God of War

Preamble

I was cleaning up the Hard Disk and found this post lying somewhere deep within the bowels of the myriad folders that my organised mind prefers to arrange my work in. If I ever develop an OS, file cross indexing with respect to attributes will receive top priority. GUI and user friendliness can suck it. Anyhoo, a little editing and some pictures later, here we are.

I’m more of a connoisseur of gaming rather than one of those hard core time-flies-by-while-I-game-like-a-mad-person type of gamer. I can sit on a level for hours just thinking what tricks they might have used for that particular type of interaction the user experiences. What can I say? Graphics intrigue me. Not solely because of the amazing amount of concise programming they would have used for optimisation.

Anyway, when I bought the PS3, I got God of War 3 free along with it. Let me tell you something – There are few games which show off the might and power of that gaming console like GoW3. Suffice it to say, even my mom, who has no interest whatsoever in gaming and looks on at blu ray with some mild interest even though each frame is about 10 times as vivid as it’s older counterparts, was thoroughly impressed. Of course, the home theatre system gave life to all the sounds of the game but the animations were really something to look at.

Kratos - Man of men.

God of War 3 is a fantasy third person action adventure game created by Santa Monica studios. I have always appreciated Sony as a company with every bit of awesome foresight in terms of what companies to buy. I mean .. Santa Monica, Naughty Dog etc. .. They’ve got their heads on straight. God of War 3 is the first game in the series to feature on the PS3. To say they have done an awesome job of it would be an understatement. The game is exceptionally good.

GoW 3 follows where it left off in GoW 2. The protagonist is a dude called Kratos. I’ll be frank here – I don’t know *how* they did it but Santa Monica somehow created a character who can make every dude feel like a girl. Kratos oozes testosterone. There is no other way I can put it. One scar across his eye, covered in ash dust, goatee, bald head, body paint , two absolutely wicked looking blades connected to him by a chain, inhuman strength owing to demi god descent, voice like a truck going over very coarse gravel. He can make any other character feel like a pussy.

Suffice it to say that if an evil genius scientist took genes from Chuck Norris, Mr T, Bruce Lee, Superman, Batman, Magneto, Charles Xavier, Goku, Cell, Silver Surfer and Galactus and whoever else you can think of and spliced them together to create the perfect being, Kratos would take all of 10 minutes to bury that guy so deep in the ground, he’d think twice about coming out and fighting again.

The story is quite complicated – Kratos is this dude who is a former Spartan warrior and has those blood tattoos exactly like his brother. He sacrifices his family and kills Ares to become the God of War and help the Spartans win. The other Gods in Olympus hate his guts and plot his downfall. Zeus takes all his power through his sword and leaves him defenceless. Finally, Kratos realises that Zeus is his father and believe me when I say this, the guys who created the character knew the meaning of “His rage was great to behold!”. Vowing vengeance against Zeus and the rest of Olympus, Kratos stands on the brink of destroying the entire planet as he kills one god after another thanks to his own inhuman demi-god strength. That is how GoW 3 starts. I don’t know what it is about that starting scene but it gives me quite an adrenaline rush.

The God of War series is actually quite famous for its gory scenes. Blood spatters and limbs are torn like nobody’s business. My mom gave up long ago on such advice as is given by the ESRB dudes to anyone who’d listen. She’s seen me play through Mortal Kombat 4, Half Life and so much else. This game, although similar (there is only so much blood you can spill … unless you are Quentin Tarantino), has some .. er, unsavoury elements. I’ll not go very deep into that but let’s just say that Aphrodite tries seducing Kratos in the middle of the game and she is dressed .. well, a little sparsely (nod to the dudes doing sparse signal processing) if I might say so. I will now list all the boss fights. You can find all this info on Wikipedia, obviously, but take it from me, the videos are worth it.

Kratos starts at the base of mount Olympus where Zeus sends all of his minion gods to defeat him. The starting scene in GoW 3 is an absolute treat. As Kratos, you are on the back of Gaia, a titan. Gaia herself is climbing on mount Olympus and you are literally hitching a ride. The whole scene is an animation and not a cut scene. The first god to fall is Poseidon. Although the kill is quite gory, this is just the start.

 

The context buttons (all those buttons popping up) make sure your kill looks awesome although limiting the choice. He then proceeds to kill Hades, the god of the underworld.

