Top 5 potential Assassin’s Creed settings

With it being E3 season once more, plenty of companies are showing trailers of upcoming games, both from established franchises and budding IP’s. During Ubisoft’s press conference, a trailer was shown for the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Origins, which looks to be set in Ancient Egypt.

Now I’m not much of an Assassin’s Creed fan, having only put a few hours into AC3 recently, but the idea of assassins during the era of pharaohs and when the pyramids were being built has a lot of potential. Perhaps the assassins helped design some of the booby traps that pyramids have to defend against grave robbers?

Assassin’s Creed has had plenty of interesting settings for their games, ranging from Italy in the 1500’s, to the American Revolution and even during the golden age of piracy. So what other settings could Assassin’s Creed tackle?

Let me just say this right now: I’m not a fan of Assassin’s Creed. I have no context to any villains, themes, or settings the games have. Maybe some of these have already been done, who knows? If I get something wrong or miss a point with something, don’t bite my head off. Please.

 

5. Feudal Japan

Yeah, I’m getting the obvious one out of the way. When people think of assassins, they more than likely think of Japan’s stealthy killers. The ninja came to be after some people decided they were tired of being oppressed by the samurai, but since they knew that fighting one head on was suicide, they resorted to stealth and other tactics to get the job done.

This would be a perfect set-up for Assassin’s Creed, though it’s more than likely to be wishful thinking, as I believe the director for the series has stated that they will not do a ninja setting. Still, one can dream, right?

4. The Wild West

Assassins in the old west? Hey, if Assassin’s Creed can work with pirates, why not outlaws? With horses, carriages, saloons, and all other kinds of placesettings of the time, it could be pretty fun to see an assassin work their way through the chaos that was the untamed land of that time. Perhaps a Templar (the main baddies of the series) is the most notorious outlaw in the west, with a huge posse and plenty of firepower to boot? The idea’s are there, just gotta flesh them out.

3. World War II

So aside from the obvious mission of assassinating Hitler, why would I want to see an assassin in the second World War? Actually, I’d like to see how an assassin would deal with more modern weaponry such as machine guns, tanks, and mortar shells. The most Assassin’s Creed has ever had are flintlock weapons in 3 during the American Revolution, so seeing an assassin going through No Man’s Land, ducking into trenches and slicing his way through countless Nazi’s would be something I’d like to see.

2. The American Civil War

Now bear with me on this, because I have an interesting idea. Instead of simply being a Union Soldier, why not have two separate storylines: one where you help the North, and one where you help the South?

Perhaps the character is born and raised in the South, and they feel that the Confederacy had the right idea and should’ve won the war. During missions, you could either do what you’re told to help the Union, or you could sabotage the Union and help the Confederacy. Depending on your actions, you could potentially change history so that the South won the war. Hell, get some historical analysts in to say what the world would become.

1. The Cold War

I know what you’re thinking: hasn’t Metal Gear covered this enough? While it’s true that the Cold War setting was handled pretty effectively in the series (especially with Snake Eater,) Assassin’s Creed could also potentially knock it out of the park.

With the CIA and KGB handling covert missions and black ops during that era to ensure that America and the USSR would be the dominant nuclear superpower, perhaps an assassin is in the ranks of one of those groups? You could take the same idea I have with the Civil War and apply it here as well: Either be a CIA agent a keep America on top, or be a KGB spy intent on spreading the glory of Mother Russia.

 

Those are my suggestions for settings Assassin’s Creed can tackle. Do you have any other suggestions? Do you agree, disagree, could possibly clean up some of my ramblings? Let me know in the comments!

Top 5 difficult game concepts

Let’s be honest: not all forms of media can translate easily into other forms. If we’re looking at video games, there have been some colossal swing-and-misses with video game adaptations, with arguably the biggest bomb being ET for the Atari 2600, which almost brought an end to the video game market.

It’s not easy to turn a movie or TV show into a game, but that hasn’t stopped people from trying. Occasionally, there is a game that breaks that mold, but they often require the right angle; one that most don’t think of. With that said, here’s my Top 5 games that would be a challenge to make into a video game.

5. NCIS/CSI/Law & Order

mv5bmtq4odkwmtkyof5bml5banbnxkftztgwmzk3ndqwmdi-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_

This one makes it pretty low on the list since it’s actually a simple solution to make a good game out of a crime drama. There IS a game of NCIS out there, but it’s a painfully simple “place this, move that” puzzle game that got redundant and boring super quick.

