: Let Me Make This Painfully Clear, Ubisoft

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Let Me Make This Painfully Clear, Ubisoft

Don't do it again.

And no, I'm not referring as much to the technical issues on upsetting display in Assassin's Creed Unity. I was always of the mindset that such issues were blown way out of proportion and that hasn't changed. They're certainly not the driving force behind why I had to retract my score for the game.

I'm talking about the underlying structure: Don't make the new AC such a blatant cash grab or I won't play it. I won't even review it if I hear similar complaints this year. You hid it well with Unity, not making it evident until many hours into the game that you're a second-class citizen if you're not "connected" in multiple ways and you don't try multiplayer. This is a franchise that was always rooted in an amazing single-player experience; to completely erase that focus would be a critical mistake, so let me repeat: Don't...do it...again.

Thing is, Unity remained a great game in my estimation. If the message wasn't painfully obvious with every ten steps I took (and those technical issues were gone), it would've been a true-blue masterpiece. Absolutely. But let's see...Novice chests to get me to have a Uplay account, Nomad chests that forces me to have the Companion App (which took way too much time, and for worthless prizes in those chests), and a Skill Point allotment that basically says, "play multiplayer or you will never have enough Points to unlock all of Arno's skills. Yeah, not even all the good ones." Then there's the content, grayed-out but visible from the start, that would only be accessible with the Dead Kings expansion. And that would've cost money if they hadn't offered it for free after the launch fiasco.

Did you know they sent me an email after I beat Unity, saying congrats on becoming a master assassin and oh by the way, there are some other things you should buy? No other game I've played has done this. None has been anywhere near as blatant. So, just don't do it again. That's all I'm saying. Give us the AC we'll all love (and deserve) and remember that your core fanbase remembers the series for what it once was. You want to have all those options? Fine by me. But if any of it has a direct and negative impact on the single-player experience, I'm done with the franchise.

I'd write a "deliver or else" email to Square Enix concerning Final Fantasy XV, too, but only if I had any hope in hell the game would actually be something I'd want to play.

2/13/2015 Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (36 posts)

Friday, February 13, 2015 @ 10:36:52 PM

Things are getting worse since ACIII and Ubisoft's greed is really going out of control.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 12:14:55 AM

But what if it doesn't stop with AC:U? Would you stop payi...I mean playing Ubi games altogether? Or are you still hopeful that they'll only isolate it to AC:Unity?

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 12:46:13 AM

Ubisoft has always been a second rate developer. AC was always just okay. Not great. Especially in the tech side of things.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 1:44:01 AM


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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 1:59:07 AM

This is a pretty narrow comment - at their peak, franchises like Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six were top in their genre. Far Cry 3 was great as well. Even on the franchise in discussion, the Assassin's Creed games are top-notch third-person adventure games in general (AC4 was brilliant). Throw in titles like Rayman, Valiant Hearts, Child of Light and Trials Evolution and your comment comes across as pretty harsh.

I'd be interested in who you thought (other than Ninty, we know your thoughts on them ;) - personally, by the by, I've had far, _far_ more fun playing Ubisoft titles than I have Nintendo, but that's because I like my gameplay to have evolved in the last fifteen years or so) is a better developer?

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 2:50:15 AM

@Jawknee - That's a bit much, don't you think? "Always been a second rate dev"? C'mon. That's not even close to being true.

They're certainly not perfect. But second rate devs? No.

@Axe99 - Well to be fair, Ninty games are technically more efficient and polished. You very rarely see their games requiring patches that are several GB's in size. And I'm pretty sure that in terms of GAMEPLAY, their games have evolved a lot since the NES days.

