Persona 5

It’s time for a new game review! While I have some others pending, it’s been such a long time since I played some of those games that I might have to go back for some studying or even replay some of them. However, recently a special colleague of mine turned me onto something new and ever since I’ve started playing it, I’ve been engrossed. I finished this game a month or so ago, though I never thought I would have given how much content there is! By the way, have I mentioned the game in question is Persona 5? This game was developed by Atlus and was released in 2017. The only other game I’m familiar with from this studio is the bizarre perversion Catherine; much like that title, Persona 5 is designed with Anime-styling in mind and has some otherworldly subject matter. However, if you’re a fan of RPGs and looking to get a bang for your buck, this game might be worth it for you. I must say I’m very much enjoying it and I was definitely sad when it was over, to the point where I actually started playing it again right after! Without further delay, here is what I believe makes Persona 5 a great buy!

Easy to jump into and start playing.

The ‘5’ in Persona 5 can be pretty off-putting, making you believe you are missing out on games 1 through 4. Thankfully, this title was in such a long development period that it would seem the developers spit out a pretty singular game. Bottom line? One doesn’t need prior knowledge of the Persona universe to play this game and fully enjoy it. My understanding is that each game features its own array of different characters and story-lines, making them quite independent of each other. The only inherited characters are the ‘Personas’, types of monsters that exist in a parallel universe referred to as the ‘Metaverse’. The story takes place in modern-day Tokyo and follows some pretty dynamic students who travel into this Metaverse to solve underlying problems that are affecting people in the real world. As the game progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that the magic of the other universe is spilling into the current one and massive catastrophe is looming unless the matters are resolved by your group of ‘Phantom Thieves’. The Thieves received that name based on the major story premise that they target a wildcard “bully” in the real world, travel into their metaphysical dungeon-world, and steal their heart back to make them into a better person. Further and further into the gameplay, though, this mission becomes increasingly twisted and more difficult. The good news is that the game provides in-depth tutorials and hints for almost every thing. Perhaps the hardest thing to keep up with will be the exam questions, unless you’re way smarter than I am and happen to know those answers!

The liberating freedom to develop how you want to.

Unlike most games where time is a very scarce concept (with some games always having daytime, while others may run on a 60-minute cycle…), Persona 5 works with a very specific day-to-day calendar up until the last event of the game. Each day, the player dictates what events occur between the ‘after school’ to ‘evening’ brackets of time. You can hang out with certain characters to build strategic relationships, go to work to earn money, study at school to become smarter, or even explore ‘Momentos’, one of the parallel universes in the games where one can level-up against the monsters known as Personas. Every action provides some type of benefit to the main character (you) and will critically determine how well you progress through the story-line. Building relationships is essential in this game, as deeper bonds with certain characters allow for stronger stats in the battlefield and all kinds of additional benefits. Be careful, though, because although the game is lengthy and the days can seem expendable, there will come a point in the game where you wish you had more time to get more things done.

A long journey ahead.

Persona 5 is no quick game. Once the Metaverse and Momentos portions become clear, there is A LOT to do for the main story and in terms of side missions. After my play-through of the first Palace (the fancy term for dungeon in this game), I felt like I had pretty much finished half the game; I WAS VERY WRONG. The Palaces are jammed pack with so much exploration, fighting, rewards, and secrets, that it is alarming to think the game has 7+ of them. Each time a Palace is located, the player has around a calendar month to finish it before a specific deadline (wherein I assume if you fail, it’s game-over?). This is where that concept of time comes back into play. In the real world, the days can escape you quickly, but in the Metaverse, time flows differently and the Palace CAN be played through fully in one single day (providing you have the best resources and tools to ration your SP). Because of the strategic thinking it will take to plan out which days to go into the Metaverse versus which days to stay in the real world and strengthen your skills, the game becomes even longer to play through because of the mass potentials and consequences. Think things through before wasting time!

One set of crazy stories and characters.

I think at this point it’s safe to say that Japan is a weird place and entertainment in Japan, especially in Manga/Anime, can get very strange. Persona 5 is no exception to this and you will notice that right-away. The first plot-line (referred to as the Kamoshida Palace) features a narcissistic gym teacher who beats his male students and sexually assaults his female students. There are suicide attempts and bouts of depression that follow. While I realize this can sound a bit freaky, the more hardcore subject matters plays into the strength of the many protagonists this story has. There are 8 core members that make up the Phantom Thieves, and even more special characters that tie-in as Confidants in the story. Each one is very different and lovable in their own way, perhaps catering to something each player me like. You have the freedom to decide who to grow the closest too and who to spend the most time with. In fact, because there are so many key characters, it will often be challenging to decide who to carry into battle and who to leave behind, but the game’s length and content allows for plenty of rotation. The game thrives off of a lot of bullying, especially cases where adults bully the youth. Besides Kamoshida, there are a lot of antagonists to take on in the game and bring to justice. For any fan of RPGs, this game rewards big time with a lot of dialogue, emotion, and drama.

Gotta catch’em all; Personas that is.

I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the general gist of Persona 5, but obviously I need to talk about why the game is named as such. Once venturing into the Metaverse, each core character takes on an alternate super-being form known as a Persona who embodies all of their heart’s wills and desires to fight. The Personas given to each character are unique and have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. The main character’s Persona, Arsene, utilizes curse magic to inflict the power of darkness on foes. If we look at the second character to unlock a Persona, he uses Captain Kidd, who attacks with electric magic to shock enemies. You see the theme here? Each Persona can use different elements and each core character has a different type to offer. What really makes the story become super interesting is that the main character can actually capture any Persona opposed in battle and keep a personal collection of them to use in future battles! You can easily switch between Personas in combat to inflict all kinds of elemental and physical damage, or beef up defense tactics and use healing magic. The only sucker-punch here is that there is a limit to how many Personas can be stored, but the game offers the ability to release, merge, and create new Personas at any point. As you progress in the gameplay, you will encounter higher-level Personas as you level up your own, but it will become necessary to collect new ones to keep up with the more difficult boss battles to be faced in the closing stages of the game. Personas will use up either HP (health points) or SP (skill points) to cause damage, so there is always a price to pay. The good news is that HP can be healed using various items or even using Persona magic, but SP is hard to come by. There are very few items in the game that will restore useful amounts of SP, or they are rare, time-consuming to obtain, or quite expensive. If one runs out of SP, the Persona is either limited to only HP-based attacks or has no use at all. Alas, though, if all else fails, the characters can still use their own physical attacks or guns to inflict damage. One other thing to keep in mind? The Personas can be VERY weird. There is no way I could write this review without making reference to Mara.

Added bonus: the grooviest soundtrack ever.

