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.
Xbox continues to
power on with their greatest asset. The Xbox Game Pass already has a
load of great games to play. With this update, there are even more
great choices. What’s best about these is their value and length. A
lot of the games on offer are solid, well rounded experiences. They
aren’t just dropping a few niche and trashy disposable games. They
are getting you THE best games from yesteryear. The titles in this
pass of theirs are all of the games that if you missed, you need to
play. What are they?
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
The original Deus Ex game was an absolute paradigm changer for the PC gaming industry. N’stuff. I’ve never played the original. I started with Invisible War, a game everyone hated but that’s only because nothing could be as good as that first game (and it’s janky AF). But after that failure, the Deus Ex series found life in the prequel series starring Adam Jensen. A man who is basically the Major from Ghost in the Shell but is a gruff dude working big tech security, and later, Interpol. Mankind Divided is a direct sequel to Human Revolution, which came out last console generation. It wouldn’t hurt to play that title, but it’s not absolutely essential to MD, since a lot of the characters from the first game are mere afterthoughts. That and a handy-dandy 11 minute video comes with the game to recap it for you.
What happens next, is you find yourself in a world the producers called the “Mechanical Apartheid“. This is due to a mass hack that resulted in one of the world’s most bloody acts of terrorism, an event where all cybernetically enhanced individuals received some sort of hacking signal that reduced them to turning into a vicious mob, killing everyone (until Adam Jensen stopped). Understandably shook, the world of the enhanced, now known as the slur “klanks”, live under constant supervision by a humanity who doesn’t trust them. But Adam Jensen is special, and because of his skills, he lands a job at Interpol working a counter-terror task force. Over the course of the game, you will explore the streets of Prague while trying to stop an ‘illuminati’-tier conspiracy that if fulfilled, may destroy the freedom of all individuals as we know it. Yikes.
This game is play it your way, and is mainly a tactical stealth action game. You can stealth your way past everything, hack your way past everything, shoot your way pas everything, blow up your way past everything, or mix it up a little bit. Sadly, the project was suddenly forced out the door before it was completely finished. It now serves as what was supposed to be a new trilogy… only the other two aren’t currently getting made. If you go into this game aware that a few threads will be left dangling, you’ll still have a blast.
Prey is another game with a littered history. The original Prey came out in 2005 after being worked on for 15 YEARS. No joke, but it finally came out and it wasn’t half bad. Some people may accuse the game of being racist for having an Indigenous American protagonist who uses ancient Indian magic to protect himself, and to that i say get the fuck over yourself. It’s a game. And the sequel is even better.
See, Prey was originally supposed to come out as Prey 2, a pseudo-sequel at best where you play as a bounty hunter who rounded up criminals using gadgets and some parkour. The game disappeared. Then, at an E3, it re-emerged as Prey, which means I now have to distinguish them by release date. This time Arkane Studios made it, the brains behind Dishonored. Just like their other game, Prey became a game in same style as the “System Shock / Bioshock” games.
This one also features a wide variety of powers and play styles. You can shoot your way through, hack your.. YOU GET THE POINT. This one features a far more bizarre plot. You are on a space station (sorry for spoiling the first 20 minutes of the game), where some experiments on a shapeshifting aliens species has gone awry. They have done a LOT to ruin the station, and if you don’t solve all those problems and a single one of them makes it back to Earth, it will be DOOMED. Peep our review here.
Monster Hunter World
Monster Hunter is a much beloved franchise known for its challenge and scope. You don’t simply fight monsters. You track them down, you beat them to a pulp, and then you wear their bones on your favorite armor. So does your cat. The cats are pretty rad in these games. However, for a very long time, MH was a very niche title for a specific audience, yet Capcom broadened that scope with Monster Hunter World.
This version of the game provided updated controls, a new story, and a huge focus on online multiplayer to get a lot of players. And it worked. During a very quiet January, this title popped up and became the surprise first-hit of the year. Actually, not only that, it set a new all-time record in sales for Capcom. It keeps people coming back with a steady slew of both free and paid updates. You’ll never run out of stuff to do.
