Where the gamers no longer go

There is an interesting development in the gaming industry. On the one hand, we see that Ubisoft is still cornering the mediocre side. On the other side we see that Gamespot might no longer be the site to watch. Let’s tackle the second part first, so that part one is a little easier to digest. Consider the following sources:

  • Forbes, January 21st 2016
  • PlayStation Life Style, January 26th 2016
  • PC Advisor, January 15th 2016
  • PC Gamer, January 8th 2016
  • Eurogamer, January 26th 2016
  • Gamespot, no review
  • Design & Trend, January 29th, 2016

Can anyone explain why a dedicated gaming site, one that is regarded to be less and less reliable for some time now. Can someone tell me how they did not have a review to offer? In addition this is not the first time. Is this a speculated first indication that this game is not really worth the effort?

Within the Forbes article Paul Tassi gives us “You destroy horns in encampments to prevent reinforcements. You still use beasts to wreak havoc on bases, only this time you can literally summon them yourself, rather than just hoping that the enemies are keeping a dangerous animal in a very flimsy cage on-site” which feels massively familiar to me when we consider Far Cry 3. In addition there is “you stalked around hunting down gun-less enemies with a bow and knife, a tiger at your side, attacking bad guys on command. It’s exactly like that, actually, though now with more combat options” (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2016/01/21/why-far-cry-primal-should-be-more-of-the-same).

These are not negative sides. I loved Far Cry 3, I skipped 4 for a few reason that do not matter here, but so far what I got shown, and what I am told, there are issues and I will mention them, because for a reason that will complete it all.

Second review is PlayStation Life Style (at http://www.playstationlifestyle.net/2016/01/26/far-cry-primal-gameplay-video-blowout/), which depends mostly on videos. The linked story relies on the fair enough headline (which they got from FX) “The Story Is Everything“, which is actually true in gaming. This page has a link to the intro of the game, which comes with a fair amount of scripted events. As it is the intro, I have no issues with that, intros require scripting at times to get the gamer to a certain gamer skill level. Only a fool objects to those moments as the gamer learns how to play their character, beyond that point onwards it needs to become the real deal.

The PC Advisor (at http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/new-product/game/far-cry-primal-uk-release-date-features-gameplay-videos-3633525/), gives us additional gameplay, with one issue, namely Who made the play through? The movie came from Ubisoft, which is part of the problem. They give us a decent view, yet, we have seen in past events (the Division that the demo turned out to be a lot better looking than the final version, which is something that Eurogamer uncovered last month. Now we have a new issue, because is what we see going to be decently representative of what we will buy? Now, there is no indication that this is the case, but it is what Ubisoft has done in the recent past as well as the events that took place around Assassins Creed Unity, it is these events that is now, as I see it, to have a downdraft in trust towards the Ubisoft products.

 

It is now taking a turn for the even less optimistic as we see the review in Design & Trend as per yesterday (at http://www.designntrend.com/articles/69262/20160129/far-cry-primal-review-leak-story-missions-worst-far-cry-watch.htm). The title gives us “Its Story And Missions, Called The Worst ‘Far Cry’“, which is not very flattering.

We see in addition “too low quality for a triple-A game“, in addition we see that the review gives us the validation “The reviewer is apparently a career play tester that has spent several days with a near-final version of the product“. Yet in the end, the online magazine screws it up by giving us “Do you think this reviewer truly played “Far Cry Primal?” Are the leaked criticisms a sign of poor reviews to come? Tell us in the poll and comments section!” This is followed by the question “How do you think ‘Far Cry Primal’ will be reviewed by critics?” with the options: Well, OK, poorly and Who Cares?

One comment is not linked to the question, in addition, if the editor had any clear indication that the game was not really played, he had absolutely no business publishing that review. I wonder if by these words Design & Trend have set themselves up for a defamation case. You see, from their words this AAA game is not worth buying, now if there is decent support (through quality reviews) then fry Ubisoft must, yet if this article came from the imagination of an Ubisoft basher, the product is now smitten downwards, which as I see it makes the publisher liable as he questioned the review at the end, so they are no longer mere facilitators.

