I get it now. Steep is fun. I didn’t think it would be and I argued that it needed a campaign or something to keep me interested. But a game entirely made of challenges is quite addictive.

I got the season pass and snowboarding around in an inflated dinosaur suit is quite hilarious. But I prefer the banana.

I’ll probably end up getting the Olympics expansion when it goes on sale next.

Steep is not an $80 title. But for half that it’s a fun time.


E3 is just around the corner….

And I feel fine…. Games to be excited for:
Assassins Creed:Origins

Call of Duty WWII

Crackdown 3

The Crew II

Days Gone

Destiny 2

Far Cry 5

God of War

The Last of Us Part II

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War

Need for Speed: Payback

Sea of Thieves

Star Wars Battlefront II

State of Decay 2


Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

iReview: ASSASSIN’S CREED: UNITY – Another Year, Another Assassin


Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platform: Xbox One
Availability: Xbox One, PS4, Windows

It’s a hot summer day in Paris, France. Its 1789, in the heat of the French Revolution, and Arno Dorian gingerly slips through the amassing crowds. The people are angry, hungry, and burning effigies. Guards canvas the area making sure that the protest doesn’t get out of hand. With his target in sight, Arno passes behind unaware guards, silently slipping the Assassin blade into their neck or back, leaving them wobbling, dying, before passing onto the next. His target is within sight, gesturing towards the throng of people, arms wide. Arno has the means and the tools for his escape at the ready. The roar of the crowd hides the immediate shock towards the dead guards. The distance nears, he vaults up the platform, and pounces on his victim, penetrating the beating heart with his hidden blade. The whole world shudders, colours dilute, and we see the history that lead us to this moment as our victim dies.

This is the setting of Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Ubisoft’s eighth major installment in the series. Like its many predecessors, Unity shares the common formula: target, Kill, Escape, Repeat.


Unity is the first Assassins Creed title to usher in the new console generation, and with it came better visuals, larger crowds, heavily detailed buildings, and new navigational game play mechanics. Most notably: controlled descent.


Before we ‘dive’ off into the game play, let’s break the story down a bit. We start Assassin’s Creed Unity as a game tester at Abstergo, using a new gaming device called a Helix. So now we’re playing a game within a game. Through this device we get to experience different genetic memories. The Assassin Brotherhood, always fearful that Abstergo is a bunch of Templars – that they’re using this new device to data mine the past for clues – hijacks the memory sequence, and implores the player to join them as an initiate. What follows is a story about love and heart-break, betrayal and time travel.

The featured Assassin this time around is Arno Dorian, and we join his memory already in progress, as a child, and he’s waiting for his father to conclude some meetings. As we wait patiently, innocently, a tricky young girl named Elise De La Serre happens upon us, and coerces us to steal away among the palace corridors, causing all the mischief only two kids can. When we return to our seat, we find the corridor filled with people, and our father, who was an Assassin, dead on the ground, murdered. The story skips ahead 13 years, and we’ve been adopted by Elise’s father, who is a Grand Master of the Templars. Arno has grown very fond of Elise. In the next mission, Elise’s father is found dead at a party, and we are mistaken to be the killer, and imprisoned in the Bastille. Escaping the Bastille with another Assassin, we get invited to be a part of the Brotherhood.

From here, the story moves at a quick pace, it takes place during the French Revolution and the mass revolts against the King of France, King Louis XVI, all somehow orchestrated by the Templars.

At key points during the story, the memories will breakdown, and the hackers in the real world will check in, trying to repair the glitches. These points have us traveling through time to certain parts of Paris’ history, especially the occupation by Nazi Germany during World War II. These parts are done very well, and mix up the game a bit, and even have the player scaling the Eiffel Tower and fighting off World War II fighter planes.


The city of Paris itself is Unity’s best feature. It looks just gorgeous, behaves as you would hope, and there are a ton of people just strolling around, going about their lives. Because of the Revolution, certain parts of the city have different patrolling guard types, depending on their allegiance, and there’s areas walled up. Some of the key buildings will also have a mass of crowds around it, not so much rioting, but expressing themselves. They’ll have effigies burning, and they’ll be screaming, pressing up against the guards watching the gates. The only issue is this situation never changes unless something triggers it, like a sword fight perchance, or a smoke bomb. Then everyone scatters. It’s quite fun to watch.

