Archive for Origins

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – From Ancient Greece to the American Revolution and Back with One Season Pass

Posted in Gaming these days ..., News with tags , , , , , on September 26, 2018 by Rabidgames

First of all – the fuck? Whenever Rabidgames buys the ultimate or whatever version of a game to enjoy the complete version with all DLCs or just because it is dead cheap and the 360 version is in a box, boom, a remaster appears out of thin air. Dragon’s Dogma, boom! Far Cry 3, boom! Red Faction Guerilla, boom! And now, Assassin’s Creed 3, boom! How about Oblivion Remastered then? Or New Vegas, you know, the Fallout people fucking want?

Anyway, what were we talking about, oh, Assassin’s Creed 3, right. As you might have heard, the Remastered version will be part of the Season Pass of the soon coming Greek tragedy Assassin’s Creed Odyssey! Or you can buy the game separately if you don’t like Greek culture and food, or if you’ve had one too many ouzos once or twice …

So yeah. There are some reasons to question Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – it is set before the Assassins were formed, it is set only in Greece (which feels a bit sad after the diverse climates and the pyramids of Egypt), people there don’t revere cats as much, and then there’s a focus on naval combat no one has really asked for because let’s face it, naval combat in Black Flag – aye, naval combat in Origins – nay.

But it could still be a great game – there are also tons of good news – exploration mode for isntance. No more “follow the main quest” … well, still a bit, but Odyssey allows you to explore Greece at your leisure even more than Origins did with Egypt. One could say you can have your own open-ended Odyssey …

Choices also appear to be meaningful in this seemingly deep action RPG, at least if we believe Ubi’s PR machine. In many ways, Odyssey sounds like the Bioware game fucking EA has denied us this generation. True, Inquisition was decent enough, although it paled and withered once The Witcher 3 claimed the RPG throne. But Odyssey could have what it takes to best at least Bioware’s efforts. At the very least, we can decide if we support Athens or Sparta, and it seems we can do a whole lot more dirty mercenary work, including recruiting a crew again (there’ll also be a trophy for having recruited an all-female crew) …

And then, all the stuff after release. Sure, it would be nice to have all at once – but have you read the details of Odyssey’s Season Pass? Two expansions, one about Atlantis! The episodic content sucks, sure, but Atlantis!

Here’s the thing. Ubisoft does questionable, very questionable things at times, like still having games with fucking loot boxes, or always-online for The Crew or The Division. And fucking loot boxes! But when it comes to value for money, Odyssey looks like a big fucking deal! Procided you like Assassin’s Creed, you pay 80 to 100 quid (depending on the version) for a 100 hour game. Plus the massive Assassin’s Creed 3 (hopefully a bit streamlined) plus its great tyrannic alternate history, plus the smaller bonus of Liberation!

And then, there’s the free stuff. We’ll get another Discovery tour and more free weekly and daily DLC in the form of mini quests! So, that’s plenty of bang for your bucks. But … well, there’s also a big concern. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey could very well have an expiration date, similar to pretty much every fucking game this year if you own a PS4 or a One. Let’s face it, Red Dead Redemption 2 is already raring to go, and unless Rockstar does a massive, massive fuck-up, it looks like a goddamn serious Game of the Decade contender. But pretty much every game this year has that red dead problem …

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Assassin’s Creed’s Timeline or Full Circle

Posted in Gaming these days ..., Revisited with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2017 by Rabidgames

With Assassin’s Creed Origins just out, why not take a look at the history of the series? For this purpose, we’ll only look at the main games (Liberations not included as it is considerably smaller), and if they’re worth visiting again. For this purpose, Rabidgames has played each game for at least 5 hours.

Assassin’s Creed

The Setting: Medieval Middle East during the Third Crusade. We can explore three cities, Jerusalem, Acre, Damascus, as well as the hub and assassin hub of Masyaf. And we meet a real life Templar leader …

The Story: Pretty much just killing Templars to obtain the Apple of Eden, a powerful artifact (it’s a long story). In present times, we are introduced to Desmond, Lucy and Abstergo, the modern-day Templars.

The Gameplay: Repetitive. The first Assassin’s Creed is 9 assassinations – the good thing is you can do them however you please (to a degree), the bad news is you have to repeat the very same steps leading towards the assassination 9 times. Oh, and you better enjoy gathering a million flags …

The Verdict: Hard to get into now. Essentially a tech demo.