This series is a tough and very involved game. Hunting monsters takes preparation. And preparation requires a full understanding of the ins and outs of the game. Preparation is key. Everything from crafting gadgets, potions, poisons, and other key items can make all the difference during your hunt. Of course, this game has a very, VERY extensive tutorial that makes sure you’re always on top of what you need to know. Sometimes it feels like the tutorial never ended. But 25 hours was enough for me. Also I cheated profusely and usually just “fired a flare” during the fights. That means 3 people will show up and kill the monster for you. You could possibly play the whole entire game this way if you wanted. And should. JK, but check out our review.
Developer DONTNOD is a game producer that makes the best 7/10 games you will ever play. They are notorious for their storylines, which aren’t simply engaging. No, these devs would prefer to bludgeon you over the head with hard-to-discuss topics like memory erasure, suicide, assisted suicide, drug abuse, unfiltered teenage angst, and high school drama classes. Then, in comes Vampyr, a narrative heavy action melee game with a slower and focused pace. If you wanted to play the “easy version” of Dark Souls this is the one. Not only that but they recently patched in a story mode and a hard mode so you can either play it as super easy Dark Souls or actual Dark Souls.
Maximizing the potential for irony, the story stars a recently vampire’d Doctor, Jonathan Reed. He’s world renowned for his research in… wait for it… blood. Yep, the blood doctor turns into a blood sucker. Vampyr gets about as bleak as it can possibly get. You are in an old london riddled with Spanish Flu. The citizens of London aren’t a particularly happy or nice bunch either. Between researching links between the flu and a vampire epidemic, you also deal with the citizens.
Many of them need your help in more ways than one. Not only do you do random quests for them, as per most games, there’s an additional angle. You also have to diagnose them and craft the cures for their ailments. Also, you get teased by the level up system. Level up from fighting enemies, but you get a huge XP bonus if you kill an innocent. Yeah, that’s this game. Those aren’t even the truly tough decisions either. You’ll encounter those at the end of each act and marvel at how all options seem wrong. We reviewed it here.
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.
Forza Horizon has spent a long time to become a fan favorite. The Forza Horizon racing series of video games have become one of the biggest racing game franchises in the entire industry. WIth the most recent Forza Horizon 4, has the game surpassed it’s progenitor, Forza Motorsport?
Ladies and gents, once again it is that time where you are paid for your continuing service as a subscriber. Here, we have the free games given to Xbox Live Gold and PSN Plus members. No fuss, no buss, just brass tacks. Do you want to know what games you are getting? We have them here.
Xbox Live Gold
Battlefield 1 – Did you miss last year’s Battlefield entry? Trying to make the old wars cool again, Battlefield 1 was a breath of fresh air in a series that was starting to lose its way. Featuring a lot of anachronistic weaponry, high concept weapons, and outrageous single player stories, it was a blast. Literally too. Before Battlefield V drops, you have a FREE chance to catch up on all the exciting action from this previous entry. Yes, previous, I know, the numbers make no sense.
Race the Sun – This is a simple yet addicting game where you drive super fast on an endless route. Your goal is to make sure the sun stays on the horizon as you navigate difficult obstacles in your way. The game can be rather brutal with its checkpoint system, but it’s still fun. Free is nice too.
Assassins Creed – The original. The source of it all. One of the most popular franchises in the video game world got its start with this one. It’s a flawed experience with several nags that make it less than excellent. But AC2, of course, improved everything, molding it to what is today. That said, this version of the game is interesting because even though it is a 360 title, it has Xbox One X enhancement, including an improved resolution and texture details. It actually looks relatively good for its age.
Dante’s Inferno – No, not the book. The brawler game. This particular title was noted for some of the crazy publicity stunts EA pulled off during its release. It had a fake religious group protesting it at E3. And they sent a handful of copies to devs with some very bizarre circumstances that were related to the seven deadly sins. In fact, the crazy campaign was more memorable than the actual game was. It’s an okay brawler game.