ASK ANYONE WHO HAS PLAYED THIS GAME… the jazzy, upbeat, grooving music is probably the big win here. At first it caught me by surprise, but after a while I found myself singing the songs over and over again in my spare time. The funny thing about the vocal songs is that they were actually recorded in English, not Japanese, but they sound like they were horribly dubbed into English all the same. Some of the most iconic pieces are the game’s suspense music and battle theme. I don’t think there is much else I can say on this topic, other than the soundtrack does get better as the game progresses and by itself is a good listen. As always, I advocate that we support our industries, so go ahead and snag a copy of the Original Soundtrack here.

In conclusion, I have to say that Persona 5 was a very unexpected surprise. It brought back the nostalgia of my Anime-watching days and I even recognized a lot of the vocal talent used here. For purists, the dub is not too far removed from the original Japanese game, so you can expect a mostly uncut experience. Actually, you can even download the Japanese language track and play through the game that way as well.  I managed to get this game on sale as a PlayStation Plus member, but I would have easily paid the full price given the great experience I had.  I most definitely recommend taking a look at the trailers below and then getting your copy here. By the way, if you did play this game and found you loved it, there was an Anime series released in Japan and so far it’s an AMAZING adaption of the game! I hope all of you find a place in your hearts for this title as I did.

The Order: 1886

Game review time! This one comes out of the blue for me since I really had no intention of buying this game because I wasn’t really following the development; in fact, up until about two weeks ago, I had no idea a game like this was on horizon. When I saw the Trailers start hitting TV, I was hooked and just knew I had to get it. Ready At Dawn studios has released its newest flagship PlayStation 4-exclusive game The Order: 1886 on February 20th. From what I’ve gathered, this game was much talked about since E3 for it’s movie-like approach, rendering the game as a cinematic adventure through an alternate version of history. Its release was also postponed, which always gets the gamers mad, but also gets them excited because delays usually entail a better product. However, it seems that the gaming community is very dissatisfied with this title for a magnitude of reasons and it has generally received very average to below average ratings and reviews. I must say I am quite shocked and have to disagree! Most of the reviews I’ve done up until now have been straight out of my own opinion, but this is the first time where I actually went trolling the web to find out what it is that people seem to dislike so much about this game. As always, I’m very open-minded, so I can see what the gaming society is getting at; therefore, I will have to stick to a format of GOOD Things versus BAD Things in order to be fair (since I do find validity in what I’ve read so far). Here goes:

Things you will like.

  • The movie-like experience you will have: I wasn’t quite familiar with Ready At Dawn, so I did a little bit of research and found out that their team consists of ex-Naughty Dog staff. This sheds a lot of like on The Order, a game that is very much like playing through a grandiose movie (something they’ve built upon a lot in the more recent game The Last Of Us). For starters, the entire game is displayed with a 2.39:1 aspect ratio (basically the standard widescreen format you would see when watching any modern day Hollywood movie), which is something I haven’t seen done before for an entire game, cinematics and gameplay combined. The colours, the lighting, and the camera angles all add to the film experience in the game. One of the greatest achievements you can initially see in The Order is the graphic quality, which is maintained throughout the cutscenes and gameplay; actually, because the widescreen never changes and the quality never lessens, it can be hard to tell when you are supposed to just watch or actually use your game controller, but to me this is a good thing. The next generation of games that have hit the PS4 have all more or less done a great job of maintaining the same good quality in and out of the cinematic sequences, but in this game there is great fluidity and practically no game-loads, meaning that the experience is almost non-stop and and gripping. When you combine the story, characters, music, and visual beauty of the game world into the equation, The Order definitely seems to be something you’d love to watch in a theater aside from just playing the game.
  • The intricacy of the story: I never really took an interest in history growing up, but I found in recent years I’ve been getting behind it, especially European history as it is a big theme in many of the games I’ve played. The Order takes place in Whitechapel, London during 1886-ish (DUH…) and combines a few different historical events with some fictional ones as well. This is classic trademark Naughty Dog as well, best seen in the Uncharted series. From what I understood playing the game, the story revolves around the Knights of the Round Table as descended from King Arthur who act as special agents of the Queen that are highly trained in advanced combat. They take care of special tasks and covert operations, whereas the police accomplish lesser tasks like protecting citizens and dealing with trivial crimes. In reality, the knights are charged with capturing or eliminating rebels who aim to act against the interests of the Queen. On the fictional side of things, the knights now have to deal with creatures known as half-breeds; that is, humans who can transform into lycanthropes (more human-like werewolves) that prey on innocent humans to survive. When the knights are physically harmed, they can consume a mystical elixir known as Blackwater, which magically heals their wounds immediately. At a later point in the game vampires are introduced as well, and the writers manage to tie in one particular Dracula-figure to actually being Jack The Ripper. Scandal really erupts in the game when the knights find out that their own leaders are covering up a ploy to ship out these monsters via The East India Company into different countries around the world to cause havoc that will ensure a need for more war and power. They then start to see the light the rebels have been shining for quite some time and begin to make decisions of their own. I have to give Ready At Dawn credit for being able to combine so many different avenues of history with legendary fantasy. I enjoyed the fact that the cinematic approach to the game made it easy to understand the rich storyline, baring in mind that some games get way to complicated and leave you wondering about things forever. Thankfully, this is not one of them, and the ending of the game definitely paves way for a continuation, which I would gladly love to see one day.
  • The array of characters and great acting: Nothing like a great cast to sell a movie, so it should be no exception here that we’ve got some good talent in this film-like game. The game focuses on protagonist Sir Galahad (portrayed by the very talented voice of Steve West), an elderly knight of the round table who is nothing less of a true hero. He partners with a female knight Lady Igraine (Alice Coulthard) who seems to have feelings for him, but is definitely a hardcore fighter, which suits his purpose. Then we bring on the bigger actors, starting with Graham McTavish playing Sir Percival, a very well established knight who is mentor to Galahad and Frederik Hamel playing the Marquis de Lafayette, a Frenchmen brought into the knighthood for his genius skills displayed during the French revolution. Personally, he’s the best eye candy you ladies and gays will get in this game. I also want to mention the very beautiful Tehmina Sunny playing Queen Lakshmi, sexy leader of the rebels and possibly another love interest for Galahad. Being the FOB I am, I really liked the inclusion of the Hindi language and Indian characters into the game and the ever so sly PocahontasJohn Smith innuendo introduced into the story. I feel that because the idea was to make the game movie-like, the emphasis on the casting was a little more important in this title in that actual actors played the roles, unlike in most videogames where we get the same common circle of seasoned vocal cast. This is one of those cases where the cast does not equal the face of the character much, so there’s really a reliance on the acting skills of the actors/actresses. There’s a lot of emotion that came out of the performances; we clearly see Galahad’s persistence for justice, Igraine’s ruthlessness in battle, Lafayette’s womanizing ways with the ladies, and Lakshmi’s bold leadership skills throughout. The way the studio rendered the characters in the game to act out what the cast verbalized was just fantastic. I didn’t find myself thinking, “This character is useless,” or, “The voice behind this character is horrible.” All around, you can see a great effort was made in developing relationships and giving persona to characters that look real, but aren’t actually real at all.
  • The beautiful details of the game space: The Order is definitely not one of those open-concept games where you can go roaming wherever you like and get into side-missions and what not; the developers really stuck to the script and made the game movement linear, which I would normally argue is limiting, but it makes the game more like a flowing movie (the point at hand). While the scope is not too wide, the settings that are featured have great detail and cover good territory per chapter. In the beginning the player explores the underground catacombs that houses the prisoners of London, followed by the above-ground streets of Whitechapel at the time. There are a lot of freaky settings in the game, like abandoned train tunnels and destroyed hospitals (and lest I forget to mention a lot of blood all around for the gore fans). The player gets to invade mansions and discover underground bases, altogether showcasing a lot of different environments. There is no map navigation for this game, but the amount of detail in each background and depth to each location is just perfect.
  • The wide array of weaponry, technology, and combat included: I admitted in earlier blog posts that I am not a great shooter and that it is definitely a work in progress; this being said, I also have learned that it often is the game’s responsibility to make the shooter experience good as opposed to bad. I like the combat in this game. While the game doesn’t allow for plenty melee opportunities, there are some impressively intense shootouts the player will have to go through from beginning to end of this game. There were a couple of instances where the battles were really intense, but not necessarily difficult if you give it your focus. The wide array of weapons and technology did not let me down at all. You get the standard shotguns and pistols, but then upgrade into crazy tech like laser zappers and fire cannons. There is a lot of free range for the player to choose the kind of weapon going into battle, allowing for one small piece and a larger piece on-hand at all times. The game also provides a balance between stealth and lethal force approaches, which means a lot to me because I absolutely hate games where you constantly have to go in quiet when it just seems impossible to do so. Another added treasure I found was that your allies who fight alongside you ACTUALLY fire, hit, and kill enemies with you! IT’S A MIRACLE! They’re not useless like Donald and Goofy (sorry Kingdom Hearts fans…)! There are a few boss-battle-esque moments in the game, mostly fighting the lycan beasts, and this is where the gore and bloodshed really darkens the world of The Order. I’m quite sensitive to horror themes because I’m a little girl on the inside, but I must say it definitely added a thrilling layer to the game. The game also heavily uses reaction commands (those fancy moments when you need to push the button displayed on the screen in order to do or avoid something epic), which I’m all for, but might have been too much (discussed more below). Overall, though, I had a great time working my way through The Order and never felt any part was too hard or too easy.

