry every freaking year. Call of Duty is the worst offender, but Assassin’s Creed is quickly becoming another bad offender of this.

Why is it bad?: Well because people need variety in all things to keep things interesting. I’m sorry, but Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for me was the first and last CoD game I bothered playing multiplayer with. After about 2 months I was sick of the stupid game, not least of all because of those 12 year old idiots who somehow convinced their even stupider parents into buying them the game. Not only that but having yearly releases causes stagnation in the developers as well as they know people will inevitably end buying their yearly barf we call a game. Activision is hated for a reason and Call of Duty is a huge part of it.

But X numbered entry in Popular Game Series is freaking amazing how dare you bad mouth it!: I’m not content for settling for mediocrity in anything, let alone game series that make millions of dollars every year. I don’t mind if a developer releases a game every year, go for it, but do something other than the same crap every freaking year. There is a reason I’ve been able to keep writing and having an article every day since 2/17/2014, and that’s because I do a different genre of story for each day of the week. I learned that trick from Brandon Sanderson and it works for just about anything you can do.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday, and please for your and my sanity stop buying those yearly regurgitations people call games.