Posts Tagged ‘ Assassin’s Creed ’

Assassin’s Creed 2: Revenge of the Guido

Assassin’s Creed 2

Because of some outcry from my previous post, due to the fact that I had the audacity to put AC2 on a worst sequel list, I thought I’d give the game another chance and play it a touch more. Having endured the game from start to finish I look back and wish I’d had something better to do during my weekend. There are a very few moments that I can look back and think “Well…that was fun.” And the few there were the game was quick to make me forget. But, I digress.

Look Familiar?

Assassin’s Creed 2 and I had a gentleman’s understanding: I would do what I wanted to and enjoy myself a little bit and would then, on occasion, acquiesce and do what the game wanted me to, an act much akin to torture. You play as Ezio, the hero assassin from Midwestern Italy, who happens to be a Guido a bit ahead of his time. Seriously, a bad Italian accent, double popped collar, gold chain and, eventually, a goatee! Doesn’t he just belong on Jersey Shore? Add this trailblazer to the otherwise sub-par acting from the rest of the cast to get a truly unpleasant experience. Why everyone talks in English throwing in bits of Italian at random is beyond me. I would have much preferred if it had been spoken entirely in Italian or no attempts at all were made to insert it so that I could at least know what language they were supposed to be speaking. Acting aside, I find the story to be horrendously boring. There’s nothing to congeal the entire affair into a single cohesive story. Instead, Ezio just kinda runs around killing people, never with a clear goal besides sweet Italian revenge on his mind.

I'm a bad mother-SHUT YO MOUTH

On top of that, AC2 feels poorly shoehorned in to fit the already awkward Assassin’ Creed storyline. I suppose that’s why the Desmond sequences are few and far between (read 3). Those were one of my favorite parts about the original game, running around, stealing pens, finding creepy writing on the wall, fun times. In the second, you get a face full of Ezio and his time consuming side quests. There’s no point to doing any of the optional things, unless you’re into watching some creepy naked people run around…weirdo. I suppose you could do the quests if you wanted the sweet payday, but that is pretty much pointless. Once Ezio arrives at his uncles Villa money becomes utterly meaningless. You’ve got so much of the stuff you’re practically throwing it away, which is coincidentally a pretty effective distraction. Don’t have enough for that sword? Just wait 20 minutes for the money to come rolling in. I like the idea of resource systems as long as they remain relevant after you gain access to them. And make sure you renovate the brothel first.

Graphics wise, it doesn’t look much better than its predecessor. Yes, the faces have been significantly improved but the effects and everything else have not. In a game where killing people in dramatic close ups is a feature I’d expect blood to have better splatter effects than a watermelon at a Gallagher show. The sound effects are really disappointing as well. I am unsure what the issue was, but there were so many missed cues for sounds, from sword clanks to hearty cheers of victory. Sound is normally something that should not be noticed unless it’s done poorly, so I guess that’s one place AC2 succeeds.

PWNED

Speaking of things that haven’t been improved, the combat is still ridiculously simple to win at. Forever. You can still get through every single fight in the game by defending until you can counter. There aren’t even tricky counters to pull off like in the previous game. At least until you get to the enemies that simply cannot be countered, Ubisoft’s fix to the combat system. This can be solved by dropping your weapons and taking theirs. Same principle, easier execution *ba dum tish*. Similarly, there seems to also be a downgrade to the free running parkour controls. I can’t place the blame squarely on Ezio, but sometimes I really don’t want to jump into the river.

Zoom zoom ZOOOOM

And the flying sequence…I don’t get it. I’ve heard through the grapevine that it was the funnest thing in the game and I only found it boring. Sure, he’s flying in a thingy created by Leonardo Da Vinci, but it’s trivial and unchallenging, something which can be applied to most of the rest of the game. There’s no challenge to any of it. At best it can be infuriatingly frustrating but nothing else. And it’s never the player’s fault that something is difficult, it’s the wonky camera or funky controls that are the culprit.

Overall, I leave Assassin’s Creed 2 in its place at 3rd worst sequel as previously stated. It wasn’t fun and I wish I had had something better to do with my weekend. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must be getting back to my E3 coverage.

