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About coolwali

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  1. It would be rather inaccurate. Firstly, it's possible not every PS5 owner has played Astro. Secondly, we don't know how many people have earned the trophies. In the past, The PS4 did have cases where one particular trophy's numbers get revealed and people could use that figure out how many copies of a game were out there but not how many systems were there. We're just going to have to rely on Sony's own numbers
  2. @Smiddy23 Yeah, to each their own. In my opinion, I found TLOU better than GOW for many reasons. The close camera works there because the game is a 3rd person shooter so the close camera actually helps combat instead of frustrates. Joel's movement being limited works because these are real people in real locations. I can buy a regular dude not being able to climb buildings more than a God not being able to after climbing a sheer cliff or jumping in cutscenes. The lite RPG/crafting systems work because the game is closer to a survival horror game where the limited loot helps instead of being redundant. And the story works because TLOU doesn't want us to simultaneously know of Joel's past and then ignore it. Everything we learn about Joel is relevant to the story.
  3. @Fray32- I disagree. All the collectibles in this game are trivial and uninteresting. Sure, the game gives you a general idea of where they are but that doesn't make them great. The game requires a ton of backtracking which can get annoying and frustrating, especially in areas like in the mountain where it can be difficult to tell exactly where you are. Many collectibles are hidden behind the most brain dead of puzzles (throwing an axe to break a thing or move a switch with no further variation or development isn't exactly fun design). Another issue is the way the levels are laid out. This is most clear on the Lake of Nine but if there's a small island with a cliff on it, you can't tell if you can climb in until you go close and see the yellow markings. This leads to a lot of waffling around and even missing stuff the first time through if you miss the yellow stuff. In most other open world games, it's generally obvious where the player can go so the player doesn't have to look for an arbitrary entry point and can instead look for the things themselves. Finally, most of the collectibles do nothing. Masks, Toys, Boats etc just give you more Hacksilver, which you'd already be overflowing with anyway. Gear is generally worse than what you already have and it's not worth upgrading stuff you find in the wild. Ravens don't even award anything. The only worthwhile stuff are health and rage upgrades which only comprise a small amount of collectibles. Everything else isn't needed for the platinum. In the older GOWs, collectibles were often off the side or off the beaten path and required some thinking to find. And they felt better because they didn't eat up so much time or feel like filler to get them. They were also always rewarding because they either gave you an upgrade, extra EXP or something for a new playthrough. It wasn't like GOW2 had "find 40 statues and destroy them for a Gold Star hidden throughout the game"
  4. @UltraFire121 Here's the quicker summary then: "In Closing, GOW2018 is a very flawed game, nothing it does is truly unique or special. Normally with these kinds of games, I can see the entertainment someone could have here, but I genuinely do not see what's even good about this game, never mind "game of the decade" worthy. There are countless games that do what GOW2018 tries but better. If you want a slow focused story with a close camera done well; play Hellblade. If you want a story with a father/child relationship done better; play The Last of Us or the Walking Dead Season 1. If you want an open world RPG that actually is a good RPG with a flair for the mythological; play Assassin's Creed Odyessy. If you want a game with an amazing in-depth combat system worth mastering; play Devil May Cry. If you want to play a game with 1 camera take and actually do it; play Portal or Half Life. Now, you may say I am being unfair. "GOW isn't that type of game anymore", to that I ask: "why make a sequel?" Why not just make a new IP or actual reboot then? And even as a new game, the new GOW suffers compared to all these other games I compared it to. Let's say I wrote this piece on a different game. I recently played Assassin's Creed Syndicate and while that game was flawed, if I were comparing that game to others, I would never use GOW2018 as a positive example of anything, and for all of Syndicate's faults, it at least accomplished its objective of making you feel like a badass Assassin in Victorian London. Even the older GOWs accomplished their goals of making the player feel like the God of War. I can't say the same for GOW2018. Even Assassin's Creed Odyessy made me feel more like Kratos than GOW2018. And based on how restrictive GOW2018 is, I feel more like a child than a parent. Which is fitting because this game doesn't seem to think very highly of its players ("The boss health is below the screen")."
  5. @DaivRules I bring this up in my original post. That it's not about copying from other games, it's about doing a decent job with what you copy and GOW4 fails this. It takes climbing from Uncharted because Uncharted had climbing not because GOW4 needed it, and makes a shallower version so playing it after playing Uncharted feels like downgrade. It takes RPG systems from other games because other games had RPGs and they were popular but makes an RPG system where 90% of the gear and materials are useless and your levels trumps your stats which destroys making a decent build. It feels worse than even most ok RPGs. It makes itself look like TLOU in camera and movement and structure forgetting that TLOU was a 3rd person shooter and more realistic so GOW4's combat and explorations suffers. It goes semi-open world because open world games are popular but makes navigation and exploration so boring So even if I judge the game for what it is, it's still disappointing because it, by its very nature, is a hodgepodge of stuff from other games done poorly rather than a clever or competent mix of other games. To put this another way, imagine if I instead was writing about another game, let's say Assassin's Creed Syndicate and comparing it to all these other games. No matter what topic, I would never have used GOW4 as a positive example of anything because everything it does is better represented elsewhere. Even GTA, which historically has had worse driving and shooting mechanics than specialized games, still does a decent job of putting all this together. @Flufius Because the Platinum was easy. I just had to listen to podcasts while I looked for collectibles. I wrote about it to give my thoughts if I felt they were worthwhile. "Give me God of War" is a poorly made difficulty. It feels like it was made for the sake of having a super hard mode rather than making a fine tuned challenge for the dedicated. I doubt it was even playtested.
  6. @ObliviousSenpai Um, AW and BO3 did do that. Look at that level in AW that's wide open and lets you grapple to helicopters. Or that level in AW where you can use stealth to grapple around on your own accord. Or levels in BO3 that add multiple walkways allowing you to flank your enemies. These mechanics were complemented by the level design rather than being just placed in. They make shootouts less boring if you can vary it and solve problems your own way. Having another shootout with everyone behind cover as the only approach isn't exactly novel the 3000th time you do it And again, taken further, The futuristic approach could have actually evolved COD's singleplayer by giving the player more interesting shootouts. Instead, it appears COD is going to repeat the same formula for another 7+ years
  7. @DaivRules Yes. If you haven't seen other games do something better then even the bad game would seem better than it is. And You can say that about any game though. Fallout 76 would feel a lot more mindblowing to more people if they hadn't played a multiplayer looter shooter game before. But between games like Borderlands and Destiny, it fails to make a mark
  8. @OmegaRejectz Because AW and IW actually have gameplay more varied than "sit behind cover and pop out and shoot" and the story actually develops its characters instead of making the playable characters blank slates @ObliviousSenpai These missions were still incredibly scripted, limited and relied more on the atmosphere rather than the inherant gameplay COD4, BO1, WAW all took themselves very seriously and even tried to develop their cast. They were well liked. When Ghosts tried to emulate the MW games,many people disliked it It seems to me more that people are nostalgic for these games and that's covering up the same issues they are pointing to all these other games. If MW2 came out for the first time today, I doubt most people would be as positive.
  9. @ObliviousSenpai Are they really? Because I'd argue the opposite. Consider the following scenario, me and my 3 allies pull up to a part of a level designed for combat, there are 12 enemy guards on foot and 1 guy on a truck with a gun with an additional 20+ guards that will respawn. In something like Ghosts, what are my options? All I can do is hide behind cover, shoot the gunner and then shoot the remaining targets all while popping in and out of cover based on my health. There are no other tactics. Maybe I can throw grenades to mop up some of the enemies faster but as a whole, I'm just popping in and out of cover and shooting dudes with weapons that are basically interchangeable. What about the next combat encounter? And the next one? In these games, the only thing that makes a combat encounter distinct is the scenario/set-piece it is attached to and not the ways the player can play it. If you set every combat encounter in a blank void, they would have nothing unique to them. Even in game, not every encounter can have a unique gimmick or something to make them stand out which makes most combat encounters boring. In contrast, if it's something like BO3, because I can double jump, the level can have walkways and high ground for me to use to get above and even behind the enemy to flank them. And because I can have superpowers, I can do things like turn invisible and melee-pinball, or become temporarily invulnerable and rush the enemies, or get above and ground pound them or whatever. This means even fights set in a blank void have the potential to be fun because the player has more ways to make every fight distinct. Combat encounters can be made more varied because the player has tools and the levels can be made to take advantage of them. And if you're worried the player might get too OP or whatever for every scenario, you can do what AW does and pre-select the abilities before every level and design encounters around that. All this is way more fun and interesting than another boring cover shooting segment with no other options, and it also suits the bombastic nature of the series. As for the story, perhaps that's you but I'd also argue the futuristic titles do a much better job developing its characters. BO3's section with Taylor and "train go boom" does more to characterize him than many of the attempts of the Modern Titles. AW spends time developing Mitchell and his crew and his reletionship with Irons wheras many of the Modern titles skip past all that. Again, what can you tell me about characters like Roach? Or Ghost? Or Rameriz? Or Frost?
