windlion: The Breaker - For the Win (The Breaker - FTW)
So this has been my week of rest.  I've accomplished precisely nothing!   In my defense, a) I needed a vacation.  b) I attended my friend's wake.  c) I had a good health scare, as I had unspecified digestive issues for a week.  I was afraid I was developing food allergies like my sister; she's allergic to almost every fruit in creation, nuts, soy, wheat and more.  It's like a laundry list.  I suspected gluten, as that was the most likely culprit to mess up one's innards for days at a time, so I went gluten free for a bit.  It seemed to help, then everything righted itself, so I am back to having no clue what caused that but eating bread again.  d) I did manage to get my dentistry needs taken care of, before I ran out of dental insurance.  One cleaning, and the quickest 10 minute filling ever.  (No anesthetic, just a little scrape-and-patch. )

To keep myself busy, I rewatched Return of the King with my fellow LotR-loving friend, which is good for a day in itself, I've been reading lots, and I gave myself amnesty on actually playing Assassin's Creed, given that the XBox moved out a month and a half ago and I won't be buying one myself for . . . ever.  (Not that I don't /want/ a nextgen system, but it is pretty far down my priority list of spending.)  So I went to youtube for my cut-scene needs!

Assassin's Creed I:  We did get to play through the first memory block or two, so I had a bit of a feel for the game.  Playing it myself, our first reactions were "Wow, we're playing a douche bag!" plus "Altair, your no-suicide policy sucks!  Do you even /have/ a no-suicide policy? WHY WOULD YOU JUMP THAT WAY?!"  It's the first game I've played in awhile with absolutely no talk option button!   That takes some getting used to. . . .  I had an easier time platforming, my co-player had an easier time fighting.  Suffice to say we had to watch the "OH GOD MY LEG" "Shut up before the Templars put you out of your misery."  scene quite a few times after Altair threw himself off cliffs with gleeful abandon.   It's more open platforming than Prince of Persia, but the controls are finicky.  I was actually vindicated when the on-line walk-through player also had issues from time to time.  XD  It was refreshing to see a play-through by someone who wasn't super-humanly cruising through everything for their fiftieth time, making your first round look incompetent. 

I also completely agree with someone who said that the Mythbusters NEED to do the Leap of Faith.  Because that is so much snerk-worthy physics FAIL.  (Yeah, guys- find a real hay stack.  Yes.  Now try hopping in it.  That /might/ work from oh, ten feet above a ten foot deep pile.  Anything over a story up?  You're probably breaking things.  Necessary things.  Hay isn't that soft, especially if there's nothing keeping that hay from scattering.)

On the cast- Malik is my very very favorite character type: snarky, disgruntled, damaged but functional.  Badass, smart, and still strong despite his significant handicap.  He is also an attractive Middle Eastern man.  Hominah.  *cough*  I can see why he has fangirls.   Though he supposedly changes through the game, Altair is not as strong a character to me.  He initially needs a kick in the pants; in the end he could use more of a face.  There's two challenges here, probably - one, having not run him around for thirty hours, I haven't developed as much attachment to him or thus crafted my own interpretation of his character; two, his voice actor just isn't as good.  I have to say the American accent bugged me.  Supposedly Ubisoft had its reasons, whether they be meta "We're not going to try and market a game with an Arabic-speaking protagonist in America" or in-story "This is really Desmond acting as Altair."  . . . but I felt like it hurt the character somewhat.  For one, he doesn't /blend/ given that everyone else has more or less the right accent, and two, the American accent doesn't do justice to the character and location names.  /I/ can't do justice to them, either- as it was, I waffled going "Am I being pretentious if I pronounce Altair as 'aahl-tah-EER' instead of the Western 'Al-tare'?"  (Then again, I am forever going to pronounce Balthier from FFXII as "Bahl-tier" instead of "Bahl-THeyer" as it just sounds better to me.  Of course, this is also the game where they pronounced marquise as "mar-kwess" instead of "mar-key," which made me flail on principle, so.  Perhaps we just agree to disagree!)

Story-wise. . .  I felt like the closer it got to the end, the more interested I was in Desmond's story than I was in Altair's.  Possibly because as Altair became less of a douche bag, he also got more vanilla and less interesting.  Possibly because the plot wasn't as exciting or coherent as it could have been.  Just as you might be interested in seeing what Altair actually does now that he's making his own decisions, /that's/ when you see what the Templars wanted.   I think they actually did a good job of handling that- you have no idea coming up to it what it'll be, and it's kind of sudden.  We go from what should be settling-Altair-time straight  to Desmond and the "Oh, dude, you just outlived your usefulness, you are so screwed!"  revelation.   (Mind, there should have been more tension to that.  Loaded gun or syringe, at least.)  They definitely set this up as a series, for better or worse - there's no resolution.

Now, being that I'm being a lazy backseat gamer several years after the fact, all this means is I had to queue up the next set of playthroughs so I could resolve my cliff-hanger. . .

Assassin's Creed II: I haven't physically had my hands on it, so I can't say much for game play.  It /looks/ like they amped up the free-running to be a lot smoother, and the combat got more varied.  They also shook up the side-quests and tried to make things more interesting.  There's more content as a whole, so it's harder to compare it straight to AC I.   But the music went from pleasant to noticeably good, the graphics got a good level-up, and you can see they put a lot more effort into things.  This is a game I definitely /want/ to play. 

So, they fixed the accent issue!  Ezio has just as thick an accent as everyone else, and now there's something like 20% more gratuitous foreign language usage to make you feel immersed!  Possibly enough people complained about Altair's Americana, or Italian just isn't as threatening to Western markets as Arabic.  Hmmm.  Also, Ezio just has a lot more character compared to Altair- he's not a douche, he's a manho!  A lovable one, mind.  You get to see him interact with more people, and he clearly has more of his own story.  Altair was kind of cut and dry, isolated- the only people he really interacts with are Al Mualim and Malik. 

On the other hand, they went and forgot the frame story.  I'm not saying Desmond's "Let's go flop down on my bed!" time was super exciting in AC1, but it helped to create break points and remind you what's supposed to be going on.  Used more effectively, this would be reacting and interacting time; help drive home what he's seeing and why it's impacting the future.  And actually give some context for the voices popping in over the Animus.  As it is, there's potentially interesting characters there getting ignored, and Ezio is sort of running off with the story forever without getting anywhere concrete.  With all of the side-quests, it feels like there's no mile stones.  Don't get me wrong, I like Ezio, but the fact they handled him well kind of makes it more obvious how they failed with Desmond.

I can't really comment more until I finish seeing it through.  Incidentally, since AC2 is so much longer with so much different content, it's a lot harder to find good vids for it.  Either they'll hit all the content and not have HD, or they'll have HD with annoying commentators, or they'll have HD but miss all the side-stories, or be incomplete, or . . .  it's messy.  Either way, much to watch still!  (I am still amused they had the balls to use real historical figures, to very non-historical ends.  Oh, Leo.  "Put it with the other bodies." "Others?!"  *snerk*)

This weekend, I shall actually interact with meatworld humans, and there's much I ought to be doing before that.  Like cleaning!  Or applying to jobs.  I think it's safe to say the phone interview one from last week is a no go, but that's not a surprise.  It's okay; there was one posted today that sent me into giddy paroxysms of delight.  Most likely totally out of my reach!  But it would be awesome.  Next week, the vacation is over and it is time to get moving. 


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January 2017



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