Assassin's Creed: Rogue Articles RSS Feed | Assassin's Creed: Rogue RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network No Assassin's Creed in 2016? Good. Sun, 10 Jan 2016 09:15:36 -0500 Nick Harshman

This past week, Kotaku posted a story claiming they heard rumors that the next main entry in the Assassin's Creed franchise will not only be set in Egypt, but will also be released in 2017 instead of 2016. In other words, Ubisoft has decided to give the series a much needed rest. I for one cannot help but feel thankful that they have chosen to let the franchise catch it's breath.

Should this rumor be true, this will be the first year since 2009 that fans will not receive a main entry in the Assassin vs. Templar franchise. Of course fans can still look forward to Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India and Russia, which are due out January 12 and February 9 respectively, but those games serve more as spinoffs than entries in the main franchise.

Don't get the wrong idea, I enjoy Assassin's Creed quite a bit. Unfortunately, I also feel that since the decision to annualize the series, its quality has taken a dive year after year. This culminated in the debacle that was the Assassin's Creed Unity release: littered with bugs, a lackluster ending to say the least, and a love story that at times felt shoehorned in. 

Fast forward to Syndicate's release in 2015 and you'll find the game feels much the same as its predecessor - minus the bugs - and arrived with a resounding thud. Much of the gameplay is similar, combat is tedious, and the recycled combat animations are disappointing. This iteration could be considered the very definition of playing it safe. Designers eliminated the bugs, nixed the multiplayer and focused on a single player experience in Victorian London, one of the most popular time periods in fiction. As they continue to pump out new sequels every year, Ubisoft can't make the drastic changes the series so desperately needs.

If Ubisoft does take 2016 off, what changes should we expect in 2017's Assassin's Creed? First and foremost, the developers face a hard decision: do they continue to incorporate the present day storyline? If so, they need to expand upon it and move the story forward - as it is now the plot has plateaued. It almost seems as if they had no plan for after Assassin's Creed III and have been winging it since then. Taking a break will allow them to flesh out the plot for future games. 

Ubisoft also needs to completely overhaul the combat system. The foundation is there for Batman Arkham style combat, but the clunkiness and poor enemy AI prevent the current system from coming into its own. Combat akin to Shadow of Mordor would be ideal for the Assassin's Creed franchise as it allows for the free flowing combat style the developers could be looking for. 

Fixing the minor problems that have been plaguing the series for years resolves some of the fans' remaining complaints. Issues such as sticky jumping and inconsistent character movement, NPC characters lacking personality, and creating a realistic environment are just a few of the possible improvements Ubisoft should focus on.

Assassin's Creed is not a bad series and I would go out of my way to recommend it to others, but it continues to test my patience. Ubisoft would be well served taking a year and getting their head on straight. Here's hoping 2017's Assassin's Creed is the redemption the series needs. Who knows, maybe we'll even get a game set in Feudal Japan.

A look at the Assassin's Creed series from best to worst Wed, 04 Nov 2015 09:00:32 -0500 Ty Arthur


Floundering franchise or wellspring of ideas?


While each title had something to make it stand out, it does seem like there's only so many ways to refresh and revitalize the same gameplay before you run out of ideas, and it may be time for Assassin's Creed to take a few years off and come back in a whole new format.

What do you think of our ranking of the games, and do you want to see a new title every year or agree that the series needs to take a break?


Worst: Assassin's Creed: Unity


Assassin's Creed unquestionably stumbled with its first faltering steps into the next generation of console gaming. Frankly the endless stream of bugs made people want to take up assassination as a profession and target certain game developers...


If you went with the PC version you could look forward to crashes galore, but any edition had an absolute avalanche of technical problems crushing any hope of a good game experience. Bodies would contort in insane ways, parts of your face would disconcertingly vanish, sometimes you'd just fall through the floor, objects would float in the air for no apparent reason and you'd be taken with the irresistible urge to dance while climbing ladders or running across ledges. It was sort of like being in a horror movie, but not on purpose.


The game was so bad that Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallet actually issued a formal apology to fans for the bug-ridden release and even handed out free DLC as a mea culpa. We can only hope a lesson was learned here and the series never dips this low again.


Assassin's Creed III


Just as it seemed like Brotherhood couldn't work, this entry in the series seemed destined for greatness, and both of those assumptions ended up completely incorrect. The setting had everyone excited – medieval European assassin game series heads to the American revolution? - but the end result was anything but gripping.


I remember the excitement felt when the first video teasers landed was only matched by the disappointment of the end product as the main character isn't particularly exciting, the intro segments are way too long and the game was very buggy upon release. Although they don't get mentioned often, there were actually some graphical shortcuts used here that really didn't sit right, especially the foliage and leaves that looked like flat cardboard cutouts.


The DLC is worth mentioning however, as the idea of George Washington becoming a tyrant who has to be taken down was incredibly interesting. Even with new animal-inspired powers for your Native American assassin, the end result was a little lackluster though, ending up quite repetitive with a weak ending.


Assassin's Creed


If you weren't aware of the twist ahead of time (and I wasn't when I first popped that disc in), the sci-fi/modern day twist at the very start of the game really messed with your head. Like “Sixth Sense” messed with your head. I first played the original Assassin's Creed on Christmas Day 2007 after having imbibed quite a bit, and honestly I thought at first that someone at the factory had messed up somehow and put the wrong game in the case. Those who trolled all the forums or stayed on top of the gaming magazines at the time actually missed out there.


Opening mindscrew aside, there's no question this game has aged, and perhaps not very well. More interesting features and smoother gameplay have been added to most of the games since, so while this one has nostalgia going for it, its definitely among the weaker entries with quite clunky controls. For some fans, the placement of this game so low on the list might be a bit of a controversial one, and it really could be swapped with the previous entry for those feeling a little more generous.


Assassin's Creed: Revelations


Assassin's Creed: Revelations is the game that almost wasn't – originally set to be a handheld game for the 3DS, it was scrapped and an announcement was released from Ubisoft that there wouldn't actually be an Assassin's Creed game that year... until it was resurrected for the main consoles of the time as Revelations and came out anyway.


While not an explicitly bad game, the formula was getting pretty stale by the time Revelations showed up, and those new features added in didn't really resonate with fans. The hook was kind of nifty, but looking back it didn't actually add a whole lot, and the minigame of defending areas against waves of Templar reinforcements wasn't particularly compelling. This wrap-up to the Ezio storyline was a middling experience that just didn't manage to knock it out of the park.


Assassin's Creed: Syndicate


With Syndicate only out for a few days now it's tough to make a real call yet as to where it really lands in the ranking of the series, as viewpoints are going to change as a game sinks in over repeated plays. Assassin's Creed III is probably the best example of that - it received stellar reviews from the major game sites at launch but is now universally reviled.


We'll have to see with AC:S finally lands, but right now it seems to be sitting in the middle of the pack: there's some great stuff going on, but it certainly isn't the peak of the franchise. Carriage chases and top hats aren't quite as innovative as being a pirate.

As a standalone, side-story title it gives a brief glimpse into Victorian era assassins, again slightly changing the formula and abandoning multiplayer, but leading some to wish for another multi-game arc featuring a character we can love as much as Ezio.

Personally, I'm a fan of the top hats, mutton chops, flintlock pistols, and high speed carriage chases. With the organized crime aspects and shooting from a carriage while chasing down other horse-drawn vehicles, sometimes the game almost feels a bit like you're Nico Bellic in old time England. It probably won't ever be heralded as the best entry in the series, but it does sit solidly in the middle.


Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood


No one expected this game to work, and everyone thought an epic flop was brewing over at Ubisoft. How do you take single player stealth assassin gameplay and tack on multiplayer to it? Somehow it worked, and while the experience isn't quite the crazy wild west of say something like GTA 5 multiplayer, it definitely had solid appeal as you wondered whether the person next to you was a simple peasant... or an assassin with a blade ready. Honestly, it's still fun today, if you can find enough people for a match, that is.


On the single player front, exploring Renaissance-era Rome (a much larger city than the previous games) while battling the corrupt Borgias family was quite satisfying, and adding in the ability to recruit followers added a welcome new dimension. Being an assassin is a good time, but leading a whole cabal of assassins is even more so.


