Video Games

Ubisoft and the Bastardization of Ghost Recon

This company is a heroin addict who needs its IP children to be adopted by a caring foster parent before it’s too late.

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Ubisoft, a company whose mission statement is mediocrity first and players second, has decided Wildlands will be the next installment in the Ghost Recon franchise. From high atop his ivory tower of corporate villainy, Yves Guillemot cackles deviously as he knowingly squanders 4 years of developers’ precious time on this planet, forcing them through wage slavery to produce yet another copy-and-paste open world borefest, squandering his underling artists’ valuable talents on a project he knows a disabled infant could produce comparable results for.

Where’s the issue? Is it the bland, uninspired open world? The wonky, B-grade shooting? The physics-less vehicles? The complete and utter lack of anything inspiring or original under the hood of a bland third-person shooter masquerading as a beloved tactical stealth franchise?

Could it be all of these things, perhaps?

Yes, it could. Now we’ve got another The DivisionFar Cry Primal, Watch_Dogs 2 to add to our collection of generic Ubisoft garbage.

Capture outpost A, slink around to outpost B. Use a helicopter to fly to outpost C and liberate the resistance. Protect a VIP as you escort him back to outpost A. Rinse and repeat for fifty hours. Jesus Christ, what a downgrade from Future Soldier, a game that came out over half a decade ago. Trading a tight, engaging and tactical linear narrative for a blase open-world snoozer is the dumbest yet most frequent misstep Ubisoft seems to love to make these days. Hope they love making it without my $60.

Video Games

World Exclusive: The Division Review (PC)

Having procured myself a copy of a game the world is dying to play, I couldn’t not go ahead and break the nonexistent embargo to provide you all with my thoughts on the next generation of third person shooter MMO RPGs. With online servers currently live for last-minute dev testing and nothing more, I’ve gotten ample time to play through the experience in its entirety. Here’s my full-fledged review of The Division.Tom_Clancy's_The_Division_Box

A desolate New York Cityscape enters my view as the chopper drops off my custom avatar into the middle of a virus-outbreak hot zone, and right off the bat I know I’m in for something revolutionary. Let’s take it back a second, and analyze that first part. Innovation number one of The Division: custom avatars. I can make my guy (or girl!) look like he’s white, Mexican, Asian or even black. He (or she!) can even have black, white, blonde or brown hair. In other words, the customization is detailed enough that it’s like looking into a mirror every time I see my character.

Now, let’s get to talking about the wintry NYC cityscape that makes up this game’s map. What can I say: it’s a breathtaking experience. All the grays and whites are so varied in color, the urban jungle literally pops out at me every time I turn the game on. And the snow, the snow does visual wonders. I practically forget it’s concrete tower after concrete tower from start to finish on the map solely because of how alluring the snow textures are. Star Wars Battlefront, eat your heart out.

Of course, the core of any video game is its gameplay. So how does The Division‘s stack up? Pretty damn well, I’d say. It’s visceral as hell, with enemies constantly firing bullets at you. It’s innovative as fuck, letting you do this insane new thing where you can close car doors. Not re-open them, but hey, don’t want to push too many boundaries before the sequel comes out, am I right? It’s immersive as shit, letting you crouch behind cover, a cutting-edge feature sure to spawn tons of copycat third person shooters down the line. It’s revolutionary as piss, giving enemies health bars so you can actively see how much damage your gun is doing to them. What other game lets you keep tabs on enemies like that?! But most importantly, it’s dynamic as cunt. You can play your way, anytime. Care to shoot a bad guy? Go ahead. Want to fire a gun at a not-so-good dude? The world is yours. Down to penetrate some unrighteous skulls with bullets? Have it your way. You choose your play style in The Division.

And the premise shouldn’t be undersold for its ingenuity. A deadly virus being spread throughout an urban population? That’s never been done before in the entire medium! Ubisoft isn’t just breaking molds with their storytelling. They’re making new ones.

You’re probably wondering about content, at this point. Just how much gameplay can you expect to enjoy in The Division? As much as you want. If you like missions where you collect stuff, get ready for the Game of the Year, baby. This shooter sends you on hundreds of missions where you procure supplies, guns, more supplies, food, and even supplies if  you 100% everything else. And rumor has it, if you 240% complete the game you can unlock an Aiden Pearce costume. GG, Ubi.

If you’re not won over yet by the groundbreaking innovation that is The Division, I’m not sure I can save you. But, I can try. If you’re on the fence about forking over $60 for the game and aren’t sure if you’ll be satisfied with your purchase, allow me to ease your nerves. You only need to spend $40 extra dollars to guarantee year-long satisfaction with your purchase and experience unsegregated gameplay through the revolutionary season pass system. With this, you can pay for the whole game up front and let the content come to you at a carefully planned pace designated by Ubisoft to ensure maximum fun over the course of the year. This game has your best interests for the next 365 days in mind from day one. You can’t beat that.

While I could comment on the expert voice acting and stellar performances in The Division, I just can’t find the right words to describe them. Same goes for the graphics, which have only been exponentially upgraded since E3 2013. So instead of rambling about all that, I’ll finish my review on this note: if you trust Ubisoft to deliver a quality product, then you’ve had this masterpiece coming at you for a long time.