 

Assassin’s Creed 2

The Setting: Renaissance Venice, Florence, the family hub of Monteriggioni and a few more locations. You get to meet folk such as Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli, Caterina Sforza, Bartolomeo d’Alviano, Lorenzo de Medici, the villainous Borgia and uncle Mario.

The Story: Experience how Ezio turns from spoilt playboy to feared Assassin leader who takes on the corrupt pope and meets members of the first civilisation (who created the Apple from AC1 and lived on earth before humanity). In present day, Desmond meets a few more Assassins.

The Gameplay: More varied, more counters, more tools. If you’re into puzzles, you can explore caverns and tombs, or you can solve glyph puzzles that give you some insight into the world of Assassin’s Creed.

The Verdict: The story is still great, the gameplay feels a bit bare-bone now though. Still worth experiencing though.

 

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

The Setting: Renaissance Rome, including all points of interests and the outskirts. Also, you can explore present-day Monteriggioni. Most of the cast from AC2 appear again. Desmond gets a bit stabby at the end of the game.

The Story: Monteriggioni is attacked. A wounded Ezio arrives in Rome to take revenge. And take revenge he does …

The Gameplay: Well, mostly a refined version of AC2. Plus you can now recruit and command assassins and send them on missions. We learn more of the perennial bad girl Juno. For whatever idiotic reason, multiplayer gets introduced. Who asked for this?

The Verdict: Commanding your brotherhood never gets old. Still fun to mess around with.

 

Assassin’s Creed Revelations

The Setting: Istanbul/Constantinople. The city looks and feels different from the previous games.

The Story: Ezio travels to Istanbul/Constantinople to discover an important secret. Also, we get to know more about Altair. Desmond is stuck in the Animus.

The Gameplay: More of the same, but with bombs and more mobility. Sadly, no more glyphs but a poor Tower Defense mini-game. Unfortunately, multiplayer is still in.

The Verdict: This game has a same old, same old feeling sadly. Lots of extra stuff not worth your while.

 

Assassin’s Creed III

The Setting: The American Revolution. Set in the wilderness, protagonist Connor’s homestead and rather rural looking Boston and New York. A stellar cast, including Franklin, Washington, Jefferson and many more.

The Story: The American Revolution. However, the game deviates from its predecessors by telling the story in different shades of grey. We also get a bit of a Vader/Luke situation. Also, the end of Desmond’s story and Juno’s release.

The Gameplay: A few changes, but mostly just redefined from previous games. A hint of naval battles and trekking through the wilderness – a highlight in deep snow – as well as hunting gave AC3 a different feeling though. There are also quite a few segments in present day with Desmond. Unfortunately, multiplayer is still in.

The Verdict: Tough one. The story is great, the gameplay can be fun, but it is a few chapters too long and the crafting and economic system are mostly useless. Still, Ubisoft dared to touch this sensitive topic and delivered a game neither neglecting the will for freedom nor how the freedom was exploited quickly.

 

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag

The Setting: The Caribbean. Pirates. Ships. Your ship. Three major cities; Kingston, Havana and Nassau, a multitude of little islands and your very own hideout island. You meet quite a few famous pirates, including the infamous Blackbeard.

The Story: A pirate (father/grandfather of the protagonists of AC3) turns Templar turns Assassin (and stays there). The story actually spans 3 different times, and present day is narrated from the eyes of an Abstergo employee. Juno says hello, and the Sages are introduced.

The Gameplay: On land, not much changed. Except for awful tailing missions, the low point of Black Flag. The naval battles are an absolute highlight though. You are an Abstergo employee in present day – anonymous and clueless. Unfortunately, multiplayer is still in.

The Verdict: Great and different. Sailing the seas and sinking ships never gets old.

 

Assassin’s Creed Rogue

The Setting: The Atlantic Ocean near the Northern American coast, a smaller map with more islands, New York. And your ship. Not much happens in present day.

The Story: You play as an Assassin turned Templar! Nice change, eh?

The Gameplay: Same as Black Flag, plus a few extras here or there. Thankfully, minus multiplayer.

The Verdict: The story ties together the American saga ACs (although the beginning of Unity is related, too). It’s a bit short in terms of story, but again – sailing and sinking. Oh, and fighting Assassins, of course.

 

Assassin’s Creed Unity

The Setting: Paris during the revolution (the French one in case you’re wondering). A very lively and nicely looking Paris full of details and atmosphere. You get to meet characters including Napoleon, Marquis de Sade and Robespierre.

