Dishonored (PC, PS3 ,360)

Today I find myself yet again sitting behind my desk with nothing to do. So instead of the usual (watch Game of Thrones) I’ve decided to do something a little bit more constructive. Instead I decided to go to the steam-punk, industrial city of Dunwall. A city full to the brim of plague, rats and general nasty things. So everyone strap yourselves in and keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times. Here’s Dishonored.

Dishonored centres around Corvo Attano bodyguard to the Empress Jessamine and her daughter Emily. Upon his arrival back in Dunwall after a diplomatic mission away the Empress is assassinated and her daughter kidnapped. Corvo is framed for the crime and is sentenced to death. Just before his execution he manages to escape, with help from the rebellion who oppose to the rule of the new Regent Hiram Burrows (who masterminded the coup against the Empress). Soon after meeting the Loyalists, The Outsider (Some supernatural entity) visits Corvo granting him the use of his magic. Armed with his new powers and the resources of the Loyalists, Corvo now has the means to exact his revenge on those who framed him and rescue Emily.

The story flows like a river of bricks, being delivered in splutters at a time. With any kind of game like this there a plot twist at the end, but only those who have either spent much of their life living under a rock or were born yesterday will find it shocking. Most players will be on to it before Corvo has a chance to clean off his blade. I’m not saying that that story is participially bad, it’s just shallower than anything else Bethesda has put there name to. The game itself is short and isn’t really made much longer by the few optional missions. Although you can make it longer by playing the game twice, once to get the good ending, then again to get the evil ending.


The gameplay however is nothing short of fun. The game flows really well with smooth transitions between parkcour roof running, blinking across roof tops and finally jumping off a building to plant Corvo’s sword into the skull of an unaware guard. As I mentioned in my Awards of 2012 section, I enjoyed how fluid the gameplay felt. I also mentioned that there was a smaller number of techniques available. To explain what I meant I need to remind you of the first few shorts from the developers, they made a not of a few different ways to kill stuff. They went through about 4 or 5 and told us there was a whole lot more, turns out they were lying through there teeth’s. There only really a handful of ways to go around taking the life of those who see to bring you to justice. Not that that’s what’s upsetting me, I just don’t like being lied to, especially when it comes to me spending my own money.

One thing that it defiantly worth mentioning is the artistic merit of the game. With it’s unique character design and industrial steam-punk Victorian London overlay, it is a very pretty game. It just saddens me that the characters themselves seem so generic and lifeless, almost robotic. It just undermines the work of the graphic designers when boring characters are placed into such artistic surroundings. It would be much like gathering a bunch of hill billies and asking them to staff the Ritz.

Now for my final thought. Dishonored is a game I did enjoy playing, as you have read it was far from perfect, in fact it was no where near perfect. What it did get right however were the basics of how to make a fun game. It had the fluidity so transactions between each aspect of gameplay meaning that the gameplay didn’t jerk or suddenly stop. It was one smooth continual roller-coaster ride. This in itself is enough to warrant at least an recommendation, in short it’s not perfect, it’s fun and you should check it out. Even if it did spell it’s name wrong.

Assassins Creed III (PC, PS3, XBOX 360)

A lot has happened since the last time I metaphorically picked up my pen and wrote another rant about one thing or another. Although I doubt you want to hear about what’s been happening in my life over the past few months so for those of you who are interested here is what I thought of Assassins Creed III.

