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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Minor spoilers for Barnabas’ plot in AC: Odyssey

Butch:

So went to Kos! Killed a legendary rooster on the way. A legendary rooster.

Game you so silly.

So, here we go again. The blue quests are good, the white quests aren’t. I did the Sirens, and I did Markos, and there ya go. Good, bad.

At least I think the Sirens are good. At the very least, that was interesting. The sound design of not really being able to hear cuz of the wax (trust me, it was good), the general creep of that, this “I need this extra protection” feeling, all the people half dead around…..nice. And themey in the “Kassandra as god?” vein. Nice!

And then there was Markos.

I got a trophy for finishing that quest. The trophy was for “Finish Markos’ quest line.” Quest line. You’d think that would mean the conclusion of a story arc, perhaps a story involving Kassandra’s father figure, in a game about fathers. You’d think maybe there’d be something to do with the child in their weird little family, a child who died tragically, representing Kassandra’s biggest failure, as well as a failure by Markos, the ersatz father figure. Something that has to do with these father/family themes that the game allegedly has.

And, of course, you’d be wrong.

Seriously, game. Seriously. It’s one thing to put stupid “burn this sink that” nonsense in the way of narrative. It’s another thing to SUBSTITUTE “burn this kill him” FOR narrative. This “quest” was nothing! NOTHING! Burn, kill, thanks, here’s some money and a piece of loot. THAT. WAS. IT. Phoibe? Not mentioned. NOT ONCE!

This game…..This could have been, SHOULD have been good. Markos, her “real dad,” the con man, the scoundrel, the wimp. He’s pretty much the opposite of Kassandra’s real mother and “real” father. There could have been themes and bloggage for days around that! But the game went and made this quest, the end of Markos’ questline, as they said, nothing more than any other quest in the game. Just “Go over there and burn that shit.”

Not forgiving this. This wasn’t an example of “Hey, there was good in here, they just buried it under chores.” There was nothing here. Nothing.

And there should have been.

Feminina:

I killed that rooster too! That island of angry chickens was surprisingly dangerous, for an island full of chickens, but I survived. Silly, silly game.

But yeah, the sirens bit was kind of cool. The muffled sounds, as you say, and the people lying around, and the creepiness.

I was also disappointed with the end of Markos’ story. For pretty much all the reasons you say: zero mention of Phoibe (I guess maybe it’s possible to do this part first, so she might not have been dead yet?), zero actual resolution or sense of anything having happened in their relationship–as you say, this is the guy who raised her, the parent figure who was around for the greatest part of her life, and the contrast with parent figures who weren’t around, that could have been something. But no.

Although I did kind of love the fact that the guy you delivered the wine to thought it was poisoned, and Kassandra was yelling “no, that’s just the wine!” I drank some with him, and became briefly ill myself. It’s just that terrible!

And you’re right that the blue quests are where it’s good. I did the one about the poet over the weekend. Quite relevant to our discussion about parents, and knowing your parents.

Butch:

And got some sort of poultry themed weapon. Game, stop.

I’m sorta curious to get to the end of this particular part. I’m sure it will be a let down, but at least it’ll be an interesting let down.

As for Morkos: Nope. Nothing. In a game where family plays such a role. As for “Maybe she might not have been dead yet,” well, we deal with such things when we make non linear open world RPGs, right? Shit, this game handled it just fine in the brothers quest, as you had killed the Monger when you did it and I hadn’t. Nothing a couple changed lines of dialog can’t solve.

If this is how you “complete” character quest lines in this game, I’m less eager to finish it than I was before, and I wasn’t that eager before.

I did the same with the wine, and it was rather amusing, but that was even more disconnect. The last thing we had regarding Kassandra’s original family was her putting a wooden eagle into Phoibe’s dead hands, giving her the eagle she always dreamed of, knowing that she had failed the one person she truly cared about. Now, poof! “Oh, Markos, you so silly, let’s have a fun quest, wokka wokka.” Game, the fuck.