  10. Hello Everyone. I recently platinumed MW2 and want to give my thoughts on it. Overall, it's not a hard platinum. Just mostly tedious (minus one trophy which is actually really tough). Half the trophies are "complete X mission" and "complete X mission in veteran difficulty". So about veteran difficulty, like Uncharted's crushing difficulty, it doesn't compliment the game and isn't hard in that it requires skill but patience + trial and error. Barring the occasional death loop, you can get through every encounter. It just takes a long time because you die after being exposed to 0.2 seconds of gunfire so you're spending most of your time behind cover and occasionally popping out to take the odd potshots. And given the large number of enemies and overly linear level design, you have few other options. I'm glad this game has a master volume control because I can use PS4's Spotify App to listen to podcasts as I play much easier (as an aside, does anyone know why the Bright Sessions volume is all over the place?). COD games aren't tactical shooters like Metro or old Rainbow 6. They're bombastic and cool popcorn entertainment. Like Uncharted, you're supposed to constantly be like "that's cool". But you're less likely to enjoy the cool set pieces and scenarios when you're constantly dying and having to repeat sections. It's telling that in the Pit, getting a good time has the game recommend veteran difficulty to you. The implication being that your fast-paced play is what Veteran demands while being slow is for easier difficulties. But you'll be dead in the field if you try bring so aggressive. That's why recruit difficulty is the best for COD games. You're free to run around and use every weapon and tactic you see which can be quite fun. Another hard trophy is "Immortal" that you get by completing every mission without dying or having to use a checkpoint. Most missions are straightforward but some like Cliffhanger have so much unskippable cutscenes and a final jetski chase that's easy to fail which means a lot of retries and boredom. But there's no indication of what missions you've completed like this so you better remember if you accidentally loaded a checkpoint. Having to keep replaying missions magnifies every little issue like the unskippable cutscenes, the cool and kinda boring stealth and set pieces etc. I had to replay the campaign for a 3rd time when this didn't pop the first time. The absolute hardest trophy was "student surpasses the master" which requires you to beat the Pit's best time of 19.7 seconds. The challenge here is that it requires a near-perfect memorization of the course and execution. You need to get at least 140% accuracy (shoot multiple targets with a single bullet) to knock around 6 seconds off your time. But the Pit randomizes the location of the targets every run so you have to react to where the new targets spawn and somehow set up a bunch of multi-kills fast enough. And this is assuming the targets are lined up well so fast multi-kills are possible in the first place. The best trick is to keep restarting the entire mission until your first Pit run has good RNG then keep reloading a checkpoint to try getting a good run since this preserves the original seed. I kept getting 20.00 seconds with the best possible RNG until I somehow got 18.7. I personally believe this trophy is too strict. Make it 24 seconds and remove the other Pit trophy. There is a set of collectibles and trophies for collecting them. I'm not too fond of these as they require an online guide. The rest are pretty cool. Blowing up a Helicopter with a grenade, destroy the BRs without a predator drone, complete a breach with 4 perfect shots, kill 5 enemies in a row with different weapons, a post credits fight were what I'd like to see more off. Fun little challenges sprinkled throughout missions. All in all, it's an easy Plat so might be worth going for. Have some other entertainment on hand because you're going to be doing a lot of repeats and should have something to alleviate the frustration? If I designed the trophies for this game, I'd remove Student, Immortal and all the Veteran ones and replace them with specific challenges in levels. For example, get 4 headshots in Second Son using a red dot sight weapon, complete Exodus without personally shooting a single person with a regular gun, complete a mission with 4 challenge tweaks on, win a game of Rock Paper Scissors etc As for the game itself though, I'd give it a 6.8 with a "somewhat recommended" score. It's fun at times but has some things holding it back. On the gameplay front, even on recruit difficulty, the gameplay isn't that interesting. Level design is overly linear and you're given very few ways to play around or flank opponents. The game does have cool set pieces but they're not that exciting to actually play through especially on repeat playthroughs. MW2019 addressed this with more varied levels. AW and BO3 addressed this by giving the player more tools to play around with. MW2 feels archaic even by 2009 standards. Games like Resistance at least had more varied level design and weapons. The story and characters are also quite lacking. I dislike COD's habit of making characters you control silent because it limits their character and the interactions you can have with others. The only times Soap and Price are cool is when I'm not playing as them so they are free to be themselves. The consequence of this approach means most player characters have nothing to them as characters. What can you tell me about Roach as a character? Or Allen? Or Ramerez? Or Frost? They're all interchangeable. So when the story kills one off or tries to make them important, it falls flat since I'm not invested in them and they seem replaceable. When Soap brings the Helicopter around and risks it running out of fuel just to save Roach, I'm wondering where was this concern for Worm, or Ozone, Scarecrow, or any of the other people that accompanied them that can die on missions and rarely even get a "X is down". Why is my player character special? Why should I care about him? If Ozone was the player character instead of Roach, would there even be a difference? This extends to other characters not named Price, Soap and Foley. Most have very little to distinguish them from others. What can you tell me about Ghost as a character? Unless you read his prequel comic, all you'd know about him from playing this game is he's another competent soldier and a hacker and wears a mask. What makes him different from any of the other characters? I'm genuinely curious because he'd such a popular character yet has nothing to him that would warrant it. Dunn from the Rangers has shown more emotion and motivation in game and has more of a connection to the player since they chill for a bit before the Pit and he teaches the player about "switching to your sidearm is faster than reloading". Ghost has nothing next to that aside from dying with Roach. That's too late to endear me to a character. Speaking of that, the Betrayal sequence was well directed. But lacked any emotion because again, I have no connection to Ghost, Roach or even Shepard. While Shepard is in the loading screens talking to other characters, we rarely get to interact with him or know him. He feels no different to Overlord. So his betrayal doesn't really feel like a betrayal because both you and the characters don't have a connection. I'd argue Advanced Warfare did this Better. Here, the player and the protagonist Mitchell got to spend time with other characters and Irons chilling. You got the sense that Mitchell looked up Irons as a father. So when he Has to turn against them, there was genuine emotion as both Irons and Mitchell had a connection and the player had one as well. They were also actual characters rather than blank slates. Shepherd's motivation was also poorly explained in game. I had to go onto Quora and Stack Exchange to read essays from people on his motives and many of them even had "this wasn't explained well in game lol". This hurts the pacing of the story since the story seemingly pauses hunting Makarov to hunt a guy you hardly know doing something you don't know why and nobody even brings up until like 2 minutes before the end credits. I think the story would have been a lot better if the player got to spend some time with Shepard so the betrayal also felt more legit. I also think he would have felt more like a threat and connected all the different threads better if it was more clear that Shepard had his hands in everything and was using both the Rangers and Task Force 141 to do his dirty work. This is kinda what the game was going for but it's not told well. Graphics, sound and environments are top notch. As a game, MW2 Remastered is a bit underwhelming. It lacks the multiplayer that's the whole reason 90% of people play this series. It lacks Spec Ops that generally added some gameplay variety. All it has is a campaign that has some lacklustre level design and a story where most of the cast has very little to worth investing in. I'd say get it cheap if you haven't played it yet and want a fun weekend if you want to play it casually. And free up a few more days for the plat. While I'm here, I might as well talk about my thoughts about the COD games in general. Inderdip Lohtia on Twitter already summed my thoughts on the shooting in COD games I want to add that I personally feel COD is at its best in Futuristic settings. This allows the gameplay to give the player more options for playing the game and the writers more freedom without being tied. COD, being a black and white bombastic popcorn flick, struggles with more grey aspects of the real world. So it has done stuff like in MW2019, refitting the US Crimes at the Highway of Death to the Russians, or how the new Cold War trailer removed references to Tiananmen Square. Whereas the futuristic titles are so removed from all this that they can make any one or faction completely good or bad and have it fit better in the story instead of feeling like revisionism. Here's my ranking of the COD games overall. Note I won't point out Multiplayer unless I have played it and I focus on gameplay most of all. -1 Warzone (8.0): Solid BR game. Loved the objectives and Gulag System. I feel that the loadout system is too generous. -2 BO3 (7.8): The gameplay gives the player the most customization to play through missions with. Added modes like Parkour and Bonus Twin Stick mode is great -3 AW and IW (7.5): Solid gameplay and decent stories -4 MW2019 (7.3): while the story hamstrings itself in trying to be grey, the gameplay is arguably the best of the "boots on the ground" style with level design being more open ended and more measured set pieces. BO2 (7.3): Good story and decent stuff with the different endings and setpieces. -5 BO1, WAW and MW1 (7.0): Decent games with decent stories Mobile: The only COD game whose multiplayer I played a decent amount besides Warzone. It's pretty solid. -6 MW2 (6.8): See above Ghosts and WW2 (6.8): I found the gameplay a bit boring but the attempts at characerizing the cast and set pieces were nice -7 MW3 (6.5) A bit too bombastic in its approach, its story jumps around too much for its own good and has underdeveloped its World War 3. -8 Strike Force and Roads to Victory (6.0) Decent Premise but lacklustre execution -9 Declassified (5.0): It exists
  11. Hello Everyone, today I want to talk about Horizon Zero Dawn and my 14th platinum trophy, but sadly there isn't much to talk about. For the most part you will get all the trophies just by playing the game and doing all the side quests. By the end of the game, the only 2 trophies I missed during my entire 43 hour playthrough was "Kill all combat enemies at least once" because I skipped killing a single Stormhawk and "Knock down 23 dummies" which required a quick Powerpyx guide. But yeah, if you ever wanted to introduce someone to the world of trophy hunting and not pick a Telltale game for it, HZD is a good game for that as the game and its trophies are not difficult to get and encourage you to see more of the game. For the NG+ Ultra Hard run, I feel the trophies should have been silver and gold respectively. It was quite challenging at points. Making it Bronze and Silver makes it feel less valuable. The run itself had me running past every enemy and only killing or subduing all who were neccessary. I'm pretty sure my kill count before the final mission was below 20 human and robots and was under 10 hours with me skipping every cutscene. I put on a Youtube video to keep me entertained (shout out to UpUpDownDown and their Battle of the Brands). The real hard parts were any time I had to fight a giant machine one on one or with limited space to move because they took an absurd number of hits to take down and a single hit tore through my Shield Weaver's Shield. Fortunately I did have a near infinite amount of crafting materials so I was able to constantly make hundreds of bombs per fight and wear any enemy down though that got boring after a while. I feel the game is more fun on normal and hard. As for the game itself, while not bad it is a little lacklustre. The world and core combat against select machines is pretty good. The world is beautiful and full of cool lore. Combat against machines is varied given their behaviours, responses and your weapons but only for some of the larger ones like Thunderjaws and Bellowbacks since they have a lot more to work with. Smaller to medium machines are much more simplistic. And human enemies are more basic than in the early Assassin's Creed games where you can whistle enemies to their death (The sequence that symbolizes this is early on when Child Aloy has to guide a guy through a field of Watchers by moving through bushes and use her focus to see their paths, but you don't really need to do that given the overly simplistic routes and close grass.... all while the dude is astonished how Aloy can predict such a simplistic machine's paths). So the enjoyment in combat is very sporadic and pretty boring in between. Most of the side activities are pretty generic "fetch quest" type quests with few interesting stories or gameplay beyond what you were already doing. Even some of the best stuff like the Cauldrons are just the "dungeons" you were already doing in the main story. The only truly standout quests are the hunting grounds since they offer twists to the regular gameplay and more specific challenges. Some of the choices for the open world are questionable. You need a resource to Fast Travel so the game has save points/fast travel points everywhere to compensate, but when you get unlimited fast travel it guts needing to travel anywhere at all. The game also has Uncharted style climbing, complete with Slow-mo whenever Aloy makes it a huge jump, but it feels hollow because it's pretty automated and lacks any danger or tension. But at least it's more brief than God of War 2018 which had so much more of this boring climbing with even less to be impressed with. The story and characters have their issues as well. Most of the cast don't have much dimension to them. Aloy herself seems a bit too perfect. Despite being isolated from the rest of society with her only contact being her stoic father figure and what few other people that broke rules to speak to her, she's remarkably well adjusted, confident and social, capable of doing well in social situations and even picking up on things like sarcasm. She doesn't really have any flaws or internal challenges to struggle against. I think it would have been far more interesting if Aloy had confidence issues or a bit of anixiety in social situations and her arc is her learning to overcome it through Sylens as she discovers what happens to the past. This is something Guerilla should probably consider improving on since while this game doesn't really need it as the story is finding out what happened to the world, now that we know what happened, the sequel is gonna have to focus on characters and their struggles since that hook is gone now. It's like making a sequel to a Spider-Man Origin story, the Origin Story is enough material for a first outing but now for the sequel you gotta do more legwork. The storytelling itself has its issues, it forgets about Show Don't Tell, or it does both Show and Tell. For example, there's a section where Aloy visits a bunker and the AI goes something like "welcome Dr. Sobeck, you are [something like] 3251 months and 10 days overdue for a meeting". I went "damn, that's so long ago, what happened?" and immediately Aloy goes "that's hundreds of years ago, what happened?" You see my point, the game cleverly sets up that a long time has passed and something's wrong but then spells out that a long time has passed and something's wrong. And later on when we see the meeting between Sobeck and Faro, Faro says "the cure is worse than the disease" which tells us that Sobeck's plan had some serious consequences but obviously must have worked given life is still present.....only for Aloy to repeat said thought out loud when during the next break in the recording. In fact, Aloy talks a lot so much that it never gives the player a chance to think or figure out stuff or even a chance to breathe. Walk into a dungeon and see a door? Before you can even touch the door Aloy will say that the door is locked and the key is in the nearby storage room. See a pile of Blood during an investigation and Aloy will say that she should scan the blood and follow the trail etc. It's weird that the guy who wrote Fallout New Vegas wrote this. But granted most gamers aren't exactly known for subtly or putting pieces together (just ask any DM) so I probably shouldn't criticize this. But it does feel like hiring Chirstopher Nolan to direct an Episode of the Telletubbies...... he can do it well but it seems he's overqualified for what the script and directing require. I hope the sequel can improve because there's potential here. Improving the stealth and combat systems, giving the characters more of a personal arc and story since the mystery of the world is known now. One idea I'd love to see is a boss fight between a Faro kept alive as an AI or through machines against Aloy. It would bring the conflict full circle as you have Faro through raw and destructive technology fight Sobeck through a more "natural" and helpful approach. Could be cool. One idea I think would give Aloy a decent internal struggle in the next game is something like because she's a clone, she's degrading or something, so you could have her grapple with how she likes Sobeck but was cursed by her genetics or something. If you had asked me earlier, I would have said that Guerilla should have dropped Horizon and gone back to Killzone seeing as they handled it better. But looking at them now, I doubt it. Killzone's stories now require a more deft touch to manage them. Shadow Fall demonstrates that with a premise that while cool, makes no sense and how the initially grey depictions of both sides is way more black and white. Horizon suits Guerilla way more now as an outlet for cool sci-fi superhero-like action in a more colourful and simplistic world. It's a little sad as I would have loved a Killzone Mercenary 2 from them but Horizon still has potential to be a great franchise if they make some serious improvements. I'm more excited for Forbidden West than I am most of other Sony's exclusives from a gameplay perspective. Miles Morales is likely to be the same game as its predecessor. And GOW Ragnarok is likely to be even more of the bad decisions Santa Monica already made because they were praised to high heavens. Horizon seems the most fluid now.