 

This is followed by Helios. Now, *this* is a murderous kill. Just watch it. Gore max btw 😀

 

Those monsters you saw are pretty common in the game so don’t be alarmed. Also, he uses that head as a lantern for the rest of the game. In my eyes, that defines awesome 😀

The videos get boring so I’ll just list the next few boss battles – Hermes, Hercules, Hera and finally, after much ado, Zeus. The gore in the game is absolutely soul satisfying (assuming you have a soul, of course). In the end, Kratos has killed all the gods and released the power of hope, which he had unwittingly taken from the Pandora’s Box, by driving Zeus’ sword through himself.

You can see a trail of blood showing that Kratos is alive but wounded. This is confirmed since there are rumours that the next instalment is coming out. Santa Monica outdoes itself every time. I wonder how they’ll outdo this masterpiece. I can’t frickin wait though m/

Agent Naapathi Yezhu – Mind it!

Naapathi Yezhu = 47 .. “Mind it” is a phrase most northies use to make fun of Rajni when they have no clue where it came from.

Assassination games and movies are my absolute favourite. I don’t know why, frankly. I am a big fan of the Bourne series, the Hitman franchise, the Assassin’s Creed franchise and anything related to silent killing. I’ve read Day of the Jackal twice .. which is a feat for any Forsyth book.

It comes as no surprise that I find the Hitman franchise irresistible. I love everything about the Hitman game. In fact, it is the only third person action/adventure I play at full difficulty.

As with any game, my connection with it starts at one particular point in time. My memory archiving methods give me easy access to such things.

Hitman

My tryst with the franchise starts somewhere in 9th std – sometime around 2005. I was over at a friends place because I was bored. He was playing Hitman: Contracts on his PS2 while I was simply reading some Marvel comic deluxe edition I found lying around. I finished the comic and was watching him play while my mind was elsewhere. But sometimes your subconscious actually registers what you’re seeing. In this case, I registered how my friend executed a full contract. Starting from the briefing till the debriefing. It stunned me out of my reverie. I found it exceptional.

I mean – starting from the garrotte wire kills, the dress changing, the walking with a careful speed so as to not draw attention, looking out and recording the patrolling patterns of the guards, the lethal poison you administer to the soup the target is going to consume and finally, exiting without so much as leaving a blip on the enemy radar. The whole precision and clockwise MO of the protagonist was exhilarating (nope, I’m not using the wrong word here).

My friend offered me the controller and I finished one mission since I was given the chance. The game mechanics took quite some time to master and I was glued to the controller for almost 2 and a half hours since I refused help from my more experienced friend.

After that, 2 board exams and various college entrances happened. The game simply slipped out of my mind. Then came 2nd year of college when laptops were allowed into hostels. My roommate brought the Hitman: Blood Money game from somewhere. I was a bit experienced so he let me play along with him.

I convinced him to play the game at full difficulty from the start. We finished level after level with our exams looming about a day away. I managed to scrape through as usual. My roommate got so pissed that I convinced him to play and lose his grades that he never came near me again during exams 😀

Hitman: Blood Money .. SUCKED. I dunno how else I can put it. I never expected it to be this stupid. I mean, I played Contracts, which was very very advanced for its time. Blood Money had some superb moments but the story hardly held together, the gameplay mechanics were kind of nutty. Eidos seems to have been in a hurry with the whole game because the story didn’t make much sense.

Hitman 5: Absolution has been slated for release some time soon. I can’t wait for the game and I’m hoping Eidos got its priorities right. From what I can see, this is an absolute hit franchise they’ve got on their hands.

For one, a little weapon variety would be nice. I mean, the silverballer is trademark and all that but seriously, sometimes, an air pistol would be good and it’d also make sense that it stays hidden while a 17 inch gun like the Silverballer is not as easy to move around with.

Next, a better story please. I understand cloning technology is the absolute base of the Hitman series, but honestly man, I’m bored of it. Give me a little more conspiracy and all that crap.

A little vengeful killing on the part of 47. Blood Money did not have this while I distinctly remember this happening at the end of Silent Assassin. A deadly assassin using resources most government agencies can’t get their hands on takes a little personal time to clean up the skeletons in his closet – can it ever get more badass? 😀

Some new gameplay mechanics would be good. Torture scenes for extorting information about a target maybe? Splinter Cell Conviction had this integrated in an awesome way (smashing a guys head into a sink – that is so \m/ 😀 ). The Hitman franchise has a lot more scope for implementing this.

Here’s hoping for some awesomeness in the new game 🙂

PS: Yes, I find the concept of a bald guy with a bar code not getting noticed by security personnel as a tad stupid as well. But then, Fisher’s night vision goggles are supposed to be invisible to naked eye. I suppose some sacrifices have to be made for creating a logo for the franchise.

