Posted by Video_Game_King (36026 posts) -

Assassin's Creed: Revelations

(You know, this was actually relevant when I began writing it.) Unfortunately, as I have sat on it for too long without changing a goddamn thing about it, this blog has become anachronistic. My steadfast refusal to adapt this piece of writing to the modern blogging scene will no doubt earn the ire of many a reader, insisting that I try something different, for a change, instead of milking the same dead horse over and over again. Speaking of Assassin's Creed: Revelations, absolutely fucking none of that applies to the game I'm talking about in the next dozen or so treatises.

But as long as I'm being negative, let me just say that the story isn't terribly good. It begins with Desmond acting as a ridiculously ignored and strange framing device, and gets....OK, to be fair, it gets better from there. Rather than deal with Desmond's techno symbolism whatevers, we have Ezio Auditore leaping about Constantinople (the game makes the Istanbul joke for you, dreadfully unfunny readers) and taking out the Templar threat...as a 50 year old man able to survive huge leaps off buildings (except for that one time at the beginning). See, that's my problem with the story: the broader story works well, especially as a dumb action movie, but zoom in, and you start to worry (that Ezio may be a psychopath, among other things). Leaps of faith in an atheist world aside, what language are these guys speaking? I know that the Animus is supposed to translate everything into English for Desmond (even though the game doesn't really tell you this, which just makes things more confusing), but every now and then, a character will drop a line in a foreign language, and the captions translate (killing any such arguments that the translation doesn't work). Sooooo what language are they speaking? It can't be Turkish, it can't be Italian, and there's no effing way it can be English, so what are they speaking?

Don't worry, you two. I have nicer things to say about this game.

And that's not even getting into Altair's part of the story. Turns out there's a sub-plot about Ezio searching for the Masyaf Keys to Altair's library, which logically leads into some Altair backstory. I don't take issue with that. It's more the execution, really. See, the writers try to elicit some sympathy toward Altair by making his life goddamn miserable. And it is miserable, just so long as you ignore the fact that Altair's bringing all this suffering on himself for no real reason. Just about every bad thing in his life (at least the ones depicted in the game; I can't say much about puberty during the Crusades or whatever) is something he could have stopped quickly. Don't want your friend to fuck up the Assassins' Order? Banish his ass; you have the authority. Instead, you keep him around and let him kill any sympathy I may have felt for you. And why are the Templars so cartoonishly ev-

*sigh* Pointless bitching out of the way, how about I talk about something I actually liked? Like everything else? And I mean literally everything else, because there is a lot to do at any given time. You want to buy up all the failing businesses in town (because the Templars are shitty businessmen, for some unexplained reason)? Go right the hell ahead. Pointless collectibles? Sure, why the hell not? I'd go so far as to say that I spent less time playing the game and more just jumping from side-goal to side-goal with the attention span of my average reader. (I can't imagine anybody reading these things in one sitting without severe health risks.) Of course, it's also super easy to ignore a lot of this content, but I imagine it has less to do with that content being weak and more because it's easy to latch onto one thing and ignore everything else. Like the tower defense, for example, which I'm required to address because apparently it's the worst thing in the world since Hitler AIDS (AIDS that turns you into Hitler). I played it, like, twice, and then never touched it again. Only one of those was required of me. I don't see what's so bad about it.

This jump logically SHOULD kill Ezio...but it won't.

Predictable transition into climbing around environments. OK, not actually climbing around environments, which is just point and do nothing else, but finding your way around can be pretty fun. This is partially for reasons I've described before, like those objectives or my short attention span, but a lot of it is also due to how beautiful the environments are. I don't know who chose Constantinople as the setting for this game, but whoever did deserves all the thumbs up in the world. I don't even know how to phrase it; there's just something elegant and appealing to the city that makes me want to explore every nook and cranny. Throw in a ton of cool missions and everything else I've previously mentioned, and what more could you ask for?