  12. I recently platinumed Watch Dogs 2. Platinuming WD2 wasn't too hard. Most of the trophies were pretty easy. You have the expected "complete missions, side missions and try some side activities" combo. Some of the cool easy ones I liked are "go this particular store and buy pink crocs", "hack a robot". The ones I didn't like were the ones that seemed to be dependent on RNG like "take a photo of a drunk person vomiting" and the multiplayer ones as they took a long time and were unpredictable. Given the game is 4 years old, it took me quite a while to find 5 separate bounties and kill other players. Still, if your game is going to include online trophies, I feel this is the most bearable approach. I feel the game could have had some more "cool gameplay tricks" trophies like "balance your jumper on the drone". I prefer trophies like this because while they can be easily done, they teach the player a trick they can carry with them throughout the game. I did have to use a guide several times to find many of the collectibles and places for other trophies. The game itself was pretty good. I love the added options to hacking and the generally open-ended approach to mission design (don't use guns. The game is much more fun when you get creative). It let me complete missions how I wanted and express myself through my approaches and can feel hilarious if you do something that shouldn't work but somehow does. One of my favourite tactics is when a mission wants me to go in a building but the doors are locked. Rather than using my drones, I called the cops on a guy inside because NPCs like cops can automatically open doors locked to the player even when it doesn't make sense. Creative use of your other abilities like making a car drive backwards on its own to run a guard over, using your drones to divert guards away, causing a blackout to get yourself access to place are all fun and practical. Stuff like that is why I rank Ubisoft's open-world games as better than much of the competition like Rockstar and Guerilla because they either make basically linear adventure games that happen to be in an open world where the player is failed for trying to be creative or the open-world rarely ever is used in the missions which tend to be more standalone or the Open world hardly has any tools or creative uses to function as an extension of the player. The Multiplayer is also quite fun. The way it's seamlessly integrated at times into the world (like, you can be walking around and be presented with another player to hack, or be hacked yourself, or a bounty in progress etc) is great because it can make any part of the map suddenly host an activity even when they don't have regular activities. You can be exploring a small shopping area on a pier and then suddenly you have to find the guy trying to hack you. Or a chase where you try to nab another player takes you across parks, beaches and an entire walkway across buildings. The only modes I didn't like were the classic deathmatch and King of the Hill type modes as they lack the dynamism and unique mechanics of invasions and bounties. They just devolve into bog-standard 3rd person shooting. The Co-op infiltrations missions are cool for a bit but they get repetitive. I dislike that some mission types from WD1 were removed like Criminal Convoy. I feel the added options for vehicle hacks would have been quite fun. The game has Armoured Convoys for multiplayer but I feel having some wandering around in Singleplayer as well could have been fun. Digital Trips have also been removed. In terms of story and tone, I prefer WD1's approach. The darker and more gritty approach lets more of the mechanics be justified in the story. Like, I can imagine Aiden from the cutscenes using guns, using the profiler and blowing up steam pipes. His whole deal is that he's not really a good guy and at least a bit unhinged. But Marcus and Friends are 20 something-year-old goofballs that are presented as the good guys. The story makes a huge deal about how moral they are (they're upfront about their app. They refuse to use the profiler to recruit people as then they're no different than the companies they're fighting). Yet, many missions require Marcus to hack and blow stuff up. Your additional abilities can cause a lot of collateral that can hurt many innocent people. Most of the time, Marcus' enemies are just regular security guards. I think it could have been an interesting opportunity to tie progression into how the player manages followers. When the game first came out, I wrote the following on r/watchdogs: "If I were designing the reputation system in WD2, I'd make the following change to it Reputation, Followers and progression are tied into the same system .There are 3 kinds of followers: Casuals (stealth and passive bonuses), Anarchists (destruction), and Stunters (vehicles) The player's actions during gameplay determine which group of followers increase and decrease which determines which upgrades and abilities the player will lose and gain For example, if the player starts killing a lot of cops; the anarchist following will shoot up, thus giving the player more destructive and non-subtle abilities. But will cause the stunters to decrease slightly (making the player lose some car abilities) and cause a lot of casuals to leave (making the player lose a lot of stealth and passive abilities). This means the player will have to consistently keep an eye on their actions and manage these followers to get the best they can. This would also mean the player is always leaving a mark on themselves based on how they play. This could factor into the story as Marcus's crew has one of the 3 follower types and their feelings towards Marcus and missions could change depending on his actions. And people of the followers could even have helped out Markus in game. e.g Anarchists could help use violent force to help out Markus in firefights with gangsters and cops, stunters could provide higher quality vehicles lying around and even mark escape routes and routes to take down fleeing vehicles, Casuals could lie to the cops and make it harder for people to recognize Marcus etc. This would also make the game and world feel more alive, responsive and cool. It would hurt the story and tone as WD2 has a very lighthearted story despite the dark gameplay, but at least the gameplay would be better. " Looking back this suggestion. there are some challenges to consider: how do you balance multiplayer? Invasions require the target not be killed. So Players who'd invested in The Anarchist and Stunter playstyles would be at a disadvantage. And the opposite would happen for Bounty Hunts. The story would need to be rewritten to accommodate the styles. Still, I think it would have been a much more cool way to fit gameplay and story together." But let's ignore that and look at the story we do have: I enjoyed the crew and interacting with them. All of them (except Horatio) had distinct personalities, skills and place in the team. I wish there were MGSV style calls and GTA V style hangouts and Saints Row style team-ups you could do with them to get some more character interactions out of them. I like that they all contribute and help Marcus so it feels like Dedsec as a whole are making progress rather than it being the Marcus show. Horatio was a bit disappointing because his role in the team seemed redundant and we got very few interactions with him before his death. He's not even available in the hideout to have optional chats. Other hideouts have no-names that have a couple lines but not a guy who's in the main character's group? The crew also don't have much of an arcs or individual stories. Wrench gets his time to shine. Horatio shows his stuff despite not getting much beforehand. Sitara and Josh don't get many missions exploring their characters in the spotlight or giving them an arc. Marcus also doesn't really get an arc. He joins Dedsec and instantly hits it off with all of them. He doesn't really change his outlook and is still the same character by the end. He hardly even gets any negative repercussions of his actions. Marcus has his identity restored and marked as a most-wanted threat like twice and both times do very little to affect him. While I know this idea kinda goes against the lighthearted nature of the story, I wish the game gave him an arc where he questioned his purpose or something. Imagine if the story starts out with the crew welcoming Marcus in but are still skeptical of him. He works missions to win over each member (thus also giving them a spotlight). He starts out being idealistic about how Dedsec is going to improve the world but as the story goes on and the opposition gets heavier, he is forced to slowly start doing some less ideal things. Like, initially, he loves how Dedsec doesn't steal others' data but as the police try and arrest him and the crew, he has to steal their data to get everyone out of there or something. Stuff like that so when the villains show up, they are presented as having a point because Marcus and crew had to get their hands dirty and do what their enemies did in order to even be able to fight back. This would add some more substance, moral ambiguity and even realism to the story. And Marcus and crew would have to grapple with the fact that they aren't as perfect as they're trying to be and that would be far more interesting than the crew basically being the same and the only issue they face is that world's equivalent of Facebook gave them some fake bots as followers (yes, there were other consequences from that but it seemed so insignificant as a blow to Dedsec). The overall plot of Dedsec exposing things companies are doing is cool and engaging. But many of the missions feel disconnected. There is very little sense of rising action and climax. When the final mission started, I was like: "ok, so this is happening" because it hardly felt much different than past missions you did. The main antagonist, Dusand, is also kinda uninteresting. I get that he's supposed to be the one connecting all the missions together and using Dedsec's success to scare more companies and governments to turn to Blume and CTOS but it feels disconnected. Whenever he would show up, I would be like "wait, who's he again?" for most of the adventure. Compare this to Watch Dogs 1 and its main villain, Damian. Damian kidnaps Nicky so Aiden has to play along and try and outsmart him. Damian continues to taunt Aiden throughout the story which reinforces his presence and makes the player want to take him down. When Aiden initially gets the better of him, Damian exposes his identity which hurts his relationship with his family and requires them to leave Chicago. In the last mission, Damian gets full control over CTOS and uses Aiden, and the player's own tools against them. You'd think the CEO of Blume would have more tricks up his sleeve. I think it would have been a lot better if Dusan was more hands on and present throughout the story. Have him fight Dedsec more directly so his goals are either he gets rid of them and thus ends a problem, or if they manage to get wins despite his actions, it drives companies to align with Blume so it's a win/win for Dusand either way. The game already tries that latter part but I feel making Dusand more involved makes him even more of a threat and makes it all the sweater when the player does take him down. The Side Missions tend to be cool. You have "Side Stories" that are mechanically simple, either infiltrate a place and get a thing or hack and interact with objects. They're more used for narratives rather than pure gameplay. Stuff like hack into ATMs and choose how to deal with customers, hack into Ubisoft and leak their next trailer are cool because of the context rather than because hacking into them is a challenge. I'd argue the Driver San Franciso missions also fall under this camp with the gameplay being driving. Research Points, Key Data and other collectibles often require solving mini-puzzles in the world of how to get close to them to get them. They're decent. Races come in different flavours: Drone, Boat, Bike and e-kart. They're also pretty fun. I wonder why there aren't street races or custom races by players? -Other Stuff I wish there was an in-game social media like how GTA V had Bleeter and Spider-Man had its feed. It would have been a cool way of letting the player see some feedback for their actions. Past a certain point you stop getting EXP. Granted, I already had most of the skills but I wish the game didn't have a cap for levelling up. The map is really detailed and well done. NPCs have tons of animations and interactions, Restaurants have fully detailed menus. There are so many hidden details you can find through ScoutX, hacking phone calls and text messages. And the game is only 40 GB. I'd rather we have games like this rather than 80+ GB behemoths that have more detail but with diminishing returns. So yeah, WD2 is a really good game and an easy game to platinum. The gameplay is quite good and the story is a decent time if a little lacking. Is it better than WD1? I'd say yes for the gameplay, no for the story. The integration of multiplayer makes great use of the open world as thus most of the mission design. I'd recommend this game.