Top five worst sequels, here’s some wet water.

Top Five Worst Sequels
By personal request from my good friend Brett, I’ll be giving a rundown of the five worst sequels made. This is to be restricted to video games, not movies. Five is not enough for the badness of the matrices. Anyway, moving on.
5. Deus EX: Invisible War

So, I’ll be honest, I’ve never played any of the Deus Ex games, but I’m told the first at least is quite good. Normally, I don’t take word of mouth on games until I’ve played them at least a little bit, but I feel like the Deus Ex saga may be a special case. I’ve never found a game more widely accepted as being good as the first Deus Ex, so I assume it’s pretty good. So why hate on the second? Well, I’ve never heard another game called a letdown as much as Deus Ex: Invisible War. If you don’t believe me, go find someone, a friend, relative, loved one, guy on the street with a giant beard, and ask them their thoughts on the entire Deus Ex series. I guarantee, on my right knee, that they will agree with me. That was a bit more rhyming than I intended.

4. Bioshock 2


As far as games I’ve played go, Bioshock 2, The Bioshocker, makes the bottom of my worsts list. I’ve had a few words on BS2 so I shant go into much detail as to why it’s here, but it is. Accept it. Anyway, on its own BS2 is not a bad game. It’s cool and, dare I say it, enjoyable but it has the unfortunate quality of having been a sequel to Bioshock. Being the child of this super awesome game, it has some big shoes to fill and, like a small child parading around in their father’s Crocs, it just doesn’t quite fit.

3. Assassin’s Creed 2

At first I was a bit hesitant to put Assassin’s Creed 2on this list, I just recently started playing through it last week, but then I kept playing it. Yes, it is a bit cleaner looking than the first game, but honestly I’m disappointed in the boring content in this game. I had problems with the first Creed due to its repetitive nature and the sequel failed to improve upon this fault. As much as I love fetch quests, oh wait, I don’t. Why can’t people go get their own stuff? I’m not even a blade for hire anymore, I’m a messenger boy. I’m only surprised that the developers didn’t dress Enzio up in brown short shorts to resemble his UPS descendants. I haven’t quite made my way through the entirety of the game yet, nor can I be sure that I ever will, so someday I might rescind this idea but I find this unlikely as I doubt they had sweet UPS trucks back in the day.

Da Vinci would be proud.

2. Metal Gear Solid 2

Oh Kojima. You so silly.

Now, I’m a huge fan of the Metal Gear Solid series. Yes, the long winded cutscenes of Hideo Kojima can get a bit dull at times, but they make up for it with good writing and a great sense of humor. Except the second. Well, at least a large portion of it. The parts with Raiden were really unpleasant, to say the least. I really don’t care if you’re having relationship issues with your girlfriend, Raiden, take care of that at home, not the office. This is a place for work, not your personal problems. The other elements of the game are fine, so I suppose if you played it muted and skipped every cutscene MGS2 would probably get a lot better, but then it wouldn’t have the same charm that makes MGS games great.

1. Legend of Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link
This one’s a bit of a stretch back in time, but still a goodie. Everyone remembers the good ol’e days of the original Legend of Zelda. Runnin’ around, pew pewing with your sword, killing Gannon. Fun times. Then, for some reason, they threw all of that away and made The Legend of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Right off the bat you can see a problem with this game: It’s about Link. No one really cares about him, he’s just the mute hero who happens to repeatedly save the world. This game doesn’t even fit into the otherwise “solid” Legend of Zelda mythos, which we all know is near flawless. Second only to the TV series, the adventure of Link is one of the biggest WTF’s of the franchise. It has a weird 2d slash 3d combat system and a wonky RPG style leveling system, which is frankly out of place in a Zelda game.

WHAT IS THIS!

That, and it’s hard. Unnecessarily so. I’ve seldom found a game that I just could not beat, but this is one of them. Yes, I should probably go grind more before I hit that second temple, but that’s just bad design and out of place in a Zelda game. If I was going to go run up a grind fest I’d play a good game, like Final Fantasy, that way I might feel sad when my Nintendo cartridge accidentally erases my save data.

