Dynames Productions Blog

A blog to showcase my creative and technical work. Talk about what I like to talk about.


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The Creed of the Assassin’s – Recommendations

Hey everyone,

Been a while since I posted here. In between that time, I managed to play all the main Assassin’s Creed games released for the PS3. So here are my brief thoughts on each as well as ranking (from most recommended to least). If you are only interested in the rankings, please skip to the end of this post.

Games Thoughts:

Assassin’s Creed –

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An okay game. The main issue this game suffers from is its repetition and lack of variation in gameplay. However it did introduce us to the satisfying feeling of being a ninja type assassin while posing some interesting philosophical questions along the way.

The game definitely has many issues that makes it a drag to play at times, but it is still worth a shot for this is what started the whole AC universe.

 

Assassin’s Creed II –

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A brilliant follow up that expands the gameplay in meaningful and fun ways. This game seems to rectify the issues of repetition with the original and adds on loads of things to do.

The main character Ezio is also a step up from Altair. The story seems to go for a more personal approach this time versus the philosophical one it had with the original. You also get to see some great character development for Ezio as you progress in the story.

New mechanics introduced definitely help vary up the gameplay as well as add more value to the fun. But that is not to say that the game does not have any flaws. In fact sometimes there are forced mini-games that really help bring the fun to a grinding halt. The mini-games can be infuriating to play at times due to the weak control scheme (although controls are far more responsive and less “floaty” than the original).

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood –

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An okay follow up to the second game in my opinion. It follows Ezio’s adventures again, but this time the game feels too padded. The whole series has this issue where they try to add in as much padding as possible to extend gameplay time, but this one just seemed to take it to the max. That’s the feeling I got when I was playing it anyways.

There are several features that return with few minor new ones. Mechanically it is the same as the second one, which does sometimes drown out the fun as you will be battling with controls at times (unlike their new controls from AC III and on-wards). The story just wasn’t as enthralling to play through unlike AC II. At the beginning it is very interesting, but then the story just begins to lose my interest due to the slow pacing and sometimes padded missions that make me more tired when playing.

But it was still a nice minor advancement in the series and for Ezio’s story as well.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations –

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The last game in the Ezio trilogy and quite a different AC experience in comparison to the ones before. The experience is different because we get to play as Ezio and Altair during various sequences of the game. Ezio is still the main protagonist, but Altair has an integral role to the story and an expansion of his character. On top of that, we get more explanation into the admittedly convoluted backstory of the precursor race and what not.

Mechanically this game is much the same as Brotherhood due to it only having one year in development. Minor improvements to the graphics and controls help this game shine above its predecessors. Not to mention, this game concludes Ezio’s journey as an assassin and you the player get the sense that Ezio deserves to finally get his closure.

Assassin’s Creed III –

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This game is the one game that really changed up the gameplay for good. The control scheme was simplified, the parkouring was improved and the graphics simply go through the roof in comparison to Revelations.

The story of this game, while not as focused around Assassins versus Templars when compared to the previous entries, it is still a worthy game to play through. The story takes place in the American Colonial Revolution and has you play as an Aboriginal protagonist.

Many people complained about him being a plain and boring character, but in my opinion he is just as interesting character as Ezio if not more so. I say that because of his Aboriginal heritage. It is nice to see a character come from such a background, not to mention he gave up so much and sacrificed so much in his fight, but in the end he was left with so little (in some cases, nothing at all).

He is also a very ideologically driven character with a sense of naivety due to his inexperience and youth. The discussions he has with other characteres on more philosophical topics about Templars really helps stand him apart from the other protagonists so far. The struggle, the sacrifices and the ideological thinking really helps solidify him as an interesting character in my book.

The game also introduced ship combat, although this was extremely poor due to its sloppy mechanics and controls. These sections even got frustrating at times. But unlike the previous AC games, this one didn’t have any annoying mini-games and was a blast to play through all the way. I was always curious what was going to happen next and seeing the ending made me completely sympathize for Connor. The game also gives us more to do in the present time story-line and concludes Desmond’s story arc.

A worthy addition that helps boost my love for this series.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag –

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The Pirate’s Caribbean game as many like to refer to it. The pirate game that Disney could never release. This was the second game I played in the series (I played Revelations first and then this one. After that I decided to get the whole series on the PS3). This game is what really sold me on Assassin’s Creed. Unlike AC III, the ship combat in this is fantastic. The development team really improved the gameplay on all aspects which made this one only even more fun to play through.

