Tag Archives: Writing

Let’s Talk About…Call of Duty

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With Black Ops 4 coming up (and surprising us for numerous reasons this year, multiplayer focus only being one of them), I figured it’s as good a time as any to talk about both the series and its longevity as well as my own experiences with it. I’ll touch on all of my previous reviews and make notes as to how they hold up in relation to the games even now. I’ll touch on some of the places the series could go, especially after a year where many players seem neither very excited for Black Ops 4 nor Battlefield V in terms of colossal shooters, each for their own unique reasons. I’ll even talk about how Black Ops 4 seems to be primed to out-Black Ops 3 Black Ops 3- it’s a mouthful but it’s a thing.

First things first, let’s briefly touch on my personal involvement: the reviews side of the house.

I’ve either retroactively reviewed or reviewed each entry of the series to date (even the piss-poor ports and Declassified). Whether that has been in a feature-length review or in a blurb format on twitter, I’ve at the least made the highs and lows as well as where I numerically typically known. I’m not going to provide all the links to each specific review as the games themselves won’t all hold up to the test of time nor to the specific points I credit them with, however I will give the original ratings and a ballpark current one for added benefit.

Starting from the top…

Call of Duty 1, 2, and 3 (in all their various versions and ports) received an 8.0, 8.5, and 8.0 from me respectively. The original wasn’t perfect but it still holds up quite well in many ways and you can see the inspirations for the series down the road in little things from mechanics to gunplay. The sequel improved upon the first game in every perceivable way and was also the best game in the series until the first Modern Warfare rolled around. Call of Duty 3 will always be a step backwards to me but it also allowed Treyarch to get their ideas out there and to get some experience before their arguably better work on the series than the original creators themselves (through later arcs such as the World at War/Black Ops story).

Call of Duty 4, Modern Warfare 2, and Modern Warfare 3 although alternating off-years with Treyarch’s Cold War and Near-Future saga, were overall the pinnacle of the series in terms of multiplayer production and quality product. There were highs and lows here as well but few people argue the merit that the first two games of that trilogy arc especially had. Modern Warfare 1 (Call of Duty 4) as well as Modern Warfare 2 both received a 9.75 from me for stellar campaigns and multiplayer innovation. Modern Warfare 3 had its fair share of developmental issues and because of that fell off in overall quality, however it has remained one of my favorite games in the series ever since and still netted an 8.5 from me as well.

Call of Duty: World at War, Black Ops 1, and Black Ops 2 were Treyarch’s major push into Infinity Ward’s home territory and also established them as the creators with the best storytelling ability in the series. The continuation of stories just between the Black Ops titles (primarily one and two, not the latter additions) with the backstory of World at War made for excellent gameplay as well. Although World at War only received an 8.75 from me, it revisited the previously overdone WWII setting and delivered an epic story with memorable moments and characters. Black Ops 1 is perhaps the best story to date in the series and also some of the greatest multiplayer and zombies content with a 9.25 rating. Black Ops 2 and the rest of the series and its quality truly started to decline with 2011’s MW3 and then on, especially from Ghosts forward, however the 2012 gem still gets an 8.0 from me and is my favorite multiplayer experience to date.

Here’s where we get into some hit or miss storytelling and a darker time for the series. Year in and year out, the quality has become something of an unsteady stream as there will be plenty of good ideas yet flawed products. Call of Duty: Ghosts is perhaps the worst game in the series in terms of mechanics and fine-tuned gameplay, however it had an interesting story. I gave it a 7.5 in my original review. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare still boasts one of the most interesting and best-acted stories and yet is coupled with some of the worst multiplayer ideas in the entire series and also largely credited with the “future first” push towards things that are less Call of Duty in nature. I gave it a 9.0 for its many strengths despite the lack of overall quality and pacing of multiplayer.

