A final reflection on the games of 2019. It’s a bit late to talk about last year but I filmed this a month ago and it needs to be seen. Consider this a preamble to the HMG redemption arc.
That’s right, 2019 was awesome, I hated it. As of right now, YouTube sucks so I’m going to be sticking with Facebook Watch or any other non-YT video hosting platform. Plus, the FB page is where all the memes are at, so follow the video to my page and SMASH THAT LIKE.
Assassins Creed III is the latest game from Ubisoft to receive the “Remaster” treatment. Pretty much all of their games have now been upgraded or started that way. Even Assassins Creed 1 has Xbox One X enhancements. Yet still, there are a plethora of videos popping up. They show the new remaster looking much worse than the original. This isn’t even the first time this has been done. Assassins Creed, the Ezio Trilogy was also lambasted for looking worse. However, in that case, it didn’t actually look worse. Polygon just chose to only show off stuff that looks worse. It included a bug that has nothing to do with the remaster. And here they are doing it again. The character models may look like clay, but everything else in the game looks far better than it ever did before. Here’s why.
Also, it’s free if you had the season pass for Assassins Creed Odyssey. Considering that the standalone game or the season pass both cost 40, you should definitely buy the latter.
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.
Legacy of the first blood has concluded with the final chapter, Bloodlines. In our last video on this, Chet went through a series of questions as to what was in store for us on this episode. Turns out, some of those guesses were true. Have a look and see what Chet totally called back in January.
Chet supports AC: Odyssey’s Season Pass. 3 episode DLC, a $40 game, and then another 3-episode DLC, it’s absolutely worth it.
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.
Robots forgo hostile human takeover and settle for subjugating us by making addictive video games instead.
Ubisoft, has found a winning formula for their video games. We all know this. And they are sticking to it like a bear on honey. For one thing, almost any game from them will have an absolutely gargantuan map. That and an absolute ton of copy-pasted assets. These same games also follow a pretty simple formula. From Ghost Recon Wildlands, to FarCry, to Assassins Creed, your goal in the game is very simple. You open your map screen, there’s a bunch of things to do. You click on one of the things, and then you go there to do the thing. Then the game rewards you for doing the thing. Then it gives you some things and then unlocking more things to click on and go to.
This “carrot on a stick” form of game design is utter genius. Many gamers, present company included, are perfectly content with these time-devouring opulent offerings. Ubisoft has never been more confident that they have a winning formula until now. Just look at their recent offerings. The Crew 2 is a game with a map that is vaguely the size of the entire USA. They loaded it up with a bunch of pinpoints full of races for different types of vehicles everywhere.
So it begins…
That’s why Ubisoft was proud to announce this in a recent PAX East interview. They want to take the design of their games to the next level. Starting production in May, Ubisoft New Jersey will start on their next Assassin’s Creed title. But this is no ordinary dev team, as Ubisoft New Jersey runs completely run by automation. That’s right, the dev is actually a smart AI called U.B.I.S.O.F.T. (Which is short for Universal Binary Interface Siumulator of Future Technology). Several UBISOFTs will be operating day and night to crank out the next edition of your favorite title.
Ubisoft producer Marc-Alexis Côté mused on this exciting event. “We already know how to make a game that everyone will want to play. We have it down to such a science, that we soon won’t need developers anymore. The UBISOFT AI is perfectly capable of replicating our formula. It has already designed the entire map of the next game. It’s 8 times the size of Odyssey”. When asked if this would decrease morale among the human developers of Ubisoft he was resolute. “Well, the elimination of jobs by robots is just part and parcel of living in a society.”
Right now, nobody, not even Ubisoft themselves, know what the plot of the next game will be. Not even the location. The robo-team at Ubisoft NJ will be performing its own internal company showcase. “Everything is so easy to make. Our AI team will be doing all tasks for this project. The script and the main character will be made by our robot friends. We’ve also asked them what they are going to do for voice talent. They said they’ll either hire somebody on their own, or they might even do the acting themselves! Isn’t that neat? They are so smart they literally don’t need any humans to help them make this game work.”
By the way, this interview? It was also performed by the UBISOFT AI. They used their network database of every Ubisoft E3 show ever. After, they constructed a hologram of Aicha Tyler to ask all these questions. The likeness was completely uncanny, including her saying really awkward things that made the entire audience uncomfortable. Digi-Tyler asked Marc if they even knew the title of the game, he admitted something interesting. “We aren’t sure what they are calling this new project yet. But they’ve already presented several working titles based on the titles of other games on the market. It will still be called Assassin’s Creed, but the subtitle is either going to be: Redemption, Revolution, Sisterhood, and Revelations IV.”
Right now the UBISOFT is downloading all the assets used from every Assassins Creed game ever made and will be making slight modifications to them so they look newer. Another arm of the AI has already started distributing random pins on their map where they will eventually add quests to. Expect to hear more about this at E3 this year. The current one.
In case the slow dip into insanity wasn’t enough to tell you, this article is SATIRE. Seriously, Ubisoft New Jersey? C’mon, you know better than that. A simulation of Aicha Tyler? Really? Actually no that would be pretty cool.