Club Admiralty Blog
2020 Decade in AchievementsSunday, Jan 31 2021, 11:07 achievements, Entertainment, trueAchievements, video games, VideoGames, XBOX, YearInReview
For the second year in a row, Microsoft didn't do an achievements year-in-review (boo😜), so I got an updated Decade In Review from TrueAchievements. It looks similar to what I posted last year (in fact I don't see anything for 2020... Looking at my TA for 2020 I see a lot of skewing toward older games (completed before 2020) and a big skew in January when I joined TA and all of my achievements were imported. So, lots of junk data... Oh well, maybe 2021 will have better data ;-)
Far Cry 6 trailerThursday, Jul 23 2020, 07:27 Action, Entertainment, farcry, ubisoft, video games, VideoGames, XBOX
Watchdogs Legion trailerTuesday, Jul 21 2020, 07:24 Entertainment, trailer, ubisoft, video games, VideoGames, watchdogs, XBOX
Double Dragon Neon | TriedSunday, Jun 28 2020, 13:24 360, beatemup, double dragon, Entertainment, gamepass, Music, nostalgia, review, video games, VideoGames, XBOX
On the surface the game seems like a nice reboot of the original. Updated graphics, updated music, and some additional mechanics like "gleam" (short term powered attacks) that should, in theory, make the game more fun. However, the game was rather disappointing in most aspects.
The story is almost non-existent. It starts off with Marian, the damsel in distress, getting kidnapped, and Billy and Jimmy Lee are off to rescue her. The original game, in the 80s, had some constraints which didn't allow for storytelling that answered the: why was this person kidnapped? And why the heck is there a skull-looking-person in space perpetrating this, but for a game released in 2012 there should have been a little more care taken for the story. Even if you approached this as just a beat-em-up there are still technical issues that prevent this game from being a reimagined brawler.
It seems like hit/collision detection is really a problem with this game (as it was with some game of that era on gameboys and NESs). Unless you're lined up almost perfectly you can't score a hit, but it seems like your enemies don't always suffer from that impediment. Furthermore, when you lose all your lives you restart the game from the beginning of that stage, which is mildly infuriating. I really wanted to get through to see if there is a payoff for the story, but I only got to level 3 (a space station), out of a total of 10 levels. This is when I decided to give up (maybe around 7 hours of gameplay in total).
I do like the art of the game, and I absolutely love the music (to the point where I'd buy the soundtrack), but the game itself is just not all that enjoyable. In the end, this game is really a 4/10 for me, and most of the points are for the music :-)
Guacamelee 2 | DoneFriday, Apr 17 2020, 03:00 brawler, Entertainment, guacamelee, luchador, metroidvania, review, video games, VideoGames, XBOX
This sequel picks up the story after the first one ends, and it's not just a rehash or reskin of the first one, but rather it adds a variety of new game mechanics, such as being able to launch yourself from different areas of the wall so you can hurl over dangers on the ground or reach new heights. You also get a new skills-tree system that you can max out by purchasing new abilities that help you along the way. Skills can now be purchased at any time without having to wait to reach one of those save points in order to do it. You can still only buy costumes at those save points, but skills are accessible at any time you've got money to spend. The annoying thing, when you start, is that you have none of your previous abilities when you start the game, and you need to re-acquire those...and it takes a long time. I get that Juan has aged and he hasn't been the luchador for a while, but come on!
The story from Wikipedia:
The game begins with a simplified version of the first game's final confrontation with the world-rending Calaca, leading into the true ending where the luchador Juan successfully saves the life of El Presidente's Daughter, Lupita. Seven years later, the two are married and live with two children, with Juan having grown out of shape. Black clouds begin to appear in the village, followed by Juan's mentor Uay Chivo appearing to tell him the entire "Mexiverse" is in danger. He brings Juan through a portal to "The Darkest Timeline", where the source of the trouble is. In this timeline, Juan and Lupita were killed by Calaca, who was defeated by another luchador called Salvador. In the seven years since, Salvador has become corrupted by the power of his mask, and now wishes to collect three relics so he can access the Sacred Guacamole in the realm of El Otromundo and become all-powerful. However, by beginning to collect the relics, he has caused the timelines to destabilize, which will mean the end of all timelines if he is not stopped.