Now if you were talking about story elements and plots, sure, they're barely made progress in that arena. Mostly Princesses needing to be rescued, etc. ;)

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 4:22:24 AM

Axe, Bonampak, you're right. They do have many games that can't be considered second rate. I retract that part of my comment but the point about them having problems, big problems in my opinion on the technical side still stands. Their ambitious games always have problems. Always. This isn't true with yes, Nintendo but also games made by Square, Capcom for the most part, Sony's first party devs. Hell even games like Dead Space, Call of Duty(historically), Komani games, Bandi, Rockstar, Monolith Soft....the list goes on. These games/companies have a much, MUCH higher standard in terms of quality control. It's a certainty that Kojima's first open world outing with MGS5 or Nintendo's open world outing with Zelda Wii U will be flawless in comparison to the flawed to broken games Ubisoft release every single year. These AC games are supposed to get better with each installment given the practice they have making them. Yet they seem to get worse in terms of technical quality control.

Also enjoying Ubisoft games more than Nintendo is subjective. For me finishing an AC game feels like a chore while I could stomp goomba's and ride Epona for hours. I still haven't finished Black Flag due to being bored out of my mind about 60% of the way through. Same thing happened with AC2 and 3. I eventually got around to finishing those when I had nothing more interesting or new to play. Perhaps I'll finish Black Flag some day.

Last edited by Jawknee on 2/14/2015 4:39:28 AM

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 4:00:40 PM

@ Bonampak/Jawknee - aye, no question Nintendo games are more technically polished and well put together. Also, I don't want to make you feel old, but 15 years ago was the last year or two of the N64 ;). I'm definitely not suggesting things haven't changed since NES days! However, games like SSB and Mario Kart really haven't changed a heap since their GC/N64 incarnations. Even Zelda's changes have been relatively limited (something that may actually change with the upcoming LoZ game).

That said, I don't think Ubisoft's technical troubles drop them from that 'top tier' rung of the three platform holders, EA, Activision and Ubisoft.

And, of course, enjoyment is subjective. I wasn't saying for a second that Ubisoft > Nintendo - just that it's possible for people to enjoy either more than the other, depending on their tastes (and I'm not for a second saying anyone's tastes are categorically better than anyone else's).

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Monday, February 16, 2015 @ 6:20:13 AM

You are right.They always.have good concepts,but they executive them poorly and never optimize their games efficiently.Game controls are always clunky and animation is always weird.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 1:21:54 AM

Ive not played an AC game since ACIII which i rather enjoyed but even though my friends told me black flag was brilliant ive not gone back. Its a shame ubisoft are dropping the ball so much cause they had an impressive line up of games i was interested in. I still have hope for The Division when it comes out, just a little bit of hope.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 2:04:10 AM

the chests and upgrades were annoying, especially the upgrades it took FOREVER to unlock even the most basic stuff!
that said though that was tolerable, what wasn't tolerable and stopped me from playing it, was the frustrating level design and boredom.
AC is famous and beloved because of its brilliant level design, stealth, and story.
and all those were completely ignored in unity!
the level design in unity was woeful, ACIV was a freaking wet dream everything was laid out perfectly the bushes and haystacks everything was laid out perfectly!
you could easily take out every single enemy from every single level from a hidden area, it was so perfectly laid out.
unity though the complete opposite, its FAR too open and really difficult to find the hiding spots and also really hard to find where everything is.
especially the big assassination missions.
they start saying theres x of this x of that and x of that, but finding each and every of those is like finding a speck of gold in the dark vastness of space!
its FAR too open and convoluted for its own good!

then the last thing, the story, was crap!
i haven't finished it probably because of that, the sh*t boring gameplay i could put up with, but wheres the amazing intriguing story that had us gripped with intrigue that 1,2,3,brotherhood and revelations had?
hell even IV wasn't a storytelling masterpiece, but it was better than this!

thats whats really frustrating with unity, the new style of combat, the much improved parkour, the new mission structure going back to the big grand find your path assassinations, all these changes over IV are the right thing to do, if anything its bringing the series back in line to what the original series was.
but in doing that, its actually moved the few things that have always been in line, out.
3 steps forward, 3 steps back.
if your going to go to work for a day and earn 100 bucks for that days work, but spend 100 bucks in getting to work, then what the &^%$ is the point of going to work!?

ubisoft needs to take a long hard look at what made AC so popular, and bring that back.
otherwise they can kiss one of this industries most popular franchises goodbye!
id be a real shame to see AC become the next guitar hero..............

