Club Admiralty

v7.0 - moving along, a point increase at a time

Club Admiralty Blog

A blog about life in general, in as many languages as I can manage. Ενα ιστολόγιο περι ζωής, πολυγλωσσο - σε όσες γλωσσες εχω μεράκι να γράψω.

Modern Warfare 3 | Done!

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Just in time, before the semester starts, I was able to complete the third part of the Modern Warfare trilogy! So, from previous games in the series, we know that the world has gone to hell in a hand basket.  Task force 141, the original good guys, have been disavowed, but they are working hard to take care of the villain in this story who made things the way they are.

Throughout the game we jump through various perspectives of both people on 141 and the US Marines.  The missions, just like the previous two games, seemed quite small to me in that I was able to complete the game in a couple of weekends, even on the high difficulty level (but not the highest). But despite the perceived shortness of the game, this game, like the previous two, were one amazing thrill ride! I just could not believe the story arc of the game :)

Speaking of characters, Soap, the rookie from the first one, was saved (yay!)! At the end of the second MW his fate was in question, but I was glad to see that he did OK.  I was pretty pissed off when they killed off Roach, the rookie and main character of Modern Warfare 2.  Well, I was also pretty peeved that they killed off Soap in Modern Warfare 3 in the end.  It was a pretty jerk move to save a character but then have him killed off.  I suppose it added dramatic tension, but come on!  In the end only the mentor from the first one ends up surviving and taking down the whole war enterprise. I must admit that it was a pretty satisfactory ending, but man, they left the world completely messed up!

From an achievements perspective, this one, like the previous games, was quite low for me.  I only got 18/76 achievements, and 205/1610 points (24%).  For a game that I was able to storm through I guess this isn't that bad. I guess I can rack up some more achievements by playing the game on Veteran.  I guess I'll have to revisit the whole trilogy at some point in the future at a more difficult level, and spend some more time in spec-ops.  My initial run through was just to see what happens with the story :).  The funny thing, while looking at my achievements, is that I see my brother having more points than I do, and he doesn't touch his xbox nearly as often ;-)

At the end of the day, this was a good game.  Wondering if a 4th part is coming out, or if this is it for Modern Warfare in its current incarnation.
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Andromed | Re-viewed

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Back when I was an undergraduate, and working two jobs and going to school full time, I had started watching another Roddeberry show called Andromeda. Since my schedule was irregular, and Andromeda may have shifted time-slots I wasn't quite sure when I'd be watching the show.  Sometimes I caught it on the regularly scheduled time on the WB, and other times I'd miss it because of work (or traffic coming home).  In any case, unlike most Star Trek series, this one seemed to have an overarching plot, so when I missed episodes I was hopelessly lost.  That said , even when I could watch it regularly (around season 3) I gave up because I didn't know what the heck was going on! So, now was a good opportunity for me to catch up on the entire series and see what this show was all about (Spoiler alert).

So, the premise is that there is the Commonwealth (sort of like the Federation in Star Trek, I guess) that is made up of many species and planets.  Some humans, like the Nietzscheans, were genetically modified humans to augment certain abilities.  The Nietzschean in this show reminded me a bit of the Klingon in Star Trek.  So, at the beginning of the series the Commonwealth is betrayed by the Nietzscheans (who have many "prides" - which I guess are like their countries) and the Commonwealth puts up a good battle but falls.  The Andromeda, one of the ships, gets entrapped into a black hole's gravitational pull and get stuck in time for 300 when a salvage ship rescues her.  Of course the idea was to sell this valuable old technology, but  the crew of the ship decides to help out the captain of the Andromeda, Dylan Hunt (played by Kevin Sorbo of Hercules fame), to reach this goal.

The nice thing about this series was that you got to explore this new universe.  What happened when the commonwealth fell? How did various sociopolitical and socioeconomic events take place? Are there any commonwealth survivors and what did they do? Why would various worlds want to join a new, restored, commonwealth?  Dylan's goal is to re-establish the commonwealth as a beacon of light and hope.  Awesome!  So, let's get to it!  Well... this happened in a season, or maybe a season and a half.  This was the fastest politicians have done anything in any series or in real life ;-)  This was a bit of a disappointment because we went from let's get the band back together to great job yoko, you've broken up the band! Why?  Because as soon as the Commonwealth is established there is corruption in it at the highest levels.  What the heck?

So, Dylan goes from lone bastion of the Commonwealth to being hunted by it. We further have this plotline of the "Abyss" who's out to get all living creatures, and they've militarized one of the shows species, the Magog, to make this doom happen.  So, there is a fight between Andromeda's crew and the Magog world-ship (don't ask), and they get thrown into another possible present, in a  system called Seefra...which just so happens to be Dylan's home planet, but not in this universe, the previous one.  It turns out that the space-roads to Tarn Vedra (aka Seefra) were closed off when the commonwealth fell and no one had ways to get there. So in addition to getting the band (errr.. commonwealth) back up and running, he wanted to go home, like E.T..  Well, he is home now, but not really!  It's a place that's fallen to disarray because apparently no one likes technology, and those who have it are persecuted, unless you are the crew of the Andromeda and by the second or third episode of seasons five (when they arrive at Seefra), technology is suddenly OK. It turns out that Dylan is also not human, but some sort of Evolved Vedran.  It would be like O'Neil or Daniel Jackson finding out that they weren't human, but rather they were Ancients on Stargate SG-1.