We’ve begun a weird sort of tango that is the dance between three core studios now- what remains of Infinity Ward and their different ideas for each year now that the Modern Warfare arc has ended, Treyarch and their continued spiral for the futuristic Black Ops series, and Sledgehammer and their one-off’s in Advanced Warfare and WWII.

I never actually took the time to develop a full-length review for Black Ops 3 however I have spoken out on how odd if not interesting its story is and how frenetic and fast paced the multiplayer modes are. Black Ops 3 certainly does a lot right as a fun game but I’m not sure how good it has been overall for the series due to it pushing towards a new focus on “operators” and futuristic ideas and a lack of realism or grounded focus. If it were the first game to be multiplayer only, I have a feeling I would’ve felt a lot better about the overall product, however for all people want to complain about Infinite Warfare being the far cry from Call of Duty, it is Black Ops 3 that started to buck the trend after Advanced Warfare suggested it. Honestly, I could argue for Black Ops 3 falling anywhere between an 8.5 and 9.25, however it begs the question: just what does ‘Call of Duty’ mean anymore and is it okay for the game to evolve so far past its initial boundaries?

Infinite Warfare without a doubt did not do a lot right in the online realm as I find the multiplayer quite literally boring at times and a dumbed down version of what Black Ops 3 did with a few added gimmicks thrown into the mix. However, as far as stories and challenging singleplayer gameplay goes, I’d argue that Infinite Warfare is some of the best of the best. It’s much more open ended than even Black Ops 2 but it does not suffer for it. I gave the mixed back an 8.0 overall simply because it plays to its strengths and only suffers overall because it does not properly cater to the most important market of all: it’s online fanbase. It does do a great job of mixing longtime favorite modes such as zombies into a non-Treyarch product for the first time since Advanced Warfare attempted and failed to do so.

Call of Duty WWII is a beautiful game. I mean that quite literally because Sledgehammer has proved themselves the most capable in the graphics department. However, I wish their gameplay and quality were as good. The story in WWII is great although I still think Call of Duty should look to other past conflicts besides the World Wars or future ones. It has some gimmicky mechanics that I can’t say excite me for how they will be further implemented in the future (see: Black Ops 4’s health packs). It also sports possibly the least creativity in multiplayer maps since Ghosts. Overall, I suppose it gets an 8.5 from me for many of the same reasons Advanced Warfare fared as well as it did in my eyes.

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For my next trick, I’m going to discuss some ideas the series should do more than just toss around. Only a couple in particular really.

Instead of continuing to push into the futuristic shooter category, which is ultimately going the way of the former WWII shooter category, I’m of the opinion we are long overdue a true Vietnam era Call of Duty game that builds upon elements of the Cold War genre introduced in both original Black Ops titles. Give us an ‘Apocalypse Now’ style narrative and give us the harsh reality of guerrilla warfare in the jungle again. That was where the series was strongest in black ops tactics so instead of being a simple retread, give us the grunt’s viewpoint like we’ve held in several of the WWII games from the eyes of a recruit entering the foray. Who wouldn’t want to play what is essentially Forrest Gump?

Another idea and one that is arguably much harder to pull off but has also been hinted at in the past would be a Middle Eastern setting or perhaps even limited to the Iraq/Afghanistan warzones we’ve witnessed in the early 2000s. We saw some of this in Modern Warfare 1’s memorable missions and first few acts, however we haven’t seen a lot of it since Shock and Awe. It doesn’t have to be in any way a retread and we could get some great moments again from films such as The Hurt Locker or Lone Survivor depending upon whether we are following a group of covert operatives or mere marines.

What I’m really trying to say is maybe the series could use yet another quality and grounded experience after all. I don’t want a future where Killzone, Battlefield, Call of Duty, Halo, and all the other shooters out there with popular followings and good ideas look the exact same in some future/near-future setting. Quality is all well and fine but continuing to pique the interest of gamers and consumers with new ideas or refreshing takes on similar ones is key as well. If Call of Duty is going to continue being an annual release and not run itself wholly into the ground as Activision seems fine with doing inevitably, it will at some point need a different overhaul to avoid going the way Assassin’s Creed almost did. Adding a battle royale mode to cash in on new gimmicks isn’t going to cut it no matter how entertaining it is. Make your money, but make your art too.