My solution: Why not take these shows and give them the LA Noire treatment? LA Noire has the formula where in order to solve cases, you have to actively search for clues and pay attention to testimony to put A and B together to solve crimes. If this kind of problem solving gameplay was incorporated into these TV shows, plus having original voice actors provide the lines, I have little doubt these games would do well.

4. Superman

superman64box

Lord knows that The Man of Steel has a shoddy track record with video games. With a few on systems such as the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Commodore 64, and the Atari 2600, Superman’s greatest blunder (aside from The Quest for Peace) came with the Nintendo 64 game that had mediocre graphics and extremely slippery control.

My solution: It’s a long shot, but how about taking Superman and giving him the Arkham treatment? The Batman Arkham series took The Dark Knight and put him in a open world to explore and fight bad guys. Add in a great story and a plethora of villains such as The Joker, The Riddler, The Penguin, and more, and you have a great franchise that showed that Batman could have AWESOME video games.

That being said, it’s a long shot considering that Batman’s legacy is more interesting than Superman’s, not to mention that Batman CAN actually lose, whereas Superman is meant to be unbeatable. Still, it would be worth at least a shot.

3. Nightmare on Elm Street

153229

What’s interesting about this is that there already IS a game based on the hit horror film. Released on the NES, the game was a sidescroller that had characters looking for the bones of Freddy Krueger to bury them. Ironically, the game based on the first movie follows more closely to the third one. While playable at the very least, the game didn’t have anything to brag about, and since then, the only other time we’ve seen Freddy in a video game was a cameo in Mortal Kombat 9.

My solution: With the success of Dead by Daylight, and the concept of the upcoming Friday the 13th video game, I think that Nightmare could thrive in the same manner. Or, how about modeling it after Until Dawn? Having multiple victims trying to escape the wrath of Freddy, leading to multiple endings, and no two playthroughs being the same? That’s a killer idea.

Tell ’em Freddy sent ya.

2. Breaking Bad

breakingbad

I’ll be honest, I’ve only started watching this show recently, but I will admit that it has an interesting concept: Walter White is a chemistry teacher that is diagnosed with lung cancer, and resorts to cooking meth to keep his family afloat. It has brilliant writing, and Bryan Cranston captures the transformation of Walter from mild-mannered chemist to the badass Scarface-esqe meth cook known as Heisenberg PERFECTLY. But how to make a game of that? A shooter wouldn’t be that interesting, and a cooking game is definitely out of the question.

My solution: There’s one gameplay style that would do Breaking Bad justice: TellTale. The TellTale The Walking Dead series of games where the players choices molds how the story unfolds is a resounding success. TellTale has even started adapting other forms of media to this gameplay style, such as Borderlands and even Minecraft. A TellTale game could follow a new protege under Heisenberg, or maybe even follow a different character altogether, much like how their Walking Dead series has original characters.

It’s time to cook.

1. One Punch Man

636217738283505369-1515048321_one20pucnch20man

Now this one is a challenge. The popular manga/anime follows Saitama, who only wants to be a hero for fun. The only problem is that he trained so hard for so long, that anything he fights, no matter how big, strong, tough, or fast, he can defeat it in only one punch. As such, he’s grown bored.

hmwdshkftfyshq7gqbe1_b01

The whole thing is a parody of Shonen manga/anime, but instead of the main character wanting to be the best, the main character already IS the best, so now it’s just a matter of him finding something else to do. But if Saitama can defeat anything in one punch, how could you make a game of One Punch Man?

My solution: This one is arguably the toughest sell, but if One Punch Man were to make it as a video game, the only genre I can think of that would do it justice is Dynasty Warriors. Other animes such as One Piece and Gundam have adapted this style of gameplay, where you’re a one man army blasting through thousands of enemies. Since Saitama IS essentially a one man army, this could give them a chance to REALLY amp up the quantity of mooks for Saitama to face.

The Nuzlocke Challenge: The test of a true Pokémon Master

There are many kinds of self imposed challenges in the Pokémon games, and the granddaddy of them all is the Nuzlocke run.

