Femmeless faux pas?

Acunity.jpg

OKAY.
So everyone is talking about how Ubisoft mentioned the lack of female characters in the new game, Assassin’s Creed Unity.  This has, of course, stirred up a lot of uproar in the community because female gamers also want to don the robes, customize, accessorize, etc.  Assassin’s Creed Unity’s Creative Director,  Alex Amancio spoke with Polygon and said that “they originally planned to include female assassins, the “reality of production” made adding the additional characters too costly.”
Let us flash back to previous titles: Ezio had Catarina Sforza, his sister Claudia, his mother. Even Connor’s mother could hold her own.  Desmond had Lucy. Then of course, there was Aveline, the only female assassin to lead her own game. Oh yeah, and the models for the various women in the multiplayers of each game as well.  Aside from Aveline, there may not have been a full scale of movement that they have been capable of, but nothing a few minor tweaks couldn’t fix. (right?)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a by all means a female, but I can’t help but see it from the fence on this one.  On one hand: I am a very huge advocate for equality on all fronts.  Gaming has actually come a very long way from where I started.  While Metroid was a mindblowing surprise to all when we were shown that Samus was indeed a woman, and of course Tomb Raider — those are only two out of a ton of games I grew up with leading males: Mario, Zelda, Pac-Man, Duke Nukem, Silent Hill 1, 2, 4, Half-Life, Hitman, Metal Gear Solid, Max Payne, Bioshock… hell, even Grand Theft Auto III was led by a voiceless man from Liberty City. Would I have preferred to play a girl? Yeah. Considering the titles of now, like The Sims, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout (just to name a few) opened the doors to not only women, but men who play as women in games.  But as I’ve seen in some heated responses and defenses about Ubi’s announcement — “you’re asking for an entirely different experience”.  If the backlash is about changing Arno completely, then I agree. Things would be different.  But, if it’s just as simple as adding a female into the multiplayer…then what is the big fuss? Why ignore this demand/necessity at all? It’s the multiplayer. This game is about Unity. Not only can you play with “your homies” essentially, you should be able to be that character.

Aveline de Grandpre, of Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation
Former Ubisoft designer, Naughty Dog’s Jonathan Cooper tweeted: “In my educated opinion, I would estimate this to be a day or two’s work. Not a replacement of 8000 animations.”
Hmm…

Well, should we really be bashing Ubisoft this hard for making this mistake? No.

Should they have handled it a little more straightforward with a dash less of bs? Perhaps.  I’m no designer, but in my opinion it feels like a really weak argument to make about female models being time consuming, taxing, costly or difficult.  In a time where women were ever present during the French revolution, it would only make sense to infuse the game with some feminine flair. If it takes time, money or any more intricate detail — then take that time, invest that money and stop pumping these games out every year. Work a little longer on it to cater to the demographic of today instead of cutting off corners and hoping for the best.

–But that’s kind of an opinionated, argumentative monologue I have for another day. -_-
So, for now I remain on the fence.
Does it upset me? Disappoints me, really. I expected a lot from the game. I mean, it looks fantastic as a whole, not just graphically but it seems like Ubi actually smoothed out a lot of the bumps from games prior.
Will I still buy it? Yes. I’m just going to have to deal with it because unless they manage to u-turn and overhaul it to add a woman or two, it’s coming out whether I like it or not. There’s still time between now and November, we’re sure to see improvements, if any, on the game.
-IC Krys
Source: Polygon, Kotaku

Advertisements

Watch_Dogs: The view from here

This is my POV of Ubisoft’s latest game, Watch_Dogs.
Warning, there are minor spoilers in this rundown! 😉

Fixer spotted you                 source: gamespot.com

I was lucky enough to get a first glance at a demo of this game at last year’s Gamestop Expo.  The demo booth was run by one of the Frag Dolls (Esper!! <3) and one of the play-testers from Ubisoft.  Aiden was voiceless, and we saw the vigilante miss an opportunity stop a crime, hold up a shop owner and evade the police, flawlessly.  I was mesmerized.  Since its announcement at E3 2012, I have wanted this game.  Nothing stopped me from wanting it.  The hype, the trailers, the gameplay footage, the other news outlets talking about it. Nothing.

Picking it up on May 27th — I find myself intrigued and ultimately pleased with how the game turned out!

