Real hidden camera tube

2012.04.23 03:58 ripples2288 Real hidden camera tube

Cross viewing is seeing 3D with nothing but your regular screen! Just cross your eyes and make the two sides overlap to see the image in 3D. Tutorials and helpful apps on the wiki linked at the top (on mobile tap Menu, Wiki). Accepting submissions of all forms (pictures, gif/gfys, videos). If things look 'reverse depth' than /ParallelView might be the place for you!
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2013.02.14 04:55 Real hidden camera tube

/CrossView_gifs, dedicated to the stereoscopic free viewing method of cross viewing. Accepting submissions gif and gfy (and apng) formats and all subjects (SFW/NSFW must be labelled).
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2020.11.25 05:06 big_like_a_pickle Real hidden camera tube

I built a CCTV network that is comprised of 15 4k cameras, all recording 24x7. Over 20,000 still images per day are analyzed for humans or vehicles via artificial intelligence. When detected, I get a push notification with a snapshot of the object of interest and the camera starts recording at full-resolution for a while. If you're on my property, you're now being recorded by between two and five cameras at a time. All in, this project cost me about $2,600 with no monthly fees.
I've spent the past month putting this system together. I want to document it somewhere and /homedefense seems like a good fit.
Background I live in a semi-rural area on about three acres of land surrounded by woods. My house is fairly large, plus I have an outbuilding that functions as my home office and workshop. Being so isolated and unable to keep an eye on the entire property, I've longed been concerned about being a target.
Last year we got symmetrical gigabit fiber to the home in my area. In preparation for it, I built out a robust home network. I have a 48-port PoE Ubiquiti switch in a full rack in my basement. In my outbuilding, I also have a 16-port PoE Ubiquiti switch in a small wall rack. They're interconnected via two runs of direct-burial, multimode fiber I buried 4' deep in 3/4" PVC conduit. Between the house and outbuilding, I have eight Unfi wifi access points installed. In my main rack I also have a Synology NAS, Intel NUC that's a Docker host, and a Ubiquiti Security Gateway Pro.
On my Intel NUC, I run about a dozen Docker containers. Most notably is: Home Assistant, Mosquito MQTT broker, Grafana, InfluxDB, and Plex.
The Config Firstly, DarkBunnySC has an excellent video that was my jumping off point. I recommend that you watch his video first before reading the rest of this post, since it will help with context.
Cameras I am using fifteen of these Annke 4k turrent IP cameras. The top-rated review is super helpful. These are rebranded Hikvision DS-2CD2383G0-I cameras for half the cost. The initial config is a bit tedious though:

  1. Connect my notebook to my security camera VLAN.
  2. Plug the camera into the switch and it powers on via PoE.
  3. "Activate" the camera with SADPTool.exe (a Annke tool that uses some sort of layer-3 protocol to discover the camera and set it's initial password, which is why my PC and the camera has to be on same layer-2 network (VLAN) for the initial setup.).
  4. Note the IP address listed in SADPTool and login with "admin" and the password via the web interface.
  5. Upload the new Hikvision firmware
  6. When it reboots, the camera has a static IP of 192.168.1.64. So I have to manually set my PC to 192.168.1.63 (or whatever) and log back in to the camera and change it to DHCP. It reboots again.
  7. Tweak the video feed settings.
The picture quality is absolutely amazing. They'll push 4k video at 15 fps on the main stream. Excellent resolution and (more importantly) dynamic range. The night-vision IR emitter is also really good.
Using the full resolution, quality and framerate on the main stream and similar settings on the 640x480 substream, results in a sustained rate of about 19 mb/s. This is why wired cameras are way better than wi-fi based ones. I mean, the camera needs a wire for power anyway, right? Why not just use one wire for both data and power?
Misc tips:
  • The drill template is helpful but don't peel off the adhesive backing, just hold it up to the wall.
  • DO NOT USE A CORDLESS SCREW GUN (DRILL). The screws are both cheaply made and go in slightly askew into the camera base. You will strip the heads super fast. I had to use left-handed drill bits to extract broken screws more than once before I stopped trying. Make sure you drill an appropriately-sized pilot hole first and then use a plain 'ole screwdriver.
  • Loosen the tiny set screw a bit on the turret to make it a lot easier to rotate into the correct position.
  • Read the directions on how to assemble the waterproof cable sleeve. I also wrapped each connector with self-adhesive silicone tape for extra protection.
  • I used UV-resistant Cat6 on runs where the cable would be exposed outdoors and standard Cat6 when I was mounting the camera directly over the hole in the exterior wall.
  • I have quite a bit of experience doing low-voltage cabling, but if you've never fished cable, watch some YouTube videos on how to do it. 80% of it is having the right tools. Fiberglass poles (Wire Noodler) are a god send.
  • Crimp an RJ45 connector on the camera end and punch down the other end into a patch panel. Use pass-through RJ45 connectors and crimp tool--they're about 100x easier to use than traditional plugs. And use a real punchdown tool/cutter on the patch panel. Again, YouTube is a great place to get some basics down.
  • When putting cable through an exterior wall, make sure you use drip loops on the outside and service loops on the inside.
  • If you have to fish cable through walls, also pull a length of pull line through the path. Leave the pull line in the wall so you don't have to refish the path in the future if you want to run another cable. You'll thank your past self. Next time you pull a cable, you just tie the cable + a new pull line and pull them both through the pathway with the old pull line. You then leave the new pull line in the wall again. There's probably a Youtube video out there if I succeeded in confusing my description.
  • A trick that I haven't seen elsewhere: I use 3M packing tape to attach cables to pull lines, fish tapes, and fish poles. It's strong, slippery, thin, and cheap.
Positioning:
  • Cameras should be installed between 8' and 10' off the ground in most cases to better capture faces. Most of mine are 9'-ish, mainly dictated by where I needed the cable to enter the building (into the attic most of the time).
  • Exceptions: My front door camera is located about a foot above the doorbell and I have another camera pointed at that door camera (180 degrees from the other direction) that is about 14' high in my porch gable.
  • Some of my cameras are intentionally very conspicuous (like the front door) as a deterrent. I often overlap coverage with another camera that is more hidden in case someone tampers with the visible camera. This is especially true for cameras covering exterior entrances and first floor windows. This double coverage also allows me to capture faces both coming and going.
  • I have a couple of standalone IR emitters that are equipped with a photocell to automatically turn on in low light. They're $15-30 on Amazon and work really well for extending the camera ranges at night.
Software NVR (BlueIris) I really wanted to stick with open source software on this project. Not because of cost but because of flexibility. I tried both Shinobi and ZoneMinder and, unfortunately, neither of them hold a candle to BlueIris. BlueIris just works and works well.
Another issue: I couldn't easily containerize BlueIris and run it under Docker on my Intel NUC. So I ended up buying another NUC (#NUC8v7PNK) with the fastest processor I could find. I then put 32 GB of RAM in it and Windows Server 2019 on a 1TB SSD and installed BlueIris. With 15 cameras and direct-to-disk recording, my CPU utilization is typically 20-30%. Not bad considering it's constantly downloading 260 mb/s worth of video feeds.
DarkBunnySC goes into a lot of detail on how to configure Blue Iris in the above-mentioned video so I won't be redundant. I'm using the same config: record all substreams 24x7 and have them trigger motion alerts, record full-resolution video on manual triggers from the artificial intelligence application.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Object Classification The problem is that getting notified every time there's movement on a camera would be rage-inducing. So I need a way to filter out leaves blowing, rain, etc. and only alert me when an actual person or vehicle is detected.
DarkBunnySC got this working using two pieces of software:
  1. DeepStack -- This the system that does the actual analysis of the images. It's completely self-contained (no cloud component), open source, free, and super simple to use. Using a RESTful API, it takes an input of a JPEG and outputs a list of objects it sees in the image. I run this in a Docker container on my original NUC. It takes about 350 ms to analyze a 4k resolution image in "HIGH" mode.
  2. AI bridge -- A tiny Windows-based application that functions as "glue" between BlueIris and DeepStack. BlueIris is configured to create a bunch of still images from video when motion is detected, this application grabs these stills and feeds them into DeepStack, and processes the results. Simple in theory, but was pretty terrible for me.
Where things start to diverge... The problem with DarkBunnySC's solution in my situation became apparent on very windy days we've had recently. This caused a lot of motion events to occur constantly. This absolutely smoked my BlueIris server because it couldn't keep up with extracting multiple JPEGs per second from 15 4k video feeds.
So I configured BlueIris to stop creating JPEGs on motion events and set it to publish to a MQTT topic instead. And then I wrote a Python application to listen for MQTT events and grab still images directly from each camera. Problem solved. I've also expanded my Python app to include additional functionality not available in the AI bridge tool:
  1. Save image data offsite in Amazon S3 for archival purposes and/or someone destroys my home gear.
  2. On each motion event grab five still images, a half a second apart, analyze each for a person or vehicle. Send a push notification to my phone (via Pushover) containing the best matching image.
  3. I'm performing the object recognition on the full 4k resolution images, rather than the 640x480 snapshots BlueIris was creating from the low resolution camera substream. I should be able to correctly identify objects much further away from the camera.
  4. Grab events off the MQTT wire and log them in InfluxDB. Use Grafana to browse real-time and historical charts of what objects are detected on what cameras and when, the confidence levels of various detected objects, etc.
  5. I'm beginning to experiment with the facial recognition part of Deep Stack. The goal would be to ignore alerts when recognized faces are found, automatically unlock my smart door locks, etc.
Samples submitted by big_like_a_pickle to homedefense [link] [comments]


2020.11.24 20:56 HughEhhoule Why I Can't Watch Britcoms-Part 3

I've been doing a little " research" , giving the benefit of the doubt and assuming some of these other stories are true , it seems I got the short end of the stick in regards to paranormal friends as a kid.
I see a lot of adventure, a lot of kids being hero's , me? I started drinking and getting depressed. Not exactly " the monster squad.".
Don't blame my parents, and please don't blame the normal but off the wall television I watched. It was just the only thing I could think of to get a nights sleep here and there.
My parents were not against booze so much as disinterested in it. For those of you that don't know, yes alcohol can expire, and these past their prime examples of that were what I started my long love affair with alcohol with.
The third week my research slows down to a crawl. I'm nursing combination hangovers and stomach bleeds, and it's all I can do to keep up appearances and stay coherent for 4 hours with my tutor.
For those of you that started your ethanol experiences at a more reasonable age let me tell you , 12 year old drunk is a mean angry drunk. Your hormones are already putting your brain into practically an idiotic state, throwing a gut full of booze on top of that , creates some dark thoughts.
In addition to obscure English television, I was a kid of the 90s, I grew up with the A-team, Ash Williams, Frank Nada, and the whole Phantasm crew. So when my mind went to use of force, I got creative.
Not too creative mind you, we have discussed how I wasn't exactly a child genius. I found a copy of the jolly Roger cookbook online. For those that do not know, it was a cobbled together mess that claimed a series of recipes for devices of civil disobedience. In reality it was missing key parts, made as an art project, and later severely disavowed by the author.
I won't tell you which ones ( do not try anything you read in the book. You are better armed with a frying pan than something that is going to tear off your own hand. ) but I made up 3 explosives and decided that employing them was the only way out of my current situation.
Booze puts you out but it doesn't let you rest. This goes triple if you start before you can get into an R rated movie. By the time Saturday rolled around, I was a miserable semi functional wreck.
I put on a pair of safety goggles, work gloves, and an old leather jacket I'd found and kneeled on the floor of our kitchen.
The hour before I heard the knock went by with a surreal slowness. My eyes adjusted to the gloom, a round explosive wrapped in duct tape in one hand, a Bic lighter in the other.
Three deep raps on the door.
" Come in" I say poorly masking my nerves.
The door opens, and deftly I light one explosive, silently rolling it toward the form walking in the door. My twelve year old fingers did the same for the other two improvised grenades I had made, they make a cluster right where the group will be walking.
The light turns on as the fuse burns out , I see the first one in is maw, and wait for the staggered explosions and monster chunks that are surely to come.
Effective improvised explosives are difficult for those trained in explosives to make. If you thought my 12 year old self made anything other than a tennis ball full of the right ingredients in the wrong format , you need to lower your expectations for children in supernatural situations.
Not even a comical puff of smoke , maw stood there, oblivious with a note safety pinned through its thick leathery skin. I remove the pin and the note and begin to read.
"Hey little fella , 'Hell Mantis ' and I are indisposed for the night. 'Maw' couldn't deal with not seeing you for a week though, we sent him with snacks, neither of you get into too much trouble now.
'Trenchcoat' "
"This is awesome , I'm a demonic petsitter. " I grumble taking off my impromptu explosives gear, and closing the door maw forgot to.
Maw makes a noise that is clearly offended, and shrugs at me with his massive arms as if to say " What the hell? ".
"Sorry, I just kinda assumed you were like… a pet or a mascot or something? You know like the gorilla from ghost busters, or the unicorn from the d and d cartoon." I say with that bluntness only a child can get away with.
His body heaves a little in what I can only assume is laughter. He begins to messily rummage through drawers till he finds a pen and paper.
He takes forever and his writing is a slashing childish scrawl, but the point is clear.
"Can speak at home. Things so confusing here. Understand you fine though. Not a pet. Watch now?"
For some reason, likely Stockholm syndrome I actually feel bad. Like I just made fun of someone with a disability by accident.
" Sure dude, sorry. I get a lot of my information from television, and there is always like a not talking friendly thing." I say as we walk to the living room.
I set up the vcr as maw sets out bottles of soda, snacks, and a greasy stained cooler. I never asked what was in it, but I'm sure we all know.
I hand him the remote and sit down.
"Do you guys have anything like…funny?" I say, trying to avoid another night of torture porn.
Maw nods it's head enthusiastically and starts to channel surf. Eventually he settles on a show called "It's your life, now.". Which at first glance looked like a married with children style raunchy sitcom.
And you know what, the first episode was pretty good. I could tell there was something… off about the main characters though. The portly husband would periodically have ropey muscle contractions below his green dress shirt. The mothers eyes and mouth seemed to be rotting away, and the two children were stitched together and would consistently swap and exchange body parts.
My sense of humor has always been a little dark, and forgetting that these monsters were not folks in make up , that first episode was really funny. A lot went over my head but that which didn't was like distilled 90s edge and apathy.
But then we got to the second episode.
I'm going to omit the generic parts, you have all seen a sitcom, but this is, as close as I can remember the…wrong parts of it, for lack of a better term.
"All day I spend at work and…no dinner. That's just great. Honey? Any reason I get to starve? " the husband says as the laugh track plays.
The wife enters the scene, her clothing reminds me of movies I've seen from the 50s. Poodle skirt, red top, all faded and worn.
" I would have had time, but we got some new neighbours " she says with an exasperated look to the camera. A laugh track is heard and with a star wipe we have the husband and wife in a grimy basement. A male and female in blood stained clothing are tied to 2 separate chairs. They are beaten, bloody, and judging by their reactions not acting nor one of the monsters.
The mother is washing her hands in a rusted sink, the father pacing behind the 2 humans with a rusted pipe, swinging it menacingly.
"You humans, you think a few words and a sacrificed infant and you can move on in?" The husband says as he slams the pipe into the man's shoulder. Bits of bloody bone poke through his shirt. A laugh track, warped and twisted screams from the television.
"Stop, we did the rituals right!" The woman screams.
There is a muted trumpet and in a blur the wife spins and slaps her. At least I through it was just a slap. She shows the woman's cheek, ripped off and in her hand, to the camera before throwing it in the man's lap.
" And that is just perfect for getting you here honey, but that doesn't mean we have to play nice." The wife says to another gale of laughter. She runs a rotted tongue along the woman's bleeding face and thick veins of rot start to spread. The woman begins screaming to gales of canned laughter.
I turn to Maw who is laughing hard enough to spray drool and say "Not what I meant dude…" I intend to finish this sentence but I then see the husband begin to force a closed fist through the stomach of the man in the chair. He begins to vomit organs as the husband breaks skin and muscles.
This is what breaks me.
I puke, and I begin to sob, I start to rant in a dozen different directions, crying, screaming, lashing out, totally beyond reason.
I feel a massive hand on my shoulder and hear a piece of paper being shaken. I open my eyes enough to see Maw looking concerned and holding a simple note.
"Is o.k." the paper said simply.
Maw picks up the controller and switches the channel.
The images on the screen are confusing and violent and in an instant I'm crying again. Maw shuts off the television and begins to make a distressed noise.
" Sorry okay, this stuff is just too much for me , . I'm not Hebert West, Maw, I'm 12! " I wipe snot away from my face and maw looks to be thinking as hard as it's capable.
It starts to slowly grin, it's massive teeth appearing in an intimidating flood . I begin to back away and the creature writes.
"Friend.
REAL friend?
Secret wanted?"
I'm confused , and with the dead tone and blunt style that becomes the basis for my adult personality I say " Maw, all of you scare the hell out of me. I'd be happy if you just took this thing. You and your friends are just too much." .
He shakes the note at me again, tapping the word REAL with one long yellow claw.
Something hits me.
I didn't always get home schooled, and while now drugs and alcohol keep me slim, I was one portly little kid.
Being a fat kid isn't guaranteed hell, but even among your friends, it kind of sucks. You are the butt of every joke, when you play superheroes you get Blob and kingpin. And a lot of the time people are keeping you around to have a social punching bag. To know that there will be a lowest rung on the ladder.
I try and see if I'm right.
" Those guys are buttholes to you arn't they? " I say simply.
Maw enthusiastically nods then his face lights up like he has an idea . He begins to flip through the channels again, and comes to rest on a show that gives me some serious discovery Channel vibes.
A cyclopian man in a suit stands in front of a graphic that bears a resemblance to a human evolution chart , but on one end is a small fairy like creature, and on the other , obviously a member of Maw's species.
There was a lot of repetition and filler, just like most nature programs, but I've noted some of the more interesting facts here.
"Today we will be talking about the evolution of the Fae over the past few thousand years.
Originally the Fae were outsiders to the malignant. Preferring the company of more human friendly entities and humans themselves. This was during the time of the great division.
But as we all know, long ago humanity made its choice, and when it did, instead of falling to the wayside like so many other entities, they adapted and evolved.
While Fae still retain some ability to stay coporeal via positive human emotion, they, like all modern entities have moved to feeding from the more intense range of the emotional spectrum.
And as such over the past few thousand years have had some very interesting physical changes.
Abandoning their slight stature and wings, the Fae have became one of the more robust entity types. But such massive changes have left them a dim entity type, who experiences severe dimensional distress.
While at one point the Fae were considered kings among the entities, now they have persevered, but have yet to show any merit that would lead to them being considered as being among equals. "
I was shocked, " You are a fairy?" I say actually laughing a bit. Maw holds out a hand and moves it like a seesaw , the universal gesture of " Close enough" .
"Can't say I'd have guessed that. " I say shaking my head, and wondering what good this information could do me.
Maw begins to write again
" Want to see a secret?" It says.
" No. Not at all maw. See , I think I'm starting to catch on to the way you guys work. You want me to think you are Mr nice guy? Answer me this, why haven't you ditched those other 2 then? You look like you could probably eat those other 2. " I say as maw begins to laugh, then start to go through our bookshelf, flinging what he didn't need with abandon.
He walks over to me with a volume of Encyclopedia Brittanica on animals. He begins to flip through till he he gets to a picture of a housecat and tears it from the book, he does the same to a picture of a lion. He then picks up a piece of paper and draws something.
The quality is horrible, but I make a guess. " That's Trenchcoat?" I say as maw nods enthusiastically.
He points to the picture of the housecat, then to himself, he then points to the picture of the lion and to his picture of Trenchcoat.
"I get what you are trying to say, the problem is I can't trust you. I've watched you torture 2 people to death right along with those 2. And I'm sorry, but getting bullied isn't an excuse. " I say in a petulant tone.
Maw look exasperated, and jabs the word " secret " over and over again, tearing the paper.
I'm so frustrated I could cry, I honestly want to trust him, to have some kind of ally in this situation , but I just keep thinking of Trenchcoat, full of mirth one second and tearing folks apart the next.
I can't tell if I'm being manipulated, but I'm just smart enough to understand that I could be. This leads to one of the first times I decided to deal with frustration in an extremely unhealthy fashion.
I took a "Just say no" sports bottle and filled it a quarter way full of expired gin, I topped the rest up with Orbits and gave it a shake. The mixture was thick, cloying, and my drink of choice till Orbitz were discontinued 2 years later.
I take a couple of grimace inducing Swallows and say, " Let's see it maw, what do I have to lose?" Before swirling the bottle, unscrewing the cap and draining a quarter of it.
Maw leads me outside, and the second his hulking form hits shadow I shiver. He looks like a rejected action figure, but the way he moves, like mercury from a slingshot, from shadow to shadow, no more noise than a house cat , makes me realise these things could be anywhere.
He leads me downtown, the night is warm, silent, and we are almost the only creatures on the street.
The bars have closed but one young woman remains, trying desparately to fight against her inebriation and walk home.
I look up to the streetlamps where maw looms, contorted and perfectly hidden.
I mumble "No…don't , seriously. " as he leaps closer. I quicken my pace to keep up.
"Stop, Maw, just do this when I'm not around or something." I say breaking into a jog.
The woman is oblivious to maw but does notice me, she doesn't seem to worried though, despite me trying to tell her to get away.
"Come on man, please, I don't know if I can take seeing this shit again." I am shouting now.
I could leave, but I don't want to take the chance at pissing off Trenchcoat. So I intend to just ruin the situation.
The woman hears me but just keeps walking, maw is only 2 streetlights away. I begin to brace myself to watch another slow execution as the woman turns to me.
" Fuck off you little…" she begins as I see a large bearded man spring from an alley, he is wearing clothing that immediately makes me think crackhead, and is followed by 2 large men in a similar style.
I have no idea what was going through my head , but as one of the men began to rummage through her purse I charged in.
Actually, I do know what was going through my head, too much, testosterone, gin and fear. This wicked combination, also lead to me missing the kick that bloodied my nose and sent me to the ground in a sprawl.
But I wasn't what these guys needed to worry about.
Maw hits the first man like a boulder, sending them both rolling into the side of a nondescript building. He has the time to register what he is looking at , horrifically back lit before maw tears off one arm with a burst of gore and a sickening tearing sound.
The other two, too busy with robbing the woman turn around.
Maw begins breathing heavily, grey drool dripping onto the sidewalk as he waves the arm back and forth. The men are too stunned to run, instead transfixed on maw devouring their friends limb.
One gets brave and charges, Maw's fist bursts through his back and soaks his friend. The man screams as maw rips his arm from him and chases down his friend who has gained enough sense to run.
The six foot tattooed man in a "Top Ramen" t shirt is screaming like a child as maw catches up to him in one bound. He lifts him up with one arm and begins to slowly open his enormous mouth.
The man begs for his life as a stream of hot urine spills down his leg.
"Maw, you've won, you don't need to do this." I say over the dying screams of the other 2 men.
Maw turns to me, and I think what I said may have worked.
Too bad I didn't notice the pistol in the man's hand. The second Maw turns away he empties it into the creatures leather hide to almost no effect.
"This is why we can't have nice things" the look on Maw's face says right before he throws the man full force. His spine loudly snaps on a lamppost and a good portion of his skull caves in as he slams into a wall.
Maw is smiling as he plods over to me. The woman is running now, the scene she just witnessed sobering her up in a hurry.
"So that was your secret?" I say, impressed and horrified all at the same time.
His response, made my face go slack, and I didn't know if I wanted to laugh or break down at the absurdity of my situation.
He began to poorly but loudly hum the 1960s batman theme.
https://www.reddit.com/nosleep/comments/jzq7sz/why_i_dont_watch_britcoms_part_2/?utm_medium=android_app&utm_source=share
submitted by HughEhhoule to nosleep [link] [comments]