Juan is led to reunite with Tostada, the Guardian of the Mask, so he can be restored to fighting form. They begin to travel the world to stop Salvador and his underlings from collecting the relics, but ultimately fail, and Salvador successfully gets to the Sacred Guacamole. However, Juan eventually defeats him, which destroys Salvador's mask and results in his death. The timelines are restored and the Mexiverse is saved, but this prevents Juan from returning to his own timeline. Recalling an earlier conversation, where it's said that El Otromundo connects all the timelines together, he leaps back into El Otromundo before the way closes and looks out across the great many indistinguishable portals.
In the normal ending, Juan's family awaits his return for many years, before he eventually appears. In the true ending, attained if the player clears the Chicken Illuminati's crucible and meets the Holy Hen, Juan recalls her advice and removes his mask, immediately identifying the correct portal and returning to his family without delay.
I ended up getting the normal ending for the game. I didn't feel like going through all of the rigamarole to get the "good ending". One thing that I didn't like about this game was the "twitchiness". Once you unlocked the flip-into-the-mirror-dimension skills, it seems like many levels were about being able to not only navigate the maze, but concurrently switching and forth between the two dimensions, while also jumping and launching yourself from various wall-hangs. I did master this enough to get to the end and finish the game, but it just was not fun...
What I loved about the game was the whole "mexiverse" and the DC Crisis in Multiverse feel to the game. And, of course, all of the popular culture references that are just packed in this game. Overall, I'd give this game an 8/10.
Some game stats from my run:
- Playtime: 10h 05m
- Gamerscore: 565/1340
- Achievements: 24
Crackdown 3 | DoneMonday, Apr 13 2020, 04:30 Action, crackdown, Entertainment, FPS, review, video games, VideoGames, XBOX
Even though I own the other two Crackdown games, I didn't want to buy Crackdown 3, mainly on account of the bad reviews, and because the price (on sale) has not dipped beneath the max threshold for me - so GamePass it is. I finished this game around mid-March (I think).
So here is the story from Wikipedia:
Ten years after the events of Crackdown 2, a massive terrorist attack from an unknown source cuts electrical power around the entire world. The Agency is thrust back into action after the attack is traced to the city of New Providence, controlled by the mysterious but sinister corporation TerraNova, led by Elizbeth Niemand; New Providence is the only city that still has power. The player characters - super-powered Agents - are called into the field by Agency Director Charles Goodwin (Michael McConnohie) and led by Commander Isaiah Jaxon (Terry Crews) to drop into New Providence and dismantle Terra Nova any way they can. As Jaxon briefs the agents of their mission, their drop ship is attacked by TerraNova, resulting in the deaths of everyone on board.
Echo, a member of the New Providence rebel group known as the Militia, recovers the remains of one of the agents and regenerates them. Heavily outnumbered by TerraNova’s forces, Echo enlists the agent's help in fighting back by dismantling TerraNova's infrastructure - Logistics, Science, and Enforcement. As the agent fights TerraNova, they discover that the Science branch of TerraNova has been mining a mysterious green mineral called Chimera, which Goodwin deduces is responsible for the power outage - Chimera reportedly consumes electrical power. The agent also investigates the mysterious disappearance of many New Providence citizens, discovering they have been kidnapped by TerraNova in an attempt to brainwash and create an army of genetically enhanced super-soldiers. Audio logs found throughout the game allow the agent to learn the existence of an anonymous client who reportedly paid TerraNova to perform their
Eventually, the agent assaults Elizabeth Niemand's tower and ascends to the top, where they confront Niemand, who is piloting a massive Chimera-powered dragon mech; Neimand states her desire to use the Vitalis project to make herself immortal. The agent destroys the dragon mech, killing Niemand. In the aftermath, Goodwin offers Echo a position at the Agency, which she accepts. An agent's severed arm suspended in a Vitalis tank is then seen as the voice of the anonymous client addresses the agent, stating that the Agency is the next step in the evolution of Chimera.
Storywise, I am glad that we didn't have to deal with streets filled with mutants again (as in Crackdown 2). Also, storywise, some of the story's finer points seem to be relayed through audio recordings (ugh) that you have to find (double ugh), which doesn't allow the player to really get the full story unless they feel like playing in completionist mode.
