Poker Night at the Inventory 2 is TellTale’s latest Xbox Live Arcade, Steam and Playstation Network game and is, as the title suggests, a Poker game at it’s core. More than that, this downloadable title is an example of how great personalities and some clever writing can make a functional but not particularly exciting card game into an engaging and fun experience for the player.
After a short and cameo filled introduction the player, aptly named and referenced to as “Player”, is introduced to their adversaries for the night’s game; Brock from “The Venture Bros.”, Claptrap from “Borderlands”, Ash from “Army of Darkness” and Sam of “Sam and Max”. Other characters from these titles and other telltale titles drift in and out during the course of tournaments.
The Cast of Poker Night at the Inventory 2
The writing in this game is superb, drawing from popular culture, developer-in jokes and character backstories, always keeping the player engaged and chuckling throughout. TellTale has made the focus of the game the characters and their interactions whilst playing, not the poker itself. This works well in this game as the mix of nostalgia and humour, brought to life by the characters and Glad0s, allow the player get wrapped up in the experience not the base gameplay, often hanging out for the cast’s quips and comments more than counting the chips on the table and watching for tells.
The poker in game feels a little drab itself, and without the writing would probably be just another basic poker game. The choice of Glad0s as dealer helps to liven up the gameplay as she regularly drops from the ceiling to provide ‘helpful’ comments to the player. The game also features character animations to give away when they are bluffing, but they are not common or very well executed. The Player may also buy drinks for the cast from the bartender Mad Moxxi of the Borderlands games. They make the ‘tells’ from others more obvious, but they still didn’t play much of a role in the results of the tournaments. When you get to playing you get a choice between “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “Omaha”, both games play well and the tournaments serve as opportunities for bragging rights, and more importantly, unlocks. After completing challenges you are offered the chance to win a special item from each character’s title, such as Ash’s Necronomicon and Claptrap’s Video Game Award, each awarding the player with unlocks outside of the game.
Borderlands 2 Unlocks
The game’s brilliant writing is added to by the ability to get heads and skins for Borderlands 2 on all platforms, and then platform specific unlocks including avatar items, Team Fortress 2 hats and exclusive themes. These unlocks keep the game playable well after the dialogue starts to repeat, but once you complete these there is little to keep you playing after the occasional game for nostalgia’s sake. There are also felt, deck and chip variants for each title to unlock, purchasable with ‘unlock tokens’ won in tournaments. These re-skin the bar and game aspects, but don’t affect gameplay.
Overall this game is quite fun and well worth the price tag, quite cheap on all platforms. The jokes, dialogue and unlocks make the game quite addictive and entertaining, but the replay value drops once the dialogue starts to loop and the unlocks are all collected. Some extra modes, multiplayer and more dialogue would help with the replay value, but the game is still great. For some laughs, free items and a good bit of poker fun this is well worth the download. A solid 8/10!
“The mind of the subject will desperately struggle to create memories where none exist…” – Rosalind Lutece, Barriers to Trans-Dimensional Travel, 1889
Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt. As you soar into the floating city of Columbia for the first time you see exactly where Irrational Games’ ambitions lie; Amongst the clouds with this incredible city. The game manages to achieve all of it’s ambitions and more, with a story the likes of which we haven’t seen since the original Bioshock, varied and new first person gameplay and a stunning, truly realised world for the player to explore. This game does what it’s predecessor did in 2007; it changes and challenges the gameplay and story of this console generation and reinvents them to become a truly incredible experience.
The game world is in almost direct contrast to that of Irrational Games’ original Bioshock, we see a rich and colourful city in the prime of it’s existence whilst also involving the player in Columbia’s breathtaking descent. Columbia has it’s own set of rules, it is a fully realised world with a vibrant cast of characters that really make the world feel real. People walk around, reacting both to the player and surrounding events, with clever and involving conversations that reflect the world around them. The game is set in alternate reality 1912 and shows off the views and values of an America steeped in religious rule, patriotism and severe xenophobia. The content in game is quite harsh in contrast to the vibrant city and challenges the player to look at society today with reference to the game. Every area of the game feels different and diverse, from the squalid Shantytown to the opulence of the streets above and then into the skies of Columbia aboard the many airships and floating platforms, never ceasing to pull the extraordinary narrative along with each detailed environment.