Started by a college student during a cool down period in between classes, the web comic artist known as ‘Nuzlocke’ started a new file in his copy of Pokémon Ruby. However, to make it more challenging, he imposed two rules on himself: He could only catch the first Pokémon he saw in a new area, and if a Pokémon faints, it’s considered dead and must be released. Nuzlocke then turned the adventure into a web comic and posted them on Tumblr, where they were very well received and gave Nuzlocke his namesake based on a Nuzleaf modeled after John Locke from the hit show LOST.

nuzlocke

I believe this is all happening for a reason.

While the concept of death is implied in the Pokémon universe with the likes of the Pokémon Tower in Lavender Town, which is a giant gravesite, the Nuzlocke challenge brings that concept to the forefront. Since you’re not allowed to use items such as Revives to bring your Pokémon back, you have to think strategically, especially since you’re only allowed to get the first Pokémon you see in a new area.

This is a surprisingly hard challenge, and the payoff isn’t all that great; it’s mostly bragging rights. Still, that hasn’t stopped people from making comics out of their own challenges, such as the aforementioned Nuzlocke and the DeviantArt user Epifex.

I’ve even attempted a few Nuzlocke challenges in FireRed, SoulSilver, and Platinum, albeit unsuccessfully. The closest I came was the battle with Lance in FireRed, where his Aerodactyl landed a string of critical hits on my team. Even though I’ve never won the challenge, I found the experiences to be quite memorable.

Think you have what it takes to face the Nuzlocke Challenge? If so,be prepared for the heartache and intense moments.

 

 

Jontron Twitter war: Fair punishment, or silencing differing opinions?

When one puts themselves into the public eye, they more than likely open themselves to have everything they say scrutinized by people with WAY too much time on their hands.

tron_750x400_acf_cropped

I have several questions.

Jon Jafari, better known as Jontron, is a video game reviewer, and creator of the video gaming website NormalBoots.com. Aside from posting video game reviews, he’s also done work for Did You Know Gaming, as well as being one of the co-founders of the popular let’s play channel, Game Grumps.

Jontron is an unapologetic fan of the Banjo Kazooie franchise, Nuts and Bolts not withstanding. As such, he had a role in the upcoming indie game Yooka-Laylee. Unfortunately, his role in the game has been cut due to remarks he made on Twitter regarding immigration.

As a result of his anti-immigration views, Jontron has lost approximately 10K Youtube subscribers, and Playtonic Games have removed Jafari’s voice work from their upcoming game Yooka-Laylee.

Now for the rant.


Once again, this comes down to the key word: opinions. You make of it what you will. However, this is a HUGE issue for the sake of democracy and differing opinions.

What’s the point of having a different or unpopular opinion if someone is absolutely crucified for having one? Losing subscribers is one thing, but removing someone’s voice work from your video game just because people don’t agree with someone’s political views?

That’s not justice, you’re just feeding the flames to allow people to bitch about anything they want for the sake of bitching. This behavior needs to be stomped down, and these people need to be told to get over it.

What does Skyward Sword have over other Zelda games?

Most gamers that love the Legend of Zelda series have differing opinions on what their favorite in the series is. The SNES classic, A Link to the PastOcarina of Time, the entry that bridged the gap from 2D to 3D? Maybe Majora’s Mask, with it’s darker plot and more macabre setting?

While many people debate on what is the best Zelda, the consenting opinion is that Skyward Sword is the worst.

legend_of_zelda_skyward_sword_boxartReleased on the Nintendo Wii in 2011, Skyward Sword is meant to be the first game in the Zelda timeline, setting the tone for the tale of Link, Princess Zelda, and Demise, who would become the evil foil known as Ganon.

The game has received unanimous praise from gaming magazines and websites, but fans have written it off as “gimmicky” and “lacking the Zelda formula,” such as Arin Hanson, aka Egoraptor, who mentioned his dislike for the game in one of his videos.

Fans seem to knock on the game for being too linear, the motion controls, and backtracking being overused between the 4 main areas: Skyloft, Faron Woods, Eldin Volcano, Nanayru Desert.

These opinions on the games elements are just that: opinions, make of them what you will. However, there’s one saving grace that makes the game incredible: the relationship dynamic between Link and Zelda.

In the other games, the relationship between these two rarely went past “she’s the princess, you’re the hero, hop to it.” In Skyward Sword, the game takes time to establish a connection between Link and Zelda, in which there’s a real high school, friends-since-childhood theme in the game.maxresdefault

When Zelda is kidnapped after some time, Link sets out to save her, and in time, finds her in the Temple of Hylia, where Zelda reveals that she is the reincarnation of the goddess Hylia, and that she must put herself in a deep sleep in order to hold back the power of Demise until Link gains the power to defeat him. In the scene that follows, Zelda states that while she may be the goddess reborn, she is still Link’s friend….“I’m still your Zelda.” In the linked video, at the 11:33 mark when Zelda puts herself to sleep, to quote the Simpsons, “You can actually pinpoint the second when his heart rips in half.”