 

Things you might not like.

  • The length of the game: This is the number one thing that MURDERED the ratings and reviews for The Order, and quite frankly I have to agree: the game was way too short. I, the person who sucks at videogames yet enjoys playing them, finished this game in two days and that is a record for me. I don’t recall even putting that much effort into it and I did have my fair share of repeat battles. I have to wonder WHY a game that has a lot of things going for it would have such a short story and set of chapters… I’ve read that it has to do with budget, which is really sad because the bottom line is that the story, the characters, the music, the environment, the combat style, and the cinematic beauty make you want to keep going, and then you reach the end and think, “DAMN. That’s it?” I feel to add salt to the wound, the game’s previous postponement also poses the question: “If it wasn’t postponed, would it have been even shorter?” I definitely get the idea behind it being a steep $70 you lose for a short game. Do not misinterpret this as, “The ending sucked and I hated it,” because I feel like that’s the spin the review community is giving to this game. I look at it more of something that was just very short-lived. The story built on many of the characters and there are more plots that could have extended the game. The budding romance between a knight and a rebel, the jealousy between a knight and her mentor’s lover, the Frenchmen who’s kind heart showed much adoration for his elderly knight, etc… I’m willing to give Ready At Dawn some mercy over this because it definitely seems that this game is the start of what will become another flagship series for the gaming industry and Sony. When we look back on the initial games that started series’ like Assassin’s Creed and Uncharted, we wonder how those games birthed such successful sequels, and I have no doubt that The Order will follow suit next time around.
  • The slew of reaction commands is a little too much: As I mentioned briefly above, the game relies on reaction commands a little too much throughout. We’re talking mashing the X, holding the triangle, quickly tapping the circle, including swiftly moving the analog up, down, or sideways to avoid sudden death. The hardest battles in the game are hard only because of the chain of reactions the player must perform, especially battling the elder lycan in the middle part of the game. It gets confusing and becomes a skill to memorize the patterns after you die a few times (that Blackwater only heals you once!). This is another point that critics docked scores for, and I don’t blame them. In a lot of cases, you will be watching and scene and then suddenly an X appears on the screen and before you catch yourself, Galahad is dead. There is also this weird advanced reaction where you have to steer his body into a specific direction quickly and then mash a certain key in order to not die, and that gets annoying too. I noticed plenty of this in Uncharted 3 too, and I feel like it’s one of those things where they think, “OMG! This is cool tech! Let’s use it every way possible because we can!” Well, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
  • The lack of freedom and extra content: While I praised The Order for it’s beautiful world above, I can see why most gamers are dissatisfied with the game space. We’ve moved into this age of next-generation gaming and a big part of that is the freedom of movement the players get; this is monopolized heavily in games like Destiny and Watch_Dogs where one can venture very far distances. The Order is not like that. At every point, the player is steered into a certain direction and there is no opportunity to get lost or go adventuring. In the defense of the developers, I feel like that kind of open concept would not have made the whole movie experience possible. I also feel that this is another short-coming of the budget problems the studio must have faced. I would have loved to have seen a way for Galahad to explore London and meet with street-dwellers for side missions or encounter out-of-story mini-battles, but again, I think it could be something we see in future installments of this series of it makes it through. Otherwise, if you’re the kind of gamer that wants an endless adventure even after you finish the main story, this is not the game for you. When I look at it this way, I’m glad I used a gift card to get this game, or else maybe I wouldn’t have enjoyed it at all like all the others out there.

Overall, I see great potential for this game in the future and my hope is that the sales still grow despite the early reviews that have circulated. I did come across this video that redeemed my hopes a little, but then I saw this video and my hopes were shattered. One thing is for sure… there is A LOT of discussion online about this game. Reviewers are getting blunt words from gamers everywhere claiming it’s harsh criticism, but more reviews keep fighting back with evidence to back up their claims. To be honest, I’ve never seen sport like this over a game in a long time. You know what this means? You need to find out for yourself what you think of this game. Check out the versions available for purchase here, and look below for some Trailers that might hook you just as they hooked me!