The streets of Columbia
As the player enters Columbia they are introduced to the basic gameplay elements of Vigors (akin to the original Bioshock’s Plasmids) and the variety of weapons through a carnival, set up as part of the celebrations for Comstock, the game’s antagonist. In your first hour you will experience combat with some basic guns, vigors and the transport method doubling as a melee weapon; the skyhook. The skyhook allows for some incredible firefights and a new mobility unseen in gaming. Just hop aboard a skyline and you can drop behind enemies, into cover or zip around the area quickly all the while returning fire from attackers. The game’s AI is also quite clever, with enemies and “Hard Hitters” (different, more tough enemies such as the handyman and motorized patriots) able to use the skylines and move around like the player. Then the game takes it up a notch, in story, gameplay and emotion with the introduction of Elizabeth.
Elizabeth. This one character serves as the core of the story and gameplay. From the moment you meet her she barely leaves your side, constantly adding to the game. In combat she will help you by finding health, salts and ammo and also cash outside of combat. She also has the ability to open ‘tears’ in the environment, pulling items from other worlds and reality into being in the locale. She also adds real emotion to the gameplay. You begin to rely on her and think about combat situations with her abilities in mind. In the few short absences she has from the player you genuinely miss the character. Her powers and dialogue always make the player feel more invested in the story, her presence never once takes anything away from the experience. Her AI is also incredibly well done, she will explore and interact with the environment, once again bringing areas of the game to life and you will want to sit in one spot and see all the animations and dialogue the developers have crammed into each of the game’s areas.
I have talked about the story a lot so far, the narrative really pulls the whole experience together. The story crafted by Irrational Games masterfully weaves the setting, values and original story together into a story that will keep the player invested in the game’s fifteen plus hours of gameplay. Without revealing too much, the story centres around the protagonist, Booker Dewitt, tasked with travelling to Columbia to rescue Elizabeth to pay off his gambling debt. The city is ruled by “The Prophet” Comstock, who has kept Elizabeth locked away for years. Bring in the Vox Populi, a resistance movement of the lower classes and racial outcasts, fighting against Comstock’s extremely one sided rule. The story has the occasional lull in sections, but they always followed by something amazing soon after, only increasing the effect of the succeeding event. Once you dive into the narrative the tale morphs and evolves at a cracking pace up to the jaw dropping finale, where players will be left thinking long after the credits roll.
Overall the game is an amazing experience. Irrational Games have done an amazing job of bringing the world of Columbia to life. The story, gameplay and above all the work that went into Elizabeth help this game to exceed all expectations and in turn reinvent the FPS genre amongst it’s many more stale counterparts. The game is incredible in scope and story, well worthy of any gamers time, earning it’s well deserved place amongst some of the finest games of the generation.
In my mind, this game deserves no other score than, Go and Buy it NOW!
Today I had the chance to play some of Gears of War Judgment’s new multiplayer mode, “Overrun”. This is the new version of Gears of War’s previous “Horde Mode”. Here is a basic overview of the mode and it’s systems, and my first impressions.
The game mode is essentially a class and objective based multiplayer match, with two teams of players facing off; COG soldiers versus locust units. These two teams each have several classes, but differ in the initial range and availability of classes.
The COG team has four classes; Soldier, Scout, Medic and Engineer. The COG soldiers each have a unique ability triggered by pressing LB which provides the team with health, ammo, defensive turrets or a beacon to show enemy locations. The defenses set up already (barbed wire and laser fences) can be moved through by any COG units, but will stop any Locust units from moving forward. They are able to destroy them but the engineer is able to repaired these defenses.
The four COG class characters.
The locust team differs in it’s organization. Initially you have access to four types of locust. As you gather points in game (given for kills, assists and damage dealt) you can ‘purchase’ one of the four extra, more powerful locust with your scored points, allowing access to that class of locust until the unit is killed. Units include Tickers, Locust infantry and even the Corpser!
The map I played on, Skyline, is a series of rooftops. The map is split into three for the three intervals of gameplay. The first two intervals see the COG trying to protect the covers on Locust emergence holes, and the Locust’s goal is to destroy these caps. If the Locust destroy the cap the next interval begins, and the locust spawn becomes the newly opened emergence hole. If the COG can hold the emergence hole the ‘hammer of dawn’ is brought online, the COG win and the second round begins with the teams swapping from COG to Locust and vice versa.When the locust destroy the caps on two emergence holes interval three begins, and the COG must hold their generator, the final objective for the Locust.
The game mode is quite fun. The gameplay feels like a proper Gears of War game even with the new developer, People Can Fly. The graphics are a step up from Gears of War 3 and will likely look even better in the full game. The controls for the less human-like locusts has been revamped from Gears 3, making it easier and more fluid to play. Once more maps are added to the roster the variety will be much higher, and I hope to see some more variations in the objectives, but they are still quite well put together. The teams of human players and extra bots should there be an insufficient number of players works well allowing much faster game entry and less network issues. Once this game is released next week players should enjoy the new take on the fan favorite Horde Mode, marking a great new entry into the Gears of War multiplayer modes. Overall Overrun is quite a success for People Can Fly and it’ll be interesting to see how players can work as a team and strive for victory in Gears of War Judgment!