Assassin's Creed: Rogue


How weird is it that the bone thrown to previous gen players who hadn't upgraded to the Xbox One / PS4 yet ended up being superior to the current gen counterpart? Rogue was almost an afterthought, put out because not everyone was ready to throw down the cash for a new console and pick up Unity (and as we discovered, those poor gamers actually came out with the better end of the deal). Culling out multiplayer and using a very clear template from the 360 / PS3 days might have actually made this a better game with the focus on tweaking and improving the formula.


Of course, it's also worth noting you finally get to take up the cause of the other side and carry the torch for the Templars instead! Long range kills with the rifle and causing mayhem with a grenade launcher add in unexpected elements as well, offering a solid follow-up to the amazing Black Flag.


On the downside, Assasin's Creed: Rogue is overall very similar to that previous game, but since that's one of the best entries in the series, that's perhaps not such a bad thing after all.


Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag


Everybody knows that pirates and ninja are mortal enemies, but apparently pirates and accidental Caribbean assassins go together a bit better. Black Flag moved us away from the story's roots a bit by throwing in a protagonist who didn't even intend to ever be an assassin and had no real knowledge of the war against the templars. He just found a cool outfit, put it on, and got down to the business of killing and looting!


The emphasis on ship combat is what entirely makes this game great (so something good finally came out of the maligned third installment, which first introduced the idea). Between the island exploration, tense naval battles, and typical city assassination elements, Black Flag is one of the most straight-up enjoyable entries in terms of game play.


Best: Assassin's Creed II


Opinion is overall divided here, with fans about split as to which game is really the best, and I have to admit even I waffle sometimes on which is currently my favorite. Honestly, this and the next slide could be swapped on any given day and they'd probably still be right, as both Assassins Creed II and Black Flag are very solid high points. But, looking back across the entire series, the sequel to the original title just does so much right that it's worth being counted as the pinnacle.


While the original title offered a previously unknown mix of historical stealth combat and modern day sci-fi shenanigans, the first direct sequel improved on nearly every aspect in major ways. There was no more running back and forth from the safe house constantly, significantly improved combat, better storylines, and the most loved protagonist in Assassin's Creed history: Ezio.


The dynamic environments for fleeing (or stalking an assassination target) still hold up today even after so many iterations, and there was tons of fun to be had hunting down all the feathers, video segments, and statuettes. Granted, by today's standards it may not have the graphical flair (or the ship-to-ship combat that's become so highly acclaimed), but this is still one of the most fun, polished games in the entire series.


For a series that only started in 2007, somehow we've reached a staggering 20+ titles already (if you count all the spin-offs, mobile entries, and social media web browser games). That's on par with the Call Of Duty franchise that everybody likes to rag on for having an endless stream of yearly installments.


Like clockwork, the official 2015 entry Assassin's Creed: Syndicate just finally arrived, this time culling out the modern day elements in favor of a more straight historical narrative and offering up dual protagonists in 1860's London.


It goes without saying that with so many different games coming in such a small window of time, there's a pretty big gap in quality between them, with some significantly more worth your time than others.


If you want to know what games are still up to snuff and which should be relegated to the bargain bin, you've come to the right place. We'll skip all the mobile phone and handheld games and instead focus on the core console titles that compose this rapidly expanding series.

Nine Things Next-Gen Multiplayer Needs to Succeed Sat, 18 Jul 2015 15:07:14 -0400 Elijah Beahm


Multiplayer has been a part of this industry from the start, and its impact can be felt across the spectrum of platforms we play on. Whether you like online gaming or not, we've come a long way, and have a even further journey ahead to travel. Here's hoping developers choose the right path for online gamers.


Encourage and Grow Your Communities


This last part is something only a few publishers and developers have done really well. For example, 2K Games managed what seemed almost impossible at the time, and bred a longstanding Bioshock 2 multiplayer community. Between offering assets for wikis, and porting the game out of pocket to Steamworks as Games for Windows Live began shutting down, 2K Games did good by their community.


They also repeatedly tried to do right by them in terms of DLC. When it seemed like Minerva's Den might not release, they gave out the Protector Trials for free on PC. When they found out they could port it over still, they did, and they kept the Trials DLC completely free regardless. They also gave Minerva's Den for free to anyone who had bought the original, Games for Windows Live version of the game. On top of that, they made all multiplayer DLC free for everyone, and decreased the grind in the progression system so members of the community could regain their ranks quickly in the new Steamworks version.


This is how you reward a loyal community. You don't treat them like EA did with Dead Space 2, where they never ported any of the DLC, and when it was found some was already on-disc, EA just quietly made a few items and armor sets unlocked for PC users. They never got the Severed DLC campaign (which reportedly never got past pre-Alpha on PC before being cancelled on that platform), nor did they get any of the multiplayer patches.


Publishers and developers both need to learn from these and other examples, and understand that you don't survive through game sales alone. You need that community who will stick it out years from now. Bioshock 2 is thriving and active on PC after five years. By contrast, no one is playing Dead Space 2 on PC anymore. Consider that fact.


Scoreboards Don't Count as Multiplayer


I would think this would go without saying, but judging by the number of games that have tried to use this as a placeholder for real multiplayer, it apparently does not. A scoreboard is fine on its own, but it does not make for great multiplayer. Most people don't care, and often times those who do are more interested in kill/death ratios in Call of Duty than how many Animus Fragments they've found in Assassin's Creed. Let's stop using this as a crutch.


We Need More User Generated Content


For a long time, it seemed like modifications were on the way out. Very few games supported mods during the last generation, save for a handful of shooters, and a number of strategy and RPG titles. That is changing though, thanks to a rebound in the focus on user generated content. Even if a game is a completely solo experience, you can play levels or experience new content made by other gamers.


User generated content is the lifeblood of many older games. Tron 2.0 and Skyrim both got fan expansion packs in the past three years, well after their publishers had moved on. Mods are free DLC that developers don't have to spend a dime on. Whether or not you think mods should be commercially released is another debate, but you can't deny the popularity of modding. Some developers even use mods as ways of finding the best new talent to hire for their next project.


As development tools become more user-friendly, and in-game toolsets get more powerful, it stands to reason that user generated content needs to be taken more seriously as a means of online content.




Let Cooperative and Competitive Multiplayer Blur


The fact cooperative and competitive multiplayer are beginning to blur is a great sign, but there are only a few games that have toyed with this. Dark Souls, DayZ and Watch_Dogs remain the only notable examples, and even this early on, they show promise. Dark Souls in particular has caused many anti-multiplayer gamers to reconsider their stance on the issue, because it put it in a new context.


Taking competitive play out of instanced matches and making it more like a boss fight puts it in clearer context for those who don't regularly go out and play Domination or Capture the Flag. With the addition of cooperative players helping each side during conflicts, Dark Souls lets the players define the battlefield.


Watch_Dogs took this a different direction by empowering players with a variety of play styles. Maybe you go and spy on someone or hack their phone in a one on one battle. If you prefer racing, you could take on mobile device users or enter street races. If you like team battles, those are available too. They aren't carted off in some alternate landscape, but instead are present in your game, and have tangible rewards for both offline and online play.


As we step forward, these types of integrated multiplayer could even tie into grander mechanics. Imagine a world where the Dark Souls invasion system and the Shadow of Mordor nemesis system are combined. The potential is tantalizing, to say the least.


Think Outside the Box For What Genres Can Have Multiplayer


A year doesn't go by when I don't hear someone say "[game] doesn't need multiplayer!" Except, did you ever ask yourself what kind of multiplayer that would be like? The XCOM: Enemy Unknown team asked themselves that, and what resulted is a surprisingly popular turn-based RPG style multiplayer that even got a wealth of new maps in the expansion pack Enemy Within.


The same happened with Mass Effect 3, and later Dragon Age: Inquisition. Perhaps its time we stop saying something shouldn't be done, and start more regularly asking "can this be done, and will it be fun?" Not only does this open the door to new multiplayer games, but it lets mechanics be handled in new ways. Assassin's Creed: Rogue's detection system wouldn't exist without Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood's multiplayer, and similar examples exist across many franchises.


