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Jbul Blog

Assassin's Creed III Is A Harrowing Disappointment

I now join the legion of whining, punk-ass gamers -- but probably for good reason in this instance... so that justifies it, right? God, those AC3 trailers made the game look nothing short of godly. The hyped up (but in the end, not really) visuals, the massive hundred man battles (again, a complete lie) and a mysterious protagonist that could recapture our hearts the way Ezio Auditore did in the masterful Assassin's Creed II.

Assassin's Creed III is probably the worst Assassin's Creed game since Assassin's Creed 1 was, all those years ago, but for completely different reasons. Assassin's Creed was a game equal parts genius and mind-numbing repetition -- a divisive cocktail that went down with a little burn for some and caused violent nausea and vomiting in others.

The beautifully recreated historcal settings were burdened by a lack of mission variety. When Assassin's Creed II came out, it was some sort of gift from the Ubisoft masterminds that seemed to say "Okay, thanks for enduring that mess, here's what we've been meaning to do all along". AC2 fixed the problems of the original and made good on the promise of one of the most intriguing historical backdrops of our time -- renaissanceItaly. The real masterstroke of AC2 (and also AC: Brotherhood, to a lesser extent) that is rarely discussed is in its character driven narrative. Ezio Auditore was a real, human, flawed protagonist who had believable friendships and an even more convincing drive for bloody revenge.

Assassin's Creed III

If only the game lived up to the beauty and majesty of early screenshots.

And this is where AC3 falls flat on it's grand, beautiful, bloated face. Connor is the least interesting protagonist in the series so far by a long margin -- a blank slate of an indignant, young, half-native American hero who struggles with the duality of his devotion and the changing world around him, but to very little interesting effect. It's almost as if Ubisoft shoves the character in front of us and says 'You should like him, you really should!' without following through and giving us reasons to. His plight uninteresting, his Forrest Gump styled cutting and pasting into true historical events even less so.

Assassin's Creed 3

We worked REALLY hard on the snow effects... like our game!...Please?

I have to give up on playing the game, even though I'm 3/4 through. I have tried so hard to like it enough to finish it. The last 10 hours of gameplay have been so dry and boring -- not without activity, mind you -- that I'd rather replay the lacklustre AC: Revelations than continue with what has to be my personal disappointment of the year. Hey, at least trade-in value should still be good, eh?

When I Was Your Man

Here I am again with another music blog, sue me! This one is a mainstream song that I happened to hear while flipping through channels and although I'm not one for saccharine-sweet love ballads, this one is pretty killer. I'm gonna link the performance I saw because the album version while amazing, doesn't quite capture the feeling this live performance did.

If you are aomeone who has never been in love, you probably want to skip this (no offense to you, young Jedi!), but for the rest of us, hit the jump.

Raw talent.

Feeling it? If not, you might be dead inside. Lawl.

-J

Things Gamers/Journalists Need To Stop Saying, Pt. 1

"Wonderful" -- Please with this s**t. I'd even rather hear "Fvckin-A!" or "Hella cool" at this point, this word is so played out and overused. There aren't enough "wonderful" things in this world for it to be used in every other game review I read.

"impressive" -- enough said. You know what? In my only professional review, I used the word "Fvck". Wanna know why? Because no one had the balls to say it before me. Let's innovate a little here.

"in recent memory" -- Again, what the f*** does this mean? How long ago exactly is "recent memory"? Don't say "This game has the best sound design in recent memory", because that's a creative cop-out. Either say "The best sound design in the genre in many years", or something a little more accountable.

"this gen" -- Someone says this every year. "Best action game this gen". If you'd take off your rose-tinted nostalgia gloasses, you'd realize videogames are, in the last 8 years, better than ever. So just say "best action game of all time". Super Turrican isn't as badass as you remember it, kids.

"noob/newb/neweb/etc" -- Not everyone needs to play videogames 40 hours a week in order to be a valid participant in said hobby. Stop painting us all into a smelly, sexless, fat-nerd corner by calling people who have a social life "newbs".

Pt. 2 coming soon.

Random Thoughts

Why has drinking and gaming at home become so enjoyable to me?

I really gotta bring my bench press back up to above 400.

Why is it that when Gamespot finally wants to recognize community writers, I have zero urge to write?

I should never blog too drunk (only buzzed from now on.... blacked out blogs are rarely good!)

Why do I consider this song such perfect baby making music?

Why are Johnsteed7's blogs about farm life so god damn charming?

My life has been almost more tumultuous than ever.

Does anyone know I created the "Random Thoughts" blog type about 5 years ago that so many people copy today?

Why does playing RE6 and Dishonored only serve to remind me of how excellent games USED to be?

Why does dating one of the most imperfect yet sweetest women I've ever dated make me realize love isn't about perfection, it's about accepting someone's flaws and loving them regardless?

I'm worried about Bioshock Infinite. 5 key staff members leaving mid-development, wasted development time and money on ditched (and COMPLETELY NEEDLESS) multiplayer modes. Seriously, Ken Levine? What's gotten into you?

Life is never peaches. Find your happiness, even if short-lived, however and whenever you can -- it's why I play videogames.

Give me encouraging words -- I was on the verge of a professional writing career 2 years ago but got caught up in the grind of making a living. I have some real unrealized potential that could change the game. I just need focus.

Achievements Are......

A) Complete waste of time. Dude... they are numbers on a server that don't mean **** Really, who cares?

B) Your worth as a gamer. Man, achievements are really your true skill and worth as a gamer, period.