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is like a kung-fu action movie that is hopped up on steroids that you just don’t want to end. Developed by Platinum Games (Bayonetta; Vanquish; Madworld) and published by published by Konami this is the mutant off spring of the formally cancelled Kojima Studios game Metal Gear Rising. The game was cancelled then later picked up by Platinum and completely reworked from the ground up with the consent of Hideo Kojima.
It’s an action, hack and slash game that is high paced and features an amazing new system mechanic. The mechanic is like bullet-time with a sword, but much cooler. Once doing enough damage to an enemy you are prompted with a slow down effect where you can in turn slice away at your opponent in slow motion. Doing so causes tons of dismemberment and it is truly a sight to behold. Mind you, this game is not for the faint of heart.
The story takes place four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4. You play as Raiden, the awesome ninja cyborg dude who used to suck in Metal Gear Solid 2…yeah that guy. You work for a Maverick security working to save money for his family by protecting Prime Minister N’Mani of an unknown African location. Next thing you know you are ambushed and the prime minister is captured then killed. During your rescue you become injured and defeated by one of the captors working for another group affiliated with Desperado Empires, a group associated with terrorism.
Not long after you soon end up trying to seek revenge a couple weeks later after your defeat. The story then unravels to several different plot points that seem very Metal Gear-esque. Without me spoiling the very convoluted plot, let me say it is all over the place with tons of codec dialogue and moments that will make you go “huh?”
Unfortunately the story mode is very short. I personally beat the game in a little under five hours. Granted those five hours were very awesome and filled with great action that is simply indescribable. Luckily, for those not willing to play the game multiple times, which I highly recommend, there are extra VR Missions that can be unlocked through the story. These test your sneaking ability and your combat skills. Not to mention the tons of skills and other statistical things you’d want to gain and extras to collect.
The sound design is another very strong component of this title. Composed by Jamie Christopherson it features amazing rock/techno/orchestral music. It’s so good I enjoy listening to it even after I am done with the game. Not to mention the awesome sounds of explosions, decapitation and sword slashes. It’s overall just awesome.
The graphics are also a marvel. Environments feature fully cut-able things from which you can wreak your destruction upon. The action looks so good as the game runs at a very smooth 60 fps. Sadly, some of the stages are just too open and barren. Understandable though considering how much work it must take to do such feats.
Most importantly is how the game plays. Safe to say it is very intuitive and yet simplistic. The game’s simple light and heavy attack system complement each other well. Combos are easy and fluent when stringing attacks together and can make you feel very badass. The only problem is the camera, which for the majority of the time works until there are either way too many enemies or you’re in a weird spot.
Overall Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is an amazing experience that Metal Gear fans and action fans shouldn’t miss. Sure the campaign could stand to longer but, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were to see a sequel in the future.
Capcom wanted to reboot the Devil May Cry games to bring in new life and a new crowd into Dante’s universe. Sarah, who hasn’t played all the way through any of the previous DMC games, enjoyed this game as a newcomer. I, on the other hand, played all of the other games and really enjoyed the series. I must admit, I was one of those people who threw a temper tantrum when I heard about the reboot and saw the new Dante. But I wanted to give this game a fair shake, so how does DMC hold up to a fan of the original? It has its ups and downs, but overall it’s a solid game that original fans should play.
This retelling of DMC brings back first big baddy of the series, Mundus, as the Demon overlord who killed Dante’s mother and imprisoned his Father for all eternity. No longer half demon, but half demon and half angel, Dante is recruited by his long lost brother Vergil to take down Mundus and free humanity while hacking and slashing every demon in Limbo along the way. One of the best things of this story is the relationship between Dante, Vergil, and Kat. Dante comes off as punkish and uncaring at first and through Kat finds something worth fighting for. Vergil and Dante really feel like brothers here, I really loved the little banter they had closer to the end of the game one upping each other by saying how they are stronger or smarter than the other. Mundus, however, felt really bland as a villain. He has more personality than in the original game, but it’s still very cookie cutter villain. The story is pretty predictable and not great but was able to create some pretty tense cut scenes which I never saw in any of the original DMCs. But the biggest issue I had, and maybe it’s because I’m a fan of the original, was Dante. Dante was a punk and a smart ass, not emo, and that’s perfectly fine. Yet a lot of his quips fell flat. It felt like Ninja Theory couldn’t decide if they wanted their Dante to be his own man or harp back to the original. His dialogue lacked the charm it felt like it was going for. Overall, the story wasn’t great but still good.
