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Dark Souls, a different kind of multiplayer.

You could roughly split the gaming community into single player gamers who play solely for the story and game experience and the multiplayer ones that prefer thrills of competitive gaming over anything. If I were to choose in which group to include myself, it will be a rather difficult choice because I truly love both sides of gaming. But do we really have to choose? Is it that difficult to bring both of those groups together in a game that kinda unifies both concepts?

I’ve been playing Dark Souls for a very long time. Recently I had the pleasure of completing the third game installment (which is fantastic by the way and I wholeheartedly recommend it) and it was around that time when I realized that the game is very different than the rest even on an additional level that was invisible to me until then.

Ask anybody who play the game whether it’s multiplayer or single player experience and I guarantee that they will, even if for just a moment, pause and think about it before speaking their mind.

This is because the game can’t be simply classified as one of those and not the other at the same time.

It’s most definitely a multiplayer experience, unless of course you option for playing it offline which you probably wouldn’t want to do in the first place unless of course you’re a pirate and are forced to play alone. This multiplayer experience however is very different indefinitely not something that you think of when somebody mentions multiplayer.

Everybody is playing their own version of a single player game while at the same time, all of your worlds are overlapping one another you may frequently see each other as mere phantoms.

There are also messages that you may leave to one another to warn each other about the dangers lurking ahead or perhaps intentionally draw them to some of those.

But multiplayer doesn’t stop there, it is where it merely begins. Should you wish for it, interaction between players is also very possible. All you need to do is leave a summon sign on the ground and when another player touches it you will be drawn to their world from which point you can act as their personal guardian and help them on their quest.

It is possible for a couple of players to band together in order to pursue greater challenges as a group are simply for the sake of an adventure.

You may even choose to invade another player’s world and engage them in battle to steal their souls and humanity from them. The game is not as cruel and unforgiving as some may think. Should you find yourself under constant attacks from stronger players, it is possible to weaken those links connect your worlds to theirs by performing a simple and quick game action so that they may not invade you anymore.

It features all those aspects of multiplayer games like reading a dungeon together or battling each other for fun or dominance while at the same time preserving that intimate feeling of adventuring far beyond on your own which is not very present multiplayer and MMO games. In my honest opinion Dark Souls has an amazing multiplayer scheme worthy of following. Wouldn’t you agree?

 

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Franchise Milking

What is franchise milking?

If you’re playing video games for the past couple of years then unfortunately you are most likely familiar with the term. For those of you blissfully ignorant or seemingly innocent, franchise milking means that an author or developer of some media, specifically video games in this case is purposely prolonging a franchises lifespan in order to “milk”more money from it.

For example heres new Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Actually make that every Call of Duty game in the past ten years.

If you are a Call of Duty player annually spending on this franchise you probably noticed how pretty much every game plays almost exactly as the last one. Chances are also that your willfully ignorant of the fact in which case I’m afraid there is no cure other than stopping a fan boy and get rational.

So what is happening where people willingly spending up to 60€ (in some cases even double for a deluxe version) a product that is pretty much exactly the same as the one released before it? Was this happening?

Well the answer is very simple actually. It is happening because we are allowing it to happen. They are selling us the exact same products branded with a different name because we are willingly setting these facts aside and giving our money to these companies for these products.

Will allow Call of Duty hasn’t changed ever since Modern Warfare. It was the first and the last truly different and truly innovative war themed first-person shooter game in quite a while. The funny thing is, almost 10 years since then the game is still holding onto that title. Crazy, right?!

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We have to realize that it is up to us as gamers to support the games that we deem worthy. It is up to us to buy games that we like and pass the games that we don’t really find that much entertaining. It’s the same thing with Assassin’s Creed. The developers keep telling us same games that have nothing new safe for a gadget or two are in no way different than their predecessor. You’re basically paying for product that you already experienced in a slightly different way.