This, I ponder. Your opinion, reader?

I Hate Everything, Except...

1) Diablo 3 -- Over 200 hours logged and still addicted.

2) My new girlfriend -- Super sweet, likes to play games (although certainly not hardcore... yet :P)

3) You guys. How you been? :)

Goodbye Console Gaming, It's Been Fun

After years of being a console loyalists due to a few factors (convenience, laziness, close mindedness), I can safely say console gaming is dead to me.

This is thanks to a kind friend who gave me a little Nvidia 8600 graphics card and opened up my eyes to the unbounded glory of PC gaming. Of course, I've been harsh on PC Gaming and gamers, but I take most of it back.

Why would I play Orcs Must Die on Xbox Live running at 560p, which costs me $15, when I can play it in 1900x1080p on my 50 inch LCD with better controls, and for a fraction of the price ($3.55, to be exact)?

Not only is the "PC Gaming" experience more fluid and enjoyable than any console experience, it's also vastly superior in every other catagory. It's cheaper, it's funner, it's more customizable. Seeing Diablo 3 running off my new Radeon 6850 card (even though my CPU is ancient) feels like I'm playing a game on a Playstation 6. On the Steam Sale, I've picked up 14 games, all of which totaled under $50. Don't believe me?

Half Life 2

Half Life 2 Episode 1

Half Life 2 Episode 2

Half Life 2 West Coast

Crysis Warhead

Crysis Battle

Total War, Shogun 2

Trine

Orcs Must Die

Team Fortress 2

Portal

SW: KOTOR

Counter Strike

Seeing video games run in 1900x1080 resolution at 50-60 FPS is such a staggering step up in enjoyment it's hard to put into words. You feel like you've been wasting your time on childrens toys.

I've been hungry for Next-Generation, and I've blindly ignored that it's been sitting on my bedroom floor, collecting dust.

Don't believe the lies, the hype, the console generation is silly for the hardcore (at least, in my opinion). Embrace PC gaming if you can, I think you'll be surprised.

Oh hey, anyone want to buy a Xbox 360?

PC Gaming

I remember playing Doom and Wolftenstein as a young teenager, when my parents would go to work, I'd toss aside my homework and settle in. Of course, this was during the SNES/Genesis era, so there was no shortage of excitement in console gaming, but games like Tie Fighter, Doom 2, and Alone In The Dark provided layered experiences and mature content that made them fascinating and quite unique. The complexity of learning how to fly an X-Wing was far beyond anything I could learn in Pilotwings on my SNES.

Since then I've pretty much cast PC gaming aside. In 2006 I purchased a really good computer (my first PC purchase as an adult). I bought it for Internet and Music downloading, and I remember thinking "I definitely don't need this for gaming", which is ironic because here I sit, 6 years later with the same PC and finally a graphics card, and I'm really enjoying my time with the games.

Yes, I have been hard on PC gamers in the past. There is certainly an elitist and smug streak running through parts of the vocal PC community, so I don't take any of that back. But finally I can see why.

You see, PC gaming is more complex and more of a pain in the ass than consoles -- and yes -- much more expensive, hardware wise. However, the technological edge cannot be denied. In fact, I'm currently playing Half Life 2: Episode 2 on Ultra-High settings (with an old 2007 graphics card, mind you), and it looks 10x better than anything I've played on consoles. It also runs at about 60 FPS. Remember, this is a 5 year old game. I can't imagine what current games look like on max settings.

Part of my resistance to PC gaming was the comfort factor -- I like leaning back, relaxing, and staring at a big screen when I play my videogames. I've solved this problem by hooking up my 40-inch HDTV to my CPU, and utilizing the "PC Mode", where the resolutions can skyrocket to 1900x1200 (I could be wrong on these exact numbers, but they're close).

I chill with my keyboard on my lap and the mouse on the arm-rest of my comforter, with my THX certified surround sound pumped up.

I won't lie -- I'm enchanted. It's hard going back to Dragon's Dogma after playing games in ultra-high resolutions with precision controls and extensive cusomtization. Don't get me wrong, I won't be giving up my consoles anytime soon -- afterall, my PC is getting old by todays standards (Core 2 Duo processor), so I don't get alot of mileage out of current games. It's nice to expand your horizons though and admit in some small way that your past views were a bit too rigid.

It's also proved to me how utterly rediculous it is that the "next generation" of consoles isn't here yet. I mean really, these 6 year old games look and run better than anything on the current console market today.

What does that say?

What Are You Playing? V.1.0

Me? Star Wars: The Old Republic on PC.

Part of me can't believe I'm playing an MMO for the first time, but it's an enjoyable single player experience as well. Crazy how much time these kind of games widdles away.

You? And your quick impressions?

Rapid Blog: Drunken Indecision Pt. 1

She always smiled at me, but I didn't pay much attention -- she was in her early 20's -- well built, blonde, athletic. "Too young" I"d repeat to myself, ignoring the basic and undeniable truth. When she moved in a year ago next door I took notice of her, but in all sincerity I never thought this moment would come. After months of flirting, we're finally hanging out -- in a Hottub no less -- after an impromptu call from her late tonight. I had ignored her. Standard issue game for young girls -- but I didn't think it'd evolve so quickly. All we need is cocaine to make this a movie out of the 80's. Here I go -- at a Nexus between becoming a PC gaming nerd and spending my nights playing point and click games -- to tearing up some healthy, young girl in a hottub less than a mile away from the border with half-full champagne glasses all around us.

God speed, you say?

.... To be continued...