Assassin’s Creed Unity

My dear friends, it is time for another review! This one has been sitting on my mind a lot since I’m still fighting my way through the game, but I think now is as good a time as any to talk about Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Unity for PS4. Probably one of the most anticipated games of the year, this follow up to the ongoing franchise came out last month nearly half-a-year after the E3 World Premiere Trailer (seen below) left jaws dropped on the floor. I think for me, the first word that came to my mouth was ‘orgasmic’ because of the visual quality given to the video sequence. Secondly, I knew what I was looking at was Assassin’s Creed and not whatever Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag was (because that was just some random pirate nonsense…). So all these months later, the game finally arrives… and it turns out it’s kinda weird. Actually, wow… what the heck happened to that trailer we saw? For some reason, this game is not the same as that video at all.

I know! That doesn’t sound very promising, but I decided it might be worthwhile to break this down into a list of the GOOD Things and a list of the BAD Things I found just for the sake of being fair. This is what I’ve come up with:

Things you will like.

  • The protagonist is smokin’ hot: I believe I mentioned this in a previous review, and I will say it again… we cast beautiful celebrities to play parts in movies because it attracts the audience to the screen, right? Why should videogames be any different? Assassin’s Creed 3 and Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag failed (to me) when it came to presenting eye candy of any kind when the reality is that nowadays women and gay men play games too and want to see something stunning! I will admit, Ubisoft did a great job handling Ezio Auditore from the Assassin’s Creed 2 series and he is the character that attracted me to the series. While Roger Craig Smith‘s voice brought Ezio to life, he isn’t exactly an Ezio in real life given that the voice is forced talent and he looks nothing like our Italian assassin. However, Dan Jeannotte, though, is the real deal. Can we talk about how good-looking this guy is? Not to mention his freakin’ sexual voice? The funny thing is that he is such a perfect fit to star as Assassin Creed Unity‘s main hero, Arno Dorian, because of his great French accent. When he switches into French dialogue, a part of you just puts down the controller to hear the beauty of his speech. Arno as a character is interesting as he is fully fleshed out and defined from childhood throughout the game, allowing the audience to connect more with his journey. This game brought back the human side of the assassin’s that fall in love and understand the innocents they meet. I really missed that in the last two titles, which I couldn’t be bothered to finish. The designers put their best foot forward to give Arno a nice body, so when you get him into those advanced costumes you have something to look at for sure. It would appear that Arno became an assassin at age 21, possibly making our assassin one of the youngest to have joined the brotherhood, making it a lot more interesting to see this boy become a man. Upon further research, it would seem that Dan Jeannotte is no stranger to the series, having voiced minor roles in the previous two titles, and so it would seem the studio grew to like him enough for Arno. I don’t blame them because I like him for many things… All of this being said, just like a movie, a pretty face is not enough to drive a story.
  • The classic elements brought back to the series: As I mentioned above, it is nice to see that this game goes back to the grassroots of the series that really did not exist in Black Flag. We’re back on land in the big cities of France and we get to indulge again street theft, assassin contracts, treasure box hunting, climbing buildings for viewpoints, and zone wars between officials and Templars. However, Unity takes it to another level with more side journeys, such as special kinds of treasure, COOP/Grand Theft missions, mystery case files, and many other Paris stories. It’s almost like an overload when you open the world map to see so many icons present. The fact is that there is a lot to do in this game and it’s most definitely something I missed. The weaponry and equipment has been a bit simplified in that you no longer have to visit blacksmiths to shop;, in fact, this game only has one kind of street vendor that caters to medical consumables and ammo of all kinds. While there is no more notoriety system in the game, walking the streets of Paris does allow enemies to spot you and for you to get into all kind of street fights, which never allows for a dull moment. The only thing I miss? Hiring prostitutes and backup for your missions! Though, I guess this is where the COOP thing comes into play. All-in-all, if you are a die hard of the classics in this series, you’ll love the nostalgia blast in this game.
  • The bigger open concept: The last great thing I’ll give to Unity is the wide ground it covers. This is not a new thing as even the older games had big ambitious maps, but I like how seamless it is in this game to freely travel far and wide. The missions make use of the grand space, taking Arno from one zone to the next for each task. Of course, if you get tired of the long runs, there is fast travel as well, which again is not a new concept to the games. What is new, however, is the amount of hustle and bustle in the game. There are people EVERYWHERE… I have to say at many times I wished there wasn’t so much action, but it definitely adds to the realism of France during the time period. The game makes use of portal jumps in the system, as well as exclusive travel to different destinations off the map that allows the players to see an even wider array of settings. If you are the type of person who likes taking in the sights in videogames (like myself), you will like this game for that.

 

Things you might not like.

  • The game engine is on crack: Let me make one thing clear: this game is anything BUT ‘next generation’. I remember reading via my Twitter feed many complaints on gaming sites reporting outrage in the community over Unity. I didn’t bother to look into it until I actually played the game and realized during the very first cinematic cutescene that things were not right. What every engine they are using to generate characters, objects, and scenes is not responding fast enough to the camera angles and events onscreen. What does that mean exactly? It means that the movie starts playing and as the main characters are talking, you see people magically popping up in the background, trees disappearing, hairlines growing out of thing air, etc… Now, I know better than anyone else that Assassin’s Creed makes use of a very good excuse, which is the Animus technology used by Abstergo Industries to relive the memories of the past in the game. However, you can tell this is not intentional like the desynchronizations or load screens in the game. It only gets worse as the game goes on… I can’t say how many times I’d be walking the streets of France and I’d see couples of people drop down from the sky and be placed in the game. Many times the enemies you fight will disappear into walls and get stuck like that too. Another crazy thing I noticed was that during missions where you are required to follow another character, you’d often be stuck waiting for the character to make a move? You’d actually have to shove the character onscreen or run around them to get them to remember where they have to take you. What kind of pathetic generator is this? I mentioned above that at times I felt there were too many people on the streets and I find this is the biggest downfall for Ubisoft in this title because their own system is not generating the content fast enough or seamlessly enough. For a game designed to march by PlayStation 4 standards, it utterly fails and is actually the worst I’ve seen since the PS2 days… Big miss for Ubisoft. I suppose, with all of this said, there is a reason why the CEO sent out this message:

