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…]

Batman: Arkham Origins

 Open World Action Games  Comments Off on Batman: Arkham Origins
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…]

Jan 102013

[Trigger Warning: This post concerns a plotline in Far Cry 3 where a secondary character is raped, as well as some related cultural artifacts that also feature rape.] Buck should have gotten away. Buck is a peculiar hitman in Far Cry 3. Apparently employed by the game’s big bad, Hoyt, Buck has an interest in men, and in ancient Chinese artifacts. As it happens, he presently “owns” one of protagonist Jason Brody’s male friends, and will exchange him if Jason retrieves a ceremonial knife originating from the treasure ships of Zheng He. Since Jason needs the knife for another purpose, [Read more…]