This is a very powerful scene that captures the relationship between the two PERFECTLY. Instead of saving her because she’s a princess, Link is saving his best friend, the girl he’s grown up with, the girl he’s spent so much time with…the girl he loves and who loves him back.

No matter what people say about the games mechanics or motion controls, they cannot deny the connection between Link and Zelda in this game.

Fallout 4 1-ups The Walking Dead

fallout_4_cover_artWith how open the world of Fallout 4 is, you never know what or when you’ll discover something that stands out.

 

Quick plot synopsis: In 2077, you and your family escape to Vault 111 just as America falls to nuclear annihilation. After escaping from cryogenic sleep, you escape the Vault into your old Massachusetts world 200 years after the fact. The main goal is to find your infant son Shaun, who was kidnapped in the Vault.

There’s your goal, but nothings stopping you from exploring the whole world before you do so.

If you explore the Jamaica Plain Town Hall basement, you’ll find a treasure trove of old artifacts meant to be a time capsule. Among these items is a 2076 World Series baseball bat, a melee weapon with an added effect: with each hit, there’s a chance that whoever got hit gets sent FLYING!

If the character has the ability to mod weapons, they can turn the bat from wood to aluminum, and even attach objects to increase the damage, such as nails, barbed wire, and even sawblades!

Hmm, a killer baseball bat? Why does that sound familiar?

landscape-1459849626-walking-dead-negan-jeffrey-dean-morgan

The immediate comparison to this bat is often Negan and his bat Lucille, the newest antagonist in AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” in which Negan killed both Abraham and Glenn during the Season 7 premire.

One bat’s good for pissing off an entire fanbase, while the other lets you survive the post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland that is Concord, Mass. by knocking anything it hits towards the nosebleed seats, be it a Radroach, Bloatfly, bandit, or DeathClaw.

Why Metal Gear Survive makes sense.

Ask anyone about the Metal Gear franchise, they’ll probably bring up stealth gameplay, cinematic cutscenes, and a plethora of social and political commentary. Hideo Kojima’s brainchild has built up an impressive reputation, but many believe that to be under threat now.

With Konami and Kojima having a huge falling out, many believe that Konami will take it out on the franchise, with both a Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater pachinko game for Japanese markets, and the next installment of the franchise, Metal Gear Survive. It’s a Metal Gear game…with zombies.

3111994-7

Photo courtesy of gamespot.com.

Kojima’s method of story telling, combined with the survival horror nature of zombies? That doesn’t seem to mesh well…does it?

Before anyone writes this off as a cash grab, remember that there was another video game that was a combination of stealth and survival horror, and had compelling storytelling that’s ripe for roundtable discussions, just like Metal Gear.

video_game_cover_-_the_last_of_us

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.com.

 

In “The Last of Us,” a man named Joel, who has lost a lot in the aftermath of a cordyceps outbreak that turns people into monsters, is tasked with transporting a girl named Ellie to a rebel camp that is working on a cure for the outbreak. The story as many twists and turns and HEART-STABBING moments.

The main game itself focuses on surviving against anything that tries to kill you, but with limited resources (requiring 4 blade components and 4 adhesive components to make 1 shiv,) stealth is an important tool for survival.

Anyone that’s played a Metal Gear game knows that that’s Kojima’s method of writing in a nutshell. There’s plenty of twists that throw players for a loop and keeps them guessing, while being intricate enough to fuel hour-long debates about themes in the games.

It’s never good to judge a book by its cover. No matter how ridiculous it may seem, it might make more sense in the long run.

Alec Grant-Overwatch

Alec Grant, a Paralegal major, loves putting his free time into Overwatch, the popular team shooter from Blizzard Entertainment.

overwatch-share-3d5a268515283007bdf3452e877adac466d579f4b44abbd05aa0a98aba582eeaebc4541f1154e57ec5a43693345bebda953381a7b75b58adbd29d3f3eb439ad2

Overwatch © Blizzard

“I got into the game in early October,” said Grant.