  • The lack of effort is very apparent: While I commend Ubisoft for issuing the above personal statement to each registered gamer and for following up with patches and promises, there is really no amount of healing that can be done to fix this game. Why? Because, to me, from the beginning they didn’t work hard enough on it. I noticed, during most of the running around you do during this game, that the street characters repeat the same thing over and over again in the same voices… It kinda donned on me that there are not nearly as many unique voices in this game as there are tons of characters. I also noticed a lack of diversity in the lines, where you’d be fighting an enemy and he will say the same phrase to you 10 times in a row consecutively not realizing he is rambling on like a moron. I also have to say I didn’t quite understand the accents and dialogues in the game… Why is there so minimal French used in the game when it is main,y developed in Montreal??? The acting, with the exception of key actors like Dan Jeannotte fails big time in this game. While the face animation was something to marvel at (especially Arno’s sexy face), hair in this game is something to be laughed at; I actually shed a tear each time Arno removed his assassin’s hood to reveal that nappy straw head.. That is pretty said considering studios like Square-Enix have been mastering hair since the PS2 days. I feel the developers put more effort into the buildings, settings and adventure content of the game that the characters took a quality hit, and that really isn’t right considering the characters usually drive the story. Maybe a lot of these things can be blamed on the engine, but I don’t remember suffering these problems in the other Assassin’s Creed titles.
  • The mission expectations are too difficult: For my last critical point, let me take things in a different direction; the gameplay. Definitely the biggest boasting point for this game is the multiplayer interactive content, hence the title Unity. That is fine and dandy except for the biggest drawback of using this game console: PlayStation Plus. It is allowed to live and be there, but to make multiplayer content live only through this paid service is bullshit, considering it costs nearly $500 for the system and nearly $100 per game (in Canada at least). Haven’t we gamers paid our dues already? I had this problem with Destiny‘s online content too, though they at least offered a free month trial of Plus, which I gladly took advantage of. So what to do if you really don’t want to pay for the additional service, but want to play the game? Thankfully Ubisoft allows us to play all missions, including the COOP ones, solo! HOWEVER, like I mentioned above, the lack of effort given to the game is tremendous in that one would think the game would somehow modify the difficult of each 2-4-player mission for solo action. Just to confirm, no, it does not. You will be playing by yourself where a part of others should be helping you and this is not fair. It’s been a very long time since I’ve played a game where I had to restart the mission like a billion times, and this is like almost every single one (COOP at least). Yes, you can avoid  these missions and stick to the basic story guideline, but the only way to shape up for the main story is to play the side stories, so that doesn’t leave a lot of room for completion of the game. Another thing I noticed in this game is that it’s not as easy to earn money and the good armor costs and arm and a leg. The best part? Said armor doesn’t even defend you in gameplay. One bullet or strike from the enemy and you’re basically down and out. There are many instances where you end up surrounded and the only option is to flee. The game does encourage the players to make use of stealthy tactics, but it’s hard to sneak by one guard to enter a room of ten. It actually makes no amount of sense.

Now, I’m not sure how one should feel after reading everything I’ve posted. There are some good things, but there are equally bad things too. Maybe the best thing for you is to experience the game for yourself and draw your own logical conclusions. I find a lot of the time I am like this despite what other people say. Although, I do consider myself a great judge of character. Anyway, many will say that Assassin’s Creed Unity is far from similar to the trailer that came before it, but if you’re a die-hard fan of the series, you can always find out where to buy it here. For now, check out the Official Trailer below.

Destiny

[NOTE: This review was drafted back months ago so I do apologize for the delay...]

Holy crap… it has been A-G-E-S since my last post and now it’s just getting shameful. Anyway, I’m here to make it up by giving a stellar review of yet another amazing title to hit the gaming industry: Destiny. Anyone who owns a PS4 will be able to tell you that since its conception, this game was what defined the system as being ‘Next Generation’. Although it took some time for this game to finally release, I must say it was well worth the wait. A guy at work has been asking me to borrow the game, to which my response was this: “Listen, you BETTER get your ass out there and buy it yourself because you will NOT regret a penny spent and the developers deserve every said penny.” I stand by this statement, and here are the reasons why you should as well:

The landscapes you’ll get lost in.

This is no exaggeration… you CAN actually get a bit lost if you venture into every nook and cranny of Destiny! The game’s primary settings include a futuristic post-war Earth, Moon, Venus, Mar, and a special ‘Edge of the Universe’ setting too. Space travel is a big staple in this game, making it possible to roam freely on any of the above mentioned surfaces. What’s cool about this is the freedom factor in the game that allows you to play EITHER missions or simply farm the expanses for experience points. It is quite interesting to see the kinds of interpretations the designers had in mind for Venus (seeing as though this is the place we know the least about). Mars is dusty red and the Moon has craters, but in Destiny there are many abandoned buildings and advanced techs on each planet that give insight into how civilizations would have been built beyond the stars.

Cutting edge gameplay.

What killed me the most about Destiny was how much the game relied on its connection to Activision host servers and the fact that the entire game is based online, EVEN THOUGH IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE IT! Although there may be times that gameplay isn’t possible due to server outages, essentially this game is built on the concept of networking and web interaction. All of the missions you play by yourself are actually generated in sync with PlayStation Network so that you will actually run into other users in the world playing the mission in your space too! This, to me, is quite interesting because it’s a little like this: the missions are scheduled online and when you play your story, you are playing according to a slot available to you so you’ll see anyone else playing the same time as you. Of course, the developers were smart enough to know to leave you be during boss missions and important scenes, but it’s awesome to know that you might randomly get a helping hand during shootouts! This game embodies what next generation is because there are no lags and loading screens, and the graphics are pristine during gameplay and movie sequences. What more can one ask for?

A shooter to end all shooters.

I’ve always sucked balls when it comes to first-person shooting games… I’m just not that good with aim and tactics! I’ve been getting used to it, though, because all of the titles I seem to pick up incorporate some form of shooting and weaponry. Destiny is disgustingly similar to the Halo series (most people will say that) in the armor, rifles, and even the enemy types,; YET, if you ask me, it’s like an upgraded version of the series because the possibilities are endless. Destiny employs a wide array of helmet, body, arm, and leg armor that can be upgraded throughout the game. What does that mean? That there are even more guns and heavy guns to choose from. I LOVE this about Destiny because there is a weapon for every person with a variety of magazines and rates of fire to master every mission. Unlike other games that can leave you stranded on levels because you’re starving for ammo, Desitny’s open concept allows the player to farm for ammunition at any point of battle.

A fair and wide array of challenges.

One of the biggest turn-offs for me in videogames is when the developers seem to expect that all gamers will love impossible missions and puzzles. I’ve touched on this before, but not all game consumers are nerds or experts! THANKFULLY, Activision planned out the most perfect game I’ve ever played in this regard… There was no challenge that was too hard to beat or had to be repeated a million times, and yet, the game possessed great missions and objectives that were far from easy. I adore the wide array of enemies to fight in this game; the Fallen remind me a lot of Halo enemies, while the Hive seems a little bit more like Dead Space (which still gives me nightmares). Then we get to the more challenging Vex that kind of put on the robot wars, and finally the Cabal who just kick a lot of ass with brute force. Of course, each species type has bigger bosses that provide a greater challenge and endless rampages, but God bless checkpoints. As I mentioned before, aside from the Story missions you can go on Patrol missions where you collect and accomplish bounties that level you up and give great rewards. There is also the Crucible side of the game to get into big fights that do not disappoint and the Strike missions that involve some great teamwork skills from you and your fellow players. Literally, there is not a dull moment to be had in this game.

