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Archive for December 11, 2010

“Assassin’s Creed: Awesome” or “Offensive Combat, Deadly Assassins, Same Old Stupid Voice Acting”

December 11, 2010 2 comments

Completionist’s Wetdream

My gaming time these days is being occupied by the excellent Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. It is a completionist’s wet dream. There are flags, feathers, treasures, guild missions, assassinations, blacksmiths/tailors/doctors with their own shop quests, banks, underground tunnels, platforming dungeons, mini-games, clusters, puzzles, war machines, courtesan missions, thief missions… the list goes on and on. Oh and did I mention it also has a kick-ass main storyline? But it is so seamlessly integrated into the fray of everything else that you never know where the generally well-defined outlines of the story end, and the side quests and mini-games begin.

Chained Executions

The combat is drastically improved. The drawback for the first two games was being forced to stand there, perpetually blocking (fingers going numb from endlessly holding that stupid button), waiting for someone to attack you so you could counter-kill them with a cool finishing move. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood turns this formula on it’s head, and now allows you to engage in combat offensively. I bruteforce kill my first victim, and then chain an execution streak to take out a ridiculous number of guards. In one mission (when the French assault Bartolomew’s home), my execution streak was 78 kills without blocking, disengaging, or running away. This is, without a doubt, one of the two best new features for the series.

Confraternita di Assassini

The second of these two best new features is your trained band of assassins. In any given fight, I can call up to six highly trained assassins who have more health, skill and equipment than the toughest brutes in the game. And they kill with the same efficiency as you do (assuming you don’t suck!). In fact, I have picked up a few things from my own computer-controlled assassins, such as the liberal use of smoke bombs. There is nothing more satisfying than calling them into a group of guards and seeing four of them air assassinate a group and engage in the chaos around you. You can send them on missions even after they reach level 10 (Assassino!), and earn money and unique items that can be sold at shops, or used to complete shop quests to unlock more items.

It is a kick-ass game, one that I have had an incredible amount of fun with. Rome isn’t as conducive to parkour as prior locations in the series, but it continues to be a fun, engaging and at times exhilarating component of the game.

BTW: I have yet to touch the multiplayer component, and I would recommend it highly for the single player portion alone. Buy it. Play it. Tell me all about it.

My only grievance, the terrible “Italian” accents. Ayo it’s a stupid!

I leave you with the game’s literal trailer, courtesy of one Tobuscus, one of the funniest people on YouTube right now.

“A Sudden Drop in MMOs” or “Scratching the Itch”

December 11, 2010 2 comments

A Sudden Drop in MMOs

I am no longer playing WoW, and quite at peace with the decision. It is a great game, and I am more than certain that the latest expansion is the best one yet, if the commentary of my peers is any indication. But for now, I’m done, and it’s time to try out something new.

Actively, I am not playing any MMO at the moment. Unless you think infrequently logging into Perpetuum and World of Tanks is actively playing MMOs. I am just waiting for all the madness around Christmas time to be over before I jump into the fray with a new title (poll on that soon). There are plenty of choices, just not enough time to invest in an MMO full-time right now.

Bronte, Hardcore

I have also come to realize that casual MMO gaming is not for me. The first few years I played WoW, I played as the GM of a very large guild and we conquered a lot of content. Then I graduated, got a job, got engaged, and life got exponentially more complicated. That necessitated the investment of a lot of time, and as such, my hardcore MMO habits suffered. But life is beginning to settle down again, my work hours have decreased from 12-14 a day to about 10. I am not overworked or being abused, I assure you, I genuinely love doing what I do, and I would gladly invest more time if needed. But that’s the point, it is no longer needed, I have more time in my hands and more still in the coming months.

So I need to find a way to scratch that itch, that need to play in a competitive environment, that exhilaration of downing the first world boss, the excitement of trial and error as you learn a new fight, the clang of axe on sword (or appropriate equivalent) in a battleground, the rush of an accomplishment that stands out in the world. To that end, I need to find a new title to look into. Syp’s post a few weeks back got me interested in Rift. Then Darren linked to a post on Rift’s beta, MMO Gamer Chick got invited to the beta, a certain someone else skipped it altogether, and it certainly piqued Syncaine’s curiosity. Of course Champions Online is going F2P. I have always wanted to try out Lord of the Rings, and apparently good ol’ Dub’s thinking the same thing. And then we have the upcoming The Secret World, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Jumpgate Evolution, Guild Wars 2 and Black Prophecy, although, admittedly, I have no idea when they may be released. There is also the option of going back to EvE, especially with Massively’s new Mob.

These are options I will whittle down over the next few weeks as I do more research on which MMO seems to best fit my play-style and nature, but one thing is for certain: I think I really want to run a hyper-competitive guild again. It is an incredible amount of work and a thankless job, but it is also a lot of fun, immeasurably rewarding in an unsung manner, and comes with its own set of perks and fringe benefits.

Categories: Bronte, Guild

“What Feed Reader Do You Use?” or “Google, Flexible, Intuitive, Limited”

December 11, 2010 Leave a comment

I have been using Google Reader for a while now. But as my reading list grows, I find that it is difficult to manage it with in Google Reader.

What feed readers do you guys use? And which would you recommend? I would especially like one that allows me to read feeds “offline”, and download them for offline viewing as soon as it refreshes.

Categories: Bronte