Wait, there's combat. I forgot about that, and I have my reasons. There's a rhythm to it, but it's hard to get excited about it. There's something to be said for treating every encounter like a prison yard knife fight, watching who's gonna slit your throat first and stabbing them before they do, but it errs too much on the easy side for my still-in-my-neck-blood. You know, since the game blatantly warns you about each potential hit. I'd also say something about the weapon variety, but what's the point? They all play pretty much the same (mash attack and counter, sometimes), so there's never really any point to experimenting with weapons. I want to like you, Revelations battle system, but you don't exactly give me a lot of reasons to do so. Stealthing around is better, though. You don't get a lot of help in that regard, so you're forced to sit back in the shadows, plan things out, bide your time, and take out your enemies one by one. You know, like in every good stealth game ever. So yea, I'd totally recommend this game, like I've done so many times before.

Review Synopsis

  • Ezio's an unreasonably spry old man, and Altair's a tragic figure without much of the tragedy.
  • Revelations is like watching a squirrel jump from tree to tree for no goddamn reason: the best thing in the world.
  • Oddly enough, giving that same squirrel a switchblade so he can fend off hawks doesn't improve things.
  • For some reason, past me thought it relevant to write down "Ezio Auditore: Magical Master of Urology" in preparation for this blog. Anybody have a clue what the rambling bastard is talking about?

You know what would improve Family Circus? Besides everything? If it was accompanied by the ramblings of a renegade mustache. (Not mine, obviously.)

North & South

(My dearest Taiyn, the year is 1862, and I do hope this war ends soon.) Both sides are populated by fools of the highest order, with nary a clue as to proper military strategems. Day after day, my superiors tell me that the end is nigh, though I slay men in these hellish fights day after endless day. And yet each battle summons within me raging fires of joy I dare not comprehend. I fear this war may ravage my spirit to its very core.

And yet this unjust war continues. You know that I am the most upstanding Lunarian gentleman ever blessed to walk this green Earth, and yet I find myself conscripted in a fight whose details confound me still. Apparently, the fine black men of our country are rising up against their tyrannous Pokemon Masters to topple the mighty oppression of King Frost. I so very wish that Lincoln had provided us men with a proper education regarding this land's history. Instead, that Illinois lawyer has provided us with mere entertainment. The music of the American peoples and the new European stylings of "shadow puppet theater". (A wax cylinder recording and a daguerreotype, attached for your pleasure.) Do not misinterpret my ramblings, fair maiden; I am truly grateful for this Nation's attempts at entertainment, glorious as they may be. I am a humble man; I ask for nothing more than the motives of this war.

I do wager that very classic Southern arrogance will be their undoing.

What's this? The war begins, my maiden! My singular commanding officers, in a most bold maneuver, have sent me into this fort alone. Though I dare say that this bold-faced maneuver has won us the battle, for the Southern men could nary penetrate this hard vestige. You would think them but babes, suckling at their mothers' teat! My officers, meanwhile, must think the same of me, for not having shared with me the glories of their conquest. It must have been because of my first experiences in battle. I had nary a clue how to operate a sorrel stallion or mount those great cannons. But time, dearest Taiyn! If time I had, I could have shown them all the diverse strategies the scenario demonstrates! Could you expect less of me? Indeed, I can only but imagine the myriad tactics they could employ against the Confederate scourge. I have the utmost confidence that they shall win this war yet.

But alas, dearest Taiyn! I see not the reason why I remain a soldier at the bottom of these social rungs! I understand these Napoleonic lessons as well as any general who commands me. My fellow men need merely follow the cavalry march, and the war is but won! What defense hath those Southern brutes? The Fates have turned against them! Their West Points allay them not, for these gambits never fail me. Always, they are subdued by my two-point gambit. (Except when they blow up the bridge, the cheating bastards.) The North shall prosper forevermore! And yet still, those damnded Southern dandies must mistakenly believe that time will bear them out the victor, for indeed, time wears away at my fellow men's fortitude and morale. Yet time they have not, for Sherman can seize the Georgian mountainside by March time, indeed. But some demon deep within me refuses to accept this base fact. It demands that this war continue, that I continue so monstrous a fight so that it may derive from it some perverse joy. I fear for my sanity. I shall write you again on the morn.