The Story: Entirely forgettable. Not much happens in present day either.

The Gameplay: A few new systems, but fighting was way too clumsy and not intuitive. Co-op missions are in for whatever reason, another thing no one ever asked for. Speaking of shit no one ever asked for – locked chests you could only open with a companion app – a low point.

The Verdict: Broken at release, now Paris is a joy to explore, but a chore to play through. Boring protagonist and the revolution just happens around you.

 

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

The Setting: London in Victorian times, including the Buckingham Palace, the Tower and Big Ben. And a bit of London during World War 1. Your base is a moving train. You get to meet the likes of Marx, Dickens, Darwin, Florence Nightingale, a young Arthur Conan Doyle and Winston Churchill.

The Story: Two twins take over gangs and take down a Templar conspiracy in London while London oozes Victorian and proto-capitalist (poisonous) air. Something very important happens in present day. And the Assassins save the queen. Obviously.

The Gameplay: Sleek and refined. There are also Hitman-style assassinations and you can develop both characters differently. Diverse and rewarding side missions make sure there’s always something to do in London. Oh, and no more fucking mutiplayer, yay!

The Verdict: The best gameplay, hands down. And a great protagonist (Evie, not Jacob) make the game a joy to play and mess around with gangsters and cops.

 

To sum it up, while Unity can very easily be called the weakest game due to its forgettable story and nothing important really happening (even if we forget about the technical issues at start), it’s difficult to name ONE game to be the best Assassin’s Creed game – story-wise, Assassin’s Creed 2 wins. Brotherhood has the best feeling of being an Assassin leader, while Black Flag’s offer to be a pirate is hard to refuse. And then we have Syndicate with the most fluent and refined gameplay.

Rabidgames ponders: Perhaps Origins really is the best game in the series. That would decide it easily without thinking too hard about the best Assassin’s Creed …

Of Lootboxes, Micro-Transactions and Ads Telling the Truth for Once

Posted in Gaming these days ..., The Latest with tags , , , , on October 12, 2017 by Rabidgames

Oh boy, we’ve come a long way. It started with the now oh-so-innocent Oblivion horse armour, continued with  pre-order DLC, season passes and micro-transactions, and now we’ve come full circle with lootbox micro-transactions and an ad telling the truth for once about pre-order shit. Ironic.

So, first, lootboxes and micro-transactions. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War uses them in its fourth act Shadow Wars (how playful, eh?), a series of 20 attacks on 4 fortresses – without story or anything else attached to the grind fest it seems. And the enemies WILL be stronger than your Orcs, pardon, Uruk army so you will have to grind. And grind. And grind more. And keep grinding. To see the “real” ending of the game. Or you buy lootboxes with real money to make it considerably quicker and easier. Well, that is simply fucked up. For Rabidgames, that move alone moves (how playful, eh?) Shadow of War from must-have to probably-later-when-cheaper, although that disgusting behaviour where WB pretends to be oh-so-charitable has also played a part in this decision to be honest. And how a spider “bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts” can become a hot chick … well, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

And now this; here’s the story of an ad for Assassin’s Creed Origins from Gamestop (US) that might have gone wrong:

This is really unfuckingbelievable. In a fucking ad, they tell you that the “bonus mission” is “blocked”. Probably by accident, we hear the truth about pre-order “bonuses” – that they are cut out of the game because some fucking asshole in a fucking suit decided that’s the way to go fucking forward. It’s nothing new publishers and retailers feast together on the bloody chunks cut out of embryonic games, but wow is it weird to see it ADVERTISED! It might be coincidence AC Origins is the game where a retailer slipped up, but it tells you a lot about the disdain those fucking suits have for us.

Sure, a pre-order mission locked away mostly and merely equals the missions locked away but unlockable once you buy the game new, but this strike against the second hand market is still fucking stupid behaviour. We’ll see what happens now after Gamestop inadvertently told us the truth about this shit. Just don’t expect any of the shit to change.