  13. Hello Everyone. Today I want to talk about my 15th platinum with Batman Arkham Knight. Overall, not hard but some pretty frustrating and unclear trophies. Let me walk you through some notable ones: -"Blunt Trauma- Perform every type of predator takedown." The game doesn't track which ones you did. But mine popped when I did the Line Launcher Takedown as that was the one I missed. However, this trophy is said to be glitched and may require multiple runs. -"A Leap of Faith Complete 8 different jumps over 100 meters." Based on the title, you might expect this to have the player jump off buildings and thus be pretty easy? But no. You gotta drive the Batmobile over certain ramps and land perfectly at least 100 meters away. With no way of telling if you did it right, you just have to do one you think is good enough and move on and hope it eventually pops. -"Point of Impact Perform 5 perfect shots in a row with the Vulcan Gun without taking damage." Normally, a hit from the Batmobile's Vulcan Gun at the purple lights on an enemy tank instantly destroys it. A perfect hit is doing that without missing a shot or taking damage in the meantime. So basically instakill 5 tanks in a row. This is challenging because enemy tanks love moving around and it can be hard to predict their movements or lead a shot. What's more is you can't take your time because you'll be hit. The best way I found to get this Trophy was to play the "untouchable" challenge as enemy tanks don't move. You still have to move fast. -"The Long Halloween Wayne vs Crane in New Story +" Basically beat the main story in New Game+. This can be tough because you no longer have your counter indicators in combat. It was especially rough for me as I hadn't played this game in 5 years and picked it up 70% of my way through a NG+ run. An honourable mention to "Brutality 101: Perform 15 different combat moves in one FreeFlow" as that's the rarest trophy on PSNprofiles. I personally found it easy. Just have a list of the neccessary moves handy and go through them one by one (fortunatly, there are over 20 moves to use so you have a lot of choice and freedom). Save some of the more risky ones when the situation is right instead of rigidly doing them because they're 7th on the list or something. Use stuff like evade and Batclaw to disperse groups if you need to and end with a team takedown since that can be done from anywhere with just a simple button press. One issue I have with the Trophy list is that of the 64 total trophies, only 2 are not Bronze. The aforementioned "Long Halloween" which is Silver and Knightfall which is Gold. I dislike this because it makes the rest of the trophies feel kinda lacking. There are plenty of trophies I feel could be at least a silver given the prolonged effort needed to get them like beating Riddler, completing all AR challenges etc. I wouldn't mind some of the more redundant ones like getting Riddler keys get cut for that to happen. So yeah, not really the most fun or exciting trophy list So yeah as for the game itself- I absolutely love it. It has its flaws, mostly the story but the Batman gameplay alone is pretty much near perfection and full of improvements big and small that it makes going to play the past Arkham games feel like playing a beta. I value gameplay the most so that makes Knight a great game. Stuff like being able to bounce while gliding into a wall and quickly get back into a glide (and just all of the extra moves when diving and gliding), being able to kick enemies when they're downed, all of the extra combat and predator moves. It's amazing. Melee Combat is better than ever because of all the extra moves and the varied group compositions. New enemy types like the medic add a lot of additional things to play around with. Predator encounters are also spiced up with dudes that can revive other dudes, dudes that can track you if you use Detective Vision, dudes that can jam your detective vision, Big Dudes that can only be taken out with beat ups or environmental takedowns which all add to make these encounters feel more tense. And what's more enemies will begin to adapt as you play. Use lots of ledge takedowns and enemies will be more cautious around ledges. Use lots of silent takedowns and enemies will buddy up. Use specific gadgets a lot and enemies will start to counter them like switching to a different channel if you use the voice synthesizer. My only criticism with this aspect is it takes a bit too long for enemies to start adapting and there aren't that many enemies in a predator encounter to begin with. So by the time the adaptions start happening, there aren't many enemies left or the encounter is already over which removes the challenge the adaptations were supposed to provide. I'd love if there were predator encounters that had some respawning enemies or enemies remembered the adaptations from prior encounters so the player had to use other tricks from the outset and switch back to old tricks as the enemies adapted to your new set. Batman also has more tools and moves that make so much sense and are so fun to use like being able to use the Batclaw to bring enemies in for silent takedowns, the Vocal Synthesizer being a better Sonic Batarang (useful for drawing enemies to specific locations) to the Sequencer able to hack the environment reminding me of those takedowns from Watch Dogs. The only move I feel is a bit too OP is Fear Takedowns. They let you instantly takedown 3 (and can be upgraded to 6) enemies if they're close together. At its max effectiveness, it's possible for the player to take down most if not all the enemies before a predator encounter even begins. But at least it's optional and not required. I also enjoy the added puzzles. The Batmobile increases the kinds of scenarios and puzzles that can now be added. Speaking of which, the big new addition to the game is the Batmobile and opinion seems divided on it with the biggest complaint being the overuse of the Batmobile. I personally loved the Batmobile. It added a ton of variation to the game and allowed the game to mix up its on-foot gameplay. The issue I have isn't the length of time the Batmobile is used (Aqua made a video where he showed the Batmobile is only around 4-5 hours of a 20 hour playthrough), it's the way it's used. The Batmobile, though fun, is a bit limited in what gameplay it can sustain entirely on its own. Stuff like its specific races and combat are best enjoyed in short bursts. But many sections in the latter half of the game space many Batmobile segments close together or one after the other which can drag. It's like Pokemon ORAS. In that game, the water routes are all bunched up at the end instead of paced out throughout the game which makes having them all at once feel tiring. Back to the Batmobile, another reason I suspect its disliked is because it takes all the Bossfights. The game has like 3 "real" bossfights and only 1 is on foot. Fighting Deathstroke as a regular tank battle when Origins had such a good on-foot bossfight feels like such a tease. The side quests are quite lacking. Only a few have a good story and decent gameplay twist to go along with them. 2 Face has the bank robberies where, since the alarms are on, you're free to be as loud as you want while under time pressure adding a decent twist to predator encounters. Pyg's has the act of scanning civilians with Opera music plus a fight against enemies that can get back up. Riddler has the puzzles, races and challenges that are his best yet. And that's about it. I guess Penguin lets you double team with Nightwing which is a nice gimmick. The rest are the same as what you're doing in the main story or quite repetitive. Clearing towers and bases is neat but I'm already fighting the goons in the main story so what's the difference here? Same for bombs, car chases and towers. Man-Bat and Firefly have the same thing for like 3 encounters spread out over a few hours with not even a real boss fight to spice them up. It's a little disappointing because the story justification for the side quests is all the villains are working together at once to pull Batman in too many directions at once and that's not really shown in-game. I think a cool addition would have been that the missions change a little depending on when you do them making them feel a bit better to just experience. Do the Penguin stuff as soon as they're available and they proceed as is. Take your time and do them when you've done most of the story stuff or other missions first and maybe you find Nightwing beaten up a lot more and he starts with less health when the fight begins. Do Pyg's stuff later and he has more corpses and soldiers. Do Firefly's stuff later and he has more buildings and roads on fire. It might start to feel like a lot but it would be something make otherwise lacklustre quests feel more memorable and may even encourage the player to feel the stress Batman feels as he chooses what to prioritize. I wouldn't even mind if some of the quests were cut to let this happen. I'd rather have fewer more interesting quests anyway. And stuff like the Manbat, Ryder and much of the militia stuff doesn't really add much. That brings me to the story. I do enjoy the story but it has issues. Firstly, it feels a bit like a First Draft. Like Rocksteady wrote all these awesome moments but didn't get the connective tissue that should build up to and connect these moments down. For example "we need Scarecrow to capture Batman so he can go to Arkham Asylum to end this where it all began..... so let's just have Batman give up his belt and come along with no plan whatsoever". I get that Batman is supposed to be tired of all that's going on but this is ridiculous. Have Scarecrow actually trap and outsmart Batman so he has to follow along, not basically give Scarecrow what feels like your dad letting you win at a game so he can go to bed. Secondly, the identity of the Arkham Knight. The whole marketing had Rocksteady tell us that he was a new and original character only for him to be Jason Todd. And while I would have liked an original character, it being Todd isn't an issue based on that. If anything, Todd's the only one it could have been based on the needs of the story. Remember, you need a young guy that knows Bruce and Batman on a personal enough level that he can plan and counter his plays, someone with a grudge and connection to Bruce to generate some drama. All of the other candidates don't fit that. People like Prometheus, Damian etc don't have that intimate knowledge of Bruce or enough of an established connection. My original vote was that it was either Quincy Sharp with Amadeus taking over his brain or a clone of Bruce but those have similar issues. My issue with Todd is how they handled him. In the comics, he goes rogue and becomes Red Hood based on Batman's refusal to kill the Joker and that is what puts him in conflict with Batman and his outlook. Is Todd right that Batman's refusal to kill causes more harm (by the way, I'd argue Todd's right here. People like the Joker should have been dead long ago)? Red Hood is there as a proof. But in AK, you don't really have that. Joker is already dead and many believe it was Batman that killed him. So it feels more like Todd's throwing the world's most expensive tantrum. The story doesn't really have a replacement for his actions like in the comics. He's mad because Bruce replaced him which isn't explored as much nor provides much to think about. Like after Batman confronts him, they never even speak again in the story and the next we see Todd is when he saves Batman from Scarecrow and then disappears until the Black Mask DLC. I think having more of a strong motivation would have improved this a lot more. Another issue is that this is the first time Todd has been mentioned in these games (minus one easter egg in a DLC challenge map in City) so we don't really have had much time to connect with him or feel the loss and pain the story is trying to convey. Knight does have these flashbacks it tries to use which is an admirable attempt but it feels rushed. Here's my pitch for tightening up Todd's story. It won't perfectly tie everything up but I feel it offers a bit more. So instead of Todd not dying thanks to Joker, he does in-fact die. So prior to the events of Asylum, Joker, Scarecrow, Strange and Ras all come together and make a deal in secret. They use the Lazarus Pit to ressurect Todd and mold him into the ultimate Batman counter. Ras does this because he gets the successor he knows Bruce refuses to be. Scarecrow and Strange do this to be able to study Batman (plus we can use this as a throwback to how Strange knew his identity in City if we want). Joker does this because he can't wait to mess with Batman. After sufficient brainwashing, Ras sends Todd into the world in secret to preapare his own private army for the final invasion of Gotham. However, Joker, Ras and Strange are dead by the end of City. Scarecrow finds and brings Todd up to speed and the 2, along with the other villains decide to do the plan on their own. Without Joker, Scarecrow and Todd take charge and Scarecrow manipulates Todd. Now when AK's story gets going, when we learn about Todd, Oracle, Nightwing and Robin all work together to undo his brainwashing while Batman is captured by Scarecrow since he doesn't have his backup. Todd saves the day eventually and has a heart to heart with Batman where the 2 reconcile. Todd points out that he has seen too much and even without the brainwashing now, he sees that Batman, while correct as a hero, has methods that are too soft and will now do his own thing to become a better Batman in his own way. Bruce says that despite everything, he's still somewhat proud of Todd and wished things turned out better and hopes he watches out for the rest of the Batfamily as there's still a chance for him to fully turn back. Todd leaves and the Knightfall happens. My pitch has its issues, it still doesn't really have a solid replacement for why Todd's now doing his own thing, it has Bruce praising Todd despite him going to be a vigilante that kills (maybe we can excuse it as Joker blood still affecting him?) but it better ties into Asylum and City and gives a bit more of a solid character and story to Todd. It also has fewer plot holes to nitpick so that's something. Onto more positive stuff, I love the way the Joker was handled in this game as a figure in Batman's head rather than as a "real" threat in the real world. It lets other villains shine while still having Joker present and still dead. I also like the ending as it has this epic finality to it even if the path getting there is a little ridiclous. Everything from getting captured by Scarecrow to the end of the Knightfall ending is great. To wrap this up, I want to address a few common criticisms of the game by showing how they are justified by the gameplay: "Why doesn't the Knight put live personnal in the tanks?- Batman can't kill so Knight Wins". The story reason is Knight wants Batman to go all out. But the gameplay/meta reason is Rocksteady want to have cool tank battles. If Knight put a body in the tanks, the story would just have Batman magically come up with EMP rounds or something that do the same thing but feel contrived and less satisfying. So this is the better solution "Why is the city abandoned?- wouldn't it be better if there were civilians around?" Storywise, it may be better because there are more stakes now for Batman failing since Gotham's civilains would be danger directly. But the gameplay has Batman driving a Batmobile around and smashing through structures and running over thugs. Would be harder to have that with civilians around. Either Batman would end up messing up civilians or phasing through them which wouldn't look as good. Like Batman can be trusted not to run civilains over, the player cannot so this is the best solution. "Why are so many of Militia unarmed? Why doesn't everybody have all the guns?" - Because then combat would need to be redesigned entirely to have Batman be able to fight people with guns. And once you somehow do that, how do you make Predator encounters make sense? "Where's the rest of Justice League?"- Probably just easter eggs. Probably like how Ubisoft says that despite stuff from Assassin's Creed, Far Cry and Watch Dogs existing in each other's game, it's all just easter eggs and no serious proof that stuff from one game actually affects or ties into another in a serious way. So yeah, despite all my criticisms of the story and side quests I still love this game based on its gameplay during the main missions. It makes it hard to go back to prior Arkham games. I Would implore everyone play this game and maybe even take a crack at the trophies. I know Rocksteady are doing Suicide Squad next so good for them. I'm looking forward to it. As for the Arkham games, I personally feel they should stop now. Between Knight and all its DLCs, we've pretty much hit the peak in terms of gameplay and can't even do better with a sequel anyway. The story is all wrapped up now. So it's best to end it on a high note.