So far, I’ve managed to put a few hours into this massive game, playing most of the story missions to pass time.  Here and there I’d stop to play some poker, even managed to become entertained by the puzzle solving games they’ve made with chess and I’ll even grab a few of the incoming transmissions to stray me from the linear way.  However, I’ve found that the incoming mission offers, the phone calls from various characters in the game, the mini-games along the way, all the way down to the HUD, the game is very very busy.  Normally, this would bother me but this actually poses a very nice mirror to our own lives.  You hear your phone buzz, you go for it. It’s a text message from a friend.  You hear that ringing on your computer, it’s another friend on your social media page  Then a little notification pop-up from the television.  It’s your console alerting you that another friend has logged into their account. I won’t really dig too deep into the meaning of this, but it seems like a very symmetric juxtaposition of our reality with technology and what is to come.

Hacking the City                        source: ubisoft

I haven’t had much experience with the online portion of the game, other than a handful of fixers coming into my game.  It’s frustrating sometimes; when I’m trying to get across the city to a mission I try to start the mission but am blocked from this since someone is trying hack me. It is random which is a bit realistic as life is unpredictable but with this mode overall I am a little disappointed we can’t hack our own friends yet. Even though I see something like that possibly getting out of hand — I think being able to log into someone else’s game to create some havoc would be quite entertaining.

Another thing I have noticed, and I’m sure your other friendly neighborhood gamers have said the same, is that Watch_Dogs has no sense of morality; there is no consequence for your actions.  A close comparison to this game is Infamous, the open-world sandbox type of playground, but what that game had that this title lacks is its meter that leads to a different ending if you make “wrong” or “right” decisions.  I put them in quotes simply because it is definitely up for interpretation whether or not certain actions are deemed in good faith or with bad intent.  For example, in Watch_Dogs, you are allowed to hack into a bank account of a woman walking down the street.  When the analysis pops up that she is a cancer survivor with a gross income of only 20,000 a year, there’s no remorse felt by the lead character Aiden Pearce.  Hell, even the trio of GTAV had some scruples.

This now leads into my next point: Aiden Pearce has not found his way onto my list of “likeable” characters.  Now, I understand each character has a reason for their attitude or actions but I’ve been playing this game for a while now and I’ve only come to find that he’s somewhat of a douchebag.  Driven by the anger which stems from the death of his niece Lena, we meet Aiden on a mission, already in a state of despair.  As we move beyond the mission to its completion, we meet a couple of his colleagues — to whom he is a complete jerk, blowing off any assistance.  I find him to be very cold, and because of this, he is detached from absolutely everything.  Not sure if this was done on purpose to give us an undesirable anti-hero, something different than the norm, but I can honestly say I’m not entirely sure how to understand him. While I admire his determination to seek justice, he just seems like such a downer with a one-track mind. The others featured in the game, like his partner Jordi Chin or Clara Lille seem to have more of a three-dimensional aspect about them, I’ve found them quite entertaining and bring some life into the story.

Jordi Chin & Aiden                source: ubisoft

Don’t let my opinions of Aiden fool you, though. Watch_Dogs is actually a pretty spectacular game. The controls are pretty comfortable, aside from the driving (I prefer the motorcycles!), and the scenery looks amazing.  It makes you wonder what sort of surveillance is being run now, and how far we are from a fully electronic city like this future-Chicago.  Even with the reservations I’ve listed above, I am still enjoying the game.  I’m hoping to see some things turn around for Aiden in the end.  I still have a long way to go before the end of the main storyline, but Stay tuned for my followup to this as I progress!
Thanks for tuning in!!
-IC Krys

(Make sure to like our page, check out our new website and follow me and In-CTRL on Twitter!)

Here we go AGAIN!

I’m BACK!
Again…

Life gets in the way sometimes and I just can’t help but lose track of my true self…my gaming and nerdy self, that is.  Games are bought, opened and thrown by the wayside.  Books are started, and never finished.  Writing is thought up but never completed.  As far as my writing is concerned, I was told by a good friend of mine that I was to write and not look back until it goes into editing.  Reading-wise, I have challenged myself with the mountain that is Song of Ice and Fire AKA Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.  For those of you that know the books, you know that this is no easy feat as the books average at around 1000 pages long.  Gaming has been the rough one because sitting down and getting into a game takes time, and time is a rarity.

It’s gotten to the point to where the people at work know me as The Unfinished Gamer, but I aim to finish at least 2 games by the time I leave for Anime Expo on July 3rd! 🙂

The Website went under a facelift, and we changed the name to try and start fresh with the new ideas and development as a team.  It’s good to be back and I hope you all keep reading. Lots of stuff on my mind lately.

And, I owe you a bloggerview of The Walking Dead Season 2 Episodes 2 & 3. All I can say about them so far is : WOW.  Also, you will be getting my first impressions of Watch Dogs.

