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Youtube LP Playlist: Assassin's Creed Unity
Systems: PS4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

Assassin's Creed Unity is the 2014 release of Assassin's Creed.

The game starts with you playing a nameless "initiate who is a player of "Helix" a gaming device produced by Abstergo that allows access to many different genetic memories.

You begin play by watching some backstory with the Templar de Molay and then forward to 1776 as Arno Dorian, a nobleman's son (and Assassin). Your father is killed and you are adopted in by a Templar Grand Master and his daughter Elise. The story skips ahead and you are seeking revenge for the death of your adoptive father and you are estranged from Elise. The story is about your seeking out who killed your adoptive father and seek revenge while you join the Brotherhood.

The story itself is nothing to write home about. I don't want to go into details and spoil any possible surprises (not that I found most of them actual surprises). The missions themselves based on the story were lacking in any real depth and were fairly repetitive. I know I shouldn't compare it to ACIV Black Flag (my favorite in the series) but it isn't even close.

The story about you "the player" when you surface out of Arno's memories is even more blasé, no meat, no outside interactions, just additional "in machine" machines with those in the brotherhood talking to you via audio. Definitely not a lot of story.

The controls themselves were just as horrible as they ever were. The fighting is unwieldy, but they did make the free-running a bit easier so that is something.

For character building they broke your abilities up into some weird leveling system even more in depth then Black Flag.It became a frustrating exercise to try and raise up yourself to do things you could do out of the gate in the prior games. The worst part is Ubisoft went even more overboard with the collectables. It was bad enough that I quit collecting less than halfway through. It just is a cheap way to say your game takes longer than it really does.

Oh, and they push the multiplayer even more. However, it was so bad I didn't even really touch it so I can't say anything more than I hated it.

Pros: The free-running is a bit better (I did get hung up on things more), and it is what you expect, more Creed.
Cons: The leveling system and flag/item collection has to stop. It is just getting worse.

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Still can't do better than the Nazis, mysterious films, alternate worlds and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa.

It's the next season of the same world. We pick up almost immediately where we left off, having met the Man in the High Castle, the Nazi conspiracy and the drive to make a H-Bomb by the Japanese.

I can't talk very much about the plot itself if you haven't seen it. It does ratchet up the intrigue, who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. There is more of a focus inside New York (the Reich) and Mr. Tagomi opens up a totally new storyline that comes together at the end of the season.

It humanizes all the main characters, including  Obergruppenführer John Smith, and Inspector Kids. It doesn't make what they do ok, so no apologism for their behavior, but it does show you why they do the things they do. Like all people, even villains, they are the hero of their own story.

This season was a little different, I found I didn't like Juliana or Fink as much. Not acting or the writing. They were great, but their storylines took them into places I didn't like and their character's twists and turns made me not like the characters themselves as much.

Pros: Once again, great acting, immersive sets, an compelling story and I love Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Mr. Tagomi. I liked him last season, but he clicked with me a lot (well so did John Smith, but Mr. Tagomi took it away).

 Cons: Once again, I don't think there is an overall con, but because there are so many roles you will probably hate someone... I still can't stand Joe Blake, not the fault of the actor, he is good, just don't like the character, this season he whines an awful lot and I just can't stand it.

Hands down a great show, I still can't recommend it more.

 
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Who would have thought I would have watched a series about the North American fur trade. No I didn't say it was good, I didn't say it was bad, somewhere in the bland not much taste fast food of tv.

As a partnership between Canada Discovery Channel and Netflix resulted in what I thought was a decent show based in the 1700s. Unlike Taboo, this show occurs before the American revolution (and in fact doesn't really address much about the colonists). I suspect this is because it is produced by the Canadian Discovery Channel.

Declan Harp (Jason Momoa) has declared war on Lord Benton and the North American fur trade is at stake. The story behind Declan is standard fare (family destroyed, hunted, etc) that I won't go into detail here. He comes across an Irish criminal who was taken in by Lord Benton to take down Declan. They bond and then it comes down to a fight between Declan Harp, his ragtag group of traders and the British military.

Most of the show is entertaining enough. Not as good as Taboo (not even close) but it is not a bad thing to watch. It felt like it could have been told a lot better in a 2 hour movie format then in six episodes.

Pros: Jason Momoa is the reason to watch the show. He doesn't have a huge set of dialogue, but he is pretty, and I just find him personable.

 Cons: The story is a sluggish beast that you have to endure.

I will probably watch the second season.

 
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Nazis, alternate universe, resistance and a mysterious films showing alternate worlds, of course its great.

The world is different, the Axis powers won and split up America. The Japanese took the western third, the Nazis took the eastern half leaving a small strip in the middle that was a neutral zone. There are main characters in the resistance, in the Nazis and in the Japanese occupying force (and Trade Minister).

I don't want to spoil it, but all the acting is really good. Their are two main Nazi characters, both very good at their roles, one who questions what he is doing and one who is a loyal higher up officer who does his duty but has to protect his family. There is a Japanese inspector and a Trade Minister both excellent with varying views, then of course there is a grouping of Resistance actors who are all great with various outlooks.

