Despite what some online comparisons indicate, the remaster is the superior version of the game.
Let’s preface this one differently. I was a big Assassin’s Creed fan but AC3 greatly reduced my love for it. And Unity murdered it. When I played that game all those years ago, I was disappointed on all fronts. I was also setting really high expectations that could not be reached. And I wanted to beat the game before the real life “December 21, 2012” end of the word scenario so I rushed through all of it. Hated the difficulty, the setting was underused, Connor wasn’t a good protagonist, and lots of bugs and grievances with the detection settings for NPCs.
Well, I either completely sucked back then, or Assassin’s Creed III Remastered is a much better experience. This re-release comes with a remaster of Liberation HD (a remaster of a remaster?) as well. This remaster came out March 29, 2019 and either is free with your Assassin’s Creed Odyssey season pass or in the store for $40. The season pass for Odyssey costs $40 so you have almost no reason to not have that marvel of a game and its DLC packs. So, is it worth a revisit after so many years? Or perhaps, for those who haven’t played it, a decent entry?
There will be a video on this in the near future but this title is the subject to a bit of controversy. If you look for graphical comparisons on Youtube, you will see that some of them imply it to be superior, yet others imply that it is worse. Whether it is misrepresenting the game on purpose or not, this review is from the “Xbox One X” version of the game, so the most graphically powerful console release. I can personally confirm that the release is highly superior in the graphical department. With the exception of a handful of faces, you’re getting better looks across the entire board. You have better color with HDR, lively landscapes, and incredible textures.
You can’t really change an entire story in a remaster, can you? What you CAN do is try to engage your player more this time around. AC3 tells the story of… Haytham Kenway? Yes, the game pulls a reverse Metal Gear Solid 2. A sizeable chunk of the game has you playing as a character who is completely absent from all of the marketing materials. After a while, you do finally get to Connor or Kanien’kehá:ka (don’t try to pronounce it, just give up). The problem with this character is the game gives him a very rich setup due to the events of the first hours of gameplay. Yet at every turn, Connor manages to remain as dull as humanly possible. More on that in audio.
The other issue is that the setting doesn’t really do a good job at expressing the ins and outs of the Revolutionary War. Sure, there’s a lot of text you can read, but in terms of the game on its own, you basically just jump in and out of several world-famous events. Funnier is that it implies that Connor was at the front of all of them. Paul Revere? Connor? Boston Massacre? Connor. Boston Tea Party? Connor. The freaking battle at Chesapeake Bay? Connor.
Really stretching the believability, but then again this series more firmly expresses itself as alternate history. This makes the second time around a lot more enjoyable. Not to mention, I personally was able to focus more on a lot of content I had to pass on because I was so eager to finish.
It’s not every day you come across a voice actor who is a direct descendant of American indigenous tribes with a fine understanding of their languages, but here we are. Noah Watts, of the Blackfeet nation, voices our protagonist Connor. He speaks English and… not English. #OnlyTheFacts | Now, as said before, Connor is a dry and wooden protagonist. This is really not the fault of the actor. The dialog given for his character contains little in the way of flair or emotion. He speaks very directly at all times. He comes in two flavors, deliberate and agitated. That’s it. The rest of the cast wasn’t too great either. As for SFX? They’re mediocre. Nothing wrong about them but nothing to grab your attention.
I must make it painstakingly clear though, this game has one of the GREATEST original scores in the entire Assassins Creed franchise. That genuinely made the game a good experience overall. Quite emotional too, making up for some of the acting.
So, at the time it came out, AC3 had a bit of a difficult learning curve. A lot of the combat mechanics, controls, and gameplay style of the game change in the transition from the Ezio trilogy to III. However, coming directly off of AC: Odyssey, the game is retroactively easier to come to grips with. If anything, the game feels more limited. No dedicated stealth mode button. Combat is the old style of “counter-attack kills” that were prominent in most of the series. The simplicity of the game in comparison to the new game actually made it feel a bit more streamlined. It was almost arcade-like to play this game after every game we’ve had since.