Agent Naapathi Yezhu – Mind it!

Naapathi Yezhu = 47 .. “Mind it” is a phrase most northies use to make fun of Rajni when they have no clue where it came from.

Assassination games and movies are my absolute favourite. I don’t know why, frankly. I am a big fan of the Bourne series, the Hitman franchise, the Assassin’s Creed franchise and anything related to silent killing. I’ve read Day of the Jackal twice .. which is a feat for any Forsyth book.

It comes as no surprise that I find the Hitman franchise irresistible. I love everything about the Hitman game. In fact, it is the only third person action/adventure I play at full difficulty.

As with any game, my connection with it starts at one particular point in time. My memory archiving methods give me easy access to such things.

Hitman

My tryst with the franchise starts somewhere in 9th std – sometime around 2005. I was over at a friends place because I was bored. He was playing Hitman: Contracts on his PS2 while I was simply reading some Marvel comic deluxe edition I found lying around. I finished the comic and was watching him play while my mind was elsewhere. But sometimes your subconscious actually registers what you’re seeing. In this case, I registered how my friend executed a full contract. Starting from the briefing till the debriefing. It stunned me out of my reverie. I found it exceptional.

I mean – starting from the garrotte wire kills, the dress changing, the walking with a careful speed so as to not draw attention, looking out and recording the patrolling patterns of the guards, the lethal poison you administer to the soup the target is going to consume and finally, exiting without so much as leaving a blip on the enemy radar. The whole precision and clockwise MO of the protagonist was exhilarating (nope, I’m not using the wrong word here).

My friend offered me the controller and I finished one mission since I was given the chance. The game mechanics took quite some time to master and I was glued to the controller for almost 2 and a half hours since I refused help from my more experienced friend.

After that, 2 board exams and various college entrances happened. The game simply slipped out of my mind. Then came 2nd year of college when laptops were allowed into hostels. My roommate brought the Hitman: Blood Money game from somewhere. I was a bit experienced so he let me play along with him.

I convinced him to play the game at full difficulty from the start. We finished level after level with our exams looming about a day away. I managed to scrape through as usual. My roommate got so pissed that I convinced him to play and lose his grades that he never came near me again during exams 😀

Hitman: Blood Money .. SUCKED. I dunno how else I can put it. I never expected it to be this stupid. I mean, I played Contracts, which was very very advanced for its time. Blood Money had some superb moments but the story hardly held together, the gameplay mechanics were kind of nutty. Eidos seems to have been in a hurry with the whole game because the story didn’t make much sense.

Hitman 5: Absolution has been slated for release some time soon. I can’t wait for the game and I’m hoping Eidos got its priorities right. From what I can see, this is an absolute hit franchise they’ve got on their hands.

For one, a little weapon variety would be nice. I mean, the silverballer is trademark and all that but seriously, sometimes, an air pistol would be good and it’d also make sense that it stays hidden while a 17 inch gun like the Silverballer is not as easy to move around with.

Next, a better story please. I understand cloning technology is the absolute base of the Hitman series, but honestly man, I’m bored of it. Give me a little more conspiracy and all that crap.

A little vengeful killing on the part of 47. Blood Money did not have this while I distinctly remember this happening at the end of Silent Assassin. A deadly assassin using resources most government agencies can’t get their hands on takes a little personal time to clean up the skeletons in his closet – can it ever get more badass? 😀

Some new gameplay mechanics would be good. Torture scenes for extorting information about a target maybe? Splinter Cell Conviction had this integrated in an awesome way (smashing a guys head into a sink – that is so m/ 😀 ). The Hitman franchise has a lot more scope for implementing this.

Here’s hoping for some awesomeness in the new game 🙂

PS: Yes, I find the concept of a bald guy with a bar code not getting noticed by security personnel as a tad stupid as well. But then, Fisher’s night vision goggles are supposed to be invisible to naked eye. I suppose some sacrifices have to be made for creating a logo for the franchise.

Hitman 5: Absolution

No, the game hasn’t released yet. But the teaser has come out.

Oh yes, it looks completely awesome albeit too short to give you any adrenaline rush.

