Sep 032014

I blame Daniel Day-Lewis. I watched Last of the Mohicans and got a hankering to play a game set in the Colonial frontier, one of many periods of history poorly covered by games. In fact, in a reasonably extensive library the only game that really addressed this setting was Assassin’s Creed III, a game that, to put it mildly, I did not like very much. Shorn of its only real virtue, the multiplayer component, I felt reasonably certain I would still hate the game virulently. I’ve given second chances to games I formally liked less, though, so I booted up [Read more...]

Dec 032013

Assassin’s Creed IV has many problems, most of them inherited from Assassin’s Creed III. The free-running is sloppier than ever and actually trying to go to a particular place quickly (say, the top of a mast to take a flag) feels like a struggle against the game’s mechanics rather than a use of them. Combat, especially swordplay, is a mess plagued by a useless camera, and while stealth has improved slightly it’s not strong enough for the demands the game makes of it, especially in tailing and eavesdropping missions. The story is silly and inconsequential – in both the past [Read more...]

Nov 102013

Status: Main campaign and all “Most Wanted” missions complete. Most Intriguing Idea: Pit a younger, rougher Batman against cops and thugs alike. Best Design Decision: The crime scene investigation with the rewind feature. Worst Design Decision: Bane. Summary: As an open-world game, Arkham Origins is about on par with its predecessor Arkham City. The explorable section of Gotham is larger and a bit more varied, albeit blocked off in irritating ways. However, because we’re exploring Batman’s world before its array of supervillains managed to make their mark on it, the locations lack a certain flavor and verve that places like [Read more...]

Jan 112013

The other day Seb Wuepper posted a critique of Far Cry 3‘s design at Gameranx that I did not find compelling. Wuepper’s argument reads less like criticism of Far Cry 3‘s design per se than a complaint about the fact that this game is not Far Cry 2. I am sympathetic to his point because I also prefer Far Cry 2. However, I don’t feel that not being some game I like more is a fundamental argument against design quality. One’s opinion of the design’s quality will depend on what one thinks the game is trying to achieve (or should [Read more...]