It also seems as thought a lot of changes streamline the overall experience. Some redundancies were eliminated. Enemy detection appeared to be slower. The ship combat was easier to handle. Every step of the way, quality of life improvements are there, on every front. Oh, and the load times, those are some short load times. Especially for fast traveling and desynchronizing.
The fact that I took my time to play through more of the game is a very big deal. This time around, I bothered to unlock all the fast travel locations in the underground. It was a bit grindy, but manageable. The silly “homestead” missions actually felt like they were worth the time. That is despite the fact that the “convoy” system of the game was an absolute waste of time and needlessly complicated. I did all the district liberations and recruited all 6 support assassins. I did several of the optional naval battles. Not everything could be helped. The almanac pages are still dumb, as are all of the other fetch items the game throws at you. But I must stress that above all else, I had a much, MUCH better time playing this game again. I was supposed to be playing other games, yet I kept coming back to this re-release time and time once more.
Assassin’s Creed III Remastered is a huge improvement on the original iteration. Between the streamlining of gameplay elements, the simplicity, and the visual quality? This is a good remaster that has been released at exactly the right moment. If it has been a while since you last played, give it another shot. If you’ve never played it, also give it a shot. And ignore the real world plot, it’s still crap.
If I find time, I would like to play the Tyranny of King Washington DLC as well as Liberation, but that will have to wait.
Ubisoft and Tom Clancy have shared what is quite possibly the longest healthy relationship in all of gaming. Seriously, fact check it. And Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is the latest entry into this abstract marriage. Released on March 15th, 2019 on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC The Division 2 is a third person multiplayer squad based action shooter. Developed by Massive Entertainment, The Division 2 aims to be the improvement of everything that was great about the first installment.
The Snowdrop Engine looked amazing 3 years ago when it was first used on The Division. Division 2 however, is the first true example of what the Snowdrop Engine is really capable of. As soon as the game launches everything looks incredibly amazing, but that’s not the big selling point. The big selling point is the amount of control, even on consoles, the player has over the visuals of the game. Ubisoft’s proprietary engine allows for so much customization to allow anyone to set the games visual to exactly how they’ll enjoy it most.
The freedom and control the Snowdrop Engine offers coupled with the fact that the game looks great is incredible. Every animation, from person to animal to explosion, looks fantastic. Nature blends itself well into the concrete settings of post apocalyptic destruction filled D.C. Character movements look and feel astonishingly natural, especially for a game so tethered to online. Take some time to kickback and just enjoy the scenery. It will not disappoint.
Within the world of the Division exist a major crisis. It’s been a little over half a yeas since the initial infectious outbreak that brought down the U.S. And now things are reaching anarchic levels of bad. Members of the Joint Task Force have defected and left the white house completely vulnerable to the Hyenas and the Outcast. The worst has literally come to fruition and there’s a lot of work ahead to make things better. The story itself is great however the presentation not so much.
Being an online multiplayer game diminishes the value of the story and makes it really hard to feel like a part of it. Lines between campaign missions and side missions are very blurred because the real gameplay goal is to become stronger. Very rarely does the game stop and allow for the narrative to position itself upfront and center. The focus was clearly on gameplay and shoot’em up mechanics over narrative delivery.
The Division 2 has a very unique sound design issue. The world is designed to be chaotic and feel unsafe. However, unless there is a nearby firefight the visual fidelity makes everything feel peaceful, somber, and a bit messy. It has a post car accident feel. Everything looks like something really bad happened, but that bad thing passed. The emptiness of the world makes space a very lonely audio feeling. The good news is this ambience is nearly perfect for an online squad based shooter. Considering most of the sound will be the nonsense chat amongst the squad.
Third person cover based shooters typically suffer from inconsistent character behavior. Everyone whose ever played has fallen victim to being completely exposed to the enemy because the game misunderstood your cover request. Division 2 has not entirely fixed this but it doesn’t suffer as much as other games. Not sure why, but not complaining. Outside of that major genre flaw, everything in the game feels great. The dynamics of weapon modification is pretty cool even if it suffers from the online game issue of racing to higher numbers.