Your Most Assuredly Confused Monarch,

Vincent Kinian IV

Review Synopsis

  • (There's no way a Civil War letter could involve a goddamn review synopsis or anything remotely close to the concept, so allow me to drop the shtick so I can make sense, for a change.) The presentation's pretty cool, I gotta say that.
  • There certainly is a lot to fuck about with, here.
  • But the ease and lack of overall depth to this game limit it to something you'll play to blow ten minutes.
#1 Posted by Video_Game_King (36026 posts) -

Assassin's Creed: Revelations

(You know, this was actually relevant when I began writing it.) Unfortunately, as I have sat on it for too long without changing a goddamn thing about it, this blog has become anachronistic. My steadfast refusal to adapt this piece of writing to the modern blogging scene will no doubt earn the ire of many a reader, insisting that I try something different, for a change, instead of milking the same dead horse over and over again. Speaking of Assassin's Creed: Revelations, absolutely fucking none of that applies to the game I'm talking about in the next dozen or so treatises.

But as long as I'm being negative, let me just say that the story isn't terribly good. It begins with Desmond acting as a ridiculously ignored and strange framing device, and gets....OK, to be fair, it gets better from there. Rather than deal with Desmond's techno symbolism whatevers, we have Ezio Auditore leaping about Constantinople (the game makes the Istanbul joke for you, dreadfully unfunny readers) and taking out the Templar threat...as a 50 year old man able to survive huge leaps off buildings (except for that one time at the beginning). See, that's my problem with the story: the broader story works well, especially as a dumb action movie, but zoom in, and you start to worry (that Ezio may be a psychopath, among other things). Leaps of faith in an atheist world aside, what language are these guys speaking? I know that the Animus is supposed to translate everything into English for Desmond (even though the game doesn't really tell you this, which just makes things more confusing), but every now and then, a character will drop a line in a foreign language, and the captions translate (killing any such arguments that the translation doesn't work). Sooooo what language are they speaking? It can't be Turkish, it can't be Italian, and there's no effing way it can be English, so what are they speaking?

Don't worry, you two. I have nicer things to say about this game.

And that's not even getting into Altair's part of the story. Turns out there's a sub-plot about Ezio searching for the Masyaf Keys to Altair's library, which logically leads into some Altair backstory. I don't take issue with that. It's more the execution, really. See, the writers try to elicit some sympathy toward Altair by making his life goddamn miserable. And it is miserable, just so long as you ignore the fact that Altair's bringing all this suffering on himself for no real reason. Just about every bad thing in his life (at least the ones depicted in the game; I can't say much about puberty during the Crusades or whatever) is something he could have stopped quickly. Don't want your friend to fuck up the Assassins' Order? Banish his ass; you have the authority. Instead, you keep him around and let him kill any sympathy I may have felt for you. And why are the Templars so cartoonishly ev-

*sigh* Pointless bitching out of the way, how about I talk about something I actually liked? Like everything else? And I mean literally everything else, because there is a lot to do at any given time. You want to buy up all the failing businesses in town (because the Templars are shitty businessmen, for some unexplained reason)? Go right the hell ahead. Pointless collectibles? Sure, why the hell not? I'd go so far as to say that I spent less time playing the game and more just jumping from side-goal to side-goal with the attention span of my average reader. (I can't imagine anybody reading these things in one sitting without severe health risks.) Of course, it's also super easy to ignore a lot of this content, but I imagine it has less to do with that content being weak and more because it's easy to latch onto one thing and ignore everything else. Like the tower defense, for example, which I'm required to address because apparently it's the worst thing in the world since Hitler AIDS (AIDS that turns you into Hitler). I played it, like, twice, and then never touched it again. Only one of those was required of me. I don't see what's so bad about it.

This jump logically SHOULD kill Ezio...but it won't.

Predictable transition into climbing around environments. OK, not actually climbing around environments, which is just point and do nothing else, but finding your way around can be pretty fun. This is partially for reasons I've described before, like those objectives or my short attention span, but a lot of it is also due to how beautiful the environments are. I don't know who chose Constantinople as the setting for this game, but whoever did deserves all the thumbs up in the world. I don't even know how to phrase it; there's just something elegant and appealing to the city that makes me want to explore every nook and cranny. Throw in a ton of cool missions and everything else I've previously mentioned, and what more could you ask for?