But of particular interest is this: At 0:21, they show the famous hitman barcode that Agent 47 has on the back of his head. So? It looks something like this.

vlcsnap-2011-05-12-15h09m45s234

Now, I’m no conspiracy theorist or someone who speculates a lot but those first 6 numbers – they are NOT from the usual Agent 47 barcode. Those 6 numbers are originally 640509 – Birthdate of the clone that is Agent 47. Now, WHY would they change that? Is it the date of release of the actual game itself?

Unfortunately no. Its just that 07/06/2011 or 06/07/2011 (depending on which format you follow) is the start date of E3 2011. Hopefully, there is a better trailer coming up. Until then, I will lose quite some sleep.

PS: Square Enix – yes, THE Square Enix is the publisher this time. No, I don’t expect FF graphics to be showcased here considering its IO’s own proprietary Glacier 2 engine.

PPS: I’ll write a detailed post about why I love the franchise as such a little later.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

So, there I was, sitting around, not knowing what to do after a recent bout of mugging up and vomiting (read – exams) when I thought I’d get back to my usual stuff and game a little. Although I have enough games in my hard disk to last a whole year in college and enough processor power to run most of them simultaneously, I have never been into gaming much.

Yes, my laptop is very powerful and I will boast as much as I want until some acquaintance of mine buys one to trounce it 😛

So, anyway, I looked through the selection and thought I’d divert a little from the FPS craze I was feeling and go for a very very very highly acclaimed and highly recommended game.

Yes, my first action adventure game in sometime. Batman: Arkham Asylum is a VERY good game. It may sound a little prejudiced on my part considering I’m a big fan of the Batman franchise as such (particularly after seeing the recent efforts by Christopher Nolan to bring it to the silver screen) but trust me, the game is actually pretty brilliant.

Au contraire to what I do with most FPS games, I have not the patience to either fight every mini boss battle a million times in order to win them nor sate my curiosity until I play hard enough to clear levels to let the story progress, that I play the game in the highest difficulty (Not a very concise sentence I know, but it should make perfect sense).

So what did I do? I played it in the easiest difficulty. That’s not to say I didn’t attempt the highest difficulty but since my mouse maneuverability is still in its infancy, I thought the better of it.

The game was, as I keep repeating, bahut awesome. As with all games, it had flaws. But that makes it a fun package (as most people keep saying for some reason).

Gameplay: Epic. No other word. Proper slightly super-human skills in the martial arts, use of batarangs, bat claws and all other apparel the batman usually takes with him on his nightly charades were an integral part of the game. The protagonist sprite felt, moved, looked and spoke like the Batman that I have come to associate with from comics and movies hereunto. I found the unlimited batarangs a little ridiculous but then, it makes the game a little more fun. The soft landing from any height thanks to his piezo electric cape makes the game a little more easy leading to lesser deaths.

What I did NOT like about the gameplay was the utter lack of perception of edges by the AI. What do I mean by that? In most games of this genre, when you reach the edge of say, a platform you’re standing on, the character does not walk into the void beyond if you keep pressing forward. He’d rather do nothing (most games), hang on a ledge (pop) or look down and show the player what’s below (assassin’s creed). In Batman: AA, the character just walks off a ledge. Of course, considering you have the bat claw and the cape to stop you from dying through such unfortunate mishaps and later feel stupid about it, its not that big a deal but I hated it.

The nice touches like the detective mode – in which he can follow trails using DNA data, chemical composition of the atmosphere (to its finest detail, down to the molecular orbital diagram of ethanol, which is admittedly not very tough to find online), fingerprint analysis and other things make the gameplay an awesome experience.

What I missed though was seeing bones broken when you hit the villains in the detective mode but I guess the new Mortal Kombat trailers have made me a spoilt kid 😀

Graphics: I’ve taken a healthy interest in graphics considering I’ve been studying video compression and OpenGL for some time now. The game uses the Unreal engine from what the credits show. The graphics are not extra ordinary. Some cases, they are downright cartoonish. The characters themselves seem well made but the environment, although rich in detail and very interactive in certain cases, does not have the feel of the other recent games I’ve played. As in, I can’t say its bad .. But I feel its definitely lacking in some way.

What really hit me about the graphics was the lighting. It was absolutely like nothing I’ve ever seen. It was, to be quite honest, very surreal but also looked very good..

See what I mean? I can assure you the light falling on these guys has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the lighting in the room. But, grant me this … It looks terrific.

I’m guessing though that the graphics requirements are quite minimal. I was able to run this and AC: Brotherhood simultaneously without loading the processor too much. I’m not able to express how stunned I was when I noticed that it hardly took any power from my CPU – which is important considering some games take a lot of my CPU power (at ~14 GHz, that’s a LOT of clock cycles).

