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Minor spoilers for Rise of the Tomb Raider locations and that whole complicated metaplot in Assassin’s Creed


Played, but not that much. Raided the “Pit of Judgment” which took longer than it should have, because I knew what I needed to do and took forever actually doing it (twitchy crank things).

But did it I did, then couldn’t find my way out, but find my way out I did and now I’m ready to forge ahead with main story.

I’ve already done 8 out of 9 tombs. You sure I’m not almost done? Almost out of tombs…almost out of skills to learn….53%…….

I forge ahead soon.

I like the tombs. I’m not sure they’re more involved than they were in the first game (that was a thing when this game came out: “More and better tombs!”) but I liked game one’s tombs more than most people did (that was a thing when THAT came out: “Where are the tombs?”).

You’re done, aren’t you?


Ah, the Pit of Judgement! With the mining cars you have to crash into things, right? So not ALL sunshine and roses in the glorious city state of Kitezh.

I didn’t play, so I am no closer to done. Still 77% or something. But that’s a fair bit of ground past you. Like I said, you have to use the mystical D20, do some fighting…fighting…story development via found document…fighting…etc.

I like the tombs too. I don’t know if I’m just better at this type of game now (I have been practicing!), or if they’re actually easier, but I haven’t had as much trouble with them as I had with some of the ones in the first game. I mean, I liked them there too, but I remember getting kind of frustrated with a couple of them, and this time, not. These have been a nice balance of puzzle and “OK, I know what to do, now I just have to get up to that ledge” or whatever.

Trying to get into the witch’s valley was way more annoying!–but that’s DLC, and they often ramp things up in DLC.

Anyway, yeah, I like the tombs. Assassin’s Creed used to have tombs (essentially the same sort of climbing/puzzling thing), and I always liked those too.


Yeah, that was kind of a nice touch. It’s rare to see the seedy, practical, underside of these ancient paradises that we raid and loot all so often. And a nice counterpoint to the guilt tomb we discussed. I mean, there it was all “How could such cold hearted people take the coins left for our dead?” Here, the same folks who guilted us look like a bunch of cold hearted money grubbers themselves, using slaves for gold.

Fuck those guys. I’m taking the coins.


And the puzzly bits here are usually along the lines of “tinker with this, learn how it works, then apply,” which is nice puzzle design. “Ok, that raises that, that can attach to that, which will lock that….” etc. It isn’t just “Keep pulling levers until one works.”

Tinker then apply is good. Tinker, apply, drive yourself MAD is The Witness.

Let’s not talk of the witch’s valley again.

Really, AC had puzzles? Wonder why they ditched them. I do like a good puzzle bit from time to time. Better to break things up with that than driving.

Speaking of which, I’m not too happy they seem to have added driving to Mass Effect. This rover thingy….hmm.


I too wonder why AC got rid of the tombs. I loved me some tomb puzzles, man! Those were among my favorite parts of the early games! Climbing all over things trying to find JUST the right hook to get where you need to go…using Eagle Vision to see giant alien barcodes on the sides of buildings…

The latter day AC just isn’t the same.

And yeah, the ‘rover’ bit in the MEA trailer didn’t entirely fill me with glee either. Didn’t they already do that in ME1? It was called the Mako, and didn’t everyone hate it? (Except me, I actually thought it was OK.) There were driving exploration bits that I think were mostly replaced with planet scanning bits in ME2. (Ah, the soothing music of a nice planet scan…good times.)

Are they bringing back the driving exploration bits? Are people not going to hate it this time?

But whatever. We’ll play it.


So I keep hearing about AC. I came to them too late. But at least I got Lowlands Away.

Those pirates should do a Christmas record.

I did not play ME1 (the shame), but I have heard tell of the mako. I thought that was something people actually DID like. But all the same…big worlds usually mean faster ways to get around in them. Maybe it’s just transportation. My heart sort of sank when I heard Geralt was getting a horse in TW3 because that’s driving, when you get right down to it, and I wound up loving the big lug. Though Evelyn’s horse in DAI went unused, and that was bioware. Hmm.

We will play it. And we’ll like it more than most other people. Which isn’t usually the case. We have to rebalance the universe somehow.


You did get Lowlands Away. No previous AC could offer that particular awesomeness. The best thing we could collect in the old days was memory clips of Adam and Eve or something. They didn’t sing.

I would really only want the pirates’ Christmas record if it was all Lowlands Away and What Do We Do With a Drunken Sailor. I guess they could intersperse We Wish You a Merry Christmas or something period-appropriate, but we want the classic hits, man.

I do NOT want the pirate rendition of Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. Get right out of here with that nonsense.

Although them singing Christmas Monkey might have a certain bizarre charm…no. Shut up, self. That is horrible.


Memories of Adam and Eve? Uh….ooooookaaaaaaay…..

A bunch of pirates demanding figgy pudding would be kinda awesome.

And they can do the soulful moody thing! If they can rock lowlands away I’m sure we could whip up a good “Oh Holy Night.”

What’s truly horrible is that I, too, was thinking of Christmas Monkey before I even read that paragraph. I was GOING to make a joke about it after your “Rocking around the Xmas Tree” joke. But THEN I thought “I’ll read ahead to see if she went there,” and you had.

We need help.

But, on that front, I can’t get behind any Christmas song written after, say, 1950. Rocking around the Christmas Tree was, really, the beginning of the end. I don’t want John Lennon singing about war being over. I don’t want Wham! singing about last christmas giving his heart to someone. (I don’t really want Wham! singing about anything.) I don’t want some country singer’s grown up Christmas wish. I don’t even want that Charlie Brown shit. Stop it all of you.

