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Top 20 Franchises… And some AC2 commentary…

May 16, 2014

I find the Top 20 Franchises of the Past Nine Years quite interesting. What’s even more interesting are the observations made by readers.

I still don’t have access to Twitter or Google Documents, which is kind of ridiculous. The admins at my work use Prism, which seems to change the website ban list daily. <shrug> It’s only a matter of time before they ban Evernote and WordPress as well – which is really unfortunate. I’ll probably end up using something on a foreign server that doesn’t get as quickly scrutinized by Prism.


I’m playing through Assassin’s Creed 2. It is quite simply a fantastic game; and I’m quite surprised by that, because AC1 was just a god awful game. There are only two reasons that I’m glad that I played AC1. First of all  AC1 was SO arbitrarily rigid and difficult that it’s made playing AC2 much more simple, allowing me to really enjoy the thick narrative and well-crafted environment. Second, there’s a LOT background and story presented in AC1 that basically sets up AC2. While AC2 does a decent job of summarizing the events of AC1, it was just better to have played through them.

This is my second attempt to play the game. My first attempt was foiled by a deleted save-game. I wasn’t looking when I booted up the game and I just started pushing buttons to get into the game, and inadvertently deleted my progress. Whoops… It’s a bummer, but I did get to see the best parts of the game again – namely the narrative framework of the Audiatore family, the build up of Ezio’s becoming an assassin from a playboy. I really don’t care much for the present/future segments featuring Desmond, but they really kept it to a minimum in AC2, plus it helps underline the power of the Templars, since they’ve managed to survive many centuries intact, with their plans for global domination still very much as they were in the 12th century.

I’m not excited to do the jumpy puzzles again, as that is my least favorite part of the game. Likewise with unlocking all of the viewpoints and grabbing collectables. After having burnt myself out on WoW and many, many other MMOs over the past ten years, I’m done with fetch quests and repatative, meaningless dribble like.

I’ve known the AC2 soundtrack for years – being a fan of Jesper Kyd, I got my hands on it fairly soon after it was released. I always wondered about the game, however I never did follow the Prince of Persia / Assassins Creed series, and I was into MMOs then, so I “didn’t have time” to play many other games. My OCD compells me to want to be a completionist and start playing every franchise “from the beginning”, and I figured that I would need to start with Prince of Persia (the reboot from 2003), but that boat had sailed and I didn’t want to sink that much time into the lineage of AC2. That’s quite unfortunate, as I probably should have just bought AC2 and enjoyed it, then backtracked at my own leisure. Assassin’s Creed 2 – quite simply a masterpiece. AC1 was just a bad game in most regards, however it was SO arbitrarily rigid and difficult that it’s made playing AC2 much more simple, allowing me to really enjoy the thick narrative and well-crafted environment.

Otherwise I’m enjoying a few Android titles. While I still hold that the tablet / slate / i-platforms are not really very good gaming platforms, I have found a FEW Games that break the trend of shitty farmville and match-3 games that tend to absolutely DOMINATE GooglePlay marketplace and the iStore.

1000000 – Ironically I bemoan match-3 games, however this one is solid. It has an interesting metagame where the type of blocks you match help clear the way for your 8-bit adventurer avatar. The game loads very quickly and matches are usually under the 5-minute mark, so it’s perfect for when you need a quick diversion.

Raiden Legacy – Basically all of the main Raiden top-down shoot’em’up games, except Raiden II (which I believe had some problems with emulation in general – I could never get it working on MAME). It isn’t bad at all. It takes a little while to get into a match, and it’s a bit frantic due to a slight increase in emulation speed, but at least it has a pause button, something sorely lacking in many touch-screen games.

Kingdom Rush – I’m a sucker for the tower defense genre, so this one is a no-brainer. The matches are way too long for my liking, but so far my phone hasn’t shut the game down when I pause it. I’d be a lot happier if there was more that the players could do with the Hero units, such as upgrade paths. Otherwise it’s a great diversion, especially for only $1.

Reaper – The controls for Reaper are easily the best that I’ve seen in an action RPG / platformer on a touch screen device. The “auto-swing” is probably what made the big difference here. Nevertheless the controls are just so much smoother than most of the side-scrolling games I’ve tried on touch screens. The presentation is unique and quite charming. The difficulty is noticably higher than most other touch-screen games of this nature, but it’s likely due to Reaper being entirely freemium – they want you to buy stuff with real money to make the game easier, I assume.

I’ve done a bit of research into browsers lately, and I’m surprised to see that Chrome is now the top dog. I remember when that was the hipster browser, the “alternative” browser. While I like Chrome quite a bit, the reason that I tend to prefer Firefox is due to how much better Xmarks works for syncing links in FF, than in Chrome, or either of the broswers’ native syncing capabilities. I tend to stack quite a few folders within folders – Russian doll style, and most syncing services get very confused by this, creating numerous duplicates and unnecessarily rearranging them. This was pretty much the deal killer for me with Chrome. Also, I’m happy with how much full screen space and usability I get with FF on my 10″ netbook (800×600 screen resolution).

Plus, I’ve grown really, /really/ tired of how pushy Google has become about Google Plus. I’m just f-ing fed up with it, honestly. It’s so bad I’m about to switch from gmail, for the first time in a decade. I DON’T WANT TO USE GOOGLE PLUS. I WON’T SIGN UP FOR IT. Google’s push to Borg everyone into their services is driving me bananas.

 

 

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