So let's really push the envelope and see what works. If it fails, then go back to the drawing board; but if it succeeds, then help it grow.


Truly Dynamic Levels


Letting us level one building in Battlefield 4 was impressive back on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Now though, with the hardware available to developers, we should be seeing a lot more dynamic elements in levels, and not just in shooters. If anything, more games need to look to some of Sony's more recent games for inspiration.


Take the airstrip level in Uncharted 3. When the level opens, one team is a plane that is preparing to take off. Meanwhile, the other team is on a set of moving trucks, chasing after it, guns blazing. This leads to some hilarious and awesome moments that only happen because of the players and the level both being equal participants.


Similarly, PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royal built itself around levels that would blend between two games. One minute you're in Pappa Rappa, but within minutes, Killzone invades with giant mechs firing on players. Every level did this, and would significantly impact the approach players would take to battles. That isn't even counting smaller dynamic elements players could use to their advantage, like setting off traps or knocking opponents into hazards.


We need more levels like this. While making a level flood or have half of the map become full of poison gas might seem impressive to some players, we could do so much more. Destiny's raids have randomized, dynamic elements as much as they do scripted ones. Syndicate had different enemy spawns and behavior based on difficulty levels. These are the sorts of things we should aspire to in future multiplayer titles.


Understand What We Want From Online Co-op


When I reviewed Sunset Overdrive, the game had an excellent open world that was begging for two player campaign co-op. Instead, it had one of the blandest eight player horde modes ever created. Too many games just tack on online cooperative multiplayer without any consideration of what the mode needs. This weird misunderstanding of what we want in co-op is increasing in frequency, as more and more cooperative games are made.


First off, we want to play together with like-minded players. This really is what developers should consider first when going forward. Halo: Reach had one of the best matchmaking filters by asking you several general but important questions about how you liked to play Halo This helped like minded gamers to team up easily.


This should be a default feature in co-op, especially when the co-op is in the main story campaign. If someone is just there for the action, then pair them up with other people there for action. If someone cares about the story, get equally considerate players on board with them.


We also need goals worth playing for. The point of cooperative multiplayer is that you are working together, towards some end. This is why co-op in campaigns works so well, and why standalone co-op modes that are barely connected with the main game fall apart. Some games like Halo 5: Guardians have been making strides to close the gap and integrate co-op into their stories, but we still have a lot further to go.


Still, making players work for a narrative goal might get them through once or twice, but we need consistent, enjoyable reasons to bring friends along. We need new tactical options to open up in cooperative shooters. We need new dialogue choices in cooperative RPGs. We need incentive to play in co-op that offers a different experience, without cutting players out of every option. The benefits should be realistic to the player count.


Online co-op has been evolving at a fast rate, ever since Halo 3 and Borderlands popularized it. Hopefully that means these growing pains can be passed through just as quickly.










More Content, Not Bigger Battles


This is another thing that has continually been happening, and is a big issue for multiplayer. Sony was able to get over two hundred players playing together in its game MAG. It was also so dry and visually bland a game that it could have been a PlayStation 2 title in pre-Alpha.


Some developers have caught on to the idea that more content is better than grander scale, but still are struggling with it. Titanfall offered over twenty maps at launch, and released a bunch of free content updates, but also tried to charge ten dollars for three packs of three new maps. This was a terrible idea, and the game benefitted greatly by just letting everyone have the new maps for free.


This shouldn't even be news to developers. For years older games like No One Lives Forever and Unreal Tournament offered free map packs and new game modes as updates, not something you had to pay the right to use. Splintering communities with pay walls is one of the worst things you could do in multiplayer.


If developers want to charge for something, then they should actually take a note from Batman: Arkham Origins and charge for new gear, or better yet, Battlefield 4's shortcuts. I know what you're thinking "but that stuff is the worst!" except, it really isn't. Think about it.


Consider a world where all content updates are free, so you continually have more and more game to play. Except, since publishers will still want to make something off of the game, they offer new players the ability to catch up in the progression system. They'll still be new to the game and unsure of what gear to use, meaning balance is maintained. All the meanwhile, you've got a consistent stream of new modes and maps to play on.


As compromises go, this one pays off way more for the core player base than the current model. It'd be awesome if we could just get the content for free, but not all publishers and developers will go for that approach. Still, anything that takes us out of the age of Sanctum and Call of Duty-style paid for DLC is a welcome move towards benefiting the player base.




Local Co-op


Yes, this is still a thing, contrary to so many games dropping support for it. Whether it's a desperate bid to optimize (like Halo 5: Guardians) or just cut due to rushed schedule (like Killzone: Shadow Fall), local co-op has been getting the short end of the stick between now and the end years of last-gen. That needs to stop.


We need local co-op games, and not just 2D games and indie titles. Halo was born on local multiplayer matches, and Star Wars: Battlefront let console gamers play together online without a hitch. Friends could play games together both online and offline, but more and more that feature is excluded, and it hurts consoles in general.


The more games you can play alongside a friend and enjoy, the more you'd want to have them on your own. It's just not the same experience, swapping the controller back and forth. Yes, you might have over a hundred players on a massive battlefield with AI opponents and amazing scripted moments, but you're failing the oldest mode of multiplayer in existence. Give us a reason to buy a second Xbox One or PlayStation 4 controller.


Multiplayer has gone from the only means of play, to a standby feature, and somehow made a huge jump back into "novelty" territory before finally getting its footing again. In the modern gaming era, multiplayer is a huge money maker across consoles, mobile, and PC. Yet, despite years of innovations and experience, the industry seems to have forgotten or failed to realize several things multiplayer gaming needs to really do well.

8 Games From Last-Gen You Have to Play (but Never Did!) Tue, 28 Apr 2015 09:39:04 -0400 Elijah Beahm


Nier -- PS3/Xbox 360


Nier is just such a hard game to describe, even more than Remember Me. It's part Zelda inspired action-RPG, part bullet hell shooter, part dungeon crawler, and even part text adventure. It is amazingly fun, weird, emotionally poignant, and silly. It hits so many "oh Japan" notes yet completely owns it and makes it work.


Sure, there's a snarky talking book, people who wear weird masks, a hermaphroditic swordswoman, and a cursed boy who looks like a character out of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Heck, your first mission requires you practice your combat skills on sheep, after a prologue that had you tearing apart demons left and right. Nier is not for the faint of heart, and you can't help but admire it for it.


This isn't some half-baked, confusing melodrama like Final Fantasy XIII. Nier is like Shadow of the Colossus. It is a game that treats every aspect of the game as a chance to enrich and deepen the experience while still keeping things very simple on an execution level. Firing off super-powered missiles of dark magic happens within hours of starting, but understanding the depth and complexity of everything takes time. The soundtrack is also amazing, harkening to a Celtic-meets-Japanese folk sound and some intensely dramatic battle scores.


If you want to be guaranteed you are playing something different, play Nier. If you want a great story with funny and developed characters, play Nier. If you want to see people in half-dressed armor fight giant monsters head-on that would frighten Nathan Drake or Marcus Fenix, play Nier.


Binary Domain -- PS3/Xbox 360/PC


Binary Domain is a game that, by all concerns, should not be that outstanding a game. It has a voice command system that doesn't really work at all, literally registering "yes" as "no" when critics first reviewed it. It is a Japanese response to Gears of War, made to be silly and weird, with overly long cutscenes and the pacing of an anime. At one point, a story decision leaves 90% of your squad unavailable for several hours.


Yet, when you fight a frigging motorcycle robot twice the size of Optimus Prime on a giant highway.. it all feels worth it. Don't get me wrong, this game is incredibly dumb, but it is the best kind of dumb. It wants to be fun, and it knows exactly how to be the Pacific Rim of third person shooters. This is a game about oversized guns pounding all manner of robots (there's even a chandelier robot boss fight at one point) as you score in-game currency to upgrade yourself and your squad.


Your squad is also surprisingly varied, even if the trust system can be a bit awkward to use with an actual microphone (seriously, just use button inputs). However, it pays off with a branching ending sequence depending on who trusts you and how effective of a leader you've been. You also get access to small perks and improved performance by getting your squad loyal. It's handled far different from Mass Effect, but in a way that begs to be properly explored.