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It’s the final stretch. Here’s why I think Black Ops 4 will be such a mixed bag despite also being undeniably fun content.

Black Ops 4 is drawing plenty of comparison to Black Ops 3 for more than just looking like pretty much the same game. So 2014’s Advanced Warfare introduced us to a further future setting than 2025 in Black Ops 2 and to more mobility than 2013’s Ghosts and its slide mechanics. WE got double jumps and side-hopping, grenade avoiding slides. For many people that was an interesting mechanic at first but then a noticeable shift in how games could be played. Black Ops 3 introduced a ridiculous amount of verticality and traversal with what essentially equates to a triple jump and ensured that all operators could boost around the small maps at an insane pace in order to keep the gameplay as frantic as possible. In 2016, Infinity Ward slowed things back down a little with Infinite Warfare despite also pushing even further into the future- a combination that both puzzled and disappointed many fans who now had an odd amount of mobility in comparison to previous titles but also a setting closer to Halo than Call of Duty.

WWII of course cut out a lot of these mobile mechanics and went for an entirely grounded approach which in many ways now makes the game feel old and out of place when you look at the fact that it’s been pushing mobility for five years. It also took away automatically replenishing health which has been a staple of the series for quite a long time. Now Black Ops 4 is making some weird hybrid scenario combining all of these things into one package. The mobility looks like something Call of Duty: Ghosts could’ve gotten by with or perhaps even Infinite Warfare, but there’s less focus on all that boost-jumping madness. The operators are largely the same or similar to Black Ops 3’s classes and characters. Player selected health stimulants or whatever you want to call their equivalent are a strategic-use item (so continuing what WWII started). And last but not least, there’s no single-player campaign.

Single-player has never been the focus of Call of Duty since Modern Warfare 1 exploded onto the scene, that much is obvious. However a good Call of Duty game has also always had an excellent or at least well-done narrative campaign as well. All the best ones: Black Ops 1 included, had excellent single-player to accompany the multiplayer content. Not having it included does mean they should theoretically be able to focus more on a refined multiplayer experience however it also feels like a copout for them to produce the game faster and in a more haphazard manner. Essentially they’re also raising expectations that MP must be perfect because after all it’s what they’ve spent all their time on. And don’t get me started with why they’re retconning the original Zombies timeline and backstory in favor of…whatever the new version is here.

I’m not saying Black Ops 4 adding a wealth of multiplayer content such as Blackout (Royale) won’t be a fun and even great experience, I just don’t think it’ll ever be a better experience than better games before it such as Black Ops 1 or Modern Warfare 2. I’m always interested to see the evolution of a series and how it deals with doing things in new and inventive ways but to be honest, Call of Duty has been on its way out for quite some time despite still making a ton of money each year. All good things must come to an end and I hope Activision realizes that some day and is able to do it on their own terms rather than suffer through several down titles with no really effort put into differentiating them from others previously released and then shutting the series down.

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Monthly Movie Magic- July

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We’re halfway through August (give or take a few days) but I’d like to flash back to July to talk about some of the films I’ve watched between then and now. So although the title of this post is somewhat of a misnomer, I hope you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me anyway.

The Mediocre Watches- Game Over Man, Mute, and The Package (Netflix):

One of these films is not like the rest. If you guessed the dark and fascinating concept of Mute the you’re absolutely right. Whereas the other two films focus on dark comedy and genitalia in pretty even measures, Mute is a bleak story without much consolation. In many ways it reminded me of one particular episode of the excellent adaptation of Altered Carbon, however it was not quite as realized from a story standpoint as it could or should’ve been. The Package had a few smirk worthy one-liners but outside of that it was terrible and not worth the time. Game Over Man (forget the punctuation, forget the plot) was a comedic Die Hard wannabe with interesting moments and a splattering of gore.

