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Grand Theft Auto V - Year in Gaming Part 9

Posted by Ektris , in Video Games Dec 20 2015 · 413 views
Still need to wrap this series up, and I decided I wanted there to be at least 10 entries. With the last one picked from the start, I had quite a few to pick from still. (The rest of which will be showing up in their own leftovers entry.) Then I realized after scrolling my list up, that another of the very first games I played this year was probably notable enough to talk about. Grand Theft Auto is kind of a big deal, right?

Grand Theft Auto V was my first GTA game. I think I understand the hype now, even if I hadn't bought into it fully.

The big open world was a blast to explore, especially on a motorcycle as Franklin. Despite its size, I felt the map wasn't too hard to get used to and remember, which made navigating easier and not the utter frustration it could have been. This was the kind of world I hadn't experienced since Just Cause 2 (where I spent far too many hours in, and yes I'm hoping to get the next one soon), so that was just an overall welcomed thing to play in.

The character switching in the campaign was something I really enjoyed. It let me play the game very differently depending on who I was at any given time without having to play it again. My Franklin was a down to earth guy who just wanted to get out of his bad lot in life. He wasn't about to kill somebody if he didn't have to, like in that ending. Trevor was the maniac he was so clearly written as. Michael wasn't much better, having lived a lie for years to pretend he was a better man but knowing the truth deep down. That's what I was telling myself anyway. It's GTA though and regardless of that it's all really played the same lol. But it still made for an interesting mechanic.

The plot of the game isn't anything to write home about; it's the antics surrounding it that made the game. The character interactions were great. I especially liked Steven Ogg's work as Trevor. He did a fantastic job.

What's probably the biggest attraction to most for a GTA game seems to be the eclectic multiplayer. Unfortunately, I can't comment on it a whole lot. I only barely dabbled in it, and just didn't find it interesting enough to return. Maybe with a group of friends to mess around with I might have reconsidered, but alone, there just wasn't much I wanted to do. Never even got around to trying out a heist, even though I did want to..

Grand Theft Auto V was a good game that I enjoyed while I played it, but I just wasn't one of those it gripped fully and hung onto it tight for a while.



The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD - Year in Gaming Part 8

Posted by Ektris , in Video Games Dec 17 2015 · 674 views
Nintendo, LoZ, Zelda, Link
This title I may not have started this year (I actually started it when I got my WiiU in July of 2014... and then promptly forgot about it), but I played the bulk of and finished the game during it.

The Wind Waker is only my third time experiencing the Legend of Zelda series. To say it was different from the others I've played would be quite the understatement.

As far as gameplay is concerned, no it wasn't all that unfamiliar. Besides navigation, which honestly became quite laborious. I think it's one of the reasons I stopped playing it for so long; I had just gotten disinterested in sailing around what seemed to be a fairly empty sea. I did get used to it and found some fun in it upon revisiting. Man, that fetch quest at the end where you have to just sail to random places was just not that great though.

What makes Wind Waker stand out is of course its art style. I rather liked it. Definitely different, but not in a bad way. This was a brighter world than the last Zelda title I played, and there was just something about the character designs I found endearing.

Also, Tetra was pretty cool.

I do want to delve into this series more, and this HD remake made that pretty easy. So if you're like me, have a WiiU and haven't played this before, it's totally worth it (even if I did get it for free heh).



Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China - Year in Gaming Part 7

Posted by Ektris , in Video Games Dec 15 2015 · 451 views
Assassins Creed, Ubisoft
I must admit that this isn't quite what I had in mind when I joined the chorus requesting that the Assassin's Creed franchise go east. Nonetheless, they did listen, and so I felt compelled to give Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China a try.

I'm not sure that I've played a game quite like this before, and maybe that's why I found it more than a little challenging at times. It has a heavy reliance on stealth and combat is not something you (or at least I) excel at, which means it was quite the turnaround from where the series has been going in the main series. It took me a while to get used to, and by the end I still don't feel as if I was any good at the combat. The necessity to be as stealthy as possible really makes you have to think about your actions before executing them, which I did generally like. I just messed up quite a lot haha.

My problem with the story is... was there one? I feel like we got more characterization and story out of Embers for Shau than here. It was just brief moments of dialogue in-between levels about getting revenge on those who destroyed the Brotherhood in China, which you do... Yay I guess.

Overall this was a neat game, but not one I think I'd recommend for casual fans. It was pretty difficult and just didn't feel important to play at all. I'll still probably be getting the India and Russia variations when they come out though, being the completionist that I am.

Still debating on how much more I want to cover in this series. There doesn't seem to have been much interest in it, which is pretty disappointing. There's really only one more game that I absolutely want to discuss (not just talk in a soapbox..), but there's still a few titles that I finished this year that I could write about.



Halo 5: Guardians - Year in Gaming Part 6

Posted by Ektris , in Video Games Dec 14 2015 · 354 views
Halo, Microsoft, Xbox
Only a handful of games on my list I want to talk about. I decided the last point-and-click will be the last game I talk about, because I want to go out on a really high note. So next up, the latest installment in another franchise I've been into for years.