Til next time!
-IC Krys

TellTale Games! (TWD & The Wolf Among Us)

 

The trailer has arrived! And…it’s over.

Yep, I was elated to hear that the arrival of the new Walking Dead trailer had landed on YouTube, via TellTale Games, and prepared myself for what the reveal had to offer. I got comfortable, sat back in my chair and waited.  The video opens with images of locations from both Season One and 400 days, bringing in the voice-over dialogue from the two beloved characters from the first installment, the ill-fated Lee Everett and his little companion, Clementine.  Photos of the undead are replaced by photos of the innocent Clem with a glimmer of hope in behind her, to a Clem standing amidst the hungry baddies in the darkness, in the rain, within a scenario that all hope is lost.

…And SCENE.

That was it.  No other characters were shown, no scenarios were revealed not even a release date to confirm.  TellTale leaves us with a bitter mystery of when Season Two will be revealed.  And here I am, drooling, biting my nails and waiting for the next episode to surface.

Sad face.

Last year’s Game of the Year has left quite an impression on us all, so it’s no surprise that a lot of us were disappointed that there was very little substance to the trailer.  I had a feeling that Clem was going to be involved in Season Two, so that was confirmed but nothing else.  Hopefully we see something soon, like a playable demo of Episode 1 so we can satisfy our cravings for the new Season!

/endrant

I am, however, so excited about the Wolf Among Us.  The twisted fairytales by Bill Willingham come to life in this gritty choose-your-own story about Sherriff Bigby Wolf has already captured my attention with Episode 1. The combat, though a little wobbly at times, was more interactive compared to its sister-title, the Walking Dead Season One.  Most of the elements are familiar, in a sense that the games are alike, but it is indeed enjoyable. For $5 dollars, it is absolutely worth it! The voice acting is solid, the art is gorgeous if you enjoy the comic style and the story is fantastic.  In this impromptu mini-review, I have to give Wolf Among Us a 4/5.

For more details, stay tuned–I will be purchasing the Season Pass for WAU and anticipating TWD S2 and will be covering it both here and on the website!

Til next time, Players!

It’s October Time!

You know what this means?  A Hocus Pocus Marathon!
Okay, and a time to break out my list of notable horror games. 🙂

As a Survival Horror fan, I find that any time is a good time to play the scariest of the scary when it comes to gaming, though October seems to enhance the spirit.  Some games, however, I have not been able to play so I have experienced them in video walkthrough format.  It is just as immersive, believe me.  If you can’t take my word for it, watch Youtubers play any of the horror games and you will discover that experiencing it second hand is just as terrifying! ….
 
See the rest of this blog over at my friend Author Ellie’s blog: Read on!

The Unfinished Gamer Returns

I know I’ve been a bad gamer…and I haven’t blogged in a great while, but things are finally settling down and I will be getting to it, I promise! As it was on high demand (on facebook) I will be picking up Fallout 3 to finish it very very soon! However, I’m sure you guys are aware that Fallout 3 is an open world game, aka distraction game, aka shiny over here and now you’ve gone so far away from the story that you might as well keep on salvaging your bottlecaps from this “dungeon” and get back to it maybe someday…that it will be very difficult for me not to do side missions but I hope to get it finished up so I can finally put my thoughts onto that virtual paper about it.

You have a mancave? I have the Assassincave.
 

I also got back into Assassin’s Creed III recently and will be wrapping that one up as soon as I can get a few hours to myself and just play through the game.  So far, the multiplayer is pretty fun too as I was surprised to find players still lurking those servers.  As far as the single-player story is concerned, there was something about that separation anxiety with my beloved Ezio that I couldn’t bear to “cheat” on him with Connor but I’m actually digging the game so far. I managed to fight my way through as Haytham and am playing as Connor now. Just reached a pretty good twist in the game, and I look forward to seeing what will happen.  Unfortunately, internet memes, gamers with no spoiler alert and NOLAN NORTH have actually spoiled the ending for me, BUT, I will continue on. Even after hearing what the outcome was for LOST I still want to watch it.

Me and Nolan North from GameStop Expo 2013

Alrighty folks, I just wanted to check in with you real quick, to let you know that I have finally finished the Last of Us.  IC Chris and I have discussed that this year’s Game of the Year contenders are racking up pretty quickly, and Last of Us had so many stunning aspects about it that set it apart from many games this entire generation.  As we already reviewed The Last of Us on InsertController.com, I will just give you a brief rundown of my experience.