The story is not as much of an Assassins versus Templars story as much as it is Edward’s journey from being a money loving pirate to a responsible assassin. I would even argue that the character development in this one is far better than the one in Ezio’s trilogy. You can actually tell the development in his character apart, where as with Ezio’s trilogy, it wasn’t as evident due to his constant playboy and easy going nature. The psychological sections for Edward’s journey were fascinating to play through as we delved deep into the symbolism of his experiences and those around him.

Piloting your own ship as well as creating your own army was very fun. The only negative for this game would be the grind you have to go through to upgrade your ship sometimes. It can get very repetitive, and eventually boring to do. But it will be worth it in the end as you can destroy nearly any ship with ease. It will make that once puny boat you called “Jackdaw” turn into a tank.

As I mentioned before, it takes a step away from the traditional Assassin’s versus Templars just like AC III. But that’s not to say that you don’t kill Templars, trust me there is plenty of that once you decide to commit to the brotherhood. But what really fascinated me was a third party in this game that acts as an ally and an enemy for a short while before meeting your blade. There is still a magical device involved to help progress the precursor story, but this also ties into the present time story that is quite interesting to play through on its own.

If you love ship combat and the AC combat then this will go hand in hand for you. The mix and balance of the two is phenomenal. You are also given several mini-missions to do along the way to actually help better your ship and your gear. I definitely recommend this to any player even if you haven’t played any previous AC games.

Assassin’s Creed: Rogue –

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This one is quite a unique entry in the franchise. In this game, you actually get to experience both sides of the coin, the Assassins and the Templars. This game carries over many mechanics from Black Flag, while improving on some and introducing certain new things along the way. Unlike Black Flag however, there is not as much emphasis on ship combat, but more so on foot combat like AC III.

What really helps make this game fun is seeing Shay’s (the protagonist) journey going from Assassin to Templar. He goes from an ignorant, young, and following orders without much question Assassin to a man forced to mature due to the heavy guilt he carries on his conscience and joins the Templar side. The story in no sense is traditional to the AC formula, in fact this game’s story is very different compared to what you will have played through in the past.

One complaint I do have is that the game is on the short side. While I can see why due to story reasons, it would have been nice if the story was a little longer extending to at least 8 or 9 sequences/chapters as opposed to the 6 we get. But that is a minor complaint in the fact of excellent gameplay and story.

Rankings:

Here are my rankings for the games recommendation list on the PS3. 7 is the lowest recommendation, where as 1 is the highest.

7 – Assassin’s Creed

6 – Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

5 – Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

4 – Assassin’s Creed II

3 – Assassin’s Creed III

2 – Assassin’s Creed: Rogue

1 – Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

But if you want to get the full AC experience, then I say play them all and in the order of their story progression.

That’s my list, what is yours like?

If you would like to post your own order for recommendations, feel free to post them in the comments section below :).

Thanks for reading and hope you have a blast playing the games should you choose to.

Catch you all next time!

~ Mohit


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Battlefield 1 & Boot Camp Training

Hey everyone,

So it has been quite a while since Battlefield 1 was announced. Honestly, this is a welcomed change in the modern and futuristic shooter landscape. Battlefield 1 going to World War 1 in my opinion is a great decision.

Lately I have been thinking about this, I was brought back to the nostalgia of WWII shooters. In most of the ones I played, I remember going through a training boot camp session. There is just something about such a training level that really helps settle in the military tone and setting. Plus they were fun as well, experiencing boot camp activities and more (obviously not necessarily an accurate representation, but still fun).

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My hope is that in the campaign for Battlefield 1, they do something like this instead of just throwing us into the action right away and on-wards. Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault started with an action sequence, but it was short enough to maintain interest and then jump into a boot camp session.

Starting off with a boot camp session that helps get the players familiarized with the controls and the whole militaristic war feeling.

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~ Mohit

Check out my other blog here focused on motivational and inspirational content.


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Video Games & The Mindset

You know, I have always been surprised at the power a mindset can have over how fun, engaging and accepting we can seem of things. This is true for video games as well. Lately as I play Borderlands 2, I have been struggling to get into it 100%. My last game, Tales of Symphonia had this problem as well. But for that game, I was in it at the start, but due to its enormous length I was starting to get fatigued.

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With Borderlands 2 however, it is a different story. From the start it felt like an on off experience. There are things in the game that excite me, yet things that dreadfully bore me. For example, the exploration, even if bare it is still fun. But when it comes to the action, it becomes boring quite quickly if I engage in it for too long. That is indeed quite sad since the bulk of enjoyment from Borderlands 2 comes generally from the action.

