Monday, February 1, 2010
Last Thursday Ubisoft released the first of two down-loadable content files for Assassin’s Creed 2-intended to fill in Memory 12 & 13, respectively-pieces that were supposedly corrupted and inaccessible in the actual game. I am a fan of DLC as long as it doesn’t get ridiculously expensive and adds to the total game experience-if you have already shelled out $60-$80 on a game it’s eye-rolling of the publishers to ask for gobs of additional money to ‘complete’ the storyline. Which is essentially what Ubisoft has done with the AC2 DLC. It’s fairly obvious they were running against a deadline and decided to cut some content from the final product. I didn’t think it detracted from my enjoyment of the game itself-in fact, after playing the first part, Memory 12, I can see why they chose to axe it and instead work diligently on the final memory sequences. I don’t want to spoil anything for those souls who have foolishly let AC2 slip by…but the game is a LOT more mystical and transcendental than most general players would think. You could write it off as a sort of historical fiction novel brought to life but you would be missing a large part of what is going on with Desmond’s world in the present. So to kick a couple of memory sequences out in the middle and push them off to DLC was a good choice in my book. The first is called the Battle of Forli, which is essentially a sort of mini-mission to help Caterina Sforza (the sassy lady you originally met on your way to Venice) with a rebellion/kidnapping problem. The entire play through lasts roughly about an hour and involves a lot of guard-on-guard action. There is a protect mission and a rescue mission, both of which rely on nothing but combat skills, and then a stealth mission to find someone who stole something from you. Oh, and here is where you gain your snappy assassin beard, if you were curious. Ubisoft was also nice enough to listen to all of the whiners (totally me) who missed the achievement for kicking a guard with DaVinci’s flying machine and added ‘fly anytime you like’ from the top of the lighthouse on the north side of the area. It cost about four bucks, which is less than I usually spend on my morning coffee, so I was satisfied by the experience, even though it was disappointingly brief and had no additional achievements for finishing Memory 12. It also hints at Memory 13, the Bonfire of the Vanities, which is supposed to release sometime this month.
Speaking of DLC...this is kind of a new concept for me (within just the past year or so) since I am not a PC gamer. I know a LOT of games in the PC world release ‘expansions’ or have new content constantly because the game is usually continual and has no real end. (Sadly, I am just not reliable enough to play MMO’s, as I could never be counted on to be there for my fellow players and would always let them down.) I stick to the consoles and the more finite games. Lately DLC for console games has become quite the trend. I really loved Knothole Island for Fable 2. I recall it being about ten bucks (the second one, See the Future, might have been less, I don’t remember) and it took me the best part of a day to complete. It was quite fun, even if my dog kept glitching and getting digitally stuck underneath the walkways within beams of wood. I keep hearing some whispers of Fable 3, which makes me giddy. I hope it plays similar to Fable 2 because that game was a joy to play. Originally I was a female character (but who would know? By the end, I got so burly and was glowing so brightly I could barely see a female form.) who married two different men-the blacksmith in Bowerstone and the tattoo artist in the gypsy camp. However, when I chose to ‘change sexes’ at the end of the first play through neither of my husbands were interested in me physically any longer. Oh, they still ardently loved me and showered me with gifts, but anytime I would proposition them they would get all frowny face and give me the no-way gesture. My men were apparently too ‘manly’ for such nonsense. No worries, though, I also had a floozy of a wife in Bloodstone who never turned me down, even when I was a lady. Fist bump!
The most time consuming DLC I have encountered lately is for Borderlands. I ADORED playing the Zombie Island of Dr. Ned-I am a bit of a Halloween freak, so just the glowing jack-o-lanterns tickled all of my fancies. Matt and I played through it in split screen mode so it made collecting the brains much easier since two equals one. Play through is about 4-5 hours and is thoroughly satisfying (zombie heads go ka-boom!). One of the best things about Borderlands is how humorous it is-the opening narrative alone is worth a couple of bucks. So now let’s talk a bit about how much I did NOT like Mad Moxxi’s Underdome. Ultimately, it was extra boring and repetitive. We got through the first three arenas of five rounds of five (just typing that boggled my mind) and got about halfway through one arena of TWENTY rounds of five before I threw the controller to the ground and myself out of the window. Granted, I believe it was expected that we would go online and play it four player-which I suppose would be okay, but as a two player experience it was dreadful. I hear that 2K announced a third would be available soon that will be the best yet and up your level cap beyond 50, so we’ll hopefully I will regain some of the love I lost in the Underdome.
Darksiders Update: Okay, so here I am in the Black Throne. For those not anticipating a drastic switch in gameplay I will share with you something I was unprepared for after beating the fourth of the “Chosen”. Up until this point the game was about 75% Action Adventure (kill, kill, hack, slash) and about 25% dungeon puzzles. Deep within the Black Throne it pivots and is now about 75% EPIC puzzle and 25% KKHS. I want to like it, but I don’t. I got through a large hunk on Saturday morning and decided to stop near the end of the 2nd section of the dungeon for health reasons. My controller can only take so much abuse. I am going to attempt to calmly get through each room so I can advance to the end before next Tuesday when all other games become obsolete and I am deep inside Rapture, but it truly isn’t any fun (for me-I am sure there are people drooling happily through the puzzle rooms) so I am not sure how far I will get.
Weekend Funny-Yesterday Matt decided to spend some time mining planets in Mass Effect 2-apparently this involves holding the left trigger for long periods of finger-cramping time. After about half an hour he got up from the couch, dug around our miscellaneous drawer for a few minutes, found a rubber band to wrap around the controller and continued to mine happily for a couple of hours. Ingenious!