DMC takes place in Limbo, a parallel world where the demons reside. Levels are impressive, with ever changing landscapes and the world literally trying to kill you. It makes for some fun platforming action. My favorite had to have been the club level, which looks like every raver’s dream. Yet it seems that near the end, the developers ran out of ideas and fall back on some contrive and all too familiar level design. The graphics are good and flow smoothly. I didn’t run into any lag, which is important for a combat game that moves this quickly. There were a few times when textures took a while to pop up during cut scenes but that rarely happened. Overall a great looking game
The most important aspect of any Devil May Cry game is the combat, and it shines here. You will get access to five weapons and 3 guns over the course of the game, all of which you can switch to on the fly. This can make for some crazy combos. While the initial combat is easy enough for newcomers to grasp, veterans can appreciate the depth of the hack-n-slash of DMC. And with the new emphasis on air combo and juggling, you can literally fly upward and off the screen if you time all your moves right. Fans of the hack-n-slash genre will enjoy this game. A problem I ran into is that when you finally unlock your devil trigger, the ability to slow down time and fling all your enemies in the air to do extra damage, it takes so long to build up the meter that it becomes almost unusable. Not a huge issue but still an annoyance. After each play through you unlock more difficult settings that remix the enemies you run into and with some settings making you die in one hit. This provides moderate replayability reserved only for the most serious of DMC fans.
Overall this game hits many of the marks it sets out to hit, while not a perfect game, its still solid and a “Hell” of a lot of fun. See what I did there? Yes, this is a different Dante and a different DMC but long time fans should give this game a try before making their decision, you may be surprised in how much you like it. I give this DMC: Devil May Cry 8 out of 10
Before I get into this review I want to make something absolutely clear. I am not a HALO 4 fanboy, or a fanboy of any kind. My opinions, and facts are not biased in an shape, form, or fashion. When I pay $60 of my hard earned cash on a game that is sworn to be better than the previous titles in the series, and it turns out to be flawed in more ways than one you can bet your bottom dollar I will complain no matter what the game is. In fact I’ll go so far as to rant on all the social media sites if I deem it necessary. That’s just the way I roll, so you can get over it. with that being said though I will stick to mostly facts (less opinion), and not tell lies concerning the game even if I think it sucks. In the following review I hope to stay truthful while displaying some brutal honesty as this game definitely warrants it. What you as a reader can expect from the following review is a sectional description of the pros & cons I found during my partial playthrough of the game. I’ll also include some details on what the game offers the player. I’m not going to give any gun breakdowns, or hints on what the best class setup is. You can go to Youtube for that info. This review is simply to inform you (my reader) on what you’re getting yourself into if you choose to buy ‘Black Ops 2′, and nothing more. With all of that out of the way I do hope you enjoy the following review, and that it helps you better understand the latest addition to the ‘Call of Duty’ series.
Months before Treyarch released ‘Black Ops 2′ the internet was ablaze with all sorts of hype concerning the game. Some of this hype was passed on by individuals who were merely guessing as to what we could expect, and other hype was thrown out there by Treyarch themselves. As usual mindless morons such as myself fell for the hype head over heels. I was reluctant at first to even consider buying the game, because deep down I knew it would probably be just like the other screwed up ‘Call of Duty’ games. Unfortunately curiosity got the best of me, and I ended up pre-ordering the game. Being stuck with it I figured I’d best get my money’s worth out of it, and hopefully this review will help me make up for my loss in some small way.
The ‘Campaign’ mode in ‘Black Ops 2′ is likely the best one to ever grace a ‘Call of Duty’ game. It obviously picks up where the other one left off, but it doesn’t linger to long in the past. When you start up ‘Campaign’ you will be greeted by the usual difficulty setting choices. There’s difficulty settings for every type of gamer ranging from easy to hardcore. Being the tried & true gamer that I am I opted to go for the ‘NORMAL’ difficulty setting. Aside from difficulty options this CoD campaign also allows the gamer to customize their loadout before facing the current mission. I noticed that there were some weapons unique to this mode that were not included in the ‘MULTIPLAYER’ portion of the game. This could possibly mean that gun dlc is on the way, or that Treyarch simply wanted the two modes to be different from one another. What ever the case may be there’s definitely a difference there.