2020.11.24 11:42 mb9981 The Crown Season 4 Power Rankings

In another thread yesterday, I mentioned that I rank the characters at the end of every season in my mind, and I got some interest from you in seeing what I had. So, here we go.
Parameters: Top ten list, characters must appear in a minimum for two episodes.
Criteria: Completely arbitrary, not to be taken seriously. Just my personal, subjective opinion on actor performance, character impact on overall plot and general amusement at them.
Previous winners:
Season 1: Princess Margaret
Seasons 2 & 3 : Prince Philip

SPECIAL GUEST STAR RECOGNITION: Tom Brooke as Michael Fagan. Terrific guest starring role. Let's get more Preacher alums involved! Why has Joe Gilgun not made an appearance yet?
Here we go:
10 (tie) - The Queen Mother
Always is at the bottom of the list. She's the worst and the secret reason the entire family is dysfunctional. The lack of empathy, the sociopathy, the aloofness all is from her setting the example to Elizabeth growing up and she's been poising the well ever since. This season was especially bad for her with the revelation of the hidden family members.

10 (tie) - Camilla
That hairdo and the nonstop smoking just are meant to elicit strong "that skank your friend's dad dated in the 80s vibes". Is she stringing Charles along? Are her feelings real? What's her motive? Does it matter?

9A. Dying in an avalanche
I would rather die in an avalanche than see more Camilla or Queen Mother.

9. Denis Thatcher
Cracked some really solid jokes early on. He had a strong showing in the episode where they visit Balmoral and his scene with the daughter in the kitchen was great but he faded into the background down the stretch.

8. Anne
Last season's rookie of the year and runner up fell hard this year. Cheeky youth sarcasm has turned into middle aged bitterness. The scenes of her sitting in darkened dining rooms with the Queen Mother, Margaret and Elizabeth were heartbreaking, showing the once plucky teen is now miserable and irrelevant in the line of succession exactly like her grandmother and aunt.

7. Prince Edward / Andrew
Spoiled brat princes, what's not to love? Hilarious touch that one was essentially a psychopath and the other was heavily leaning on Epstein references that will bear fruit decades later.

6. Princess Margaret
The lowest I've ever ranked her. This should not be seen as a reflection her, but rather a statement on how much everyone else stepped up. However, she seemed to only exist for reaction shot cutaways for 9 of the 10 episodes (although her being woken up by Andrew's helicopter was a legendary two-second cutaway gag) and her featured episode was a retread of last year's with a splash of secret relatives thrown in.

5. Diana
This actress just did not connect with me. Far too much of a focus on her mental issues without ever showing the other side of her. We were told over and over again that the people loved her but the show did a poor job of showing why outside of two or three fleeting moments. Is she a charming international woman of grace or an awkward shy girl who can't speak in front of a camera? Both? Then show more of the transformation. We were just expected to rely on our own cultural knowledge to fill in the gap.

4. Philip
Always near the top of my rankings. The only inner sanctum character who seems even vaguely aware of the ridiculousness which he's surrounded by at all times. I love his relationship with Elizabeth this year. They've always been an amazing pairing but this season was a whole other level. Also, "Who's your favorite?!?" "Anne." "You didn't put much thought into that." "No thought was required" - might be line of the year.

3. Charles
Dude is just straight up spitting whatever is on his mind, no filter. He could give a shit that you know that he knows that you know about Cammmmiller. He could give a shit about Diana's dramatics. He could give a shit about William scoring a rugby goal or whatever. He's entirely selfish, pure id, no one else's feelings matter. He's the first real meaty villain this show has had and the actor is crushing it. I may or may not be walking around, puttering and murmuering with my elbows sticking out and my hands in my coat pockets at all times now.

2. Prime Minister Thatcher
I don't know much about the actual Thatcher, so I was left wondering if Gillian Anderson was doing a dead on impression, or taking some really, really bold chances. Either way, kudos for the effort. She disappeared in the role. She had a clear and consistent character motivation throughout and her cooking looks absolutely awful.

1. Queen Elizabeth
This is the first time I've ranked the Queen #1 in her own show. The episode where she realizes she raised four complete sociopaths is amazing. Realizing if she dies, the monarchy is doomed. She and Philip are a wonderful "partners in crime" duo. She can cut with one line - "I seem to recall you had your own ballerina..." She absolutely went out on top with her showdowns with Thatcher and her smacking she gave Charles in the final episode. God Save The Queen!
submitted by mb9981 to TheCrownNetflix [link] [comments]


