Quick Update

I’ve been appallingly bad at blogging over the past couple of months. What can I say, life gets busy some times!

In the world of all things Digital Salad, I’ve been promoted at work. I’m now officially a Manager in charge of a team. Not bad at the tender age of 24, but now it’s the hard work of actually proving I can do it!

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Work hasn’t been the only thing I’ve been up to though. Although I’ve got the time to game, and even the money to put into it if I wanted to, I’ve been more and more of a ‘filthy’ casual gamer recently. I’m still in a bit of a transition with my gaming, but a quick run down of what’s been happening:

  1. I uninstalled GTA V pretty spontaneously back in August and haven’t looked back since. I took a hard look at whether I was actually having fun and decided it was far from it! Not to say it’s not a good game, I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I uninstalled it and haven’t looked back, I’ve not wanted to play it for even a second since – which is far less regrets that I thought I’d have about it.
  2. Guild Wars 2 has made a come back! I’ve reinstalled it and been playing it for the first time in two years. Not that much has changed and I’m really enjoying taking it easy and playing a little bit here and there. giphy (1)
  3. I’m also really looking forward to the full release of Prison Architect this Tuesday. I’ve been following the game in alpha for ages and it’s great to see it finally reach the finish line. I’m looking forward to setting up a new prison full of gangs and (most likely) a lot of chaos.
  4. We’ve also invested in a PS4. A little late to the party, but better late than never! We’ve been really enjoying getting back on to the console gaming train. In particular we’ve been enjoying Assassin’s Creed Unity, which although rightly ridiculed for being so buggy on release, is without a doubt the most fun Assassins Creed game to date if you ask me. I’m really enjoying powering through it, and the multiplayer is even quite fun!
  5. Now that we have a PS4 I’ve also been looking into the many games which are slated for release prior to christmas. I’m definitely interested in Assassins Creed Syndicate and Star Wars Battlefront, as well as some others, but I’m going to wait and see how they’re received on release. I’m a patient gamer these days! giphy (2)

That’s the run down of my gaming, but I’ve been up to far more besides! I’ve been reading Joe Abercrombie’s first book The Blade Itself. I originally discovered the series from the stand-alone sequel The Heroes – which is one of my favourite books ever. I thought it would be a good idea to read some more of Abercrombie’s stuff and I’ve not regretted it at all – I love Abercrombie’s fantasy worlds. I’m hoping to do a review once I’ve finished it.

I’ve also been watching Star Trek Deep Space 9 on DVD. I’ve blogged before about my love of Star Trek The Next Generation since childhood. Aside from TNG I’ve only watched the occasional episode of other series in the canon, so I’ve set to watching Deep Space 9. It’s no Next Generation, and Sisko is no Picard, but its been fun. I’m also hoping to do a blog post about my thoughts on Deep Space 9 once I’ve finished it as well! 
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Last but not least, Life As A Digital Salad has a new look which I’m excited about! Hopefully you’ll be hearing more from me soon.

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

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Super November – The Salad Take

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November is a big big month in gaming releases. Everyone and anyone is releasing something, or several somethings, to get a chunk of the Christmas market. Here’s my thoughts on some of the biggest, and a few smaller, names coming out this month.

Assassins Creed Unity

Unity-Gate I kinda want to call it. A game full of so much promise. Heck, they even delivered most of what I asked for in my post Mulling Over Assassin’s Creed.

They really mucked it up though, as has been well published across the gaming, and even mainstream news, internets. Ubisoft shares have plummeted, just like the reviews of their games.

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Unfinished is probably the kindest way to describe the Unity-Gate farce. The game has literally dozens of game breaking glitches that make it next to unplayable. Even on semi-official gameplay videos you see fairly serious glitches popping up. So much for the fantastic new revolutionary game engine!

Quite honestly though, having watched a fair amount of gameplay (I must admit to not actually having played it) it looks pretty darn boring as a game. The world somehow still falls flat, even with the big crowds. Go off the beaten track and you could be forgiven for not being able to tell the difference between Arno’s Paris and Ezio’s Florence of AC2.

I wanted to like Assassin’s Creed Unity, I wanted it to make me want to buy it. It even gave me most of the things I asked for and yet it still mucked it up. It did everything right and then tripped flat on its face at the very last hurdle. It’s kinda sad to see, and I do hope they managed to get it properly fixed in a decent amount of time.

Farcry 4

I’ve never really been big into Farcry as a gaming series, but Farcry 4 – whether you like the series or not – is a really beautiful game.

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The gameplay really shines through. The Farcry series has consistently refined its core gameplay, and it works. Ubisoft take note!

The RPG style skill tree elements are still there and still relevant, which I like in a game that could otherwise be a very flat and dull FPS. I also like that there’s a decent co-op mode, even if it is online only. Too many games shy away from co-op when it could suit them wonderfully – just like it does with Farcry – so kudos to them for going for it.

Farcry 4, for a game series that makes a big fuss about its story, doesn’t really seem to have struck many chords with its story. Personally I’ve never got on with the stories of Farcry games, and that’s probably my biggest gripe. They leave me with a feeling of ‘why bother trying’ when faced with x y and z to save characters I don’t really care about.

On the whole though, Farcry 4 is a good offering this November, and deserves to well – if only because its a decently polished game!

GTA V 

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GTA V is still GTA V.