Visually Black Ops 2′s ‘Campaign’ is leagues better than it’s multiplayer counterpart. There’s plenty of grisly war torn scenes that play out with high quality detail. Whether your trying to save Frank Woods from a torturous death in an enemy jungle, or para-gliding down a canyon in the rain you will experience visuals that are nothing short of breathtaking. The audio soundtrack that accompanies this larger than life tale of global war only enhances the experience even further. I have an HDtv, and after seeing the story play out before my own eyes I can honestly say that this is one of the best looking games this year. The bloody details on Frank Woods, and his life-like gasps for air only made the impending danger that much more realistic. The intensity is definitely more severe this time around as the soldiers interactions are more realistic than I’ve witnessed in past CoD titles. I should also mention that some well known, and well recognizable Hollywood actors make cameo appearances within ‘Campaign’. In fact one of the main support characters is such an actor.
Treyarch once again raises their fan favorite ‘Zombie’ mode from it’s resting place giving it revamped visuals, new locales, and even a new mode of gameplay. You’ll find your guilty pleasure comes in both offline, and online modes this time around. At the heart of either mode you’ll find that there are three locations available for group oriented zombie survival. The “Green Run Tranzit” features the infamous bus that was shown in the preview trailer. You’ll also find a rustic/rundown farm that looks oddly inspired by certain events in “The Walking Dead” video game. The “Green Run Town” on the other hand looks as if it were a locale that fell victim to more than just the zombie outbreak. Like other maps you’ll find that the ground is buckled up, and cracked beneath your feet, and that lava/flames are spouting out of the cracks. The attention to detail is notable, but the special effects (vision blurs, flame effects …) are overly applied making the tasks at hand more annoying than fun.
The modes in the online/offline portions of ‘Zombies’ contains the usual co-op, survival, and even a new mode called “Grief”. Fans of the original Black Ops zombies mode will be familiar with the co-op, and survival modes. They are exactly as the name/title suggests. In co-op you can join in a party of up to 4 players as you try to survive wave after wave of zombie attacks. Boarding up windows, and collecting new guns/weapons is a must if you hope to survive for the long haul. When it comes to the ‘Survival’ mode there’s little difference to co-op. The goal is fairly much the same, but if I remember correctly the player limit is different. Grief is a different story all together though. In ‘Grief’ you take on the role of either the FBI, CIA or CDC. Both teams are split up accordingly, and the goal is to outlast the other team as a relentless wave of zombies attacks everyone. In this mode you cannot kill opposing players directly, but can (“supposedly”) find meat that you can throw at the opposing players in order to attract zombies to them. The key to long term survival in ‘Grief’ is staying in close groups. Reviving downed comrades is also a must if you hope to outlast your opponents.
My opinion of ‘Zombies’ is somewhat pessimistic. I found that the maps were really small for the most part, and that they paled in comparison to what the original game type offered. As for the graphics are concerned they’re alright. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they looked as good as they did in the original Black Ops though. Some of the things that really bothered me when it cme to the graphic presentation were the massive amount of flames applied to the Town level in ‘Grief’, or other levels in ‘Zombie’. The flames really obstructed your view of the level, and figuring out who was a friend or foe was unnecessarily made difficult as a result. The constantly blurred vision caused by the flames really made things worse. I would have loved to have seen the level in it’s entirety without being plagued by constantly impaired character vision. As far as the modes in ‘Zombies’ go ‘Grief’ was definitely an awesome addition to the series. I actually liked the competitive aspect of it. I only wish that direct player to player killing was allowed, as it would have made for a more fun experience.
Multiplayer has always been the core reason as to why CoD fans flock to the series. The arcade style gameplay definitely gives it a feel that no other FPS game developer has really been able to duplicate. I myself have often times been mesmerized by the game series’ online multiplayer offerings. In Black Ops 2 the arcade style gameplay continues on, but in a somewhat altered state. What you’ll find in Black Ops 2 multiplayer is the usual array of modes, an emblem editor, and a slew of new weapons that have yet to be seen in the CoD franchise. The class setup this time around has also been altered significantly allowing players to have only 10 items per class. This means you will have to sacrifice some things in order to achieve a setup that works best for your playing style. This time around perks, attachments, lethal, tactical, and wildcards play a huge role in making the perfect class. The wildcards in particular are a new set of class add-ons that act somewhat like perks giving the player the opportunity to add things like more slots to their perks, or even their weapons. Balancing your needs, and wants in the class setup will definitely take some thinking this time.