While the game's multiplayer is nothing substantial, the hilarious ride of a single-player campaign more than makes up for it. This is a third-person shooter for everybody out there who is tired of Gears of War rip-offs that are just dull and drained of any personality. Here, Binary Domain goes a step further and asks if we should really consider making J-Shooter a subgenre. Be sure to keep this one in mind when you need something to spice up your action gaming.


Silent Hill: Shattered Memories -- Wii/PS2/PSP


Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is the Silent Hill game almost no one seems to have played. Everyone other than Dan Ryckert loved it, and it got high marks for being a great reimagining of the original Silent Hill. It may have also released on PS2 and PSP (and subsequently got an HD Vita version in Europe), but Shattered Memories is best experienced on Wii.


Silent Hill: Shattered Memories eschews away from the combat focus of past games and instead emphasizes adventurous exploration levels and stealth. The adventure game side of things feels great, with all the puzzles and interactions feeling genuine and giving the world a sense of tangibility.


You feel like you are really pulling nails out of a window or messing with a puzzle device. Your flashlight follows the Wiimote's point, following it elegantly and accurately. Your smartphone lets you take pictures, save your progress, and neatly keeps all of the game's HUD compact and out of view unless you need it.


Every bit of control is built around giving you the most control you could want over what you can do, and even some bonus elements to help add to the atmosphere. Try hitting the A button when you first start walking from the car crash, and you'll see what I mean.


The Otherworld sections are great, making the lack of combat not simply a cheap gimmick but a core element. You can find road flares to ignite and give yourself some breathing room, but they go out and prevent you from carrying your flashlight in the meanwhile. The rest of the time, you'll be hiding, trying to creep in the dark and not get caught by one of the monsters hunting you.


As if all of that wasn't enough, there are also intermittent therapy sessions that influence the Silent Hill world you're playing in. The game's tagline is that it will analyze you and make the world apply to your fears. While I wouldn't say the game did a great job of adding personal fear, there is a fair amount of variability in how characters behave and appear, depending on your choices.


The story, graphics and voice acting are all incredibly high quality here as well. Shattered Memories pushes what a Wii game can do, and for that, it deserves some note as well. The endings are also all very well done and conclusive, giving a nice sense of closure and succinctly explaining the events of the game.


Have you been waiting for a good modern Silent Hill game? Or do you just like horror and happen to have a PSP, PS2, or Wii? Then you should totally look up Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.


BioShock 2 -- PS3/Xbox 360/PC


If there were ever a poster child for under-appreciated sequels, this would be it. BioShock 2 is a perfectly serviceable direct sequel to BioShock. In fact, it does a number of things better than the original, offers a great deal more depth to the original's story, and feels like a much more organic follow up than BioShock Infinite.


You play as the first Big Daddy, resurrected and on the search for your Little Sister. All the while, you contend with the collectivist psychologist Dr. Sofia Lamb, and the remaining survivors in Rapture after the events of BioShock. Along the way, you make or kill new friends, and save or harvest other Little Sisters. You also get to finally play as a Big Daddy protecting Little Sisters, and it feels like a fun new survival meta-mode within the campaign.


Along with this, you get the absolutely excellent multiplayer developed by Digital Extremes (who made another little game called Warframe. Yeah!). BioShock 2: Fall of Rapture incorporates all of the core ideas of the two games, making hacking, clever plasmid/weapon combos, and maze-like levels all work together. The inclusion of playable Big Daddys in multiplayer even gives the game a bit of a Titanfall feel.


Considering the game also has a Protector Trials challenge mode and the highly praised Minerva's Den DLC expansion campaign, BioShock 2 just about offers anything a fan of BioShock could want. The combat's better, the moral choices are better, the storytelling is top-notch, the level design is fantastic -- heck even the hacking game has been made fun. You owe it to yourself to pick this one up.




Remember Me -- PS3/Xbox 360/PC


Dontnod might be popular now for their mini-series Life is Strange, but before they were exploring high school with time travel, they had a much more ambitious project. Part brawler, part adventure game, with a sprinkling of ideas from puzzle games and third person shooters, Remember Me is a curious combo (excuse the pun).


You can customize your fighting combos to have unique effects: some drastically decrease recharge time for your abilities, do extra damage, or even heal yourself. In between brawls, you hack into people's minds and can remix their memories. It doesn't actually change the past, but the person will believe the memory as being correct, and this leads to some surprising, table turning plot twists.


Remember Me also features some truly amazing sound design and positively gorgeous visual design. The story might be a bit too whimsical for a 'hard core' sci-fi fan, but combined with the almost fantastical-meets-Cyberpunk art direction, it all sort of weirdly clicks. While the sum of its whole leaves some greater depth and replay value to be desired, Remember Me should at least be experienced once. It's a rare beauty with just enough brains to keep you racing through to the game's conclusion.


Lost Planet 3 -- PS3/Xbox 360/PC


You know, everyone had every right to be skeptical of Spark Unlimited's Lost Planet prequel. I mean, a studio who is most notable for creating some of the worst rated Call of Duty games ever and a one-off fantasy shooter that went nowhere? How on earth could they make a great follow-up to one of the weirdest launch-era titles for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Well, I'm not sure how, but they did.


Your RIG might not be a gun-toting mech like in past games, but it feels strangely even more powerful. On foot, the game takes a distinctly Dead Space-meets-Lost Planet feel, emphasizing careful movement and observing your enemies. All the meanwhile, the game brings you along for a surprisingly well-told story. The plot itself is as unsurprising as can be, but the core cast are written and acted better than many films.


The level of detail to everything is also impressive. Every new gun unlock has an a unique comment from the Quarter Master, that techie in a hallway will have something new and funny to say every time you pass him, and E.D.N. III's inhabitants feel real. Just as real is how clear the threat and danger of Akrid and flash blizzards can be. As the game's conspiracy unfolds, you can't help but feel genuine concern for Jim and the rest of the colonists working for N.E.V.C.


If you like Lost Planet: Extreme Conditions, Dead Space, Alien, or just want a great sci-fi game, then give Lost Planet 3 a try.


Red Steel 2 -- Wii


Despite basically being a Jedi Knight game on the Wii, with rock solid scores and a lengthy story campaign with challenge mode no less, Red Steel 2 is kind of unheard of these days. It was a genuinely good, hardcore FPS/sword fighting game on the Wii, with a beautiful Western meets anime meets Borderlands art style. It is honestly one of the most literally colorful shooters in years. It also remembers you have ears, and treats them with some utterly stellar sound design, especially for the sword attacks.


As you progress, you fight increasingly complex bosses, and gain special powers, one of which is literally a straight up Force Power, just given a unique name. Toss in some solid gunplay that is finely balanced to encourage you let your sword do the talking, and Red Steel 2 is just a ridiculous amount of fun. This is the kind of game you wished the original Red Steel was at launch, and it makes up for its predecessor in almost every regard.


The only real downside, besides some backtracking and a bit of a grind to unlock all the in-game gear, is a mediocre story. Everything else about Red Steel 2 works amazingly well. The motion controls are the closest to 1:1 the Wii ever had, and it's clear why Red Steel 2 was the game that sold a fair amount of Wiimote Plus attachments. So why not give it a shot? Unpack your Wii from the attic (or turn on your Wii-U), and give it a whirl.


Assassin's Creed: Rogue -- PS3/Xbox 360/PC


Yeah, it came out in 2014. You wouldn't know it though, given how hard GameStop and Wal-Mart are trying to sell it. Not only did Rogue finally ask some questions that critics of the titular Assassin order have been yelling for a while, it also featured some drastic new wrinkles to the series as a whole.


By becoming a Templar, you get some crazy new gear like a grenadier rifle, in addition to being able to kill civilians and otherwise break the Assassin code. Assassin's Creed: Rogue also realizes that enemy variety has gotten a bit stale in Assassin's Creed, so it finally gives us some AI Assassins to fight. While far from the online multiplayer of the core series (sadly absent here), Assassin's Creed: Rogue is the closest offline players get to trying out the mechanics and ideas of Ubisoft Albany's masterpiece online mode.