Wait, there's combat. I forgot about that, and I have my reasons. There's a rhythm to it, but it's hard to get excited about it. There's something to be said for treating every encounter like a prison yard knife fight, watching who's gonna slit your throat first and stabbing them before they do, but it errs too much on the easy side for my still-in-my-neck-blood. You know, since the game blatantly warns you about each potential hit. I'd also say something about the weapon variety, but what's the point? They all play pretty much the same (mash attack and counter, sometimes), so there's never really any point to experimenting with weapons. I want to like you, Revelations battle system, but you don't exactly give me a lot of reasons to do so. Stealthing around is better, though. You don't get a lot of help in that regard, so you're forced to sit back in the shadows, plan things out, bide your time, and take out your enemies one by one. You know, like in every good stealth game ever. So yea, I'd totally recommend this game, like I've done so many times before.

Review Synopsis

  • Ezio's an unreasonably spry old man, and Altair's a tragic figure without much of the tragedy.
  • Revelations is like watching a squirrel jump from tree to tree for no goddamn reason: the best thing in the world.
  • Oddly enough, giving that same squirrel a switchblade so he can fend off hawks doesn't improve things.
  • For some reason, past me thought it relevant to write down "Ezio Auditore: Magical Master of Urology" in preparation for this blog. Anybody have a clue what the rambling bastard is talking about?

You know what would improve Family Circus? Besides everything? If it was accompanied by the ramblings of a renegade mustache. (Not mine, obviously.)

North & South

(My dearest Taiyn, the year is 1862, and I do hope this war ends soon.) Both sides are populated by fools of the highest order, with nary a clue as to proper military strategems. Day after day, my superiors tell me that the end is nigh, though I slay men in these hellish fights day after endless day. And yet each battle summons within me raging fires of joy I dare not comprehend. I fear this war may ravage my spirit to its very core.

And yet this unjust war continues. You know that I am the most upstanding Lunarian gentleman ever blessed to walk this green Earth, and yet I find myself conscripted in a fight whose details confound me still. Apparently, the fine black men of our country are rising up against their tyrannous Pokemon Masters to topple the mighty oppression of King Frost. I so very wish that Lincoln had provided us men with a proper education regarding this land's history. Instead, that Illinois lawyer has provided us with mere entertainment. The music of the American peoples and the new European stylings of "shadow puppet theater". (A wax cylinder recording and a daguerreotype, attached for your pleasure.) Do not misinterpret my ramblings, fair maiden; I am truly grateful for this Nation's attempts at entertainment, glorious as they may be. I am a humble man; I ask for nothing more than the motives of this war.

I do wager that very classic Southern arrogance will be their undoing.

What's this? The war begins, my maiden! My singular commanding officers, in a most bold maneuver, have sent me into this fort alone. Though I dare say that this bold-faced maneuver has won us the battle, for the Southern men could nary penetrate this hard vestige. You would think them but babes, suckling at their mothers' teat! My officers, meanwhile, must think the same of me, for not having shared with me the glories of their conquest. It must have been because of my first experiences in battle. I had nary a clue how to operate a sorrel stallion or mount those great cannons. But time, dearest Taiyn! If time I had, I could have shown them all the diverse strategies the scenario demonstrates! Could you expect less of me? Indeed, I can only but imagine the myriad tactics they could employ against the Confederate scourge. I have the utmost confidence that they shall win this war yet.

But alas, dearest Taiyn! I see not the reason why I remain a soldier at the bottom of these social rungs! I understand these Napoleonic lessons as well as any general who commands me. My fellow men need merely follow the cavalry march, and the war is but won! What defense hath those Southern brutes? The Fates have turned against them! Their West Points allay them not, for these gambits never fail me. Always, they are subdued by my two-point gambit. (Except when they blow up the bridge, the cheating bastards.) The North shall prosper forevermore! And yet still, those damnded Southern dandies must mistakenly believe that time will bear them out the victor, for indeed, time wears away at my fellow men's fortitude and morale. Yet time they have not, for Sherman can seize the Georgian mountainside by March time, indeed. But some demon deep within me refuses to accept this base fact. It demands that this war continue, that I continue so monstrous a fight so that it may derive from it some perverse joy. I fear for my sanity. I shall write you again on the morn.

