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2017.07.26

Assassin’s Creed: Unity

Like Batman Arkham Knight, this game of the Assassin’s Creed franchise was launched in a very rough state. There are thousands of videos in the YouTube showing crazy situations, mostly because the AI, but also due poor collision detection and graphical glitches.

And as Batman, I played the game long after the launch, after the developers patch the patch the patch of the patch of the game.

And as Batman, I played a buggy game.

Assassin’s creed unity

At the time I played the second game in the series, Assassin’s Creed 2, I did not commented in the blog. I don’t even recall if I had a blog at the time (in fact I did have, because I played it in 2010 and it was mentioned in the 2010 year review). Anyway, it was one of my favorite games of all time at that point. I really enjoyed every bit of it. And I appreciate it even more when I finally when to Italy and could see in real life the places that I have been before in the virtual life.

Back to Unity, it felt flat to me.

Assassin’s creed unity

The visuals are great, I cannot deny it. Seeing the Eiffel tower at the horizon (even for a brief moment because the main game is before its construction) was full of emotions. The crowd ragging against the monarchy is super cool (the crowd on the streets are not, because the pop and change visuals in front of you), the buildings are also very detailed. The character models are good, but the uncanny valley occurred to me: all seemed creepy.

The gameplay is the typical Assassin’s Creed fashion. The main difference here is that it does not work right. I believe that the developers wanted to put so many climbing and parkour points across your path that very often the character does something different that the player intended. It starts to climb in a weird point or get over a ordinary table. I had several moments that I died because I was not in full control of the character. The combat is ok but the armors and weapons all fell the same. There is no special strategy here.

The story is laughably bad. The MAIN character is boring. The main one. That Arno starts begin a anti-hero that is converted to a blindly good hero in a snap and is moved mostly by boring motives. I could not care less. The girl follows the same path. The secondary characters, in most part, are not good and when you think they are going to grow in the story, you have to kill them. That in fact a kinda problem in the AC universe, because they are built to assassinate people, their opponents, so most story lines end on killing them before some good conflict emerges

Assassin’s creed unity

[story plot here]

The recurring structure of the story is:

  1. there is a enemy
  2. you are sent to kill him,
  3. by doing so, you discover that there is, in fact, a bigger boss

And the cycle repeats. Is is not an accident that I cannot remember a single villain.

The side quests and collectibles, all boring. When finding a chest containing… nothing… is fun? The only collectibles that I compelled to do is open the map climbing strategic towers and evolving my own bar to a certain level that it generates loads of money. Getting flags or chests or entering the catacombs were too dull to for me.

The present storyline, against Abstergo, was only briefly mentioned. There is none in this game that reveals anything.

Assassin’s creed unity

The overall felling is that I had to finish the game for the sake of my compulsive behavior. No reason to recommend to anyone, except if you are French (I suppose it would be awesome to have your own city mapped like this).

My Rating: 4
Metacritic: 70
2017.03.14

Batman: Arkham Knight

I loved Batman Arkham Asylum. I liked Batman Arkham City. I did not like this one, Arkham Knight. (I own but I still didn’t play Arkham Origins)

Upon release, Batman: Arkham Knight, was plagued with bugs in its PC appearance. So much that the developer had to pull it off from the shelves to polish it for a bit more time. I was, thankfully, not affected by this incident because I only acquired it much later. That said, I had a lot of issues regarding performance, bugs and crashes. I have faced major crashes during the course of the game. Lame.

Batman arkham knight

Visually, the game is more colorful than ever. Definitively it makes use of more modern technology (I believe it uses the latest Unreal Engine). While it seems more realistic, I felt less pleasing. Gotham is too flashy, too busy. There are visual pollution all over the city. Back in the Asylum, the visual was more cartoony but it was consistent. The visual effects and explosions, however, are more impressive than before. I liked it.

Another strange thing that I noticed it that almost all character 3D models changed dramatically. Bruce Wayne, Batman, Harley Quinn, Penguin.. everybody had a substantial visual transformation, like when studios reboot a movie franchise. I felt a little annoyed that my character from previous games simply changed.