The larger buildings are designed with immaculate attention to detail, and even on street level, a lot of the buildings have open doors or windows that allow you to enter, or run through when chasing someone.

With the updated engine, some of the game play has changed, with a few additions, but mostly omissions. Biggest addition would be to the navigation, and the controlled decent. No longer will our Assassin just vault off a building in the wrong direction just because the direction we wanted to go didn’t suit. Our Assassin is very agile, and can scale almost any building, or incline, with ease, and scale it down just as easy. With the same controls. It’s all very fluid, with realistic animations. We can also jump through windows or slide under desks or fences. The down side to this is its not perfect. When running, it is very easy to get caught up on objects like desks and chairs. And then you just look like a fool, squatting in a chair, with the other civilians just looking at you.

Choosing a different weapon has changed a bit, and gone are the non-lethal fist fights. At all times you’re equipped with either the hidden blade or a weapon of some kind. Stealth take-downs from behind are the only way to take someone out without killing them. Also gone is the ability to move bodies and dump them in hay carts.

The big selling point with Unity was the inclusion of its co-op elements. Many missions and side stories are relegated to this mode, and unfortunately I didn’t get to spend a lot of time testing it. The one mission I did successfully join had me start across the city from my co-op companion, and then the whole game subsequently froze. I didn’t bother trying the multiplayer again.


When the game was originally released it suffered tremendously from bugs, glitches, online issues, and complaints towards its companion mobile app. To the extent that Ubisoft pulled its season pass, refunded players, and gave away the Dead Kings DLC for free. They also practically neutered the mobile app, and just ended up unlocked everything in-game instead of having the player continues to suffer.

Unity turned out to be a big learning lesson for Ubisoft. In what the player’s want and that maybe annual release aren’t the best plan without rigorous testing in place before. They released the next Assassin’s Creed, Syndicate, a year later (as the title was already well into its development), and have since taken a break to refocus. Maybe to re-energize, maybe because they realized there were big problems with their current model, or maybe it was to give a window for their movie. Who’s to say?


In the achievement section, they are all very rudimentary: complete the chapters in the story, perform a specific number of take downs, collect collectibles, and there’s an unfortunate amount of co-op related achievements. I might have to try and load the multiplayer back up again.

Notable Achievements
Patron of the arts (Watch a play in the Caf) – 10G


iReview – VALIANT HEARTS: THE GREAT WAR – Hand Drawn War

War makes men mad.

Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Platform: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, Ps3, PC, iOS, Android
Reviewed On: Xbox One


I don’t know a lot about World War I other than it might be the focus of EA’s next Battlefield game. I do know that it hasn’t been the focal setting of many games, whereas World War II has been heavily played out. The developers at Ubisoft Montpellier strove to change this fact – those behind Rayman Legends and Child of Light – and have brought us an artistic title that takes place in 1914 as Germany declares War on Russia.


Valiant Hearts is a game about War, but not a War game. The story follows the path of four characters: the Frenchman Emile, his German son-in-law Karl, American soldier Freddie, and a Belgian nurse named Anna. The main focus of the story is Karl, as he is deported from France, separated from his wife Marie and child, and then drafted into the German army. Marie’s father, and Karl’s father-in-law Emile is drafted into the French army. What follows is a tale of Karl and Emile fighting the war on opposing sides, crossing paths occasionally, and trying to survive. Freddie, an American soldier who volunteered to join the French army fights alongside Emile, and they all cross paths with Anna, a Belgian student / battlefield nurse, and Walt, a Doberman Pinscher dog, throughout the tale.

The game is broken up into 4 different parts, and each part consisting of 6-7 chapters, each following the path of the different characters interwoven through the different stages of the war. The tale concludes in 1917.



Valiant Hearts is a 2D animated puzzle based game. Before progressing through each chapter, the character we’re playing needs to complete certain objectives. These puzzles generally involve obtaining certain items needed for that situation and delivered to the correct people or used to open a new stage. There is little to no dialogue in the game, and the NPCs in the game will just display a picture of the object or action required. In the wartime segments of the game, the player has to survive gunfire segments from enemy soldiers or planes, bombing runs, and stealth levels where the player has to avoid the patrols of enemy soldiers, by hiding in shadowed areas.