Your Most Assuredly Confused Monarch,

Vincent Kinian IV

Review Synopsis

  • (There's no way a Civil War letter could involve a goddamn review synopsis or anything remotely close to the concept, so allow me to drop the shtick so I can make sense, for a change.) The presentation's pretty cool, I gotta say that.
  • There certainly is a lot to fuck about with, here.
  • But the ease and lack of overall depth to this game limit it to something you'll play to blow ten minutes.
#2 Posted by believer258 (11642 posts) -

It's been a whole hour and no comments yet?

#3 Posted by Video_Game_King (36026 posts) -

@believer258:

Given the second half, I expected as much. Hell, I wrote it into next week's blog!

#4 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11478 posts) -

I should probably play AC Brotherhood. That's what I got out of this blog.

#5 Edited by Karkarov (2986 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@believer258:

Given the second half, I expected as much. Hell, I wrote it into next week's blog!

It is probably because other than me no one on this website has actually played North Vs. South on the nes. Which yes, is a fun little game to pick up, but you can totally dominate it in about 45 minutes. I just still find it funny that the south celebrates winning by showing a plantation with some southern bell in a ridiculously big dress while playing "Dixie Land" in chip tunes.

#6 Posted by Video_Game_King (36026 posts) -

@Karkarov:

That's why I include games people have actually heard of in my blogs: they're the hook that keeps you around for something like North vs. South.

#7 Posted by Mento (2441 posts) -

I played North and South for the Atari ST, which is basically the NES game with better graphics and mouse and keyboard control. True story, I actually played the Confederates every time because they looked like Indiana Jones and with their southern territories they had more chance of activating the dreaded Mexican, who was my favorite character. I was not a particularly worldly nine year old.

AC:R isn't so bad. Can't stand its hopelessness at times, but its tan bullshit is tolerable enough. Like those two puns I just made, old Ezio is clearly laboring to do all the jumps and climbs he could do effortlessly as a younger man and that's probably the main issue people had with the game when it came out. That and the fact that none of the additions were any good and all the bad additions from Brotherhood (100% Synchronization, for instance) were left in. It kind of displays a certain carelessness (or arrogance?) to not fix one's game and instead add new elements no-one was asking for, which is what they did again with ACIII for the most part. Then again, I'm of a sort that believes the vox populi shouldn't have that much creative control over one's game - focus groups and committees have killed (or diluted at the very least) many a creative vision with their helpful suggestions.

As for Tower Defense, I just don't like it. It's an extremely limited sub-genre of a sub-genre that nonetheless finds its way in all sorts of incongruous places presumably because of all those really popular iOS and Browser games. Assassin's Creed Revelations might as well have had a series of optional sequences where you fire irascible animals at a Templar fort to make it collapse in on itself. But whatever, I have an entire list railing against putting Tower Defense where it doesn't belong, I don't need to fill your comments box with my grousing. At least no more than is tolerable.

Moderator
#8 Posted by Video_Game_King (36026 posts) -

@Mento said:

I was not a particularly worldly nine year old.

From the sound of it, you were kind of a racist nine year old. This is where I'd post Nanako'Sho if that made any sense.

That and the fact that none of the additions were any good and all the bad additions from Brotherhood (100% Synchronization, for instance) were left in.

I guess, but I never really gave a shit about 100%ing, so I never really had any trouble with it. Frankly, if you're trying to 100% everything in a game, you're already gonna get a ton of shit thrown your way.

Wait. I meant to say that none of these additions do much to detract from the simple fun of jumping around medieval cities while singing this.

Assassin's Creed Revelations might as well have had a series of optional sequences where you fire irascible animals at a Templar fort to make it collapse in on itself.

Why must you criticize the game with crazy good ideas? Now I want this in the next AC game.

All I have to say that's relevant to anything in particular is that I have two tower defense games I'll have to get to in the future, so I imagine we can look forward to this discussion on the merits of tower defense in future blogs. (In fact, if I end up liking either game, I'll just end up calling it "On the Merits of Tower Defense".)