Silent Night. We wish you a Merry Christmas. That sort of thing.

Bing Crosby: Good. Kenny Chesney: Bad.

I mean, sure, you could SAY we need more songs, but c’mon. My brother once worked on a Christmas record with Neil Sedaka (a probably gay Jewish guy), and they made some good tunes, sure, but what makes a good Xmas tune is the tradition. The history. There’s only so much Neil Sedaka can do.


We need help. I blame Christmas Monkey.

But I’m with you on traditional Christmas songs. These modern things–don’t need ’em. Don’t like ’em.

I also hate when people use Christmas carols to warble and show off their awesome voices. Carols are not the place to show off!

Just sing the damn song, it’s classic and we like it the way it usually goes. We don’t need you holding that note in the middle for two minutes just to prove you’re great. Yes, you’re great, your voice is impressive, I will admire it in SOME OTHER SONG PLEASE.

Also, stay off my lawn.

But yeah, in the old AC games you were recovering memories from the garden of Eden or something. About the Apple, that was actually a weapon of some kind? But Adam and Eve were really aliens? I think?

It was weird, weird stuff. I played all those games and loved them and I’m still not TOTALLY sure what was going on in the meta-story. But it was awesome anyway! I was into the absolute over-the-top bonkers-ness of it. I kind of miss that in the new ones. They seem tamer, somehow.



Nope. Don’t like the modern carols. And yet, they’re EVERYWHERE. Even the all Xmas radio stations which I will listen to from time to time in the car to get my cheer on have them!

Amen to not showing off in the classics. See also the National Anthem. Aretha Franklin did the anthem before one of the Thanksgiving Day football games, and milked it so much that CBS put up a graphic in the middle of the first half that had her leading in time of possession. Seriously. They wheeled her off. I think she’s just now getting to “Rocket’s red glare.”

And yet, when I played AC4, I kept asking you what, exactly, the FUCK was going on, and you’d TRY to explain it and you’d sound like the crazy person on the train.


So true!

I love you. You are a great singer and a national treasure. But…just SING the national anthem, OK? No need to get fancy. It’s fine. (Although I would kind of love to see someone someday just sing it, moving right along, so everyone thinks, “hey, this will be done in no time!” and then they proceed to sing the two or three extra verses that nobody ever sings. Heh. That would be evil, and amusing.)

The original Assassin’s Creed made everyone into the crazy person on the train.

“It’s aliens I tell you! Greek gods who are actually aliens leaving messages in our DNA! I’ve seen it in my ancestors’ memories!”


Dude, I think Aretha is fully prepared to do every verse.

It’s going to be interesting to see what the movie, what is out right now, does with this. I mean, it’s hard to explain the plot of the first game in two hours, let alone dramatize it. I have a feeling this will follow in a long uninterrupted line of terrible movies based on games. What it will LIKELY do is have a bunch of people who didn’t play the first couple asking people who did what that movie was all about and a lot of crazy train talk.


I am curious about the movie, mostly for that reason. What are they going to do with that whole “these are memories” concept?

“Yeah, I know it looks like a historical movie, but it’s actually set in the present or the near future, only this guy can SEE the past because he can relive his ancestors’ memories, and then he searches their memories for information about a magic weapon or something, and in order to do that he has to, like, relive key moments in their lives, so while he’s doing that it LOOKS like a historical movie, only with assassins with superpowers, and the reason he can see his ancestors’ memories is because of aliens visiting Earth long ago and leaving messages in his DNA. Probably.”

I can see this being a hard sell to anyone who didn’t play the first couple of AC games. Maybe they’ll tone it down on the weirdness, though.

Lately there’s been a lot more just “hey, people can see their ancestors’ memories because DNA, so let’s do it and it’ll be cool!” as opposed to the whole vast alien plot.


Nah, looks from the previews that they’re doubling down on it all. People seem a tad peeved that so much of it takes place in the present and the animus and all that. And they made the animus all nasty! Like, needles in the spine and all. What happened to evil Quebecois hipsters??????

I guess that was a bridge too far, that.


Ooh, spine needles, yikes. Nobody likes that. I mean, unless it’s providing valuable anesthesia for surgery, in which case bring it the hell on. In the games it was just a helmet! But early on you did have to lie on a special table, so maybe there were spine needles we couldn’t see.

I haven’t been following the previews (I don’t see movies anymore, so I don’t see trailers before movies, and I don’t watch TV, and I rarely think to seek them out online even though I’m on the computer 10 hours a day and they are readily available there–my bad), but I have to say, I’m inclined to salute them for doubling down on the weirdness.

Your weirdness was your soul, Assassin’s Creed! Never give up your crazy-train soul!

They had a straight-to-DVD short a few years back that I saw. It was surprisingly non-terrible. I mean, not the most impressive bit of live-action storytelling EVER, but it looked professional, had some nice visuals, decent acting… Whether or not this will also be true for a full length movie, I will not venture to speculate, but at least in terms of visuals, well, you can do a lot these days. I can imagine some pretty sweet shots inspired by air assassinations and rooftop running and so forth.

Perhaps one day when I watch movies again, I will catch it on Netflix.


Oh stop. We’re never watching movies ever again.


You’re right. Not unless they suddenly stop making games we want to play.

Don’t ever do that, game industry. We can’t survive in a world without games we want to play.