Thursday, 12 June 2014

Assassins Creed Unity - Exciting

I have been watching the trailers released at E3 and I'm really quite excited about the new Assassins Creed game coming out later this year.

I have to confess that I boycotted the last one - Black Flag - completely. Assassins Creed 3 was, to be frank, a disaster and when they announced the next one would include pirates my respect for the franchise vanished through the floor. It was clearly an attempt to garner mass appeal after the disaster of 3 and I was not wasting money on that. Perhaps, I'll pick it up cheap at one point, but I was not going to be queuing for it on release.

Anyway, back to Unity. It looks, at first glimpse, to be a return to form for the franchise. Emphasis is being placed back onto stealth with the combat being made harder. One of the main issues with 3, in my opinion, is that combat was so easy that gameplay generally came down to hacking and slashing through dozens of enemies rather than sneaking around or using your assassin tricks. The free running element, also broken in 3, is reported to have been fixed, but I have yet to see actual evidence of this, so I'll reserve my comments here for a later date.

With so little information, I can't really comment on the new protagonist, as yet, Arno. Connor's issue in 3 was an almost complete lack of personality, and I can't really judge on Arno's personality from a profile but the setting of the French revolution is promising. In 3 the rather boring and low height architecture of America didn't really lend itself well to an Assassin's Creed game and stifled the free running element. In Unity it looks like a return to majestic cities of the type of Rome and Florence in 2 and brotherhood, with much more character and opportunity for up high action.

Overall, I'm quite excited with this title, but i'm still holding on to a little caution. It's too early to label this a success and the proof will be in the playing, but I'm optimistic that I may well get back one of my favourite game series that I had lost faith in. Here's hoping.

Review: Edge of Tomorrow

Time for another review. I watched this film yesterday. It is sort of a Sci-fi action version of Run Lola Run, with the end goal, instead of making a certain amount of money, of killing an alien, queen bee type entity, to end an invasion.

I have to admit that for the first twenty or minutes, I sat there thinking, what have I let myself in for, in watching the film. I wasn't that impressed, but it does improve after the first twenty minutes of repeated scenes. Yes I know they were emphasising the fact the day was repeating but I got that after the first time, there was no need to repeat the same scene about four times.

Saying that, the tactical implications of living the same day over and over again were well explored and there was a decently established plot to the story, more than enough to hold it together. I'm not convinced that the mental implications of living the day over and over and witnessing hundreds of deaths each time is explored properly, or even at all really.

The only problem I really have is with the ending which I can really explain without revealing spoilers but, in my opinion, it doesn't work with the rules previously set out in the film. However, this film is well worth a watch and after the first twenty or so minutes are out of the way I found myself enjoying it.

I still think that the best example of a day repeating scenario is presented in Stargate episode "Window of Opportunity". Which, in my opinion is just genius and explored in a more well rounded manner the implications of reliving the day over and over.

Anyway, good film, worth a watch, but does not make it into my all time favourites.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Review: X-men Days of Future Past

First, I really enjoyed this film. If you haven't seen it then go see it. Anyone who enjoyed X-men First Class or the first two X-men films will love this one. I will be very careful not to drop in any spoilers, so don't worry if you haven't seen it yet.

The film is set in two periods, present and the 1970s. In the present, mutants are on the verge of being wiped out and Logan/ Wolverine is sent back into 1970s, via a mind transfer process. For anyone who remembers the first trilogy, this film has been done to reset the timeline and effectively wipe out the third film which has been regarded by fans as a complete disaster. While the function for this film is the back peddling of a film company after damaging the franchise it doesn't in anyway damage the film created. The story line feels plausible and not forced to conform to it's purpose.

The younger characters, introduced in First Class, play the major roles in this film with their present versions more as cameos. However, there are some very good fight scenes in present line which introduces new mutants which I would love to see in later X-men films. I particularly like the one with the portal powers, which made for some very fluid and engaging fight scenes. The characters of the younger Charles, Magneto and Mystique have really been expanded in this film. A much deeper insight is given into their emotional/ mental struggles and the events which lead to them into becoming the characters of the first trilogy. There are also brief glimpses of other first trilogy characters such as Toad to watch out for.