A lot of the tactics of understanding weapon mods is removed because the overall goal is to increase the overall gear number. That number represents the truest strength of the character. The controls in action are super tight and have a vast number of customization options to fit any play style. And the development team is being super supportive of the community, listening to request and complaints.
Despite being a multiplayer game, The Division 2 is still incredibly fun as a single player game. The squad based combat with friends online is hands down the best way to experience this game. However, the experience alone is just as fun, especially if you don’t mind the added challenge of doing it alone. The frequency of ammo and supply restocks make it feel endlessly exciting. The thrill of an even match against enemies keep the action nonstop. Are far as third person shooters go, there really isn’t anything on the market as exciting as The Division 2.
The Division 2 is an incredible sequel and an incredible example of “games as service” done right. The load times could be better, but once the game is loaded hours could fly by without feeling gaming fatigue. Although Division 2 is an online multiplayer game, it is accessible to anyone who enjoys single player third person cover based shooters. Simply put, save for the lack of narrative focus, this is a great game.
Back in the 90’s there were two prominent developers of fighting games coming out of Japan. In one corner we had the almighty Capcom, home of Ken, Ryu, and the rest of the Street Fight gang. And in the other corner was SNK. Although there library is extensive, with titles like Metal Slug and Fatal Fury, King of Fighters is likely the most recognized title. That is if you ignore them also being the masterminds behind the Neo Geo.
In recent years their focus has been on repackaging their glory days in numerous SNK Collections and keeping the King of Fighters series alive. But it seems they are ready for more. And they are coming in blades drawn. After more than a decade, Samurai Shodown is back.
Samuria Shodown is a weapons based 2D fighting game. It’s like the Soul Caliber of 2D fighters. Anyway, the franchise is being rebooted for the modern era. SNK is even choosing to develop the game using Unreal Engine 4. The unexpected reboot is set to take place between the events of the original game and Samurai Shodown V.
Promising 13 of the original playable characters joined by 3 new challengers, SNK is ready to reenter the world of competitive fighting. Samurai Shodown will release sometime in June 2019 on PS4 and Xbox One. And PC and Switch versions will be coming later this year. Does this release window sound a bit scary? Fear not as skeptics are welcome to try out the new entry sooner.
Anyone attending PAX East this upcoming weekend in Boston will be able to get their hands on the game. SNK will also be hosting a panel, “Samurai Shodown: Resurrecting a Legend,” on March 30 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. ET featuring producer Yasuyuki Oda, director Nobuyuki Kuroki, and original Samurai Shodown director Yasushi Adachi.
Are you excited for a brand new Samurai Shodown? I know I am.
The original Crackdown game came out in 2007 and received a lot of attention after it was revealed that you would get access to the Halo 3 multiplayer beta if you bought it. That’s one way to get attention, and as a result, a decent number of Xbox fans got to play it. Crackdown 3 was originally teased at E3 2014 and has finally been released. It is a freeform sandbox action game developed by Sumo Digital and published by Xbox Game Studios. You play as an agent of “The Agency” a group of super-powered police, with extraordinary strength, aim, jumping, running, and others. Your goal is to take down a crime syndicate, and in this third installment, an oppressive corporatist regime. This particular game lets you play as, basically Terry Crews. Xbox fans have waited a long time for this console exclusive game, so how is it?
graphics in the game are a bit odd. It seems like they were trying to
be cel-shaded while not being cel-shaded. Some elements have that
cartoon look while others have some very defined textures. Absolutely
a mixed bag. But it’s not just the textures and bright neon lights,
the cutscenes are inconsistent as well. In the beginning of the game
you get a full animated, pre-rendered primer, which gets cut short.
After that you get motion-comic cutscenes that seem rather
low-effort. Then you also get in-game cutscenes here and there. The
last are the worst. I’ve frequently had animations fail, with my
agent glued to the air while a guy in a mech threatens you. Other
in-game cutscenes stutter. And this is on the Xbox One X. The
playable agents also appear to be a little lacking in quality. Terry
Crews as Jaxon looks fine, but the rest of the characters look like
they just used a face generator from Mass Effect. Andromeda. But with
that weird inconsistent cel-look.