  14. Hello everyone. Today I want to talk to you about my 16th platinum with Assassin's Creed Syndicate. Most of the trophies weren't hard, they were just completing the game and its various side activities and collectibles. There are a handful of trophies I missed after my first playthrough and had to grind for with those being very tedious. -Needle in a Haystack: Kill five enemies from within the same haystack. The only hidden trophy in the game for some reason. Why? There's no real spoiler here. I'm pretty sure even past ACs had something like this as well and it wasn't hidden there. Regardless, this one was actually pretty easy because you can kill an enemy from a haystack in a mission, restart a checkpoint and kill that same enemy again and do this to get the trophy. -Furious: Destroy twenty vehicles by ramming them. This one is actually pretty reasonable. I reason I had to grind for this was because I almost never rammed enemies during my playthrough. I usually just shot the horses of the enemy carriages or jumped onto their carriages to fight them manually since I found that more efficient. It also appears many people unlocked this naturally instead of grinding for it so I won't complain too much. -Most Unsporting: Shoot fifty enemies before they shoot at you. When you're in a fight and an enemy tries to shoot you, if you press triangle while doing nothing, you will quickly pull out your gun and shoot them first. And as a bonus, it doesn't consume any ammo. The reason I never got this initially was because if you press triangle while doing literally anything else (e.g attacking, countering, doing a finisher or even doing a counter-shot), you will just dodge the shot without stopping what you were already doing. I like this mechanic. It rewards you for paying attention to other enemies to "prepare" by dropping what you're doing to time your countershot to actually countershot instead of dodging. It can be quite satisfying early on to be fighting a bunch of enemies, time a perfect countershot and then seamlessly go back to the combo. I feel 50 is a bit too much. Bring it down to 20-30. -No Ticket: Kick fifty enemies off of trains. When fighting on trains, if you are in a correct position next to the edge, instead of doing a regular finishing move when you finish off an enemy your character will kick them off. You gotta kick 50 enemies off and make sure it's completely off the train and they don't land on a back carriage or something. The issue is that there only a handful of main missions on trains and only a handful of enemies at a time so even if kick every enemy off trains when they pop up, you'd get like 20 tops. I feel this should be brought down to a max of 30. I had to play Sequence 5.2 and keep restarting the checkpoint on the train when I threw off the train's like 8 people several times. -Guardian Angel: Successfully escort ten friendly cargo shipments. This one isn't hard, you just gotta do a few sequences to unlock a contact, talk to them, then buy an ale upgrade for the gang and then these shipments should spawn in areas very far from Whitechapel (about 2km) where you have to drive back to every time which does get tedious after a while but at least it's only 10. The issue is when they spawn. I had very terrible luck getting them to spawn which took forever to do. I spent forever driving around waiting for them. At least I got some other trophies in the meantime. -You Wouldn't Steal a Policeman's Helmet: Hijack twenty police vehicles. This one sounds easy but is a bit tricky. Normally to hijack a veichle, you press O and your character will throw the driver out and start driving themselves. However, if there are 2 drivers on the car, your character will only throw one off before getting thrown off themselves. This trophy requires you to press O on 20 single policemen driving police vehicles. It won't count if someone else is driving the police vehicle or if the policeman you pressed O on was in another vehicle. I feel 20 is a bit much, should have been 10 max. I had 0 when I started this because it's just way easier to kill both drivers at once with a double assassination or to shoot them and then take the vehicle. But at least this has an in-game tracker to let you know if you did it right. My solution was to play Sequence 5.2 and partway through, there's a section with 3 police vehicles bunched together. My approach was to get on top of one of their rides which would cause one of the 2 to climb up as well letting me press O on the other to get the point. This was a bit unreliable but offered the best results. Sometimes, I got lucky and other carriages would spawn in front of the cops which would cause one to get off to see what the blockage was about giving a free hijack. Finally, the worst trophy of them all: -Without a Grudge: Destroy 5000 destructibles with your carriage This one isn't hard but so teduous. It takes a few hours of grinding. 5000 is just way too much. The in-game tracker only tracks you destroying 4 items in 4 seconds or something like that 75 times so once you get that, you know you've done only 300. This should have been no more than 600 max. There's no challenge here. Just wasting hours destroying the entire city of London several times over. Even if you never fast travel and 100% the game while always destroying everything in your way, you're unlikely to get this. My grandmother, who sometimes watches me play, straight up asked me if I was psychotic destroying London and trampling so many innocents. The only solace here was that items respawn extremely quickly. I got the trophy after making what felt like hundreds of laps around Trafalgar Square And just as an aside, isn't this the least appropriate trophy for an Assassin's Creed game? Doesn't this break the first 2 tenants if my character is destroying so much public property while trampling so many innocents? Then again, Ezio destroyed an entire city and doomed most of its people just to get to one guy. Edward frequently got involved in major ship battles so there's some precedence of Assassins not being subtle but this is still ridiculous. So if you're planning on going for the plat, I advise you not to ever use fast travel and destroy everything on your way to objectives. Grind for Grudge throughout your journey instead all at the end. Everything else is straightforward enough. Completing all the quests, collectibles and extra challenges is simple enough. And the remaining ones require a few grinding sessions. It's a shame because aside from Grudge, this is a pretty easy and straightforward platinum. I recommend having a podcast or something on hand to keep you entertained during all the boring segments (I used Joseph Anderson's Stream of Ace Attorney 1. It was nice) For the game itself, Syndicate isn't bad, it's perfectly ok. But that means it's not really worth playing over other AC games who either do its gameplay better (e.g Unity has more interesting sandbox assassinations, Odyessy has much better gear and combat) and its story does nothing out of the ordinary. Stealth is largely unchanged from Unity. There's one new mechanic in that you can capture enemies and use them as mobile cover. So you can capture a guard and while holding him, use him to blend past other enemies. He can occasionally try to get attention but you can silence him (and with a later upgrade you won't have to). Syndicate does drop temporary disguises from Unity in replacement of this. Parkour is largely the same but now you can't make unsafe jumps. You can only jump if your character will not take damage. This often slows down navigation as there were plenty of times I wanted to get down but had to slowly descend whereas in past and later games I would just jump down and take the small health damage. Add in the lack of parallel vaulting and parkour is quite mindless and slow at times. The big new addition is the grappling hook which often bypasses the need for much climbing by letting you scale massive buildings instantly and cross massive gaps and can be used to set up stealth kills. While normally I would complain such a feature hurts the game by removing the need to manually navigate, manual navigation is already quite shallow and unchallenging. So all the grappling hook does here is minimize tedium rather than make the game easy so it ends up being a net improvement. I remember reading that the grappling hook was added because playtesters found it boring to spend so long climbing buildings and dropping to ground level. Combat is a huge regression. Unity's combat wasn't great, still being basic attacking, dodging and countering, but it had some amount of challenge and chance of being overwhelmed. Syndicate removes all that with a basic button masher. Mash square to attack enemies, occasionally press O to counter an enemy attack and X to break stuns and that's it. It's boring, extremely easy and poses no real risk if you pay even a small amount of attention. There are some wrinkles through upgrades that add some amount of thought. Your 10th hit will instantly bring another enemy to low health, there are some combo moves like Square + triangle that will use your gun to do extra damage to one enemy, the aforementioned countershot and you can instakill multiple weakened enemies together but it's quite minor and you never need to or even can get too much out of it. At least the finishing animations look great but after a while, seeing my character whoop enemies I never even struggled with loses its spectacle. A new feature is carriages and I feel they were handled decently. I remember when Syndicate first came out, there were these developer diaries on the game's development and the devs said "we designed these carriages to complement AC's 3 main gameplay pillars of combat, stealth and traversal. Combat in that you can ram others and fight on top of them. Stealth in that you can hide yourself or a body in them, and traversal in that you can ride on them and jump to other carriages". And I feel that's a good mentality for this franchise to have. Compare this to ships in Black Flag. Ship combat operates in a completely different system from regular combat aside from the brief boarding sequence. Ship Stealth is boring and silly. And ship traversal is just...... the ship moving on its own requiring no additional input from the player. Ships, instead of complementing AC's gameplay, replaced it for large portions of time. Syndicate also has a gear system carried over from Unity, and it feels out of place here. In Unity, it sorta fit because it had co-op and very difficult co-op missions where needing to optimize and min/max was encouraged even though most of the stat differences were minor. In Odyssey, since it was a full-on RPG, the gear system was expanded to be deeper with more mechanics, perks and aspects to actually consider and affect the player. It's possible for the player to use weaker gear because of how they synergize or for 2 different players to have 2 different builds. But Syndicate doesn't have the difficulty or depth or variety to encourage that. Kinda like GOW 2018, most gear just increases small stats so most players are just gonna wear the stuff with the best stats available at that point which often make very little difference anyway. And even with endgame gear, you don't play any differently than how you did early on aside from having more ammo to spare. I just feel that the game would flow a lot better if you either gut this system entirely or expanded it to be more like Odyssey's because as it currently is, it provides no real value or satisfaction from using it and feels superficial. But at least it's better than GOW 2018's system because your level is dictated by EXP and the game frequently gives you easy gear and it's easy to access. Progression through obtaining new skills is done fine though and I feel that alone would have been enough for Syndicate (and arguably Unity as well). The new gear doesn't even look much different from the regular stuff as the game is trying to have the player characters appear more "normal" than in Unity which had more varied visual customization. A big new feature is the 2 new playable characters Jacob and Evie who have their own equipment, skills and even specific missions. Unfortunatly, it never goes beyond feeling like a novelty. In something like GTA V, the other characters have their own schedules and wardrobe when you aren't playing as them that makes them feel alive. And from early on, they have their own special abilities and traits that can you want to play as them in their specialized situations even though other characters can perform fine. Like, if you play as Franklin, you can drive better than the other characters starting out and have slow-mo which you may miss if you're playing as Micheal and Trevor in a race. In a shootout, even through Franklin is decent, you may want to switch to Trevor for the invulnerability. In contrast, Syndicate doesn't really have that. Jacob and Evie never do anything on their own when you aren't controlling them. In terms of gameplay, Evie is supposed to be the stealthy one and Jacob the combat-focused one, but for the majority of the game, their differences aren't ever used well. Jacob for 90% of the game is as good at stealthing as Evie and I never had a Stealth section where I wished I was Evie to