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Quests that have non-action objectives I find more intriguing than ones involving going to some place and shooting up something. I had the same problem with the original Borderlands as well. Most of the time I find my mind going numb from all the shooting as I finally shut down the PS3 at the end of the gaming session. That is not a good feeling to have after playing a game. I suppose one could argue that this just isn’t my cup of tea.

081BUT then something happened. Something changed my mindset on this game completely and that is partaking in the 4 player co-op. When I play with other people, the game becomes more exciting to play through due to the social aspects of team work. When I play by myself, it is nothing more than a chore, while at times it becomes interesting. Borderlands I believe was a game designed with action, loot, exploration and team work in mind. I enjoyed my co-op sessions on the original one quite extensively compared to playing on my own.

There is quite an interesting correlation between the mindset and the tasks you do. With the right mindset the tasks can be bearable, with the correct mindset they can be fun. But when your mind is just not into something, it will feel like a chore to grind through.

There are certain video games you can just pop on in and get playing, while others require a certain mindset to really get into it. The Borderlands series is just a few of those games I suppose. One of the things I have found that helps the most when I play is just taking a vehicle and driving around. If I come across enemies, I simply ignore them and drive around trying to find new locations and lootable places. It definitely does help, that is until the game forces a large action segment onto you… =_=.

I know a lot of people love Borderlands and its sequels. What has your experience been with the Borderlands series?

Thanks for reading.

~ Mohit

https://qph.is.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-790ec73970fdddc7625eae7671264ee2?convert_to_webp=true

Bro, so true…


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JRPG Padding Which I DISLIKE THE MOST!

*** Post will contain spoilers for Tales of Symphonia ***

If you have read some of my posts before, you may have noticed one that outlines my like for the Japanese Role Playing Video Games (JRPG). But like with everything, this genre is by no means perfect. As I have been playing more of these recently, I have begun to notice a very annoying trend in them. From the title you should be able to easily guess it.

Did you guess “Padding”?

If you did, then you would be right. To be more specific, I talk padding of the nonsensical variety. Let’s use an example from my current JRPG that I’m playing called “Tales of Symphonia”. That game, as far as characters goes has cliched but varied characters. Story is interesting at the start, but starts to get drowned out as time goes on due to the magnitude of the game. Part of that magnitude comes from the unnecessary padding they add on for reasons they don’t even bother explaining to the player until very later!

Fine!

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So what happened exactly?

Here I was going to the Temple of Earth as instructed by the story and I come across a gnome. Okay, that’s cool. But guess what, they wouldn’t let me past until I got another gnome in another location a potion. So I had to go halfway across the world map to get the potion, then go to the different dungeon that gnome was in, and then make my way back to Temple of Earth! (There is no fast travel)

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Now that I had done that, I moved on to exploring the dungeon (or temple, whatever you fancy). All was good, killing enemies, leveling up and exploring loot chests. Then I came across another gnome, oh and wouldn’t you know it, they wanted something as well in order for me to advance.

Player: So why am I helping them again?

Game: You want an explanation?

Player: That would be nice.

Game: No screw you! Do as you are told, and we may take enough pity on you to explain it later.

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Fine, I go get what the gnome wanted, in this case it was spicy curry. But here is the kicker, here is what really set me off on this whole nonsensical padding thing. I had to go halfway across the world map again! So that’s me two times entering and leaving the temple to fulfill completely unrelated mini quests. Quests mind you which don’t even give me an incentive to do so to begin with. All the game says is, if you want to get past the gnomes, you give them what they want.

Player: Why would I want to do that?! There is enough space around the gnome for me to walk around them.

Game: No no no, you must get them their shiz before you can move on.

I do that, I get him the curry, and get a nice little scene with everyone eating around a little campfire. Then I move on and finally learn why I had to do all this. It was so the gnomes would lend me their aid in finding a tunnel that would lead back up to where I was, well I could have done that through exploration!

Then as I went back to the start, I saw a new gnome. Finally this one was here to help me get to the dungeon boss, my main objective. So helping one wasn’t enough to get them to help me in return apparently?

On top of that, I had already figured out how to get to the boss, but because you needed the gnomes (which the game never told me at any point before completing the blasted mini quests), I had to play through that arduous 30 minutes process.

To that I say the following:

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I don’t know why this is a staple of JRPG design, of course they have gotten MUCH better at this but this unnecessary padding just seems like a lazy aspect of JRPG design. This padding just seems like an easy way out for the devs to extend gameplay hours through trivial mini quests thrown in there.

