Revelations: When Story Suffers at the Hands of Sequel-itis

Assassin's Creed: Revelations

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, or worse, terribly cliche – I want to take a moment and gripe about sequel-itis in video games. No, I’m not against sequels. And yes, I understand that in a time where AAA games cost big bucks to develop, publishers want to go with surefire hits instead of taking chances on new IPs. All of that’s fine. But what I can’t forgive is when this sequel-itis starts affecting stories negatively.

Take Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, for instance. I’m sure all of you will think I hate this game after posting a couple of negative critiques about it, but it’s more that Revelations’ negatives shine so outrageously because the game itself plays so well – and in some ways is a perfection of the Assassin’s Creed formula. I’m going to have to be as spoiler careful as possible here, but AC: Brotherhood ended with a bit of a cliffhanger. OK, that’s an understatement – it ended on a double scoop of cliffhanger with a major sprinkle of WTF. Part of the lure of Revelations is that it was supposed to give you some of the answers about both Desmond and Ezio that were left hanging at the end of Brotherhood.

The problem is, Revelations ends in much the same way. The cliffhanger isn’t so bad compared to Brotherhood, but the “answers” they finally give you only lead to a dizzying array of questions. No explanation is given for some of the really bizarre things you see in the climax of this game, after the entire narrative kept assuring you that the time for answers was coming soon. Continue reading Revelations: When Story Suffers at the Hands of Sequel-itis

Project Legacy and the Mystery of Social Integration

Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy

I’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood again because of the recent release of the single player centric ‘The Da Vinci Disappearance’ DLC. The content itself is quite fun, and a darn sight better than the expansions released for Assassin’s Creed 2. As I’m once again firmly ensconced in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, I decided to look around at the various other properties that UbiSoft has put out for the series, namely Project Legacy, the Facebook game connected to UPlay, and through that, the Assassin’s Creed games.

I can hear you groaning already about the fact that I’m playing a Facebook game, but Project Legacy isn’t Farmville. While the interface is really simple (you spend Action Points on a given sequence to achieve 100% synchronization) it really feels like an Assassin’s Creed game, boasting an Animus-like interface and featuring some shady dealings on behalf of the Abstergo Corporation, who’re putting you through the Project.
Continue reading Project Legacy and the Mystery of Social Integration

Merry Christmas, Fools!


Or whatever other thing you celebrate. But today’s Christmas. So as such, I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, you animals. I hope this post finds all of you doing some gaming, enjoying families, being Christmas-y in general.

I’ve had family in town for the last week, but was finally able to get back to the gaming yesterday, when I beat Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. I also ran over to Gamestop and picked up Lost Odyssey and Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands, both of which were only around $20 bucks apiece. Apparently they started a deal the day after, where if you buy two used games, you get one free – so make good on that and get yourself some extra Christmas bonuses.

Anyway, how have your holidays been? What are you playing? What was your loot? Post it!

Ruling the Open Gaming World

Fable 3

Howdy, gents. I hope that this post finds all of you starting the holiday gaming extravaganza that this time of year is typically known for. As I said, we’re mostly taking it easy for the next couple of weeks, but because I like you all, I thought I’d share a post with you that I found.

Over at the Moving Pixels blog at Pop Matters (one of my favorite gaming blogs), a recent article goes over the idea of owning the open world in single player sandbox games. Taking a look at new games Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Fallout: New Vegas and Fable III, they study the recent trend in game design that pushes players to control major portions of real estate and owning/converting as much of the game world as possible. It’s interesting to think about the idea that in many of these games, the players tend to want to set the main storyline aside in favor of getting invested in the world itself, which I guess is the case with many RPG’s as well, even apart from owning land.

I think this gets to another interesting issue as well: does this mean that the stories in those games aren’t actually all that compelling? If we are willing to set them aside to do everything else but the stories, is there a problem with the design there? In addition, most of these games almost seem to require a fair amount of exploration and sidequest upgrading in order to stand a fair chance in the proper endgames.

So what do you guys think? Do you tend to set aside single player campaigns in favor of sidequests? Do you like the idea of controlling game worlds, or do you just focus on the stories when you play? Go!

Source – Pop Matters

GamerSushi Asks: What Are You Playing?