I don’t know how you can do worse with a story like Crackdown, but they managed to do the unthinkable. They added a plot to the game that actually made it less enjoyable. In the original games, the plot was basically “Here are the bad guys, go get ’em”. This game gives all the enemies their own stories, but they are all really half-assed and emotionless. I cannot remember a single character’s name or what their deal even was. This guy is the chemicals guy because reasons. This guy is the guards guy because reasons. This guy has captured monorails cuz reasons. That moonshine stand needs to be destroyed because reasons. It would genuinely be better if I were just told to go at it.
But they try to characterize it so hard, it becomes cringe inducing, with motivations that don’t make any sense and asinine monologues. Worse off is the over-arching plot. Short spoilers for the very beginning of the game, the Agency is sent to a city to fight some kind of “blackout” but get killed in the process and time passes by a few years (I think). Next, a character revives your agent of choice and unleashed you into the city. The story is simply that the blackouts caused everyone to flee to the city because it still has electricity. No really. And then it turns out the city is run by a ruthless corporation, TerraNova, who immediately enslaves all the refugees. Yeah, makes perfect sense to me.
If you don’t particularly like it when you hear a lot of useless banter over the radio while you’re doing stuff, you are going to have a bad time. The legendary “Voice of the Agency” played by Michael McConnohie returns with a vengeance. The whole shtick with his character, is he’s sort of the real protagonist of the story since your agent doesn’t talk much. Both in the original games and this one, he frequently says dumb things over the radio based on what you’re doing, such as:
Skills for kills, agent!
Sounds like there’s a hidden ability orb nearby, you should look for
Burn baby burn.
Wow, now that’s an explosion.
In the original game, this quirk was done every once in a while, and it has a certain charm about it. However in 3, he has something to say every five minutes. It would get annoying real fast for most players. I like it personally, but objectively, it’s super obnoxious. Still, his voice is amazing, and he needs to do audiobooks. As for the other characters? Largely forgettable. They did very little with Terry Crews other than the opening cutscene. The soundtrack sounds like a royalty-free selection of faux-dubstep tracks that fail to impress. Most of the guns and explosions are pretty satisfying. Also, the iconic sound of the agility orbs are still there.
Rather than having any campaign missions whatsoever, the game has you just complete a series of objectives. You just do this until you clear enough to fight the boss in charge of those battle locations. So, no real campaign here, you basically just make your way around the map, playing section after section. To give it some credit, the main map isn’t full of empty spaces between objectives. All challenges are located relatively near one another. You won’t spend a lot of time driving because it’s so easy to jump from one to the next. Honestly, it’s a welcome change to have a more tight-knit experience than most sandbox games. But a sandbox it still is, and it has plenty of flaws.
activity has you liberating militia members by freeing them from
holding cells around the city. This activity will literally take you
one minute or less, as there aren’t that many guards, but even if
there are, all you have to do is jump over to the prisoner release
panel and hold LB. That’s it, you’ve freed the prisoners, and any
enemy in the area freezes in place while you get a “mission
success” screen. In another location, all you have to do is blow up
either machinery or storage tanks of a substance called “Chimera”.
I’d tell you more about it, but I can’t because I missed the one
point where they said what the stuff was and it’s not really brought
up again after that. Then in another, you have to capture monorail
stations because an evil AI is using them to… move drugs? Don’t
Had a hard time with glitches that were rather annoying. I’ve had input lag in sections where the screen gets busy, and other sections where the controls weren’t even responding. Also ended up getting an OP assault rifle in the middle of it the game. Once that happened, the game was barely a challenge. I might have to play it on harder modes to see if it’s better. Even then, once you piss off enough of the 3 different police factions? You get a city lockdown and are immediately inundated with enemies that are 4X as tough. When that happens, I just let myself die. It is more fun than dealing with that mess. The game’s idea of “challenge” is having you fight a boss while dozens of enemies spawn in at the same time.