2020.11.23 15:39 ThreeProphets Real hidden camera tube

When I finished AC3 remastered, I figured I'd give Liberation a try just to see if I liked it. I was originally only going to replay Desmond's story, but I'd never actually gotten around to trying this one, and it was bundled in, so I might as well check it out. What I found was one of the most interesting, experimental, and underrated gems in the franchise. Liberation did many things the recent games are trying to implement better than them almost a decade earlier. There's a lot to learn from this game, but first we have to avoid writing it off
Movement: Let's start on a high point. The movement in this game really works for me. It's essentially just a cleaned up version of AC3's with a few extra bells and whistles, but it's remarkably stable and controllable. The side effects are still really difficult to cancel into, although I'm finally getting the hang of the timing, and you still occasionally get pulled into a wallrun from fast walk for some reason, but those are just about the only things that aren't fixed. The snap detection has finally settled somewhere between targeting all the shortest possible hops and making the farthest possible jump while attempting to guaruntee your safety. AC3 often had a noticeable stutter while calculating a snap from a ledge with many possible outcomes, which is when it most often did something unpredictable. This is entirely gone. In fact, this game probably runs better on my original Xbox One than any other AC I've tried. The result is very light, fluttery feeling movement that can be quite freeing. I know some people prefer a more weighty feel, but it does at least suit Aveline's lithe figure. But the true star of the show is the manual jump. This was the first in the series that truly felt like it was using the maximum potential of your arc. Similar to Unity, it feels a bit like antigravity sometimes, but I'd prefer that to coming up short when trying to clear a wide street. I thought AC3's city environments were very poorly set up for parkour, whereas the natural ones flowed much better. This game has the opposite problem, which is disappointing because the snap in the trees was some of the most stable I've ever seen. The main problem with the bayou is that half the object types just don't work. You'll be happy swinging through the trees like Tarzan when you hit one of the new object types they added, miss the grab for no reason, plummet to the water, and fail a "do not swim" constraint, ruining your full sync. Even the perfectly normal vertical ledges on Agate's treehouse sometimes caused me to rubber band all over the place. And when the routes do work, they lead in circles or to completely impassable terrain. This worldspace was in desperate need of a few layers of polish. There's also a contextual whip swing that's rarely used, but opens up a few extra paths in the bayou once you unlock it. If used to its full potential, this could have served as sort of a ranged ledge grab and finally found a use for the left bumper, freeing up an extra tool slot, but I guess it wasn't meant to be. There's a lot of water in this game, which you can traverse using a canoe that twitches harder than than an MG Metro 6R4 or a rarely used, but nicely controllable underwater swimming mechanic that you steer with the camera. I believe the latter returned for Black Flag
Combat: In my choreographed Abstergo segment I said "You really have to try to die in this game." Assassin's Creed is notorious for being very easy to actually complete memories (barring BS desyncs on tailing missions), leaving us to find ways to make the games look badass in place of actual difficulty. I actually mused to myself while recording "Imagine this game, but with aggressive enemies." Well I'm glad to tell you, that's what we have here. Enemies will not hesitate to gang up on you, surprise you mid-combo, or hit you with repeated combos if you fail to block. They vary their timing a lot so you have to really watch their movements instead of just knowing exactly when they'll attack every time. They've also cut out that obnoxious behavior of following you onto rooftops, opting to set up musket checkpoints and duck through alleys to catch you when you flee instead, which you will sometimes have to. There aren't a whole lot of enemy types, but there's a particularly challenging heavy axe wielder that starts showing up a lot about halfway through the game. This is probably for the best, since enemy variation with the Kenway combat system pretty much just boils down to pressing the right button for the right enemy type, so that's very restricted in how much depth it can add. The only major problems I have are they there isn't a dedicated dodge button for the axe dude's heavy attacks, and that only bosses can counter the whip block, so it's still kind of a win button that doesn't consume any resources
Stealth: Yeah, I know this is what you all want to hear about, and it's really interesting too. Liberation chose to divide up different features and playstyle among three different outfits: Assassin, slave, and lady. Calling these disguises isn't really accurate, it's almost like playing three entirely different characters. The Assassin is ironically only very useful for combat, so we'll revisit that one. The slave is the only one that can blend in the traditional sense, and the lady replaces all her weapons and movement with an entirely new suite of social actions. This gives you a great deal of choice in how you want to approach missions and puts the "social" back in social stealth. It pretty quickly became clear to me that the slave is made for removal stealth, and the lady is made for ghost, something usually rather alien to this franchise. Realistically, did this mean I used the slave for almost every mission? Yes, yes it did. But I didn't have to. I would often pause during my infiltration and imagine the route I could take with the lady. Bribe through this group, charm this guard out of the way; playing the lady makes you feel like a woman in a historical period where they were treated completely differently, and this is where the game absolutely excels in ludonarrative harmony. She's nearly defenseless, gets grabbed and harassed by ruffians that would otherwise leave you alone, people of your same class say "Bonjour" on the street, guards ask not to be seen alone with you and swoon in groups, it is uniquely immersive. And finally, it fixes the logical loophole caused by blending while wearing a very imposing hood and being covered in weapons. The whole point of wearing robes that look like monks was to be indistinguishable from them, ever since then it's been nothing but iconography. If Altair declared Assassins should live amongst the people, then shouldn't they look like them too? But Liberation understands we don't have to give up the cool hood for the game to be logical, and this where I was hooked. That doesn't mean it executes that concept perfectly, though. Firstly, the mission design only accommodates the choice of approach half the time. The other half are some of the most restrictive, linear missions I've ever seen, with big white orbs that not only tell you where to go, but exactly how to get there. Some demand that you change outfit before beginning them, but some quietly change it for you as soon as you start. Seems like the level designers realized there was a better way to do this partway through development, but forgot to retroactively add it to the missions with the earlier system. But there's not really any reason to ever change you out of the slave outfit since it can accommodate both stealth and combat approaches. There was an infiltration early on that asked me to choose between the lady and the slave, but I never saw anything like that again. Secondly, there are still a number of issues with this system's internal logic. Why can the slave blend amongst aristocrats? Why is the Assassin spotted so damn quickly? This is a foundation that could be built upon dramatically. There's one major stealth playstyle they chose not to distinguish, and that's tool stealth. This could be the strength of the Assassin, since everyone but the lady is almost equally capable in combat anyway. The slave could have to be among the right type of people to blend, requiring proper recon before choosing to use her, giving the lady more proper blending capability with her appropriate caste. The social classes could carry different tools like the money pouch or a stink bomb to manipulate crowd behavior. And finally, the lady should be stripped of her hidden blade. The way it is now, if all else fails, you can always rely on normal line of sight stealth instead of having real consequences for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I started self-imposing this early on, it was very rewarding taking the risk of going in with only a dart gun hidden in an umbrella and my wits. If I absolutely had to take someone down, I'd better be ready to do it with my hands. You could also repurpose this system into something like Unity's gear tree, even allowing a bit of mixing and matching of outfits and playstyles. This is the biggest well of untapped potential in the entire franchise. It's time to acknowledge it
Story: This is where it falls apart a little bit. This was almost a masterful tragedy, but the breakneck pacing really did it in. Cutscenes are rarely longer than 30 seconds, I suppose to accommodate the shorter play sessions of the PSP, but the writers couldn't seem to decide if they wanted to make a bouncy spinoff or a deadly serious main entry. The themes of slavery, distrust, and and shame fit the philosophical concepts of Assassin's Creed very well, when there's enough time to explore them. The goofy smuggler characters really do have great chemistry with Aveline too, but they feel disjointed from the rest of the story. There was one twist early on that was glossed over so quickly in the cutscene, I wouldn't have even caught it if it weren't for the story update in a loading screen! The most interesting part is probably just how malleable Aveline is. After losing her mother to slavery as a young girl, she bounces between very different mentor figures, none of whom interact with each other directly, and all of whom have conflicting worldviews. Even Connor, naive as he is, is contrasted as being more anchored to his beliefs than her. Liberation is intentionally confusing for most of the game to give you the same feeling as Aveline being pulled in four different directions. It almost feels like it starts in the middle of the story, but it gradually explains itself as you learn Aveline's history with all these characters. What the writers really understand is that people don't always tell each other the truth, and even if they do, not the whole truth. So unraveling the conspiracy feels much more personal and realistic than many any other AC games' endless hitlists because the lies come from Aveline's loved ones, not her enemies. The present day, of course, was barely present. I think they were actually onto something by having Erudito reveal the censored story beats. Taken to its logical conclusion, this could have fixed Assassin's Creed's long-running linearity problem. Imagine two versions of a mission that play out differently depending on which one is the real (fake) history or different outcomes depending on what constraints you manage to meet so you can unlock more of the plot by replaying missions. Ultimately, the Erudito arc went out with a whimper because got to meet the characters behind the propoganda, so there was no payoff. They could have been a major third or fourth faction in the present day narrative if they hadn't completely vanished from the story before their potential was seen through. The most painfully rushed scene is when she meets her mother again. After lamenting a bunch of gibberish we don't yet have the context to understand, she refuses to go back New Orleans without hardly so much as a reason, disappears to God knows where, and the next thing you know we're back in the city. What the hell? No apology for abandoning Aveline for her mission? No explanation for why it matters? No telling her how much it hurt to miss her for 20 years? Not even an "I love you?" This was so jarring. And then the next time you see her, she's acting like a totally reasonable person. This relationship needed a lot more fleshing out given how much of the plot is built on its backbone. Agate's downfall was truly heartbreaking. You know when you're mentor is so paranoid that you have to help him keep his grip on reality that things are really going downhill. He left Aveline twisting in the wind when she needed him most, and that's why the ending was so close to a very effective tragedy. And finally, we have to talk about the twist. To do things like this, you need some sort of hints so when you think back to things that doesn't make sense early on, you suddenly have a satisfying explanation. I didn't really experience this. The early plot wasn't so much intriguing as it was convoluted, and Madeleine felt like an answer that was shoehorned in at the last second. It's hard to say why, maybe these elements, like everything else in the story, just wasn't given enough screentime. It was very convincing that Aveline had most her way so much that she'd join Madeleine, especially since Agate's corrupted brotherhood had seemed to do nothing but undermine her loved ones. And of course, it was very satisfying to walk back that false ending with my own hands. If she had killed Madeleine in a cutscene, that would have been hopelessly cheap
Wow, I ended up having a lot more to say on this game than I realized. Thanks for reading my ramblings if you made it all the way down here. I really recommend you go check out Liberation if you haven't already. It's a very unique entry in a series with pretty similar mechanics in almost every game
submitted by ThreeProphets to LeoK [link] [comments]


2020.11.23 05:51 Y_U_NoHax Real hidden camera tube

Part 1 for those who haven't read it yet
---
That afternoon I was wondering whether the laptop works or not.
During the boot up process the booting process seems to have a problem. It would start the usual PC BIOS but instead of going up to the bootloader, the system immediately boots to DOS.
And then there was this long message. Here's the full transcript (and I had to take a photo on my phone because after 5 seconds, it displays another message):
"You are very stubborn. I told you to not to access this operating system and you just did. You know what you have done?
Right after displaying this message, this device will be programmed to softlock the entire DOS subsystem. You can restart this laptop anytime you want, but you are out of hope. I also rigged the camera, so I will be watching your actions in front of this thing. Right now you are now being watched, courtesy of my hidden cameras placed around your house. Call the cops and risk getting a 50-cal punctured through your head. Destroy this laptop and I'll detonate the kitchen. Call for help and I'll make sure this chair will be your grave. I don't think you are this scared, but when this message ends I'll place a timer for when you think this isn't real. When the time's up, you're screwed."
Intimidating message, I know, but what makes this very dubious is that I live in an apartment room, not a large house, and I even don't have a stove inside.
Then a 2-minute timer starts after the message. I don't know what to do next. I peered at the window to see something suspicious, like a shady guy with a rifle hiding inside one of the apartment rooms across, or someone looking at my apartment room. A minute has passed and there is no sign of suspicious activity. Maybe the text is just fooling me further. I just sat in front of the laptop, waiting for the timer to expire.
When it does, nothing ever did happen when minutes have passed. It was just an intimidation message... until the laptop began to act erratic again. It displays an error message:

Invalid boot sector. Insert a floppy disk, restart and choose to start on disk and press a key.
It began to display the same error message after 10 seconds, after which minutes have passed and the screen's now cluttered with the above error message. And how in the world can I insert a floppy disk? I can't even get out of the looping error because the keyboard's inoperable. Ten minutes have passed and the laptop starts to emit a long beep. I was now confounded.
I restarted the laptop again because it was too annoying. Then the worst has came to me: the laptop stopped loading its BIOS. I messaged Meeco about this, but no reply. I went to a computer repair shop to have this laptop fixed.
---
After spending a few bucks on having the entire laptop fixed, the device is now changed on being booted to Windows 7, while the Windows 10 and DOS operating systems are being removed. The files are still intact, and no threats are being detected so far.
By the time Windows 7 has started up things became going on a downwards spiral. I noticed that the there's a second user, completely unnamed and has a completely blank image. I wondered who could that be and how'd it mysteriously create a user on this laptop. I tried accessing it, but I can't because it requires an administrator to access it.
As I accessed my account, I was greeted by a barrage of message boxes, all of them saying, "YOU DID IT! HOW COULD YOU?" I took a screenshot of the desktop then closed every one of them.
The fear of staying longer in this laptop has made me uncomfortable and compels me to complete the games later. I looked at the internet about computer virus and stuff, and almost read the half of the index. The most destructive ones (and usually the infamous) -- Michaelangelo, ILOVEYOU, Sasser, and even CIH -- I'd hope I won't fall victim to those viruses.
5:00 PM and I grew more paranoid than ever. Insanity grew. The next thing that's close of being insane was this.
There is now what seems to be a picture of a man in windowed mode appearing on the desktop. It's quite small, like it's the size of Minesweeper in Easy difficulty. However, I can't seem to close it as there's no close button in the window. I tried accessing Task Manager to close the window, but it failed. It needs an administrator to close it. And to rub salt in the wound, the window appears to be set to be on front, so whatever application I'm running, the creepy man will always be obstructing my view. But, that's not all this... creepy man has to offer.
There now seems to be a massive increase in storage in the C and D drives, despite said drives having nothing in them except video games and a few rubbish things. I checked it to find both drives chock-full yet the contents are left unchanged. I tried running Most Wanted but it crashes; Generals goes fine but the player data has become corrupted with rubbish data that all I can see in the menu is garbled text and what appears to be glitched textures of units and structures in the overworld. And nothing is even worse when Warcraft III had its data scrambled, with units unable to speak or has no speech (even with sound), random events of buildings going from full health to almost 5% of its health in an instant, and enemies acting like they haven't had booze in years. The games are nigh unplayable.
Whenever I access the social media -- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit -- my browser always redirects me to a website called whathaveyoudone, a website which, as one may ask, is nothing but a page that flashes, with text that says, "What have you done?" in caps lock. And it closes my browser after 5 seconds. Other websites are accessible, like Discord, but most of the user interface is screwed up, like I can't type anything or something. The groups that I joined, as well as my friends that I usually have a conversation with, are now gone, replaced with usernames and groups all named "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE???".
After 30 minutes of seeing the same shit again and again, the system has gone haywire. Windows Explorer terminated by itself, leaving me with no graphical user interface but the creepy guy is still there. Technically I can still access Task Manager and run a program, but whenever I browse a program I can't access it, leaving me with a message box that says, as usual, "What have you done?" Now I'm stuck in a interfaceless Windows 7 with a creepy English guy confined in a small window and slowly tormenting my system. But the tormenting has not done yet; one hour after softlocking me out of the system the vital computer process lasss (or the Local Security Authority Subsystem Service) terminated itself too, leaving me with a countdown of ten minutes and with a message that says:
This system is shutting down. Please save all work in progress and log off. Any unsaved changes will be lost. This shutdown was initiated by iexplore.exe.
Time until shutdown: 00:10:00
Message: WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE??
Now that everything is doomed, not only the system self-terminated by itself but it also initiated a countdown, leaving me with only ten minutes until shutdown. I don't know what to do next, as it's already locking me out. I had to waste the entire ten minutes by staring at the TV, sitting there blankly while the laptop has gone to oblivion.
Then the device turned off by itself.
submitted by Y_U_NoHax to stayawake [link] [comments]


2020.11.21 18:01 CoolTom Real hidden camera tube

I typically play a racer to have something calming and meditative to do with my hands, which is why I mainly stick to forza because of it’s rewind feature. I’m not looking for any frustration at all.
Burnout paradise was among the last of the arcade racers, before realistic racing became the norm. It treats cars the way a kid playing with hot wheels plays with cars, as something to be crashed and smashed and really played with, as opposed to how modern racers treat them as a beautiful thing to be fetishized and obsessed over. This is why there are no real brands and why the cars don’t have people in them.
It’s also open world, as in open world during a race, unlike previous entries and pretty much every other racer. You’re given a finish line and have to figure out your own route there.
The actual driving feels amazing, it really feels fast in a way no other racer does. It has a subtle screen shake that still lets you see everything that’s happening. I actually felt like I was pressed back into my seat by the speed at a few points.
Problem is, it prevents you from getting into a flow state with it because you find yourself pausing several times during a race to look at the map and be like, “Ok, I’ll take the next right then the second left...” which was interesting, for sure, but isn’t what a lot of people are looking for.
The map is very 3 dimensional, with a lot of hidden routes everywhere. The idea is, as you explore the map and find them your map knowledge makes you a better racer. Problem is, these shortcuts are unnecessary at best and unhelpful at worst. There are only eight finish lines that every race goes to, so even though they made this detailed map you race the same roads over and over. The shortcuts could turn in any direction. It’s much more reliable to simply use a speed class car, choose a familiar route with as few turns as possible, and hold the boost down all the way there. You’ll finish miles ahead of all the other racers who took a more interesting route.
Also, it LOVES crashes. It loves them so much it films your crashes at loving camera angles, spending eight unskippable seconds watching your beautifully crumpled car flip and spin on your roof until you stop moving after you hit that tiny bollard. It continues doing this hours later for every single crash.
My favorite events were the road rages, where you just crash other drivers. Use an aggression class car, and just run into them from behind and often they’ll obligingly turn sharp left and do somersaults up against a wall, like an extra in an action movie getting shot and dramatically throwing themselves over a railing. Pure catharsis.
Overall though, it feels a bit like wasted potential. The map and it’s many secret routes are wasted by having the same finish lines for everything. I think back to midnight club 3, which had both races that took you on a predefined route, and races that just gave you a finish line and had you figure out how to get there. Paradise could have done this very well. Perhaps have player able to create their own routes that snake through the city in crazy ways.
I liked it enough to finish it and get the burnout license, but I probably won’t be back. I like it’s game feel and it’s philosophy about treating cars like fun toys rather than consumerist fetish objects, but it’s held back in other ways.
Did it all work for you, or not? Was it exactly what you look for? It must be considered a classic for a reason.
Edit: oh yeah, and there is no way to mark a point on your map. Which is very annoying.
submitted by CoolTom to patientgamers [link] [comments]