When it comes to online gameplay the quality that ‘Black Ops 2′ offers is severely lacking. I found that a lot of the maps are small in size, and that the attention to detail is less than it has been in previous CoD titles. Often times when peering through one of your gun scopes you’ll notice that outlines are pixelated giving the game a more unpolished appearance. The gameplay itself is also flawed. I recall someone stating before the game’s release that there would be no lag compensation involved in ‘Black Ops 2′, but I quickly found out otherwise when playing online against random players. The infamous “Wanted (Movie Reference)” bullets have returned in their full glory making for some really cheap deaths/kills. I have found myself dying many times by gun shots after I was around a corner, and seemingly out of harm’s way. Another thing that plagues the game is hacking, and ragequitting. Yesterday while playing ‘Black Ops 2′ someone actually fooled with my character controls via a hack. It was like me trying to take control of my own controls. I also encountered a player who was forcing host migration in order to end up on the winning team. As far as ragequitting is concerned it is an all-out epidemic, and happens frequently during online gaming sessions. I blame spoiled a** brats for this tomfoolery, but that of course is my opinion. Whichever way you look at it though this latest addition to the CoD franchise is by far worse than any of the previous releases. There is no doubt in my mind that things will only get worse as time goes on.
How can I say this, and be polite about it? Stay the hell away from this game folks!!! It’s a waste of money, and is just another example of greed by video game developers. As long as Treyarch, or Infinity Ward believe they can make money off of people with a poorly executed products they will do so. It would only take one failed game release to make them realize that they have to produce something of quality to make the profits they have made in the past. Believe me when I tell you that the game developers behind the CoD franchise have more than enough money to make a noteworthy game. I’m just wondering what their excuse is!? HALO 4 for example was released without any notable issues. The game is still going strong, and is most definitely worth the $60 asking price. In fact I’d recommend ‘HALO 4′ over ‘Black Ops 2′ any day, and that is not a fanboy remark my friends. In closing, “Please do not fall for the promises of another CoD game, I beg you!!!”. As for me I will definitely not be buying another Call of Duty game.
Ubisoft has recently come out with the next installment in the blockbuster series Assassin’s Creed, with Assassin’s Creed III. This time, they are moving towards the modern era of Gunpowder and ditching the era of Knights on Horseback and Cavalry charges. The time of Altair and Ezio has closed, and the next chapter opens with Connor or by his Mohawk name, Ratonhnhaké:ton, the next Assassin to make the rank of Master Assassin. Side note: If someone can say that name correctly, without cheating, I’ll give you a whole dollar… I’m kidding. The story of Connor, doesn’t start with him per say, but gives you his back-story and his reasons for becoming an Assassin.
The story is amazing, weaved together with the events focusing on and around, the American Revolution. You will meet famous heroes from the time, like George Washington, Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and many more; the men who, stood up and fought against the tyranny of the English Crown. The story will have you engrossed and wanting to see the war from Connor’s eyes. But with a story being weaved, there’s always a loose stitch or two. The first stitch that comes loose from the story, is the beginning of the game, which many have deemed slow. But once you’re through that rough patch, it picks up. Desmond, the other “main” character of the story is intact and the real world is once again, delegated to a small confines of a cave this time in Upstate New York, working with his father, Shaun, and Rebecca. You do venture out of the cave for various reasons, and see Desmond Parkour, just like his ancestors before him, but these are to get the story in the real World, continuing on towards the Doomsday Apocalypse, of a massive solar flare that will destroy Earth on December 21st, 2012 mentioned by the First Civilization. Also, in Assassin’s Creed storytelling style, you’ll be cursing the screen at moments that happen or being confused as hell from something that just transpired. I won’t spoil anything story related, but I personally believe from the arc of the story, the historical background its set in, the cast of characters that play a role, and Connor’s beliefs and philosophies clashing, makes it the better of the 5 games, thus far.
The gameplay is right up the alley of any returning vet of the Assassin’s series. Quick kills, visceral combos and the always fun assassination moves from the tops of building, and for the first time, trees. I’m being serious, you can kill from the tree tops, and use the amazingly fun, Rope Dart; nothing like getting the drop in on some Redcoats. And another great action added to AC3, was the human shield ability. You’ll be in mid-combat and the yellow warning arrows will appear and you quickly grab a Redcoat and go right back on the offensive once the salvo is done. Even if this is your first time playing an AC game, the controls won’t be foreign to you, easy to pick up and play. But I highly recommend playing the previous titles with Altair and Ezio, just for the wonderful stories. Your playground ranges from Boston, New York, the Frontier between the two, and the Homestead. In sheer size of the first three maps, mainly the Frontier, you’ll notice they are bigger than the previous games cities, and also, you’ll wander and get lost for hours, because I did.