Final Grades: Mute 6/10, Game Over Man 4/10, The Package 2/10

The Cults of Personality- Eyes Wide Shut, Red Dragon, and Constantine (Netflix):

I’ll take whatever flak will come my way for stating that the filmmakers milked Hannibal for all he was worth in turning three films and a prequel film into worthy Sir Anthony Hopkins performances in the nineties and early thousands. Red Dragon is neither the best nor worst film in that series however it is worthy of the cult attraction in terms of character building and eventually setting up plot lines of the far superior television show era Will Graham as well (sorry Ed Norton). Eyes Wide Shut, as with most anything To Cruise touches is gritty gold and very, very intriguing and mind bending at times. Constantine is the odd one out here but certainly not as terrible as it could’ve been despite Keanu Reeves doing his best Shatner interpretation with each choked out syllable.

Final Grades: Eyes Wide Shut 8/10, Red Dragon 7/10, Constantine 6/10

Worthy Newcomers- Set It Up, Father of the Year, Message from the King (Netflix):

The three films in this particular segment vary wildly in tone and quality however the most important thing to note is that they do what they promise very well and deliver on that tone. Whereas two are comedies through and through and have their fair share of cringe worthy and hilarious moments, the third is also a gritty performance pre-Black Panther by Chadwick Boseman and an excellent low-budget revenge flick. Set It Up is cliched and yet a wild ride all the same and one I enjoyed and was fond of by the end. Father of the Year is a typical David Spade romp and brings back memories of better movies and moments as well. Message from the King is an entertaining fight and has several well-choreographed moments to a dark score.

Final Grades: Set It Up 8/10, Message from the King 7/10, Father of the Year 6/10

Movie Theater Mayhem- Uncle Drew and Mission Impossible Fallout (Theater):

These two films were phenomenal for a number of good reasons. Uncle Drew is one sketch after another that has a great cast as well as great moral by the end of the lighthearted romp. Mission Impossible Fallout is the best movie in a grand series and one that ensures it has a bright future to come despite some characters not appearing and others ending their series spanning tenure. Kyrie Irving proved he has handles as well as plenty of ‘young blood’ jokes for us youngsters on and off the court. Tom Cruise proved his resilience and seemingly inhuman ability to heal and release an excellent product yet again.

Final Grade: Mission Impossible Fallout 9/10, Uncle Drew 8/10

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Relax, Reload, and Relaunch

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The next few months are going to be a very interesting time of year as they always are. You have the usual regulars such as Call of Duty: Another Year, Another Lackluster Title, Assassin’s Creed: What Historical Time Period to Ruin Next, and the usual annual crowd. However there are also some interesting projects that deserve your attention: Fallout 76- which probably wasn’t what anybody wanted or expected but should be an interesting diversion even despite the ultimately assured and absurd level of bugs it’ll tout, Red Dead Redemption II- going the prequel route but somehow making us fall in love with Rockstar’s vision of the West all over again, and Destiny 2’s latest and possibly greatest expansion yet, Forsaken.

Fallout 4 was a good game but it was also a massive letdown in the eyes of fans, focusing on looks and gameplay in some respects but failing in the story department in others. Touting world building and characterization yet not breaking much new ground in terms of what Fallout 3 and New Vegas had already been able to achieve. In this way, Fallout 76’s vision of the future will undoubtedly break new ground just due to the fact it is such a hybrid or bastardization of content, however if it is able to be both a good single an multi-player adventure is the true question. Perhaps it’ll grow to meet the apparent demand for online role-playing games that shooters have largely left untouched lately despite the MMO-RPG hybrid genre growing bigger by the year.