You’re your own player.

Perhaps the most advanced aspect of Destiny is our ability to create our own very custom avatar. Choose a species and then choose the look, basically; you get to choose from Titans, Warlocks, or Hunters. On an aside, can I tell you HOW sexy my Warlock is? I wish I had a great enough screen capture to share, but just imagine a brown skin, white-haired God… oh wait, that exists! I’m so funny. Anyway, can you imagine your avatar gets generated seamlessly into the gameplay and cutscenes as if Activision had spent years fleshing out the details of YOUR character? Yeah. There is something to be admired about the player getting to play as their best representation, and to also replay the game as a different species each time. While you don’t really control the storyline, there is a little robotic sidekick known as your Ghost that you get to take you through each adventure and that relationship strengthens throughout the story. The bottom-line is that you’re not alone; the little guy is looking out for you too! The level of freedom you get to build your own character and add to the machines your character will use is just so unique these days, and Destiny permits this so effortlessly.

There are probably a million more in-depth reasons to purchase Destiny, but there are just a few things that I could think of that really makes it stand out. I did manage to finish the game a while back and I really enjoyed every second of it. I usually have one or two things to complain about, but I must say this… Destiny is perfect. I love it so much and it lives up to the next generation category. With all of this being said, take my word for it and head over to Destiny’s Website to pick your version and find out where to buy it! See the Official Trailer below.

Watch_Dogs

I think a new post is way overdue, considering it’s July and my last post was back in April! I have a few different things planned for the next little while, but for now I want to take this opportunity to review one of the most anticipated games EVER: Watch_Dogs! I think it’s safe to say that Ubisoft has done it again; they truly understand what high-definition gaming is, and this game + PS4 = REAL NEXT GENERATION GAMING. Here are some reasons why this game deserves the money in your wallet:

The hero is talented and sexy.

One thing is for certain, Aiden Pearce (the ‘protagonist’) has the perfect voice and look, and we can thank fellow Canadian Noam Jenkins for that. (P.S. Please watch THIS!) I find in a lot of recent video games, the main character (usually male) tends to be hideous or nothing to be admired, even vocally. I’ve often wondered why, but I suppose the obvious answer is that a male player (which we all know is the usual key demographic) does not need to look at a pretty face. I think this is a bit of an undersell when the reality is that females and gay males DO play games as well and might care for the eye candy. FOR A CHANGE, you get that here. Here we have a 40 year-old that one can actually crush on, with all that bad-boy and mysterious allure. The plot centers around his life as a professional hacker, which leads to a threat made against his sister and her children. He is adamant to gain revenge and protect his family. Aw, isn’t that cute? He’s a family guy! And, he also knows how to hack, race, shoot, and kill. You have to love these talented ones. His looks is pretty cool and there are a lot of wardrobe choices in this game. Now, the man is quite troubled and can’t see to get his life together, but he still puts up a rational front that keeps the player wanting to see where his decisions will lead. He definitely is one of the better leads out there in the gaming industry.

The city is your weapon.

It’s not everyday you get to really interact with everyone and everything around you; this game is really good for that. As seen with other iconic titles from this studio, maps and expanses is something that definitely makes a game these days. The city of Chicago is brought to life in this title, and one of the impressive things to get behind here is how HUGE the map is and the fact that the player can seamlessly navigate from one end of the city to the other without any load breaks! This is quite similar to Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V map, but there is one vital difference: you happen to be a hacker. Hacking cellphones,ATM machines, and cars are some of the easy feats in the game, but what makes the game really shine is the player’s ability to hack street lights, sewage pipes, road blocks, city bridges, and more! A lot of these tricks are quite useful for outrunning your enemies and the authorities. I have to say, it’s a unique player experience.

You choose how business gets done.

One of the cool things about this game is that even though the story-mode runs on missions, the player has a boat-load of options. The pace you develop your skills and attributes at is, more or less, entirely up to you. The game is jam-packed with many side missions and quests to fulfill if you choose to, and these activities help build your character. Similar to what Sucker Punch did with inFAMOUS, this title also has a karma-like system where your public actions impact your reputation. This plays a part in how you get spotted and reported to the authorities. Probably the most interesting aspect of the open concept is how you approach the missions… you can enter the building how you choose to and, in some cases, be very sneaky and stealthy, or just be obnoxious and loud (we’re all different people!). Although you don’t necessarily get to choose how the events will turn out, you can most definitely try to accomplish certain goals and task and take your damn time doing so.

You’re more than just a hacker.

It’s true that probably the biggest selling point for this game was the concept of hacking and being able to control the entire environment. I think this is definitely what had me anticipating this game since last year because it’s simply different. While hacking is the biggest premise here (between hacking network towers, cameras, computers, PEOPLE, etc…), the player gets the best of a lot of different worlds. I think this game had more care chases than a racing game; no, that’s not entirely a joke. You do a lot of driving in this game and a lot of escaping! Another big aspect is combat. I was surprised at how much murder and gun play really came out in the game, but not disappointed. All of these things did not allow for a single dull moment and, literally, makes this game action-packed.

There is no holding back in this game.

If there is one thing that I know about gamer geeks and nerds, they love their ‘Rated M’ titles and want the real deal. What you see is what you get here. The violence is not exactly what I’m talking about, but there are some liberties that were taken in this story that I did not really see coming. One common theme is death, and death of CLOSE inner characters; no one character seems to be safe in this game, young or old. I feel this adds to the general realism behind the story, which focuses on cyber warfare. Another theme that I didn’t see coming? The rough sex. There is a part of the game where the player must hack through a series of cameras that move up a gangster hideout base… There are some rough BJs and doggy-style scenes going on in that building! I think this has to be a first for me. This point leads to, no surprise, some really foul language. This doesn’t really phase me to be honest, but there was really no holding back when this game was developed. The goal must have been to reflect the real harsh world out there (or that is to come) and certainly if you are the type of person that hates censorship, then this is your game.

There is probably much more to be said about this brilliant game, but I won’t take away from your playing time! The story is great, the missions are challenging, and there are loads of surprises and bonus content along the way that will keep you playing even when the story is done. I smell a big fat sequel on the way too, and quite frankly this game deserves it. Head to Ubisoft’s Purchase Page and grab your copy! Might I add, it’s really worth it if you have a next generation system, so go that route!