This isn’t exclusive to Tales of Symphonia alone, I have played many other JRPGs that have had this problem in my perspective. I think this problem is mostly prevalent in older JRPGs, but it is relevant in some modern games that are structured around a quest/mission system.

Some games may do this with some logic behind it, while others do it simply to make the player feel like they are getting their money’s worth. And to that I put my foot down and say…

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I realize this was kind of a rant post, but I hope it does at least make other gamers and devs out there realize how bad padding can be very frustrating to play through.

~ Mohit

Click here for my previous post on JRPGs.


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The Souls Charm

hype-meme-0a79c29f1f3235b7e1d08393bbbe03c2There was once a time where I wondered why there was so much hype and rave about Dark Souls, and the Souls series as a whole. I played it once I got the opportunity to, and then the charm took me over. The Souls charm won me by a landslide in comparison to any other game I have played to date.

The way the game is designed at its core seems to adhere to some of the most basic game design principles. It doesn’t go for any fancy gimmicks, instead the series focuses on solid combat, strategic/critical thinking and exploration. Perhaps due to the level of simplicity it possesses for a new player, but at the same time the complexities needed for veteran players was what won me over.

dxg-dark-soulsI first started with Dark Souls, then got Dark Souls II and finally had the opportunity to get Demon’s Souls recently. Playing a test run of Demon’s Souls to make sure it worked fine on my PS3, I was hit with instant nostalgia for Dark Souls. Keep in mind, I haven’t finished any of the Souls game yet. I’m more than halfway through for Dark Souls, but decided to put it down for a while as I felt I was getting a little burnt out on it. No fun in playing a game that feels like it is wearing you out.

I was in love with the series the moment I picked up the controller in Dark Souls. So many good co-op sessions, and epic boss fights even if they do follow a pattern that with enough attention and patience can become predictable. Not to mention the complexity of the world we transverse through, all of it culminates to a brilliant game and game design.

425-3-1370142006Now the Souls series would be nowhere near as good without it’s death mechanics. Every Souls game has seemed to changed the penalties for death somewhat in the past. But that feeling of dying remains the same in any game. There is a constant fear of loss when you first start out. You know that the more souls you carry, more is at stake. In some games, it limits your health lower than 100% as well. That fear of death can either paralyze you, or create a sense of adventure to keep on pushing forward.

But once you overcome that fear, so many options will open up to you in how you choose to play. You can be a lot more daring, or still play passively.

Let’s also not forget the character evolution in these games. You can start out as one particular class, but evolve the character into something else as you progress through the games. This level of freedom allows room for great experimentation.

darksoul_facebook_miniDark Souls III is going to release only on the current gen hardware (PS4, Xbox One & PC), sadly I won’t get the opportunity to play it. At least not right now, but when I do, I’ll savor every moment like I do with the rest. These games alongside Bloodborne are a necessary existence in the gaming industry, it shows other devs that there are still gamers out there who yearn to be challenged both mentally and skill wise when playing their games.

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Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoyed that post! Stick around for more! 🙂

~ Mohit


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Slice of Life is the King genre

Let me preface this post by saying that whatever views are expressed in this post, are my OPINIONS.

women-sunset-landscapesHaving read manga for a long time, watched anime for a long time and occasionally reading fiction books, I’ve come to a conclusion. By far my favorite genre regardless of medium  easily has been “Slice of Life”. Slice of life for those unaware is, taking the mundane life of a character and presenting it in a mysterious, adventurous and positive manner to the viewer/reader.

In fact your life, and my life itself is slice of life. Whatever happens everyday to us is considered slice of life. If you think your everyday adventures (or routine, whichever your prefer) are boring, then look again. But look at it with a more positive mindset thinking of the fun you can have in every activity you do. Think of the little adventure every activity provides.

man-cleaningFor example, something as simple as washing dishes can be fun. Knowing that you’re the one doing the hard work and see it pay off with clean, shiny dishes again is a reward in itself.

Slice of life is the ability to take pleasures in the simple things of life. I love this genre more than any other because of the positive messages it sends, and the happy feelings I get every time from reading it. This genre has also taught me a lot in the past, and still continues to do so. It has taught me that even in the toughest challenges, there is some fun that can be derived from it no matter what we may think or feel like.

8a1dcc058f13ad94c3fb3872d5ac17f7No matter the negativity of the world, there will always be some positivity. It is our job to feed off of the positivity to keep our minds healthy rather than turn to the negative thinking. There are enough negative thinkers in the world already, so I would rather make an effort to remain optimistic and positive.