Red Dead Redemption II is another prime example of not being the game we wanted or expected and yet quickly growing to be the one we are looking forward to as Rockstar’s next project. The Grand Theft Auto series continues to pour content into the last entry even half a decade after release and Rockstar has no set plans to really push that series further or to seemingly put time and effort into smaller IPs such as L.A. Noire or older titles coming back. As such, it seemed only fair that Red Dead get some love and attention again nearly ten years after it showcased a graphic depiction of the wild west and blew hearts and minds and brains out accordingly. John Marston may be back but he’s only part of the show this time around. Characters and craziness look to be in huge demand as with all great Rockstar games.

The third time has always been the charm for the folks over at Bungie working on Destiny. The first game was mostly a mess until the release of The Taken King revitalized players and sales in one fell swoop. It helped to realize the vision the developers had for the game prior to wrapping up the first few years and game with an equally strong Rise of Iron expansion. Destiny 2 started on much more of a strong note in terms of story and content however it could almost be arguably said it had a little bit of too much where Destiny 1 had too little. Once you got through the lengthy slog of content you were “rewarded” by both the Curse of Osiris and Warmind offering far too little endgame content and mostly being short trips to slightly new locations with a varied cosmetic enemy appearance. We’ve already been put on notice and made aware that Forsaken, like Taken King will upend our expectations and change the very world as we know it. While I’m equal parts eager to see these changes made manifest in under a month, I’m also terrified by the consequences for everyone’s favorite Hunter and the rest of the lore.

That’s essentially it for my short glance back into the world of gaming. I’ve been largely out of the loop for several years now which is no surprise but I’ve also been watching from behind the scenes- writing here and there for other projects and keeping up to date with the few people I stay in touch with. Cheerio.

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(From Mobile) 5 Titles I’m Looking Forward To

I’ll keep this short and simple until I have time to reach a laptop and edit it later.

Here are five titles (if you know me, you know I’m looking forward to) of interest:

Cyberpunk 2077- it’s CD Projekt and I’ve been looking forward to it even prior to the amazing E3 showing.

The Surge 2- I didn’t know I wanted it and I certainly didn’t know we were getting it but it does look quite promising and well, at least it probably won’t let me down as much as both Halo and the Assassin’s Creed series continue to as they trod on.

Generation Zero- my interest is piqued considerably and I’d like to see how Avalanche continues to hone their craft.

Doom Eternal- consider me nostalgic but I loved the simplicity of Doom 2016 so an essential Doom II retread is okay in my book as well with a new coat of paint here.

Anthem- BioWare needs to make up for Mass Effect Andromeda and seeing as we aren’t getting Dragon Age 4 sooner rather than later I’m willing to see where and how this goes.

Honorable Mention: Bethesda’s entire slew of new stuff coming out (despite all the issues and doubts I have regarding the interesting gimmick that is Fallout 76). Also anything by Rockstar since we know they mine the gold vein religiously.

Cheerio. Also RIP to the GI crew. I’ll hopefully be better about being in touch.

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Sneak Preview: Assassin’s Creed Bore-Again

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Allow me to first state that I have always been a fan of Ubisoft’s history spanning series and that despite its many flaws I have always found the entries to be entertaining and enthralling in many ways. This particular blog post today is indeed a spoof and not reflective of any actually Origins gameplay or any of the Assassin’s Creed titles although I will be combining certain elements of many of them here.

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The Assassin- we do not know his name yet or what exact time period this is as it seems the Animus has broken down and isn’t processing differences between the different time periods we’ve seen or anything else lately, opens his eyes. Benjamin Franklin is whispering some sort of weird incantation at the foot of the bed. Theon Greyjoy stands in the corner muttering to himself about letting everyone down and that he can never go back to Westeros and face his evil uncle- probably a side quest offered in the season pass bundle.