Its not set in World War II, its 20 years after and you get to deal with the politics of the two empires posturing over what is left of America with the threat of war (and surprisingly enough the only reason there is peace is because Hitler is still alive). There is a character in here that you will like no matter your outlook.

Pros: Great acting, immersive sets, an compelling story.

 Cons: I don't think there is an overall con, but because there are so many roles you will probably hate someone... personally I can't stand Joe Blake, not the fault of the actor, he is good, just don't like the character.

Hands down a great show, can't recommend it more.
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It deserved more than two seasons.

The series can't be anything but good when it stars Ron Perlman and Garret Dillahunt (and others). Perlman is Judge Pernell Harris, the corrupt judge has a breakdown after the suicide attempt of his son.

This breakdown results in him falling in with a con-artist preacher and his girlfriend, and gaining a loyal follower in Garret Dillahunt. The voices point to who is responsible for the attempted suicide and a whole host of intrigue begins from there.

Originally I was going to do reviews on the season level, but sadly Amazon notified the public that there was only two seasons, so I felt I could do it in one go.

The story starts off intriguing and just hits almost all the right tones. Perlman is always great, there are small hints of his character in SoA, along with other characters he has played. Garret Dillahunt is standout in this and the intensity of his character almost steals the show.

There were some less stellar parts. I found after the first six episodes I didn't like the storyline with the preacher and his girlfriend, and in the second season I disliked how Perlman's "faith" changed (I won't go into details though). However, that being said I really enjoyed the series and I am saddened that it didn't get a third season. I can't stress enough how much I enjoyed Ron Perlman especially.

Pros: With the name Perlman in the credits, it is going to be a fun watch, he doesn't disappoint and neither does his "Benaiah" played by Garret Dillahunt. The scenes with just the two of them make it worth the time.

Cons: The preacher storyline I found annoying. However, that could be because I don't have a strong attachment with that portion of religion and not the fault of the actors/actresses involved.

I am disappointed there wasn't a third season.
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Youtube LP Playlist: Valkyria Chronicles LP
Systems: PS4, PS3, Microsoft Windows

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is a facelift on the PS3 Valkyria Chronicles where you follow a plucky group of soldiers in Squad 7 as they try to fight off one of two large Empires that wish control over the resources of the small country of Gallia.

You play Gunther Welkin, a peaceful scholar who only wants to be a teacher. The problem is he is the son of a famous general and he presents a conundrum for those who know of his father but not him.

The other members of Squad 7 include Gunther's sister, Isara, a Darcsen (the stand in for Jewish people during World War II). Alicia the apprentice baker and possible love interest. Largo, a large old school soldier and Rosie the racists bar singer who hates Darcsen.

The story unfolds as Squad 7 is formed and they fight back the overwhelming Eastern Imperial empire. The game utilizes a visual novel format with a few cutscenes in a very linear fashion. The big "attraction" to this game is that each chapter has a tactical battle where you command different types of units that you can build up as you go. The game even involves a couple of traditional JRPG type creatures.

Overall the story I liked a lot. Its set in a World War II type era. It involves big personalities, romance, a weird pig thing. The story itself can get very adult and very dark, ranging from racism, concentration camps, death, despair. I was caught off guard by it, and I do have to say onions were cut during the game (that means possible tears). There was some inner meaning on war and what it does to people. I wasn't expecting that at all.

Oh, as a side note, the cell shading style of the game was unusual and I enjoyed it a lot. I wouldn't like it for all my games, but it served its purpose well here.

What I was disappointed with was the actual tactical combat. I play a lot of tactical and strategic war games, so I do have a skewed point of view. I seek out realistic combat that feels like a professional war-game. These were not bad battles, but they were much more simplified then I was used to.

Some of the missions were not satisfactory for me when playing. I also was disappointed that while you can replay the visual novel/cutscenes at any time, you could not replay the battles. I also disliked the experience points and research. It felt like it was similar to Xcom, but not in the good ways, when building your troops there was no specialization other than any individual weapons you may have found. The combat wasn't horrible, but it was far more basic then what I seek out.

Pros: Very intriguing story. I want to know more about the world.
Cons: The tactical combat was not what I was looking for.

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Bloodline (Whyborne & Griffin #5)Bloodline by Jordan L. Hawk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Audiobook only!

This is the fifth installment of the series I have read, and the fifth time the story has just gotten better. Ms. Hawk's writing has gotten tighter, and the reader has gotten much better with intonation and cadence with the book.

The story itself is very interesting, you get to meet additional members of Whyborne's family, including some unexpected members. The struggle against a new threat from a couple of unexpected directions.

Where the last book had a lot to do with Christine and some additional items on Griffin, this focused mostly on Whyborne. I enjoyed every page of it, but I do have to say the series as a whole will do better overall if Ms. Hawk focuses on the the group as the whole. I can't talk about specifics due to spoilers, but I love his mom and I do like how Ms. Hawk has made Whyborne's father more and more three dimensional.

Overall, I definitely recommend it as a read!
View all my reviews

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