As a fan of the Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series, I look forward to the annual release of the next chapter in the franchise every year. Some may say that this gives me a bias towards the series – and they would be right. However, I would argue that biases are formed for a reason, and while my love of the series makes me somewhat forgiving when something goes awry, it also makes me very sensitive when odd design choices are made and issues exist within the games that I play. Assassin’s Creed: Unity is an ambitious project; incredibly detailed and absolutely beautiful – the first true next-generation Assassin’s Creed. At times, though, it feels as if Ubisoft places more importance on the tech than the story, so the game spends a little time wandering aimlessly (in a sense), leaving the player to truly guide the experience. I have not finished the game yet, and while I do have some negatives to speak of in my review, I am enjoying the game a lot (thus, I wish to take my time). It is a title that demands some patience and understanding, and as a player, you will have to work for your fun; but the game will constantly reward you for your loyalty and persistence, slowly feeding you the story and bolstering the big picture.
For the record, this film is about a historical figure, and so anything written here will probably be a mild spoiler for those who are unaware of the history of Alan Turing. That being said, I feel that after what I have revealed here, readers will still enjoy the movie a lot. You have been warned.
If you are looking for a reason to go to the movie theater this holiday season, you should check out The Imitation Game, the story of Alan Turing. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kiera Knightly, the film tells the tale of the Allies’ quest to decipher the mystery behind the Enigma Machine, the device used by the Nazis to encrypt and decrypt all of their own communications before and during World War 2. The spotlight shines mainly on Turing’s efforts in this quest (working with the British military), but it also touches on his personal quirks and addresses his horrible treatment by the British government because of his homosexuality.
Oh, Pokémon – Gamefreak’s little franchise that just keeps chugging along. For a while, there were some issues. They didn’t really use the full power of the handheld systems; it was too much of a grind; and the games all felt way too similar. Fortunately, those working on the series have slowly changed the latter. The addition of a few things here and there makes it feel like Pokémon is finally moving forward; that’s Omega Ruby. While it’s a remake of the 2002 title, it holds within the summation of every small addition from the past, and it is accompanied by some good old-fashioned nostalgia.
I didn’t grow with the Halo series because I didn’t grow up using consoles. My cousins had a SNES that was always a treat to boot up, but my introduction to gaming came through MS-DOS and an Intel 286. It was my brother’s machine, but it set a trend that I never felt interested in changing. I played a spectrum of this and that, but I tended to play shooters before anything else and the standouts were naturally the extended Half-Life and Quake clusters, with some dabbling in Unreal Tournament and others (I think I played through Soldier of Fortune twice.) It wasn’t until well into my university years that I had a gaming console of my own and tried my hand at twin-stick shooters. The learning curve was shallow and irritating, I was too impatient to push through, and I was entering a gaming lull so it all sort of fell by the wayside. In short, this meant that I missed out on Halo along with any other milestone of console evolution.
When I was a kid, I loved the challenge of the electronic game, Simon (by Milton Bradley). The game tested memory skill in a way that was very entertaining. Hasbro has changed up the formula somewhat with a variant game called Simon Swipe. Like the original, this new game also tests your memory – but it also challenges your dexterity and timing. It’s a fun and challenging addition to Hasbro’s board game lineup.
In what I would like to call a “Texan gambit”, Nintendo has taken the Super Smash Bros. franchise to the next level by making it even bigger (and better) than any other Smash Bros. that has come before. Four-player multi-player fights with some of your favourite Nintendo characters in weird venues? Pffft. Say hello to local 8-player multi-player battles with access to an even larger selection of wacky Nintendo legends in even more wild and vibrant locales! And while Nintendo has chosen to add a new aspect to the title (and their games in general) with amiibo figures (which will be covered in another article), the core experience of the game has not changed, making it one of the best games for the Wii U to date. If you are one of the three people that don’t own Super Smash Bros. for Wii U yet, you should just take my word for it and grab it right now; but if you’d rather read a glowing review…
The review. Click to enjoy!
I love me some Jagged Alliance. It’s not quite up there with X-COM in my personal pantheon of “best games ever” but, as far as turn-based strategy games go, it’s one of the brands that has withstood the test of time and held onto a passionate fan base that is always coming back for more. Problem is, that same fan base has been teased three times already in recent memory; are we in danger of “Jagged Alliance burnout”? After reviewing Jagged Alliance: Flashback, the crowd-funded entry into the series, I’d say burnout is the least of Flashback’s worries. Check the video out for my full review.