Are Video Games Bad?

One of my favourite things to do in all my loser spare time is play video games. You’re looking at someone who owns every generation of PlayStation (LIE… I don’t have a PS4 yet!), a WII, an xBox 360, like three DS‘, and then all of the old relics, like SNES and Gameboy Color. All of this is to show that I AM a fobby super geek in designer clothes (I suppose it’s possible to be THAT diverse in live).

The beginning of the school year (2013-2014) was rough because Rockstar Games decided it would be a good idea to release Grand Theft Auto V at that specific time; WEIRD decision if you ask me, because all other focus in life was lost by millions all over the world. I know many will agree that this was the best video game of the year, best in the series, and probably best ever in general! That kept me entertained for a little while until Christmas came and I was gifted Ubisoft‘s Assassin’s Creed IV. The thing about this, though, is that I had never played the previous games, meaning I had much catching up to do! I already owned AC II, so I went from there and before I knew it I ordered Brotherhood, Revelations, and III off eBay for dirt cheap and finished all those titles too! [NOTE: I think this will explain to all my friends why I haven’t had liquor since the New Year began.] Anyway, I finally know why everyone loves Assassin’s Creed; it’s a damn good series! Finally, I’ve been looking through my older games and spotted one that I really would like to revisit: L.A. Noire, also by Rockstar. It’s been a good three years since that gem came out, but what an amazing game it was! This is what got me to thinking about writing this article…

The bottom line that I’ve heard all my life is that video games are bad for you. They are a pointless waste of time, teach and encourage violence, and damage one’s brain from being productive. Examples of people who commonly say this? Parents and teachers. I can see where both parties would get this impression from. Parents would much rather see their kids being physically and socially active (never mind there is the WII and xBox Live for this), and teachers will argue video games distract from homework, which is definitely true (as given from my earlier mention of GTA V and my classes clashing). There is truth in the fact that video games, especially ones like Grand Theft Auto, are violent and can teach violence, but I think one should keep in mind that the games are rated for their target and whoever underage gets their hands on them… well? To each their own. If someone decides to go shoot up bitches in the streets and blame it on that GTA lifestyle, I think that person is simply nuts, not influenced. Video games being damaging to the brain is a joke at best considering they stimulate the hell out of the brain. What kills me, though, is the thought of games being a pointless waste of time. I actually beg to differ.

The video game is a very misunderstood thing. Admittedly, thanks to the innovative tech of the Wii U, PS Move, and xBox Kinnect, many non-gaming people are seeing where games can be educational and physically exercising, as well as for making good bonding activities for families and parties. However, the conventional one-player action game that usually absorbs the big time gamer is so incredibly underplayed for what it truly is; a spectacular masterpiece.

GRAND THEFT AUTO

This game has such a bad reputation, it’s not even funny. It is well known for all of its vices, including reckless driving, gun violence, massive explosions, gross brutality, sexual obscenity, big time association with drugs, and, of course, very strong language. By that amazing sentence alone, even I have to admit this game sounds BAD. They say, however, never judge a book by its cover, and that statement holds so true here. While the earlier versions of the game were developed at a time when many concepts like cinematic sequences and in-game voice acting were not possible, GTA III and beyond definitely made good use of the changing technology. Bearing in mind the next-generation titles like GTA IV, the two DLC Episodes, and GTA V, here are some points that might surprise those who harshly judged this epic book by its brazen cover:

  • The geography of Grand Theft Auto is PERFECT! Rockstar Games especially seems to love the setting of Liberty City (aka New York in the real world), so much that the in-game map is shockingly true to real-life. I’ve driven by places in the game that I’ve driven by in real-life! Although the game uses fake monument and street names, if one learns their way around in the game, he/she could ACTUALLY relive the same footsteps in the real big apple. The developers have also mapped out Miami and California in other games too. It’s exciting to think which city will be next!
  • There is a lot of soul given to each character and a very deep story-line too. I think the biggest misconception is that the player gets in a car and start running over people and that’s the end of the game (this actually can be done, but the true game has storyboard missions to carry through). Many of these missions that end in violence and usually relate to drugs are the result of the complicated lives the protagonists have been given. They’ve all been men so far (Niko, Luis, Johnny, Michael, Franklin, Trevor, etc…), but men with families, love-lives, and a lot of messed up friends. For me, personally, I found the relationship between Luis (a straight Latino guy working as a bouncer) and Tony (his extremely gay boss) amazing in The Ballad of Gay Tony. It was an entire story arc about a straight man working for a gay man and helping him, as a friend, avoid the gangs and dealers out to get him. There is a lot of rich story behind GTA and each story teaches many lessons and morals that are completely relative to this day and age.
  • THE MUSIC! Yes, the one thing not widely advertised, but definitely extremely important to any fan of the series. There had to be a good enough reason for the player to want to jump into a car and drive from one end of the city to the next, and that reason would be the radio stations. It was a very small thing the game implemented initially, but is now a staple in the culture of the series. Each game features a collection of different radio stations that cater to different genres. In GTA IV, my personal favourites are San Juan Sounds (Spanish music), Electro-Choc (all clubbing beats), and K109 The Studio (the disco era reborn). Each station features about 15-20 different REAL SONGS that the developers fancy and play at random during different times of the day. What is very interesting is the fact that the game features some very unlikely music too, especially on the worldwide stations. Culturally, one will hear things they’ve never heard before and will love it all as well! Best example? THIS. The artists most definitely love it, as many of them now have very high-ratings on their YouTube videos which, according to the comments section, is all thanks to GTA.
  • If you break the law, they’ll come for you. 1-star, all the way to 5-stars; stars in this game don’t represent quality in this series, but how heavily wanted the player is by the authorities. Every crime committed will create a wanted warrant for the player’s arrest as police will arrive, followed by SWAT, the FBI, Interpol, and so forth. In the earlier games it was easy to lose the wanted status by simply speeding away as fast as possible from the cops, but in the newer games like GTA V, it’s tricky! I was really surprised when I found out something as simple as slapping another character could get the cops alerted and keep them alerted unless I cleverly hid  in the city. Of course, if one gets busted, the only real consequence to suffer is getting all money and guns taken away, but the point is that the game does not evade reality enough to let players think all crimes go unpunished.
  • The freedom to do what you want when you want. The words ‘open environment’ have been given a new meaning by games like this… Now, why would this be a good reason why video games aren’t bad? Well, simply because one can take the time to learn many things in the game. There are many sports and activities available in the game to sharpen real-life skills. Another thing is the feel of the cars when driving as each model is based on the real life counterpart. The most recent game, GTA V, allows players to invest their money for different outcomes in the game. as well as buy properties and assets. The con of the open environment is that, yes I can go to the bar, yes I can drive drunk, yes I can go to the strip club, and yes, I can have sex. However, there is this thing called living a little and this game definitely allows the player to do so!