2020.11.21 03:47 Mintdragon Real hidden camera tube

Intro:
Heya Rogues,
I never used to care about the plot of a video game. It was always secondary to the gameplay. If I wanted a really cool story, I'd either pick up a book or watch a movie. Assassin's Creed 2 changed that for me.
Never have I fallen so deeply in love with any other series as hard or as fast as this one. After I finished the first game, I played AC2 almost immediately afterwards. I usually tend to rotate between three games with a different feel so I don't get tired or bored. I didn't with this one.
I have played Assassin's Creed 2 for just over a month straight. I don't think I've ever beaten a video game that fast before in my entire life. I was taking my time, too! I didn't play for at least two days at one point… I'm honestly not sure how I finished it so fast. In any case, it's time for me to try to explain why I feel like this. Let us begin.
https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/528285285885280278/779544932594745414/Pare_3.jpg
Analysis:
The Present day:
I thought this series was about two factions with opposing ideals fighting each other, with some sci-fi stuff sprinkled in for flavour. I was not prepared for the First Civilization, a Truth so horrible that it's better to cover it up, or a Doomsday plot. This entire franchise somehow just keeps getting better.
A bartender getting kidnapped by the most powerful corporation in existence so they can comb through his genetic memory by using a machine that projects his consciousness onto a simulated body of his ancestor to hunt for an ancient artifact in order to mind control the entirety of the human race, can only be topped by, said bartender getting rescued by an employee of said corporation who takes him to an underground hideout where one of the rebel teams are fighting the corporation and in order to be more effective they strap him back into the machine in order to unlock the skills of his ancestor in a very dangerous process which might damage his mind in the future. They also learn of an apocalyptic event and a Truth so horrible that the most powerful corporation in existence chose to pretend that it doesn't exist and manufactured something else instead.
https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/528285285885280278/779544932067049502/Pare_5.jpg
Despite how utterly insane the premise sounds, it surprisingly works very well.
The Past:
This entire game feels like it was created for Ezio. It feels like Ezio was made first, then the developers asked themselves "what would Ezio want to do in this situation?" There's courier missions because he's always willing to help, beat-up events because he's protective, and races because he's young at heart. There's flying, boating, and horseback riding, swimming, parkour and treasurer hunting, and oh yeah, you stab people, too. It feels less like "follow the century old conflict of two clashing factions" and more like "follow the life of a young man as he seeks to avenge the death of his father and figure out his place in the world". It's a standard "coming of age" story with an interesting twist. The narrative is focused on Ezio, and any other story it wants to tell better have Ezio in it or get out.
The end result is a story that feels more grounded and personal. In the first game we saw the war from the perspective of a soldier already on the front lines; we don't know anything about what Altair's life was like before he joined the Assassins, we don't know if he had a family, we don't know why he joined in the first place. At the start, we can't connect to Altair because we don't know who he is. In this game we see the conflict from an outside perspective before being forced to pick a side. We start at the beginning with Ezio, spend time with his family, explore his hometown, and get a better understanding of what kind of person he is before everything is taken away from him. We know why he fights, and we know why he cares. Ezio not only loses his family, he also loses his childhood.
https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/528285285885280278/779545094260260864/Pare_8_a.jpg
https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/528285285885280278/779545093870452746/Pare_8_b.jpg
Much like my last review, we're going to talk about the bad before diving into the good.
Cons:
The greatest enemy in this game is the camera. I don't ever plan on getting drunk, but if this is what it feels like then I don't see the appeal. The camera violently lurches and jumps around when you run on sloped roofs, it gets very close to Ezio when he's perched with his feet up, it clips into his body when he hangs from objects and his feet aren't touching something, it feels both sluggish and sensitive at the same time. I wanted to side eject onto a platform beside me, and Ezio did five climb leaps in a row before jumping backwards. Whenever I failed an eject in AC1, it was my fault, and I could easily correct it for next time. In this game, however, half of the time it's my fault, the other half is the camera.
Musicians exist. I complained about Distractors in my last analysis, and somehow Musicians are even less immersive. They stand perfectly still in one spot. Forever. Then, because they have psychic powers or something, they KNOW you're an Assassin. They run up with a smile and a wave and then you bump into them holding high profile and they run away. That was, what, two seconds? The guards don't even care if you do it, either. Their SSI meter doesn't fill at all. So let me get this straight: there's an NPC in this game whose sole purpose is to make it difficult to exist in the area he occupies, and yet he's easily dealt with with absolutely zero repercussions? The object lifters are much, MUCH better, thank God. They're more spread out over the cities, most of them have locations and patrol paths that make sense, and if you bump into them you will be sorry. Civilians will spread out, causing you to break your blend, the guards will come over and start pushing you around, and the lifter will start loudly complaining. They're so good I almost start crying whenever I think about what a waste the Musicians are. That's a joke by the way, just like them.
https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/528285285885280278/779545021170712603/Pare_11_a.jpg
https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/528285285885280278/779545020658221076/Pare_11_b.jpg
In one of the Assassin tombs, you jump into a haystack, and two guards sitting at a table playing cards stand up. One comes over to the hay to inspect it, and the other walks over to stand by the entrance to a tunnel. I high profile assassinate the guard standing beside the hay, and the other guard doesn't seem to care. He's standing at the entrance to the tunnel, shifting around nervously. I'm standing directly in his line of sight, he can clearly see me, so I assume that the game is just bugged. I think I'm pretty smart, so I pull out my gun to shoot him… oh, actually, I can't pull out my gun. In fact I can't select any ranged weapons. I want to see if he will move, so I start tossing money at him. That doesn't work, so I move closer to hidden bl-- oh, it's a chase sequence. Never in my life have I been slapped in the face by a video game this hard before. I hope that my paragraph gets across just how utterly fucking disgusted I was. Scripted gameplay encounters in video games are a horrible experience; not only does it make the player feel stupid, but it also makes the character feel stupid. Why would Ezio chase someone down the hallway when he has ranged weapons he can use? You can argue that my method wouldn't have been as much fun as what the game wanted me to do, but I don't play video games in order to be told that I'm not having fun correctly.
The lack of an emphasis on the Present Day until the very end nearly made me quit playing on more than one occasion. Desmond and the Present Day was one of the aspects that made me fall in love with AC1. I am Tya, who's controlling Desmond, who's controlling Altair; it's a unique framing device that doesn't exist in any other video game. In this game, I am Tya, who's controlling Ezio, and Desmond exists sometimes. You can't even leave the Animus like you could in the first game! Sure, you couldn't do anything, but it was great for roleplaying purposes. Whenever I was finished playing for the day, I would have Desmond get out of the Animus, have him take a shower, then have him go to bed. If I wanted to roleplay as a person in the medieval renaissance, I'm sure I could find several games where I could do that. There's nothing else like Assassin's Creed.
https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/528285285885280278/779545020280995870/Pare_13.jpg
It upsets me that this game doesn't have idle animations for the characters you play as. Altair has two idle poses he cycles between, which makes him look like a badass from any angle, and it makes him feel more alive. Desmond Miles, has seven. SEVEN. For Desmond. A character that you don't even play as for one fourth of the game. The idles have audio, too! When he shuffles his feet around, you can hear it! When Altair moves you can hear the metal on his back clinking together. Desmond, Altair, and Ezio sway from side to side slightly in AC2, but they don't pose, they don't feel alive.
...oh yeah, I killed people, didn't I? In Assassin's Creed 1, after Memory Block 3, I tried to kill as little guards as possible. Not because of any self-imposed challenge, but because I started to feel bad about it. The game made me feel like a monster whenever I took a life, thanks to a combination of guard dialogue lines, memory corridor "you are a terrible person" speeches from dying targets, and absolutely horrific death gurgles. Assassin's Creed 2 has one of these. Guards have more dialogue lines as well as more situations to use those lines, but it doesn't matter if they don't whimper like the AC1 guards do when you stab them in the throat. Did you know that the guards in AC1 whimper like scared children? Because I wish I didn't. When you kill a target, they don't try to justify themselves. "Oh no, you have foiled my plans! I won't tell you what my plans were! Wow don't you feel stupid haha! I am now dead!" Hanging from a ledge and pulling a guard off the roof is FUNNY. It's funny when you toss a body into the street and watch the people scream and run, it's fun to do a double air assassination right on top of people. It's fun to kill. To murder. To end the life of another person. That isn't how it should work. In AC1, the question was "should we end one person's life to save several others?" In AC2, the answer is "yes, because they're made of cardboard".
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Random thoughts:
Pickpockets are a fantastic idea with an unfortunate execution. They spawn somewhere you aren't looking, run up to you, knock you to the ground, then run off with your money. This is fantastic. It turns a daily stroll through town into a high speed rooftop chase. Whenever it happened, my primal monkey brain suddenly woke up and screamed "nO BUt that's mINE YOU CAn't have thAT!!" What's unfortunate about this, is the thief screaming at you. Constantly. He'll yell "stop chasing me, give up!" and "stay back! Don't make me kill you!" even if you haven't seen him yet, you aren't chasing him, or he's being attacked by guards. He'll also only stop chasing you if Ezio or your camera can see him. Which means that if you see his icon on the minimap, you can run in the opposite direction and he'll follow you forever. It's the minor things that make or break stuff like this for me, and while not horrible by any means, it did damper my enjoyment of the mechanic somewhat. The messengers that also spawn are hilarious as well. "ASSASSINO! GUARDS! STOP HIM!!" as he's being pelted by ten thousand arrows.
I love finally having a first person mode. The cities are absolutely breathtaking, and coupled with the day/night cycle, I sometimes stare off into the distance for a while and just soak up the atmosphere.
This game is funny. Really funny. I'm not sure how I feel about this. A bit of humour is necessary sometimes to lighten the mood, but when minor guards are throwing quips during cutscenes and gameplay when I'm supposed to be murdering someone, I get pulled out of the moment.
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I kept a real-time log of notes as I played AC2. I had so many more thoughts while playing that writing them here would make this analysis even longer, so if you'd like to read them, you can do so: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15J5Cjpr31nAZsNRU4-fxgRUfJ117KU8ggugBmgwcfDo/edit?usp=drivesdk
Pros:
Sixteen. That's all I need to say. He's all of the psychological horror from the first game compiled into a single person. Character. I'm still not quite sure exactly what he is. He's the reason why I didn't put down this game and play something else when I was bored to tears several times. Sixteen was the promise that there was something greater under the surface, and oh boy there are no words in the English language to describe how much he delivered. The entire end of the game, just…
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I love Eagle Vision so very much. The soft blue background glow, the way it dampens the audio to make it easier to focus, the ambient hum it has. It feels very… mystical, in a sense. I sometimes activate it even if I don't need to, something about it is soothing for me. I'm still not sure what it is, but I do know that I love it.
https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/528285285885280278/779545143987666974/Pare_21.jpg
The cities are incredible, and the NPCs feel so alive. As you walk past them you'll hear them talking to each other, some will even call out "Salute!" and wave to other people or to you, you might find people fishing in Forlì, or a person giving a tourist directions in Venezia, or two nobles having an augment in Firenze. It's absolutely incredible how many little details like this the game has.
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Is it strange that I have nostalgia for a game I only knew about and started playing less than three months ago? Every time something from the first game was mentioned or hinted at, I felt an intense wave of just pure joy wash over me. When the game put me back in Acre as Altair I nearly screamed. I had to have the sword and armour of Altair simply because Altair made them. Ezio duplicating himself using the Apple game me Al Mualim flashbacks. It feels like a franchise I've been playing for my entire life, how does that make any sense?
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It amazes me just how anti religion this game is. The first one had a bit of that, what with Al Mualim talking about how the Apple created illusions of biblical events, but this one is extremely blatant about it. If this game was released today with the current societal landscape, people would be boycotting the company. Perhaps anti religion is incorrect, a better term might be pro truth. The first game had an entire scene with Desmond and Vidic conversing about flat Earth conspiracies and how you shouldn't believe everything you read. It's fascinating how this idea is stronger today than when the game came out. The Doomsday plot is also quite relevant today, now that I think about it…
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Closing thoughts:
This game is way too long. It feels like the climax should have happened around Sequence 8 or 9, and then it just kept going. I think the hyper fixation on Ezio's character is both a positive and negative; the Present Day doesn't get enough time to flesh out Rebecca and Shaun, but the ending hits harder because of it.
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Despite my many, MANY complaints I have about this game, however, I still love it. It'd be difficult not to. The underlying gray area that I love so much is still here, the Animus is still an incredible gameplay mechanic that always seems to pull me deeper into the story, and it's still fun to exist and move in this world.
There's still so many questions that I don't have answers for. I'm scared to have any hope of getting answers; I've played a few video games where the answers to my questions were disappointing and made absolutely no sense. Maybe I might never get some answers, but I'm enjoying thinking about the 'what ifs' right now.
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Outro:
Similarly to Ezio, this game also feels like it's trying to find its identity. "Assassin's Creed, but Skyrim" is an apt description. There's so much stimuli and so much to do constantly that the game forgets to slow down sometimes and just breathe.
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In contrast with AC1's approach of being true to itself and telling the story it wants to tell without compromise, Assassin's Creed 2 feels like it's trying to please everyone at once. It's still an Assassin's Creed game in heart and in soul, but the body is somewhat generic.
Assassin's Creed 1 may have made me fall in love with the game, but Assassin's Creed 2 made me fall in love with the series. I cannot wait to see what happens next.
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Thank you for reading 💜
submitted by Mintdragon to LeoK [link] [comments]


2020.11.21 02:26 Duffs1597 Hidden camera real tube

I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I would love nothing more than for some closure to the web series. It was building up to something big, and we were left with a ton of unanswered questions that weren’t even touched on in the movie. I also don’t think I’m alone in giving up hope on ever getting that closure from Jarett and Geoff. So here’s my attempt.
I know there are mixed opinions about the whole “micro ball” and supernatural element of the show, even among the creators (which I’m sure is a big factor that led the movie in a different direction, and why none of it was addressed), but given how heavily they were still leaning into an impending conflict of some sort, and literally the last scene in Ep18 was related to teh_masterer’s plot line, those are the storylines I’m going to be focusing on. For simplicity’s sake I’m also going to just assume that Tagi is out of the show for the remainder of S2, and she reappears some years in the future and they make up sometime before the movie. I’m also not going to delve into any of the social aspects of the characters or any filler, because of the largely unscripted nature of the show, and I don’t claim to have anywhere near the creative abilities of Jarett and Geoff for the stuff that is scripted. I’m going to stay away from too much dialog, and might depart a bit from the mockumentary style (i.e. Kyle isn’t going to be present for some of the scenes, much like when Doug meets the arms dealer in Ep9, or the ending of Ep12). This is going to lead to some weird pacing, and the timeline would obviously unfold a bit differently, but I hope to at least paint a picture of how the events could have unfolded, were the web series allowed to continue.
To recap the story so far:
Despite defeating the Big Bad at the climax of Season 1, teh_masterer is still ramping up for some sort of major conflict in Season 2. (Ep15, 2:35: teh_masterer is addressing a room of at least 15 members of the Gamer Army besides Jeremy and Dave, and states “When the time comes, and it may be soon, you will stand together under my command and we will be victorious”. 22:50: “We cannot ignore the threat that is before us. Our enemy has a history of relentless aggression. They seek to destroy us, and they have the means.”) The flashback at the end of Ep13 also raises a few questions:

