assassins creed 3 remaster
May 6th, 2019 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Why are people trying to make it look worse?

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.




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assassins creed III remastered review
April 22nd, 2019 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

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?

GRAPHICS: 2/2

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.

STORY: 1/2

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.

AUDIO: 1/2

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.

GAMEPLAY: 2/2

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.

FUN: 2/2

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.

SCORE: 8/10

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.



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April 18th, 2019 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

CALLED IT!

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.



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division 2 review
April 10th, 2019 by Vega Montanez

A Nation Divided.

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. 

GRAPHICS: 2/2

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.

division 2 review one

STORY/IMMERSION: 1/2

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.

AUDIO: 1/2

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. 

division 2 review two

GAMEPLAY: 2/2

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. 

division 2 review three

FUN: 2/2

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. 

SCORE: 8/10

division 2 review four



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assassin's creed robots
March 28th, 2019 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

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.”

What’s next?

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.



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November 7th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

44 Hours In…

By now I’ve found a missing person I’ve been looking for, killed a few “Templars,” found the lost city of Atlantis (sort of), and now have to win a war and compete in the Olympics. That’s right, I have four main quests to play on top of all the side quests I’ve been accumulating. The islands you can sail to in this game always have great side-stories that are totally optional. Now that I’m 44 hours in, I can safely say I might be done with one third of this game. Maybe. It’s possible. Give or take. The unfathomably popular Stealth/RPG (stealth optional) series developed and published by Ubisoft is now at its tenth main series game. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey adds even more elements to make it an even further evolution from the roots of the franchise.

GRAPHICS: 2/2

This game is absolutely stunning, even on my sub-par Xbox One S. Stable frame rate, great coloration, variety, it’s all there at the baseline for a good looking game. What makes it look better is the sheer marvel of the whole thing. Ubisoft didn’t just make a few cities in Greece for their game. They made ALL OF IT. And it feels like they did, too. Everywhere you go there are gorgeous busts and statues, temples, altars, and residences that are all fully realized. I want to know where they got the time machine so they could take photos of Ancient Greece and use it as references for the designs. It’s the empire in all its glory. An absolute marvel to stand at the top of a mountain and look in every direction. In the distance, you can see all the ships in the water going about their business in real time. You can see other landmasses across the water and know that if you can go there if you want to. There… might be a few minor hiccups and glitches in some of the animation, but that is literally the only bad thing I can think of. And the sheer beauty and aesthetics more than excuse that.

STORY:2/2

I admit, at the beginning of the game, it’s hard to get into the plot. You are not really sure what you are supposed to be doing. The grand scheme of things is boiled down to simply leaving your home island to go on an adventure because you’re sick of being at home. There’s a goalpost, sure, but it’s far and not too tantalizing. This is definitely the type of game that you have to spend time with to get into the swing of things. The overarching narrative becomes far more clear well towards the 15-hour mark of the game. Once it does hit, it does so with ruthless efficiency. The way the game’s campaign works is the prime form of dangling the carrot in front of the player. It’s hard to imagine you would run out of things to do after being far enough in the game to really open up to the “go wherever you want” phase. Four main storylines. Every location story has its own stuff going on. I was on an island where I helped a young child make some friends while also meddling in “The Bachelor: Greece Edition”. Then I had to overthrow an evil ruler running another island ragged while hooking up with the sexy leader and her boyfriend if I so pleased. Hell, I had to take part in a gay orgy with a goat just to advance the plot. I’m not even remotely joking. A goat was involved. And Sokrates turns out to be the world’s first internet troll. Good times.

AUDIO: 2/2

I’m going to mention one prevailing bug in the game that hurts the audio quality in a way. On a regular basis, around twice or more per hour, when you talk to an NPC,  you or the character will interrupt each other mid-sentence and say lines on top of each other. It’s annoying. Some of the secondary characters don’t seem really committed to their parts, while other characters go full ham. The voice actress for the soundtrack gets old really fast. With such a big scope, I really, REALLY get tired of hearing the same music every time I open the menu. And the main “Assassin’s Creed Theme Leitmotif” is sprayed over every other song too. It gets old fast. I may eventually have to turn the music off and just play my own tunes or a podcast over it instead. Which would be great because I’m in the perfect setting to put my vaporwave collection on full blast. But still, this is just the soundtrack I take issue with. The actual sound FX and quality of sound is tremendously satisfying. I will give the full grade because I’m being too personally harsh on the OST, even though it’s objectively decent.

GAMEPLAY: 2/2

There are many on the internet who say this game has become too action oriented. Sure, the formula has been changed, but it’s been heading this way for a while now. The fact is, you can still play this game stealthy if you want to. There are just more rules to it because you can’t assassinate people who are at a higher level than you. The majority of the EXP you earn will be from completing quests, not kills. So if sneaking in and out of an enemy base is your idea of fun, there’s plenty of that to be had. Yes, open conflict is a bigger part of the game now. It’s the play-it-your-way model that prevails. But everything in the game works and does accommodate for all play styles. Shoot everyone with a bow, bludgeon people with a hammer, death from above, and Sparta-kick your enemies of a cliff. There’s plenty of gameplay to be had here, as iterated above.

Ship combat makes a return to the game and I boldly welcome it as a delicious appetizer to sate my hunger for a good pirate game until Skull & Bones arrives. But that said, it’s a bit more minimalist than it’s predecessor, as there was less maritime war tech in this setting. They have also implemented a mercenary hierarchy that mimics Shadow of Mordor’s Nemesis system, but it is also bare bones by comparison. Hunting down a devious death cult is the replacement for the assassination quests, but you have to put in the legwork to identify who they are. There’s also a conquest mode where you can take part in a big fight between the Athenians and Spartans. You can also change whichever team you’re on for every battle. You can also fight mythical beasts from Greek folklore, because hey, why not? This all may make it sound like it’s quantity over quality. And to an extent, yes it is. But set in this game, it’s actually not a big issue, it just works.

