The Assassin’s Creed Series

You see folks, this why I can never ever run a serious, as in, “professional” gaming blog. I’m just never current on anything that isn’t World of Warcraft, The Sims or the one or two other games that I am interested in enough to pre-order and actually post about before they go out of style (I also never post, but that is a different issue :P). But that aside:

Assassin’s Creed was a good game, not great by any measure, but good; It just failed to live up to the massive amount of hype constantly being pushed out at the time. I think the most disappointing aspect of the game wasn’t necessarily the repetition (though the repetition was pretty bad, I had to force myself to complete the game), but that it felt half-assed. Most people compare it too a tech demo, demonstrating the crowd reaction engine and I think that is for the most part an accurate assesment.

The overarching plot of the series is if anything, predictable if not somewhat ludicrous but I like the premise. Even though I know that the whole Animus deal is a plot gimmick, I feel that it works within the context of the game. I also like the duality between Desmond and his ancestor(s). I kind of wish that Assassin’s Creed 2 had more out-of-Animus scenes, they provided a pacing break in the gameplay (I know that am probably the only one who feels that way….).

Assassin’s Creed 2 plays out like a fluid narrative rather than a sequence of grind quests stapled together. Oh and by narrative I mean a nice variety of tasks to complete. There is a cohesive though somewhat ludicrous plot, there are characters and there are cinematics. If nothing else, it is very polished in both presentation and appearance. The bloom is way overdone, but the environments are vibrant and well designed. Unlike the first game, this game is more like what one would expect from the Playstation 3 in terms of quality.

Anyway, Assassin’s Creed 2: It is to say the least, a lot more fun than the first game. It’s more polished and rounded off with Prince of Persia style platforming mixed in with Grand Theft Auto style opendedness and side quests. The free running works a lot better than the first game in my opinion; The cities are constructed with to allow you to jump around more naturally.

No singular element in Assassin’s Creed 2 really stands out or shines. The combat system, though a little bit better than the first game still suffers from the same downfalls. You can now stab people in a couple more ways but ultimately it still boils down to just hitting the square or the circle button at the appropriate moment. Too many things on too few buttons. The side quests don’t vary too much from stabbing things or collecting things. Also, social camouflaging is great in theory but somewhat poor in execution: I really love the idea of crowd blending and being able to play in a more organic environment, but the way that it is implemented and the way the AI reacts in the game is very limiting. In practice it still feels like a game.

But you know what? I had a lot of fun playing this game. It’s not often that I play a game through completion nowadays; In fact sadly, I can probably name the games that I have actually finished this year on one hand. No single element in this game is particularly great but together all of the elements sum up to a very attractive package.

This is just a personal gripe/tangent, but: I know that the 6 assassin’s tombs are 100% optional side quests, but did those for the most part, annoy the hell out of anyone else? Jumping puzzles suck enough on the PC with full control over a mouse and keyboard. They suck to an entirely new degree when you have little to no control over where the camera pans.

By the way: The official assassin’s hand sign thing that Lucy flashes you in the first game is totally The Shocker isn’t it? 😛

The Sims 3: Ambitions


Job related content or rather, the distinct lack thereof has traditionally been a huge gaping hole in every single Sims game. Normally your sims choose a career path: Medical, business, food, whatever. In terms of gameplay, that career consists of little more than vanishing into a building for about 8 gameplay hours 5 days a week. Assuming that all of your sims have a regular job/school, that is almost a fourth of the game per sim spent doing almost nothing.

Ambitions is good because it allows to you to actively control your sim at work. I won’t bother explaining the details for all of the new professions because that has already been done and uuuh I haven’t played them all to be honest. The new profession objectives are fun, though fairly typical in what you would expect from the Sims style click based gameplay (run around, click, do something, repeat). I like the stylist and the architect professions because they affect the outward appearance of the town and its people (it is fun giving people pink mullets :P).

Twinbrook is the new town set in a half-flooded southern swamp-ish area. It’s well designed with a lot of atmosphere and character and show cases some of the new graphical effects. My one complaint is that it is very limited in size to the point where there is absolutely no where to place a 64×64 lot to start a Legacy Challenge.

I am going to hold my tongue on this one, but I haven’t encountered any serious glitches yet. I am sure though, that the serious game breaking bugs will surface in time (like the World Adventures family tree glitch which to date has not been fixed or really discussed much at all). By the way, I repeated the exact same thing from this post on the Ambitions executable to enable large addresses. My game has not crashed yet.

Ambitions isn’t a radical addition to the Sims 3. Even though the professions are fun to play and do actually add core gameplay to the franchise, they generally fail to integrate into the old career paths (with the exception of the medical career), to the point where there is a stark contrast. The old careers are boring in comparison to the new professions and I don’t really see myself ever going back to them. But, ultimately, Ambitions only adds 6 professions to the game which isn’t that much content for a long term play sort of game. Still, it is nice to see an expansion that isn’t based off of adding another loading zone ala World Adventures.



Guess what I will be doing this Saturday morning? I was #5,808 in line and I clicked the very second that it popped. Well, slightly less than the very second (had to select ‘2’ from the dropdown menu). Some of you have fast fingers.


Round 2:


Ah well, it was a nice try. Sold out when I was at abouh 1.8k in line. Keybound the cache clear refresh to a keyboard macro, coordinated on Vent, started refreshing a couple of minutes early, ignored the ticket quantity. Still got about the same position in like 5.8k-ish. Maybe next year!

UPS and Keiya’s Sims Crack Habit


Where the hell is my package going? Why did ship from Oklahoma to Kentucky when I live in California? Furthermore, why did I bother with one day shipping on Amazon instead of just running over to Best Buy to purchase it after work QQ. I ordered the newest Sims 3 expansion pack, Ambitions on Sunday. I feel obligated to write a semi-review or glitch (go go EA QA) guide at some point. Actually, I am looking forward to playing this expansion quite a bit because it changes core gameplay. World Adventures was interesting, but allowing sims to travel to other load zones broke time continuity (among other things).

Other than the three new load zones and a couple of other things, not a whole lot was added into the game. The ability to control sims while on the job, as opposed to them just vanishing into a rabbit hole for 8+ hours has been on the top of most player’s wish lists since uuuh the first game?

Oh And: Come on EA; would it have hurt you that much to roll out some of the Sims 2 expansion pack functionality into the Sims 3 base game? (like apartments). Or at the very least, some fairly significant additional content in the form of a free downloadable patch instead of pushing everything into DLC on your stupid store. I know that I will still end up purchasing every single expansion pack like an addict but still. T_T

I MUST GET BLIZZCON tickets tomorrow. Watch me get held up at work or stuck in traffic on the way home though :/. Oh and, I went a whole week without playing WoW, playing any games (iPhone games on the plane don’t count), or sitting in front of (my) computer because I *gasp* went outside! Might post about my vacation if I ever get around to sorting through photos.