Some of these segments are really when done, for example when running through the fields at night during a bombing run, to avoid enemy signs, you need to run when the sky is dark. When the bombs hit, they will light up the stage, so you need to make sure you’re hidden.

There is no gunplay during the game, but there are times the player needs to use a melee attack to knock out an unsuspecting guard. The player will need to punch through debris that may be blocking the path or throw dynamite to clear areas or throw an object to break a window. Each character that we play also has different traits. Emile has a shovel, and can dig through soft dirt to avoid gunfire or planted explosives, Freddie carries shears to cut through barb-wire barricades, and Anna is able to treat injuries, which is done through quick-time events.


Another example is a stage where we’re stuck inside a house that has been the focus of a chemical attack. We’re wearing a gas mask, but inside, all that’s visible is the green smog. We need to find windows and smash them to help vent the gas so that we can see then next area.

The dog, Walt, is also utilized throughout the campaign. He can be commanded to fetch objects or activate switches. The enemy soldiers ignore him, so he’s utilized to grab items behind enemy lines.


The art is all hand drawn and animated and cartoony, but not-for-kids cartoony, and it’s evident that Ubisoft has put a lot of love into the art and design of this game, and invested time to tell a tale about survival, sacrifice, and friendship. The game is inspired by real letters written during the events of World War 1 and throughout the game the player unlocks facts about the history of the War, and collectibles with their own unique history.


The campaign is a fairly lengthy affair, for a game of its type, and it does play a bit slow. Some of the wartime segments are completed through trial and error, but the puzzles are fairly straight forward. The game even has a hint system in place if you get stuck at a certain segment for too long. As well, the narration between chapters can be a bit dry, but that comes with telling a sombre tale of War.

Perfect for those that like illustrated games, World War narratives, or playing fetch with the dog.


On the achievement front, the game is very generous. There are some story related ones that can’t be missed, and some for collectibles. The others are for completing a segment perfectly or going beyond the call of duty, and these are almost too generous, considering the difficulty of the game. The issue is the XBOX One’s default 1000G per game regardless of their triple A or indie status. Some of these achievement are miss-able, and you’ll need to restart that chapter.

Notable Achievements
Brothers’ Keeper (Save your entire platoon during the battle of Somme) – 70G
King of the Hill 145 (Shoot the German flag with the cannon at Vimy’s Ridge) – 55G




Revisted iReview – BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL HD

Beyond Good & Evil HD

“The weak, the wimps and the wussies still have three seconds to get the hell outta here, and get back to their knitting!”

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Platform: Xbox 360 reviewed on Xbox One Backwards Compatibility
Availability: Ps3, Xbox 360

Playing older games is like visiting old friends. Those that you haven’t seen in a few years, but still think about from time to time, or come up in conversations when visiting others. It’s a great feeling to reminisce, but a greater feeling to actually see that friend again, and catch up.

In somewhat of a personal new-games rut, I settled and gave the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility a try. Since Call of Duty Black Ops 2 has yet to be made available, I booted up Ubisoft’s Beyond Good and Evil HD remastered release.


I played the original back in 2004 on the Playstation 2, and it’s always been a mainstay on my list of great games I remember having played during that generation. In 2011 a HD re-mastered edition was released on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 which included improved textures and character models, as well as an updated soundtrack, achievements and leaderboards.


Beyond Good & Evil is an adventure game about an alien invasion and the conspiracy surrounding the involvement of the planet’s military dictatorship. In the game, we play as Jade, a photojournalist and caretaker of a home for orphaned children. Jade, I believe, is the primary reason I fell in love with the game eons ago. She’s a character with a lot of heart, but can hold her own when pressed. Her character design was very spunky, with her baggy pants, white tank top, jet black hair with a headband and green eyes and green lipstick. If one could fall in love with a video game character… Alongside Jade is her uncle, and guardian figure, Pey’J, who is a boar-like creature. Only Jade is playable, but large portions of the game have Jade being paired up with another character to solve puzzles and help in combat situations.