The gameplay was fine. If you've played the other two games, this game definitely feels the same. Collect orbs, gain power, go unlock bases and weapons. While scaling high towers and vertical puzzles gives you that slight feeling of vertigo that makes the game exciting, it's also frustrating when you miss a ledge and you might respawn at the base of the puzzle if you don't recall yourself quickly enough.
At the end of the day, Crackdown 3 was a fun 12-hour game, but it's nothing to really write home about. If you are a fan of Terry Crews and you like the Agency Director's abrasive humor, it's worthwhile playing this game, but if you're easily bored by repetitive gameplay, and are expecting something different compared to the previous two games, you can just skip this one. All things considered, I'd give this a 7/10.
My stats on this playthrough:
- gamerscore: 435/1750
- Achievements: 37
- hours played: 11h 39m
- Enemies killed: 2269
- Hidden orbs found: 19
- Agility Orbs collected: 229
Guacamelee | DoneMonday, Feb 3 2020, 04:00 brawler, Entertainment, Humor, luchador, metroidvania, video games, VideoGames, XBOX
The plot (from Wikipedia):
In a small village in Mexico, Juan Aguacate is a humble agave farmer. On the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) he’s going to meet with his childhood friend and love interest, El Presidente's Daughter, Lupita. An evil charro skeleton named Carlos Calaca attacks the village and kidnaps her. Juan is no match and is killed by Carlos. He is sent to the land of the dead, a parallel world where the dead reside. There, Juan finds a mysterious luchadora named Tostada. She gives Juan a mystical mask that transforms him into a powerful luchador and brings him back to the world of the living. The game then follows Juan's battle to rescue his beloved and to stop Calaca's plan to sacrifice her in a ritual that would unite the worlds of living and dead under his rule.
While he confronts X'tabay, the first of Calaca's lieutenants, he ends up transformed into a rooster and brought back to human form by another rooster with mysterious powers. After defeating X'tabay, she reforms, revealing that Calaca was once a great rodeo man who broke his arm just before an important competition, and sold his soul to the Devil to have it healed time enough for the competition, but just after winning, the Devil enacts his payment and drags him to hell, but with X'tabay's help he deceived the Devil by having him transformed into the same rooster who helped Juan, having helped him against Calaca in order to restore his power.
Juan gains power to confront and defeat the rest of Calaca's forces. Juan pursues Calaca to the altar where the ceremony is being held and defeats him, but does not arrive in time to save Lupita. In the normal ending, Juan returns to his village and lives his life in peace until reuniting with Lupita in the afterlife and the mask disappears. In the true ending, attained if the player clears all the hidden trials, Lupita is revived by the power of Juan's mask which breaks apart, and the two return together to the village where they get married.
I ended up getting the unhappy ending where Juan and Lupita end up finding each other in the afterlife. I have a few qualms about calling this the "bad" ending. I think it was rather interesting, and it follows the fairytale-like plot.
I ended up playing some of the Infierno challenges, but I don't think I'll be going back (anytime soon) to complete the challenges. There are 6 more orbs to find to get the "good" ending (the "they lived happily ever after" ending), but that's time taken away from other games (and the semester begins today, so...nope)
Total playtime: 10 hours
Silver earned: 75
Overall I'd give this game a 10/10. Very entertaining, nice environmental puzzles, and if you don't spam the buttons on your controller - the story is funny too!
My Friend Pedro | DoneThursday, Jan 30 2020, 04:00 Entertainment, matrix, review, shootEmUp, video games, VideoGames, XBOX
Anyway, this game as a platforming shooter, which apparently is based on a Flash game. The graphics in this version are far superior to the flash-based game, and so are the controls. You wake up as the protagonist (no name) with a talking banana as your imaginary friend. The banana (Pedro) tells you that people are out to get you, and you'd better get them before they get you! I don't know if this were real life I'd seek professional help, but since it's a game...I just did what the banana said. The game provides both subtle social commentary, as well as pokes fun at society broadly. But, you can miss all that if you're just doing the gunplay.