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 3:29:18 AM

I fear Bioware is next on the list for forcing multiplayer.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 4:57:12 AM

Hey, hey, hey now, you. No way. Nooo way. Go wash your mouth, boy!

... Talking like that about <3 BioWare <3 - pffffffft the kids today. If it wasn't for your sexy Winter Soldier jacket I'd whoop your ass.

But with the obligatory defense of BioWare behind me: They DID already tamper with these ideas in ME3. I didn't like that one bit. But BioWare listens, they stay in touch with their crowd. Surely they take note of this backlash.

I expect only greatness from the next Mass Effect. Collectors Edition ASAP.

Last edited by Beamboom on 2/14/2015 5:05:39 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 11:13:12 AM

Hee hee...I just thought of something funny, Beamboom.

What if BioWare does what Square Enix did and basically gives the middle finger to all its long-time fans and tries to pursue a new course that's "in" or that would bring them more mainstream consumers?

You've never really understood what Final Fantasy fans have been complaining about but if BioWare did it, you'd totally get it...and then we'd be all like, "welcome, brother...we've been expecting you." ;)

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 2/14/2015 11:13:57 AM

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 2:47:12 PM

lol Beam would be "one of us" in that case. I'm closing in on the end of Dragon Age and SURPRISE SURPRISE! It's getting much better as it becomes more linear. Sadly they can't ever help themselves from having the beginning and the end right there and then just some time to build forces against it. I much prefer the meet n greet adventure of DAO.

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Sunday, February 15, 2015 @ 7:55:12 PM

that would be tragic ben it really would we don't need any more SE storys about ves who have lost their way

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Monday, February 16, 2015 @ 6:21:20 AM

Bioware is trash now.DA:I was a big disappointment.

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Deleted User
Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 4:09:25 AM

Can someone explain to me how this game is a cash grab? The DLC was advertised as a Season Pass pre launch like nearly every other game that's released nowadays. What's the exception here? I understand giving the option to buy stuff with cash as a time saver, but again everything in ACU can be done without spending extra cash, besides the DLC, which is free anyway. Evolve is off the charts compared to this but seems free of any scathing remarks. Just curious about why that is and since most agree with what's written in these editorials, I'm sure someone can lay it out so I can understand.

Also, what about FF15 is so distasteful? I'm a Phantasy Star fan turned Final Fantasy lover by FF3 (6) so I'm up on the history of the series for the modern era. I know there is a feeling that to appreciate 15 means you can't be a real FF fan, but that's not true with me and others here who kinda dig what they've been showing. Is this just pent up ire from Square and their stubborn support of the 13 trilogy?

Not trying to have my mind changed. I just want to have a good discussion and really understand the view from the other end of the spectrum.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 10:40:42 AM

The extras like apps, etc, aren't cash grabs in the sense that they all charge the player, but they do gain significant access to data about their user base thanks to all the platforms of access. Doesn't really bother me, either. But I don't really enjoy the actual -need- to use so many different things in order to simply -access- everything.

As for FFXV, I still expect it to be great due to its past as FF vs. XIII. Don't like the direction of the franchise, but that's a different issue than whether or not it'll be a good game.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 11:23:12 AM

Evolves DLC is a joke as well. But apparently they also planned and told people about this on their forums so I don't know.

I do know that there is a lot of DLC in Evolve that people wish was in the game like monsters new hunters etc. I think their reasoning for making it DLC is because they need to test them before they launch them.

As for AC:Unity, yes games have done this kind of thing before and Ben didn't notice it as much, but Unity does it in a really obnoxious way in my opinion. People who want to play the game and get everything without connecting online should be able to.