The blue quests are like a different damn game. They really are. It has me wondering if the intentional choice of making them a different color was intended to indicate they ARE a different game.

Hear me out: We’ve talked before about how, if you’re going to take a franchise and change what it fundamentally is, you’re going to have issues. We’ve talked on how this game is trying to pivot Assassin’s Creed from being a stealth, actiony thing into a straight up, open world RPG. We’ve talked on how that can irk people who see Assassin’s Creed on the box and want stealth and action, not an RPG. Maybe these icon colors are explicitly trying to separate the old from the new.

Because the white quests sure do feel old school AC. Sneak here, kill him, sink that. If the shanties were any good, the white bits would feel EXACTLY like AC4 (the only other one I played). The blue bits feel and play like, well, an RPG, and not a bad one at that. Non linear, moral vagueness, choices that matter (even romantic choices that matter!), themes…..you know… the stuff we like. It’s such a drastic difference that, the more I play, the less I think it’s possible that it’s just coincidence that white and blue are so different. It can’t be.

Feminina:

That’s an interesting thought…that maybe they’re hiding the more RPG-ish stories in special color-coded side quests, perhaps thinking that if these types of stories are popular, they can bring them more into the foreground in future games?

Making a gradual color-coded shift in tone and approach? Hm.

Butch:

I don’t know. It would sure be a weird way to do it, especially making all of them optional. But you must admit the differences in those quests are very striking. They just play differently. And, at least so far, it isn’t like they just got lucky and had a good one in there. They’re ALL strikingly different. Not just better: different.

Very strange. And annoying, because it means the whole game could have been that, and the whole game is very, very much not that.

Feminina:

Well, they’re not COMPLETELY different. They’re still full of fetch quests and murdering people in different locations. There’s just a bit more of a narrative around it. And there is sometimes some level of narrative around the white quests, like with our old friend Heitor, or the handsome doctor. But I agree, the main game is full of non-narrative objectives like “kill the captain in this fort” that really run together after a while.

Butch:

True. I guess I’m just so starved for any kind of anything I’ll see “some themes with the looting” as “completely different.”

My need for themes also has me looking over my shoulder at other games.

Like Greedfall. You seeing Greedfall? This is a dark horse that isn’t getting much press, but it looks damn interesting.

Feminina:

I have never heard of this game. I don’t believe it exists.

Stop trying to distract me while I’m murdering captains over here!

Butch:

It’s drawing mighty comparisons to Bioware. Not moldy flag bioware, but the bioware of old.

It looks good.

Feminina:

Intriguing!

Good thing we have tons of time and don’t have anything else going on.

Butch:

You’re right, you’re right. We have to start prioritizing.

I vote we do the ones with the most nudity first.

Feminina:

Dude, THIS game has more nudity (in statue form) than the last three things we’ve played, and how well is that working out for you?

We may need something else to go by.

Butch:

Dude, inanimate nudity just ain’t nudity.

T SHIRT!!!!

I’m grasping at themes, being all “It’s COMPLETELY different!” You’re grasping at marble genitalia, sometimes literally, depending on how you climb, being all “It’s COMPLETELY different!”

This is how far we have fallen. We must rectify all of this with the glut of games ahead.

(Must admit, when I have to climb those risque statues, I try to go up the side as much as humanly possible.)

(How come Athena’s so well dressed?)

Feminina:

So Mafia 3’s Playboys and Vargas prints don’t count? Dubious.

It is interesting though, the goddess statues are much more clothed than the gods. Maybe it just reflects actual practice? I mean, they did compete naked in the Olympics, so male nudity was just a thing. Whereas women didn’t compete in the Olympic games and therefore weren’t sort of publicly naked as specimens of noble humanity in the same way. (As the load screen tells us, there were separate female games, but they were clearly secondary in importance, and it does not specify whether the women also competed in the nude.)

I could look this up, but Googling too much nudity at work could be problematic.

Butch:

Well, I ain’t gonna google it.

We shall never know.

Feminina:

Nope. It’s a mystery for the ages.