On top of that, you get a larger open world than Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, with more genuinely fun things to do than Assassin's Creed III's wilderness. While the PC price is a bit high for a better frame rate and a few higher graphics options, Assassin's Creed: Rogue is definitely a game worth playing. It is a fitting conclusion to a divisive but nevertheless fun saga in Colonial America.


As brand new next-gen-only games like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Star Wars: Battlefront, and Batman: Arkham Knight approach, we forget that there are still easily dozens of great games we've missed on last gen. Here are a few old and even fairly recent ones that fell under the radar.

Is Ambition Outweighing Functionality? Thu, 05 Mar 2015 07:53:12 -0500 Glen Schoeman

A few weeks back, Ubisoft announced the system requirements for the PC version of Assassin’s Creed: Rogue and with them, the fact that they will be using eye tracking software and employing it into the gameplay mechanics. Like many others, I was intrigued by the concept. Much like most people, however, "intrigued" was as far as my interest went.

Steelseries Sentry

Although it is an interesting idea and adds a new level of immersion to the game, it requires a costly piece of tech known as the SteelSeries Sentry which, at recommended retail price, sells for about USD$200. According to 

“The mouse and keyboard inputs work as they usually do, but when the player looks to one side of the screen or the other, the character does as well, and the camera will pan in the same direction to create what Ubisoft calls an "Infinite Screen experience." It also pauses and resumes the game automatically when the player looks away from, and then back to, the screen.”

A unique idea to be sure; but is it really necessary? During the course of my life, I have seen innovative ways in which developers have tried to revolutionize the way that we play games. As a child, I watched a movie where somebody was wearing a virtual reality headset and I was adamant that within 10 years all games would be played this way, yet the idea never really seemed to catch on.

During my teen years, a friend of mine purchased a knock-off version of the Nintendo Power Glove that had terrible tracking; it wasn’t compatible with most games and had a fairly hefty price-tag. Once again, I saw another piece of tech fade into obscurity.

Xbox Kinect

Microsoft was so determined to revolutionize gaming with the Kinect that they spent a small fortune researching and improving the device only to be told by the gaming world that most people wanted nothing to do with it.

Next came the Xbox Kinect, hot on the heels of the commercial success of the Nintendo Wii. When I first saw the commercial advertising the Kinect, I was reminded of the film Minority Report and, once again, I thought that this could be the thing that would shake the gaming world to its core.

But, yet again, it was not to be.

Microsoft was so determined to revolutionize gaming with the Kinect that they spent a small fortune researching and improving the device only to be told by the gaming world that most people wanted nothing to do with it. They even tried making it a necessary component of the Xbox One but were forced to rethink their strategy when the PlayStation 4 took an early lead in the console wars at the start of this generation.

Although these are all interesting ideas, what many of these companies don’t seem to realize is that when most people play games, they don’t want to break a sweat. It’s a relaxing hobby that we enjoy from the comfort of the couch and that if we wanted to play sports, we would go outside and do just that. Many people see these “innovations” as nothing more than expensive gimmicks that are, admittedly fun to play with a group of friends, ultimately less useful to the hardcore gaming community.

Virtual Reality

When the Occulus Rift, and the subsequent Project Morpheus from Sony, was announced: I again thought that this may change the industry with developers scrambling to incorporate the new tech into their games. Since the announcements, however, excitement has waned considerably, as people are generally uncomfortable with a huge thing on their head and many testers have claimed that prolonged use causes dizziness and nausea.

I am still very interested to see how these VR headsets will be used but I highly doubt that I will be an early adopter, especially since they have estimated that it will be sold for about USD$500, pretty close to the price of a new console (or a graphics card for those in the PC master race camp).

Fix What's Broken Before Making Something New

While I feel that the gaming world is desperate for innovation, the developers need first to work on fixing the current issues before pursuing ambitious ventures that ultimately end up as nothing more than very expensive paperweights. Since the announcement for this generation of consoles, we have been promised that the new hardware would allow for 1080p running at 60fps but I have yet to see this.

We are still plagued with poor frame rates, an example of which was glaringly obvious when I was playing the bug-ridden mess that was Assassin’s Creed: Unity at launch. Naughty Dog has implied that they may not be able to reach the 1080p/60fps target for Uncharted 4, wielding a similar excuse to most developers by saying that it is just “too difficult.”

With the recent reveal of the new prototype of Sony's Morpheus, I'll admit that my interest has been piqued. But I will still need a decent amount of hands-on time in order to decide whether or not I'll need to get a loan for my house in order to buy one of my own.

Assassin's Creed Rogue Review for Xbox 360 Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:01:43 -0500 Pred85

Assassin’s Creed Rogue takes place during the Seven Years' War in the mid-18th century. It has three maps to explore, consisting of North Atlantic, New York and River Valley.

The main protagonist in this latest installment is Shay Patrick Cormac, an Irish Assassin turned Templar. After being sent on a mission by his Assassin Mentors that ended catastrophically, Shay questions the Creed’s methods and motives. Ultimately he joins the Templars in stopping the Assassins' plans. Along the way you will take a few periodic breaks outside of the Animus in Abstergo while you complete tasks to gain further information that completes Shay’s story.

Rogue also ties up loose ends by re-introducing the likes of Hatham Kenway and Achilles Davenport from Assassin's Creed III and Adewale from Black Flag.

The Naval Campaign

 The handling of your ship (The Morrigan) is the same as in past games. 

The usual arsenal of Round Shot, Heavy Shot, Mortars, and Puckle Guns are still available, as well as added weapons: an oil slick released from the rear of the ship which can be ignited and a ram at the front of the ship to destroy ice sheets in the Atlantic.

You can still do the usual side activities as well - harpooning sea creatures, looting convoys, and attacking forts. Control of Kenway’s fleet is continued on from Black Flag, and the Legendary Battles are still there to test your skill and stupidity if you didn’t upgrade The Morrigan. Ship battles of varying scale are still fun, and you can still board vessels, but now with the added twist that hunter ships can also board The Morrigan.

The Land Campaign

The main land-based missions are focused in New York, which is mostly farms and buildings no taller than two stories high. There are various ports and islands in the North Atlantic and River Valley maps.


 A new side mission called ‘Assassination Interception’ has been introduced, where Shay has to identify the assassin’s target and then intercept numerous assassins nearby before the time limit expires. Shay has the usual Arsenal at his disposal, but it has been expanded to include:

  • an air rifle
  • a grenade launcher
  • various projectiles (including sleep darts and berserker darts)
  • poison gas (Shay has a mask to protect himself)

You still need to talk to your mentors in order to obtain your next mission.The only difference is they are assigned by a Templar rather than an Assassin. You can attack camps and loot warehouses just like before. There's a new feature called eagle vision that lets you listen for whispers that indicate the locations of hidden assassins.

My Experiences


I personally encountered a couple of major glitches where I destroyed a Hunter ship just as it boarded me, and the result was the hunter ship melding into The Morrigan, and a boarding battle ensuing anyway. There was also an incident where I sailed The Morrigan to the dock and let go of the wheel before docking, which resulted in The Morrigan being able to sail through the island and any other islands. Other than these minor errors, the graphics are as superb as they always are in the Creed franchise - especially the naval campaign.


The sound effects of naval/land battles are well-timed and appropriate. Conversation (albeit boring) is clear and precise, and the Shanties sung on The Morrigan whilst sailing are catchy enough to keep one occupied while traveling to the other side of the map. To be fair, a lot of the time I have to subtitle the game, as my wife doesn’t want to hear "Fire!" and "Captain’s in the drink!" whilst she’s watching Emmerdale.


Apart from the role-reversal, the new weapons, and some new side missions and collectibles, the gameplay is pretty much the same as always. Which is OK, but variety is the spice of life - and perhaps some advancement in landscape and character ability is needed in further installments. The majority of the game is still going everywhere collecting various items and completing miscellaneous side missions.


Rogue was enjoyable, but lacking that wow factor without bringing something new to the franchise. Graphics and sound were solid, and the gameplay had some new features to keep us entertained. But overall, it did not compel me to get on the Red Bulls and play for days on end. It also wasn't so bad that my wife needed to slap me to keep me interested. 


