Tag Archives: Chris Bratt

‘More’ is Awesome

It is an expression we have seen in several places, so when I initially heard that the new Assassins Creed Odyssey was ‘more of the same’, I was not that surprised considering the Ubisoft of the past few years, yet, as I loved the forward propulsion that AC Origin gave us, I was upset enough to keep my eyes out for a decent review and Eurogamer gave that to us (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23CLV1jl9oo). In the first those who do not realise it, Eurogamer is one of the best reviewing channels for games you can find at present. They have been honest and give a decent view from their point of view. It is also interesting to note that each of the reviewers namely Aoife Wilson, Johnny Chiodini (aka Mr Feedbackula), Ian Higton and Chris Bratt have their own likes and dislikes, just like me. I myself am nuts about RPG games, they too have their preferences in gaming. So in this case I got treated to the smooth Irish voice of Aoife Wilson. Let’s face it, when any review comes with an Irish accent, does it not generally sound better?

So the review gives a little bit of a spoiler, but considering that it is merely the start of the game and the fact that the game promises over 100 hours of game play, we can accept that part and the very first thing we see is that even as it is another Assassins Creed, it is no exactly ‘more of the same‘. It is more, a hell of a lot more and even as there are elements of all other games in here, the game is definitely a new behemoth. So even as we are treated to 431 BCE, which by the way this was also the beginning of the Peloponnesian War (I remember that time well), it was a year before Athens was almost completely ravaged by Typhus, and a year after that we got treated to the very first showing of Oedipus Rex, a tragedy like no other. In this the mother forgives him, the father is unlikely to ever do so.

But back to the game. Yes, there was some ‘more of the same’, but mainly only in the graphics, which were outstanding in Origin and outstanding is always good. The video give us a clear setting that the storyline has been given a massive haul over, making it a much larger RPG sandbox setting than ever before. That is my part where I answer Aiofe’s question ‘Does it justify 100 hours of game play?‘ To that I at this point state ‘Yes!‘ The story lines are an important part, and in addition to the other parts it seems like with Tomb Raider, the underwater parts seem to look a lot better. Parts of the review also imply that the game has taken a more tactical side to the game as well. Going after a fort by yourself versus weakening the enemy first makes a lot of sense, so in all this, there is a lot to see. As I see it, it is not ‘More of the same‘, it has become ‘A more evolved and adult approach to a game of such a tactical nature‘. So in all when you look that you are playing a game with 4K (for those with the coins to play in this mode), we see the setting that AC Odyssey is offering a game that remains under $1 an hour, which is by far one of the most rewarding value for money games I have seen for some time and that is worth a lot. It also gives the setting that with two distinct choices (playing as the he or the she), also makes the game an interesting choice to replay, which makes the game even more rewarding in more than one part. If I had to make a pre-release view then it is that Ubisoft is back in adding value to its brand and franchise, which gives us the ‘better late than never’ part and that counts as well.

Those who have read my views on Ubisoft know that I have not been kind to them, but I have always given credit where credit was due and in all this, and in this case Ubisoft should get loads of Credit. If there is one optional part missing (unverified) in all this it will be the setting of the Nekromanteion not being there, what would have been in the Northern boundary of the map. It was where the Temple of Hades was. It might matter as it in this time setting when the site building was erected and it would stay there until the Italians (Romans) decided to burn it down in 167 BC.

I have watched several reviews and I disagree with a few. Some state that this is not a proper AC game, and perhaps this is true as this is centuries before the Creed, is that a bad thing? I would offer that AC Black Flag is even less of an AC game. It is perhaps a new IP and in all this it is a push for an historical RPG game, this is with my love for RPG a great step, for others perhaps less of a nice step. No matter how you feel about the AC part, Odyssey is exactly what the titles promises to deliver. You will embark on an epic journey and when you think that Origin already gave that, think again. The map alone seems to be close to 300% of the previous game and that is impressive when you realise just how big Origin was. So on October 4th give your pet a really big treat, presents and felicitations as it is World Animal Day, because the day after that AC Odyssey is released and there is every chance that you will ignore everything around you for days to come, which would make perfect sense.

So even when we see large changes in this franchise, it is my personal impression that they are all for the better, there is not one part that seems to be negative in this. More options for dialogue, more choices on paths as well as multiple endings. Making the replaying of this game more enjoyable and when you consider that this game was already down to $1 an hour (for some even a lot less) making that 100 hour journey the best epic journey in the history of this franchise. The most honest question you can ask yourself, are you willing to play an RPG? Are you willing to step out of your optional comfort zone? It is my belief that this trip will be one you are extremely unlikely to regret, but in the end only you can answer what you like. what is clear is that the AC franchise has taken a new course, and as it is a pronounced one, it will not be for everyone, I merely expect that it will be the right path for many more players than ever before and that is a good thing, a good game is always a good thing, even if it is not for everyone.