Batman arkham knight

Gameplay wise, the Batman Arkham series was migrating from a stealth game towards a very action driven. I remember in the first installment the tutorials were always very serious about being stealth is the way to play. The super vision goggles was implement and was unlimited just to reinforce the behavior into players. Gas bombs, grappling from above or bellow, use of remote gadgets were all crucial for this play style. More than a play style, it was proposed gameplay.

It was all lost with City and mostly Knight. There are so many enemies spread across the map that it is simply not practical anymore to solve problems using stealth. It would take ages to complete the game. Instead, most of the time you will to a frontal assault, eventually using hit-and-run tactical. For me, the open world feature, while amazing at the first glance, was detrimental to the series. It was better when it was confined in compartments. It was about solving puzzles, not brute force your way.

Batman arkham knight

The main attraction of the game is the use of the Batmobile. Unlike the Arkham City, the game encourages the player to traverse the city using the car. I was positively impressed who responsive and fun was to use it. It’s dual mode, car and tank, makes the gameplay very fluid. However the developers force the use of it by inserting several plots into the story that requires it. After a while, it gets repetitive.

The side missions and collectibles are forgettable. The trademark Riddle riddles are more repetitive than ever. After a while I knew that I would not be interested in completing it entirely. I would only go for the main storyline.

Batman arkham knight

Story wide is once again very convoluted. The whole plot is thin and even the twists are not that interesting. So twists are so intense that makes you fell that everything that you did until that moment was kind irrelevant. The same for the villains actions (if he knew that form the start, why he did all this?). Batman is too much powerful to be believable. Even on the brink of the death, the player never fell that he is actually in danger. Joker plots against Batman and Batman plots against the player. The main villains are boring with weird motivations.

Overall, I had a negative experience. I cannot recommend this game, unless you already have played the previous games and really want to give a Batmobile a ride.

My Rating: 4
Metacritic: 70
2014.03.26

Free to Play movie

Yesterday I watched the Free to Play movie, produced by Valve. I can be only seeing inside the Steam gaming platform. I’ve never knew that it has video player functionalities.

Without any further due, the verdict: very boring.

The film is about video gaming as an sport, particularly about Dota 2. It tells 3 parallel stories of players that will participate into the biggest tournament ever. The prize would be one million dollars for the winner. At the time, it was, but light years, the biggest prize in history.

Free to play movie

The 3 main characters are not particularly captivating. They are portrayed as nerds that are taking a lot of pressure by family members to work or study instead invest the whole time into gaming. The characters keep saying that they are motivated and determined to win. But that is all. You see that they are facing difficult situations, but nothing different from a teenagers entering into adulthood: what should I do with my life?

Despite the fact that the announcement alone of a such big prize created a huge repercussion in the internet gaming community and media, the tournament is poorly described. During the whole film, I was never sure what was going on in the competition.

Free to play movie

But one thing it was very impressive the the CG scenes that describe some parts of the matches in the competition. I believe that Valve CG animators entered in action. They were short but very very well done.

The bottom line is that this film is in fact a propaganda about video game as an sport and the Valve game Dota. It repeatedly say that this competition was a milestone and it might actually be the case. But even being free to watch, Free to Play is not worthy.

My Rating: 4
2013.07.28

Ender’s Game

Ender’s game

I heard so many good reviews about this book. There is also a movie being made, staring Harrison Ford and the little actor not more that little from Hugo, Asa Butterfield.  So I was expecting another masterpiece ready to be trashed by Hollywood.

The main concept explored in the book is the war room. Like a video game, war commander see the battle and issue orders. Special maneuvers and spacial positioning are critical. It’s pure Sun Tsu. It’s Blizzard StarCraft.

However. [spoiler alert]

Orson created an story of a super hero that do not ever fail. Like… never. It is a tale of success after success. The main character knows the extension of his own abilities, knows how to master it and can perform formidably every single time. It seems that the character is cheating in an RPG game to the point to exploit the fun. Super smart, super fast, super agile. Super man.

Ender’s game

The narrative style is nice. Besides being a futuristic sci fi universe (usually hard to understand), Orson is good in description so readers always understand the world from the first time. However, the movement description, important to the story, is too visual and difficult to compreend.

Wow.

There is, tough, a nice message about training. Because for the little Ender, training brought perfection for him. It is somewhat inspiring.

Ender’s game
My Rating: 4
Goodreads: 4.3