Graphics: 7/10 – Would be a 9, but two huge graphical errors ruined it.

Sound: 9/10 – The sound is fine as usual, room for improvement.

Gameplay: 7/10 – Needs more than new weapons and side missions.

Overall: 7/10 – Basically an extension of Black Flag to tie up loose ends, but still enjoyable.


--Craig Smith


Assassin's Creed Rogue Coming To PC Sat, 07 Feb 2015 15:23:42 -0500 Lampstradamus

Well all of those people in the PC Master Race Reddit are probably cheering again, because yet another console game is moving to the PC platform.

Assassin's Creed: Rogue originally released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 back in November 2014, at the same time as Assassin's Creed Unity. The game acts as a sequel to Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, a prequel to Assassin's Creed III, and its final mission acts as a prologue for Assassin's Creed Unity. 

The player controls Shay Patrick Cormac, a member of the Assassin's Order who decides to defect to the Templars after growing disillusioned to their cause. The players are set against Cormac's former colleagues and meet a few familiar faces from the previous games.

Assassin's Creed: Rogue will release on PC on March 10, 2015. The customers who pre-order the game now will get free in-game content and a choice of one of several Assassin's Creed games.

Top 10 Games I Played in 2014 Sat, 10 Jan 2015 07:57:57 -0500 Elijah Beahm


Tales from the Borderlands/The Walking Dead Season 2. Really, I can't pick between these two. It's amazing what Telltale pulled off in both an entire season with Clementine and a single episode in Borderlands. The storytelling was top notch, and the ending of The Walking Dead Season 2 still blows me away. You did good this year, Telltale. You did damn good.


Telltale's games can be found on anything electronic. Your PC? Telltale. Your console? Telltale? Your toaster? Telltale! Buy it on one of them.


I know, I know. One of my most popular articles on this site is about how Titanfall failed to meet the challenge. But hey, at least by the end of the year, it finally did. It took way too long, but with the addition of co-op, an in-game store (with only in-game currency, no real world money), and optimized matchmaking, the game is finally worth noting.


The soundtrack is amazing, the game design is some of the slickest in the industry. It remains one of the best PC games I can think of. I usually forget about it for weeks at a time, but whenever I play it, I am satisfied in a way few multiplayer games can satisfy me. Titanfall isn't a great leap into the future of multiplayer gaming, but it is a fitting bridge between the games of old and the new games on the horizon. 


There's a free 48-hour trial on Origin, and it's on sale for chump change right now. The Complete Edition is available as well, but it only contains the three DLC map packs, which almost no one is playing on PC. You may have better luck on 360 and Xbox One, but it's best just to get the core game. The new modes and all other content are free - and with twenty maps, you won't miss the nine new ones.


My review for this one is nearly finished, but I just can't keep it off this list. As flawed and gritty as its protagonist, WET is an action game I just cannot put down. The mix of flowing gun-ballet, brutal sword-slashing, and gonzo moments keeps me coming back. WET may not objectively be the best game on this list, but it tops as one of my favorite experiences this year.


The story is wonky, the graphics are badly aged for the year it released, and there certainly are some rough spots. But with a core as solid as WET's combat, I just can't help but come back every now and then. The added bonus of a score-hunting mode for every level in the game helps put a little spice in each replay as well. For more of my thoughts, keep an eye out for my review.


WET is available on PS3 and Xbox 360. It's cheap enough to look past the flaws, and strong enough at its core to show you why it's yet another cult-classic of the seventh console generation.


There's a free demo of Gunpoint on Steam right now. GO! Download it! Play it! Do it now!


Okay, back? So you see why Gunpoint is awesome, yes?! This puzzle-platformer defies indie conventions by being more like an elaborate set of dominos you must manipulate until you achieve your objective - with hilarious dialogue trees and a deep unlock system to boot. Plus there's user-generated levels now. It hardly can get better than this!


Gunpoint is on PC, Mac, and Linux. So unless you have absolutely no personal computer (in which case, how on earth are you reading this?), play Gunpoint now! If I had to rank these for GOTY, this would be in the top three at least.


You know, the first review I ever wrote for GameSkinny was for the Tomb Raider reboot. Man, I did not like that. So when I booted up Tomb Raider: Anniversary, I did NOT expect how much better it would be. It boasted platforming that required thought, with large open-ended levels that further enticed you to explore and figure things out on your own. Lara's journal does not tell you the exact answer you need; it only gives vague hints. Combat is not at the forefront, but it keeps the pacing fresh.


I haven't finished Anniversary yet, but I don't care. Any game fun enough to keep me going for five hours, without a break or much complaint, gets the seal of approval regardless. I also had the added benefit of playing it on PC, where the graphics are incredibly crisp compared to its Wii and PS2 versions. 


Not since Portal has an adventure game treated me with so much respect as a gamer, and trusted me to handle playing without a constant guiding hand. I may never know how Crystal Dynamics got from this to the Tomb Raider reboot, but I sincerely hope they bring the more realistic Lara back to her roots soon. This is the action-adventure game I've been waiting years for.


It's available on PC, PS2, PS3 (via Tomb Raider Collection), Xbox 360, Wii, and PSP. Whatever platform you can play it on, get it. Even if you never touch Legend or Underworld, you should play Anniversary.


Yes, one of the best games I played in 2014 was a mobile game. Badland is an amazing, almost spellbinding remix of Jetpack Joyride's "one press to do everything" mentality. Except instead of being about a crazed scientist or a flappy bird, this is about you guiding a species of flying animals through hell and back in one of the most beautiful and dark mobile games out there.


It's available on iOS/Android, with the first campaign now available for free. Play it, and experience one of the best mobile games out there that isn't an Infinity Blade clone.


Normally I sigh at Ubisoft for their frustrating development practices and questionable DRM choices. Then there are moments when I remember why I enjoy their games. Assassin's Creed: Rogue was one of those times. It received almost no fanfare, and most people acted as if it never existed. Very few, if any, review copies were sent out. Yet somehow, I had a hunch, this was going to be the real next step in the series. Equal parts a fitting conclusion to the America Saga and a step forward into the realm of Unity's new storyline, AC: Rogue is an all-around solid sandbox game.


It cuts out a lot of the fluff in AC3-4, and combines almost all the best ideas of AC4 into an AC3 framework. I'm not sure if this is the largest world Ubisoft has ever made, but it is the most content-rich one that I've experienced. Reconstructing a Viking sword, intercepting Assassins, and capturing all manner of fortresses makes this one of the most enjoyable games in the series. I truly wish we'd seen some invasion-style multiplayer a la Dark Souls, but even without any kind of multiplayer, this title is well-worth the asking price. I can hardly say that of most AAA 2014 releases. It seems protagonist Shay managed to defy the odds in the real world, just as much as in his fictional realm.


It's available on Xbox 360 and PS3 right now, but it's coming to Steam, PS4, and Xbox One later this year. Wait for the price to drop around $40 or less, and you're in for a treat.


Whenever you want to know what I think a linear shooter should be like, just look at Wolfenstein: The New Order. The developer, Machinegames, is primarily made up of developers from Starbreeze, who made the under-appreciated gem that is the Syndicate reboot, so I already knew to expect good things. This is better than anything I'd anticipated.


Wolfenstein: The New Order one of those rare games that can satisfy you with answers to all your questions, but still leave you wanting more. A fantastic mix of camp, seriousness, and retro sci-fi charm, this alternative-history 1960s world is a one worth fighting for. Few single-player games are created with as much competence as Wolfenstein, and other developers (looking at you, Naughty Dog) should take note.

It's available on PC via Steam, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. I played it on 360, and so long as you don't mind low-res textures and 30 FPS, there's absolutely no reason for you to not get it now on whatever console you have.


Endless Legend is the first strategy game to grab my attention in years. It's not since Civilization 3 that I've been this interested in a strategy game. When I reviewed it, it felt like I was experiencing a perfect blend of Tolkien and George R.R. Martin, purely through mechanics and the game's dynamic design. Endless Legend is deceptively simple, but so deep that I fear it'll be years before I truly have a handle on it. That's fine with me though, that should keep me busy until the next big strategy game comes to scratch that itch.