Well, after a lot back and forth we finally jump dimension again and the series ends with Dylan finally smiling and saying "he's home," and the lights on the Andromeda's bridge go out. End of series.

Now, the series did have a lot of "WTF?!" moments when I started wondering how they got from point X to Point Y. I didn't see a lot of continuity errors, but I really did wonder how (and why) Tyr got rid of his Nietzschean bone-blades, why he went crazy with power, and what the heck was up with Becka being the mother of all Nietzscheans?  Was she a genetic re-incarnation of the original Nietzschean mother (Nietzschean Eve if you will)? Of course, despite the WTF moments, I think the series had a LOT of potential, but it was badly executed. The universe in which this story plays out is intriguing.  The whole ship's avatar, and the three "faces" of andromeda (screen, hologram, physical android) needing to be working together to accomplish a goal was quite interesting. A bit religious in tone (the holy trinity), but interesting nevertheless.  Even Trance Gemini as the Avatar of the Sun of the Tarn Vedra system was an interesting concept, seeing inanimate object as having some sort of avatar with which they interact in the world.  It just wasn't tied all together really well.  Even if Coda were produced, it would be more of a What the heeeeeck??? type of ending than a good sci-fi ending.  I don't like it when sci-fi shows go for this whole cosmic grant plan, or the face of God, type of story.  It's too big to tackle and do well.  I am not opposed to people trying something, but you have to be clever, original, and execute it well.  Not like Lost's ending which was pretty awful ;-)

All things considered, I'd give this show an 80% (and I am being generous).
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Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag | Done!

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Just in time to end my holiday break and get back work, I completed Assassin's Creed 4!  I ended up getting AC4, like my previous 2 AC games, on Amazon.com's Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals for a reduced price.  I could have waited a few more months to get the game at less than half the price (factoring in a used cost), but I got it new for $30. Not too bad!

I liked this game quite a lot both for what happens in the game, as well as what happens outside of the game!  In the game you play as a nameless beta tester testing out Subject 17's genetic memories. Subject 17, as you will find out, is Desmond Miles.  I was looking forward to playing, again, as Desmond, until I was reminded that he died, or sacrificed himself, to save humanity.  In any case, in the Animus you play Edward Kenway, Haytham's father from AC: III, and you go through life initially stumbling on the whole assassin/templar thing, but in the end after having been on both sides of the war, he decides to stick to the assassin side of things.  In the animus you spend a lot of time getting from place to place on a ship you own, and as a pirate you get to be in naval battles and loot the cargo of ships you have destroyed.  The naval battles are actually pretty nice, and you can build up your ship as you get more money and loot.  By the end of the game I didn't have my ship fully upgraded (didn't do enough looting), thus I couldn't take on the four "legendary" ships that are really hard to beat, even with a ship more than 70% upgraded.  One thing I wish I knew, before I got to far into the game, was not to sell the raw materials I gathered from hunting.  I got very little money for it, and I missed out on crafting some special items.  I suppose I can go back and play some more, but I don't feel like it at the moment.

In the "real world" in AC:IV you get to play as an employee of Abstergo Entertainment. There are some familiar assassins who have infiltrated the game developer's headquarters and they are gathering information on what is found there.  What's funny here is that if you go an do all the computer hacking side missions you get a lot of inside jokes, such as Abstergo Employees discussing over email philosophical questions like "if we have an animus, and we can go anywhere in time, how about we use for educational purposes?"  Of course, anyone who has played any of the Assassin's Creed games, and has bothered to read the bios of the various characters, knows that there is a lot of historical reality inside this historical fiction game.

Another interesting thing, if you do the side missions, is that you get to learn more about the historical development of the animus, as well as a competing project within Abstergo, and you get to learn more about Subjects 0 and 1, who were, I guess, templars.  You also get to hear some of Desmond's last words before his doom in AC:III.  This ties in nicely with the iPad companion app that Ubisoft created for this game.  The companion app lets you view all of the media that you've accumulated in your game, including sticky notes (which I have collected but not read yet), manuscripts, listen to sea shanties and view or listen to all Abstergo artifacts, like the Subject 0 and 1 information which is all re-recorded from reel-to-reel tape.  The companion app also can act as a real-time map, so as you progress in the game you can have a second screen experience of setting waypoints and seeing the map without having to pause.  Pretty nifty, even though it sucked my battery try :)

Another interesting side of AC:IV is a companion AC website called AC: Initiates (ACInitiates.com) which allows you to explore the AC Universe outside of the game. There are some challenges in AC Initiates that you can start online (accept a challenge) and complete them in-game.  As you complete challenges you can earn XP toward your online character's experience, and (I think) you can unlock content.  As you complete AC games (all except for the original) you get credit for having played those as well toward your XP.  This is an interesting idea, and something that may entice me to go back and play AC:III again.  I've been holding off on getting DLC for my previous games since I don't know how much they will add to the story, but maybe if there is a DLC sale, I might take advantage of it and explore some of the side stories in previous games and earn some XP for initiates.

At the end, I got 32/60 achievements for this game, with a completion of more than 70% (which apparently is more than I had in previous AC games).  Nice game!  I really enjoyed it!  I am looking for ward to AC: III Liberation HD which is coming out in January, although I probably won't get it until next fall since I have a big backlog of games now.
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