As you stand up and look around the room your feet buckle and you collapse to your knees in agony. Looking down at your hand you notice that it is a solid red mechanical prosthetic and that you also have some sort of weird green glowing mark or energy emitting from your palm. Just from these few opening moments it seems that Ubisoft is really cashing in on going big or going home, making it their goal to copy the best and brightest that the industry has seen these past few years. I think this could be a really interesting project indeed and I’m excited to see the inevitable decision later on in the game to battle the Animus itself as a final boss and eventually destroy both it and the series as a whole, once and for all in a blazing flame of glory and the best Assassin’s Creed game to date.

I finally gain control of my character after a quick cutscene of Altair and Ezio “meeting” re-cut from good old Assassin’s Creed Revelations. Piloting my Assassin in the familiar slow walk of confidence I stride around the room and interact with several papers and notes scribbled furiously by Subject 27- this game’s new version of ‘The Truth’ it seems like. There’s also some sort of odd wall-art that reminds me of Rat Man’s den from Portal but perhaps for the sake of this game series it would be better referred to as Rat Man’s Eden.

Walking outside, Casandra Pentaghast runs up to me and demands that I look at the gaping hole in the sky where a giant mechanical Reaper-like being is entering our world/dimension/simulation through. It releases a swarm of those alien guys from Saints Row IV who fall to the earth and then set up a tutorial of the new combat system. I hop from cover to cover like it’s Deus Ex: Mankind Divided meets Gears of War 4. Ubisoft is really making the most of the various parts of all the interesting games of the past decade but so far we haven’t got to see all of the amazing ideas they’ve come up themselves.

Eventually I get close enough to perform a stealth takedown on one of the aliens but the game demands I make a $0.99 microtransaction in order to do so because my allotted four takedowns have already been expended. Not the greatest method of moderation but I’ll pay it this one time for the purpose of this preview and also being able to see what must be an amazing kill animation. After a small loading gap and confirmation of my payment plan, my character whips out a small dagger and throws it into the neck of a nearby enemy, thus taking him down. I’m severely underwhelmed but I’m sure there’s more great content on the way.

I take down the rest of the enemies through traditional means- noting that this new combat system seems remarkably similar to the first few Assassin’s Creed games that had no dedicated counter buttons or counter killing. I whip out my Black Flag blowpipe for a gruesome finisher involving a dart to the brain. I swing my chain/sword/axe things that I paid $2.99 to rip directly from God of War. I do some sort of odd super-jump thing courtesy of the exo-suit enhancements added to both locomotion and combat in this newest entry. All in all the experience thus far is shaping up to be like Dark Souls meets The Surge and it’s an interesting new direction for the series ironically filled with old ideas.

Now I get my first opportunity to try out some of the new side content available in this five hour demo segment. It seems that my choices range from collecting chicken feathers to delivering letters in timed races against thieving children. I go with the latter because I don’t feel like giving into the fetch quest mentality and also want to see how the free-running holds up in this newest installment. As the clock countdown begins, I take off and immediately notice that I can spam my boost capabilities in order to quickly mantle almost all objects. I rapidly press the jump button while holding down the bumper, all the while paying close attention to where my opponent is behind me.

As I pass through the third checkpoint gate, suddenly the area is closed off and I am attacked by a massive group of other thieves while my adversary gloats and darts off ahead of me. I only have ten seconds to defeat thirty enemies and then I have thirty more seconds to finish the race itself. Just as I am about to despair the sheer improbability of it all, UPlay happily updates me that I’ve earned the ‘Comet Crushing Finishing Blow’ and the game pauses to give me a tutorial as to the particular usage of said combo. My Assassin yells something along the lines of Hakuna Matata or Kamme Kamme Ha and suddenly the sun is blotted out and a tactical comet nuke thing rips my foes to shreds.

I finish the race with a quick coup de grace on my opponent prior to crossing the finish line where I am awarded with an upgraded belt that offers more running stamina, sort of like The Witcher 3 and various saddles for Roach. The demo ends here because I’ve used up all of my allotted time with the game for the time being. It really seemed to go a lot faster than anticipated so I guess that must mean I was having a blast with all of this newfangled tech and cool stuff this year’s game has to offer. I’ll think of what other thoughts I have when they finally release the story only CG trailer prior to the actual game release. In the meantime, feel free to comment with questions or concerns. Cheers!