make stealthing easier. Just as I never was in a fight as Evie had me wish I was Jacob because his unique combat moves would have ended the fight faster because Evie can still fight well enough to end fights relatively quickly. Jacob and Evie do eventually get unique upgrades that are cool. Jacob gets extra damage+health and counter-headshots. Evie gets extra knives and can turn invisible if she stays still for a while but that's so late in the upgrade path that it feels too little too late. They even have the same gear for most of the game so you can't even fine-tune them for stealth and combat until way in.. Maybe if Jacob started the game with counter headshot and Evie with Chameleon already unlocked it would differentiate them early on and encourage people to use them and miss their specialties when they are using the other character. You can't even say this would unbalance the game since combat and stealth are already unbalanced in the player's favour. This would at least make the 2 different characters feel more distinct early on to play. There are some other nitpicks with the 2 character system. If you buy a skill like Slayer 1 as Jacob, you can't also buy it for Evie right there and then. Normally, this is because you might want to buy other skills for different characters but both characters share the same skill tree for 90% of the tree and can't unlock more tiers until they buy enough of the prior skills. And you get 1 new skill point for each character every time you get 1000 xp. So the current system requires you to switch back to Evie just to purchase the same skills as Jacob (and likely equip the same gear as well). Honestly, I feel like you could have redone this game with just 1 character. Jacob and Evie don't feel that significantly different to warrant the different skills nor are the skills that valuable enough to use a character. You can do side quests for the Rooks as Evie even when it's established earlier that Evie isn't that interested in them as Jacob is and vice versa for stuff like Dicken's missions. Hell, in early development, the plan was that you could play as either character for even story missions. As for the Rooks, Jacob's new gang is fine. You get a nice selection of perks for investing in them like carriages (yours get stronger and more common, enemies get weaker ones) and extra goons to summon, discounts, passivly make more cash etc but some don't seem to make much of a difference. Like there's a perk that bribes cops to pay less attention to you but cops already don't care if you run over people or destroy people in front of them. But there's no extra story with the Rooks. In games like AC Rev and 3, you recruited Assassins instead and they had stuff like their own specific stories and missions to help endear you to the group. But here, it feels like the gang are no different than your sword, just another faceless tool. This hurts because this should be a major story aspect but the game skips this. So Jacob basically already starts his journey in London with a decent gang out of the gate instead of needing build one up to take the fight to the Blighters. The game's side quests are a little boring. Most of it are the same child liberation, Templar slaying and actions from the opening hours you need to do to gain territory for the Rooks. There's nothing to say because it gets repetitive after a while. Some of character specific quests are sorta cool with don't really have much novelty beyond "hey, you're with x historical character". You're gonna wanna use your outside entertainment here. -The Story I'm gonna talk about the modern day storyline first. Here, Shaun and Rebecca explore a bunch of places to find clues to get to the Shroud, they fail and the Shroud gets taken by Abstergo and Rebecca is inured by the end. That's it. I know it sounds so brief and many AC fans have complained here.... but is the plot itself to blame? Recall AC Brotherhood, a game said by fans to have a "good modern day section" where "Desmond and co end up in Montergionni and after we spend the entire game in the Animus with Ezio, we learn the password to the vault in the collesium. Desmond and co go there, find Ezio's apple and Juno gets Desmond to stab Lucy before collapsing into a coma". Now while that sounds like a lot more, bear in mind that the entire section in Montergionni is basically filler. Desmond and co do nothing of note there the entire game except find a password they would have found anyway from Ezio's memories. So the entire relevant stuff (as summed up by Revelations) is just the "they found the apple" part and onwards, so only like 10 minutes at most of Modern Day stuff is relevant. What I'm saying is the plot itself isn't any worse than past ACs. If you removed all the filler and padding from 2 and Brotherhood's MDs you get the same amount and quality of story. However, Syndicate presents this story in the most baffling way though. It's presented as these unskippable cutscenes with very little setup or build-up on characters you'd only care about if you played games from at least 6 years prior, on stuff that's very disconnected from the stuff in the Animus. All this makes the modern-day story even less engaging than it normally is. It feels so token, like it was included at the last minute to appease some fans rather than because it's so integral to the experience or even something the company cared about. But the funny thing is, I don't really mind this. The modern-day of most AC games plays, at best, as a diet version of the main game and at worst, an unskippable boring cutscene + walking segments. Even if these segments were playable and as padded as Brotherhood were, I doubt they would be enjoyable or interesting. They likely would be linear and limited slices of the gameplay of the Animus segments. I'd rather just play the main game and get a better experience. Having a few minutes of boring unskippable cutscenes is more desirable than at least 20+ minutes of boring gameplay that are often just filler anyway. But I honestly feel that if Ubisoft isn't interested in the modern day segments of AC games and are only including them out of obligation, then just don't bother including them because nobody really benefits from this half-assed approach. Casual players are going to be confused and not care which would cause Ubi to scrap any real story these segments were somehow able to set-up despite the circumstances. And the fans actually interested in this are just going to get a subpar experience. I know many diehard AC fans resent it when major MD stuff from the main games is resolved in comics and other supplementary materials instead of the games but honestly, it might be for the better. Because at least with the comics and stuff, the writers can be sure the people reading them actually care and are interested in what happens so can go all out whereas the games have anywhere from 60-80% of the playerbase (according to AccessTheAnimus) not caring or disliking the modern-day stuff. Could Ubi have done a better job cultivating interest in the Modern Day as games like Halo have enjoyed success in both its main story and how said stories have drawn even casual players to the expanded media showing it's possible? Yes. But at this point, it would require Ubi to really commit to it as a concept and its possible potential and they haven't shown much interest in it. So might as well scrap it and make all subsequent AC games as "Abstergo's memory research" or something because doing nothing may be better than doing it poorly. As for the story in the Animus, it's just.... there. There's nothing too interesting to note. Starrick is another mustache-twirling bad Templar who's after another magical Isu Artifact backed by his underlings who must be disposed off who tell our plucky Assassins how wrong they are and how right the Templars are. But at least we see Starrick getting frustrated as his underlings fall which is something past AC villains like Ceasre and Rodrigo lacked which gives the adventure some amount of progression. Jacob and Evie have no real arcs or struggles and are just going through the motions (the ending where they just playfully run to their train highlights the lack of stakes or change in the story). The logistics of how these 2 people are somehow able to go toe to toe with the Templars who have controlled London for centuries and conquer territories is never really explored in any satisfying detail or really brought up which somewhat hurts their accomplishments since it seems like any decent Assassin who happened to assassinate just some people would have brought the same progress (the only other AC game that has a similar premise of the protagonist coming into a major urban area to reduce Templar influence and establish Assassin influence is Brotherhood. And in that game, at least Ezio's goal is also to bring the other subfactions of the Assassins together and use their skills to help him locate more targets so it's somewhat of a group effort which sorta makes the 2 sides feel a bit more grounded. It has its issues, sure, but it is a better implementation). The side characters have nothing remarkable about them. The only exception to this mundanity is Sequence 8 with the villain who's basically the Joker and how he interacts with Jacob, it's the highlight of the whole game and it's only decent. But to me, the biggest change is the change in tone. Syndicate is unusually lighthearted and cheery and "black and white" not seen since the Ezio trilogy. Even some of the developer diaries suggest that Syndicate was made as a way to be "Assassin's Creed 2 again" as one dev said "We choose Victorian London because like Renaissance Italy, it's a relatively peaceful setting with tons of societal and technological innovation". I don't really know about peaceful given the huge amount of wars and conflicts but sure. The issue is that such a tone undermines much of the potential for the setting. We had AC3 show us how brutal the American Revolution could be and how our romantic notions of the war are not accurate as we see how Connor's people's land is sold for example. Black Flag shows how this little pirate utopia wasn't so good after all. Unity shows us how brutal the French Revolution could be (even if it's very historically inaccurate about it). Syndicate if anything, makes Victorian London look a lot better than it actually was by a long shot. We don't really see how Laissez-Faire Capatilaism screwed over so many people as our characters just liberate children and it all seems instantly resolved and never commented on again. Imagine if, our Assassin heroes, after killing a Templar factory owner to free some kids, finds those same kids working for another factory owner because they need the money and killing their employers hurts their situation could have been a decent struggle for our characters. That even though they are undermining Templar influence, they aren't improving society so are they really doing the right thing? This wouldn't even be the first time AC has touched such topics. Freedom Cry occasionally brings up that despite Adewale being a badass Assassin, he's still a former slave in 1700s Haiti and as such is still somewhat limited by this publically. Errant Signal had a great video on this topic. It would give AC more of a bite and make its history hopping feel more connected on a thematic level because as it currently is, seeing the same story of plucky Assassins fighting generic bad Templars gets a little stale with the 9th main game in the series. To conclude, while Syndicate is not a bad game, but it's arguably the most complacent main series AC game I've ever played and one that's very stereotypical of the criticisms levelled against this franchise. It makes little attempt to push the series forward and even regresses in many areas. Stuff like the grappling hook feel like an odd but helpful form of streamlining but other stuff like combat makes it hard to see the value. It carries mechanics from past games like Gear without really knowing what to do with and only including it because past games had it. Its few innovations and interesting ideas feel like short novelties at best. Its story, both in the past and modern-day, are emblematic of the specific issues those sections have always faced. While its open-world is incredibly detailed, it gives little reason to want to explore it as the stories and tasks it asks often do not justify the effort needed to do them. Being charitable, Syndicate feels like one of those "spin-offs made by a different company to act as a placeholder based on the last game's tech to tide fans over until the next real game comes out". But many of those games had more value despite their situation. Batman Arkham Origins may feel like a poor man's Arkham City at times but its story and characterization added a lot for Batman fans to make it worth experiencing. Borderlands the Pre-Sequel launched with less content and variety than Borderlands 2 but still gives us a great look at the character of Handsome Jack. Fallout New Vegas may have had terrible gunplay but tried its damnedest with RPG additions and factions. All these games brought something to make them worth playing even when you played the last one. But if Syndicate never existed, what would we have lost aside from a mostly easy platinum?