I had fun in the 3 days it took to complete this game. Every achievement I got after the first boss was a RARE ACHIEVEMENT. That’s sad. The game is just out and I’m getting rare achievements because not enough people bothered to finish it? Oy. Anyway, playing Crackdown 3 felt like a retread of the original game. It was enough to take me back to when I had just started College and got the original game. But by the end of it, you get tired of the game. You may get bored after finishing a few bosses. It’s a pretty low effort affair. Then again if you just decide to start jumping around, collecting agility orbs and doing side activities, you may find a sort of Zen. Seriously.
Saints Row 4 took to this sandbox super-powers type game and made it an absolute riot. But this new title feels like it’s a huge step backwards. It’s less of a modern Crackdown and more of an Agents of Mayhem experience. Which also wasn’t very good (and that was the same devs as SR4). My roommate found the game fun because he had never played it before. So, don’t pay full price for this game. Don’t bother with it unless you have Game Pass. It’s cheap enough to get a three month pass for the amount of titles you get to play. It’s a mediocre experience but if you “rent” the game by getting game pass, you will find yourself with far superior titles to play afterwards.
Christmas time is approaching us yet again. Many have commented that the season seems to be approaching faster than usual. But there are two good reasons for that. One, my colleagues work in reatail so of course we get beat in the ass on it. But more importantly, with so many black friday, pre-black friday, cyber monday, and holiday sales, the time just seems shorter than ever, with good deals still abound. On top of all the sales that are inevitable, the big consoles are more than happy to give you some freebies.
Xbox Live Gold
Q.U.B.E. 2 – It’s portal but you move cubes around. Never Alone – A kid and a wolf go on a great adventure. Dragon Age 2 – It’s Dragon Age, but you’re just some rich kid who wants his house back. Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction – Off, this game is an old actioner.
Soma – A horror game where the scariest part is the looming existentialism. Onrush – A high-style, balls to the wall arcade racer. Steredenn – A considerably chaotic space shooter with an 8-bit color scheme. Steinsgate – Wait, this was a game BEFORE it became an anime? Iconoclasts – Oh look, another 8-bit game, but it’s an action scroller this time. Papers, Please – A game where you serve as border control but don’t have any tear gas.
Adventures of Lolo
You got a lot of good ones here. QUBE is a great puzzler if you’re a fan. You have two fantastic 8bit games on PS4, and and anime game to boot. Dragon Age 2 wasn’t received well critically, mainly because it’s a very focused game that takes place in one city instead of a sprawling adventure. Papers Please is a big indie favorite with tough moral dilemmas. The real show stopper here is SOMA, the horror game. It was originally released on steam, and a mod was made to remove the “combat” sections where you have to hide from monsters. It was called “wuss mode”. This was officially added into the Xbox One and PS4 releases as “peaceful mode”. Trust me when I say, this game isn’t less scary just because you aren’t being chased by monsters. The dark depths of the mind that this game takes you to can be challenging. It often deals with themes that are very hard to think about, circled around existence, death, and what comes after. Do not miss it. I hate most horror games, but it’s an absolute winner.
The past week or so, we were faced with some really good games. Like Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee. And probably Warriors Orochi 4, I guess. But you know what wasn’t great? Fallout 76 and Battlefield V, two big ticket games. Both were set to make a splash in the crazy release season that is November. But neither could achieve what the wanted. Fallout 76 was vastly undercut by it’s monotony and lack of direction. Battlefield V was just the same Battlefield as always with a new coat of paint. BFV also had it’s critics for its inaccurate portrayal of WW2 by people on the internet, but that’s the internet. Everybody hates everything on the internet. Besides that, both games got major BETA playtests from regular users. This is honestly a good step, allowing the actual PLAYERS some advanced look at the game instead of some journalist who intends to write a giant think piece. Both of these games have a huge focus on multiplayer. Fallout 76 is the first major multiplayer game for Bethesda and Battlefield V is a multiplayer game with a campaign tacked on. Only their campaign was even shorter AND less interesting.
Either way, we haven’t finished enough of either to give you a consensus. But… if you are absolutely dying to play an online shooter game, we have something interesting for you. We are going to compare the games using our review system. But instead of the score, we are going to say which game did it better! Let’s start, shall we?