Story: The highlight of ANY media in the batman franchise – movies, cartoons, comics etc is the story. For people like me, its the cinching factor. I mean .. You can have a lot of villains and a fair amount of fighting but when it comes to story, whether it be in movie or comic, I like to see something good.

Batman: AA does not disappoint. Although, I’d read the whole Knightfall series a mere five days before I started the game, I found the story as good as any comic. Though not as epic in scale as most comics are wont to do, it was still very good. The whole story is, as happens often, based on Jokers masterminded scheme to take over the Arkham Asylum. I will tell you no more.

The story was lacking at certain points though. But then, my expectations are high … I mean, it’s BATMAN!! 😀

Consensus: MUST PLAY!

PS: PLAY THE GAME AS SOON AS YOU FRICKIN CAN!

PPS: Batman Arkham City is due to be out soon. Trailer? Check this out.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

So, I finally convinced myself that FPS games aren’t all that bad after watching the whole frickin hostel going at it in multiplayer on Call of Duty 6.

To be honest, I’ve never been good with games that require the mouse. On a joystick, after a point of playing, it becomes flesh memory to press the right buttons. My mind says things like “kill that guy” and my hand will press the appropriate buttons. On a mouse, it’s a right pain trying desperately to keep the sensitivity at just the right level, A bigger pain is finding the right surface (book, piece of wooden plank, mouse pad, whatever) to keep the mouse on so that it doesn’t act weirdly.

But I can manage playing with a mouse specifically because using a mouse is something we all do day in and day out through our lives (right?). So, there I was, one hostel hunt for games later, sitting in my room with COD 4, 5, 6 and 7 all loaded and ready to install. I thought I’d start with 4 cos it was the game that started the epic-ness in the whole series.

I started the game in Veteran mode which the game very clearly told me I “will not survive”. How true it was. But first the game:

The game is addictive … And I mean addictive as bloody hell. In veteran mode, after Act 1, every checkpoint took me a minimum of 5 tries to cross. Around the end of Act 2, I was stuck in a VERY tight spot. As in, my tries had exceeded 20 or so and I still was nowhere close to having a clue as to how to cross that stage. So I thought I’d see how the people with COD clans fare in that level and gave it to a pro. He tried the first 2 times and couldn’t get through after which he pressed “Restart Level”. It reset the game back by some 18 checkpoints 😐 and frustrated me as hell when I tried to cross the first 4 of those.

So I took the cowardly path out and restarted the game in “Recruit” mode (read: supremely easy). Then, I got bored running through the same levels (albeit as considerably faster pace) and resorted to cheats *hangs head in shame*

I finished the game today evening. I can honestly tell you I LOVED the game.

I’m not a big fan of FPS .. I mean beyond CS, this is the first game that has captured my attention (No, I’ve never played Half Life 2). But I will tell you this – the game is bloody BRILLIANT. I hated Crysis 1 because there was too much story. I have a love/hate relationship with games like CS and Rainbow 6 because they have too less (Rainbow 6 is actually a Tom Clancy game but I still found it lacking back when it released). COD 4 gave me a perfect blend. The story was simple but provided solid gameplay hours (multiplied many folds considering I was playing in Veteran).

Halfway through the game, you keep switching between playing as Sargent Paul Jackson of the US Marine Corps and ‘Soap’ Mactavish of SAS \m/ . Then you switch to Captain Price of the SAS for a brief period of time. The story follows the accession to power of Khaled Al-Asad who kills some random president and takes power and then detonates a nuke (sadly killing Paul Jackson). The rest of the team trace him, his partners and Imran Zakhaev and kill/execute all of them.

What truly blew me away was this one particular mission when you don the role of Captain Price and move through tall grass in camouflage suits. It was TERRIFIC to say the least. I could not, at times, figure out where the other guy was before I spotted something that looked like a slightly taller strand of grass holding a camouflaged sniper rifle.

Consensus: MUST-PLAY. Epic Game. So awesome I read up on the history of CoD games here

PS: Started playing CoD 5 now – seems kinda drab after CoD4 but you’ll never know until you finish it 😉

Forgotten Sands: Must Forget!

So, absolute boredom and quite a bit of joblessness made me resolve to get back into gaming. This is the epic journey of a geek who went through possibly the worst game Ubisoft EVER made.

