Tag: Ubisoft

Firewall

I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Splinter Cell novel Firewall by James Swallow, published by Aconyte Books, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

I am going to try my best to not let that cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

What is Splinter Cell

Splinter Cell is a video game franchise published by Ubisoft, they are stealth action adventures endorsed by Tom Clancy. The first game was a breakout hit on the original Xbox, and has led to a series of novels and several sequel games, although there has not been a new game for 9 years at this point.

The franchise revolves around Sam Fisher, and operative for a mysterious NAS organisation called Third Echelon, later Fourth Echelon, and his work to keep the United States safe from various threats.

The Story

This story sees Sam Fisher team up with a new Fourth Echelon operative, his daughter Sarah, ass they work to destroy a sinister threat to the world in the form of the Gordian Sword, a piece of cyberwarfare technology that can bypass any cyber security in existence.

But going up against them, is an old foe of Sam’s a former Soviet assassin long thought dead by Sams own hand.

Thus starts a race against time to neutralise the billionaire trying to use the technology to remake the world in his own image, and the blunt tool of his Russian relic!

Conclusion

The book is a very good, whilst Tom Clancy’s actual involvement in the Splinter Cell series, is questionable and the quality of the previous books has been middling, this one has been written very very well.

Given that this is essentially a reboot of the series, being the first installment, novel or game in nine long years, it had a lot to live up to, and I am glad to say I think it pulled it off!

James’s writing is very much in the style of Tom Clancy, and to be frank, very little of his own style shone through. It was a well researched book and felt like a love letter to the Tom Clancy books of old, the main inspiration felt to be the Rainbow Six book he wrote in 1998, but that might be because it was the last Clancyverse novel I read!

If Splinter Cell is to come back, and I really hope it does, then this is a good first step in that journey.

A solid 4 out of 5 stars.


Firewall is out now in both ePub, paperback and as an audiobook from all good booksellers!

If buying online, I recommend the below, but if you have a local indie bookstore and like the physical books, go take your custom to them!


Far Cry 2 – A Review of A Classic

Far Cry 2 is a game I first played back in 2009, very briefly on the Xbox 360.

I didn’t my last long, it was frustrating and really hard and just felt too much like hard work.

Anyway I realised that though bundles and deals I owned all of the Far Cry games and decided that I had best actually play them!

So I recently finished the original Far Cry, the review of which you can see here.

And thus I cracked on with its sequel, Far Cry 2.

To start with, it’s absolutely and completely different from it predecessor. Whilst Far Cry was a run of the mill Sci-Fi shooter, albeit with a very high difficulty level, Far Cry 2 is an open world game very much based in reality.

So how about we start with the positives.

Even 14 years on from its release, it looks good, the open world of the game is beautiful and very realistic in how it’s structured.

The open needed nature of the game, along with the choices you can make along the way give it a lot of character.

The setting is great, very much one that’s not been explored a lot in video games.

But I have a lot of issues with the game.

It feels very schizophrenic, it can’t decide if it wants to be an action-shooter, an RPG or social commentary about the influence of western mercenaries and blood diamonds in Africa.

And it doesn’t do a great job at being any of those.

If really feels like it wants to be an RPG, it really feels like it wants to encourage you to develop you character. But you never really do.

You get a choice of characters, I chose Frank, but it doesn’t feel as if that choice makes any difference in the game, it feels like it plays the same regardless.

And as a shooter, well this might sound weird but there is too much shooting!

See there are two different factions in the game, not that you would know as they are all, without exception going to attack you as soon as they see you, no matter who you are working with.

When you clear out checkpoints, within minutes they are repopulated, and the limited carrying capacity for syringes, the games health packs, mean that sometimes, you get stuck, unable to go back to a checkpoint for fear of the shootout, but unable to go forward for lack of syringes when you face the inevitable shooting.

So for me, I think this is a game that has a lot of potential, but never quite meets it.

So that leads me onto my conclusion.

This is a game that could really do with a remake, and I mean a full in remake, with the RPG elements enhanced, so that for example, when you clear out a checkpoint, you can reman it with the faction you are working with.

I would love to see the militias of the two factions treating you differently depending on how you have played the game.

Anyway let’s get away from what I wish the game could be and onto what the game is.

The game was fun, but difficult, perhaps too difficult. The story was interesting, but the big bad guy was a little generic.

This game sets the foundations for what the series becomes, and in a way it’s groundbreaking.

So I am gonna award it 3 out of 5.

I had the settings at the maximum possible and was getting 60fps constantly, it never dipped or got higher than that.

Hardware

  • CPU:- Ryzen 5 5600X
  • RAM:- 32GB
  • GPU:- RTX 3070
  • Resolution:- 1080p

Assassin’s Creed – Review After Replay

So I have decided after my recent play though of Assassins Creed, which you can see on YouTube, to give you a review.

First off let me give you a bit of background to my relationship with Assassins Creed. I first bought the game when I got a PlayStation 3 on release, and I actually ended up trading it in very quickly because it felt dull and repetitive.

But about a year later I was given it on Xbox 360 and it was a very different beast, it was a lot more enjoyable and the reason for that was achievements.

Those dull repetitive things now became things I wanted to do because I wanted the achievements, I spent a lot of time in that game trying to score as much G as possible.

And the story got me hooked as well, and it still is a very good story.

Anyway so how does it hold up from a modern perspective, well it’s a bit middling.

The game still looks good, I think games of that generation still hold up today and frankly are comparable to those on mobile phones and even the Switch, yeah the textures are a bit meh, but it still looks amazing.

The score is wonderful and very atmospheric, but the speech of the NPCs is very repetitive, which is think is a result if the limited size of the DVD media that it was released on for Xbox 360, and it didn’t really take advantage of the Blu-Ray disk for PS3.

Gameplay is still good, but the initial complaints still stand, it’s dull and repetitive and I can see why Ubisoft have not remastered this game, it would need more than some HD textures to improve it, it needs a whole remake.

The crack is that doing the game without achievements, although I did have some to collect still, makes it a much less enjoyable game, because it feels like you are doing the exact same thing over and over again.

Yeah it set up the franchise, but it is, absolutely not a classic, if anything it’s a bit of a disappointment in retrospect.

It just doesn’t stand up to modern standards, but the green shoots of what would come in the sequel are there and waiting to be improved upon.

Assassins Creed as a franchise has come a long way, and this was that first step.

Flawed, but with its own charm.


Scoring this game is difficult, I love the story, Altair is an engaging character, it looks good and the score is evocative.

But the gameplay gets boring very quickly.

So I have to give the game 2 out of 5.

Hardware

  • Xbox Series S
  • Xbox Controller
  • 1080p

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