The gameplay: smooth.  The graphics: phenomenal.  The soundtrack: haunting.  The action: edgy. The writing: top-notch…and of course, the acting: superb.  One of the many Troy Baker games out this year (with a surprise cameo from Nolan), The Last of Us does not disappoint, even to the very end.  I am such a huge fan of Naughty Dog and look forward to future titles from them, new IPs or otherwise *coughUnchartedcough*… Ellie and Joel were such a dynamic duo; relatable in some ways, dysfunctional daddy/daughter relationship was both cute and tragic at the same time.  The jumpscares and unfortunate circumstances as well as some of the predicaments were heart-racing and had me at the edge of my seat.  The detail that went into the game was mind-blowing. I found the end to be a bittersweet resolution to a compelling tale.  Worthy of a solid 5/5.

Stay tuned for more from me, the Unfinished Gamer!… until next time Players!

-IC Krys

The Unfinished Gamer: Hitman Absolution

Welcome back, Agent 47.

I know I’m late to the game, but that’s why I am dubbed the “Unfinished Gamer”.  Most of the time I find myself so immersed in a game, ready to complete it when I hit a wall of sorts.  It may be distractions, work, family, or just nothing at all.  I came upon Hitman again after a long draught of not playing games at all, and was so happy I had given it another chance.

As a fan of the series, this is actually only the second of the four console-released Hitman games I have ever finished.  Why? Because it’s controls have improved so far beyond its original capacity that it made the game less frustrating, more intuitive and allowed 47 to be a little more crafty and showcase his expertise as an assassin.  Details are present; If you are walking on wood versus concrete, the sound is different.  If you fire your specialized Silverballer pistols versus a UMP in the game, the suppressor sounds much different than non-suppressed and the AI will act accordingly.  Even though it was a little far-fetched in a sense that 47 would be noticed instantly in disguise…I felt that the mechanics for dumping or stashing a body, stealing a uniform and utilizing improvised weaponry were all improved in this latest installment to make up for this minor flaw.

Kills are more brutal and 47 shows that he is back, with a vengeance.

In a previous blog, I mentioned that I put the game down for a while because I was frustrated only to pick it back up and find out that the area I had been working on was simple to pass and I was back on my feet in no-time.  (Yes, in the strip club.) The atmospheres in the game vary and with each changing locale, civilians come in more than one form! Chefs in Chinatown, Mechanics downtown, doctors in the lab, all obstacles to get around in each area.  Each environment has different things to interact with, too.  Hide as a hotel maintenance worker by grabbing a mop, or a civilian waiting for a train by grabbing a pamphlet at the kiosk.  Do you want to make the target suffer an accident and escape unseen? Or do you want to get up close and personal? So many choices in each area.

This the first game in the series that I feel has an actual (substantial) story, and isn’t just a series of contracts with a very loose storyline.  Diana, your handler from the Agency, is your first target and the tutorial level is a great opening for the game.  Turns out you have to find and protect a very special little girl but don’t worry, I won’t explain rest as it does get pretty intense. The voice work of stars Powers Boothe, Tracy Lords and Vivica Fox are actually done very well, and kudos to Marsha Thomason (Diana) and David Bateson on his reprisal of Agent 47 as they brought these characters back to life. The character design on these principals as well as some of the other AI was great, enhancing the visuals to a standard reaching beyond even that of Hitman: Blood Money.

When I finally came to the bitter end of Hitman: Absolution and the credits began to roll, I was struck with this horrible feeling… It is over. I was so hooked to this game after picking it up from my hiatus that I was very sad to see that it had been completed.  Even though the replay is moderate on it, due to their user-created contracts and harder difficulties and challenges, that first playthrough ending usually cuts the deepest. Though I must admit that as the game went on and the AI became ridiculously evil I had to shoot em up, despite the scores being rated on sneakiness and style…but I at least attempted style.

This is the type of game that takes a very patient gamer, one who enjoys gritty and brutal gaming, stealth, improvised gaming and perhaps, a completionist due to the scoring and ranking the game does with you and your friends list. The game pulled far enough from its predecessors and maintained most of the nostalgia (cue: Ave Maria) and it was very much worth the wait.  Hats off to you, IO Interactive and Square Enix.  Between all of the replay factors I listed above and Easter Eggs in the game, I’m sure I will be back to attempt this as a Professional.

Likes:
Visuals are stunning
Voice acting and sounds are incredible
Replay= moderately high
Controls are 10x better than previous games
47 is back. ❤

Dislikes:
AI notices you in disguise way too quick, even on lower difficulties
A couple of hiccups in gameplay
Villain’s were easily unlikable though their motives were only lightly developed
I have to wait years before possibly hearing of another installment, maybe? (no spoiler)

I give Hitman: Absolution a 4 out of 5.