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Far Cry 5 Reminds Me of Rainbow 6 Patriots

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Long before there was Rainbow Six: Siege, there was a story-driven Rainbow Six game in the works that would see your group of operatives combating homegrown terrorism on United States soil. Several things have changed for the now multiplayer-centric Siege and yet some things still remain the same- the urban environments and methods of engagement are very similar to what was proposed at times during the development. However, this particular post isn’t to talk about Siege coming from the ashes of Patriots but rather the interesting similarities that can be drawn between two completely different franchises.

Far Cry 5 is technically not the fifth game in the series but canonically it is being hailed as the fifth such installment chronologically speaking. In fact, it is in many ways as much of a departure for the series as Primal or Blood Dragon have been. Instead of being in a fictional country or taking place on a distant and possibly irrelevant island, it takes place in the American midwest. What some people would deign to call ‘God’s Country.’ Ironic, considering the majority of enemies you will find yourself facing seem to be god-fearing, sinner-hating cultists out for your blood. But the most intriguing thing to me is that there are several similarities between the breed of homegrown terrorism shown off in what would’ve been Patriots and the cultist lifestyle and aspect of Far Cry 5.

Far Cry is no stranger to craziness nor crazy people- look no further than the first game features mutants, the third several insane mercenaries, and the fourth a tyrannical and questionably challenged dictator. So it seems only fair that the next step in the process of embracing such insanity and gameplay be to up the ante and throw an entire cult your way. What strikes me as more interesting even than the real-world setting and the interesting questions risen by having such a depiction of American society or lack thereof is the fact that these cultists aren’t just crazy or dogmatic followers but also a different breed of terrorism. They may not necessarily be blowing things up or sacrificing themselves for the sake of zealotry alone but I can’t quite shake the feeling that they wouldn’t if given the chance, or should they expand on a greater scale.

What interests me pertaining to this connection between Patriots and Far Cry 5 is the fact that terrorism is such a terrifying and unique ideology to explore especially as far as games are concerned. We’ve gotten some glimpses of it before in games such as Call of Duty or Red Faction and even Watch Dogs, yet we’ve never really had it so uniquely broken down or vividly shown up close as the newest Far Cry seeks to do. A lot of what I’ve seen so far reminds me of Vaas and his not so charming yet unpredictable cunning and actions. Video gaming is a pretty expressive medium when it comes to being able to both tell/show and allow a player to experience firsthand a situation or story through someone or something else. We can put ourselves in situations both realistic and out of this world without actively harming our minds or bodies and can also see things that portray hyper-realistic scenarios or made-up ideas.

Being able to look through the eyes of an operative on the hunt of the murderous and calamitous cult that rocks Far Cry 5’s Montana should be an intriguing experience and certainly one of the most interesting thus far in Far Cry’s undeniably original characters and plots. To some degree there hasn’t been too much to add in both Far Cry 4 and now perhaps even arguably in Far Cry 5 since the base experience of the excellently balanced and well-thought out Far Cry 3, and yet for all of that the narrative and gameplay has progressed so far and been only enjoyable along the way. Far Cry 5 might be the most excited I’ve been for a game in the series in some time and I do think it will fare really well but also more importantly be a word to the wise of the terrors of evils out there in the world that are merely the other side of a coin such as religion, emotion, and ideology. When taken to such extremes as zealotry or immense ambition, some people alone can watch the world burn.

Patriots was an interesting concept and a sort of push for modernizing the Rainbow Six franchise a little bit more but I like the same application being put towards Far Cry’s formula. The core savage experience is there and the gritty action and tense stalking of your prey and yet there is also this refreshingly believable setting that isn’t in some distant Nepalese fortress or on some pirate infested island or another. In going mundane Ubisoft may actually be choreographing the greatest leaps and bounds the series has survived to date and I’m interested to see where that takes us from a story standpoint especially. Terrorism is undeniably a terrible concept and yet it is effective and has been so for hundreds of years- from guerrilla warfare in uprisings and rebellions to propaganda campaigns to keep a crown. Understanding it a bit better through the eyes of soldiers combating it in a pseudo-American setting should be an interesting task for Ubisoft in their storytelling and design.