  15. Hello everyone, today I want to talk about my 18th platinum (and also my 3000th trophy) with GOW 2018. About the trophies: The first thing I noticed was that many of the non-story trophies tended to be linked with others. For example, in order to get Fire and Brimstone (Complete all of the Trials of Muspelheim, which is by the way my favourite trophy to get in this game), you're gonna beat a Valkyrie who gets you the item you need to fully upgrade the Blades of Chaos nabbing you Why Fight It? . But in order to even enter Muspelheim you need to get the language ciphers (which gets you Trilingual), and while you're at it you may want to fully upgrade your health and rage beforehand (both their own seperate trophies) and going through all this likely gives you the materials to craft the Traveler and Ancient Armour sets (which are both a trophy each). That's around 5-7 trophies from pursuing one goal to speak. Which is fine. It encourages the player to go for specific stuff and rewarding them along the way. However, some trophies aren't as straightforward. Darkness and Fog: (Retrieve all treasure from the Workshop’s center chamber) is exceptionally boring because you have to grind collecting 70,000 Mist Echos in Niflheim (my average was around 3-5000 per run so yeah). Yeah, that's what I wanted in my God of War game, grinding. To make things worse, you also need 3 anchors of fog, a resource that drops from specific chests and is RNG. I've read various forums of people lamenting they spent 11 hours grinding for the Fogs. I got mine in 9 attempts but that's still a terrible approach. Trophies shouldn't be so dependent on RNG. Make it so the player can spend x Mist Echoes to craft an Anchor if their luck isn't good. You can tilt the odds in your favour by opening other chests first and maxing out the Luck stat (which has been useless up until this point) but still, all the grinding in an area that Kratos can just avoid if he jumped like a couple feet on a platform wasn't fun. Also, to tie back to my linked trophies part, doing this also gets you Worthy (Fully upgrade the Leviathan Axe). -Beneath the Surface (Explore all the Lake of Nine has to offer). This one is a little unclear what it means by explore. Some people got it by removing all the fog. Others did it by going to every location. Others 100%-ed the area. This trophy is said to be buggy and even got a patch early on. Mine popped when I docked on a random island for a sec. I wish this trophy was a bit more clear, maybe "find x docks" or something. It's a similar case for Death Happened Here (Fully explore Veithurgard), some people had to 100% this area to get the trophy. I got mine by just defeating the troll and opening the chest after him. This trophy also got a patch to fix some bugs with it. Now if those were all the trophies, I'd say platinumming this game was bad in some parts but not overly tedious. But there are over 100 collectibles to find and there's a perfect storm of issues to make this very teduous. Now say what you will about Ubisoft's games but at least their collectibles are easily marked and their maps are easy to read. In GOW's case, despite it being semi-open world, the map is terrible to read to pick out routes and where exactly to go. Even with multiple guides open, I got lost in places like the Mountain and had to frequently backtrack just to find a good reference point to start hunting. And more than that, even getting around is made worse. If you want to go from a point in the mountain to another part of Midguard, you have to run to a fast travel point, select a location, wait for the fast travel point to load the tree circle loading zone, go inside and wait for it to load the actual area you want to go to and then go there. And if you want to go from one realm to another to get a collectible? You have to run to a fast travel point, select the Temple, wait for the fast travel point to load the tree circle loading zone, go inside and wait for it to load the Temple and then go there, go into the main room, scroll a wheel to find the realm you want, wait for the game to load that area, get out into the ream, find the fast travel point in the temple and select a location, wait for the fast travel point to load the tree circle loading zone, go inside and wait for it to load the actual area you want to go to and then go there. Why are there so many steps along the way to waste my time? In every other game, I just open my map, pick a spot, screen fades to black and I'm there in less than 30 seconds. Even in games like Witcher 3 which don't let you fast travel from anywhere and only from specific points, said points are still everywhere and let you go to any other point. There's no value in GOW2018's approach here. Travelling back to places I've already been to is way more boring than any other game because of all the time it wastes. I get the game wants to maintain its single camera take (which is already a flawed idea) the entire time but there's still a way to make this easier. Just say that the warp doors have linked with the Temple and will take you directy there. The game already uses this excuse at one point in its story. And don't load a bunch of intermediate areas along the way. Assassin's Creed figured this out in 2007 by just loading a void which let the game load way faster while still having some amount of visual continuity. GOW wastes your time with loading and then acts like it has no loading. Some of it could have been made up with dialogue between the characters while you're travelling around. The game already has a lot of conversations with the 3 main characters for when you're riding around on boats in the Lake of Nine, the issue is that that's only when you're on boats in the Lake of Nine. If you're on land or anywhere not on the Lake of Nine, tough luck. Get ready for total silence from our characters only to start talking as soon as they enter a boat. You could argue players may get distracted from when characters talk on land. My response to that is 1- navigating on land is basically go to a thing and press O and Kratos will do the thing automatically for you like climb or jump so there's nothing really to distract. 2- The story frequently has bits where the characters talk on land. And 3- Just do what Prince of Persia figured out in 2008 and have a button you can press to have the characters talk more on land so the player can choose if they want something to listen to while navigating boring environments. All this means that you're better off listening to Neil Gamen's audiobook on Norse Mythology or anything else rather than relying on the game's own telling of the lore to keep some of the boredom away. Finally, while most collectibles just involve pressing O next to them, Ravens require you to throw your axe, and their hitboxes seem a little bugged because if you don't hit them from the exact spot even when your axe goes through them, it won't count. So what would I fix for the trophies list? Firstly, take away the Niflheim one. It actively detracts from the game. As for the collectibles, I'd say just have a general game completion score instead. Reach 70% completion or something across the game and get the platinum. This is better because it rewards the player for what they find and makes some stuff that isn't counted for the platinum like Realm Tears count in place of collectibles if the player wants it. It also works better in-universe because why would Kratos travel all the way back to a realm like Alfheim when he has no reason to just to find a toy mask he can now get when there are some good chests near his house? I am of the opinion that you should use trophies to highlight the best parts of a game and/or to encourage players to get more fun out of a game. Like a good stealth game encouraging players to ghost an area by rewarding a trophy for it. But GOW's mechanics are limited in this regard. I feel the game would be a better trophy hunting experience if you removed many of the collectible trophies. Maybe have more for upgrading your character or using specific combos? My entertainment for this adventure was Jonstone's Pokemon Black Randomizer Nuzelock. It was honestly more fun than the game Now that the trophies are done, let's talk about the game itself. God of War 2018 is one of the most disappointing, unfocused and boring games I have ever played. It cribs so many mechanics and systems from other games without understanding why they had them or making any attempt to innovate or improve using them. It dumbs down its gameplay to make it boring to play in service of a story that has issues that I honestly wonder why not just skip making a game and make a movie instead. It's a game more concerned with being The Last of Us than it is being a good game. I'm honestly surprised how this game got such an amazing reception, especially from GOW fans when it's such a mess and so mediocre. Looking at it as its own game, it's quite flawed, looking at it as a God of War game and sequel that franchise, it's downright bizarre. Keep in mind, I ignored this game when it first came out because its gameplay looked very different from what I want from a GOW game It looked like it was trying to be The Last of Us so bad. And while I like The Last of Us, If I want to play TLOU, I'd just play TLOU. I got GOW as an early birthday gift from my dad who remembered I liked the old GOW games. So this isn't me being hyped and disappointed. This is me going in with low expectations and still even more disappointed and baffled at why this game is the way it is. Let's start with the positives first. Graphics and animations were cool. Mimir was great and has a lot of dialogue for so many situations. Some story sequences are cool like the first meeting with Baldur and Kratos opening up to Atreus. Atreus was ok, his naviety and wonder at the world was endearing but many of his vocal barks during combat got annoying. Some Norse Mythology stuff looked cool. The ending was nice if a little lacking in impact because you just teleport to the end instead of climbing the one mountain. It doesn't have microtransactions and was made with a lot of care and polish. Seeing Greek Mythology interact with Norse was cool. Spartan Rage was handled well. Now onto the issues. I'm going to compare this game to both its predecessors because it's still a sequel and to other games because in order to be the "GOAT", it needs to measure up well against them: Navigation is extremely rigid and uninteresting. You can't even manually jump so traversal is just press O to have the game play itself for you. Press O near a pre-selected gap and Kratos will automatically jump over it requiring no skill or effort from the player. Press O near a pre-selected cliff and Kratos will climb it, requiring you to only point the stick where you want to go and occasionally press O. That's it. What's the gameplay here? What's the challenge? There is none. You can replace a gap with a bridge and nothing would change. Now, other games have similar systems. Climbing in Uncharted is just as simplistic (and I have many greivences with it), but at least in Uncharted 1- There are some cool set pieces attached to climbing, some of which Nate could die and required some effort from the player 2- Climbing could be used alongside stealth and combat and 3- You never had to backtrack through areas you already completed slowly. In Assassin's Creed, climbing is also mostly automated but being a full open world lets the player choose where to climb and what approach to take. 2 players could take different ways into a fort to stealth kill enemies based on where they climb in. So here, even though climbing is simplistic and automated, it still offers the player agency. GOW2018 doesn't do that. It copies climbing from Uncharted because Uncharted had climbing, not because it wanted to do anything with that climbing. I remember there was a tweet where this person asked "what's your most controversial game opinion" and Cory Barlog himself tweeted "Kratos shouldn't jump" and my question is "why?" Why shouldn't Kratos be able to jump? What gameplay benefit is there to not jumping? What do we gain by not being able to jump? Because I tell you what we lose: We lose cool rooms that combine platforming and combat like those cube rooms in GOW3 or Pandora's challenges in GOW1. We lose cool boss fights like with the Fates where the player can swing to avoid attacks and use that to come in to attack. We lose cool puzzles like lining up Harpies and use L1+O to grapple between them, or lining up fireplaces and gliding across them. We lose interesting hidden rooms off the side the player had to jump to access. All this leaves GOW4 with no way to vary its combat encounters or puzzles since the player's base movement is so limited. Not being able to jump means the player has no jump attacks to really juggle an opponent, no jump to avoid certain attacks to vary encounters. So what was the point of removing jumping? It seems it's because it's there to "look realistic" but that doesn't fit because the game has Kratos jumping like crazy in cutscenes. There are so many places in world that would be so easy to get to if Kratos could jump, but no. Kratos, the world's most powerful and wise Spartan, chooses to go around a knee high fence into more dangerous areas just to reach a chest he could have reached with a jump, which breaks immersion more than any of the "realistic" gameplay and camera ever accomplish. It feels less immersive when Kratos could escape poison gas by just jumping a little. I get that games like TLOU didn't have jumping either but that game was set in the real world and featured real characters (and also TLOU2 added in jumping) and was built around that aspect. GOW2018 doesn't do that. It copies TLOU blindly. Imagine if any other game franchise did this. Imagine if the next Halo game took away jumping and every weapon except for shotguns. Imagine if the next Mario game played itself when you got to a pit. What would be the benefit The combat also has issues. Firstly, the player has so few interesting moves. The pause combos aren't as reliable as your normal ones, some enemy types can't be juggled and instakilled easily. So most fights consist of using all your runic attacks plus your bread and butter combos. The other moves are either not as effective or awkward to use. There's nothing to incentivize or encourage more creative play using what limited tools there are. XP and loot doesn't depend on your performance and you get the same amount regardless of how you perform. In the old GOW games, you were encouraged to be flashy and cool as getting a high combo gave you more Red Orbs, and adding in flourishes like finishers gave you even more red orbs and even health and magic back. On harder difficulties, it became essential to get more out of the combat system since the upgrades would give you more tools to play around and health and magic were always welcome because of how risky combat was and how resources were sorta limited in fights. You also got tons of great moves and magic and abilities to use in combat like the various L1+Face Button attacks, GOW3 had seamless weapon switching allowing you to go wild with combos and have so many options in one chain that it was both fun to play and rewarding because of all the red orbs you were getting. In GOW2018, getting the same xp and loot means there's nothing stopping you from just spamming Executioner's Cleave, Runic Spam and button mashing your way through fights. The camera being so close in and the game's controls being so based on it hurts as well. Combat is made even less fun because you don't have a clear view of the battlefield. The game has to cheat on the player's behalf to accommodate this by making enemies less aggressive when behind the player, limiting how high enemies can be juggled instead of letting the player be capable in dealing with all threats as they see fit. The controls also suffer. Suppose you're fighting a valkryie while locked on to it and want to run to the right. To do that, you need to break the lock on, look to the right (meaning you can't even see the enemy anymore, start sprinting right, then turn back around to look at the enemy. Every other game just lets you strafe right at a decent speed. Lock-on itself is a crapshoot as it breaks when enemies pull the simplest of dodges and just gives up entirely whenever an enemy jumps or goes underground leaving you to have to fight the camera just as much as you're fighting enemies and there's many cheap deaths from this. Kratos also tends to attack in front of where the camera is pointed which can make fighting multiple enemies frustrating as a guy moving slightly to the side means Kratos now is magnetically pulled to another Drauger you weren't targeting. Hell, there's a lot of these magnetic pulls. Enemies will slide to hit even when they were out of range which makes positioning less useful. Even Enemy fireballs will curve midair to try and hit you which can look quite awkward. The game's "solution" is a threat ring around you that indicates oncoming attacks. Except these tell you nothing about what attacks are actually coming. Is it a yellow attack I can parry so I just need to turn around? Is it a projectile I can reflect back or is it one I can only block? I don't know so all I can do is dodge away, oh, and it has to be the long dodge as the short dodge is pointless given the magnetism of enemy attacks. There is a quick turn around with down but that's disorientating