Halo 5: Guardians has me back into Halo in a big way. Halo 4 I beat, played a small amount of multiplayer, and promptly just moved on from. The Master Chief Collection got me hooked for a while just from sheer amount of content (hmm.. maybe I'll pad this series out by talking about that..), but that became tiring. Halo 5 is fun in a way I've not felt since Halo: Reach although I don't think I'll go as insane for it as I did that game. Because that was a bit too obsessive haha.

Multiplayer's been refreshing becaues of Warzone. It has snippets of Firefight, my favorite gametype ever, mixed in with a revamped Invasion and your classic Slayer. It's different for Halo and that's probably why I'm liking it so much. Most of the classic playlists are still there of course, with a few more casual ones I'd like to see return, which help when I start to get a bit tired of Warzone. With how long those matches take, a short burst of a different objective can help. Character customizations and REQs are just insane though. I'm probably never going to change my armor away from Helioskrill though because it's as close to playing as an Elite I'll get haha.

I think the campaign was an improvement over 4, though that's not saying much. There were a few things I really didn't like. The very first non-combat level was unexpected and a nice change of pace. Walking around a colony camp casually was neat. Then we went to Sanghelios... Also cool to see that world finally. But they had non-combat levels twice there in the exact same space only one level removed. And that was actually enough to make me not like them as much. It came off then like they just wanted to pad the level count, and I just wanted to see a different type of environment if we were to get more. My much, much bigger problem is just how many of the levels had us play as Master Chief: three out of fifteen. I had no problem with playing as Locke (rather liked jumping between Chief and Arbiter when I played Halo 2 for the first time earlier this year) and welcomed new characters, but man... It felt like we barely saw any of Blue Team's journey and the split was too heavily in Fireteam Osiris' favor. I just wanted to play as John more. The advertising campaign going into this game was about their conflict and discovering the truth, but the game ended up being too one-sided in my opinion.

Anyways, it was a rather standard Halo game for gameplay for the most part. Spartan charging and ground pounding were fun ways to find alternate routes, as well as being a blast to do in multiplayer. And... and... oh yeahhh! Your teams! Playing my solo legendary run (which I always do first because I'm crazy), I found them indespensible. Being able to get revived instead of just constantly restarting - though I still did wipe plenty often - is so helpful.

It's hard to explain really. Halo 5: Guardians just feels fun again. I'm also even interested in where the story's going to go from here, which I wasn't at all after the last game. So from my point of view, 343 also made up big time.



Assassin's Creed Syndicate - Year in Gaming Part 5

Posted by Ektris , in Video Games Dec 12 2015 · 440 views
Assassins Creed, Ubisoft and 1 more...
It should come as no surprise to anybody that knows me that I got this game. I've been a diehard fan since the very first one, so of course I was going to.

Assasin's Creed Syndicate had it rough, having to follow last year's Assasin's Creed Unity. Which I fully acknowledge had many faults and rather deserved its criticisms. (Even if I did not experience the technical glitches many did - in fact I think I experienced more in Syndicate, having fallen through the world a few times.) Which is quite a shame, as by most accounts Syndicate was a very good game.

This iteration of the franchise introduced quite a few new mechanics that felt refreshing and were just really fun to use. I loved racing through the streets of London on a carriage and loved even more zipping across its skyline with the grappling hook. It made traversing the map, in all directions, fun and a lot easier than before. After as many games as there have been, there really weren't good ways to make scaling a building with your hands interesting anymore.. this addressed that rather nicely I believe. Add to that moving cranes and other industrial era scenery, and it did feel different enough.

Combat changed yet again, and I wasn't too crazy about it at first. While the customization that Unity introduced for armor and weapons was still around, albeit slimmed down a bit, actual combat actions seemed slimmed too far. At least it felt harder than it has been, but counter attacks still solve most everything. But I really just missed being able to run through the streets extending my hidden blade repeatedly and all the other fun flourishes drawing weapons randomly did. Ubisoft really dropped the ball in not letting us use the cane sword as a freaking cane! Seriously, why couldn't we do that?!

Story is where I think Assasin's Creed Syndicate was the weakest. Jacob and Evie were great characters, and just having a main game in the series feature rather prominently a female character was fantastic. I used her quite a lot for side missions because of her enhanced stealth abilities. But what they were fighting for didn't seem to matter much. There were elements there, like what their father did to be so well respected or why Henry was the only operative in London and who were the others that the Fryes left at the beginning, that framed the game that were honestly a lot more interesting to me. "Let's just go find a piece of Eden" sums up the plot too well. At least some of the Templars they made were interesting, and I did really enjoy meeting and working with actual historical figures. Dickens was pretty funny and I just rather liked Bell. Finally, although not as much as what I would have liked, Ubisoft did pull through with improving the modern day story relative to Unity. There still needs to be a whole lot more of it for me.

Overall, I think Ubisoft improved tremendously with this year's Assasin's Creed game. It was a good game again. It may not make up for their previous missteps for some and I understand that. For me, the shameless fanboy, it was enough heh.



Electric Turahk
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