What can I say about the story behind Assassins Creed 3? In short Desmond and the Scooby gang are still searching for a way to prevent the end of all life. To do this Desmond must relive the genetic memories of his colonial ancestor Connor Kenway (or Ratohnhake:ton to his friends) to reveal the resting place of an amulet that unlocks some way to save everyone… presumably. Connor’s story revolves mostly around killing people linked to the Templars and witness significant moments in America’s war for independence.
On the subject I didn’t really like Connor all that much. He doesn’t really have the presence that Ezio or Altair had. Connor, despite looking pretty bad ass with bow and tomahawk in hand, he is more or less all bark and no bite. He also has no real reason to join the Assassins other than the fact that it was convenient for Desmond. Without revealing too much he essentially has a vision of the Assassins logo as was told to go forth from his village and seek this symbol. He finds Achilles over the next ridge who teaches Connor about the Templars and Assassins and his training begins. I still prefer him over Desmond mind, especially after what he does at the end.
Lets get to the marrow of the game now shall we. The killing of things… which is surprisingly vacant in this chapter of the series. There are a selection of dudes that Connor must kill because they burnt down his village. The fact that they all happen to be Templars is fairly convenient as well, so is the fact that most of them are Loyalists too. Instead as previously mentioned Connor must find his way to significant moments of American history and do his part to make sure things happen so the people fighting for freedom win (since that seems to be what being an assassin is all about it seems, not the murdering of people). such as the Boston Tea Party or Paul Revere’s Ride. The whole game feels like an interactive learning guide to the American Revolution. Far gone are the days of the original Assassins Creed where murder and the preparation for murder were the Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato of the BLT that was Assassins Creed. Assassins Creed II had the best assassinate to dicking about ratio. Brotherhood added one or two pieces to dick about with, Revelations even more so and now with Assassins Creed 3 it seems all that’s left is the dicking about.
Assassins Creed 3 does have a lot to side quests to do if you ever get bored of the main story arc, which I did on a decent number of occasional. In fact I would start every sequence seeking out all of the side missions just so I did something other than play through the story. Most of them involve finding skilled individuals to occupy Connors homestead, leading to the ability to craft objects and trade them across the frontier. As tedious as it sounds I did enjoy learning all about the residence, all there little back stories and how they came about moving to town. Also doing this allows you to craft the best weapons in the game as well as gain upgrades such as increased shot capacity or a larger quiver. The rest are made up of the usual motley crew. Assassinate this guy, deliver these letters, liberate this part of town etc.

All this is only half the battle. For once I did actually play the multi-player mode for Assassins Creed 3… and I enjoyed it. The hunting and assassinating of other players was stressful at times but it kept me entertained enough to see myself level up into the 20’s. It’s frustrating at  times but in my experience all multi-player modes are like that, at least all the ones I’ve played have been. It can be difficult when first starting, especially against other of higher rank with better equipment and perks, but one factor I like to point out which I was impressed with was that there were perks that were activated if you weren’t doing so well, to make easier for you to get a kill or not to be killed. Just a little thing I liked when starting out as a bit of a noob.

Overall I did enjoy Assassins Creed 3. Although it doesn’t hold a torch to Assassins Creed 2 and the games that followed it. Assassins Creed 3 is too sporadic. It’s nice that it has variety and substance, but without direction and guidance it’s easy to feel lost which ruins a games flow. The series defiantly peaked at Assassins Creed 2, since then the games have been getting more cluttered with each gimmick each game adds. It’s gotten to the point now that the game has lost the direction of the original. Assassins Creed was all about assassins assassinating for the creed. Now there’s no creed and assassins are few and far between. Then again, the name “Piss About and Do Bugger All 3” wouldn’t make much sense with out the previous “Piss About and Do Bugger All”, “Piss About and Do Bugger All 2”, “Piss About and Do Bugger All Brotherhood” and “Piss About and Do Bugger All Revelations”

Assassins Creed: Revelations (PC, PS3, XBOX 360)

Has it really been 2 months-ish since my last review? Time really does fly when you’re having fun. Anyway, I’m jumping back to Christmas just gone, during which period I was given a copy of Assassins Creed Revelations amongst other games (thanks go out to Al, Alex & Abi). So for your amusement, Assassins Creed Revelations.

For those who don’t know what Assassins Creed is, Have you been living under a rock for the past 4-5years? If so let me give you a quick overview of the series. Assassins Creed first takes place in the Holy Land during the period of the Third Crusade (1191 to be precise). You play as Altaïr ibn-La’Ahad, an assassin who’s tasked with stopping the Templars from discovering the Apple, an ancient device which would allow complete domination over the minds of the masses. Actually I lie, it’s about a barman named Desmond Miles who has been kidnapped by the evil Abstergo corporation in order to re-live his genetic memories to find the resting place of the Apple, an ancient device which would allow complete domination over the minds of the masses. Revelations and the previous 2 Assassins Creed games are much the same except you’re working with the Scooby Gang and your genetic memories focus on the time of the Renaissance playing as Ezio Auditore Da Firenze, just generally being a bad-ass.