It's available on PC/Mac on Steam, and the developers have both mod support and work with the community through their GAMES2GETHER initiative. Seriously, give it a look.


So, a little late to the pitcher's mound, but here's a list for ALL the games I played in 2014 (not just the ones released in 2014). In no particular order, these are the best, most enjoyable, and most enriching games I played in 2014. 

Weekly Weekend Round-Up Thu, 13 Nov 2014 17:50:35 -0500 Eric Nicolai

Another week of work is behind us. That means it's time for another weekend of relaxation and gaming. This week has some highly anticipated games, none of which I will be playing. However, there is bound to be something on this list to meet most people's tastes. 

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

This title from Warner Brothers is sure to have enough content to fill a weekend. These games, although repetitive, never seem dull. They give the player enough to stay busy for a good amount of time. LEGO isn't really my forte, but this game surely has a spot on a lot of gamers' watchlists. 

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Halo MCC is another massive launch. This game was well worth the wait for most players that have an Xbox One. They can finally play on the Halo 2 servers again. They can also relive those awesome sticky grenade kills of all the Halo series, both online and off.

Assassin's Creed: Unity Rogue

Both these games are already a huge success. The Assassin's Creed series is able to put out a game every year. Each year they do it, players claim that the new game is the best in the series, and say it's so unreal how amazing the game is. 

The games that launched this week are going to be more than enough to fill two days of down time. Personally, I am still going through Lords of The Fallen and loving every bit of it.

What will you be playing this weekend? Comment below!

Assassin's Creed Rogue Launch Trailer Released Mon, 10 Nov 2014 23:41:00 -0500 zoLo567

Today Ubisoft released two Assassin's Creed titles: Assassin's Creed Unity and Assassin's Creed Rogue. While owners of current-gen consoles get to check out Paris in Unity, last-generation gamers get to play on the Templar side in Rogue. To help support Rogue, Ubisoft has released a launch trailer for the game.

The trailer gives players a taste of what to expect from Assassin's Creed Rogue. In Rogue, players take control of Shay Patrick Cormac, a former Assassin. Cormac turns his back on the Brotherhood, and joins the Templar cause, hunting down his former brothers. Consisting of a single-player experience, Rogue ties in closely with Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag.

Assassin's Creed Rogue takes place in the 18th century, during the Seven Years' War. Players will have multiple locations in America to explore, including the frozen North Atlantic, the Appalachian River Valley, and New York. Rogue lets players experience the Assassin's Creed universe from the other side as a Templar. We see Cormac's betrayal, and get to play from a different perspective as he hunts down those that he once followed.

Assassin's Creed Rogue is available for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Assassin's Creed Unity released alongside it for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Rogue will release on PC in early 2015.

Assassin's Creed 2014: Why I'm Excited for Rogue More Than Unity Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:26:37 -0400 Daniel R. Miller

It's no secret that Assassin's Creed has evolved into a franchise that carries the perception of being the "third-person Call of Duty" by a lot of video game fans.  Yearly releases have become the norm for a franchise that I was initially fascinated by during E3 in 2006.  

I was a big fan of Ubisoft's prior work with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and while I was let down by Warrior Within and The Two Thrones, the studio was able to rope me back in with a sense of new-found excitement for a fresh (then) Next-Gen franchise in Assassin's Creed.  

In fact, I'll take it one step further and say I liked Altair more than Ezio Auditore as a protagonist.

The release came and went and while there were a lot of mixed reactions, I enjoyed the game a lot.  In fact, I am one of probably very few that liked the original more than Assassin's Creed II (gasp!).  In fact, I'll take it one step further and say I liked Altair more than Ezio Auditore as a protagonist (bigger gasp!).  To add insult to injury, I didn't like Ezio's character at all.  I found him to be loud, obnoxious and he reaked of the writers trying too hard to make a likeable character, where I found Altair's quiet and subtle persona unintrusive rather than bland and boring (Go home Dan, you're drunk).

No, I'm not really drunk.  I just think Altair was a different kind of character and the original Assassin's Creed had what is called a "World-Driven Narrative", one that let the events of the world shape the narrative with the characters reacting instead of enacting.  

I suppose the general public responded better to Ezio because games are fundamentally about giving the player control, and Ezio was the star of the show, dictating his own terms and destiny.  Altair was on the opposite end of the spectrum. He acted as the world demanded, and I suppose on some level, players felt like they weren't as in control as they wanted to be.

Now after all of that, what do Assassin's Creed 1 and 2 have to do with my feelings on Rogue?  One word: characterization.  My favorite type of character in any kind of story, is the good guy gone bad, which is exactly what Rogue's Shay Cormac is.  He is in many ways reminiscent of the ultimate good guy gone bad, Star Wars' Darth Vader.  

What is so compelling about this type of character is two fold.  For one, they (generally) know everything that there is to know about the good guys.  Who they are, what they do, how they operate, where they sleep, and even where they poop.  

Most common struggles between the typical good guys and bad guys generally boil down to a guessing game of trying to anticipate the other's move.  With a character like Cormac, there is no guessing game.  It just gets right to the point and introduces the most compelling kind of drama that can befall a hero.

With Rogue there is no escape for the heroes' lives. Why? Because YOU are the one taking the heroes' lives.


 Every story is all about seeing how the hero escapes peril.  We are kept on the edge of our seats, fearing for the hero's lives as danger lurks around every corner but they always overcome, thus robbing a sense of authenticity in that fear.  With Rogue, there is no escape for the heroes.  There is a genuine sense of fear for the heroes' lives.  Why?  Because YOU are the one taking the heroes' lives.  

But then that brings up an interesting question.  Are the Assassins really the heroes?  Genuinely compelling conflicts aren't so predictably black and white as a simple Good Vs. Evil, which is what the series has been to date.  Rogue seems to be striving to show its fans just that.  Game Writer, Susan Patrick notes this herself in a recent blog post from Ubisoft's website saying, "Despite becoming a successful Assassin, Shay will start to question the motivations of the Brotherhood and eventually, seek redemption by hunting the Assassins down."  If what Patrick says is indeed true,  Rogue, not Unity, may end up being the game that gives the Assassin's Creed series a much needed and long overdue shake up.

Most Anticipated Games of 2014 Sun, 07 Sep 2014 11:00:54 -0400 Eric Nicolai

With a massive amount of retail games coming out in 2014 and early 2015, I figured it wouldn't be a bad idea to compile a list of the top games on gamer's radars. Please note that as bias as it is I have left out Nintendo console and handhelds along with PC.

September has a small list of games coming out, on top of this list is one that launches this Tuesday a small title called Destiny; I won't go into much detail about this, as anyone that isn't living under a rock knows a good amount about it.  The only thing I would like to touch on is that if you buy Destiny digitally on last-gen consoles, Bungie is offering a free upgrade to next gen and you get to keep both copies. NHL is another title, although ranking low on my list, that will be high on people's lists.

September 9 

Destiny (PS3, 360, PS4, and X1)

NHL 15 (PS3, 360, PS4, and X1)

September 23

FIFA 15 (PS3, 360, PS4, and X1)

At the end of September comes yet another big title: Shadow of Mordor. This title stands out on this launch week for me.

September 30

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PS3, 360, PS4, and X1)

Persona 4: Arena Ultimax (PS3 and 360)

Forza Horizon 2 (360 AND X1)

Natural Doctrine (PS3, PS4, and VITA)

October has a huge lineup, which would have been bigger had Evolve not been pushed back. In this is includes three games that I have been anticipating for some time now: Evil Within, Lords of the Fallen, and Sunset Overdrive

October 7

Driveclub (PS4)

Project Spark (X1)

NBA 2K15 (PS3 and 360)

Alien Isolation (PS3, 360, PS4, and X1)

October 14:

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (360 and PS3)

The Evil Within (PS3, 360, PS4, and X1)


October 28

Lords of the Fallen (PS4 and X1)

Sunset Overdrive (X1)

WWE 2K15 (PS3, 360, PS4, and X1) 

November holds a couple iconic games that have marched their ways into players hearts and ranking among the best franchises of their time, We have yet another Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed.