It is also the same thing that’s happening with these annual releases of sports games like FIFA or NBA. The only thing that is actually different these games are team statistics that might have slightly changed over one year time since the previous installment in the franchise launched. That and the fact that you’re going to need an updated software if you want to get free FIFA 17 coins with this online based generator.

and that is what a franchise milking is. We are nothing less to blame for it within the developers just trying to cash in their hard work. We gamers are also part of the problem so don’t act like we’re not to blame because we are. Without our support franchise milking would be possible, so next time you see a game you truly like, buy it, don’t pirate it. Support the developers behind the game so they can make another one possibly much better than the first (take The Witcher franchise for example). At the same time think twice before buying a game that doesn’t really differ much from its predecessor say for the increase in number at the end of its name because you know that you are paying full price for something you’ve pretty much experienced already.

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What ruined Assassin’s Creed games for me. Part 2

This text contains major spoilers for Assassin’s Creed 3 story including the ending!

The unusual trilogy that second Assassin’s Creed game spawned didn’t bother me back then. In fact, I was actually very glad that they are giving this story so much thought and that they are developing it and explaining it in such depth. At least, that’s what I thought and hoped was the case with this game that I took quite a liking to (still disliked the demigod powers of protagonists though).

 The specific way in which the first two games followed the events that took place outside of Animus made me almost certain that the game’s epilogue will take place in a modern time with Desmond being its main character. This is also the reason I mentioned that how I thought Watch Dogs was supposed to be another installment of Assassin’s Creed set in the present day but it got canceled and rewritten instead.

Then Assassin’s Creed 3 happened. From the moment I laid my eyes on that game I was disappointed. I was hoping for a game centered around Desmond ending the conflict between Templars and the Assassins but what we got instead story seemingly unrelated to any of that.

Yes, I know the story wasn’t unrelated. The truth is, they developed a story and then made it relate to some kind of unrelated cave therefore making it part of lore. At least, that’s how I felt about it while I was playing. It felt unnecessary. It felt like it was forcefully shoved in to unnecessarily prolong this already lengthy story. Around that time I kind of started seeing the big picture.

They’ve ended the game with Desmond’s death in order to free themselves from the game’s leading protagonist. They purposely left us with more questions than answers with this game precisely because they knew how felt about it story. Say it again, this games story was exceptional and could have easily been one of the best videogame stories ever told. UbiSoft was perfectly aware of that fact.

That was precisely why AC2 was made into a trilogy. They wanted to cash in as much as possible with this franchise before it was the least obvious way. They made us believe how everything is related when it was actually simply unnecessarily prolonged just to grab as much cash as possible when in facet, they were milking it.

 Desmond’s death made their job even easier. Without the games leading protagonist the story no longer needed to have a revolving point as long as it featured Templars, Assassin’s hidden blades and parkour. This is most obvious in the fourth installment of the game, “Black Flag” where even the concept of having assassins in a game called Assassin’s Creed was no longer needed as long as those other criteria were met. For as long as you could parkour and had a hidden blade up your sleeve, the fact that you’re a pirate who actually found in the first place and has absolutely nothing to do with the original order of assassin’s (just like Connor from AC3 didn’t) didn’t matter. It was still selling just like before.

Take a look at new Assassin’s Creed games and tell me what is it exactly that these games have in common with the initial idea, story and characters of the original game? That is precisely what ruined this game for me.

 

 

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What ruined Assassin’s Creed games for me?

This text will contain some story elements that most people might consider to be significant spoilers for Assassin’s Creed and AC2 games so if you haven’t played those and are planning on doing so, it’s probably for the best that you skip this text. Check out this text instead if you’re familiar with the story of later games.

Believe it or not, I used to be a huge Assassin’s Creed fan. From the moment the game was announced how it was marketed as a game where everything is interactive and how you could vertically scale a building if you wanted to just by running into it, I was hooked and hyped. This is actually one of the games that turned out to be the way they marketed it except maybe for the combat system which was very simplified to point where you’re pretty much godlike but let’s set that aside for now.

Suffice to say the original Assassin’s Creed game was a dream come true for me when it first came out. I loved the theme and I loved the setting. I absolutely adored its graphics and the fact that the story was extremely complex and how nothing was black and white, in other words, presentation was perfect.

For me, it was an amazing game even though it was painfully repetative with its nonexisting diversity when it comes to side quests, but it did not matter back then. It was fun for me to play and it was amazing for me to immerse myself in the character of Altair and follow him on his quest to retreive the Apple of Eden.