Now the first Assassins Creed was a game of two halves. Alot of great moments within the game spoiled by a few annoyances. For example, the fanatically enforced speed limits of the Holy Land which can force Templars from as far as Constantinople to come and stabath ye arse for mealy running down a street. This coupled with having to travel from the Assassin’s castle to your ancient city of the week makes for some frustrating gaming experiences. On the other hand the free roaming parkour esque running and jumping of ancient rooftops as well as the planning and assassination of targets makes for great fun. Then 2nd instalment fixed the minor annoyances of the first games, which I think made it the best game of the series. Brotherhood took the prized winning trifle that was Ass Creed 2 and started tweaking with it in a Windows esque manor, adding stuff that worked well like a pinch of cinnamon (which in the case of this metaphor is the addition of multi-player) and adding stuff that doesn’t work like Branston Pickle (which in the case of this metaphor is the text based management of your assassin minions), essentially making Brotherhood more like Assassins Creed 2.5 The Borgia Strikes Back.

Revelations continues this trend by being Assassins Creed 2.75 Return of the Altaïr. The main additions brought by Revelations are the white chocolate shavings (which in the case.. blah, blah, blah the addition of a hook-blade) and a blob of Marmite (…blah, blah Bomb Crafting and Tower Defence mini games). The hook blade adds a bit more fun to the runny, jumpy roof top flinging by now being able to zip-line down randomly placed wires, which allows for new roof top routes as well as some humorous assassinations. The bomb crafting and tower defence mini games on the other hand are both boring and unnecessary. The bomb crafting although allows for more tactical choices, it just makes the game less of a challenge, just chuck a bomb, it kills people to walk past undisturbed. The tower defence mini games force you rescue an Assassin outpost if your notoriety becomes too high in an attempt to try and give consequence to Ezio’s constant disregard for Templar right to life, but notoriety is that easily lowered it just becomes a chore and distracts you from what your supposed to be doing.

Speaking of what I’m supposed to be doing, this gives me an excuse to discuss the plot. Ezio discovers that in the Assassins base of operation’s during the reign of Altaïr there is a secret door which is believed to be sealing Altaïr’s secret library and since Ezio cannot leave alone anything to do with Altaïr and the Assassins, he heads to Constantinople in order to fine these keys. There are other sub plots, like the power struggle among the officials of the Ottoman Empire and Ezio getting himself a bit of sweet, sweet putang by finding lost books but much like the main plot are weak at best. Throughout the game Ezio has no idea what is behind the sealed door assuming that it must be something to do with the Pieces of Eden because Altaïr’s involved, although it could be just as likely that behind the door he could find  Altaïr’s stamp collection. The whole game gives off a Metal Gear Solid 4 feel. Frantically tying loose ends like David Beckham with the dirty boot bin. Ezio feels as though he’s finding all the keys out of simple curiosity, which doesn’t make for a deep or dramatic story.

At this point I would comment on the multi-player mode but since I haven’t played it nor do I have the intention to do so (not that I think the multi-player is going to be poor, I just don’t like multi-player gaming. Answering the door for my take-away is more than enough social interaction for me).

Now for my final thought. I’m glad to see the back of Revelations. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that it was a bad game, it’s just now the development team can focus on produce another game that does to Assassins Creed 2 what Assassins Creed 2 did to the original Assassins Creed. Do away with the Marmite and Branston Pickle and stuff in more custard, cream and sponge because in fairness that’s all we want from an Assassins Creed game. Although, I’m not sure what to think about moving the series to the era of the American Civil War. I would have thought jumping the rooftops of Victorian London would have been more in place with the series. Meeting influential people such as Charles Darwin, Jack the Ripper, Queen Victoria, Alexander Graham Bell, Charles Dickens and Florence Nightingale just to name a few, but that’s just  me.