At a time when action films are becoming all action and no plot, I found this film very refreshing. There are plenty of action scenes and yet not so many that the plot feels drowned out by them. The pacing of the film is kept up without any loss of meaning or direction in the film's plot. This is a wonderfully balanced film which does it's purpose of wiping out the timeline of the third movie without the feeling of that being its only purpose of existence. I will definitely be getting this one on Blu-ray when it comes out.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Okay, That was stupid

Somehow, I've managed to accidentally sell two pieces of the highwayman's costume that I received with my pre-order. At least I assume that's what happened. I can only assume that during one of my bag clearing exercises, where I just sell off all white and grey stuff that I must have sold the two costume pieces as well.

Yes, true, it is ultimately my own fault for not being more careful or putting them in the bank, but I do still wonder why Carbine don't add a warning to things like rare costume pieces when you try to sell them. I tried to get them back by re opening the item from the gift box but it seems I can't do that.

Sigh, that's ticket two raised. Hopefully, I'll get a non generic response to this one, unlike the last one where their response was more than a little useless and it was clear the person sending it hadn't even bothered to read the comment on the ticket. But it's not like Blizzard don't do the same thing. In fact, the one time I had to contact a mod on WoW, think it was Cataclysm, a whole quest chain had bugged for me and it took a couple of days for it be fixed. Luckily I had plenty of other characters to play while I waited. I haven't come across any major bugs like that in Wildstar, even in the open beta, so serious respect to them for that. Anyway, I'll let you know what happens.

Guild Meet Up

Inevitable Betrayal had their first guild meet up on Monday evening, in the centre of Thyad. It was lost of fun. There is currently a screenshot competition going for people capturing shot from the guild meet, so people were all doing random things and shooting off special effects. My favourite has to be the group that jumped on the automated moving platform. I don't have a picture of that but I will add a few which I have taken a little later, so check back this evening.

This guild seems like a good lot and reminds me of my guild on WoW, back in the day. They were a fun bunch, who realised that games were meant to be fun. We did dungeons and raids. Sometimes we succeeded, mostly we just ran up massive repair bills but we had a laugh, which, for me, is the point a game. I think that's my main issue with WoW now. Everyone, even in the normal dungeons takes the game so damn seriously. I really do not consider standing there while the group gang up on whoever is the tank or healer and throw childish and juvenile insults back and forth, fun. If I wanted to be involved in that I would have become a social club leader. Alright, rant over.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Wildstar Head Start

I decided to make a separate blog for my gaming posts so I didn't have to limit the number of post on this topic through fear of drowning out the writing posts. I spend a lot of time gaming and generally if something interesting has happened in a day it is usually online.

I started playing Wildstar during the open beta so I already knew what to expect on logging in. That's after the one hour of hitting the login button continuously as the authentication server kept timing out. Yes, I know it wasn't Carbine's fault and to be honest I was that bothered as I used it after playing a number of WoW expansions on launch day. I did get annoyed when I starting getting through the password and then stuck on the authenticator stage. It really annoyed me know people without authenticators were getting in while I was stuck on the login waiting for the miracle of two server windows in a row to get through.

I eventually tried to log in on the website to remove my authenticator temporarily only to not to be able to log in. That made me angry and at that point I did sent Carbine an angry ticket.

However, once I got in, I created three characters, two of them only to save the names, and started playing the warrior. I had played most of the classes during Beta but Warrior I hadn't tried yet. They're a little more clunky than the stalker, but that's to be expected, really. I only had an hour to play after the, one spent trying to log in, so I didn't manage to get far before having to head off to my workshop and the Finchley Literary Festival. My dad was up for the weekend so I had to wait until about midnight, when he'd gone to bed, before getting back on. Obviously, the optimization issues aside, I'm enjoying the game so far. I won't be giving up WoW completely but I always have space for one more MMO and I think I can have fun on it. I have a guild already "Inevitable Betrayal" which I joined between OS week and head start. I'll write more about that in my next post.