College is a wonderful place for people who love to game .. Unless MMOs are your forte. Games are in everyone’s hard disk. Just moving around 4 rooms in the hostel can net you at least 20 different games, each being a combination of different genres except for the FPS’ – which are mostly very alike but fun nonetheless.

So, I started moving around the hostel and after going to one room, I got Metro 2033, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Just Cause 2, Modern Warfare 1 and 2 and finally, the GOTY – Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands.

Ubisoft has been one of the best game making companies in my experience – probably after Rockstar Games and CodeMasters. I’ve played at least 5 of their games and they were mostly the same type – guy jumping around evading traps or whatever. However redundant it gets, it is still awesome.

Forgotten Sands, in my experience, was the WORST game I’ve ever played. Filled with glitches, bugs, stupid graphics problems and other nonsense which I can’t even start on, the game was hell to finish through. It took me 6 hours to finish a game that I could probably get through in less than 4 hours – sans the cutscenes maybe.

The game was FILLED with glitches. I thought this was because I had a cracked version from SKIDROW (NOT the band, no). Turns out the game is actually quite buggy .. the PC version of it at least.

From having doors that didn’t open to keys that didn’t work to graphics that kept getting messed up or downright missing from the place, it was a terrific experience and not something I’ll forget soon. My roommate had a good time laughing his head off each time I met up with one of these glitches and started trying to circumvent it by hook or crook. Finally, I resorted to downloading a bunch of saved games online and crossing levels which just could NOT be crossed.

Apart from that, the game itself had some levels which required a kind of mixed focus and for a guy more accustomed to a joystick, moving your hands around on the keys didn’t feel all that good 😐 .. but fact remains that they ARE quite challenging and I crossed all of them when I reduced my concentration level to zip and let my fingers do what they wanted. Yep, instinct actually helps.

Anyway, PLEASE give this game a miss. I cannot emphasise on how bad an experience it was. I got through it today and am sitting here talking to you. You may not be so lucky (I sound all dark and mysterious, I know). Also, tell anyone you know to give this game a miss or probably get the PS3 version which has fewer bugs reportedly.

Anyway,

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

I’ve been a great fan of Ubisoft’s astounding platformer since the first iteration came out sometime 2 years ago.

Assassin’s Creed is a beautiful game. In both design and story, I can see no parallel. In gameplay, it is somewhat similar to Prince of Persia for all the jumping around even though this is a free roam.

I found Assassin’s Creed 1 stupendous. The major reason for Assassin’s Creed 1 was that the story was different. So different that it stunned me into bowing to its awesomeness. I realised that the convenience of having another device within the game – *spoiler* – the Animus, gave any faults that the game had to lend blame to the Animus rather than Ubisoft (or at least, that I guess would be their argument). Gameplay I found quite awesome what with climbing places and all but there was quite some similarity with Prince of Persia. Graphics were simply stunning. The different aspects of the game like Leap of Faith, counter attacks and all that were equally good. The ending was superb.

I found Assassin’s Creed 2 absolutely phenomenal. Story was, yet again, top class. It equalled if not exceeded expectations that AC1 set. I personally found it better than AC1. Gameplay largely remained the same although since the protagonist changed, the environment was recreated to pure pitch perfect awesomeness. The difference now was that you had levels in the game in terms of developing your hometown. Graphics actually exceeded AC1 even though it was the same engine far as I could tell. The new weapons in the game were well crafted and the introduction of Leonardo da Vinci as the eternal genius maverick was a clever move. The ending was just … stunning. There is no other word for it. It was just too good to be true.

I found Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood mildly boring. Yes, I’m not kidding you. The major problem was that Ubisoft clearly did not intend this to be Assassin’s Creed 3. They intended it to be Assassin’s Creed 2.5 or something.

The story still revolves around the spoilt noble’s son – turned awesomesauce killer assassin – Ezio Auditore. Although the game shifts focus entirely to Rome (which is HUGE in the game), it has basically very few differences. The story progresses a lot (in the real world and in the Animus) and the ending was very very very good. But it left a lot of unanswered questions (definitely intentional). The last 2 dialogues after the credits start are so enigmatic that some really awesome theories have cropped up.

The story mode ends with the usual amount of gameplay.. I guess a solid 5 or 6 hours would do it. Then come the side missions. There is no other word except “hell frickin lot”to describe it. It starts from Romulus Lairs, goes through Assassination Missions and contracts, encompasses thief and courtesan assignments, and finds a real niche in Leonardo Machines. I will explain none of that since the ingenuity of Ubisoft would be lost. They are numerous as HELL. Too many to count and too many to finish. So much so that hitting 70% of “synch” is turning out to be really tough (though I suspect not getting 100% synch in the smaller missions makes a difference).