The story of Beyond Good & Evil takes place on a small mining planet called Hillys, with its population a mix of humans and anthropomorphic animals. The local town has been under attack by aliens called the DomZ, who have been abducting and enslaving the civilians. The planet’s military, Alpha Section, has promised to defend the population, yet have been unable to stop the alien attacks thus far. An underground resistance group called IRIS Network believes that the Alpha Section is actually working with the aliens, and are working towards uncovering the truth. IRIS enlists Jade’s photojournalist skills to reveal Alpha Section’s true motivations. Once proof has been obtained, IRIS will provide the evidence to the Governess and create promotional material to gain favour with the citizens and help overthrow the military dictatorship. On the side, to help fund her adventure, Jade is also a freelance photographer, taking pictures of all the species on Hillys for a science museum. This photography gameplay mechanic is part collection, finding all the species throughout the game, but also provides the player with currency, allowing them to buy health restore items and upgrades.


The majority of the game takes place in a small floating town built around canals, and small surrounding islands. Primary mode of transportation is a hovercraft that allows the player to navigate the open, but modest, world. The main city serves as the hub, where we meet vendors, and visit the Akuda Bar which is the headquarters for IRIS. The Alpha Section’s many headquarters are also found in the city, and can be unlocked and accessed throughout the game for more collectibles. The city also hosts 2 hovercraft races.

The closest island boasts a lighthouse, and is our protagonist’s home, where she lives with her uncle and orphaned kids. The game starts on this island as the focal point of the initial alien attack, and jump starts Jade’s adventure. Other nearby islands include caves and a volcano, and the final large island is the slaughter house. This final island also hosts 2 more hovercraft races. Each area gets unlocked as we progress through the story and unlock new items for the hovercraft.


Aside from taking a break and admiring the local beaches in said hovercraft, Beyond Good & Evil’s other two gameplay mechanics are Combat and Stealth. On our missions to unlock the truth we come across many different types of creatures while exploring the islands, some are not so friendly. Jade is equipped with a staff to help her in fights, and more often than not, paired with a companion in Pey’J or an IRIS operative named Double H. With their help we can fight off any baddies that come our way. They will also aid with navigating the islands’ inner workings and cooperative puzzle areas. The other bad guys we stumble upon are the Alpha Section’s elite. Most of these sections require stealth to navigate around, as this enemy has strength in numbers and Jade is ill equipped to deal with them on high alert, especially later on in the story when breaking stealth is an instant fail.

The pacing of the game is its notable weakness. There are only a few proper missions involving the Alpha Section investigation, and these are quite bloated, but afterwards we always have to run back to the town to turn in our findings. We then have to re-explore the town and its new available areas to collect the required amount of Pearls (in-game currency to upgrade our Hovercraft) to advance. It feels like, as Jade, we have to do a lot of unnecessary leg work just to help the resistance complete their story of corruption. They’re very thankful for our assistance, but I don’t feel that we are properly compensated, aside from a few donated Pearls from the resistance supporters.


Story gripes aside, the game is just as enjoyable as I remember, if not a little weak on the writing – some of the one liners from Pey’J are groan-worthy. The HD re-mastering is also not a huge leap forward in visuals, but the game is much brighter and more colourful. The water reflections are most noteworthy, as some times it looks like we’re hovering across glass.

The camera was my biggest complaint. When piloting the hovercraft in tight corridors, or as Jade when in a combat situation or hugging the walls in stealth, the camera was very difficult to wrangle into the ideal direction, and sometimes left me turned around, or having to restart the segment.

I did also notice a few points where the game hung between gameplay and cut-scene and quite a few instances where the dialogue audio was not synced with the character’s facial animations. These could be chocked up to the HD re-mastering with new frame rates, or even the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility emulation.

The game is still fun to play, the puzzles fairly smart, and since it’s been 16 years since I originally played it, everything felt fairly fresh.


Achievement-wise, the game is quite light, as it was released as an Xbox Arcade game. So it only had 200G worth, mostly item collection oriented, and the standard “introduction” and “beat the game” achievements.

-For those who talk to animals, enjoy photography, or always fall in love with the first video game female they meet.

Notable Achievements
Wildlife Photographer (Take 6 film rolls of animal photos) – 20G
Racing Champion (Score 1st in all 4 hovercraft races) – 20G