This has been a little bit shorter than some of my typical posts and yet it was a thought I spontaneously had and figured I’d best share with you all. If you have your own comments or questions about such things as the games mentioned in this post or the real-world issues brought about by speaking on them, feel more than free to drop comments. Cheers.

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Considerations for Borderlands 3

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It’s never quite too early to talk about a sequel, particularly when it’s a juggernaut franchise for a developer and already known to be in the works. It’s not a matter of when Borderlands 3 will be released or whether it will be made but how exactly it will be created and painstakingly cared for. As I’ve probably already proven to be a big fan of the series and its various incarnations, I’d also like to take a few moments today to talk about some slight alterations that could be made to the existing formula in order to craft a more modern experience and one that will equally stand the test of time as well as its predecessors have.

You won’t find anything regarding graphical updates or technological improvements and advancements here, merely mechanics and gameplay oriented changes or potential thoughts and ideas. Let’s go ahead and lay out the few points (as well as reasons) that I’ll be bringing up: a dedicated slide button, weapon customization, skins, mods, etc.

I’ve played many excellent games lately that manage to skillfully weave together the elements of a Mirror’s Edge-like parkour experience and a roguish weapon toting, bullet spewing gunman’s dream. It seemed to start somewhere either around Bulletstorm or perhaps Call of Duty: Ghosts or Brink’s timeframe, when everyone decided to add cover traversal mechanics such as power slides and leaps and bounds over cover. Since then, we’ve been treated to similar mechanics in pretty much every Call of Duty game as well as in Titanfall 1 and 2 most magnificently.

My argument for this is simple: it’s not only a matter of getting with the times but also a matter of making locomotion outside of a vehicle much more accessible and enjoyable in Borderlands’ massive environments. Titanfall 2 has the best locomotive abilities of any shooter I’ve played to date but I don’t need wall-running or high flying action for Borderlands, just a simple slide mechanic to be utilized and add to the fluidity of combat and action. A simple measure of either pressing the crouch button to crouch or holding it to slide like something out of Destiny even. A faster way to riddle your enemies with bullets and spray plasma all over the place.

My second series of ideas is categorically going to revolve around weaponry and customization and yet it is as multi-faceted an idea as they can come. Borderlands 2 featured literally hundreds of unique skins for everything from its six mainstay characters to land barges and rovers and technicals. And yet the one thing it didn’t have despite having a seemingly limitless supply of weapons that all look and operate uniquely was dedicated upgrade/mod capabilities as well as the opportunity to collect skins to further customize your arsenal.

Yes, I’ll admit you can find pretty much any and every weapon to suit your tastes in Borderlands, however I’d like to be able to cater to my own needs even more than just hoping I pick up a weapon of the type I typically enjoy and also of the brand that works best in my lineup. What if we could pick up loot and then also customize it the more we use it and potentially modify it like some twisted version of Fallout’s weapon bench along the way? Or even earn skins for completing challenges? Or any number of things that other shooters and action oriented games have done before but could work so much better with Borderlands’ already rich plethora of content and freedom?

I don’t think any of these things are remotely too much to hope for or even ask for and for all I know they’re already being looked into and thought out. I do definitely think that they would be welcome improvements to the already existing formula which has undeniably stood the test of time and still operates as well today. Yes, there are always the occasional hiccups with checkpoint systems and useless deaths while in the final stand ‘man down’ state, and yet for every little issue the gameplay more than makes up for it. So why not make that experience even better?

As always, feel free to drop comments and check out my other similar posts in the archive. Cheers, folks.

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