No new weapons from what I could see though a ton of new tricks like horse to horse assassination, kill streak accumulation etc are superb. The best part of the game (gamers will LOVE this) is that the guards no longer attack you one at a time and they are no longer easily disposable. They can get REALLY tough and *spoiler* calling in assassin recruits sometimes becomes a necessity rather than an afterthought *spoiler end* . There are things like the guards grabbing you while the other guard hits you and all that. So yeah, you will definitely enjoy the level of fighting in this game. Obviously, you will get used to this one as well and it’ll look a lot easier later but that point is moot.

Leonardo da Vinci makes his appearance again as do many of the characters from AC2 including Rodrigo Borgia (who I found out was actually a Pope in öur”universe .. s#!t Ubisoft, what the hell were you thinking?), Ezio’s mother and sister, La Volpe and the dude who attacks France and calls his sword Bianca (I forgot his name).

There is also the “Virtual Training”mode in the Animus where you can go and earn medals for doing what you do best in video games – KILL. You also get medals for running around and all that but hell, who cares 😀

Consensus: If you worship the series (high-five btw) or simply liked the last 2 games, this is a must-buy. If you’re new to the series, please check out the first 2 games for 2 reasons: 1) They are a much better representation of the series’ awesomeness; 2) You will not understand the story of this game as it starts very abruptly from where it last left off.

PS: First post from new laptop 😀

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

I’ve been a great fan of Ubisoft’s astounding platformer since the first iteration came out sometime 2 years ago.

Assassin’s Creed is a beautiful game. In both design and story, I can see no parallel. In gameplay, it is somewhat similar to Prince of Persia for all the jumping around even though this is a free roam.

I found Assassin’s Creed 1 stupendous. The major reason for Assassin’s Creed 1 was that the story was different. So different that it stunned me into bowing to its awesomeness. I realised that the convenience of having another device within the game – *spoiler* – the Animus, gave any faults that the game had to lend blame to the Animus rather than Ubisoft (or at least, that I guess would be their argument). Gameplay I found quite awesome what with climbing places and all but there was quite some similarity with Prince of Persia. Graphics were simply stunning. The different aspects of the game like Leap of Faith, counter attacks and all that were equally good. The ending was superb.

I found Assassin’s Creed 2 absolutely phenomenal. Story was, yet again, top class. It equalled if not exceeded expectations that AC1 set. I personally found it better than AC1. Gameplay largely remained the same although since the protagonist changed, the environment was recreated to pure pitch perfect awesomeness. The difference now was that you had levels in the game in terms of developing your hometown. Graphics actually exceeded AC1 even though it was the same engine far as I could tell. The new weapons in the game were well crafted and the introduction of Leonardo da Vinci as the eternal genius maverick was a clever move. The ending was just … stunning. There is no other word for it. It was just too good to be true.

I found Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood mildly boring. Yes, I’m not kidding you. The major problem was that Ubisoft clearly did not intend this to be Assassin’s Creed 3. They intended it to be Assassin’s Creed 2.5 or something.

The story still revolves around the spoilt noble’s son – turned awesomesauce killer assassin – Ezio Auditore. Although the game shifts focus entirely to Rome (which is HUGE in the game), it has basically very few differences. The story progresses a lot (in the real world and in the Animus) and the ending was very very very good. But it left a lot of unanswered questions (definitely intentional). The last 2 dialogues after the credits start are so enigmatic that some really awesome theories have cropped up.

The story mode ends with the usual amount of gameplay.. I guess a solid 5 or 6 hours would do it. Then come the side missions. There is no other word except “hell frickin lot”to describe it. It starts from Romulus Lairs, goes through Assassination Missions and contracts, encompasses thief and courtesan assignments, and finds a real niche in Leonardo Machines. I will explain none of that since the ingenuity of Ubisoft would be lost. They are numerous as HELL. Too many to count and too many to finish. So much so that hitting 70% of “synch” is turning out to be really tough (though I suspect not getting 100% synch in the smaller missions makes a difference).

No new weapons from what I could see though a ton of new tricks like horse to horse assassination, kill streak accumulation etc are superb. The best part of the game (gamers will LOVE this) is that the guards no longer attack you one at a time and they are no longer easily disposable. They can get REALLY tough and *spoiler* calling in assassin recruits sometimes becomes a necessity rather than an afterthought *spoiler end* . There are things like the guards grabbing you while the other guard hits you and all that. So yeah, you will definitely enjoy the level of fighting in this game. Obviously, you will get used to this one as well and it’ll look a lot easier later but that point is moot.