And there you have it. My top 5 worst sequels. I hope this has been insightful, if nothing else. I’m still taking suggestions for future content, so please feel free to chime in with your two cents.

A look to the past, Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

A look to the past, Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

In honor of one of my favorite games being named the 00s era game of the decade by gamefaqs.com (if by a slim margin) I will be taking a look back at a game that was, once, one of the most underrated Legend of Zelda games, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.

It's so angry!

Released in the year 2000 for N64, and rereleased in mid-2009 for the Wii Virtual Console (only 1000 points ~ 10 dollars), Majora’s mask takes place immediately following the events of Ocarina of Time(OOT), a rare bit of continuity for the Zelda series. In fact, Majora’s Mask is radically different from most other Zelda games (Wind Fish not included). Skip ahead to avoid a few spoilers, but besides Link and the Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask lacks the common features of most Zelda games. There’s no princess to save, Link is in Termina, not Hyrule, and the evil overlord isn’t even Gannon, instead the role falls to some unnamed child who stole a mask. There aren’t even eight proper dungeons to defeat, only four (Though there are four other kinda dungeons…never mind). This drastic uniqueness, despite its criticisms, is what makes Majora’s Mask one of the most fun Zelda games I have played.

By our powers combined!

I suppose only having 4 dungeons is warranted since Link only has 3 days to save the world before the angry moon crashes into Clock Town, destroying pretty much everything, by summoning the four giants trapped by the evil magic of the evil Majora’s Mask. Yes, he has the magical Ocarina of Time that lets him go back to the beginning of the 72 hours, but that’s beside the point. At its heart, Majora’s Mask is still very much a Zelda game, taking many of the enemy models straight from OOT. You swing your sword, shoot arrows, and generally kill things, at least when you are in human form. Thanks to the Happy Mask Salesman and the Skull Kid (the evil guy who wants to crash the moon into the world), Link gains three form changing masks that morph his body into one of the three prevalent races of Termina, Zora, Goron, and Deku. Each racial form gives Link different powers and weaknesses, like hopping on water and drowning that he will need to face the dungeons looming in the future. And the mask theme continues on as Link must collect masks that, while a couple are very useful, don’t amount to more than a few heart pieces or another mask. But if he collects them all then you get the overpowered Fierce Deity mask for the final battle. It is totally worth it.

The guy at the top looks kinda familiar...

Over the course of the game, you are constantly reminded of the three day time limit as a large clock at the bottom of the screen quickly counts down the hours until ultimate destruction. While the gameplay is mostly standard Zelda faire, the clock allows Majora’s Mask to have an unprecedented storytelling instrument that has not been seen in a game since. Before someone claims that Dead Rising did it too, it didn’t. Dead Rising (DR) is pedestrian at best compared to Majora’s Mask. DR gives you hours to complete generic task that are otherwise static and unchanging within the timespan. Majora’s Mask, on the other hand, features and entirely scripted world in sync with the movement of the hands of the clock. You can know exactly where the Postman is, down to the square of tile, based on the time of day. There is one quest line in the game (The missing son Kafei) that has a few very specific timed events that must be completed to successfully finish the quest in its entirety. Miss one or do too much and you have to start over. The rest of the people and Clock Town also change from day to day, reflecting on and discussing the growing moon in the sky. Without any interference from Link these people would continue the same paths until the end of time, which is, coincidentally, a few days away.

Any one else remember "green"?

Graphics wise, Majora’s Mask was pretty sweet back in the day.  That was top of the line for the N64, you even had to buy upgrades for your console to even play it, a price well paid for a few Assassin’s Creed-esque landscapes the game had in store.  Back in the day when a $20 add-on was a big deal, before the plastic instrument of Guitar Hero took off.  Granted there wasn’t bloom lighting back then to hide the polygons, but those were better days when there were more colors than brown and gunmetal gray.  Majora’s Mask was state of the art when it came out and, despite the elitist standards of today, looked and still looks pretty dang good.

If you have never played The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and own an N64 or a Wii, now would be the perfect time to pick up a copy and spend a few days away from the princess, especially in the after Christmas lull of new video games. You will not be disappointed.

Some things never change.

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