#9 Edited by laserbolts (5311 posts) -

Is Revelations the one with the Desmond first person stuff? It's weird because I don't think you touched on that. As for the combat I would have to agree with you. I wish there was more depth to it instead of countering and then chain killing 10 dudes. I also felt that the shift to the underground town or whatever it was was a little underwhelming. I was expecting a more bigger and interesting setting. I think that was in Revelations anyway. Forgive me it's been a while.

#10 Posted by Video_Game_King (36026 posts) -

@laserbolts said:

Is Revelations the one with the Desmond first person stuff? It's weird because I don't think you touched on that. As for the combat I would have to agree with you. I wish there was more depth to it instead of countering and then chain killing 10 dudes. I also felt that the shift to the underground town or whatever it was was a little underwhelming. I was expecting a more bigger and interesting setting. I think that was in Revelations anyway. Forgive me it's been a while.

No, I touched on that.

Rather than deal with Desmond's techno symbolism whatevers, we have Ezio Auditore leaping about Constantinople (the game makes the Istanbul joke for you, dreadfully unfunny readers) and taking out the Templar threat...as a 50 year old man able to survive huge leaps off buildings (except for that one time at the beginning).

Right there. I didn't partake too much of it, since, well, it's not much.

Forgive me it's been a while.

Same here, and I do mean a while. (But yea, the underground town was there. I thought it was OK if tough to navigate.)

#11 Posted by Mento (2441 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: Italian dubbed Aladdin was a nice touch.

Also, aren't all kids basically racist? Well, culturally insensitive at least, until they're taught otherwise. Nanako'Sho's too conscious of her audience to ever make the mistake of coming off as racist, though she came awfully close with "Watermelon Party!".

Achieving 100% completion wasn't too bad in the first two games, which is why I kind of got into the habit of doing it. It's why I collected all the feathers/flags for goshdarn sake. Making it even harder with those awful "don't get spotted/don't hurt anyone" requirements just felt like they were adding salt to the wound, almost as if Ubisoft was resentful that I wanted to make sure I mastered every part of their game. I was happier when 100% just meant buying up all the properties, finding all the collectibles and doing all those interesting side-quest dungeons. AC3 (to bring it up again) actually does all right in that regard, to the extent that you wonder why the treasure map quests are so much better than 90% of the main game's missions.

Moderator
#12 Posted by Video_Game_King (36026 posts) -

@Mento:

I will have to do research on the subject. FETCH ME TWELVE CHILDREN FOR MY EXPERIMENTS!

I was more of the mindset that all the extra stuff was there to chase down if you wanted it. I never went after all the feathers or flags or any of that other mess, but I'd always make time to climb up buildings to get all the viewpoints. It's kind of why I hated the lack of clear boundaries on the map: I'd be glitched out of existence simply because I wanted to pester eagles. Any of the other objectives, aside from the conspiracy chess puzzles of 2/Brotherhood and the Animus fragments later in Revelations (what the hell were those supposed to be/do, anyway), were simply out of my way.

#13 Posted by Little_Socrates (5675 posts) -

described you as "the always entertaining" VGK on Twitter, presuming he still runs the GiantBombSquad twitter account.

I just thought you should know.

#14 Posted by Video_Game_King (36026 posts) -

@Little_Socrates said:

described you as "the always entertaining" VGK on Twitter, presuming he still runs the GiantBombSquad twitter account.

Does he even read my blogs?

I imagine he has to.
#15 Posted by JZ (2125 posts) -

Potato party!

#16 Posted by Video_Game_King (36026 posts) -

@JZ said:

Potato party!

The hell does that have to do with anything?

#17 Posted by JZ (2125 posts) -

Someone here doesn't read the news.

#18 Posted by Video_Game_King (36026 posts) -

@JZ:

I can't tell if you're being coy or serious.

#19 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -
FTFY
#20 Posted by LiquidPrince (15845 posts) -

It can be and is Turkish and Italian. We're talking about Constantinople here, the land which border Asia and Europe. You would think that it's inhabitants would be fluent or at least capable of speaking multiple languages.

#21 Posted by Video_Game_King (36026 posts) -

@Ravenlight:

I think you mean this.

@LiquidPrince:

True, but why Italian? That seems overly convenient (unless Turkey and Italy have a history I'm unaware of). If anything, it would probably be Arabic or Greek or possibly even Latin that would find its way into Turkey.