They additionally added the Hunting to the mix, allowing you to hunt woodland creatures to your delight or dismay, PETA I’m looking at you. At this point of the game, I’m at sequence 7, with 43% of a complete game, and my play time is around 17 hrs., 43 mins, and some odd seconds. You’ll get your play time and monies worth, if you’re a completionist. But most of that time, may be attributed to getting lost in the Frontier and stalking wildlife from tree tops. AC3 also added a new naval aspect, and it doesn’t disappoint. You will man the ship Aquila, and she is stubborn giant of a ship, and she will damage any and everything. The controls are easy to pick up, with a very simplified control scheme for speed, firing cannons, both port and starboard, by looking in that direction. And my personal favorite… Ramming! No better joy than, ramming directly into the bow and coming alongside and fire your port side cannons. That sounds rather… I’ll leave it at that.
Just like in previous Assassin’s Creed, you have a ton of side quests and mission. As previously mentioned the naval missions, and starting and building of your Homestead off of the Frontier. This entails person finding and gathering a group, by doing various find this person or help this person with a task. They also have just a few clubs instead of every single guild has 20 challenges, that you know, most won’t do or say this, “I can’t do that.”, or best yet, “Seriously, this is impossible.” Also, the recruiting Assassin’s to the Brotherhood is simpler than previous incarnations. For instance, you’ll do a mission while in either Boston or New York, and it doesn’t lock you into it, it’s normally roaming Redcoats forcibly recruiting the young or beat these thugs shaking down harbor vendors. And your Assassins are no longer leveled up, and sent off to lands to hold and have to do a process of swapping them, in and out, and they die from something stupid, like falling from a building, when they’re with you. But this time, you send them off, they complete the mission, and they come back victorious or defeated, and no one dies.
The multiplayer follows the, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and that’s not a bad thing in the case of AC3. All the modes return for the kill one, get killed two seconds later. Fast-paced mode of Simple Deathmatch, no perks or abilities, you see everybody no matter what, and just kill each other. The normal Deathmatch with perks and abilities and multiple copies of the player avatar is still there for your stalking and blending pleasures. Team Objectives gets a new mode in domination, think 3 zones, fighting and defending, highest score wins. It’s quite fun when you have a team communicating, and not senselessly running around as if it’s just another game of team Deathmatch. It’s a personal pet peeve of mine. And even the newer game mode, which is Wolf Pack. How can I explain it, think of it as a team game, but wanting to be top Templar in the mode, but the more reckless you are, the lower the kill score, but the more kills done at the same time, more points. Also, the more points you get, the more time you earn and you have to achieve sequences by earning points, and big points later in the sequences.
its going to be a cold and Bloody day
Assassin’s Creed graphically, wasn’t always O MY GOD! But they do it right for what they have in the Anvil Next Engine. From the in-game cutscenes to the water in the naval missions, and they look great. But the bushes… well they look like they are from previous Gens for the wilderness. But the city landscape are detailed and rendered amazing. We all know, that AC was never really known for their graphics, it’s been the gameplay. That’s my personal opinion, take it or leave it. At one point, and I’ll specifically mention this, draw distance, is amazing. There’s a Lighthouse in the Frontier, and to climb to the top of it and just look around, it simply amazing. With the new addition of Captaining a warship, from the most awkward angle, behind the wheel, the sea when it’s calm or when it’s rough and you can be destroyed by a rogue wave. It’s simply amazing and awesome. When you see it, you’ll say they put their time into making this part of the game, and hopefully something to stay. But not all games can have amazing graphics or even remotely good graphics without hiccups. The AI will one more than one occasion will wig out and do the most bizarre things with their bodies, like become a contortionist, just from the waist down. Or while you’re riding your horse, at full gallop or spurring it on, you’ll hit invisible walls. They’ll randomly pop up at the most inopportune moment, like having a minute thirty to get to Concord from Lexington.
Everything isn’t golden in Assassin’s Creed III as you would think it is. Don’t ever walk through the Frontier, at night, while not on horse, or you’ll get attacked by every wolf, bobcat, bear, or elk, in the World. As people nowadays, want to do everything and complete everything, so they can either platinum or 1000 point a game, this one has that, but the biggest aggressor, is the optional task attached to the story missions. For example, Air Assassinate a Grenadier… What in the World does a Grenadier look like? Oh and to add to it, don’t get caught on a ship in the middle of the bay. I’ll leave you with that lovely picture of constant restarts and rising blood pressure. The AI isn’t completely dumb, allowing you to wade into every group of Redcoats and leave unscathed, like you were never there, but it’s not above the point of chasing you, with a large group, and falling into the Boston Harbor to die, and meet Davey Jones. A personal gripe, when you’re doing homestead missions that have you talking to some of your townsfolk, nobody moves their arms or does anything human like. They stand there bobbing back and forth and talk, but like I said, personal gripe.