and by the time you've turned around and see what's going on, you've already been hit. The old GOW games a had solution that while seeming archaic, accomplished everything GOW2018 is trying to go for. It was a fixed camera that framed the action nicely so you could see everything clearly and respond clearly. If there was an enemy behind Kratos, you could see them starting an attack and respond instantly. Hell, such a camera even helped the game look more cinematic as often there was cool stuff going on the background that you could both see and admire while also killing enemies. Remember the Colussus in GOW2's opening and how cool it was fighting mooks while seeing it try and get you? GOW 2018 doesn't. The game doesn't even need a fixed camera. Just have a dynamic camera. Look at Batman Arkham Asylum as an example. When Batman is walking or in a conversation, the camera is zoomed in closer than GOW2018's camera. When you're in stealth, the camera zooms out and the FOV is adjusted to give you a wide view. When you're in combat it zooms out even more and is slightly overhead to let you see more clearly. Because Batman Arkham Asylum knows that since it has gameplay that relies on the player seeing stuff, it should let them see stuff. It seems that the only reason GOW2018 has such a camera is because TLOU had such a camera. But TLOU was a 3rd person shooter. Having a close camera helps when aiming. The only time GOW benefits is when you're aiming the axe and every other time it's a huge hinderance. Also, GOW2018 now takes RPG elements from other games. I am not opposed to such a system if it's used well. It can add depth and allow players to fine tune their playstyle, it can encourage exploration. But GOW2018 handles it poorly. Firstly, until Level 10, your stats are useless. Even if you wear armour with better stats, the game will ignore them and only look at level. So if you're a level below an enemy, even if you have better stats, you will take more damage, not less. The reverse is also true. Wear armour with a higher level than the enemy with worse stats and you will take less damage. And since you get level ups at specific intervals, this makes the system needless and redundant since your progress isn't even controlled by the player's actions. Exploration also suffers, aside from how boring traversal is (and how poorly areas are telegraphed so you can't tell if you can't actually explore a place or you can and just need to look for the very specific path to press O to), many of the gear you pickup is useless. I was getting level 3-5s when I was level 6-8. You can only upgrade a piece of gear like 3-4 times max and materials to upgrade them with are very rare if not limited to a couple per playthrough and are specific to specific gear. The best gear is given to the player from crafting them from Brok and Sindiri rather than found in the wild. All this means that 99% of the time, when you're exploring and solve a puzzle or find a chest or treasure map or whatever, you get a useless enchantment or tailsman that's worse than what you already have with a perk like "reduce freeze" even though you never get frozen in this game. The only worthwhile exploration is for health and rage upgrades, so the system is the same as the old GOWs only with a lot more crap in between. And even if you find gear that suits your playstyle and is a good level, you're only going to eventually abandon it once you find anything with a better level. You can't dismantle gear to get resources, just Hacksilver which is already super plentiful. The game does have a decent skill tree which is all it really needed. The Skill tree works a lot better than the gear system because it makes the player objectively more powerful but in order to use said power the player needs to figure out how to incorporate it into their moveset. The issue is that like I said earlier, most of the moves don't add much and worse, many moves make playing worse. Unlike some games, you can't turn off upgrades if they don't mesh with your playstyle. Unlock the Running Heavy Attack and you have to manually stop if you want to do a normal heavy if you were running. Unlock the dodge attack and dodging- attacking can be less useful as Kratos takes an extra step back to do a new axe throw move even all you wanted was to get in close to attack. Unlock counter-heavy and it's much harder to do a counter+Executioner's Cleave. Let's compare this to Assassin's Creed Odyessy and see how it handles its RPG system, it's a game who made the full jump to an RPG from a franchise that initially wasn't. In that game, any gear you get can be dismantled to get their perks which you can apply to any other weapon which makes exploring for gear feel more rewarding. If you find a piece of gear you truly like and suits you well, you can pay extra to keep upgrading its level based on common materials rather than a one off rare item. Gear scales to your level so you're more likely to find something useful. Oh, and stats matter more than level. You can be a few levels below an enemy but make a build where you wear gear that boosts your Assassin Stat and use a 3x critical strike to instakill enemies so you can actually make distinct builds. The skills can be unequipped and equipped as needed so you don't have conflict with what you could already do. The game also tries to present itself in one camera "take", which while impressive, comes with a whole set of issues. Many of the transitions between areas can be stretched out as the game needs to keep rendering in the meantime while other games would have just cut to black and loaded faster. It was also likely a huge development sink for resources as areas and cinematics had to be constructed in far more specific ways. But the kicker is that the game doesn't even maintain visual continuity. Being a semi-open world action game with RPG elements, the player frequently has to open menus which breaks visual continuity thus defeating the point of having 1 take in the first place. Other games that have one take like Portal and Half Life are truly in one-take. No menus to open to ruin the experience. And if we count games like Dead Space as having 1 take, they even have a diegetic menu and HUD which go a step further than what GOW does and even does it well. GOW2018's puzzles are also lacking. No creative set pieces or set ups here. Just boring "throw the axe to freeze a thing", "throw the axe at x things quickly" and "carry Hel's wind". There are basically 2.5 basic puzzles that this game repeats at nausem with no development or improvement. So simply traversing this world is boring, the combat is more frustrating than enjoyable, the gear system adds nothing but more tedium..... but all that's for is the story. Surely the story would redeem all this? The Story and Lore also have issues. Firstly, The prior GOW games never established that other kinds of Gods and Realms can exist and can operate independently from each other. We also never learn how exactly Kratos ends up on Midgard that's so separate from the Greek Lands that GOW3's devastation doesn't affect it or how he changed from GOW3 Kratos and settled with Faye or how he even got the Blades of Chaos back. When we meet Kratos in GOW 2018, he's already moved on from his Angry GOW3 days offscreen. He's no longer consumed by his anger and need for revenge. Kratos whole character development happened off screen. Imagine the Professor Hulk stick from Avengers Endgame where Bruce goes from unable to summon the Hulk in one movie to having merged with him by the next and we see none of that and it's on the main character. Even the Star Wars Sequel Films at least showed us how Luke became so bitter. All this makes his character less interesting since the important stuff that makes him who he is going forward isn't shown. I'm not invested in Kratos struggle since I have no context for why he is the way he is now. I have no invesment in Atreus even though Kratos does because I haven't met him before. When all these characters talk about how great Faye was and how she's leading them on this quest, I'm left wondering what is it about her that's so great? The story wants to have its cake and eat too. It wants us to treat this story as a new start while also referring to events that happened before it to push its story and wants us invested in it without giving us that context. Hell, even this depiction of Kratos isn't new. GOW1 showed him show his humanity with the hallucinations of his family, Chains with Caliope, 3 with Pandora. And a lot of these sequences were a lot more impactful because of the contrast of how Kratos normally is making his humanity stand out a lot more. GOW2018 doesn't "add" this aspect to Kratos, it just makes it present 24/7 which ironically ends up making Kratos feel a lot more one-note than when he was out there getting his revenge because his revenge at least had him confront more of his inner demons. What's the difference between Kratos at the beginning of GOW3 and at the end? He sees how his revenge has destroyed so much and tries to make some amount of redemption (and spite Athena) by impaling himself with the Blade of Olympus. At the start of GOW2018, Kratos has already achieved his peace and loves Atreus, he just hasn't opened up yet about his past that has had no relevenace so far to the plot and at the end, he opens up because Atreus is sick from not knowing he's a God. Far less dramatic since his feelings or outlook haven't changed, he just gets more confidence. The story also has some big hiccups like Atreus becoming spiteful comes out of nowhere and goes away just as fast. Even Cory Barlog admited they dropped the ball here. I also find the overall conflict with Freya and Baldur less interesting because it has nothing to do with Kratos or Atreus. Hell, why is Mr. "They do not concern us" suddenly now concerned about Freya's wellbeing? Freya doesn't even want him to help. The storytelling itself hurts the game as a whole. The story has the game be full of boring walking sections or other distractions that kill the pacing. Whether it's carrying a pig for several minutes, or the entire opening section which takes 10 minutes to even get to a fight, going to the mountain-seeing it's blocked by black mist- backtracking back to the Temple (which takes another 10 minutes) - going to Alfheim and fighting through an Elf Civil War to get a light just to clear said mist....... twice. GOW2018 loves wasting your time with slow, boring padding. And don't take it from me. Even Cory Barlog has admitted they were worried the game would be too short so padded it. Even if the story was good, having all these boring segments dilutes their positives as this short story is stretched to its breaking point. All this just makes me ask, if you're making a game where even the very basic act of movement is up to the whims of the story robbing the player of even the most basic agency, where the combat is frustrating to make a cool "cinematic" camera work regardless of how it affects the gameplay, where the entire story is told through cutscenes you can't even skip...... then why not just make a goddamn movie? With a movie or TV show, you control the pacing so the audience doesn't spend hours backtracking through the same area with controls less complicated than Candy Crush, and instantly sees what happens next. And hey, it won't be at least 20 hours long. The story being exclusive to cutscenes with the gameplay being so unconnected at best and hamstrung at worse feels like a slap to me whenever someone says "GOW2018 shows games have better stories than movies", clearly they don't when being more movie than game is what makes them on par. The sad thing is that the game is frustratingly close to actually nailing something here. According to Cory Barlog, he wanted this game to be about parenting and how "as a parent, you can't do your kids' exam for them, all you can do is prepare them for it". The story has sections where Kratos teaches Atreus but we don't in gameplay but there are systems built in for it. Atreus notices whenever the player does things like trips, stuns or even just swings their weapons in empty rooms. The game also keeps track of little challenges like trip x enemies and has Atreus note things in his journal. Rather than level Atreus through a menu, have the player experiment in combat and have Atreus learn from that. Do trips and Atreus learns how to do them and you can even have some short fun sequences as Atreus tries to pick up from Kratos, now repeat these for some of the other techniques and things specific to enemies and you get a better sense of teaching Atreus. It doesn't even have to be just combat, if you frequently break crates to look for health, you can have Atreus doing them as well based on you. If frequently button spam, Atreus could be more unprepared in combat and thus encourage the player to play better to not have Atreus pick up bad habits. The sky was the limit and this could have been one of the few ways GOW2018 could have made itself feel unique as a game while also telling its rather same old story. I know this can be done because the game actually does something like this once. During his bratty phase, Atreus refuses to listen to the player's commands and will start fights on his own which has the player feel Kratos' confusion and frustration. More of that instead of that being the only instance and the rest being the same story I've played like 4 times already and seen 10 more times as a Movie (seriously, it seems AAA games and movies Love The Road). Of course, the game would need to be shorter to make it feel better but I feel that's worth it. In Closing, GOW2018 is a very flawed game, nothing it does is truly unique or special. Normally with these kinds of games, I can see the entertainment someone could have here, but I genuinely do not see what's even good about this game, never mind "game of the decade" worthy. There are countless games that do what GOW2018 tries but better. If you want a slow focused story with a close camera done well; play Hellblade. If you want a story with a father/child relationship done better; play The Last of Us or the Walking Dead Season 1. If you want an open world RPG that actually is a good RPG with a flair for the mythological; play Assassin's Creed Odyessy. If you want a game with an amazing in-depth combat system worth mastering; play Devil May Cry. If you want to play a game with 1 camera take and actually do it; play Portal or Half Life. Now, you may say I am being unfair. "GOW isn't that type of game anymore", to that I ask: "why make a sequel?" Why not just make a new IP or actual reboot then? And even as a new game, the new GOW suffers compared to all these other games I compared it to. Let's say I wrote this piece on a different game. I recently played Assassin's Creed Syndicate and while that game was flawed, if I were comparing that game to others, I would never use GOW2018 as a positive example of anything, and for all of Syndicate's faults, it at least accomplished its objective of making you feel like a badass Assassin in Victorian London. Even the older GOWs accomplished their goals of making the player feel like the God of War. I can't say the same for GOW2018. Even Assassin's Creed Odyessy made me feel more like Kratos than GOW2018. And based on how restrictive GOW2018 is, I feel more like a child than a parent. Which is fitting because this game doesn't seem to think very highly of its players ("The boss health is below the screen"). So that brings to the why? Why is GOW2018 like this? From looking at all the behind the scenes material I could, here is my guess: Cory Barlog wanted to make a game about Kratos and his son based on his own life experiences. That's admirable, along the way, they weren't confident in old Kratos' appeal and the success of the new Kratos, so they cribed from other games to try and make something that would appeal to everyone. Everyone likes TLOU so copy that, every game is now an RPG so copy some of these and all this diluted the focus of the game. GOW2018 is now pulled in so many different directions with people unsure of what it actually wants along with Cory trying to make his father/son story with apprehension from Sony Execs. The end result is this. If GOW2018 dialled back on all this fluff and was just an 8 hour game of Kratos and Atreus climbing a mountain with decent combat and no RPG or open world stuff, it might have ended up being more focused and a better game. If the devs were more confident, they could have done what Odyessy did and actually naviagted so many gameplay elements and pulled off an RPG well but that would have required more than what the team imagined. Whatever the case, despite its many, many, many faults GOW2018 is sitting as one of gaming's most cherished despite not deserving it and likely serving as the inspiration for other games going forward. Will GOW Ragnarok be more of the same as a team that's convinced of their own hype sink deeper into their own flaws? Or will it be a chance for the devs to know what they want and actually be able to make it free of interference. Only time will tell. I'll end with saying I don't hate GOW2018 despite all my criticisms. It's clear it was made as an especially artistic work and not some quick soulless cashgrab like Fallout 76. But on the other hand, I had more fun with Fallout 76 because it at least it was a game from beginning to end and not a movie masquerading as one that robbed what little agency I had.