Only a delusional developer makes a game that is for everyone!

If there is one part that I will miss, it will be the one hit kill. Historically speaking, sneaking up to a person and shove a spear through the back of its skull tends to be fatal, there has never been an exception to that, not even when you sneak up to an ego driven empty headed politician. They all tend to keel over, curl their toes and start their: ‘I am dead now!‘ procedure. So that part I will miss, even if there is no more hidden blade.

So one optional non positive part against close to a dozen positive parts, how can any player pass it up? Well that will be fair, the non RPG lovers, but for that group there are plenty of other games to play. No matter how you view it all this will be an amazing trip, so choose, decide and optionally enjoy this game. I expect this game to get an 88%-97% rating, that whilst the RPG lover is likely to give it a 92%-99% rating (only Zeus, Poseidon and Hades get 100%), Leonidas and all everyone else will have to live with a 99% rating.

As far as I can ascertain at present, my official response will be: ‘Well Done Ubisoft!

 

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In case of your death

I was surprised to see a Eurogamer article on the steam account of dead people (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHLFUbU5ceI). The article is interesting and puzzling all at the same time. You see a view that is interesting, mainly because Eurogamer is merely voicing issues that the audience bring to their attention. Now, let’s be fair, the maker Chris Bratt also mentions the bulk of other users of this approach.

It is puzzling because I reckoned that people should have known better. You can leave your physical products behind, but digital products will not transfer. That part has been a clear issue for decades (yes, not years, but decades) it comes with clarity that certain services, especially digital services are services, not goods with a clear setting of ownership. Digital ownership tends to remain with the maker of the product and you the gamer, or user are merely ‘leasing’ that product for the length of your life and in plenty of cases not even that long (read: annual fee).

That is a clear situation in the sight of the worrying owner (the maker) of the product. So in case of software products like Adobe, Microsoft and other players, the digital arena is granting access to, to the person that paid for these services. So when that person dies, the service will be gone, because the service is no longer required for the person who bought it. In my view it is simple and clear, because this is how it has always been. Now that people are actually thinking for the first time on what happens ‘afterwards’, only now are they considering the consequences of their initial forward thinking part to embrace Steam (as a first example). So, even as their might have seemed to be an advantage, having the physical copy will always be better. So now we see that people are catching on. Yet in light of a growing nagging population, do they have a case? You see they purchased a service, not a product, the difference is not what they do, but it is the stage of physicality, the lack of a media carrier. Even then it is not a given that you have any options. The history of software products has had the setting for the longest of time that the purchased products were not transferable. Ashton Tate with dBase 3 and 3 plus (1979) is one of the earlier examples in Software, the bulk of all Microsoft products, although Windows was usually not linked to a person, but a computer. So the phenomenon is not new or unique. So why is it now getting more and more limelight? Well, people are now starting to catch on that their thousands of dollars of games are linked to their identity, to their account and when that is gone, what has been bought is gone too. We can argue on it and also argue on how valid any discussion is on the products that do come with a physical element. What is a given is that as time progresses, the option to own for life a product will fail too. You see, there is a valid case that a product bought is set to the original buyer and no further. The greedy players like Electronic Arts, Microsoft and Ubisoft have been playing with that setting for the longest time. And let’s face it; they do have a point (to some degree). They promised to service your gaming needs, not those of your children and grandchildren. Now, when this is a single player game, a case could be made to transfer the disc to whomever it ends up with, yet there is also a clear case that the services and support are set to the original buyer and without it the game cannot continue. It might be regarded as an open and shut case, but is that truly the case?

We have seen it be done for decades, but was that a legally acceptable reason? I am merely leaving the point of view open to debate. Should a game be allowed to be transferred? Is it fair on the makers of the software products for this to happen? Nowadays we are waiting for the maximised utilisation, the greed driven makers on the minimum option and to some extent the truth tends to be in the middle. This is not because it is fair, but because it is expected. We grew into the expectation of ownership from books and gramophones. Only when the time of digital installation began, only at that point did we see the change towards the expectations that the makers had on ownership and with the age of parchment and gramophones behind us, the consideration of set service terms were not truly on the scale it needed to be. Yet now, with the cloud, with digital ownerships and with downloadable content we are seeing the shift where we are no longer the owner, but the authorised user of the digital product. Now we have the shift that the industry wanted and perhaps in the view of some was entitled to.

