games / Columns

The Gaming Rs: Assassins Creed: Origins, Super Mario Odyssey, More

November 4, 2017 | Posted by Stewart Lange
Assassin's Creed: Origins

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of the Gaming Rs! Sorry I missed you all last week and for this week being shorter than usual, but my laptop died horribly and I started a new job, so life is pretty chaotic. Thankfully, it’s not the sort of column you come to read for the length or quality. That’s also what she said. There have been loads of new games out since I last spoke to you and that will be my column for the week, since there should have been reviews for the three of them on the site already. If not, someone is slacking, but it’s certainly not me. Honestly. Despite the fact I’ve not been very busy around the site but hey, I literally have nothing to work with at the moment so sue me. Actually, don’t. Forget I said that. Here’s what you all had to say last week.

Reader Feedback:

Last time, I spoke about difficult games and how you’re expected to just “git gud” at them.

Sdelfin: I think the rise of these difficult games, along with the retro resurgence, is a response to mainstream gaming getting even more cinematic and story driven over the years. Stuff like that drove me away in the past. With Cuphead, it’s a bit of a case of incorrect expectation, despite it being well known what the game was always going to be. Despite that, people see the 1930s-style cartoon graphics, assume it’s like Mario, and think, I need to play that neat cartoon game. But it’s not a neat cartoon game. It’s an arcade-style, run-n-gun, boss-rush game with neat cartoon graphics on top. But it’s also that 1930s cartoon style, a bit sick and twisted, not necessarily meant to be mainstream. There was a strange entitlement to be able to play and easily complete Cuphead just because the graphical style is novel.

As far as I’m concerned, Cuphead’s difficulty is overstated. It’s very challenging, but not as difficult or frustrating as some retro titles. It has infinite continues, which is great. The game is mostly pattern recognition, so I found I almost always made some kind of progress with each attempt, despite all the failure, which is a sign of a well-designed game, in my opinion. The game can’t be that hard when I was able to beat King Dice while simultaneously trying to keep a cat from trampling on my laptop keyboard and blocking the screen. It would be even more impressive if I didn’t have any cats, but I do.

It’s like other commenters said, you can’t make games appeal to everyone, and trying to do that will often ruin a game. I’ve learned what I like and don’t like, so it’s on me to know what I’m getting into.

This seemed to be the consensus. Don’t like the difficulty of a game? Don’t play it. Simple as that.

Prowriter: ***cough*** Bloodborne***cough***

Can’t I just include that as a Dark Souls game? Wait, I said NOT to sue me above. Yeah, I know they’re different and yeah, I know it’s tough. I just literally forgot it existed for a minute.

Jeyh: Of course there is a middle ground here of setting the ability to change the difficulty settings and if the game is good enough you have the replay value of it just at a higher level of difficulty. I’m a Mass Effect Fan boy having gone through ME2 at least 7 times on two different consoles and I adjust the difficulty based on what class I’m playing. I still get my ass handed to me on hardcore because I’m not that good even though I play it a lot but I enjoy the challenge. Multiplayer has really created a different level of difficulty in many games, I have probably 1000 hours in MW2 MP and I’m still bad, but I’ll get lucky sometimes and end up with the highest score. Games should just be enjoyed by all and that is why we have different sorts of games and settings. Game shaming is fine in certain circles just like trash talk is in various circles.

Game shaming is absolute douchery, if you ask me. It’s the same as the people who get upset about who is gaming on what platform. Get over it, you damned nerds.

Crackhead_Bob: Different Strokes for different folks. Liking/disliking difficult games is no different than having a preference in the genre of game you play. I don’t like football games, but I don’t go whining on twitter to EA about how they should make it into NBA Jam to be more inclusive of my preferences. That would be silly. (But they should totally make a new NBA Jam)

Some people don’t want to be challenged and just want to see the story play out..that’s where walking simulators come in..some people want to crushed over and over by a game until they’ve finally mastered it, so you get games like Souls/Bloodborne. Most people just fall into the middle ground where they want a moderate challenge, which is certainly the space the vast majority of games land.