As far as Doug’s allegiances, I’m going to assume that he stays on Jeremy’s side after the events of Ep16, where he and Jeremy team up in CoD, and then Doug comes over after the birthday party to game. They are still best friends in teh movie, and the reason why Doug turned on Jeremy in the first place is because he didn’t feel appreciated. With Jeremy having apologized and their friendship intact, it’s unlikely to me that their relationship would flop back and forth in any major way a second time. (I guess technically third, but the first rift in their friendship was more of growing apart as they grew up and into different interest, i.e. FPS vs RTS). This leaves the question of Doug’s relationship with the secret agents:
  • Does he give them back the Menacer? Does he keep it? Does he ever see them again?
  • Reiterating from above, but does he have any further communication with the Big Bad’s crew?
So here we go. The story picks up a few weeks after the events of Ep18. Jeremy has been training with Kris, and everything is going really well. Her focus is on RTS, and is one of the first people to actually give Jeremy a genuine challenge. She doesn’t pwn as much as he does of course, but she’s no n00b. She’s a quick learner, and her micro is nearly über.
Meanwhile, Dave’s mentee (I don’t think they gave him a name, I’ll just call him Walter) has been improving a lot as well. He trains mostly fighting games with Dave, though he has also expressed interest in FPS, a genre he’s never really taken seriously. Doug offers to show him the ropes, and it turns out that Walter has a natural talent for FPS. Walter then begins splitting his time between Doug and Dave.
---
A few days later we catch up with Doug walking somewhere by himself. A dark van pulls up and drags him in, and drives away. It’s the secret agents. They start grilling him about why he went dark and hasn’t been keeping up with their agreed upon communications. He’d been dodging their calls and purposely avoiding them for weeks. Doug is sheepish, and explains he doesn’t want to be involved anymore. He just cares about gaming, and doesn’t want to be involved in any wars.
Through the course of their discussion, we learn that it was the agents who roused Doug the morning after the events of Ep12:
They introduced themselves as special agents, investigating teh_masterer and his network. The sting of defeat and betrayal still fresh in Doug’s mind, he was willing to help them if it meant a chance to take down Jeremy. He told them everything he could remember about the previous night’s encounter, but some details were hazy. He couldn’t exactly remember the Big Bad’s face, he explains that he must have blacked out or something. This is the first real information they’d managed to obtain on The Big Bad’s network, but unfortunately for them, it wasn’t much to go off of. They hoped that having an insider would help them out though. They instructed Doug to contact them if he received any new information from The Big Bad, but there was never anything to report; Doug never heard from him again.
There were no real communications other than periodic check-ins, until one day Doug was told to meet the agents at the storage locker to get the Menacer. With Doug essentially a free agent without any alliance to one side or the other, they wanted him to be able to wield enough firepower to parley a peaceful resolution to the impending conflict that their intel suggested was looming.
They demand he give them back the Menacer they lent him, but Doug explains that he doesn’t have it anymore, he threw it away. The agents are alarmed, and demand that he get it back so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. He says that’s impossible, it was destroyed.
Eventually they drop Doug back off where they picked him up and go on their way.
Doug is at home, and it’s revealed that he does in fact still have the Menacer, and he has a conflicted look on his face. Despite what he told the agents, he knew that a war was coming, and he knew he had a part to play.
---
Fast forward a few more weeks, and Jeremy, Kris, Doug, Walter, and Kyle are all in a LAN cafe gaming. Jeremy gets a call from teh_masterer on his cell, telling him to come to his hideout right away. Jeremy says they are almost finished up and they’ll all head over soon, but teh_masterer urges him to come immediately, and to come alone. Jeremy, a bit taken aback, but used to teh_masterer’s typical curtness, heads out. When he gets to the hideout, teh_masterer is there, but wasn’t expecting him. He told Jeremy that it wasn’t him who called.
The rest of the crew leave the LAN cafe a few minutes later, and are ambushed by 5 guys on their way home. Kyle (and Doug, if we include the comics as canon) had been in a situation like this before, but it was a first for Kris and Walter, who didn’t quite know what to expect.
The ambushers had masked faces, and bore a strange insignia on their chest. They all had weapons. There was no clear leader, they all seemed to be acting as a unit. Doug had his Phaser on him, and started firing. Surprised at first, Kris quickly realized what they had been training for, and started microing. Walter on the other hand was shell shocked. After some prodding from Kyle and the others, he snapped out of it and did his best to deflect some of the incoming fire, but was hit in the shoulder by a Zapper shot. Noticing the weak link, the ambushers started focusing their attention on Walter. Doug with his Phaser and Kris with her experience microing on multiple fronts closed in around Walter and Kyle to try to protect them the best they could; Doug managed to incapacitate one attacker with a headshot while he was distracted, focused in on Walter, and Kris was doing her best to defend against the remaining 4.
Things were looking bleak, as Doug took a shot to the leg and dropped to a knee as he continued firing. Kris was stunned by a few microballs that slipped past her defenses, and it seemed that all was lost. But then, out of the night from behind the attackers came a flurry of microballs of all different colors. Jeremy was still too far away to be of any assistance, but he and teh_masterer were able to rally a few nearby members of the GA to come to their aid. Disoriented, confused, and now clearly outnumbered, the assailants began to flee, dragging their fallen comrade as they went. The GA reinforcements run over to teh_crew to assess the damage. Doug is hurting, but hopped up on adrenaline (as usual). He badly wants to chase after the assailants, but the pain in his leg (and the better judgment of the rest of the group) holds him back. Walter’s still in pain, and still recoiling at what just happened. Kris is silent, staring off into the distance. A shadowy figure can be seen on the roof of a nearby building. He turns and disappears from sight.
Later that night, everyone is gathered at Jeremy and Kyle’s apartment. Jeremy explains that teh_masterer has called a meeting of his lieutenants in three days, and expects Dave and Doug to both be there. Doug is hesitant, because he hasn’t seen teh_masterer since the events of Ep12 went down. Jeremy assures him that he’s vouched for him; He’s explained to teh_masterer that Doug can be trusted, and suggested that Doug would be a valuable asset. Teh_masterer, who was originally furious at Doug for the betrayal, has decided to accept Doug back into the army, especially given current events.
Walter starts kind of freaking out. This isn’t what he signed up for. He just wants to learn how to game and beat his n00b friends. He didn’t know he was going to be getting shot at. Things are getting tense and there’s a lot of yelling back and forth when there’s a knock at the door. Everyone goes quiet, and Jeremy walks cautiously over to open the door.
It’s Alex. He explains that the shop where he works was attacked. He hasn’t been gaming in a while, but this put things in perspective for him: he had a responsibility to use his talents for good, and to defend the things that he cares about. He’s back in.
There’s a sober mood in the apartment, and all is quiet for a while. Jeremy speaks up and addresses Walter, “Don’t you see? This is why we have to keep going. This is why we train. Innocent n00bs are being attacked, and we have the skills to help them”. Walter reluctantly agrees to stay.
---
The next day Kris and Alex are training C&C: RA3. It’s been a few years since Alex has gamed seriously, and his micro is lagging. After a few hours though, he’s started to get back into the swing of things. Dave and Walter are playing Brawl. Doug and Jeremy decide to go out; it’s time they recruit T -Bag.
Initially T-Bag laughs. There’s no way the things they’re telling them can be legit. He knew they were a bit more “eccentric” than some of his other, more mainstream Halo friends, but this was too much. Until Doug shows him his Phaser. T-Bag is blown away; this is a side of gaming he could never have imagined. He’s not entirely sure what to think. Jeremy suggests that Doug stay and train a bit with T while he mulls it over. He’s got somewhere he needs to be.
Jeremy and Kyle leave and head to a LAN cafe, where Jeremy logs into WoW for the first time in years. Kyle makes some surprised remark, asks about the doctors’ orders not to play WoW.
“I’m not here to play, Kyle”
Jeremy contacts he and Tagi’s old guild. He sends out a message explaining there is an urgent situation going on in Toronto, and for everybody to get here as quickly as possible, if they are able. For the most part his call went unanswered, but when he was about to log out he got a PM from Sirko. He told him he’d be there for sure, and would try to rally as many others as he could. Sirko then asks if Jeremy knew what was going on with Tagi, she hadn’t logged in for a few months. Jeremy told him he hadn’t heard anything.
Jeremy logs out and they head back over to T-Bag’s. After having some time to process, and hearing more about Doug’s experience being ambushed, T-Bag decides to join their cause and tells the guys he’ll try to recruit some of his closer friends as well. Kyle, Jeremy, and Doug head back home.
---
A couple days later, Jeremy, Doug, and Dave are gathered at teh_masterer’s, along with several of teh’masterer’s overseas contacts. Luuksk, Weiman, and Verruckter. Teh_masterer takes the floor:
It’s revealed that he and the Big Bad used to be very close friends.
One day teh_masterer went to his local arcade after school and noticed a large crowd of kids around the Space Invaders machine. Teh_masterer had the highest score in Space Invaders, and wondered what all the fuss was about. When he came near, there was an older kid playing, and doing really well. Eventually he lost, just missing the high score. Still though, it was a spectacle for all the other kids gathered watching.
Teh_masterer introduced himself, and learned that The Big Bad had just moved here from across the country. They quickly became great friends; neither had ever really had someone that could challenge them at games before. Through the years though, The Big Bad started to get fixated on power. He was hungry for it. He started to resent n00bs, and even gaming in general. He kept telling teh_masterer about these rumors he had heard about abilities that could help them use their gaming skills in RL, that would give them a real competitive advantage against other people in the real world. Teh_masterer would always shut him down though, because for him it was enough to pwn n00bs in the game, and was a bit wary of The Big Bad’s ambitions.
Over time, teh_masterer realized that the arcade was becoming less and less busy. He mentioned it to The Big Bad, and learned that he had been using his gaming prowess to bully other kids, and scare them away from the arcade. He was causing n00bs to lose interest in gaming because they weren’t very good. This obviously upset teh_masterer, and he gave him a version of his “without n00bs we wouldn’t be 1337” speech. Things escalated, and eventually The Big Bad challenged teh_masterer to a final duel. The winner would stay, and the loser would never step foot in the arcade again. Teh_masterer agreed, and the game began.
It was a very close game and went on for what seemed like forever. Eventually, teh_masterer started to gain the upper hand. When he was on the verge of victory, The Big Bad took his hands off the controls, and began microing against him in RL. teh_masterer was shocked; shocked at first that this technique the Big Bad had been talking about and secretly crafting for years was actually real, and shocked that he would go to such extremes to win. He began microing back, and one of the first micro battles in history unfolded. Teh_masterer won, but just barely. The Big Bad, humiliated, left the arcade and wasn’t heard from again. But teh_masterer knew he would return to try to ruin gaming and pwning for everybody, and he knew that he had to be ready. It was that day that he decided to dedicate himself wholly to gaming; to pwning. It was that day that he locked himself in his parents’ basement, not to emerge for 15 long years.
Teh_masterer recruited Jeremy and the rest and began his Gamer Army when he sensed that the time was approaching that the Big Bad would re-emerge. While there had been previous attempts at weakening teh_masterer’s army through ambush and targeted attacks, (alluding to deathstriker6666 at Lanageddon, the ambush in the comics and ep9, the events of Ep12, etc), teh_masterer knew that an all out war was imminent. Jeremy interjects that the Big Bad was already defeated, but when pressed, neither he nor Dave could conclusively say that he was gone for good. When Doug was asked, he said that when he came to, everyone was already gone and that he hadn’t heard from them since. Teh_masterer went on to point out how the recent attack on Doug and the others falls perfectly in line with the Big Bad’s MO, and without confirmation, assuming that the Big Bad is still behind the recent attacks is the only way forward.
He’s gathered together some of his top gamers to plan out a plan of attack. Convinced now there is no other plausible option, they start to discuss a strategy. They first need to find The Big Bad’s base of operations, and from there they can go on the offensive.
---
Flashback to the night after Doug was grabbed by the agents; The agents call their leader to give a status report. They recount what just happened, and report that Doug said he’s destroyed the Menacer, but they sense that he was lying. After the call is over, the boss pushes a button on his desk, and Deathstriker6666 walks in and the camera pans to reveal The Big Bad.
We then enter a flashback about The Big Bad to flesh out his backstory:
After his falling out with teh_masterer, the Big Bad began using his skills and natural charisma to manipulate the people around him in order to amass power and wealth. Despite his general success, he obsessed over teh_masterer and his final battle with him. He knew the day would come when they met again in battle, and he wanted to be ready. He was also prepared to use any and all advantages at his disposal. As he started building allies and training pupils, he made sure that teh_masterer was aware of his actions. When teh_masterer caught wind of what The Big Bad was laying the groundwork for, he in turn began training and recruiting for his army. The whole thing was a game to The Big Bad, the biggest RTS ever. If there’s at least one philosophy that he and teh_masterer share, it’s that RL is a game, and it’s all about manipulating your environment.
Of course, he didn’t let his captains in on this detail. He first began recruiting his underlings with promises of power, and that he would teach them how to be elite gamers, and how they could in turn use those skills to their own advantages, as he had done. He explained his version of the feud and falling out, painting teh_masterer as a cheater and a threat to their dominance.
The secret agents don’t realize who The Big Bad is, or his relationship to teh_masterer. They were two wannabe detectives that were hired out of their local police force for a “classified government” position by The Big Bad, posing as a big shot government official. He hired them to gather intel about teh_masterer’s network for his own purposes. He has given false information about teh_masterer’s intentions to paint him as a dangerous threat to the public. They have no idea that the aggressors in Ep9’s micro battle that they were investigating are actually The Big Bad’s cronies.
The Big Bad fed the agents lies about the “war” that the Menacer was used to end; in reality it was what teh_masterer used to defeat The BB in their last encounter when they were kids; He had to resort to using weapons when his micro wasn’t enough (teh_masterer left out this detail in his account). The Big Bad tricked the agents into giving it to Doug as a way to toy w/ teh_masterer, as well as to to power him up, thinking that Doug would still prove useful in his fight against Jeremy and teh_masterer.
He had kept his distance from Doug to keep the agents as much in the dark about his organization as possible, but what he didn’t count on was Doug flipping back to Jeremy so readily. Worried about what that could mean for the long term success of his plans, The Big Bad orchestrated the attack on Doug. He orders him to rally the , an elite 5-man crew that specializes in light guns and advanced micro techniques.
---
Two days after teh_masterer’s council, Doug knocks on Jeremy’s door in a panic. Kris is there training, and Doug asks if he can talk to Jeremy in private. Someone has broken into Doug’s house and ransacked the place; they took the Menacer. He tells Jeremy everything about the secret agents, and asks what they should do. Jeremy, knowing how delicate the current situation is, decides they should tell teh_masterer.
Teh_masterer’s is furious. As he begins to put together the pieces, he scolds Doug for keeping this crucial bit of information secret. He tells them that the agents are working for The Big Bad, but doesn’t explain why he knows this. But then his mood changes, and he realizes this could be an opportunity. He instructs Doug to contact the agents immediately, and to tell them he’s got information about the head of the opposition’s organization.
Doug goes alone to meet the agents, and tells them that their boss isn’t who they think he is; he’s behind all the ambushes and attacks that have been escalating the conflict. They don’t believe him at first, but then Jeremy and teh_masterer step out of the shadows to address them. They’re alarmed at first, they’ve never seen teh_masterer in person. He assures them they’re in no danger, and that they are just here to talk. Teh_masterer starts grilling them about the intel they’ve received from their higher ups, and points out inconsistencies. Eventually they start to believe them.
They’re pissed they’ve been getting duped for all these years, but ultimately their goal remains the same: to prevent a conflict. They want to be finished with The Big Bad, but don’t necessarily want to help teh_masterer either. Jeremy chimes in and helps them see that The Big Bad is the bad guy, and that he won’t stop at anything until they are destroyed. He’s violent, and is the one urging the aggression. If it weren’t for him, Jeremy and the rest wouldn’t be fighting a war, they wouldn't be microing IRL at all; up until they were first attacked in Ep9 it was forbidden, but they’ve since had to adapt to the threat that was upon them. In order to end this all and go back to peace, they have to defeat the Big Bad once and for all. The agents reluctantly agree, and ask how they can help.
They discuss plans to try to find The Big Bad’s base of operations. After some back and forth, teh_masterer decides they’ve been in the shadows for too long, and that there needs to be a final resolution. They need to draw The Big Bad’s forces into the open, for one final battle. He is going to offer a formal challenge to The Big Bad. When Jeremy expresses doubts about whether this is a good idea and if The Big Bad would even respond to such a challenge, teh_masterer quickly shuts him down and asserts that he knows the challenge will be accepted. They decide to stage the final showdown in an abandoned shopping mall to minimize any danger to bystanders. They plan to do it one week from today, and teh_masterer calls a final council of the entire Gamer Army 1 day before the conflict.
The agents call The Big Bad, and request an in-person meeting; they have big news about teh_masterer, but don’t feel comfortable sharing the information over the phone. He assures them this is a secure line, but they persist. He starts getting suspicious and presses them. Eventually they break and tell him that they’ve met with teh_masterer and know that he is really The Big Bad. He eventually accepts the proposal, and agrees to gather his army at the agreed upon time and place.
---
The morning of the battle, the GA is assembled in force; teh_masterer with his contacts from the Netherlands: Luuksk, Weiman, and Verruckter, with a few of their allies; T-Bag with his crew: Ryan, Kaibot, and jup1t3r; FPS_Doug with Ion Dragon and 4 other clan mates; teh_pwnerer with his recruits: Alex, denw0, Skrie, KashimirZ, eNtaK, kazai, Sirko, and Myren; Dave with Kris and Walter; along with various other members of the Gamer Army. In total there were 45 gamers, standing under the command of teh_masterer.
The mood was somber, and after a time teh_masterer addressed them all giving one final speech; this is the culmination of all their training. Newly invigorated, they headed towards their final doom.
The two forces approach from opposite ends of the mall, meeting in the middle, separated by a large courtyard; both sides are heavily armed. The Big Bad’s forces are about equal in number with teh_masterer’s. There’s the usual faces, Power Glove man, Deathstriker6666, The Spy, and several other of The Big Bad’s cronies that we’ve seen up to this point. Among them is also a group of 4 who bore the same insignia as the group that ambushed Doug. Jeremy and teh_masterer walk forward to meet The Big Bad and one of his captains in the middle of the court (we recognize him as the Government Agent Boss from Ep11). The Big Bad and teh_masterer greet each other and some banter is exchanged; once it’s clear that neither side is interested in surrendering, they back away and head to their respective sides.
Once they’ve made it past the front lines, they each give a motion to begin. Chaos ensues as micro energy begins to fly and people on both sides scramble to cover and attempt to get to more strategic vantage points; the battle rages for quite some time and spreads across the mall campus.
It was a grueling battle, with no clear indication of a winning party. As time went on, several gamers from both factions have either retreated or been stunned by opposing micro, lying motionless on the ground. After what seemed like hours of intense combat, the Big Bad emerged, wielding the Menacer. He took aim at an unsuspecting teh_masterer. Jeremy, noticing just in time, yelled out to teh_masterer, who was able to turn just in time to defend against the shot. The Big Bad recharges and steps closer to teh_masterer, firing again, yelling about vengeance, and how sweet the taste of victory will be with the same tool of his previous defeat. Jeremy hears this, and is confused. This isn’t the version of events that he’d heard from teh_masterer. He yells at The Big Bad, calling him a liar. The Big Bad stops his advance, and turns to address Jeremy. He asks him “Surely you don’t actually believe the lies that he’s been feeding you, do you?”
He begins a retelling of his version of events:
Their meeting was as described, and it’s true that The Big Bad had loftier ambitions. He was a few years older than teh_masterer, and had begun thinking about his future and career. Meanwhile, all teh_masterer could think about was gaming. The Big Bad never hated n00bs, but was more or less losing interest in gaming as he began to look ahead towards his future. He had searched for a way to use his talents to help him in the real world. He stumbled upon some interesting findings, of people using micro to influence the world around them. This interested him greatly, and he tried to share his excitement with his friend, but was shut down. He couldn’t understand why teh_masterer was so against this from the start.
Eventually, the day of their final face-off arrived. The two friends were hanging out in the arcade, playing as usual. As they went on, The Big Bad suggested they raise the stakes; if he won then teh_masterer would agree to become his apprentice, and finally study the micro technique that he had been developing. Teh_masterer was fed up with his talk of microing outside the game, and accepted the terms, with the agreement that if he won, The Big Bad would leave him alone about it, and never bring it up again.
Despite spending less and less time gaming lately, The Big Bad was still doing really well; he was far from rusty. This frustrated teh_masterer, who spent almost every spare minute gaming. Teh_masterer asked him how he was still so good, how he was keeping up his skills. The Big Bad said “I’ll show you” and stepped away from the arcade cabinet. He fired a micro ball at teh_masterer.
The teh_masterer was shocked; he microed back. He was catching on quickly, but wasn’t as experienced with this application of micro as his opponent. When he could tell he was on the verge of defeat, he got an idea. He dove to the corner of the room and picked up a Sega Menacer that caught his eye. He channelled his micro energy through the gun, and fired an impressive first shot at The Big Bad. “What, that’s cheating!”, exclaimed the Big Bad. The Big Bad withstood the first shot, but soon it was too much for him to keep up with. Teh_masterer had won, and left without saying a word.
Jeremy was shaking with rage. He started microing against teh_masterer, who in turn microed back in defense. Teh_masterer tried to reason with him, but Jeremy wasn’t hearing it. Delighted by this development, The Big Bad lifted the Menacer and pointed it at Jeremy, but before he could line up a shot, he was hit with a quick flurry of micro balls from. teh_pwnerer’s quick attack disarmed The Big Bad, sending his Menacer flying. The Big Bad and teh_masterer had now both set their sites on Jeremy, who was microing harder than he ever had in his life. Everyone that was still around stopped fighting to watch what was unfolding. Teh_pwnerer let out a loud cry as he continued to furiously micro, and there was a huge flash of light that engulfed the scene.
---
1 week later, Jeremy wakes up in a hospital bed. Kyle and Doug are both there, and explain that after the battle Jeremy passed out, and has been asleep this whole time. Kyle took him to the hospital, but aside from physical exhaustion he was perfectly healthy. He was transferred to the psychiatric ward for further observation.
They tell Jeremy that after he released the huge flash, he, The Big Bad, and teh_masterer were all left unconscious. What was left of teh_masterer’s Gamer Army disbanded and went back home. With The Big Bad defeated, and his true ambitions revealed, his cronies abandoned him as well. The agents called the local authorities and had them put teh_masterer and The Big Bad into custody.
Sitting in a chair facing an open window, teh_pwnerer contemplates the recent events, and the actions that led him down this path. He’s been both ostracized, and revered; He’s pwned, and been pwned; He’s loved and lost; He’s traveled to far off lands, and met people from countries all over the world; He’s been a mentor and a teacher, as well as a disciplined pupil. And for what? To act as a soldier in a mindless war, a pawn in a self-serving game; fulfilling the selfish interests of two petty psychopaths who manipulate and use people to drive their decades old feud.
It used to just be about pwning. And that’s it. And now, it’s all over.
---



