Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is a Great Return to Form

Assassin’s Creed is the gaming world’s whipping boy for the case against annualized releases. While Call of Duty pulls this trick as well, the sheer scale of an Assassin’s Creed game means that the stress fractures brought on by a quick turn-around are more readily apparent.

Last year’s Unity could be seen as the tipping point in the series. With a buggy launch and a poor reception, despite its decent co-op mode, Unity left the series balancing more closely to irrelevance than ever. Ubisoft needed to right the ship with the follow-up title, and thankfully Syndicate was the shot in the arm Assassin’s Creed needed. Continue reading Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is a Great Return to Form

Watch 50 Minutes of The Division Gameplay Because You Know You Want To

Youtuber JackFrags (along with a bunch of other YouTube channels and outlets except for us and Kotaku) visited Ubisoft recently to get a peek at the long-in-development Tom Clancy third-person shooter RPG hybrid The Division. A lot of the videos that made their way to the Internet last week were short and had voice-overs, but JackFrags put up 50 minutes of commentary-free footage featuring some co-op mission action and Dark Zone shenanigans. The footage was recorded on Xbox One, for reference. Watch the embedded video below if you want to know more:

My hype level for the Division has been steadily climbing since the previews started hitting. I’ve seen some complaints about the “bullet sponge” nature of the enemies, but it makes sense if you think about it as an RPG first rather than a twitch-based shooter. I’m in the beta that will be hitting the PC at the end of January so I’ll most likely be streaming the game for anyone interested.

Who else is riding that Division hype train? Anyone on the fence?

Source – JackFrags’ YouTube channel

Heading Back Into The Wasteland in Fallout 4

To use an analogy that is perhaps a bit staid by this point, playing Fallout 4 is like eating your favorite dish for the hundredth time. It’s still filling and satisfying in its own way, but has lost some of the magic it once had.

Don’t get me wrong, Fallout 4 is not a bad game; I’ve put around 40 hours into my adventures in the Commonwealth and I’ll more than likely be close to double that by the time I’m done. Even though Fallout 4 hews closely to the established Bethesda formula, there’s a reason it works so damn well. Continue reading Heading Back Into The Wasteland in Fallout 4

The Amazing Open World and Lackluster Narrative of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is the greatest action-stealth game I’ve ever played. Every aspect of the gameplay in Hideo Kojima’s farewell to the series he’s been heading up for over 25 years is tight, responsive and open to wild degrees of experimentation. So often in Metal Gear Solid 5 you’ll think up some crazy way to test the game’s systems and more often than not it will work. Extract yourself out of a hot zone by holding on to a fulton balloon on top of a shipping container? Want to use the tape of someone pooping to stop soldiers from investigating the outhouse you’re hiding in? Go for it.

The beauty of Metal Gear Solid 5’s gameplay is that nearly everyone will have a different story to tell about how they engaged with a certain mission or took down a base. This is the best feeling Metal Gear game to play by a large margin. Gone are the archaic controls and the contorted claw shapes you would have to twist your hand into to do something simple like aiming down a weapon’s sights. When you are in the open world of Afghanistan or central Africa, you really feel like you can make the legend of Big Boss come to life. Continue reading The Amazing Open World and Lackluster Narrative of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain

The Witcher 3 and Other Games That Didn’t Grab You

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt is, by many people’s reckoning, the greatest game that was put out in 2015. It has won hundreds of Game of the Year awards and is hailed as a technical achievement and the exemplary model of how to handle post-release content and patching. But even with all of its clout it just couldn’t grab me.

This is the first Witcher game I’ve played in earnest, having not played the original game and putting just a token effort into two. I’d clock my Witcher 3 playtime at around 15 hours but that’s just an estimate.

I hunted monsters, flirted with Geralt’s past lovers and met the Bloody Baron and the Crones, both of whom were engrossing for different reasons. I love the world that CD Projekt Redhas realized with the Witcher but I could tell even early on that the story was going to do some major wheel spinning and the combat wasn’t varied enough to grab me. Continue reading The Witcher 3 and Other Games That Didn’t Grab You

Review: Watch Dogs

watch dogs review

Nothing screamed “the next gen is here” more than Ubisoft’s E3 2012 stage reveal of Watch Dogs. The PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One weren’t even revealed yet, but everyone knew what Watch Dogs was heralding when Ubisoft showed it off for the first time.

Two years and one delay later, we finally get to hack the mean streets of Chicago. Is Watch Dogs a next gen standard bearer or does it barely straddle the line between the last generation and this one? Continue reading Review: Watch Dogs

Check Out 30 Minutes of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Gameplay

I know, we were all pretty down about Hideo Kojima’s latest foray into the ever-retconned mess of the Metal Gear Solid universe when we discussed the E3 2014 trailer in our most recent podcast, but this 30 minute gameplay demo of The Phantom Pain has me intrigued. There’s no uncomfortable sexual torture or ash-smearing, just Big Boss being a fricking bad-ass and infiltrating a Russian outpost to search for intel. As a bonus, we also get a glimpse of Mother Base, which, if memory serves, wasn’t an actual location in Peace Walker. The gameplay demo starts at around 41 minutes into the show, but I suppose you can watch the rest of it if you happen to understand Japanese. Don’t worry, the demo is narrated in English.

It looks like Kojima Productions have made a lot of really smart updates to the formula of Metal Gear Solid. While the “iDroid” is a little out of place for the mid-80s (which is when TPP takes place) it allows you to tackle the open world in a variety of ways thanks to waypoints and soldier-tagging. Also, Fulton-ing sheep looks hilarious. So, did this pique anyone’s interest?