In all this we need to realise that the power of creation is not merely remastering of older versions it is the need of revenue for the makers to continue their development and is it fair or unfair to allow for this path? It is at times depending on the point of view that the person has, and n that setting the software industry and the user are unlikely to see thins eye to eye. Some like Sony have the option to link one account to all the devices, so three people could be playing at the same time (each on a different system), some give options for multiple users for a few dollars more and some will try to fetch cash from every user. It is as I personally see it linked to where our expectations are and through history they have been set in favour of the user, now with the cloud and with digital versions that ‘advantage’ is lost to the users and it is largely depending on the others on how they allow us to set this in motion.

Eurogamer is all set towards the need of a champion with references towards Bruce Willis, but is that fair? The best setting is one that Microsoft tried (best for them that is). They wanted to disable the option of pre-owned players and that got buried real fast. Now, I am on the gamer’s side when it comes to a physical product. But in case of Mass Effect, can we truly expect that multiplayer accounts are transferred? Is it fair to continue digital server service ‘ad infinitum’? I personally do not believe that to be fair. Yet in that same push, I think that a physical copy should not be linked to one person, to one owner, but in that as the future comes pushing us, the wrong stance to have. I believe that the intertwining of services, physical and non-physical will stop or enhance the push for limited authorised access.

It is merely my view and perhaps a wrong one, but I am willing to consider that we as users must accept this shift. In this it will become more and more important to have a full physical game. We see the setting of patents in the requirement of manufacturing and physicality, yet now with the cloud and distributed usage (including cloud gaming) we see that every unit is part of the whole, so as such person X with license Y will become part of the whole implying that person X2 with license Y is another entity altogether, I will go one step further that as each player becomes a mere key of the machine, we see that physicality is set in hardware and software and as such, the combination becomes its own dimension, meaning that transfer of ownership becomes a thing of the past. Yet this also spells dangers in other ways, because as non-repudiation becomes a larger issue, any element (like email address) becomes an absolute setting, so that we are in danger of stopping ourselves to move forward with a second email address, a thing we saw with Ubisoft in the past. So once we lose our e-mail address through hackers we could in theory lose whatever we purchased through that medium. Now, most have their own registration system, yet what happens when that depository is lost, damages or altered? That is the part that is not fixed and is unlikely to be properly addressed for some time. It is even more conceivable that our children will in their lifetime see the need and growth of identity implants. Perhaps even more than one and it is at that point that the digital age of ownership takes another leap, perhaps a much larger leap than we have seen in the last 25 years. It opens up whole new ranges of opportunities and dangers. The question will sooner become, which one tips the scales of balance and how will it affect all?

So in case of your death you might be confronted with the implants of your parents, the implants of peers and siblings. In this the law is actually not ready and it is not as simple as what will happen with your games. Because as the setting is fixed it will be about bank accounts, available funds and set funding of growth and wealth. In all this we will see shifts and we will ponder where the rights of services will be set. In this it will go beyond commercial versus NGO, it will be about the shift that identity enables us to hold and that will shift the movements that we are able to do. It will be a new level of hindrance and perhaps even a step towards global discrimination, because when you realise that the age of implants is already here, consider the impairment that some people will have by allowing these changes to the body and to the external extremities.

For those in IP it is a great time to get involved with block chains and non-repudiation, because the game of games, gaming and software will be changed to much larger degrees than people realise and the initial changes as some realise them to be at present are only the tip of the iceberg.

Enjoy the weekend.

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What is it?

It is time to get involved! Part of me tried to promise again and again not to do so, but Google search made me so angry that there is no option left other than to get involved. Really bad reviews all over. The hatchet job metro.co.uk does by just phrasing some ‘opinions’. Even places like Christian Today took several options to rely on bad writing and half-baked unsubstantiated rumours of what they considered to be No Mans Sky. I ignored it for the most, but it is March now, so No Man’s Sky is a mere 12 weeks away. So it is time to start tapping the keyboard.

First of all, do not just rely on my word. A good review, an open review and a good look on the near final version. You can find it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTRb1E9s6pg. The preview by Chris Bratt and Martin Robinson is an excellent piece of work. It gives you part of the game, it gives you the impressions and it shows you the excellence. I would personally call it one of the best previews ever. I also believe that as they were doing it together, you will hear the bouncing of ideas and impressions, so not a rant from a singular person in any way.

