There’s just been so much game content releasing these past few weeks that it’s been a little overwhelming in trying to keep on top of everything. November alone has seen a ton of releases just in the past couple of weeks. I’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed Unity lately and while I do have some thoughts on it, I want to devote an entire post to it because there’s a lot of things to say about it. Couple all of that with a life full of work and family on top and you have the recipe for ‘no time to write’ long articles. It’s been kind of bugging me lately to be honest.
So while I may not have time at the moment to write well thought out and massive posts for each of the games below, I did want to celebrate them and show them some praise. Will I ever give these games their own review/impression piece? I don’t know, maybe, but at the very least I did have a few thoughts that I wanted to share with you all for some of these bigger games of the fall season. So here’s my way of taking out a bunch of birds with one stone or how ever the phrase goes.
You can find my complete thoughts on a number of games below the jump…
Shadow of Mordor
Before anyone knew exactly what AC: Rogue was and before Ubisoft began fixing the numerous technical issues with Unity, I joked that Shadow of Mordor was this year’s best Assassin’s Creed game.
Sure, you might be chuckling but it’s true.
When Mordor was first revealed, the open world traversal aspect of the game gave off a strong Assassin’s Creed like vibe as the main character, Talion, used parkour moves to quickly get around and could stealth kill enemies in a very ‘Ezio Auditore’ way. That foundation right there told me that this game would be a good one. When you’re creating a game on an already solid gameplay foundation, how can it go wrong right? What I didn’t expect was just how great the game would be.
The main reason? Mordor introduces a revolutionary gameplay mechanic called the Nemesis System which populates the world with Uruks who have a personality, strengths, weaknesses, and memory of you. These Uruks can be promoted, fight with each other, and recall events that may have happened while fighting you. Interestingly enough, any Uruk can get promoted into this system either randomly by the game or if you’re killed in battle by one. The system is incredibly intriguing. Sure, it sounds like a developer promise that never lives up to it’s full potential once the game is released, but trust me when I say, they nailed it completely. The Nemesis System makes the game feel alive and gives meaning to the world around you. With enough content to keep you going for quite a while, an excellent combat system (which feels reminiscent of the Batman Arkham games), and the Nemesis System powering your unique experience, Shadow of Mordor is a game I didn’t want to put down. It’s one of the year’s best titles, so make sure you go play it.
Sunset Overdrive is another game that surprised me with just how damn good it is. After stumbling from their last major release with Fuse, you could say that Insomniac had something to prove this time around. And prove themselves, they did!
Sunset Overdrive completely sheds the dark and dreary look from some of their past games like Fuse and Resistance, and instead opts for bright color, stylized punk rock inspired graphics, and humor. After a tainted energy drink turns the town of Sunset City into a wasteland of “OD” or Overcharge Drinkers, it’s up to you and a band of interesting survivors to try and make it out of the city alive. It sounds ultra serious doesn’t it? Trust me, Insomniac goes to great lengths to make sure it’s not. In addition to the bright and colorful visuals, Sunset manages to absolutely nail it’s style and presentation. There’s a ton of great humor and fourth wall breaking that happens with the characters to which I haven’t seen in a game in ages. There were more than a few times I found myself laughing or being impressed by what I was seeing on screen.
The most interesting aspect to Sunset though is the combat. You’d think this would be a simple third person action title, but the game will absolutely punish and overwhelm you for playing that way. Instead, you’re coaxed into fighting with style by grinding on rails, swinging on poles, or bouncing off objects. Think of it like Tony Hawk meets a third person shooter and you have a very crude form of Sunset Overdrive. Trust me on this, it sounds clunky but it absolutely works and is not only fun, but provides a breath of fresh air to the genre. This mechanic became so ingrained into my head that my first instinct in other games was to run and bounce off objects as well. Pro Tip: That strategy will only get you killed in Call of Duty.
If you have an Xbox One, this is a game you really need to take a look at, it brings a refreshing twist to the open world game and has an infectious personality to boot.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
As some of you would probably agree, Call of Duty began losing me a couple years back. Perhaps it was just franchise fatigue setting in at that point due to the constant annual updates with minor overall changes to the formula. The feeling escalated so much that I skipped over Ghosts completely, my decision reinforced by the mediocre reviews and lack of hype from the community.
When Advanced Warfare was finally revealed, I was immediately drawn to the EXO suit centric gameplay elements. Sure, the base game remains Call of Duty with high action and cinematic first person shooting, but now on top of that you had abilities such as air dashing, double jumping, and a ton of other enhancements. Needless to say, it got my attention. Not only that, Advanced Warfare would be Sledgehammer Games very first Call of Duty entry into the market so the fact that a brand new developer had worked on this also gave me hope that they’d bring new ideas to the table.
Honestly, Advanced Warfare has been a ton of fun. The campaign was an excellent journey and Kevin Spacey was absolutely fantastic as Jonathan Irons. For the campaign alone I’d recommend it. The multiplayer plays it a little safer because as the old saying goes, why mess with a formula that works, right? Thankfully, there’s enough tweaks to the system (character customization, PICK 13 system, new game modes) that the experience feels rejuvenated thanks in part to the EXO suit which really does help make the combat faster and more tactical by not limiting players to simply running through hallways. So far, I’m really happy with my purchase and would recommend it to fans of the franchise or jaded individuals like myself.