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Read Dead sequel? Let’s hope so . . .

December 20, 2014

Again, been a while since I’ve posted. As usual I have pages of notes that I’ve been meaning to post, but just didn’t get around to it.

/Anyway/, Rockstar is hinting at a Red Dead Redemption game. RDR is in my top 10 games of all time – probably my favorite game of the last console generation other than Mass Effect and Skyrim, and it was very easily my favorite Rockstar game. With how fantastic the revamped current-gen GTA V turned out I’m really excited about the prospect of playing another Read Dead game.

Speaking of GTA V – I picked up the XBox One version last month, mostly because of the first person view. Yet I was impressed with the improvements made to the package as a whole. I always felt like the last-gen version felt held-back, like it was designed specifically to be played on an XBox One or PS4, not the previous generation of consoles. The lighting and shadows are fantastic, the bump to the number and variety of characters and cars really helps the world feel alive. And the first person view didn’t disappoint. It’s hard to appreciate just how much detail the game world has until you play it in first person – it’s a pretty surreal experience. The closest thing that I’ve played so far was FarCry 3, and even that didn’t have nearly the level of attention to detail that GTA V has.

Right now I’m mostly playing Assassin’s Creed III on 360 and various coop games on PC with friends at the mine.

I realize that I never mentioned having played through Assassin’s Creed Revelations. I beat it in pretty short order. It’s not a bad game, definitely not as bad as AC1, but it felt really disconnected from ACII and AC Brotherood. Ezio travels to Istanbul, where he knows no one and is in a fairly strange environment. Stylistically it’s a big departure from ACII and Brotherood, and I found myself struggling to care about the story. While it was nice to get a bit more backstory on the whole Altair and Desmond story (ultimately bringing Altair’s story to a close), the transition between AC Brotherhood and Revelations was so abrupt that it almost felt like I was playing a different franchise. Maybe it was the cultural and language difference in going from Italy to Turkey.

American history and popular culture has just enough exposure to Italian that it wasn’t as entirely alien seeming to experience Renaissance Italy. Istanbul on the other hand – it might as well have been on mars. Even at the risk of sounding Eurocentric or biggoted, it’s true because that’s my cultural background. There’s not much overlap between Renaissance Turkey and American history or popular culture. So the architectural, stylistic, even cultural ties between ACII and ACB were totally lost in going to ACR. Beyond that the personal story arch of Ezio had largely been wrapped up by the end of ACB, leaving almost nothing for ACR. There was no mystery, there was no looming threat or arch villain that I was concerned about. I couldn’t even keep the enemies straight in ACR. I didn’t care at all about the political jockying of Sultan, uncle, and son in a land I didn’t feel I knew very well. I was just doing the missions the same way I do WoW quests – mindlessly running objective to objective. I’m rambling… I should just wrap it up with “It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t bad”.

It took me a while to actually want to start Assassin’s Creed III. I’m not too sure why – maybe it’s because I already knew that the story wouldn’t be as grabbing as ACII… Not only did it take me a while to even try the game, it took even longer for me to warm up to the game. At first I tried my hardest to avoid side quests, just so I could plow through the main mission and get on to ACIV (which I was much more excited about playing). When I had some spare time I started to slow down and give the side quests a try. None were difficult, but none were really engaging. I was unlocking stuff I didn’t really need, namely weapons that were /marginally/ better than the ones I already had. There are no armor or gadget upgrades, just crap for your mansion that you never need to visit or even care about. So I’m back to the point where I’m plowing the main missions since the side missions are meaningless and don’t contribute to the story. The main story itself is fairly interesting however. Not quite as good as ACII, but very much in line with the “Assassin’s Creed” themes of family, duty, honor, free will versus security and control. I’m mostly done with the main story – so I’m excited to wrap up the campaign and get on to ACIV.

I also bought the XBox One Unity bundle, which includes AC Unity. I’m going to wait to play that until it’s been patched to a playable state. It’s aggrivating that companies are releasing unfinished games as a quick cash grab, knowing full well that consumers will put top dollar down for a franchise name. That’s exactly why I refuse to preorder anything anymore. It’s just a joke – you’re giving them an interest free loan, with no guarantee that the game you are buying isn’t total fucking garbage. See also: Aliens Colonial Marines.

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