Battlefield V is flat out gorgeous, with heavily detailed maps and great lighting that really set the mood for a lot of maps. There are some glitches but it works for the most part. The smoke grenades set up some serious smoke particle FX. And the detail of the character faces is surprisingly detailed for a game that doesn’t have too much focus on what the player looks like. Fallout 76 looks… exactly like it did several years ago. Fallout 3 and New Vegas never looked that great. Fallout 4 didn’t look that great. Fallout 76? It’s markedly improved, sure. But does it look great? No way, it looks as trashy as its level design and full of all sorts of ugly textures. Several of the ugly textures have taken more than 20 seconds to pop in. Yikes.
Victor: Battlefield V
Battlefield V is one of the many, many, many, many iterations of World War II presented in game form. Somehow, it managed to make history even more boring, despite trying to spice things up with some creative historical fiction. What you get here is a mere 3 stories, as opposed to 5 in the previous entry. It’s really hard to feel anything for these characters because you spend such a small amount of time with them. It ends up being boring. Fallout 76 is boredom incarnate. Using the gaming worlds least interesting way of telling stories, any thing plot related in the game is played out in VERY LENGTHY audio logs. They can’t be paused or fast forwarded. If you interact with your pip-boy and click the wrong thing, the tape will stop and you have to start it over. Other than that, you only other window into the events of the game are logs written on terminal screens. In old Fallout games, this was done for lore. In 76, they are main story points. Super lame. All the same, when it comes down to brass tacks, it would seems that Fallout 76 still has a better overall story. Having a ton of lore is better than a bog-standard WW2 plot.
Victor: Fallout 76
Battlefield V has all the standard sounds you’re used to hearing. The audio was on autopilot in this regard. Every single gun sounds like it did in every other game. You will not in any way be inspired by the sound design of the weapons, nor will you be interested in the orchestral OST. It’s there because it’s supposed to be there, not because it wants to do something engaging. Fallout 76 surprisingly has a decent OST going for it. The ambient music that plays while you’re wandering the world is noticeably better then previous versions. It’s actually notable and really adds to the mood of the game being very lonely and desolate. And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, there’s always the old sock-hop records to keep things going. The fantasy weapons also have wonderful unique sounds.
Victor: Fallout 76
In Fallout 76, you are bombarded with nonstop activity. The game is always online, so that means no pause menu. If you want to look at the map, it’s realtime. If you need to sort your junk on your Pip-Boy, that is also real time. There is nowhere safe to be when you play this game. You absolutely will be bombarded by enemies at any and all opportunities, with very little time to rest and get a bearing on things. In Battlefield V, the campaign is atrocious. But the multi-player is on point. It weird, the game is so much better in multi than single. It makes you wish the they skipped the campaign, instead of Black Ops. Anyway, the game is direct and lets you “play it your way”, which is very important. Divided into four classes, you can spawn is as a specialist in Assault, Medic, Recon, and Support. Don’t let the names fool you, all of them are combat roles. It’s what you do with them that matters. Either way, BFV manages to be a great shooter while Fallout 76 stays wonky as ever.
Victor: Battlefield V
To put it simply, there’s an easy dichotomy here. Fallout 76 has a “make your own fun” approach to game design. If you want to have any fun, you want to team up and do fun stuff together with your friends. Otherwise it’s a drag. Battlefield is good at grouping you with interesting colleagues that you help out during the many combat modes. Even if you aren’t on voice chat, the game finds a way to make you feel connected with your squad. It’s admirable that it manages to gel so well with random strangers. Meeting random strangers in Fallout 76 are few and far between. They are also as underwhelming as ever.
Victor: Battlefield V
It is clear that the winner is Battlefield V with a victory spread of 3-2. We haven’t heard too much of the game in the blogosphere of gaming. But this may be because the game just… is fine. It’s not spectacular. It’s just fine. Despite early complaints, the bottom line is that BFV is a better experience than Fallout 76. If you need a brand new game to satisfy your itch for fast paced, online, multiplayer shooter action, you could do worse than picking up the latest Battlefield. Me? I got so bored during the campaign that I jumped into multi. I never do that. Not until this iteration. How surprising!