FUN: 2/2

And now for a bit of controversy. Ubisoft has no problem putting expensive microtransactions in their fully priced games. It gives them big money, they have a right to. However, as an experience, they nearly broke their goodwill on a portion of this game. That’s the progression system. In order to level up or afford things, you have to do more than just missions to get enough EXP to progress. You’ll have to do a lot of mundane-out of the way stuff like exploring caves and attacking small camps at question marks dotted all over the map. I found myself in a position where I was two levels too low to progress through the game because the game is harsh if you are under-leveled. Ubisoft remedied it by offering a buff that will get you 50% extra EXP and money for the whole game, including new games. You have to at least buy the 20 dollar helix credits pack to get this. If you don’t, the game can get very grindy. Plenty to do is one thing, being forced to do everything is another. I caved and bought this buff, and it feels like this is the way the game was supposed to be played. It seems as though this was intentionally done to goad extra cash from the player.

I am willing to forgive this transgression because it was on me to make that choice in the end. I could have bucked up and cleared out every single icon on the map to take the game nice and slow. But, be that as it may, I cannot stop playing this game. Even with the buff, I did manage to get myself into another situation where I was under-leveled. But I kept playing and playing and playing. I told myself I had to stop at 11 PM, then 2 AM rolls around and I’ve conquered another city. I am willing to accept that the price I paid to make this game more enjoyable is worth it because of the amount of fun I’m having with it. Before tax, I paid a total of $68 for the game with the helix credits. That is an acceptable price for this game. I don’t know if I will finish any time soon, and I’ve had plenty of time to play.

SCORE: 10/10

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assassins creed odyssey 80 dollar
November 2nd, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

The 80 Dollar Experience

In recent times, it seems as though 60 dollars does not actually pay for the “whole experience”. With pieces missing from the game should you choose to buy the “base version” you are forced to miss out on certain perks and benefits. Sometimes it’s big, other times it’s small. But this, this is egregious. Ubisoft made a perfectly functional game and then chose to make it a bit on the grindy side, compared to other AC titles. There’s a boost pack than increases your money and EXP by and extra 50%, and then they have the nerve to charge 1500 helix points for it. It costs $20 to buy enough of these transaction credits and you’ll have some left over, but you can’t afford the upgrade on the lower tier. AC: Odyssey is an amazing and LARGE game. But, essentially, they are selling it for $80 by making you feel obligated to purchase this pack. Unless you really want to be a completionist and don’t mind random crap between missions, this is necessary. Not just side missions, you need to actually go to random ? points on the map and do just a very basic encounter to earn the EXP needed to progress in the story. It’s crap. Have a look.




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transference
October 17th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

This was a disappointment.

Did you ever know this game was out? Elijah Wood personally came out to show off the game at two E3 showcases. But now the game is out, and not a peep. Also, despite heavily marketing it as a VR experience tailored for the PS4, it’s also available on Xbox One and PC. Which is suspicious, but how does it play? It plays like someone tried to combine Get Even with PT, that’s what it is.




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living dead zombies gameplay
October 17th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

They live! I guess…

Get your living dead zombies gameplay footage here! It’s not really worth reviewing the season pass DLC for FarCry 5 at this point. As it stands, their final DLC was actually refreshing. Instead of an open world, you played through the undead shenanigans of 7 would-be blockbuster films.




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assassins creed cultural appropriation
October 9th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

An erasure of ancient culture is upon us…

The Greek Historian Brotherhood, or GHB, has recently filed a complaint in Quebec. One of Ubisoft’s many various unique talents in game mastery, Ubisoft Quebec is responsible for the newest installment in this ongoing franchise. According to the district attorney’s office, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was in direct violation of the terms set when they were chosen as the setting for the game.

The foreign minister of Greece, Nikos Kotzias, pointed out that the depiction of soldiers and warriors in Roman historical times were a misrepresentation of the country. Further, he cites that if people play the game and see the amount of violence contained within, tourism would decrease for the region. In a recent testimony made public by the local newspaper, Kotzias said:

“Greece is a fantastical place richly filled with the culture of civilization itself. To depict the ancient city as a place of gory violence does a discredit to the country. For in the preservation of history, and for the interest in the comon [sic] folk, this video game cannot be allowed to be distributed. Not in our humble country, it is completely outrageous. And more so, it is not truthful.”

In Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, you play as twin characters Evie and Jacob Frye, two Spartans who fought in the infamous “300” battle against the Turkish empire. The death animations are some of the most graphic and gratuitous in the history of the franchise. Many Greecians feel like this may make them come across as violent, though that is not the case.

Famous video game sales company in the country, Σταματήστε το παιχνίδι, has recently boycotted the game and refuse to stock shelves with it. They too are unhappy with the title. Recently, the CEO of the company, Ντόναλντ Τραμπ, put forward a statement.

“Ντόναλντ Τραμπ will not be selling Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, as it is a complete fabrication of our history. It is erasing our culture piece by piece, and we cannot endorse it.”

Assassin’s Creed has sold truckloads of money over the years, and this recent example isn’t even the first game to come under fire. Italy had its own complaints about Ezio Auditore da Firenze from the Assassin’s Creed 2 trilogy.

Despite this news, many Greeks are hotly anticipating the title, as slightly buggy open world games with choppy cutscenes have recently become popular over there. Odyssey ticks all right boxes, so it only makes sense that they would want to play it. Hopefully, Greece will change its mind soon enough, or the gamers of Greece are going to rise up.

In case the gratuitous factual errors didn’t make it clear enough, this article is in fact, satire.




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