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I remember being blown away by the Assassin’s Creed game story complexity. I remember how I spent hours thinking about what actually happened. I remember how I was struggling to pick a side and determine if it was truly a bad thing to do what the Templars wanted to do or if Assassins were truly right. What if they were wrong? This game was so engaging on so many levels. I absolutely loved it.

I played it on a PC and I remember there was a delay with the following installment which is, without a doubt the best Assassin’s Creed game I’ve ever played and it was absolutely worth the wait.

I was super excited that Ezio’s story picked up where Altair’s left and I was impatient to uncover the secrets behind the Apple of Eden and the ones who came before. I was puzzled by questions like who they are? Were they some divine entities or simply an incredibly advanced civilization that existed before our own and if that was the case, then how come that they were completely annihilated and what was it that brought them down?

All these questions pushed me forward and made me long for another Assassin’s Creed game that would finally explain and unravel the mysteries laid upon me by the previous games. This had to be something extraordinary. It had to be some kind of mastermind plot behind all of this, and I wanted to get to the bottom of it…

[Continue Reading]

 

 

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UbiSoft games post release downgrades.

Recently I wrote about UbiSoft’s upcoming video game called Tom Clancy’s: Ghost Recon Wildlands.This game looks like the type of game that I would greatly enjoy playing but for some reason I ended up being totally appointed with the game before it even released. This is a bad thing to do and if I didn’t knew better I would say I acted on unfounded suspicion, but is it truly the case? Can anybody familiar with UbiSoft’s marketing plan truly say that it was unfounded suspicion or perhaps paranoia? I have plenty of reasons to believe that this game is going to fail when it comes out and this is not simply because I dislike UbiSoft as a company no, because I truly don’t even though I have no more respect left for them either. This is because of the fact that every single UbiSoft title was drastically downgraded and underwent some serious graphical and gameplay changes since it was shown to the public at first on E3 (or similar major gaming event) in the final product was notably inferior to the one that we initially got excited over. I will try and refresh your memory with a couple of games that underwent UbiSoft’s downgrade treatment.

Watch Dogs

Watch Dogs is a fine example of how UbiSoft downgrades their games after the initial public showcase before they are sold as a final version. When the game was first shown I remember thinking how it has to be one of the best looking games to date, and I was probably right because the footage shown over at E3 was beefed up to a maximum for the promotional sake.

Upon its release, the game underwent drastic changes. Everything looked washed out and even its art direction was slightly changed. GPU intensive features like alpha effects, lightning or reflection looked much worse in the final version of the game not to mention that features like a light that illuminated raindrops as they pass by were completely cut out from the final game.

In the trailer it was obvious how wind could knock over trash on the street like bottles and had some impact on the world overall but of course, this never made it in the final version of the game. Not even those fairly obvious gusts of wind that swept the streets ever so often were nowhere to be found later on when we purchased the game.

NPC characters also got their fair share of nerf’s. Significant reduction of background characters as well as changes in their appearance and behavior is what was bestowed upon them for the final release.

All those beautiful dynamic shadows and all the advanced ambient occlusion affects were simply cut out from the final product leaving us with a game that looks nothing like what we’ve been shown in the demo. It was all like. Every scene, and every street was pretty much like the previous one. The interiors also suffered a huge downgrade. Remember the entrance to the club from the E3 trailer with all those smoke effects? I was very excited for those four they could truly make wonderful ambient effects in certain areas but, just like everything else so far it turned out that they were completely removed from the game.

The list can go on and on since this game suffered tremendously from UbiSoft’s downgrade treatment and if you ask me it was never meant to be a game that it became. I honestly think this was supposed to be a sequel to Assassins Creed set in present days and that they decided to drop the idea and make a standalone game instead, but that’s not the topic at hand, let’s move on to the next game…

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

Being a part of Tom Clancy’s games, Rainbow Six Siege is probably the main reason why I’m skeptical when it comes to UbiSoft’s product downgrades, not just when it comes to graphics but also gameplay aspects. Despite being downgraded, Siege is still a great tactical shooter but I can’t help but think how what we got is just a fraction of a beautiful experience that was originally intended for players to have while playing Rainbow Six Siege.