X Men

You’ve probably noticed a bit of a slow down on the site, and that’s mostly intentional. Since the holidays are rolling in with a vengeance, we’ll still be posting but there will be a tad bit of down time as we take a break and recharge for 2011. There should be a podcast posted in the next couple of days, and maybe a couple of features and news posts as we see them, but overall we’re going to be playing lots of games just like you guys. It’s been a pretty awesome year for us here at the ‘Sushi, and we’re looking forward to next year even more.

So, now that that’s out of the way, what are you guys playing? Right now, I’m working on Dead Rising 2 like a crazy person. I beat the game last weekend and now I’m just rolling through and trying to level up and pick up some extra achievements. In addition to that, I’m on the cusp of finishing Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (affectionately known as AssBro by Mitch). I’ve even been playing the re-released X-Men arcade game over XBL with Anthony, which has been a good time. I can’t wait to get some more gaming out of the way.

And you dudes? What are you guys playing?

Review: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

assassins creed brotherhood review

There’s a special spot in gamer hell reserved for sequels with a quick turnaround. Left 4 Dead 2, Halo 3: ODST and in some cases, Call of Duty, have all received stick for coming out “too soon”, according to the Internet. So it is with Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, which was announced before the dust on Assassin’s Creed 2 had even settled.

Coming out such a short time after its predecessor, and tacking on a seemingly unnecessary multiplayer mode, Brotherhood fit the bill for the quick “cash-in” built to capitalize on the good will of AC2. Slowly, though, perception of the title began turning around as media came out revealing that the multiplayer wasn’t a shoddy tack-on and the single player campaign was going to add interesting new mechanics. Critical reception is very, very positive, but what’s the GamerSushi stance?
Continue reading Review: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Sales Talk Leads to Confirmation of a 2011 Title

assassins creed 2011 sequel

Here we go again, being all psychic with our podcasts. During The GamerSushi Show Episode 11, we got into a discussion regarding the one-year gap between Assassin’s Creed 2 and Brotherhood (which I can confirm is awesome) and the possibility that Ubisoft is looking at the historical murder-simulator as a potential Call of Duty emulator. Turns out that this is exactly what the France-based developer has planned.

In a chat with European news site MCV, Ubisoft’s EMEA markerting and sales chief Geoffroy Sardin confirmed that 2011 will bestow upon us another “big game” in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Book-ending this reveal is the little tidbit that Brotherhood was the fastest selling title in Europe for Ubisoft, and the series has cracked a total of 20 million titles moved, so very impressive for the franchise that most people weren’t too fond of at the outset.

While the sales figures are remarkable, what about that new game? Mr. Sardin dropped this little line near the end of the interview: Continue reading Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Sales Talk Leads to Confirmation of a 2011 Title

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 11: Reducto

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsThe GamerSushi Show is back, and this time in a newer, more awesome format. You see, while we enjoyed all the podcasts of old, they were starting to become large and scary monsters. At 2 hours plus, it gets harder and harder to find the time to not only record, but also edit and get them ready for release. On top of that, we felt that every 2 weeks was not as fun for you guys. Ideally, weekly content is better.

So as a result, we decided to shorten the podcast down to 1 hour, and attempt to release it for you guys each and every week. This is much more manageable, and I think the product will be much better for it. It forces us to move from topic to topic, and doesn’t allow us to get too bogged down in one particular discussion.

In honor of this new format, and the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in theaters, I’ve titled this week’s edition “Reducto”. In it, you’ll find discussion about Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Fable III, a new game from Nick where we grade industry events (such as Diablo III heading to consoles) and a bit more. What stinks is there won’t actually be a follow-up next week because of the holidays, but you can expect one the week after.

Since I always ask, please go rate this cast on iTunes and subscribe with the handy links to the right. Enjoy! Continue reading The GamerSushi Show, Ep 11: Reducto

Gaming in the Age of Information Overload

Grand Theft Auto 3The year is 2001. On a rainy October day, I run from the parking lot into the dorm, covering my head with a Best Buy shopping bag as I try to avoid getting swallowed up by the weather. After a not-so-quick elevator trip, I’m in my dorm room, tearing into the packaging of a Playstation 2 game. I curse once or twice as I pull at those little security labels, the ones that cling to your fingers like plastic mosquitoes and refuse to let go.