“I feel that what got this game as big as it is is because of Blizzard. This game is very similar to Battleborn, which is a fun game in it’s own, but because this was made by Blizzard, Overwatch completely overshadowed it,” said Grant.

Blizzard is responsible for World of Warcraft, the most popular MMO in gaming history, so Grant has an argument to be made here. Regardless, he loves playing the game.

“I main Reaper and Roadhog,” said Grant. “The characters I hate the most are Bastion, because people keep spamming his turret form, and Tracer since she moves too fast for me to get a good shot.”

reaper_portrait

Reaper © Blizzard

roadhog_portrait_m

Roadhog © Blizzard

tracer_portrait

Tracer © Blizzard

bastion-gameplay

Bastion © Blizzard

Disclaimer: All images are courtesy of the official Overwatch wikia.

Bonus article- My opinion on Overwatch

Note: The following article is what was published in Eastern Kentucky University’s newspaper, The Eastern Progress. I wrote the article for the newspaper’s ‘Opinions’ column. I’m placing it here to showcase my opinion on the popular shooter. Enjoy!

overwatch-share-3d5a268515283007bdf3452e877adac466d579f4b44abbd05aa0a98aba582eeaebc4541f1154e57ec5a43693345bebda953381a7b75b58adbd29d3f3eb439ad2.jpg

Overwatch © Blizzard Entertainment

 

I’ve never been a big fan of multiplayer games, except for Smash Bros., and so I didn’t really pay much attention to Blizzard’s first go at a first person shooter, Overwatch when it came out. It looked like another version of Valve’s Team Fortress 2, and I’m not very good at that game. I can play the Heavy and Sniper characters fine, but everyone else is better than me, and the players bullying me didn’t help anything.

blog_chars_base3.jpg

Team Fortress 2 © Valve

I saw the trailers, I saw the gameplay, and I heard my friends talking about it until finally my curiosity got the better of me. I bought the base game, no special features or anything, for $40. I went to the Game Cave, fired it up, and prepared for the worst.

This game completely blew me away. I was able to pick it up rather easily and complete some AI and Player matches with some good scores. I’m still not that great at it, but I’ve gotten a few “Play of the Games” to my credit, so I must be doing something right.

I think what Overwatch has over TF2 is that there are more play styles for people to experiment with. TF2 has 9 characters, each with their own gimmick (Pyro, Sniper, Medic, etc.) and that’s it. If you’re not good at that character, then that’s all she wrote. In Overwatch, there’s different options for people to try. Reaper and Roadhog both use shotguns, but they play differently, so people can find something that suits them.

I love playing as Tracer and Reaper for dishing out the pain, Mei for confounding everyone with her ice-based attacks (and plethora of ice puns), Mercy when I’m the designated healer, and Roadhog is my main character, using his chain to bring people closer to me for a good shot. In addition, he can heal himself if need be. This game offers more options than TF2, and I’ll admit it has me hooked.

mei_portrait

Mei © Blizzard

mercy_portrait

Mercy © Blizzard

reaper_portrait

Reaper © Blizzard

roadhog_portrait_m

Roadhog © Blizzard

tracer_portrait

Tracer © Blizzard

For more of an idea of what I mean through this article, watch the following review of the game by Somecallmejohnny. I believe he sums it up quite nicely.

Disclaimer: Team Fortress picture courtesy of the Team Fortress 2 wikia.

All Overwatch pictures courtesy of Overwatch wikia.

Youtube video courtesy of Juan Ortiz, aka Somecallmejohnny.

Phoenix Lee Covington-SMITE

IMG_2488.JPG

If you see Graphic Design major Phoenix Lee Covington in Powell, chances are he’s playing the popular MOBA game, SMITE.

The point of SMITE is very similar to League of Legends-destroy objective before your opponents do-except there’s one major difference: In LoL, the game is at a top down perspective, so all you needed was the mouse to move. In SMITE, the game is at a 3rd person view, requiring more use of the keyboard.

“I’ve been playing SMITE for 4 years, ever since a friend referred me to it,” said Covington.

The game has a variety of characters, centered around 5 classes: Hunter, Assassin, Warrior, Mage, and Guardian.

“I usually play as the warrior character, Sun Wu-Kong,” said Covington.

sddefault

Sun Wu-Kong © SMITE

“Something else about SMITE is that you might get teamed up with your friends, but it’s completely random who your teammates are,” said Covington.

Disclaimer: Image provided by the Smite wikia.