To me personally, Assassin’s Creed III, delivers on everything an Assassin’s game is supposed to be. Fixes on the short fall of predecessors, and even continues some of them as well. I’m looking at you horse, and riding to every incident due to the fact that, the fast travel is just as far. But I digress, the game flows after stumbling slightly over the beginning story, it captivates you into the story of Connor and the Order and shaping the future during the American Revolution, and all the while, looking cool. A solid entry into the Assassin’s Creed series, and I believe, the new hero Connor, can stand with Altair and Ezio in the annals of the Order. Even the story outside the Animus, with Desmond and company is still adds to the overall pieces of the story, as the clock for them, keeps ticking closer to December 21st, 2012.
Resident Evil 6, from development until release, your fans have been crying out. Some, excited for the direction you were taking, others demanding for the good old days of scares and tank controls. It’s time to decide who was right, and the answer is… they both were. Here’s our review.
Is this Resident Evil or a boy band?
There’s no denying that RE6 is ambitious. 3 campaigns are available from the beginning; Leon, Jake, and Chris. Each represents a different style and tonality to the game. Leon brings back the zombies and has a grimmer, “scarier” storyline. But in all honesty, this game isn’t scary. If you are expecting to be shaking in your bed at night, you bought the wrong game. That being said, I don’t think it takes away from the game; Resident Evil hasn’t been scary since code Veronica in my opinion. And actively stopped trying to be scary since 4. Chris is more of the middle ground; running, gunning, and using his arms to falcon punch everyone standing in his way. Newcomer Jake has lots of action but feels the most fresh. His melee attacks are pretty fun to use in a group and has a charmingly jerk personality. Both Chris and Jake fight J’avo, who can mutate when they take damage to different parts of there bodies. Did I also mention they shoot guns? Ya they shoot guns, making there gameplay more like Gears of War. Packed to the brim with action and set pieces, a bit, if a tiny bit, Resident Evil tries to make everyone happy. And there in lies the problem. By trying to please everyone, it becomes too muddled.
Where’s my iCube?
The storyline is a bit scatterbrained and generic. Honestly, I figured out who the bad guy was from the trailers, even though the game acts like it’s a secret. The traditional “Stop the ‘insert letter’-virus and who ever released it is back. It’s cool how stories from the different campaigns intersect and you get different perspectives on events. Yet the length of the individual stories are shorter than most games so you don’t get to know new characters very well. I’m surprised they were able to flush out Jake’s story enough to make him a hopefully recurring character, but the bad guy of this game is so generic. You don’t really get to know any of him until you have to fight him, very cookie cutter villainy here. Speaking of the bad guy, in Leon’s campaign you fight this guy 4 or 5 different times. Seriously, how many times do I have this kill this guy for him to stay dead? There are also a lot of cheap deaths in this game; if you lose all your health and your partner is recovering you, you better hope there are no enemies around in. Enemies can attack you right after you are saved when you don’t have any control over your character. And with zero health it means instant death.
“I know my biceps shrunk. NO PICTURES!”
Co-op is pretty fun… some of the time. It’s nice to not have to share your items with the A.I. or multiplayer partner, something Capcom actively wanted to fix from 5. This makes you’re A.I. less of a hindrance. Yet sometimes, it’ better to have the A.I. than an actual player. The A.I. can’t die or cause you a gameover, other players can. And if you’re unlucky, you get one of those players who tries their hardest to do absolutely nothing when you are waiting for them to come pull a lever with you to continue on. A new mode brought to the table is Agent Hunt, where you get to control a monster in someone else’s game and try to kill them. Thing with this is it’s hard to control and most times you will either try to kill them and fail or jump in a game 5 seconds before they leave the area ending your session. Mercenaries is back and just as fun, especially with a partner and with a few collectibles and the promise of DLC, even if the PS3 users get hosed in that department, provides a lot of replay value. And if you are trying to unlock all the skills, you will have to play A LOT! It’s insane how much xp you need to unlock most of the skills. So if that’s you, be prepared to grind.
Agent Hunt mode in action
Resident Evil 6 is by no means a bad game. It might not be the Resident Evil that some fans wanted but that doesn’t make it bad. It has a ton of action and is a lot of fun, especially with your friends. It does have its problems and hopefully the next game will be more focused and able to flesh out the story and iron out the problems presented here. Resident Evil 6 gets a 3 out of 5.
We are back again!! Again!! Even though we said the wrong episode number. We are old, what do you expect? Sit back and enjoy us rip on the NFL replacement refs and all of our gaming opinions. Our good friend Robert Workman stops buy and classes up the place, or downgrades the place? We need all the help we can get sometimes. Robert is one of our favorite gamers. Anyway, we also discuss kids playing online, and Big Shel moving to Texas. We talk about the new games coming out as well. Enjoy the show!!!