The problem really only arises when people start demanding that developers change their vision of the game to suit what they want. Not everything is meant for everybody, that’s just the way the world is. Trying to appeal to every single demographic will just wind up with you making the video game equivalent of Poochy from the Simpsons.

Of course then there’s artificial difficulty like for example the payouts you get from missions in GTA Online being complete and utter crap so that people will buy more of those stupid shark cards. But that’s another article altogether.

You had me at Poochy, to be fair. But it’s a decent enough sentiment, in all seriousness. And genuinely, anyone paying real money for fake money clearly has too much of it and if you want to donate to my Patreon, that’d be wonderful. Also, the other article? Check back a couple of weeks for micro-transactions!

That is absolutely enough from you lot until the comment section below, where I look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, I’m going to Right some Ridiculous wRongs.

The Right:

Shocking scenes in the last week, as the Nintendo Switch actually has a game worth buying it for. Don’t shout at me, I get that a lot of you loved Breath of the Wild, but you know what? I didn’t. Some other people won’t have either. Thankfully, these people now have Super Mario Odyssey to play and I have to say, it’s an absolute gem of a game. It’s bright, pretty and tonnes of fun and I absolutely recommend that you buy and play it at your earliest convenience. Happily enough, it’s also passed the “girlfriend test” as she’s even taking to playing it when I’ve not been in, despite not being interested in games. So, it’s a win all around for Nintendo. Those of you who already like your Switch and were expecting to enjoy Super Mario Odyssey almost certainly will, and those you you who were contemplating trading your system in while it still has a little bit of value before going the way of the Wii:U actually have a reason to keep hold of it a little bit longer. Well done Nintendo.

The wRong:

The wRong this week comes from Ubisoft, who released their newest game series, Witchers Creed: Origin of a new franchise. Now, I’ve given the game a pretty decent chance, playing it a lot more than anything else this week, but it just doesn’t sit right in any way with me. It looks absolutely incredible, granted, but you know what? I love Assassins Creed games and this just isn’t one. The combat is taken directly from the Witcher, as is the horse riding, most of the menu systems and the eagle vision has been replaced with a 2000 year old equivalent of the Wildlands drone. It’s not a horrible game by any means, it’s just so disappointing to see a once unique series just absolutely ape another one like this. I seem to be in the minority of people here and it is growing on me a little, but I miss the real feeling of a Creed game. If I’d known Syndicate would be the last traditional one, I’d have treasured it a lot more. In the meantime, I’ll just have to conquer Egypt upset in the knowledge that I’m not going to be able to take on 20 people without taking a hit in purely on strength of my reflexes.

The Ridiculous:

It’s not exactly all the way ridiculous, but those of you who have read my review of Wolfenstein 2 will have seen me complain about the length and volume of cutscenes in an otherwise fantastic FPS release. It doesn’t quite end up being a walking simulator, far from it. Nor does it fall into playable movie, where you have to “press X to Jason” but it did feel a little bit over the top. Recently I played the Modern Warfare remaster and to me, that is still up there as arguably the most exciting single player FPS campaigns. I had hoped Wolfenstein 2 would be close to it, although I felt the same about first person releases from Bethesda recently and should have known a little bit better. Bethesda games can be a little hit and miss, as Doom did relatively well critically where Dishonored 2 failed, but the publisher have backed a good horse with the reinvigorated Wolfenstein series. I’d just liked to have spent a little less time resting my controller on my lap watching the action.

Bit of a quick one this week, but there’s plenty of other great stuff on the site to read too. Reviews galore and Marc is running through the best games from each year in the 8 Ball so be sure to go and tell him he’s forgotten your favourite. In the meantime, let me know what you thought about the recent slew of big releases; what you enjoyed, what you hated and why I’m a terrible person for not liking Breath of the Wild. I’ll see you in seven and remember… DON’T BE A DICK!