So that’s my take on the ending! There's some parts I'm not really sure about, but here are my general thoughts.
  • Number 1, I really wanted to see a large scale micro battle.
  • I wanted to keep with some of the themes that were introduced in the show, such as “Good and evil. This is a dichotomy that rarely applies to the real world.” Especially when it came to the_masterer and The Big Bad's relationship, I wanted to give them an intertwined backstory that was more than just good vs evil. I wanted teh_masterer to actually have been in the wrong (i.e. he only won because he cheated/ used a weapon), which made The Big Bad vengeful, which drove them both towards some final, big conflict, while exploring the idea idea that it wasn’t just Good vs Evil, and even though The Big Bad’s name is a literally a trope, I thought it’d be more interesting if it was more complicated than that (i.e. teh_masterer wasn’t pure good to The Big Bad’s pure evil). Neither are really “good” or “bad”, just both greedy and self-serving, which certainly isn’t good, but also not evil. I liked the idea of a petty feud escalating into something much bigger.
  • The secret agents. I’m not sure why any government would be interested in gamers, or what they are doing in their basements. Obviously things escalated past that towards the end, but why would they see teh_masterer as any kind of threat? He’s not blowing up buildings or being a terrorist or anything? They did arrest them at the end (of my version), but more for endangering the public and at this point anyway, people had actually gotten hurt. It also never really made sense to me why they would be investigating teh_masterer, when The Big Bad was the clear “bad guy”; The Big Bad was the source of all escalation and aggression. So it made more sense to me that they were actually working for The Big Bad all along.
  • The Menacer. I couldn’t really see why a mass produced toy would be that influential. Like I get why it is a powerful tool when using it the way they do in the show, but why was this particular one so significant? Like why was it hidden away in some storage shed, and why couldn’t whatever opposing force just go to a retro game store and pick up the exact same one? I decided to give it more of a sentimental value which played into teh_masterer and The Big Bad’s backstories. Although given the timeline, the Menacer might be a little bit anachronistic by a few years, but I figured it’s fine to fudge the timeline just a bit. Another (arguably better) idea I played around with was making it a sort of “artifact” that wasn’t mass produced, but more of a prototype or something that’s built specifically for this type of micro. This would have also played more into the mythos of the arms dealer as well, where he’s actually got some type of unique items, not just stuff you could buy from ebay. (You can’t get stuff like this anywhere else in the city) Maybe there’s some modifications that need to be made for you to be able to channel micro through it? If I went this route, I'd want the backstory to be that teh_masterer and The BB were in some sort of battle together, maybe on the same side, and then The BB betrayed him, and that's what sort of started the feud. But that would involve a lot more work, trying to create a whole other bygone conflict. I think it would have been more interesting and more in line with the existing story, but much more difficult for me to figure out :P
  • T-Bag. I wanted to lean into the idea that part of the reason Jeremy was on meds in teh movie was to cope with the grief of Terrance's death, which is also somehow tied to gaming. I was going to include some scene during the final battle where he gets killed to deepen the impact of it all, but it just seemed... distasteful?
Anyway, I hope you like it. I'm definitely open to feedback, maybe I'll write a second revision one of these days. If nothing else, it was fun for me to write it out :)
submitted by Duffs1597 to PurePwnage [link] [comments]


2020.11.20 19:51 sharingmyxp Real hidden camera tube

I've played a lot of Watch Dogs: Legion the past few weeks (my final playtime clocked in at around 63 hours), and I'd like to share some of my final thoughts on the game while the thoughts are still fresh. Would love to hear yours as well.
If you prefer watching to reading, this video dives into the game in closer detail with gameplay footage examples.
Here are some of my thoughts (Spoiler Warning):
• The tutorial does a great job walking you through a lot of the core gameplay mechanics and gives you a nice opportunity to mess around with your controls and graphic settings. It's a really well-designed tutorial. Not to mention the phenomenal benchmark on the menu screen which I hope becomes a common practice in all triple-A games moving forward (recently bought AC Valhalla and it's in there, too, so it looks like Ubisoft is all-in with that feature, which is terrific).
I read in an interview with one of the lead developers where he said that they had specific intent to give the players a slew of non-lethal options, and I really do appreciate that. Because in a game where the idea is to essentially fight for the people, it would feel really weird to be gunning around the streets of London with an AK and a grenade launcher (though you can totally do that if that's how you want to play). I mean, I understand the lines are a little blurred when you have your spiderbot climbing up someone's leg, up their torso, then swaddling their face with all 8 of its metal legs and shocking every nerve in their body, but hey, the game says its non-lethal so at least I can sustain my disbelief for that reason. The only issue is that the non-lethal guns in the tech tree all feel WAY too weak. In fact, I was worried whenever I was about to do a main-story mission that the game was going to throw too many enemies at me to be able to handle effectively with the electric weapons, so I steered toward using characters with real guns only so I had some sort of self-defense, which I think hinders the game's design because that cuts out a large chunk of potential characters.
• The fact you cannot walk and listen to audio logs or podcasts is not only terrible for the player but a terrible disservice to the creative team who put a lot of work and effort into that material. I wanted to listen to them but could not justify sitting on the menu screen for minutes upon minutes on end -- even in real life I'm doing something while I listen to podcasts. The material I did listen to, though, was pretty well done. It's a real shame there wasn't better implementation for audio logs.
• I strongly believe how much you liked the people on your team heavily influenced how much you like the game overall. I made it a point to not recruit anybody I did not like and to even remove people who I didn't want on my team anymore, which included Mark, the guy I started with. The cast of characters I put together were people I cared about. People I would hate to see die. Playing on iron man mode, there was no more emotional moment in the game for me, including at the end of the game with Bagley, than when my recruit, Edmond, died in a super unexpected, unanticipated fashion. I played almost exclusively as Edmund the first 10 hours of the game since I got bonus ETO for every person he recruited, and I went HARD with recruiting at the start. So when he died in that super anti-cinematic, super unexpected, super sudden way… and I realized he was just gone -- the guy who I pretty much considered to be the main protagonist of my game… I don't know there's something about the fact that nobody knew the connection I had to that character more than me. Not the game, not the developers, not anyone. He was just some random NPC I grew to feel connected with and like that he was gone. That's a type of moment is unique to Watch Dogs: Legion and the way it's designed (though I have heard strategy games, like XCOM, have a lot of similarities in this regard).
• One big knock against the "play-as-anyone-you-meet" system in Watch Dogs Legion is that as your team grows, you realize that all the ops are pretty interchangeable. There are the few ops that standout like the spy, the drone expert, the beekeeper, the protest rallier… but they're too few and still too homogenous for my liking. In the midst of all of that you're going to have ops that feel pretty samey. Maybe one has shorter hack cooldowns. Maybe one has a car. Maybe one has a g36 or a really good shock rifle like the MPX. But there's still not enough differentiation at that point, especially considering how much voice acting gets reused in the game. The background bios are cool but almost assuredly procedurally generated, so there's no personal touch to those either. I just wish they had more distinct ops like the beekeeper or the anarchist. More distinct ops with standout unique abilities would've given each op on your team a more dissimilar, specific personality, even with everything else staying the way it is. Also would've added more gameplay variety, though I am pretty happy with the gameplay in its current state.
• The fact you can recruit anyone and everyone in the world is a neat thing to say in a marketing ad, but when you actually play the game and realize at what cost that scale comes with -- that being the loss of sense of touch to the characters you play as apart from your own "head cannon" you create for the character, like I had with Edmond, and not to mention the procedurally generated missions the game decides to put you through because the game wants you to do some sort of work to earn the reward of getting that member to join your team… then that's when you might start to skip the conversations, fast travel to the other side of the map where the character's recruitment mission is, and not feel any sense of impact or meaning behind the actions you're performing to help the potential recruit out. And that sucks. But the first 10 to 15 hours where each of those recruitment missions feel unique and tailored before you really realize what's going on under the hood -- those 10 to 15 hours are incredible. And to be fair, this game doesn't serve itself to be played for 60-plus hours. You can, and I did, but the best experience for this game to me without a doubt is a 15 to 35-hour experience. In that time span you get out just when you start to see the make-up fade but while the make-ups on, I think Watch Dogs: Legion is a great experience.
• Watch Dogs: Legion is one of the best looking games I have ever played. Is this in large part because of its technical capabilities compared to other games and because it's the first game I've played since I upgraded my PC? Yes. But nevertheless, playing this game with raytracing on is just eye candy. I'm not an expert on all the GPU technicalities, but if Watch Dogs: Legion is any indication of the next generation of gaming, I think this next generation of games are going to be a significant step visually. I never knew how much reflections mattered until I played this game. Thankfully, it's pretty rainy in London so the puddles were plenty, and boy did those puddles do a good job showing off just how much the new GPUs are capable of. I know better-looking puddles is a meme, and I was in the same camp… until I actually played a game with great looking puddles lol. I also remember flying a cargo drone around one of the big towers in the game, just completely in awe. If you get a new card or one of the new consoles and you want to see what your hardware is capable of -- Watch Dogs: Legion will not disappoint you. I used to think high framerate trumped all, and I still think that's the case in competitive multiplayer games, but for immersive single-player experiences, I'm not so sure anymore. Was it unpleasant to have the frames drop when turning on a busy street intersection? Yes, it was. But holy sh*t those reflections though.
• Aside from the graphics, the art and style of how Ubisoft designed near-future London is very impressive. My jaw dropped the first time I walked through Piccadilly Circus. And I was in awe when I came upon Chinatown and saw that AR dragon. The ferris wheel… Big Ben, the bridges, the river views. I loved flying above the city on top of a cargo drone, gawking at how beautiful nighttime London was. I loved walking down random London streets watching the cars zip to and from, and watching the parcel drones above my head fly towards their destinations to deliver the packages they were holding. Playing with a soccer ball at the local park while the radio played next to me -- all while I enjoyed the beautiful outdoors of the city. Of course, not everything is bright in jovial since London is in a surveillance state, so you see the protest rallies and the overly aggressive officers and the homeless people. It's an interesting clash of tones. But rarely is real-life either always happy or always depressing -- though I guess that depends on your own personal views of life. To me, both exist in the real world, and both can exist in the game -- so from that aspect I'm not shooting down the clashing tones the game has incorporated in it. Apparently, people from London have said that the game does a great job representing London and its boroughs, and that doesn't surprise me. Say what you will about Ubisoft, but they do a phenomenal job recreating real-life places with their own fictitious twists for you to immerse yourself in. I loved setting my car to auto-drive and watching the city breathe.
• Let's talk about the gameplay. So let me start off by saying that I think Ubisoft gets some unfair slack. Generally, I think the minute-to-minute action in Ubisoft games is at the very least enjoyable. The issue is that the mission design and other design elements take that enjoyable gameplay loop and copy-paste it over and over with little divergent characteristics from one gameplay sequence to another. I had an absolute blast with the main gameplay loop in Watch Dogs: Legion. It may not come off in its presentation but, depending on how you play the game, Watch Dogs: Legion's gameplay is an outstanding stealth game. It really rewards your creativity and intelligence as a player. Before infiltrating an area, you're often given an objective and it's up to you to piece together how you're going to accomplish it. This isn't anything new in Ubisoft games. In Assassin's Creed, it's the objective of assassinating a target. In Far Cry, it's killing all the enemies in an outpost. And in Watch Dogs: Legion, it's hacking some piece of software, destroying a vehicle, downloading some secure data, etc. But playing Watch Dogs: Legion made me realize why I enjoy Ubisoft games so much, despite the obvious repetition. It's because it rewards you for your ingenuity. It gives you an objective and constraints and says "figure it out." Watch Dogs: Legion in particular, however, fosters emergent gameplay better than the other two, where each element of the gameplay is relatively simple on its own, but can come together in really cool, complex ways that you yourself are head engineering as the hacker. I don't want to oversell it -- you do press Q and the enemy immediately looks at their phone for 10 seconds, but let me walk you through some of what I'm talking about.
The way you are hopping through the different cameras to survey the area… then hacking a shock drone to get within download range of the key you might need later. Then using that shock drone to zap one of the red control panels to unlock a door. Then using the AR cloak to get by a really busy part of the restricted area. Setting traps and blowing gas tanks to not only take out an enemy, but draw attention away from where you're heading. Coming up behind an enemy and choking them to sleep, drop-kicking them and even Stone Cold Stunning them. Or even just going the traditional route of putting a silencer on your pistol and taking enemies out silentily, one by one, then cloaking their body afterwards. Each time there's a mission to accomplish and you have to piece together a permutation of events using the weapons and electronics at your disposable to get the job done (and in a non-lethal way, if you're playing like that). I'll say it again because it's probably the main reason I enjoyed Watch Dogs: Legion as much as I did: I love how much Watch Dogs: Legion rewards you as the player for your creativity and your intelligence. Is the open mission design structure present in Watch Dogs: Legion anything new or anything we haven't seen before in other games? Absolutely not. In fact, it's probably a core design philosophy in Ubisoft games. But I don't think it works as good in those Ubisoft games as it works here in Watch Dogs: Legion. The way its executed in this near future setting where intelligence and information are crucial in your attack as you hop onto the cams and hack into the drones to scout ahead, planning your next move in real time. It's pretty tactical and can get very tense and exciting, especially if you're playing as a character you like and permadeath is on. One slip up and it's over. In a lot of ways and particularly in that respect, Watch Dogs: Legion reminds me most of Ubisoft's multiplayer shooter, Rainbow: Six Siege -- which is kind of weird to say.
