Wednesday, February 21, 2018


This is one of those sorry-for-the-lack-of-posts posts.  Sorry about that.  I didn't like, stop playing video games or anything, I swear.  In fact I've been noshing on a fairly generous variety plate. 

Bayonetta is on my Switch, but I haven't played it yet - I skipped right to Bayonetta 2, which I'm frankly not sure is actually superior to the original (lack of quicktime events notwithstanding) - but it's still Bayonetta on a fucking handheld

I checked out Owlboy (also on Switch) before Bayonetta came out - put like a half-hour or an hour into it, so I didn't really give it a meaningful chance to get its hooks into me, but it was pleasant, so far.

After Chamberlain kept insisting that Assassin's Creed Origins is worth playing, I broke and snagged a copy (Amazon had it for thirty bucks cheaper than everywhere else), and unlike his last strong endorsement - Resident Evil VII - I actually played AC Origins.

It's good.  I played the game's opening chapter, and it's a smooth, easy-to-swallow drink - nothing offensive about it - and I legitimately love the setting.  I was really surprised by that - didn't think I'd love wandering around ancient Egypt, but I do - but AC:O is just Assassin's Creed: Again, to me.

It matters less that it lacks the sharp, distressing edges of Unity than it matters that this is not really unlike any other Assassin's Creed game I've ever played.  It's the same fucking game.  I've played what feels like dozens of these, and here it is.  Again.  I don't know why - maybe I was feeling nostalgic for the person I used to be - but last night I went back and re-read some of my old reviews.  For some reason, I re-read my God of War: Ascension review, and was like, "hm, this applies hard to Assassin's Creed: Origins."  Let me grab a choice quote:
"Santa Monica, you're an industry leader who's not leading.  You're rehashing - and not even to the same level you managed in the past.  You are as bound by formula as Kratos is by these chains.
So this is it.  This is your Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time.  This is your Tomb Raider: Underworld, your Devil May Cry 4.  This is the point at which your formula - which was excellent, once - has exhausted itself, and you need to put down the Kool-aid and step away. 

Take some time off, go out into the woods and just chill for a bit.  Reflect on what's important to you, what would actually inspire you, what you would feel genuinely passionate about.  Find something you would really get excited about - because it's not this.  Not any more.  It's time for a break."
On the one hand - god damn, it really looks like Sony Santa Monica read my review and was like "this unremarkable Canadian is right, we should do exactly what he says!"  On the other hand, Ubisoft, the shocking two-year break you gave the Assassin's Creed series has done it few favors, beyond that which another twelve months of polish would seem to allow. 

I've played Assassin's Creed, Assassin's Creed II, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Assassin's Creed III, Assassin's Creed: Liberation, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Assassin's Creed Unity, and after a few hours with Unity I was like "why in God's name am I doing this again?" 

I love the setting.  I think Bayek is a cool lead, a cool character and one standout stupid bit aside, I like the story, but I don't like Assassin's Creed any more.  It's not fun.  The concept of what you're doing is fun, but actually doing it is tedious old hat. 

Playing it, at first, I was reminded of what I found so beautiful about the original game - that it felt a lot like the pleasant platforming of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time in an open world.  Maybe if, like Chamberlain, I could stick with it and try to find that feeling again, I could enjoy Origins as he has, but... I've played Assassin's Creed before.  I've played it a lot.  I'm good. 

I'm good. 

Also, I saw Black Panther on Friday.  I think I wanna' talk about Black Panther.

[update] Turns out I really, really wanted to talk about Black Panther. [/update]

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