Leonardo da Vinci makes his appearance again as do many of the characters from AC2 including Rodrigo Borgia (who I found out was actually a Pope in öur”universe .. s#!t Ubisoft, what the hell were you thinking?), Ezio’s mother and sister, La Volpe and the dude who attacks France and calls his sword Bianca (I forgot his name).

There is also the “Virtual Training”mode in the Animus where you can go and earn medals for doing what you do best in video games – KILL. You also get medals for running around and all that but hell, who cares 😀

Consensus: If you worship the series (high-five btw) or simply liked the last 2 games, this is a must-buy. If you’re new to the series, please check out the first 2 games for 2 reasons: 1) They are a much better representation of the series’ awesomeness; 2) You will not understand the story of this game as it starts very abruptly from where it last left off.

PS: First post from new laptop 😀

Curtain Call

Yes, yet another of my last few holidays comes to an end. Only .. hmm .. about 3 more to go. Wow! To think there will be a point in life when there won’t be long stretches of lazing around and hanging out with friends. I definitely need to become an entrepreuner to enjoy life. Or a coder .. basically holiday time since I can do that 25/8 😀

These holidays were just as unproductive as the last few, if not all that boring. My college decided to shorten these winter vacations as compared to the last 2 years. Where it was a solid 30 days last year, it came down to simply 27 this year (Sad, I know) 😦 … But all that apart, I spent most of those 27 days doing something or the other to rid myself of boredom.

There was the PS3. I finally finished Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood in story mode (review coming soon) and most of the non-story mode as well. It’s time to go back to some RDR again. Man, that game never gets boring 😀

My book reading took a back seat though. I bought 3 books – Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynmann (Yes :D) by Richard Feynmann (the man himself) and Nine Lives by William Dalrymple. I’ve started reading Life of Pi and seem to be crawling through the book even though I can see that it is one of the most interesting stories I’ve read in a very very long time. The other 2 books will have to take a backseat. I finished 2 of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels – Death in the Clouds and Hercule Poirot Christmas. There is really nothing to say – Agatha Christie is the best crime writer I’ve read in a very long time. Although when you look for pattern in her novels, you find one concerning the killer and the motive, the modus operandi is completely different each time. I have a feeling she wove her tale backwards from how the murder is staged. Also, I got some Isaac Asimov reading done. I finished the third book in the Robots in Time series and am in the fourth one. It is fairly engaging but not exactly something to keep you hooked.

The TV shows have been caught up with. They have been put on hold thanks to the holiday season but no worries .. They shall start again in January. i haven’t seen many movies these holidays either. Of worthy note was Scott Pilgrim  vs the World which was frankly speaking, a very weird movie but it was funny as hell, no doubt about it. And also, I went to the theatres and saw Ratha Charithram or some similar named movie. It basically sucked. And then, today ..

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 : The movie was actually pretty good compared to its predecessors. Apart from the usual extravagance a story with “magical” potential gives special effects a chance to have, it was directed with just enough action and emotion to keep it from becoming complete crap .. but I didn’t enjoy it. I can impartially rate movies since one part of me is always attentive to something so big going on in front of my eyes. The other part made it hell, considering I was sitting near an ABSOLUTE douchebag and the fact that the theatre had a lot of local crowd who basically came there to gawk at Emma Watson and make comments about a movie they could’ve hardly understood beyond the Harry Potter part.

After the movie, douchebag and another friend of mine revealed that they had about 1350 bucks worth of free gaming left for Blur 😀 .. Starting from Air Hockey (which I own’d) till playing car race on LAN in an Arcade (which I own’d as well) and playing Tekken 6 (which douchebag obviously own’d) and other minor arcade games, we had a lot of fun for the money.

Apart from all the fun and frolic, I’ve been preparing for CAT *snorts* , learning python (holy crap, whatte language) and trying to start on writing stories.

The holidays will end this Sunday when I shall leave for college early in the morning. And then, another semester will begin where I will yet again pretend to struggle for gaining academic merit when I know it hardly matters anymore and will develop my hacking skills to another level entirely (hopefully).

Ah well, adios 2010, welcome 2011 and all that. Like I read in a tweet last year .. “The universe is 15 billion years old and we celebrate  every new year. Seems like having a fuckin parade every time I piss” 😀