ASSASSIN’S CREED

Up until the beginning of this year, I had no idea what this series was about and could have easily gone my whole life not knowing. That being said, it sure would have been regrettable if I didn’t end up finding out! The title of the series says it all; a set of stories that focus on a society of assassins. That’s pretty bad, right? Well, the real deal is why that society exists and what it stands for. Unlike GTA which always takes place in the present day and in modern Western society, the bulk of this series takes place in the past within different countries and across different historical eras. While the premise of the game is essentially murder, there are many valuable things this title brings to light:

  • Again, an astonishingly accurate geography. This is the very thing that won me over when I started playing… the sense of diversity and culture given in the environment. The second game and its spin-off counterparts took place in Italy during the 15th-16th Centuries and it is very surprising how accurate the details of Venice, Florence, and Rome are in these games. One can tell even by just knowing modern-day Italy as it has remained largely the same throughout the decades. Unlike in the GTA series where the developers used fake names and areas, Ubisoft very much stuck to what’s real by ironing out each district to be distinct to real life. The game also features places like Constantinople (now Istanbul, which this game taught me!) and England. Because of the diversity of the settings, each location features characters speaking the local languages, wearing the traditional clothes, and selling common items from the time period. One could actually impress their teachers with such geographical history.
  • Character’s, real and not real, that you’ll connect with. As with the GTA series, thus far the protagonists have been all men (DesmondAltair, Ezio, HaythamRatonhnhaké:ton, Edward, etc…), all with very intricate stories. Given that all of the games take place during past eras, it makes sense that the game would focus more on the male characters than the females, but there are all kinds of relationships within the story. I think the character everyone will always love the most is Ezio Auditore, who suffered many loses, but grew up quickly and became an icon for the creed. The developers followed his story up until his death, showcasing why and how he became an assassin, and that his ultimate realization was the importance of love in his life. Another personal favourite character for me would be Leonardo Da Vinci; yes, THE Leonardo! It might be fascinating to know that some of these characters and their stories WERE REAL! Ezio’s friendship with Leonardo, I thought, was very sweet. Even Prince Suleiman was a good entry into the story. Talk about effort.
  • A teacher’s dream: a game that takes insight into real history! Many of the events in the game are based off real wars, elections, politics, and big revolutions. What more could teachers want? The games introduced many kinds of characters that were prominent throughout the ages, such as the Courtesans in Europe and the Natives in America. I have to say, I found it interesting to see how the creators hand-crafted their own original stories about the assassins into real historical events. HOWEVER, the key is just that; not everything is real! One thing that may surprise players is that the series includes the Apple of Eden, a strange object with magical powers. There are also Gods revealed that controlled the Earth during a certain time and plenty of fantasy-like components hidden in the story-line. To me, it’s quite interesting because it’s such a collaborative mash-up of so many different themes and stories. It turns out the path of an assassin can be very educational after all.

L.A. Noire

I would have to be an ignorant asshole to forget this magnificent work of art created by Rockstar Games. L.A. Noire came right out of the blue and took the gaming world by surprise. The makers of GTA took a step in a very different direction, setting this game in 1940s Los Angeles in a film noir style, similar to a city detective movie. Because this game is the first in its series (rumors still suggest a sequel is on the way), it does not have as much hype as the previous two titles, but it did have a very profound impact on the video game world. This game also contains mature content, such as violence, nudity, and bold language, but there are so many great things about it that make me even want to go back and play it again. Here are some highlights:

  • Yet again, a very realistic map. Obviously, Rockstar cannot go wrong when it comes to their geography, but this project took a little bit more work as the map predates anyone alive on their team today! Definitely the look of L.A. will not be anything like what it is today, yet many critics have confirmed that the locations in the game are very nostalgic. It is refreshing to see the level of detail put not only into the world, but also into the objects, such as the old vintage cars made available. Even the music in the game add the perfect noir touch needed. Again, another great look at some history!
  • The realism of the characters is almost horrific. MotionScan made its wonderful debut in this game, a new technology using 32 cameras to film the actors as opposed to motion sensors commonly used for most other games. What does this mean? The main character Cole is ACTUALLY someone to develop a crush on because no one can declare the concept crazy, considering he is basically a real person! The biggest selling point of this game was the facial reactions of the characters, especially during criminal interrogations were the player would have to choose if the character was lying or telling the truth. The realism of the characters, especially throughout the many cut-scenes, definitely make for an appreciation of how much effort went into the art direction of this game.
  • Decisions, consequences, and an ultimate story. Another big seller for this game was the idea of the player having the choice to declare the outcome. Many video games are programmed with set missions and conclusions, but this one relied heavily on the player using all his/her best judgment to make the best choices in order for the story to progress. To me, it was almost stressful since screwing up could lead to the wrong person being convicted of a crime and a string of consequential murders occurring. It was very much trial and error for me. Beyond that, though, the story-line of the game was simply art. The title says all; a classic detective story unearthing many scandals and scenarios in a very entertaining way, much like a grand movie. The crimes are not censored in any way, and the player gets to live every step of the journey from the crime scene to the court room. Not to spoil anything, but the ending of this game is so tragic that it really makes the player CRAVE a sequel. In the end, L.A. Noire is so riveting that there isn’t a soul, young or old, who wouldn’t say it fails to impress.

In the grand scheme of things, I hope my points have illustrated that video games can be quite surprising to those who are not experienced with them. They can expose a lot of culture, religion, history, and morality lessons that influence the player for the better. They are most definitely not anti-social given that character and story development are so important in games, just like in shows and movies. Just like other forms of visual entertainment, the music and sound score are as equally important and can be very enriching to many. Some of these games urge players to make their own decisions that can have immense consequences or benefits, which can very much boost real-world confidence. I neglected to mention earlier that the entire tactical process of playing video games enriches the brain functions and allows for quick reflexes and processing. None of this is to say that video game are the holy pillar of society and can change the world, but they certainly cannot be as bad as people make them out to be. They certainly have great value to me, and I hope that (if anything) this article has been inspiring enough for people to go check out some of these titles. See some more below!

OTHER INSPIRING GAMES

There are many other games out there by many other developers that are so fascinating and deserve more appreciation. I couldn’t possibly write anymore on this topic, but here are a few great ones:

Uncharted Series by Naughty Dog
Mirror’s Edge by Electronic Arts
The Last of Us by Naughty Dog
inFamous Series
by Sucker Punch
Little Big Planet by Sony Entertainment
Catherine by Atlus Persona Team
Portal Series by Valve Corporation
Journey by ThatGameCompany