Ben noticed it the most in this game because he prefers SP generally speaking.

As for FF15 I don't know why he hates on it so much, I think it looks awesome and I am a long time FF fan as well.

My main complaint with him there is he says it looks like DmC so therefor it isn't an RPG....But if you look at Mass Effect 3 for example it just looks like a shooter, but in fact he classifies it as an RPG..double standards kind of.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 11:32:41 AM

I don't respond to Kid.

xenris: It's hardly just about DLC in Unity. That's only a very small part of the issue. My issue, which I thought I explained quite clearly in the article, is that if you're not "connected" (Uplay account, Companion app, etc.) and you don't play multiplayer, you're at a disadvantage. It's clear that those who just want to play solo offline are, as I said, second-class citizens. And this in a franchise that was BUILT around single-player.

All that stuff can be in the game. But it has to be optional. If it's not, if it negatively impacts the single-player experience, if it feels like I can't experience the full game by playing alone, it's a bias. And one I don't tolerate.

As for FFXV, I've already explained that as well. I said there are RPGs with action elements and action games with RPG elements. If the core gameplay, if a player's ultimate success, revolves MORE around pressing buttons in a timely manner as opposed to a cerebral planning operation of sorts (be it Materia in FFVII or the Skill Trees in most RPGs today), then it's an action game with RPG elements. With everything that we've heard and seen about FFXV, that's what it appears to be.

Mass Effect is a blend, like many games today. But because you really can't just ignore the micromanagement of your characters and teams, and rely on your dexterity and reactions, it's certainly more of an RPG. FFXV? Looks like if I just swing the sword at the right time and dodge at the right time, I'll be fine. Maybe I'm wrong. I'm just basing this on what I know thus far. They even took out MAGIC, for crying out loud; "magic" is now just used to fuel more special attacks.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 2/14/2015 11:35:01 AM

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 12:44:50 PM

I wasn't disagreeing with your statement on Unity Ben, I was trying to explain to Kid what I think your problem was, and I think I was pretty close.

As for FF15, I don't want to argue over it really, I just feel we can't judge a book by its cover ya know. If leveling up is important, and you need to do it in order to progress then it is an RPG, if you don't well I don't know what to call it. The word has kind of lost its meaning :(

I have said that you can beat Dark Souls, ME2 and other RPGs without leveling up your characters at all, and in the case of ME2 and Elder Scrolls the games actually become easier to beat because of the way enemy levels scale with yours. These games I still consider RPGs, even though they all have action combat and the when you figure out the leveling system you realize they aren't as necessary as one thinks.

I thought magic was still in the game but you had to balance using it, with dodging and blocking. From what I remember reading the mana bar will be drained if you constantly block or dodge, but you an also use spells with it, and special co op attacks with your K-pop dance crew ;).

Also this is a quote from Tabata,

"While he wouldn't offer more details on the magic system itself – although it is apparently already quite developed – when asked, Tabata did specify that it is nothing like the draw system from Final Fantasy VIII."

It sounds like there will be magic in the game but it isn't tied to your MP gauge. Maybe it is something like in the souls games where you can cast 5 spells before needed to rest or recharge them etc?

Last edited by xenris on 2/14/2015 12:50:22 PM

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Deleted User
Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 12:48:23 PM

Well, Xenris. Let's say you and I were in a game store looking around at the wares and I say "Man, FF15 looks alright." and someone said "You know that game doesn't have magic.", I'd politely reply " Well, sir, you're wrong. There is a completely new type of magis system in the game since they have already said that casting certain magic in certain situations would have different effects, like fire on a dry plaind or lightning in the rain. All they said is that it would no longer be tied to the MP gauge by subtracting a set value per cast and now the MP gauge will be more of a stamina meter for your actions, more or less the same as an AP meter which can be found in quite a few very highly revered JRPGs" Now he could say " Now that you put it that way, maybe it won't be as bad as I think it is" Or he could ban me. Who knows with these sort of hypotheticals.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 2:11:46 PM