Oh, you know what? Let’s talk about micro-transactions while we’re at it. There are two kinds: Games like Assassin’s Creed or Ghost Recon: Wildlands come with “time-saving” unlockables (for things you can easily get in the game), you know also known as fucking shit for lazy bums, and then some cosmetic stuff – not great but you can enjoy the games without it entirely, no problem. Other games though, like Shadow of War and most notoriously GTA Online, design the game with tons of grinding on purpose so they can grind you down to make you buy the shit. Fuck, try to buy something in GTA Online and you can imagine how long earning money to purchase it will take naturally. And yet, Rockstar gets away with this shit (and let’s better not think about what this might mean for Red Dead Redemption 2) while Shadow of War is getting attacked by layers of carpet bombing metacritic user reviews – rightfully so, mind you. But it is interesting, isn’t it?

Let’s face it: This is what gaming has become – a fucking predatory capitalist bullshitting industry where there are too many fucking rich idiots around who buy time-consuming games and then buy time-savers so they don’t have to play them … seriously, think about this for a second. WHAT THE FUCK? And by doing so, these morons fuck up games for the rest of us, too.

Rabidgames sighs: At the end of the day, who is to blame: The greed publishers or the stupid consumers? Spoilers: It’s consumers. Without hordes of braindead drones buying all the shitty micro-transactions, this fucking trend would stop quickly. But don’t get your hopes up – after all, we live in an age where even Idiocracy begins to look like an utopia …

Dragon Age Inquisition or Bioware’s Redemption

Posted in Hands On with tags , , , , on December 10, 2014 by Rabidgames

A few years ago, many of us vowed never to buy a Bioware game again. After the flawed Mass Effect 3 and the utterly broken Dragon Age 2, it seemed evident Bioware was yet another studio swallowed by the behemoth EA, swallowed and then spit out to die and rot.

Thankfully, we were wrong. Dragon Age Inquisition is proof our assumptions are not entirely true and the swansongs were premature. Granted, there’s the tacked-on multiplayer, which is too unstable if not even broken to be judged by now – but Mass Effect 3’s awesome multiplayer aside, who gives a shit about multiplayer in a Bioware game? Granted, the fighting system is miles better than the “action button” themed arena battles with enemies respawning for no apparent reason in DA2, but still lacking the depth of the “last real Bioware RPG” Dragon Age Origins (e.g. no more penalties for dying).

But Inquisition truly feels like a Bioware game, a Bioware game for the old fans and the new ones alike. The battle system is slower and more tactical (we can finally zoom out properly on consoles), there are more dialogues than ever before it seems, there’s a deep customisation system, and there are also additions: The war table where you can get different results from sending different people to deal with things ranging from diplomatic missions to assassinations, the much-talked Skyrim influence which shows in the huge areals littered with things to do (some are waaaaay too obvious, but there is still lots of room for exploration), and there are various new activities to discover everywhere.

Dragon Age Inquisition has one problem though, one problem that might discourage some: After the prologue, you get thrown into the Hinterlands – a massive open area with dozens of quests and lots of things to explore. Problem there is most quests feel rather like a MMO: “Kill these wolves!”, “Gather then pieces of meat!” or “Go there!” But do not fret, fellow Inquisitor, for as soon as you can proceed, proceed. Afterwards, Inquisition opens up and the story picks up pace and gets better and better.

In any possible way, Dragon Age Inquisition is a great RPG and a great game – and last but not least, also a great Bioware game. Bioware pushes all necessary buttons: Tactical fights where the party composition can make a huge difference, expansive talking sessions to your companions, choices en masse, and above all, a story where even most villains have their reasons. Yes, Inquisition doesn’t allow you to destroy the world (at least not in the first 30 hours), but it is up to you if you want to be a benevolent and democratic Herald of Andraste or rather an egoistic and vengeful angel of fear.

Some sentences about the love life of the companions in Dragon Age Inquisition: As long as we actually talk about the whatever-sexuality of virtual fictional characters, we have not reached the level of tolerance we pretend to have reached. If you really care if Dorian is exclusively gay, or that you can only romance two chicks as a hetero Inquisitor … well, why do you fucking care in the first place? As long as there’s even talk about it, we’re not there yet.

Mind you, Rabidgames has only played Inquisition for 30 hours, and it feels he has barely scratched the surface. Yes, this game is a proper RPG behemoth – as it should be. For once, the claims it might take 100 hours to complete a game might be true. Good news for most of us, bad news for our social lives …

Rabidgames is enchanted: From the ashes of Dragon Age 2 and that infamous Mass Effect 3 ending, the phoenix has arisen – just as the Inquistion arose out of the destruction of the conclave. Bioware redeems itself, and let’s hope the days of EA indoctrination and the action button are over for good. Welcome back, Bioware. It feels good to be friends again!