From my point of view No Man’s Sky is what I always believed it to be, an open game of exploration. In that way it has earned its own niche. I will go one step further, together with Elite Dangerous you would end up with the one of the best near perfect experience of interstellar sandbox gaming. One quote is still at the axial of the game ‘You move to the centre of the universe’, yet would you want to? That is the magic of the sandbox game, as everyone builds a castle, you could sculpt a mermaid; that is the beauty of the sandbox, it is about your imagination. Do you want to become the next Darwin and catalogue a planet? Do you want to be the next Roald Amundsen and map a planet, or would you like to be the next James F. Reilly and map the elements? This game offers it all as far as I have seen it. In balance you get to do it all, see it all and move from planet to planet in the process.

I must also ask the question all others are claiming, would it be a disappointment? I feel for 100% that for me it will nothing less than an amazing experience. That does not mean you will feel the same way. We all have other interests. There is however one element that no one can deny. Just like the legendary games Elite Dangerous, Minecraft and Diablo 3. These are games you play you play something else and at times you pick these games up again. That is the beauty of games like this. You can always get back to this game, making games like this the best gaming investments ever.

There is another side to this game. I feel certain that it will evolve over time, which means that like Elite Dangerous, we will very likely see additions down the road, how could that not happen. The fact that ED is offering Horizons this year, an addition that allows you to land on planets and drive around. I started playing Elite Dangerous again after 2 months, mainly because it took a little while to finish 2 games and get my Fallout 4 character to level 60. I feel that this is what we get with No Man’s Sky (NMS), you want to play it non-stop at first, but like any other event, we will suddenly get a game we must play immediately (like Mass Effect 4, Shenmue 3 or Bards Tale 4), whatever YOUR bowl of cereal is, you can always return to NMS, making this an amazing choice. Now again, it might not be your cup of tea, which is fair enough. Let’s face it, some people just want to play Destiny morning noon and night, which is their choice to make.

Going back to that video, the one thing that is clearly shown is that the graphics give a first clear indication that a team of 11 can equal if not surpass the abilities of a 1 Billion Euro corporation called Ubisoft. This is why I believe in No Mans Sky, because they show the basic flaw of players like Ubisoft. By setting up rules for a game to not be a failure, you set up the equal rules for a game to never be truly exceptional.

Personally, I believe that this is why No Mans Sky took so long, this is why letting Hello Games run at their own speed was the only option ever. So when we consider the hatchet job reviews from a place like hardcoregamer.com with the specific quote “This game is quite literally promising the moon, and that’s exactly why it will be so soul-crushingly underwhelming“. No Brandon, the game has so far shown to be beyond normal, it has so far proven every bit of hype the gamer has had for it and we are a mere 12 weeks away from learning the truth.

It is not the gamer, it is the press that had been hyping NMS whenever they could and now they have a go at Sean Murray (and the game). I tried to remain absent of those discussions until now. Now we must face what we are about to get and Eurogamer does that in an amazing way. Even Forbes Tech got involved in a not too positive way comparing it to Spore. The reality is that it took longer to finish. Like Minecraft this production is truly visionary and truly unique, which beckons the question where Forbes (Paul Tassi) has his views, because as he hits out against NMS, he is in equal measure really quiet on the ‘downgraded’ graphics of ‘the Division’, but he’ll likely call it the semantics of the moment, mainly because Ubisoft did not send out review copies, which is really weird a week before launch. The  quote “an…interesting course forward with the way The Division will be covered by the games press at launch” (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2016/03/02/there-is-no-the-division-review-embargo-because-there-are-no-review-copies/#18df7a3016cd) gives more questions towards Ubisoft, more precisely why they are not asking them from the 1 Billion Euro Ubisoft and negatively speculating them towards Hello Games. This is perhaps the most upsetting part, especially from Forbes. The additional ‘BS’ quote “Since it’s impossible for us to populate the servers in a way that would adequately replicate playing The Division on launch day, reviewers will start playing the game along with everyone else when it’s released on March 8“, my reference to BS is as follows. They either admitted to the fact that the game has not been properly tested, which might make this a valid case for prosecution against Ubisoft down the track, or they just do not want ANYONE to see the game before release for other reasons, when that includes the press I tend to get a little jumpy!

Yes, all those speculations in the negative for Hello Games and in the denial of reality on the side of large developers. I wonder what excuse the press will give next.

For my side, the question on ‘what is it’ regarding No Man’s Sky is harder to answer, because there is no clear answer. It is a sandbox game and that makes it what YOU make of it, you as the gamer. In my case it makes me wonder what else the game has in store and in about 12 weeks I will learn, I hope that you will take a moment to find out and to truly look at the facts and not at the gossip or the speculative. With that I leave you with the fact that the Eurogamer video was hands on the game, so look at it and form your own first opinion.

 

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