I like the explanation of what might be the case with this oddball story that's presented in this video:
Overall this was a fun game. The Matrix-style bullet-time, the destructible environments, and the oddball story made for enjoyable interactions in gameplay. Even the story's WTF moments kept you on the edge of your seat.
A lot of the achievements are the "flip x-many tables" or "dodge so many bullets" variety. I am sure I could mechanically do this and earn some more points, but that doesn't seem like a good way to spend time. Maybe when there are no other games in gamepass to play ;-)
I give this game an "A for Awesome" (9/10)
Xbox decade in reviewTuesday, Jan 21 2020, 01:30 achievements, Entertainment, video games, VideoGames, XBOX, YearInReview
Assassin's Creed Odyssey | Done!Monday, Jan 20 2020, 03:00 Ancient Greece, Assassins Creed, Entertainment, RPG, Sci-Fi, video games, VideoGames, XBOX
The short version of the story is this: You start off a child (although admittedly we don't see very much of you growing up) in Ancient Greece. The bulk of the story takes place during the Peloponnesian War, where you, as a misthios (mercenary) can fight on both sides to earn some coin. There are a few underlying stories in the world. You trying to find your way through it helping Sparta and Athens at different times, there is a Cult Order, sort of like the templars (but not) that have raised your sibling since he/she was a child and poisoned their mind, so you have to kill the entire order and rid Greece of their influence, and there are a variety of first civilization artefacts around Greece that are wreaking havoc (medusas, and sphinxes, and minotaurs - oh my!). If you get them all you can meet your father and become the staff-bearer. The Legacy of the First Blade brings in the Persians, and their version of the Templars, and finally the Fate of Atlantis is a trippy exploration of Elisium, Hades, and Atlantis (populated by the first civilization), on your quest to train against to corrupting influence of the staff of Hermes, that you must safeguard until you pass it on to someone in the future.
Here is the plot synopsis of the main story from wikipedia, if you want a little more:
During the Battle of Thermopylae, King Leonidas leads the Spartan army against a Persian charge. The battle is won, but Leonidas is informed by a captured enemy soldier that the existence of the mountain path has been revealed to the Persian army, which is moving to surround the Spartans by morning. Nevertheless, Leonidas resolves to hold off the Persian advance.
In the present, Layla Hassan recovers the Spear of Leonidas and together with Victoria Bibeau, extracts the DNA of two individuals from it, the siblings Kassandra and Alexios. With help from the Assassins, Layla picks one of the siblings (the "Misthios") and activates the Animus to find the location of the Staff of Hermes.
The Misthios started as a young Spartan child, raised by their parents Nikolaos and Myrrine, and inherited the Spear of Leonidas from Myrrine as one of Leonidas' descendants. However, one day, both the Misthios and their siblings are thrown off a mountain due to an oracle's prophecy, with the Misthios being dropped by Nikolaos himself. The misthios survived the fall and fled to the island of Kefalonia, where they grew up performing odd jobs until the Peloponnesian War begins.
The Misthios is approached by a wealthy man named Elpenor, who hires them to assassinate "The Wolf of Sparta". The Misthios later discovers that the Wolf is Nikolaos himself and confronts him. Nikolaos admits that he regrets what he had done, but did so for the good of Sparta. The Misthios has the choice of executing or sparing Nikolaos and finds out that Nikolaos is actually their stepfather and that Myrrine is in danger. The Misthios then returns to Elpenor and confronts him over the revelation. Elpenor reveals he knew Nikolaos was their stepfather, and wanted him dead in order to drag out the war. He then offers another job to assassinate Myrrine, but the Misthios refuses and Elpenor flees. The Misthios then travels to Delphi to ask the Pythia the whereabouts of Myrrine, where they encounter Herodotos, who recognizes the Spear of Leonidas the Misthios carries. Upon meeting the Pythia, the Misthios is warned about the Cult of Kosmos, who seek to kill them and their families. The Misthios further investigates the Cult by assassinating Elpenor and using his disguise to infiltrate a Cult meeting. They find that the Cult plans to take advantage of the war to seize control of all of Greece and that their enforcer Deimos is, in fact, the Misthios' sibling, now brainwashed to follow the Cult's orders.