The issue is that the gameplay doesn't hold up that ingenuity once you hit around the 20 hour mark. You start going to the same areas and seeing the same paths to completion. The challenge is lost and the novelty is worn. And that sucks. That's why when I recommend this game to other people I'm going to tell them -- hey, Watch Dogs: Legion is a really fun game but don't overstay your welcome with it. Because the game gets less and less pretty the longer you play it… but boy are those first 15 hours beautiful.
• The borough missions are a nice change of pace. It's a pretty gamey system -- accomplish three tasks in a borough and then you unlock a final mission that, once you beat, liberates that mission's respective sector of the map -- but the fact it's a gamey system is okay with me. I like the variety that the different borough missions bring. From scaling Big Ben with a spiderbot, to racing through the streets with a car in Tower Hamlets and with a high-speed modified drone in Islington & Hackney, to navigating a parcel drone through a 3D maze in Southwark. But fuck that mission where you have to defend the Millennium Wheel with that CT drone, oh my gosh.
• Melee combat was simple-but-crisp. The punching sound effect had a nice pop, and the slow-motion dodges added a cool cinematic effect. It's not Batman, but that's okay. Melee combat is the core of that game and it's a complementary gameplay system here. The fighting arena missions where the hand-to-hand combat is the central focus are a bit too long and not all that fun… but damn did they do a good job with the presentation in those missions. The gunplay isn't DOOM or Battlefield, but Watch Dogs: Legion also isn't a first-person shooter and I think gunplay is a lot harder to accomplish in a third-person shooter. So for a third-person shooter, I found the gunplay serviceable, except for the horrendous bullet damage dropoff on some guns and the bit-too-weak electric guns. I found all six of the gadgets to be very enjoyable to use. The electro-fist is frickin sick, the missile drone is badass, especially if you're playing as a drone expert and time the cooldowns in tandem with your drone dive bomb. And the electro-shock trap is a good general grenade option. You get to choose what I consider one of the two strongest gadgets from the outset in either the spiderbot or the AR cloak.
• With everything else there is to unlock in the tech store I'm sure a lot of players were content with using only the spiderbot or the AR cloak and ignoring the rest of the gadgets, which is another game design flaw. I didn't have too much of a problem with the weapons, the upgrades, and the hack unlocks in the tech store, but I also wasn't particularly excited to go out and grind for tech points. If I really enjoy the core gameplay in a game -- and I really enjoyed the core gameplay in Watch Dogs: Legion -- then usually I'll enjoy putting the time in to grind for unlockables. I spent an hour here or there riding a cargo drone around town and picking up tech points just to take a break from the action, but I truly had no desire to grind for any of those tech abilities. Sure the tech abilities helped but it's not like I needed any of them to progress through the game or had a burning desire to unlock any of them. They made the game easier, in some cases a lot easier -- which is arguably a good thing to a lot of players -- but for a system that's supposed to be the main source of the player's grind, I did not find the system captivating and I would have been all for grinding for those tech points if I found the unlocks to be more exciting. In Far Cry 2, a game designed by the same exact lead game designer as Watch Dogs: Legion, Clint Hocking, I grinded for those gems because I wanted the badass one-hit-kill sniper or the silenced MP5 or the stealth suit. Here, the grind is running around the city spamming your hack button to profile each individual and see if they have any abilities worth recruiting over. And that's not fun at all.
• Not only does the story have serious flaws, but so does the storytelling. Pressing Q and watching an AR reconstruction as Bagley and my character babble on for two minutes does not connect with me in any way. It's boring. It's void of life. The DedSec agent you track down, Angel -- you never see him apart from the AR reconstruction where he might as well be a Superhot NPC at that point. The only time you see him is when he's dead. Sure it sucks this former DedSec op is dead, but I don't know him and I don't have any connection to him, so that's going to limit how much I care. Why not have done something with Dalton -- a character you play as at the very start and have some connection with instead of killing him off and focusing on some random DedSec op named Angel? What a lost opportunity.
• I have to mention the final borough mission for Nine Elms where you go explore a dark, underground Power Plant. Personally, I loved how dark and atmospheric that mission was, and I will not forget that sick feeling I had when I walked into the hidden prison and found humans being caged in pitch black by Albion. It was easily one of the most stunning moments in all of the game and definitely a very emotional one. Fantastic stuff. But you can't interact with them. You can't talk to them. They might as well be chickens in a chicken coop. All you can do is kill the Albion security guard watching over them and then hack into his computer. Then fireworks start flying above the city and people are jumping and celebrating? Then you magically spawn outside again. What the fuck? Where are the people I just saved? Let me talk with one of them. Let them tell me "Thank you for saving my life" and let me say to them "Don't worry about it DedSec's job. Helping the people of London." But no. Instead, I teleport to the quest giver, and we both trade smiles and laughs. If that doesn't highlight the tonality issue in this game, then I don't know what will.
• From the get-go, Skye Larsen fascinated me. A being only present through a hologram, creator of my friend AI in the game, Bagley, and CEO of a neural mapping tech company with the potential to change the world -- seemingly for the better.
You hack into her house and meet her house AI, then power on the elevator that takes you to the basement which for some reason turns out to be The Hunter's Dream from Bloodborne but many, many years later? I just went with it. Proceeded into the house. And the events in the house were pretty much the only times I was fully engaged with the AR reconstruction and highly anticipating what was going to happen next in the mission. Both Skye and Sinead, her mother, were voiced incredibly well and the fact you're in their house, or what appears to be their house, standing between the same four walls those two were standing in… watching the AR reconstruction play out what had happened on her mother's deathbed as the sheets of blood still lay there wrinkled on the floor and while Skye's workbenches are still there set up adjacent to the bedstead. Realizing that spiderbots and descendants of Skye's dog… Then you enter her secret lab in the basement where you find that amazing table with the holographic map of London on it. Next to that, you see chambers holding people in them and you're left to guess what sick, twisted acts she's been up to. Then finally, you end Sinead's misery. It's a very well done segment of the game and I felt a tremendous amount of emotion playing through it. Some of Ubisoft's best storytelling to date.
Unfortunately, a lot of this quest is ruined for me because of its ending. Whether you kill Skye or not, the same thing happens. Nowt shows up at the safe house and proceeds to give you access to 404 side missions, even if you don't side with her. And either way Skye eventually dies, either by you killing her or Broca Tech shutting down her AI. So why is this decision in the game!? To make it feel like we, the player's, action's matter -- even though in reality they don't? I'm tempted to call it deceptive. Are you guys cool with this? This is something I'm really curious about your guys' take on.
I also think there's too little gray area in that decision to make it a tough choice. Which is fine -- there doesn't need to be gray area. It could be a Mass Effect thing where you're playing as a good guy or bad guy… except for the fact that no matter how you want to play, DedSec will always be referred to as the good guys in the game and so playing as the bad guy creates narrative dissonance. Does anyone really think siding with Skye is a reasonably humane choice? Sure, the technology could be used for the good of humanity, but with Skye as the CEO, it's obvious from going through her house that that's not the case and humanity is almost assuredly better off without Project Daybreak if Skye's history is any indication of the future. The decision to kill or side with Skye is just a weird inclusion by Ubisoft, to me.
• Let's discuss the epilogue with Bagley and Bradley. It was so messed up to see what Skye did to her own brother. It obviously made me hate Skye Larsen even more. It was awful what she did to her mom and her dog, but I knew who the third person was. He wasn't just another house member of Skye used to push the narrative forward. He was a friend I made over the course of the last 60-plus hours.
It did feel a bit rushed. It was a quick 3 or 4 minutes in and out of the hospital, and then things go back to normal. But it was the epilogue so I can't fault it for that too much. The photograph mission leading up to it wasn't bad, per se, but I think it should've given more of a hint for each picture. Part of me respects Ubisoft for not putting in objective markers and forcing you to really know the landscape of the world for the bonus material, but not all of the pictures were pictures of noticeable landmarks like the ferris wheel, and that made it really difficult.
So yes, the epilogue was good. And yes, it made me hate Skye Larsen even more. But let me propose something to you. Imagine if the Bagley epilogue quest, or some similar variation of it, was placed after you went through Skye Larsen's house but before you go off to kill her. Imagine how much more connected you would have felt with Bagley through the rest of that game. Imagine how much more you would have despised Skye Larsen and how much more satisfying it would have been to kill her. Your emotional amplitude would have been even higher than it already was from seeing her mom and dog turn into AI. Killing Skye is already a great moment, but if you had seen what she did to your AI friend before you went off to kill her, then killing Skye would have been incredibly emotional, incredibly affecting, and incredibly climactic. And instead of feeling much closer to Bagley right before you're about to say goodbye to the game, you feel closer to him all throughout the rest of the game and right up until the end. Which brings me to the ending. Now continuing on with that hypothetical scenario I've laid out (first Skye's house, then epilogue mission (or a variation), then kill Skye), imagine if when you pull the plug on Bagley at the end… he actually stayed dead and didn't come back to life 30 seconds later. How much better would the story have become just from those changes? Killing Bagley at the end of the game was heartbreaking. Like I said earlier, he was my favorite NPC in the game. If I would have played the epilogue prior to killing him, I'm guessing I would have borderline cried. That would have made the scene even more impactful than it already was. But the reason I really, really dislike the ending of the game is not because of anything it does in the ending -- it's because of what it does after what it does in the ending. Any emotion of sadness and loss I felt when I pressed E and finally said goodbye to Bagley completely disappeared when he popped back up on the safehouse screen moments later. It felt cheap. Extremely cheap. Let the character die. Let the game end. Put that epilogue earlier in the story. But no. This is purely reckless speculation and I hope… dear God I hope I'm being overly cynical here, but I feel like that's not possible because Ubisoft wants you to still be in the world after you finish the game to do the missions you missed so you can still have the opportunity to put money into the game's store, because your chances of putting money into the game's store if the game were to end after you pulled the plug on Bagley and returned to the title screen are close to zero. Is that why Bagley had to stay alive? I don't know. Either way, to me the ending of the game is tragic, but not in the way it was supposed to be tragic. It sucks. I feel robbed of my emotion.
• Nigel Cass falls into the issue I see way too often with antagonists in works of fiction, and something we see earlier with Mary Kelley -- he's too evil. To the point of absurdity. And he didn't have to be portrayed that way. His backstory is that his father was killed by gang members which put him on the path of revenge by taking the law into his own hands. An interesting backstory that unfortunately does not get developed at all and it could've really helped his characterization if it was delved into more. As it stands, he just comes off as another one-dimensional Saturday morning cartoon villain, which is a shame because, again, he had the potential to be a really interesting antagonist like Skye. At least his boss fight was somewhat enjoyable. Though, the game does rely on the network bypass puzzles a few times too many for my liking, along with the AR reconstructions and area defense missions. Also, I was hoping Nigel was a bit more of a juggernaut. You take him down in one clip.
• And finally, let's talk about Zero Day and Sabine Brandt. So Zero Day starts off the game with a big bang. Literally. But then pretty much goes without mention until the end of the game. They're brought up in the game every now and again, but I think I forgot about them for most of the playthrough until the very end when the big reveal happens. It's a reveal that I probably should have seen coming but didn't. You never see Sabine in person until after the reveal. She was the only one who stayed alive after the Zero Day attack. There are hints here and there in the main story. And she doesn't even show up at the team party… that's when it was clear.
Sabine's premise for why she's doing what she's doing does, at the very least, stop and make you think for a moment. Society is completely messed up right now because of harsh surveillance by Albion through the government, homelessness is widespread, and technology has become tyrannical. She wants to restart society from the ground up. Yes, she has to commit mass murder but to her the ends justify the means. And who are you to judge her for killing when you yourself have killed plenty in your playthrough? I really liked Sabine's ending. I just wish they had more Zero Day appearances throughout the game. Let me hear more of Zero Day talking about their philosophy of rebuilding London from the ground up and less of them talking with Mary Kelley about purchasing explosives just to move the story forward. Keep me interested in Zero Day instead of having me forget about them until the end. Keep me curious.
So those are my thoughts! Overall, I had a good time with the game. However, it definitely had some issues that I felt needed airing. And just to be clear, I did not try to slight the game just for the sake of criticizing it. These are my honest thoughts after reflecting on the time I spent with the game. Please do share your own thoughts!
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2020.11.20 19:23 sharingmyxp Hidden real camera tube