As the game spins to life, I am in a city. Just like the world beyond my windows, the world in the looking glass of my TV is consumed by rain. Soon enough, I am pulling motorists out of their vehicles with ease. I’m causing mayhem. I can go anywhere I want. I learn fairly quickly that this world has a name: Liberty City. The game I’m playing is Grand Theft Auto 3, and this is the first time I have ever seen it in motion. The experience waiting for me catches me completely off guard. Continue reading Gaming in the Age of Information Overload

GamerSushi Asks: Strategy Guides

video game strategy guides

I just got back from my local GameStop after picking up a copy of today’s hot new release, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. As I was presenting my receipt to the clerk, he asked if I would like to purchase a strategy guide (for 20% off, no less). I was prepared to offer him a snarky reply, but since the guy is just doing his job, I resorted to a simple “no thanks”.

The reply I had prepared was “who needs guides when I have the Internet?”. Honestly, I haven’t purchased a strategy guide since Halo 2. Yes, I know, a guide for an FPS. I bought it because I was at my first midnight release and wanted to get as many pieces of memorabilia as possible. That, and for the tips and tricks for dominating online.

That was four years ago, and even before that I was looking stuff up online. While strategy guides used to be the go-to solution for those tricky puzzles and hidden collectibles, it’s just easier to boot up GameFaqs and do a quick search. How about you guys? When’s the last time you used a printed guide? Are you too hardcore for that? Let us know!

Sidetracked: The Danger of Side Stories

Super Street Fighter IIHaving recently downloaded the beta for Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, I was startled to realize that I had forgotten all about it for a few days. Then I thought about it for a moment and came to the conclusion that the newest entry in Ubisoft’s historical/sci-fi series is suffering from a distinct lack of buzz, especially compared to the frenetic levels of hype that Assassin’s Creed 2 received, all of which were deserved in my opinion. So I started to wonder why people were taking such a lackadaisical approach to this game and it didn’t take long for the answer to sneak up on my and stab my brain: It’s a side story and not a sequel.

These are nothing new to gaming, but with the rise of importance in stories, it’s easy to see how many gamers, myself included, sometimes become frustrated by what seems to be a developer running down the clock until they are ready to finally release a sequel. Doing so can sometimes be dangerous and set a franchise back in terms of popularity, as we will examine now. Even a series without an epic story can suffer a backlash. Continue reading Sidetracked: The Danger of Side Stories

Welcome to Fall: The Upcoming Games of 2010

Ladies and dudes, the time is here: the fall season of gaming is officially upon us, and all we can do now is paddle as hard we can to keep up with the avalanche of titles falling to our TVs and monitors. Sure, I’m mixing metaphors here a little bit, but the point here is the same: lots of games are coming out, and you no doubt want to play a large share of them. Yes, even though Little Big Planet 2 has been delayed.

Since we’re so nice, we’ve put together an epic list of our 30 most anticipated upcoming games of 2010. You’ll be surprised at just how much is waiting for you. We’ve got everything from RPGs to zombies, DS exclusives and sprawling PC MMOs. Check it out! Continue reading Welcome to Fall: The Upcoming Games of 2010

Assassin’s Creed:Brotherhood Walkthrough Confirms Flag Collection

The closer we get to November, the more I know in my heart that I will not be able to refuse the siren’s call of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. While I do have my doubts about the quick turn around time, everything I’ve read about the game, from the single-player to the multiplayer, seems to paint it in a good light. I’m especially willing to give it a go after I watched this video, which details some of the single-player mechanics along with how you will be managing your Assassin’s Guild.

Pretty neat, no? Originally, I thought that confining the game to just Rome would severely limit the scale, but it turns out that I might be wrong. Sending my Assassins all over Europe to start riots and kill targets sounds like a lot of fun, and bossing people around is always a good time. What do you guys think of the video? Are you anticipating Brotherhood? Also, as you may notice by the title of the article and the little snippet in the video, the much maligned flag collecting is back. You may commence your complaining (or celebrating, if that’s more your thing.)

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Dev Diary is Heavy on Melodrama

Coming out just one short year after my official Game of Forever, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (or Assassin’s Creed: ODST as it is nicknamed around these parts) tells the story of Ezio’s formation of the Assassin Order after his victory in the second game. According to the video, this game is all about Ezio’s evolution as an assassin and his journey into the next part of his life. The game is focused entirely around the city of Rome, which players visited for a short time in Assassin’s Creed 2. Give the diary a watch, why don’t you:

While I’m a bit worried about the short turn around between two and this one, the developers speaking in the video clearly recognize how well received their previous game was, and are striving to keep that level of quality. On another note, those are some really awesome hoodies the dev team are wearing. What do you guys think? Is Brotherhood on your radar?