BulletStorm: Full Clip Edition – This was a fun shooter that EA needlessly made a remaster for and charged full price. It features a game that puts a big focus on making the player get creative with their kills. You get points for killing enemies, but you get more points if you’re creative about it, like in midair, or hitting them with a whip, etc. This game had a unique marketing gimmick where EA released a fake Call of Duty game to advertise for it and HOLY CRAP I’M SEEING A PATTERN HERE. I’m onto you, EA!
Yakuza Kiwami – There’s never been a better time to dive head-first into the amazing Yakuza series. This remaster of the original classic makes the game look like a title that came out recently. It’s the kind of remaster that really put in the effort to make the game look better, rather than just upscaling the resolutions and calling it a day. Looking at you, Shenmue 1 & 2 ‘HD’.
Jackbox Party Pack 2 – The Jackbox games are a collection of party game that, while launched on a console, you actually play on your smartphone with up to 8 friends. The second party pack has two outstanding games that are great. It has Quiplash XL, a game where the player is prompted with a topic and has to come up with a funny response. Literally, the funniest person wins. It also has Fibbage 2, a game where tough and bizarre trivia questions are asked. As the player, you get to submit your own wrong answer, then everyone tries to guess the correct answer. You get points if you make people fall for your fake answer. A total blast at parties and the ease of use is fantastic.
Arkedo Series – This just looks like a series of indie pixel games. Whatever.
Burly Men at Sea – Okay Sony, first Arkedo and now this? What are you even doing?
Roundabout – This is not a song by 70’s prog rock band Yes, but is, in fact, a game where you drive a limo around a map. But the limo is constantly spinning and you have to time your movements to the rotation of the car in order to avoid obstacles. It’s a wacky game that features some fun live action cutscenes. The low budget of this game bleeds through it, and a ton of people gave the game a bad review just because it came out at the turn of a new generation of games and didn’t look stunning.
Nintendo Switch Online
The free virtual NES games this month are:
Mighty Bomb Jack
All consoles have some friggin amazing titles on offer here. Battlefield 1 was a fine game with a very robust campaign, so even if you’re concerned that not many people are playing online, you still have a great single player experience. Race the Sun is a bit low rent, but having the enhanced Assassins Creed is a great piece of gaming history to have on hand. I mean, it literally INVENTED the tower climbing mechanic you see in every game now. It will be especially interesting to see how well it holds up. As far as Dante goes, it didn’t sell that well, but if you are curious as to what you missed out on, nows your chance to peep it.
PS4 has some strong current gen entries. Bulletstorm was also not a big hit and vastly overlooked. In fact, you probably didn’t know that they just randomly added Duke Nukem to the new version. Did you know that? You do now. And after that, Yakuza Kiwami 2 JUST CAME OUT, so it’s a great time to play it. That said, you may find that you don’t have enough time to play the sequel because Yakuza games are big. That said, with the exception of the Jackbox games, the rest of the Sony titles are considerably lackluster, I wouldn’t bother with the last 3 on the list.
NES on Switch, on the other hand, has a major game up its sleeve. The original Metroid is an all-around classic. I personally have never played a SINGLE MetroidVania title. Sad huh? But what better time to start than right now, while it’s free? If it’s free it’s for me right? That is the title of the series after all. The other games? Never heard of them.
The latest rendition of the Forza series, Forza Horizon 4 has everything. It welcomes you, no matter what. It rewards you for everything. Whether it be exploring, painting, buying, racing, tuning, photos, ANYTHING. In an era where racing games are vastly underappreciated and highly niche, this is a game that welcomes everyone. Forza plays however you want it to play, whether you want it to be a fun arcade racer or a hardcore simulator. This game also covers you with 8 different difficulty levels. And it has several assist options for control of the car. If you even partially like racing, this is an absolute must-see.
And a fun video on Winter Season.
Horizon seasons change every week.
Forza Horizon 4 contains more cars than the previous one.
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