Xenris 99 percent of the people who play games like mass effect and souls etc play the game in an orthodox manner as a dev intended. Claiming a game can be beat in a way the developer didn't intend doesn't change its genre. The sort of components that go into a game defines what it is not the manner in which its played. I could get down on all four and act like a dog and bark and fetch all I want but it still doesn't make me a dog.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 2:30:16 PM

I watched this great action movie the other day called Les Miserable


Oh I just edited everything the director wanting me to see out of it and cobbled together the action scenes. Therefore it's actually and action movie.


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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 2:36:35 PM

What Temjin said above.

Just because you CAN play a game in a certain way doesn't change the genre. The bottom line is that you will not succeed in Mass Effect or Elder Scrolls if you treat them as action games first. You just won't. You have to put a lot of time into character progression and micromanagement of all kinds. Final Fantasy appears to be moving away from that.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 3:07:05 PM

Damn straight

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 3:20:01 PM

Temjin you are missing the point entirely, the whole argument started because Ben said in his first article about FF15, and I am paraphrasing, "you can push a button to attack, and hold a button to block and time your dodges, I didn't know Square was working on the next DmC game."

So what if those things are in FF15, Dark Souls plays EXACTLY like that, in fact Dark Souls your twitch skills and patience are far more important than your characters level, which is what I was trying to point out. In Mass Effect, it plays exactly like any stop and pop cover shooter, if you can't hold your reticule on an enemy you lose. Your skills as a gamer take precedence over your level in that game as well. The armor in ME2 is meaningless compared to ME1, and from level 1-20 in ME2 your skills change by only small percentages, 5% to health level 1, and 15% at level 4...these numbers are insignificant to player skill.

Skyrim has active blocking as well, heck so does Dragon Age: Inquisition, why do these features all of the sudden make FF15 no longer an RPG?

So does everyone know what I am saying? Ben said FF15 looks like an action game therefore it must be an action game, he has an article on this and someone quoted him before and he never addressed it. Yet there are games like Mass Effect, Skyrim, Dark Souls etc, that if you just looked at a gameplay trailer you could say oh look an action game, or a shooter etc.

They are moving away from turn based but there is no way you can say this isn't an RPG from what you have read or seen in trailers.

Also there is magic in the game, they just haven't explain how it is going to work, there are also summons. What we do know is magic will affect the environment, things will catch fire, water will conduct lightning, etc.

The MP gauge is essentially like the stamina bar from Dark Souls, and the magic seems like it is going to be like something from DnD, where you get a certain amount of casts per day. Which would make sense because you have to sleep to level up. Also there is a huge emphasis on weapons, some weapons will have low damage but a special skill attached to them, others no skills but raw dmg. The skills will use MP or Stamina, but so will dodging, and using special group attacks with your party. It sounds to me like there is going to be a lot of micromanagement going on here.

If these things don't make it sound like an RPG then I don't know what will.

Last edited by xenris on 2/14/2015 3:22:59 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 6:49:26 PM

xenris: Why do you keep focusing on character level? It's not all about level in any role-playing game I've ever played.

It's about equipment, items, and combat strategy. Dark Souls is an action/RPG because it does have a real-time action focus but you're not taking down anything hard unless you're properly equipped and advanced. Doesn't matter how great you are with the controls; beating a tough enemy relies on far more than your dexterity with the gamepad.

On the flip side, God of War and Devil May Cry, while they let you equip things, doesn't put the focal point on the CEREBRAL side. They put the emphasis on your ability with a controller. Unless an enemy has a very specific weakness or strength, you should be able to use any weapon, any magic, or any item at any time and still be able to beat the game, because you've done well with the movement and combos.

