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REVIEWS & ARTICLES

Digital Season 2012 - Page 2

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood: The Da Vince Disappearance
ASSASSIN'S CREED BROTHERHOOD: THE DA VINCI DISAPPEARANCE

If you download "The Da Vinci Disappearance" for Assassin's Creed Brotherhood and then proceed to play the regular game, you will notice a new icon on Ezio's map that starts a new series of memories within the Animus. Someone higher up than Lucy and your team tells you that your help is needed to track down some secret information hidden in a different part of Ezio's story--several years after the end of Brotherhood, in fact--and you are given a chance to go into them without your team catching wind of it. In these memories, Ezio returns to Roma and pays a visit to his good friend Leonardo da Vinci. Before long, da Vinci is kidnapped and the only way to track him down is to spend some time with his apprentice, Salai (Gian Giacomo Caprotti da Oreno, a real historical figure and very likely Leonardo's male lover), and then recover several paintings that contain cryptic clues to the whereabouts of a secret chamber da Vinci was on the verge of discovering. It's a fun little story with a satisfying ending that actually reveals the location of Assassin's Creed III (and gives away major spoilers for the main storyline of Brotherhood if you're foolish enough to play the DLC before you finish the game)--and the DLC also features a few new Templar dens and a pointless gambling minigame--but at the end of the day, it's not worth paying full price for.





Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
LARA CROFT AND THE GUARDIAN OF LIGHT

Now this is an arcade game. In Lara Croft: The Guardian of Light, you play as the tomb raiding heroine as she attempts to stop the rise of an ancient Aztec demon with the help of an equally ancient warrior named Totec. You can play cooperatively or by yourself, and the gameplay is equal parts puzzle-solving and third-person action shooter. It's not a terribly deep game, but it doesn't pretend to be; it's a surprisingly lengthy journey through several different environments that have enemies and puzzles of increasing difficulty. The gameplay doesn't change much, though you do unlock plenty of upgrades and new abilities as you progress, and the game invites you to tackle it in short spurts. It's greatest strength, though, is that it never seems to get old, even after you've beaten it. As a solo gamer, I never tried out the multiplayer, but I did download the bonus Kain and Raziel add-on, which goes through exactly the same game, only the cutscenes are completely different, throwing a tongue-in-cheek pair of time travelling vampires into the Lara Croft universe just for kicks (and it's so great to hear their voices again, even if it's not a real Legacy of Kain game).





Faery: Legends of Avalon
FAERY: LEGENDS OF AVALON

If you can get passed playing a game called Faery in which you are a literal fairy, this isn't a total waste of $15. It's a bare-bones, turn-based RPG with incredibly creative 3-D environments that you fly through. The story is pretty bland, the character models are too recycled, there is no way to buy or sell your stuff, the worlds are too small, the gameplay is too repetitive, the cliffhanger ending comes out of nowhere, and the difficulty is set way too low, but it's at least entertaining enough to finish. From a technical standpoint, Faery isn't much of an achievement, but the designers were on to something and I hope they get a chance to continue to build on it.





Peggle
PEGGLE

What can I say? This deceptively deep puzzler and time suck is addictive as Hell. All you do is shoot pinballs at pegs to clear various stages, with some pegs that boost your score and others that give you a special perk, but you can find yourself doing this for hours to achieve a higher score, to completely clear a stage of all the pegs, or just to finish unlocking all the special abilities. Even the multiplayer can be fun, though since I haven't downloaded the "Peggle Nights" expansion, everybody else seems to have better abilities than me. It's not hard to design a puzzle game, but a game that can hold your interest for as long as Peggle deserves some recognition for its polish, balance, and depth. If you just want to have fun doing something relatively mindless that is like a combination of Tetris and Breakout, this is the game for you.





Assassin's Creed Revelations: The Lost Archive
ASSASSIN'S CREED REVELATIONS: THE LOST ARCHIVE

All three Assassin's Creed games that deal with Ezio also contain a subplot involving Abstergo's previous labrat, Subject 16 (Clay). "The Lost Archive" is a separate game from Revelations that uses the first-person puzzle sections of that game as its model. You play as Subject 16, trapped in the guts of the Animus, as you relive elements of your past and work desperately to find a way out. I wan't a huge fan of Desmond's puzzle sections in Revelations, but "The Lost Achive" takes the ideas contained therein and improves upon them a hundred percent. It's trippy and challenging, and as the story of what happened to Clay unfolds, certain dangling plot threads are tied off and explained brilliantly. This is the best Assassin's Creed DLC I've played yet, and even at full price, I can't recommend it enough.




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-e. magill 9/4/2012










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Copyright 2012 e. magill. All rights reserved.