I've played a lot of Watch Dogs: Legion the past few weeks (my final playtime clocked in at around 63 hours), and I'd like to share some of my final thoughts on the game while the thoughts are still fresh. Would love to hear yours as well.
If you prefer watching to reading, this video dives into the game in closer detail with gameplay footage examples.
Here are some of my thoughts (Spoiler Warning):
• The tutorial does a great job walking you through a lot of the core gameplay mechanics and gives you a nice opportunity to mess around with your controls and graphic settings. It's a really well-designed tutorial. Not to mention the phenomenal benchmark on the menu screen which I hope becomes a common practice in all triple-A games moving forward (recently bought AC Valhalla and it's in there, too, so it looks like Ubisoft is all-in with that feature, which is terrific).
I read in an interview with one of the lead developers where he said that they had specific intent to give the players a slew of non-lethal options, and I really do appreciate that. Because in a game where the idea is to essentially fight for the people, it would feel really weird to be gunning around the streets of London with an AK and a grenade launcher (though you can totally do that if that's how you want to play). I mean, I understand the lines are a little blurred when you have your spiderbot climbing up someone's leg, up their torso, then swaddling their face with all 8 of its metal legs and shocking every nerve in their body, but hey, the game says its non-lethal so at least I can sustain my disbelief for that reason. The only issue is that the non-lethal guns in the tech tree all feel WAY too weak. In fact, I was worried whenever I was about to do a main-story mission that the game was going to throw too many enemies at me to be able to handle effectively with the electric weapons, so I steered toward using characters with real guns only so I had some sort of self-defense, which I think hinders the game's design because that cuts out a large chunk of potential characters.
• The fact you cannot walk and listen to audio logs or podcasts is not only terrible for the player but a terrible disservice to the creative team who put a lot of work and effort into that material. I wanted to listen to them but could not justify sitting on the menu screen for minutes upon minutes on end -- even in real life I'm doing something while I listen to podcasts. The material I did listen to, though, was pretty well done. It's a real shame there wasn't better implementation for audio logs.
• I strongly believe how much you liked the people on your team heavily influenced how much you like the game overall. I made it a point to not recruit anybody I did not like and to even remove people who I didn't want on my team anymore, which included Mark, the guy I started with. The cast of characters I put together were people I cared about. People I would hate to see die. Playing on iron man mode, there was no more emotional moment in the game for me, including at the end of the game with Bagley, than when my recruit, Edmond, died in a super unexpected, unanticipated fashion. I played almost exclusively as Edmund the first 10 hours of the game since I got bonus ETO for every person he recruited, and I went HARD with recruiting at the start. So when he died in that super anti-cinematic, super unexpected, super sudden way… and I realized he was just gone -- the guy who I pretty much considered to be the main protagonist of my game… I don't know there's something about the fact that nobody knew the connection I had to that character more than me. Not the game, not the developers, not anyone. He was just some random NPC I grew to feel connected with and like that he was gone. That's a type of moment is unique to Watch Dogs: Legion and the way it's designed (though I have heard strategy games, like XCOM, have a lot of similarities in this regard).
• One big knock against the "play-as-anyone-you-meet" system in Watch Dogs Legion is that as your team grows, you realize that all the ops are pretty interchangeable. There are the few ops that standout like the spy, the drone expert, the beekeeper, the protest rallier… but they're too few and still too homogenous for my liking. In the midst of all of that you're going to have ops that feel pretty samey. Maybe one has shorter hack cooldowns. Maybe one has a car. Maybe one has a g36 or a really good shock rifle like the MPX. But there's still not enough differentiation at that point, especially considering how much voice acting gets reused in the game. The background bios are cool but almost assuredly procedurally generated, so there's no personal touch to those either. I just wish they had more distinct ops like the beekeeper or the anarchist. More distinct ops with standout unique abilities would've given each op on your team a more dissimilar, specific personality, even with everything else staying the way it is. Also would've added more gameplay variety, though I am pretty happy with the gameplay in its current state.
• The fact you can recruit anyone and everyone in the world is a neat thing to say in a marketing ad, but when you actually play the game and realize at what cost that scale comes with -- that being the loss of sense of touch to the characters you play as apart from your own "head cannon" you create for the character, like I had with Edmond, and not to mention the procedurally generated missions the game decides to put you through because the game wants you to do some sort of work to earn the reward of getting that member to join your team… then that's when you might start to skip the conversations, fast travel to the other side of the map where the character's recruitment mission is, and not feel any sense of impact or meaning behind the actions you're performing to help the potential recruit out. And that sucks. But the first 10 to 15 hours where each of those recruitment missions feel unique and tailored before you really realize what's going on under the hood -- those 10 to 15 hours are incredible. And to be fair, this game doesn't serve itself to be played for 60-plus hours. You can, and I did, but the best experience for this game to me without a doubt is a 15 to 35-hour experience. In that time span you get out just when you start to see the make-up fade but while the make-ups on, I think Watch Dogs: Legion is a great experience.
• Watch Dogs: Legion is one of the best looking games I have ever played. Is this in large part because of its technical capabilities compared to other games and because it's the first game I've played since I upgraded my PC? Yes. But nevertheless, playing this game with raytracing on is just eye candy. I'm not an expert on all the GPU technicalities, but if Watch Dogs: Legion is any indication of the next generation of gaming, I think this next generation of games are going to be a significant step visually. I never knew how much reflections mattered until I played this game. Thankfully, it's pretty rainy in London so the puddles were plenty, and boy did those puddles do a good job showing off just how much the new GPUs are capable of. I know better-looking puddles is a meme, and I was in the same camp… until I actually played a game with great looking puddles lol. I also remember flying a cargo drone around one of the big towers in the game, just completely in awe. If you get a new card or one of the new consoles and you want to see what your hardware is capable of -- Watch Dogs: Legion will not disappoint you. I used to think high framerate trumped all, and I still think that's the case in competitive multiplayer games, but for immersive single-player experiences, I'm not so sure anymore. Was it unpleasant to have the frames drop when turning on a busy street intersection? Yes, it was. But holy sh*t those reflections though.
• Aside from the graphics, the art and style of how Ubisoft designed near-future London is very impressive. My jaw dropped the first time I walked through Piccadilly Circus. And I was in awe when I came upon Chinatown and saw that AR dragon. The ferris wheel… Big Ben, the bridges, the river views. I loved flying above the city on top of a cargo drone, gawking at how beautiful nighttime London was. I loved walking down random London streets watching the cars zip to and from, and watching the parcel drones above my head fly towards their destinations to deliver the packages they were holding. Playing with a soccer ball at the local park while the radio played next to me -- all while I enjoyed the beautiful outdoors of the city. Of course, not everything is bright in jovial since London is in a surveillance state, so you see the protest rallies and the overly aggressive officers and the homeless people. It's an interesting clash of tones. But rarely is real-life either always happy or always depressing -- though I guess that depends on your own personal views of life. To me, both exist in the real world, and both can exist in the game -- so from that aspect I'm not shooting down the clashing tones the game has incorporated in it. Apparently, people from London have said that the game does a great job representing London and its boroughs, and that doesn't surprise me. Say what you will about Ubisoft, but they do a phenomenal job recreating real-life places with their own fictitious twists for you to immerse yourself in. I loved setting my car to auto-drive and watching the city breathe.
• Let's talk about the gameplay. So let me start off by saying that I think Ubisoft gets some unfair slack. Generally, I think the minute-to-minute action in Ubisoft games is at the very least enjoyable. The issue is that the mission design and other design elements take that enjoyable gameplay loop and copy-paste it over and over with little divergent characteristics from one gameplay sequence to another. I had an absolute blast with the main gameplay loop in Watch Dogs: Legion. It may not come off in its presentation but, depending on how you play the game, Watch Dogs: Legion's gameplay is an outstanding stealth game. It really rewards your creativity and intelligence as a player. Before infiltrating an area, you're often given an objective and it's up to you to piece together how you're going to accomplish it. This isn't anything new in Ubisoft games. In Assassin's Creed, it's the objective of assassinating a target. In Far Cry, it's killing all the enemies in an outpost. And in Watch Dogs: Legion, it's hacking some piece of software, destroying a vehicle, downloading some secure data, etc. But playing Watch Dogs: Legion made me realize why I enjoy Ubisoft games so much, despite the obvious repetition. It's because it rewards you for your ingenuity. It gives you an objective and constraints and says "figure it out." Watch Dogs: Legion in particular, however, fosters emergent gameplay better than the other two, where each element of the gameplay is relatively simple on its own, but can come together in really cool, complex ways that you yourself are head engineering as the hacker. I don't want to oversell it -- you do press Q and the enemy immediately looks at their phone for 10 seconds, but let me walk you through some of what I'm talking about.
The way you are hopping through the different cameras to survey the area… then hacking a shock drone to get within download range of the key you might need later. Then using that shock drone to zap one of the red control panels to unlock a door. Then using the AR cloak to get by a really busy part of the restricted area. Setting traps and blowing gas tanks to not only take out an enemy, but draw attention away from where you're heading. Coming up behind an enemy and choking them to sleep, drop-kicking them and even Stone Cold Stunning them. Or even just going the traditional route of putting a silencer on your pistol and taking enemies out silentily, one by one, then cloaking their body afterwards. Each time there's a mission to accomplish and you have to piece together a permutation of events using the weapons and electronics at your disposable to get the job done (and in a non-lethal way, if you're playing like that). I'll say it again because it's probably the main reason I enjoyed Watch Dogs: Legion as much as I did: I love how much Watch Dogs: Legion rewards you as the player for your creativity and your intelligence. Is the open mission design structure present in Watch Dogs: Legion anything new or anything we haven't seen before in other games? Absolutely not. In fact, it's probably a core design philosophy in Ubisoft games. But I don't think it works as good in those Ubisoft games as it works here in Watch Dogs: Legion. The way its executed in this near future setting where intelligence and information are crucial in your attack as you hop onto the cams and hack into the drones to scout ahead, planning your next move in real time. It's pretty tactical and can get very tense and exciting, especially if you're playing as a character you like and permadeath is on. One slip up and it's over. In a lot of ways and particularly in that respect, Watch Dogs: Legion reminds me most of Ubisoft's multiplayer shooter, Rainbow: Six Siege -- which is kind of weird to say.
The issue is that the gameplay doesn't hold up that ingenuity once you hit around the 20 hour mark. You start going to the same areas and seeing the same paths to completion. The challenge is lost and the novelty is worn. And that sucks. That's why when I recommend this game to other people I'm going to tell them -- hey, Watch Dogs: Legion is a really fun game but don't overstay your welcome with it. Because the game gets less and less pretty the longer you play it… but boy are those first 15 hours beautiful.
• The borough missions are a nice change of pace. It's a pretty gamey system -- accomplish three tasks in a borough and then you unlock a final mission that, once you beat, liberates that mission's respective sector of the map -- but the fact it's a gamey system is okay with me. I like the variety that the different borough missions bring. From scaling Big Ben with a spiderbot, to racing through the streets with a car in Tower Hamlets and with a high-speed modified drone in Islington & Hackney, to navigating a parcel drone through a 3D maze in Southwark. But fuck that mission where you have to defend the Millennium Wheel with that CT drone, oh my gosh.
• Melee combat was simple-but-crisp. The punching sound effect had a nice pop, and the slow-motion dodges added a cool cinematic effect. It's not Batman, but that's okay. Melee combat is the core of that game and it's a complementary gameplay system here. The fighting arena missions where the hand-to-hand combat is the central focus are a bit too long and not all that fun… but damn did they do a good job with the presentation in those missions. The gunplay isn't DOOM or Battlefield, but Watch Dogs: Legion also isn't a first-person shooter and I think gunplay is a lot harder to accomplish in a third-person shooter. So for a third-person shooter, I found the gunplay serviceable, except for the horrendous bullet damage dropoff on some guns and the bit-too-weak electric guns. I found all six of the gadgets to be very enjoyable to use. The electro-fist is frickin sick, the missile drone is badass, especially if you're playing as a drone expert and time the cooldowns in tandem with your drone dive bomb. And the electro-shock trap is a good general grenade option. You get to choose what I consider one of the two strongest gadgets from the outset in either the spiderbot or the AR cloak.
• With everything else there is to unlock in the tech store I'm sure a lot of players were content with using only the spiderbot or the AR cloak and ignoring the rest of the gadgets, which is another game design flaw. I didn't have too much of a problem with the weapons, the upgrades, and the hack unlocks in the tech store, but I also wasn't particularly excited to go out and grind for tech points. If I really enjoy the core gameplay in a game -- and I really enjoyed the core gameplay in Watch Dogs: Legion -- then usually I'll enjoy putting the time in to grind for unlockables. I spent an hour here or there riding a cargo drone around town and picking up tech points just to take a break from the action, but I truly had no desire to grind for any of those tech abilities. Sure the tech abilities helped but it's not like I needed any of them to progress through the game or had a burning desire to unlock any of them. They made the game easier, in some cases a lot easier -- which is arguably a good thing to a lot of players -- but for a system that's supposed to be the main source of the player's grind, I did not find the system captivating and I would have been all for grinding for those tech points if I found the unlocks to be more exciting. In Far Cry 2, a game designed by the same exact lead game designer as Watch Dogs: Legion, Clint Hocking, I grinded for those gems because I wanted the badass one-hit-kill sniper or the silenced MP5 or the stealth suit. Here, the grind is running around the city spamming your hack button to profile each individual and see if they have any abilities worth recruiting over. And that's not fun at all.
• Not only does the story have serious flaws, but so does the storytelling. Pressing Q and watching an AR reconstruction as Bagley and my character babble on for two minutes does not connect with me in any way. It's boring. It's void of life. The DedSec agent you track down, Angel -- you never see him apart from the AR reconstruction where he might as well be a Superhot NPC at that point. The only time you see him is when he's dead. Sure it sucks this former DedSec op is dead, but I don't know him and I don't have any connection to him, so that's going to limit how much I care. Why not have done something with Dalton -- a character you play as at the very start and have some connection with instead of killing him off and focusing on some random DedSec op named Angel? What a lost opportunity.
• I have to mention the final borough mission for Nine Elms where you go explore a dark, underground Power Plant. Personally, I loved how dark and atmospheric that mission was, and I will not forget that sick feeling I had when I walked into the hidden prison and found humans being caged in pitch black by Albion. It was easily one of the most stunning moments in all of the game and definitely a very emotional one. Fantastic stuff. But you can't interact with them. You can't talk to them. They might as well be chickens in a chicken coop. All you can do is kill the Albion security guard watching over them and then hack into his computer. Then fireworks start flying above the city and people are jumping and celebrating? Then you magically spawn outside again. What the fuck? Where are the people I just saved? Let me talk with one of them. Let them tell me "Thank you for saving my life" and let me say to them "Don't worry about it DedSec's job. Helping the people of London." But no. Instead, I teleport to the quest giver, and we both trade smiles and laughs. If that doesn't highlight the tonality issue in this game, then I don't know what will.
• From the get-go, Skye Larsen fascinated me. A being only present through a hologram, creator of my friend AI in the game, Bagley, and CEO of a neural mapping tech company with the potential to change the world -- seemingly for the better.
You hack into her house and meet her house AI, then power on the elevator that takes you to the basement which for some reason turns out to be The Hunter's Dream from Bloodborne but many, many years later? I just went with it. Proceeded into the house. And the events in the house were pretty much the only times I was fully engaged with the AR reconstruction and highly anticipating what was going to happen next in the mission. Both Skye and Sinead, her mother, were voiced incredibly well and the fact you're in their house, or what appears to be their house, standing between the same four walls those two were standing in… watching the AR reconstruction play out what had happened on her mother's deathbed as the sheets of blood still lay there wrinkled on the floor and while Skye's workbenches are still there set up adjacent to the bedstead. Realizing that spiderbots and descendants of Skye's dog… Then you enter her secret lab in the basement where you find that amazing table with the holographic map of London on it. Next to that, you see chambers holding people in them and you're left to guess what sick, twisted acts she's been up to. Then finally, you end Sinead's misery. It's a very well done segment of the game and I felt a tremendous amount of emotion playing through it. Some of Ubisoft's best storytelling to date.
Unfortunately, a lot of this quest is ruined for me because of its ending. Whether you kill Skye or not, the same thing happens. Nowt shows up at the safe house and proceeds to give you access to 404 side missions, even if you don't side with her. And either way Skye eventually dies, either by you killing her or Broca Tech shutting down her AI. So why is this decision in the game!? To make it feel like we, the player's, action's matter -- even though in reality they don't? I'm tempted to call it deceptive. Are you guys cool with this? This is something I'm really curious about your guys' take on.
I also think there's too little gray area in that decision to make it a tough choice. Which is fine -- there doesn't need to be gray area. It could be a Mass Effect thing where you're playing as a good guy or bad guy… except for the fact that no matter how you want to play, DedSec will always be referred to as the good guys in the game and so playing as the bad guy creates narrative dissonance. Does anyone really think siding with Skye is a reasonably humane choice? Sure, the technology could be used for the good of humanity, but with Skye as the CEO, it's obvious from going through her house that that's not the case and humanity is almost assuredly better off without Project Daybreak if Skye's history is any indication of the future. The decision to kill or side with Skye is just a weird inclusion by Ubisoft, to me.
• Let's discuss the epilogue with Bagley and Bradley. It was so messed up to see what Skye did to her own brother. It obviously made me hate Skye Larsen even more. It was awful what she did to her mom and her dog, but I knew who the third person was. He wasn't just another house member of Skye used to push the narrative forward. He was a friend I made over the course of the last 60-plus hours.
It did feel a bit rushed. It was a quick 3 or 4 minutes in and out of the hospital, and then things go back to normal. But it was the epilogue so I can't fault it for that too much. The photograph mission leading up to it wasn't bad, per se, but I think it should've given more of a hint for each picture. Part of me respects Ubisoft for not putting in objective markers and forcing you to really know the landscape of the world for the bonus material, but not all of the pictures were pictures of noticeable landmarks like the ferris wheel, and that made it really difficult.
So yes, the epilogue was good. And yes, it made me hate Skye Larsen even more. But let me propose something to you. Imagine if the Bagley epilogue quest, or some similar variation of it, was placed after you went through Skye Larsen's house but before you go off to kill her. Imagine how much more connected you would have felt with Bagley through the rest of that game. Imagine how much more you would have despised Skye Larsen and how much more satisfying it would have been to kill her. Your emotional amplitude would have been even higher than it already was from seeing her mom and dog turn into AI. Killing Skye is already a great moment, but if you had seen what she did to your AI friend before you went off to kill her, then killing Skye would have been incredibly emotional, incredibly affecting, and incredibly climactic. And instead of feeling much closer to Bagley right before you're about to say goodbye to the game, you feel closer to him all throughout the rest of the game and right up until the end. Which brings me to the ending. Now continuing on with that hypothetical scenario I've laid out (first Skye's house, then epilogue mission (or a variation), then kill Skye), imagine if when you pull the plug on Bagley at the end… he actually stayed dead and didn't come back to life 30 seconds later. How much better would the story have become just from those changes? Killing Bagley at the end of the game was heartbreaking. Like I said earlier, he was my favorite NPC in the game. If I would have played the epilogue prior to killing him, I'm guessing I would have borderline cried. That would have made the scene even more impactful than it already was. But the reason I really, really dislike the ending of the game is not because of anything it does in the ending -- it's because of what it does after what it does in the ending. Any emotion of sadness and loss I felt when I pressed E and finally said goodbye to Bagley completely disappeared when he popped back up on the safehouse screen moments later. It felt cheap. Extremely cheap. Let the character die. Let the game end. Put that epilogue earlier in the story. But no. This is purely reckless speculation and I hope… dear God I hope I'm being overly cynical here, but I feel like that's not possible because Ubisoft wants you to still be in the world after you finish the game to do the missions you missed so you can still have the opportunity to put money into the game's store, because your chances of putting money into the game's store if the game were to end after you pulled the plug on Bagley and returned to the title screen are close to zero. Is that why Bagley had to stay alive? I don't know. Either way, to me the ending of the game is tragic, but not in the way it was supposed to be tragic. It sucks. I feel robbed of my emotion.
• Nigel Cass falls into the issue I see way too often with antagonists in works of fiction, and something we see earlier with Mary Kelley -- he's too evil. To the point of absurdity. And he didn't have to be portrayed that way. His backstory is that his father was killed by gang members which put him on the path of revenge by taking the law into his own hands. An interesting backstory that unfortunately does not get developed at all and it could've really helped his characterization if it was delved into more. As it stands, he just comes off as another one-dimensional Saturday morning cartoon villain, which is a shame because, again, he had the potential to be a really interesting antagonist like Skye. At least his boss fight was somewhat enjoyable. Though, the game does rely on the network bypass puzzles a few times too many for my liking, along with the AR reconstructions and area defense missions. Also, I was hoping Nigel was a bit more of a juggernaut. You take him down in one clip.
• And finally, let's talk about Zero Day and Sabine Brandt. So Zero Day starts off the game with a big bang. Literally. But then pretty much goes without mention until the end of the game. They're brought up in the game every now and again, but I think I forgot about them for most of the playthrough until the very end when the big reveal happens. It's a reveal that I probably should have seen coming but didn't. You never see Sabine in person until after the reveal. She was the only one who stayed alive after the Zero Day attack. There are hints here and there in the main story. And she doesn't even show up at the team party… that's when it was clear.
Sabine's premise for why she's doing what she's doing does, at the very least, stop and make you think for a moment. Society is completely messed up right now because of harsh surveillance by Albion through the government, homelessness is widespread, and technology has become tyrannical. She wants to restart society from the ground up. Yes, she has to commit mass murder but to her the ends justify the means. And who are you to judge her for killing when you yourself have killed plenty in your playthrough? I really liked Sabine's ending. I just wish they had more Zero Day appearances throughout the game. Let me hear more of Zero Day talking about their philosophy of rebuilding London from the ground up and less of them talking with Mary Kelley about purchasing explosives just to move the story forward. Keep me interested in Zero Day instead of having me forget about them until the end. Keep me curious.
So those are my thoughts! Overall, I had a good time with the game. However, it definitely had some issues that I felt needed airing. And just to be clear, I did not try to slight the game just for the sake of criticizing it. These are my honest thoughts after reflecting on the time I spent with the game. Please do share your own thoughts!
Edit: grammar & typos
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