Video Games

Top 5 Reasons The Division Will Suck

5.) It’s an Ubisoft game, meaning not the one they showed at E3.Tom_Clancy's_The_Division_Box.jpg

Remember when this game was first advertised at E3? The graphics were stunning, the atmosphere was great and the gameplay looked intense as hell. Fastforward to now and the graphics have seen a MAJOR downgrade (the Ubisoft guarantee, a la Watch_Dogs, R6: Siege, etc.), the atmosphere has been replaced by an uninspired “shoot shit and roam around a boring sandbox” vibe and the gameplay? Pfffffft. None of the windshield-shattering bullet impact from the E3 showings is present in the beta. None of the detailed granules of chip damage as terrain gets torn through. It’s just a shoddy hit box mess of a bland, under-detailed shooter.

To put this in perspective, the developers’ biggest selling pitch is that you can close random car doors. Closing fucking car doors, people. You can’t even re-open them. “NEXT GEN SHOOTER MECHANICS!!!!!1!!!! INNOVATION1!!!”

4.) A Season Pass.

So we meet again, cut and planned additional content before launch.

3.) It plays like the Star Trek movie tie-in video game. That’s a MASSIVE insult.

It’s painfully generic. We have an over-saturated shooter market as is, no need for shit like this filling it. This game plays like Defiance, for Christ’s sake. DEFIANCE. Minus the somewhat fun dune buggies. That leaves The Division with janky-as-fuck animations, weak shooting and a lackluster series of hallway-like street fire fights with minimal strategy required on its game play resume.

2.) The beta is exactly what you’ll be getting in the full release (which is to say, nothing good). 

“IT’S JUST A BETA LEAVE THE DIVISION ALONE OMFGKESDC” said every idiot Ubi-apologist ever. Listen up, clowns. We’re a little over three weeks from launch. If the game you’re playing in the beta looks like piss and plays like piss, odds are in THREE WEEKS it’s still going to be piss when you’re dumb enough to plop down $60 for it. Is it bland and uninspired? You bet. But that’s a core design flaw that would take YEARS to remedy. Not weeks.

1.) It’s more over-hyped shovelware.

You’re paying for a game that looks like what would happen if the Metro 2033 developers didn’t give a shit. You’re paying for a game where you run around poorly mapped streets of a virtual NY piling THOUSANDS of bullets into assholes only wearing hoodies who won’t die. You’re paying for a desolate, washed-out, E3 downgraded Ubisoft game with minimal heart put in and the appropriate amount of quality to match. It’s got shoddy as fuck voice acting, piss-poor story telling, a pathetically bland and empty open world and gameplay that we’ve seen in hundreds of generic third person shooters before. If you want to be known as the idiot who paid for a game sold on Ubi’s trademark lie-hype, be my guest. Pay for a game that’s selling you on the promise of being able to close car doors in “intense” firefights.

Those of us with brains will be laughing on the sidelines with our wallets still intact, but don’t mind us.

Video Games

Review of “Rainbow Six Siege” for PC

In a world dominated by piss-poor Battlefront reboots and multiplayer exclusive Titanfall template knock-offs, there exists Rainbow Six Siege, a game that admittedly falls victim to both of the aforementioned titles’ most damning symptoms: not a lot of content, and no single player experience worth a damn. And yet, even with those drawbacks in mind, I’d still highly recommend you go out and get it… on a few conditions. Read on and let’s see if Rainbow Six Siege is right for you.R6S_Screenshot_2_196930

Siege‘s biggest selling factor is its gameplay, plain and simple. It’s the twitchy, thinking man’s Call of Duty, requiring even sharper reflexes than the aforementioned title while also demanding a level of planning beforehand. No matter how fast your trigger finger might be, an opponent who’s booby-trapped the ceiling, doorways and floors and is hunkered down behind layers of wall reinforcements will always be faster. As such, you can’t just be smart, and you can’t just be fast to win. You have to be both. Click here to read more

The Scrap Yard

Worst Publisher of 2014 Goes to…. Ubisoft!

While everyone under the sun can find a reason to hate EA, I’ve personally always thought they were at least trying to be more consumer-friendly than Ubisoft. This year proves my point: at every turn of 2014, Ubisoft has found a way to screw over their loyal consumers by releasing deceptively advertised products to the far worse downright broken ones.

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To kick off the blockbuster gaming year, in May Ubisoft released Watch_Dogs, on my birthday, no less. So, I go in with my brand new PC, all hyped up that I’ll be playing the prettiest and most immersive version of Watch_Dogs… I learned a lesson that day. The game looked like crap, ran like crap, the gameplay was extremely under-baked compared to what was advertised, and to top it off file diggers found REPRESSED E3 files containing visual enhancements that were deliberately ripped from the game for the sake of reducing PC-to-console parity. Un-fucking-believable.

After that, I decided that I would boycott Ubisoft’s big-budget triple A titles until they clearly got their shit together (Valiant Hearts was the only thing I’ve bought from them since, and that’s far from a major release), and it looks like I’ll keep waiting. Because as of 2014, both of their major holiday releases, Assassin’s Creed Unity and Far Cry 4, were utterly dominated by bugs, ranging from the humorous and benign to more serious issues of the game-breaking variety. Not to mention that Unity looked like nothing more than a visual improvement over past AC games. And Far Cry 4 would be a great game… if it didn’t look like a region-swapped Far Cry 3.

Maybe Ubisoft likes treating its consumers like abused spouses. But there’s a line, and any self-respecting consumer should know by now that they’ve long since crossed it and aren’t worthy of your $60 investments anymore.