If you want to claim that one could beat Mass Effect without any of those so-called insignificant advancements, that's fine. Nobody will try because that's not how the game was meant to be played. Dragon Age HARDLY relies on your skill with a controller. In fact, it matters almost not at all. You have to be able to take in and process a large amount of information at once, and you have to respond accordingly. Players who don't advance and don't have better equipment will not fare as well, regardless of when and how you press buttons.

And no, it does NOT have magic, from what I've seen. Here's the quote from Tabata:

"The magic [in Final Fantasy XV] is a little unique and isn't your standard 'use MP to cast' model. MP is used for special actions like using your sword to warp or to evade attacks. For evasion, by keeping the button pressed, you can continuously dodge attacks, but it will also continuously drain your MP."

That is not magic. Those are points you use for more action-based attacks. You can try and call it magic all you want; any role-player knows it isn't. And if it is, this means every single action game on earth has "magic" because they all have gauges for how a player executes special attacks. That's all this is.

Here's the deal, xenris: If players can move forward just fine in FFXV due to their skill with a controller, it's not an RPG. Elder Scrolls, Dark Souls, etc.; none of those are like God of War or DMC and it's obvious as to why. If FFXV is an RPG, fine. I'm wrong. But so far, they've shown us nothing to make me believe otherwise.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 2/14/2015 6:49:50 PM

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 8:37:49 PM


at 7:50, there's a magic cast by Noctis in this demo.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 9:59:23 PM

That was called one of Noctis' special abilities. Nobody else can use it, apparently.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 10:39:05 PM

Fair points Ben, I know exactly what you are saying, and I agree with you, except for the Dark Souls bit, but we can agree to disagree there.

I just think from what we have seen and learned it would be easier to lump FF15 in with Dark Souls, than with God of War, even if we just go off of the MP gauge acting like the Souls stamina bar.

Also as for the magic, I found a website with an interview with Tabata and it is probably because of translation but he did say that "Magic will be available and spells will have unique effects and manifestations among each team member. Magic doesn't use MP. Weather will have a tactical impact on battle conditions, with different types of magic having varying effects depending on weather patterns. Using fire spells on a clear day, for example, will not only hurt monsters, but also ignites the surrounding area, and monsters afraid of fire will be sent fleeing, but it can hurt party members as well. As such, using magic can be a liability, too."

You are correct, only Noctis can use magic and summons. This is magic on top of the things that the MP gauge is used for.

At any rate in a month we can all try out the demo with FF Type-0 and see how it feels.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 6:13:48 AM

yeah i'm in ur camp ben i like the single player thing with AC thats why i got the games in the 1st place i like the story and playing through the story, and i can think of the uplay thing u have to do to have this ship feature in black flag which was annoiying for my brothers who want to use the game mode but don't have uplay in the summer of 2013 (dec/jan)

happy gaming

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 11:26:44 AM

I can't complain much. I just stuck to the core story, occasionally doing some side stuff. I built up my little diner/home place fully etc. Yea, I saw some upgrade items that wanted money, though I also see that in games like DOA5 and Drive Club etc.

I just can't take the completionist's route in AC games when I want to stay current with them annually.

I look forward to Victory and I'll approach it the same way.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 1:48:04 PM

I completely agree Ben. Being a primarily single player gamer, unless it's one of the extremely rare games with couch co-op, there's nothing I hate more than multiplayer and companion apps being shoehorned in to the point where you feel your progress is limited without bothering with them.

I was going to pick up Unity once it got really cheap, but between that and its story being reported to be just as boring as it looked it will probably be the first AC I skip altogether since Brotherhood.
The next AC will have to have some very compelling elements for me to consider it, but I'll be keeping an eye out for this kind of behavior.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 2:15:46 PM

I concur! Unity is the FIRST in the series (I've only played the numbered games of the series) that didn't deserve revisiting once completed. I was all too thrilled to delete that stupid companion app as well. It's a lot more entertaining to find glyphs in the game. Not on some CAD looking, crappy app.

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