Slice of Life is a genre that will keep on giving no matter how many stories you read within it. It is a genre to teach you countless lessons, for which you will be grateful for as time goes on. My most favorite cup of tea will always remain to be “Slice of Life”. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and reading this post. Please indulge yourself in my other entries in this blog.

Hope you stick around for future posts.

~ Mohit


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Do Let’s Plays (LP) fall under Fair Use? #WTFU

Recently on Twitter I had a discussion of sorts with a Let’s Player regarding #WTFU within context to LPs. Now I love watching LPs, especially horror ones from one chap in particular, “Helloween4545”.

For those that don’t know what #WTFU stands for, it is: Where is The Fair Use.

An event that has started in response to the evidence of how easy it is for companies to abuse the copyright system of YouTube and get away with it. Not to mention how broken YouTube’s system is as it hardly does anything to protect its creators (unless you’re a big name and bringing in lots of revenue of course). But that maybe a conversation for next time, today we focus on fair use and video games.

Do video games fall under fair use? Yes, well no. Okay maybe they do, then again maybe they don’t.

So which is it?!

It is a muddy territory we get into my friends whenever we discuss fair use. Let’s first start by getting an understanding of fair use here. There are 4 terms (or questions) people must adhere to in order for their content to be protected under fair use. The terms are as follows:

  1. The purpose and character of your use
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount of sustainability of the portion taken and
  4. The effect of the use on the potential market

Source: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/four-factors/

If you’re sitting and scratching your head, I wouldn’t blame you. Legal jargon never has made much sense has it now?

Let’s look at what we as consumers and the non-legal persons need to worry about. The material you used under fair use, is it “trans-formative” by any means? And what effect could your LP of a game have on the potential revenue market for the original publishers and developers?

What do I mean by trans-formative?

Simply put, does it change the content in anyway from it’s original experience? This can deal with things like the material being used for commentary, criticism and or parody purposes. I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones that popped up in my research.

In LPs, people normally commentate over their gameplay, whether it be during or after the play has been recorded. Now this one is 50-50 in how it would work. If you’re a quieter LPer, you probably can’t get away with this as majority of the base experience with observing a game is still there. If you’re talkative for the most part during your sets/videos, you’ll have fulfilled the trans-formative aspect of fair use (from my understanding).

What about the impact it could have on the original market?

This really depends on the game. If you are playing a game that is very story driven and extremely linear, it probably won’t have a positive effect unless your game is really good and recommended to others. But why is this so? Because a story heavy games primarily have their experiences woven into learning the story. So if you watch an LP of the game, what is the point of playing that game then?

Now if we have a horror game, or some other game that is based around inducing certain feelings out of the player (ie. Journey, Alien: Isolation), then the LP falls under Fair Use. Again, why? Because the game is not relying on something people observe to understand alone, the game itself is an experience that you’ll only truly understand once you play it for yourself. Games that give you “unlimited” freedom such as Minecraft also fall under Fair Use, because there is no linear narrative (aside from the story mode now, which does not fall under Fair Use to some extent) and you can go around building whatever it is you imagine. Minecraft is more about the experience of using your imagination within a game world to build something.

I’ll personally attest to wanting to get games that I saw were more experience driven than the story driven games. Most of my games library is composed of more experience driven games with an occasional mix of great story driven elements to them.

Whenever video games rely on story alone, such as TellTale games, I would wager they aren’t covered under Fair Use due to the impact they can have on their market. But when a game relies on something more than the story, it relies on the gameplay to provide an experience, to some extent your game and LP does fall under fair use. I say to some extent because no game is going to be 100% Fair Use material, game development does not allow it.

Plus one should keep in mind that basically all components of the game are copyrighted under an intellectual property. Meaning whenever you make a video of the game, you’re using their copyrighted work. But thanks to Fair Use, you’re protected to a certain degree.

Is Fair Use a confusing world to be in?

Yes, especially when you’re not a critic or a parody maker. LPers are probably in the grayest of areas, it all depends on what they play and how they choose to play it. Games with choices will fall more under Fair Use, compared to a completely story driven, with little gameplay and linear game.

At the end of the day, we can only do what we think is right from our understanding of Fair Use as flawed as it maybe. Fair Use after all has no set definition, there have been multiple variants of it over the year through court rulings.

What are your thoughts on this?

Comment down below if you’ve more to add to this or a counter-argument perhaps.

Thanks for reading!

~ Mohit

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