The Misthios continues on their journey all over Greece, clearing out Cult corruption from both Sparta and Athens and befriending powerful Greek figures such as Perikles and Aspasia. They are unable to stop Perikles' assassination at the hands of Deimos but are able to reunite with Myrrine and find their true father, Pythagoras. Myrrine and Pythagoras explain that they conceived Alexios and Kassandra to preserve Leonidas' bloodline, as he and his descendants have a special connection to Precursor artifacts, such as the Spear of Leonidas. Pythagoras tasks the Misthios to recover several Precursor artifacts needed to permanently seal the hidden Precursor city of Atlantis so that its knowledge cannot be misused by enemies like the Cult. Afterward, the Misthios manages to avenge Perikles' death by assassinating his political rival, Kleon. Depending on the Misthios' actions, they can convince Deimos to abandon the Cult and rebuild their family with Nikolaos, Myrrine, their sibling, and their new stepbrother Stentor living happily together in their old family home.
With war averted and the Cult virtually eliminated, the Misthios heads for the Cult's secret meeting place under the Temple of Delphi to destroy the Precursor pyramid the Cult was using to influence Greek politics. Touching it, they receive visions of future conflicts to come before destroying the pyramid. Aspasia then arrives and reveals that she was the original leader of the Cult but disagreed with its actions as its members became more corrupt, and she thanks the Misthios for destroying the Cult. The Misthios has the option of killing or sparing Aspasia, but cuts ties with her regardless. Finally, the Misthios after defeating various Olympos Projects based on monsters from Greek legend (the Minotaur, cyclopes, Medusa and the Sphinx) and collects all of the artifacts needed to seal Atlantis from their bodies, and activates a recording from the Precursor Aletheia who pleads with the Misthios and Layla that Precursor knowledge and technology is not meant for humans and must be destroyed in order for humans to reach their true potential. Pythagoras reluctantly passes the Staff of Hermes on to the Misthios, dying in the process. The Misthios then continues their adventures.
In the present, Layla uses the data from the Animus to find Atlantis and activate it. As the Assassins analyze the data within, Layla is shocked to find the Misthios, kept alive until modern times by the Staff of Hermes. The Misthios warns Layla that the world needs a balance between order and chaos, the Templar Order and Assassins respectively, and either side prevailing over the other will result in the world's doom. The Misthios also explains that Layla is the prophesied one who will bring balance to order and chaos and gives her the Staff of Hermes, sacrificing their life in the process. Layla, however, states that there is so much of the Misthios' life they have not seen, and re-enters the Animus.
Anyway... I played through as Kassandra and I got what constitutes the "good" ending. Your father (Nikolaos the Lion of Sparta) is alive, so is your brother has been freed of the corrupting influence of the cult, you found your mother, and you're all having a family meal (along with Stentor). I almost jumped with joy when I saw that Kassandra made it to modern-day and handed off the staff to Leyla. I think that there would be an entire spin-off series of Kassandra (or Alexios, if you will) games that allow you to play through that character in different time periods. Going through this game, I also feel like Ubisoft should retcon Price of Persia to fit into the Assassin's Creed universe. A lot of what is seen and done in the "modern" PoP games could be explained by first civilization junk that is still around.
From a gameplay perspective, the game handles pretty much like Assassin's Creed Origins, so there wasn't much of a change in terms of learning new controls. Many people have said that the maps is HUGE...and it is! Much of Greece is beautiful to roam around in, but at some point, I got tired of going to each and every fort, temple, and miscellaneous location to loot treasure chests, kill captains, and capture forts. It is fun the first couple of dozen times, but near the end, I really felt the grind. I just captured all synchronization points to enable fast travel and revealed the entire map, but Macedonia and Thessaly are pretty much left open to completion. This makes me wonder whether a game really needs to be this large? With the next AC game reporterly having a map that is larger than the one in Greece...I might just take a break from the series until I can give my brain a little break from the hack-and-slash :-)
One more thing here: while the AC movie was m'eh (it was fine, but not in the true spirit of the game IMO), I think that Ubisoft should really look into creating a TV series.
Despite the burnout, I am giving this game a 10/10. It was freakin' awesome.
Player level: 81
Distance Travelled: 1,935
Time played: 8d, 12h, 41m