Assassins Creed III: Liberation – The Quitting Point

While I do miss the money I was paid to review games, meager though it may have been, what I do not miss is that awful feeling I would get in my stomach when I knew that I flat out did not like the game I was playing, yet there was still a dozen hours left before I could put the thing to bed. Luckily, this is not a problem here at NHS. If I’m not feeling a game, I stop playing it and move on to other things. I figure that my reasons as to why I stopped playing will be just as useful to our readers as a full blown review, only in this case, I don’t have to waste my time playing something I think sucks.

Which brings me to Assassins Creed III: Liberation. Granted, I don’t think the game sucks, that’s a bit harsh, but I certainly don’t want to play it any more, so I’m not going to. Before we get to why I don’t want to play it again, I can’t stress enough that this is not a review of the game. I’ve put about six hours into the thing and I have no idea what percentage that is, but I do know that I didn’t finish it, hence this is not a review.

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Jumping the Shark #150

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Another week, another milestone for your friendly neighborhood podcasting crew as Jumping the Shark reaches its 150th episode! We mark the occasion by getting together and recording our thoughts on random stuff tangentially related to gaming. Why break with precedent? To that end, Bill breaks out his most favoritist cardboard playthings and talks in depth about what makes Mice and Mystics such good old fashioned family fun, I play around with Windows 8 and come to the startling revelation that it’s all much ado about nothing, and Brandon takes a walk on the Darkside with the new Darksiders II DLC: Abyssal Forge. Also, more television commentary than you can shake a stick at. Thanks as always to all of you for devoting approximately 225 hours of your life listening to us prattle on about electronic toys  art!

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Calendar Man – Week of 11/5

This week sees the release of the only game I see Black Ops 2 getting out of the way for, Halo 4. That’s not to say that the holiday schedule ended up the way that it did because of this, but of all of the games releasing or released this year, Halo 4 is the only one I can see Black Ops 2 steering clear of. It will be interesting to see how the sales of Halo 4 do against the sales of Black Ops 2, what with Black Ops 2 having a significant base on the PS3.

Oh, other games come out this week too. Little Big Planet gets a kart racer on the PS3, the Mass Effect trilogy gets a combined release and Harvest Moon hits the 3DS.

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Joost Goes Inside the Pitch

Joost van Dongen of Ronimo Games, and the creator of Proun, is one of the more forthcoming developers I have come across. Many of his articles on game development are very technical and surprisingly revealing, with a particular nod to his dissection of Proun’s sales statistics. His latest article delves into the process of pitching a game to publishers.

By no means is the article a tell-all of dirty secrets, but it does shed a little light on the difficulties that many developers face when trying to get to market, and why so many developers have in turn chosen the more arduous route of self-promotion and -distribution.

Electronic Super Joy Looks Fun

While I still think the whole “silhouette platformer” bit has been played out and resurrected beyond death, I might make an exception for Electronic Super Joy. Maybe it’s my fondness for super-hard platformers coming out, or maybe it’s just that I have a weird soft spot for the DDR-esque tunes, courtesy of ENVY.

Electronic Super Joy is set to launch on December 7, for iPad, Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux… yep, Linux.

Darksiders 2: The Abyssal Forge Mini-Review

I was going to write a normal review for the Abyssal Forge, the latest piece of Darksiders II DLC and the first piece of DLC released under the season pass banner, but then I couldn’t figure out how I was going to take my criticisms of the last DLC and rephrase them for this DLC. I mean, sure, I could have done that, but I simply don’t want to. Plus, I don’t see that being particularly interesting for any parties involved.

If you want an extra hour, maybe hour and a half, in the world of Darksiders II and don’t mind that the enemies are all reskinned versions of stuff you fought in main game, by all means, download it and enjoy it. Sure, there’s new loot and if you’re not up to level 30 yet, I’m sure the experience points will come in handy. For me, though, there’s no reason to play this DLC, and, I’m guessing, the next piece. The carrot that the game dangled in front of my face for so long is gone and with no new carrot, there’s no reason to play, not when there are so many games currently filling up my backlog. I was willing to let the lack of any real challenge and lack of additional achievements go for the first DLC, in the hopes that these things would be offered in subsequent packs, but not so for this one. I’m not saying that there isn’t worth in playing the DLC just for the joy of exploring more dungeons, but for my Death, the only way I’d get a challenge would be to equip myself with crappy weapons and if I have to make my character less badass to enjoy your DLC, any interest evaporates quickly. Oh, and that level cap raise that was promised when the season pass was first announced? Yeah, nowhere to be found. Whether that’s a result of a dropped feature or a bug, I have no idea.

Like I mentioned before, if an hour in another dungeon interests you, then have at it. Me, I have so may new gaming experiences just waiting to be discovered, that my game time, both for fun and for review, is better spent elsewhere.

Chaos remake in the works

In one of my very earliest posts here, I described my long-time love affair with the ancient 8-bit strategy classic Chaos. It’s more than 25 years old, and I still play it on my Android phone.

So imagine my surprise. No, imagine my delight. No, imagine the sheer, sparkling column of incandescent light that I became when the developer popped up from decades of obscurity and announced a modern remake. That developer, Julian Gollop was also the brains behind the original X-Com, and I don’t doubt his decision was influence by the success of the remake of that game.

Watch this space, people. The rebirth of PC Strategy starts here, and it’s going to be amazing.

Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game Review

Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures game box shot

It is Christmas day, 1980, and I am six years old. I go running through the house, rich with the smells of festive cooking, past beaming adults, trailing behind me a full stocking, to sit on my Gran’s bed and open my presents. Tearing feverishly at the brightly coloured paper, I hope against hope that my hearts desire is nestled inside. And it is: Luke, Han and Leia come tumbling out onto the duvet in all their plastic glory and I am filled with the glee that only a child on Christmas morning can know.

In years since I have lost interest in Star Wars. Long before the prequels, without fanfare or particular reason I simply started to find Tolkien and Star Trek more interesting. As an adult, I left behind my childish things. Even the nostalgia worn thin: when I sat and watched A New Hope with my daughter recently, I consumed it like any other fun family action film. But when I opened a box and found the detailed, hand painted X-Wing miniatures inside for one moment, one brief flicker in time, I was back on that bed again, surrounded by the garish confetti of Christmas paper, trying to still my beating heart. Continue Reading…

Cracked LCD- Dungeon! in Review

 

The first hobby game I ever bought was TSR’s Dungeon!, a game that’s seen a couple of editions over the years including a newly released one from Wizards of the Coast. I was six or seven and on vacation with my mom and dad at Hilton Head, South Carolina. Some family friends and their two kids were with us, and we wound up in a game shop at some point. I saw Dungeon! and had to have it. The parents thought it’d be a good idea to get us something to do in the hotel room, and that’s probably about where my birth as a game player occurred. I can still vividly remember playing the game and thinking how weird the monsters were- classic freakout D&D monsters like black puddings and such. Continue Reading…

Halo 4 in Review

 

When I think of what makes Halo great, I think of things like simple, accessible shooter gameplay built on a rock-solid foundation of impeccably balanced and specialized weapons leveraged in sandbox-y encounters that invite me to develop strategies and overcome impossible odds. I think of raucous multiplayer battles that feel more like schoolyard games than uber-macho paramilitary kill-fests. I’m put in mind of epic vistas and setpieces where I’m taking down a massive enemy vehicle single-handedly or riding out across an alien terrain in a cool tank. Then there’s the sweeping, portentous music and the particular sound of it all- from the announcer that says “Sssslayer” to the report of one of the game’s ubiquitous assault rifles. These things are all part of what Halo is to me.

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