November 4

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PS3, 360, PS4, and X1)

November 11

Assassin's Creed: Unity (X1 and PS4)

Assassin's Creed: Rogue (PS3 and 360)

The Crew (360, PS4, and X1)

Halo: The Master Chief Collection (X1)

November 18:

Dragon Age: Inquisition (PS3, 360, PS4, and X1)

Far Cry 4 (PS3, 360, PS4, and X1)

Little Big Planet 3 (PS3 and PS4)

December is a little lackluster for releases; however, with the amojnt of overwhelming games launched in the months prior, gamers will have more than enough to get them through the holidays. But just after the new year, there are a couple games that should be mentioned. Evolve was pushed to Q1 of 2015 and the PS4 exclusive Bloodborne has been announced for it's Japanese launch in February, leading us to believe that US launch is shortly after that. Also around the corner is MK: X.

In short this game season is going to be awesome and expensive.

Assassin's Creed Rogue Gameplay Trailer Fri, 05 Sep 2014 04:39:54 -0400 Amanda Wallace

Assassin's Creed Rogue follows the story of Shay, a Assassin turned Templar who strives to seek vengeance on the Brotherhood after a betrayal. The game has connections to Assassin's Creed Unity as well as Assassin's Creed Black Flag and will feature the free running action aesthetic known in the franchise, as well as the naval ship battles that were a key portion of Black Flag

Assassin's Creed Rogue will be coming to Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 November 11.

Assassin's Creed Rogue Announced for Xbox 360 and PS3 Thu, 07 Aug 2014 11:02:14 -0400 Evan Lower

In a public relations stunt aimed at appeasing those few people who don't own a current generation console, Ubisoft is releasing a last-generation-exclusive Assassin's Creed, with the mysterious surname Rogue

Well it's not entirely mysterious, being that the name Rogue is explained immediately within the first ten seconds of the reveal video.

Dressed in traditional Assassin's garb, yet donning Templar insignia, the prevailing theory is that at one time the new character was once an Assassin, but some event disillusioned him to the Assassin's cause--which wouldn't be too surprising given the history within the Assassin leadership to be super evil and uncool--and now Shay is off to seek vengeance against those he perceives as responsible. One might say he's "gone rogue."

According to Ubisoft the game will be the last of the AC games set within North America, the timeline being the 18th century during the Seven Years' War. To leave North America in style, Rogue will be set within such iconic North American locations as New York City and the Arctic Circle. This can only mean one thing: snow maps!

As demonstrated in this picture from Rogue, naval warfare is back, too, and Ubisoft has updated this facet of the game to reflect the unique narrative of Rogue. Players can sail right through ice sheets to discover new locations and use icebergs - the trolls of the Arctic seas - for cover against enemy ships. 

What Else is Going On Here?

So there's the basic information any Google search will give you, but I wanted to dig a little deeper into "speculation mode" for this reveal. Knowing the AC franchise as well as I do, I know that the team behind the games has this great love of name-symbolism, so I did a little bit of research.

According to family education's "nameLAB," the origin of the given name Shay is Celtic, which makes sense given the character's heavy Irish accent. The name's meaning is "God's grace," which would seem kind of interesting given what little we know of the character.

According to Behind the Name's research, the name Cormac is generally a first name, and its origin is Gaelic. The meaning of the name is "son of defilement." Spooky, huh? But this falls more within the narrative given in the reveal trailer. 

Together the name means "God's grace, the son of defilement," suggesting that this dark and gritty protagonist has more to him than blind vengeance. It might also suggest an antithesis to the general formula for AC titles, in which the protagonist is in "right" and the antagonists are in the "wrong." In this game, there might just be a whole lot of gray. 

But! Find out for yourself when the game comes out November 11 of this year. Preorder it here to get some exclusive goodies. Also, be sure to check it out at Gamescom August 13-17, as Ubisoft will have it available to play on 40 game pods.

Let's Reboot: Assassin's Creed Mon, 02 Mar 2015 05:38:49 -0500 Elijah Beahm

We live in an age of reboots and re-imaginings. From total reboots like 2013's Tomb Raider to soft reboots like Assassin's Creed: Unity, we're seeing a lot of new trends in old ideas. While some games seem fine as they were, a few could benefit from a tune-up. Today, let's reboot a franchise on the verge of losing its identity and purpose in its current attempts at revival: Assassin's Creed.

Assassin's Creed (Full Reboot / Full Reboot)

I know, we get tons of Assassin's Creed games now. More than three in 2014. That's part of why I think the series needs a fresh start, instead of a soft reboot like AC: Unity. What Assassin's Creed needs is some time to breathe. Wait at least two years before releasing another title; let the fans want a new game. Then, one or two full reboots.

Reset the universe, ground it in reality.

Okay, now remove the First Civilization.

Also, remove the complex bloodline quasi-science gobble-dee-gook of the Animus. Make this just be a secret society following an ancient tradition across the generations. And let's make the Assassins and Templars two halves of the same whole, instead of enemies. AC3, Liberation, and Rogue have all made solid cases that, if not for plot requirements, the two sides would have stopped fighting ages ago.

Instead of having the two factions start out at each other's throats, let's instead make things more political, and like an actual conspiracy. Templars and Assassins can be good or bad guys, and they conspire around actual historical events. Sometimes you'll do good, sometimes you'll do ill, but no matter what, the plot can be intriguing and believable. Let's not have coincidence and magic space wizards decide how everything plays out.

Let's keep the gameplay still be as fluid as Black Flag, but with far more challenge. A good of way of doing this is to emphasize the preparation elements of the Witcher 2. You have every weapon on the planet available to you at every minute, and instead have to tailor your skills to ever mission you take. Need to swim? No heavy weapons or you'll drown. Going for a long distance assassination? Your crossbow takes the place of your sword. Everything finally becomes balanced through the more limited and specified equipment.

Need to swim? No heavy weapons or you'll drown. Going for a long distance assassination? Your crossbow takes the place of your sword. Everything finally becomes balanced through the more limited and specified equipment.

And safehouses can have more purpose than just quest hubs.

On top of this, you can set loadouts like you would in a multiplayer game. As you unlock new items both through core missions and gaining experience, you expand and improve your loadouts. This way you still can swap between playstyles, but you still have to get back to a safe house first. They'd have to be more numerous as a result, but that could tie into a revamped version of Brotherhood's economic sim system.

You have to evade detection still, but stupid tricks like sitting on a bench won't always work. Instead, we take notes from Dishonored and Thief, allowing you to hide in the environment's nooks and crannies. We vary enemies so only some can climb after you, meaning a lazy guard can be easily lost, but a trained killer will hunt you down. Some guards might have gear similar to yours as well, such as grappling hooks or smoke bombs.

Further varying your approach is the need to use different distractions for different enemies. Lazy guards could be drawn off by a lady of the night, but you might need a fellow assassin (because were are 100% bringing back the Brotherhood system) to pull off a false shot to get the attention of trained soldiers.

We're gonna need a bigger smoke bomb...

Your targets would be similarly affected, allowing you to manipulate them into traps. A skittish one could be scared by a gunshot to run into a hallway booby-trapped with trip mines. A more violent one could be drawn out into the open by a friend then assassinated from behind. The most clever targets might actually try to pursue you, forcing you to lead them into a trap or escape and try again.

Lastly, let's hit the elephant in the room -- the next assassin, the star of this reboot, is a woman or at the very least a custom character. Whether the entry is set during the modern day or in the past, we need more diverse Assassins. And on that note, I know it's a joke but seriously, let's make this be one of the new time periods explored:

It could be fun... and cover some really heavy topics!

Normally I include a second, more extreme proposal after a more close to form reboot idea, but for once, the idea is too big to fit in one article. So keep your eyes out for a follow-up on the more extreme take on how to revive the Assassin's Creed franchise!

Do you like the idea of a more Hitman/Witcher style Assassin's Creed game? Do you have ideas of your own? Please be sure to share your thoughts in the comments, and let me know what games you'd like to see get a reboot in the future!