Now let’s take a look at a side that Eurogamer brought (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym5IYUTaH5M). The issue here: ‘all the buildings are pre-set and build in set locations‘, which is important, I will get to this soon. The video shows, the one thing that the people at Ubisoft do master, which are the graphics. There is no dispute, the bulk of all games have always excelled graphically. Yet here in the video we get “a little on the basic side” and “it would have been cool if Ubisoft had made more of a feature out of it all“, which is at the core of the issue for Ubisoft. Weirdly enough, it is the view that Eurogamer that changed my thought of getting the game, from ‘absolute not’ to ‘perhaps, maybe’, so not all negative reviews are bad or leave a person not wanting a product. That is what a good review achieves!

I think it is also fair that Ubisoft is given defence. This is seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhv3Jq6O-nw, it is a life stream of what I reckon is a final version as it was streamed on January 6th which shows the Ubisoft team showing of the game, so, do not just take my words, but also look at the other side, because you can only make up your mind as you see both sides.

So why going into this?

You see, the reviews and the impressions that Ubisoft is leaving with us is that their games is about recycling technology. This in itself is not a bad thing. The issue is not Far Cry Primal, it is an issue we have seen for too long with Ubisoft. The Eurogamer view on camp building is at the core of what we have seen for too long. Ubisoft had the option of creating legendary games, now we see games that are decent, sometimes good, yet overall no longer really great. Assassins Creed and Far Cry 4 are both examples. We are now getting close to 5 years of gaming mediocrity. Most of the games did not make the 90% or better rating. I will go one step further, the score they did get has been mainly because of the graphic and soundtrack groups. Game design, level design, area design and in game stories have been a problem for some time now and this started as early as Assassins Creed Revelations. Chests in Assassins Creed are the clearest, outposts in Far Cry 3/4, in Primal they are called bonfires. There is an issue here, not on the side of the game mind you. Many tactical players rely on a level of ‘repetition’ (read: goals) in games. Familiar actions to feel able. This is a side I understand and accept. I looked forward to synchronise in Assassins Creed. It gives us a detailed map and the view was always really good, but is it not interesting how synchronise has not ‘evolved’ in 5 iterations? There could have been so much more options than just to get to a high point. Additional to that part, the utter idiocy (as I see it, with the chests). Look, I get it, and having a few chests in there is fine, a link to the past, part of a mission, there are several options. But 20+ per area at times is just chest running and utterly bogus in my view. Now we see repetition in Far Cry. I get that some parts are there, like the sneak (which I love), yet, the idea of changing a gameplay so that replaying a game is not just an addition, it becomes a desired gaming must has not been explored to the levels it could (the fallout series has done this to a better extent). Now, that is not a side I can state for Primal, but the Eurogamer review shows us that upping the ante there could have been a game changer, it could make an 80% game into a 95% game, which does wonders to the audience and the coffers of Ubisoft. So the next Assassins Creed could actually be the last one as we see the interest in that IP change. If Ubisoft is willing to put it all on the line (and fix the massive glitches of the user interface), they have the option to truly rekindle their audience, or they can lose their audience. So far, the reviews on Primal are not great, which is an indication of an issue but in addition, this is not a given certainty for a failed game, do not make the mistake that one supports the meaning of the other, because that would be really wrong.

Until you yourself has seen the actual shared video’s from the released games and never take anyone’s word, not even mine! You should decide for yourself and regard the games you enjoyed playing!

As I see it, the issues that surfaced are the real evidence that the business formula that Ubisoft seems to be employing to prevent ‘failures’, shows that relying on certain repeated choices gives in addition a near certainty that games will not be regarded the legendary games they could have been.

I will remain hopeful that For Honor will crush the expectations of many gamers!

 

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