It knows its the best game out there and its still going strong. The recent release on the next gen has actually surprised me with how much energy its still got behind it as a release that’s over a year old.

The graphical updates are amazing on the next generation. Whilst not always immediately noticeable, look a little closer and the world shines even more than before. GTA V next gen is by far the most alive gaming world out there.

I guess it was always going to be though, Rockstar take their time to get things right.

The one thing that doesn’t really float my boat though is the new first person mode. It just doesn’t feel like GTA to me, more like some knock-off mod slapped on to the original game.

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I know a lot of people really like it, as a novel change to the resolutely 3rd person series, but it doesn’t work for me. I’m happy for it to be there for those that like it, but I’ll stay away from it mostly.

All in all though, GTA V next gen has been a dependably good release.

Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire

This is the November release I’m most excited about, no questions.

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As a real late-comer to the series with Pokemon X/Y, I’ve immediately gelled with the series. A true legend in the gaming world for good reason.

Because CakeBoxFox and I pre-ordered the game, we also got hold of the free demo version of the games. It looks set to be just as good as hoped.

An interesting mix of more modern Pokemon gameplay & lore ideas from the X/Y generation mixed up with the classic world of Ruby and Sapphire. It looks like they’ve pulled off another fantastic release and I can’t wait to get my copy.

Just to put it out there, Alpha Sapphire is going to be my choice. I’m a Kyogre fan-boy and proud of it!

Super Smash Bros

Super Smash Bros is another game I’m seriously excited about. The best bit? It comes out on the same day as Pokemon. Well done Nintendo on officially stealing my next weekend!

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I’ve always loved SSB but never actually owned one. Such a fun and crazy game, it’s unparalleled for pure fantastic fun; and this new version will be no different.

Playing as the Wii Fit Trainer and some other odd new additions will be interesting, adding hours more fun to the already addictive formula.

Well done Nintendo on wrapping up November/December 2014 with two very solid releases.

Mount & Blade Warband: Viking Conquest

Somewhat off the main radar, but I was super excited to hear that a surprise new DLC is coming to Mount & Blade: Warband.

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I readily admit to being a fanboy of the series, who would buy anything from the team regardless of what it was, but I thought it deserved a note on the list of Super-November. I really hope the developer all the best and try to support them as much as possible. It’s not easy for a small developer out there, even when you have a really good game concept.

And that’s it for now! I know I’ve missed a few recent releases, but forgive me. A Salad has only so much spare time! When time allows I hope to be able to look into all the recent releases in a little more detail, but for now, that’s it. I hope you’ve enjoyed.

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

Mulling Over Assassin’s Creed

A certain video gaming series is quite noisy at the moment. What with AC: Rogue now out and Unity imminent; eyes are already starting to look towards the future plans of Ubisoft.

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With the series at something of a peak, I wanted to share my thoughts on Assassins Creed present, old and future.

I’ve played Assassins Creed since its earnest beginning 7 years ago. I loved the original AC, a game which had an unexpectedly open world and wide variety in gameplay – with a refreshingly new concept. On the whole, the missions of the original AC would allow you to complete the mission how you saw fit; you’ve got a target to find in an area, so long as they’re dead it don’t really matter how.

That’s the kind of game I wanted Assassins Creed to always be, along a similar vein to its video gaming cousin Hitman. A series where you complete the mission your way and you get a score to let you know how stealthy or otherwise you’ve been.

Assassins Creed just isn’t like that anymore. ACIII and IV were beautiful games with amazing cinematic components – but they were just that – cinematic. They were games of cut-scenes and missions that had to be done a certain way just for the cut-scene to make sense. The freedom was lost along the way.

It’s a really sad thing to see with such a promising concept. Its such a strong concept that I’ve played every game up to and including AC IV.

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I’ve enjoyed every game at that as well – despite being endlessly frustrated with increasing handholding and gimmicky armoury additions.

But, what of AC Rogue and Unity?

Well, Rogue is a little to much like a DLC for AC IV for my liking, so I’m probably going to pass on that one.

Unity, though, offers something new. The online co-op definitely takes my interest; although I really wished they’d of put local co-op in as well – but that’s more of a personal gripe with next generation gaming. That said; not including a female-playable option for this mode was a big PR mistake that worries me more generally about just how much customisation there really will be in the game.

Otherwise, Unity looks like a good offering. The time jumping aspect of the story might, finally, be interesting and the world looks set to be livelier than ever.

I probably will play Unity at some point, but part of me knows deep down that it won’t have the open world I’m really holding out for – a game world where I can do a mission however I want to.

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I also want to use this blog to highlight the beautiful fan-made concept art for a future AC set in 19th Century Japan – from artist Vin Hill.

Take a look at a full gallery here.

Although Ubisoft have long said that they have no intention of making a Japanese Assassins Creed game, it’s long been a firm favourite of the community. These concept drawings are beautiful and take me way back to an old favourite PS2 game Way of the Samurai.

If not Japan next, then you can only wonder where else they can take the series. A late 19th Century offering might make sense. Hopefully Ubisoft will have learnt from AC III and avoid the American Civil War as a setting. That’s not to say it isn’t worthy of a video game; just not an Assassin’s Creed video game.

I’ll just keep hoping for some open world freedom to come back to the series to make it the fantastic game I’d love it to be.

Where do you want/think the AC series will go next?

 

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com