Graphical downgrading aside because, at this point know even expects UbiSoft games to look exactly like those that were shown during E3, sad but true. What I’m mostly disappointed about and quite frankly offended is how they are selling a different game than they’ve marketed. With Watch Dogs, was mostly graphics but with Siege it’s hell of a lot more.

They have changed the way this game plays. From the E3 footage we were shown how breached charge can easily destroy floors. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to destroy floors and go through those holes you make but the difference between the marketed and sold product is in these limitations. In the E3 preview it was made as if though it wouldn’t matter where the charge was placed in the floor would get destroyed no matter what however, in the actual game there are only specific places that you can do this. This would even actually makes sense if you were given a blueprint of the building and saw where the flooring was thicker or made out of different material maybe yet, once breached you can clearly see that it’s all supposedly made out of the same material. So why then can’t I just breach floor in a room on whatever spot I’d like to?

The way hostages react is also significantly changed and while this is not actually a big thing to grief over, it still doesn’t change the fact that we were marketed something that turned out to be something else. For me personally, it is immersion breaking to see hostage not reacting to a potential rescue in situations like these but compared to other things that UbiSoft has pulled out on its fans, I consider this a minor slip.

This list could go on and on and I could bash UbiSoft for another ten pages but, I will be doing that, at least not for now. We’re all perfectly aware how they do their business and how they treat their fans and for some reason we’re still hoping that with this next release everything will suddenly change? Quite frankly I don’t think it’s going to change anytime soon. This is a very bittersweet fact for me to accept simply because I honestly think their games have great potential and great themes yet they deliberately choose to throw it all away for the sake of a few extra bucks when in fact they could make ten times more only if they listened and respected their customers and their wishes.

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Ghost Recon Wildlands? Don’t get too excited.

Recently, this game came to my radar and to be completely honest, I was very excited when I first saw it. It reminded me immediately of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain with its open world and a promise of playing the way you want to with an exception that, unlike Metal Gear this game features much wanted co-op gameplay. It is something that I felt like I was missing dearly during my Phantom Pain playtime. Seeing Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands gave me some hope that I will eventually get to play something close to MGSV co-op that I never got.

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Unfortunately that hope short-lived in the reality slapped me across the face soon after that. You wonder why that is? Will the answer is simple really, this is a UbiSoft game and as a long time gamer I have come to realize that nobody should ever expect anything good ever again from this company but, in a desperate attempt to contradict my own experience and somehow justify the fact that I really wanted his game to succeed I started digging throughout the Internet looking for more videos that may prove me wrong.

Suffice to say, I started losing hope short after as I started watching some other videos of the game, carefully watching not only what was in the focus of the whole picture that was being shown.

It’s a demonstration of the game yet, even for a company like UbiSoft, which is well known to put a ton of makeup on games demos that they’re showing to us this game still managed to look very clunky and washed out. For example the animations of the game are simply bad. They do not, by any means, look like something made for this generation of video games. It seems awfully contextual and not dynamic at all compared to some games like, for example Metal Gear Solid where your character exists and interacts with the world in a truly organic way so to say.

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Being a stealth game, the shadows would definitely need to be completely remade since the ones that are present in the game don’t look like they would offer any protection from enemy sight to anyone standing inside of them, and this is not just about graphics, this is about the overall player experience where you can easily be misguided that there is no hiding spot where there actually are aplenty.

Some videos were showing NPC’s clipping through each other and acting unaware of the world around them and their surroundings. The interrogation sequences looked extremely unpolished. In the transition from 3rd to 1st person aiming was just not good at all.

I know that some people will say how this is just an early build of the game and how they have a lot of time to fix all of that but, just think about previous UbiSoft releases and how they were also unpolished months before the game actually released, how to developer were well aware of all of these problems because the gamers kept bringing them up yet, the games were released just as they were in those demos, and more often than not in much worst and washed out states.

As much as I’d like to be positive about this game and as much as I like it to succeed, and believe me I really would like to see a game like this done well but, I can only be realistic about it and can’t help but feel differently considering who the publisher behind the game is.