Hoeg Law First Impressions: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Yesterday, I finally got the chance to spend a few hours with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (stayed up a bit late for the Cubs game…sorry cubbies).  Odyssey was one of my dark horse favorites coming out of E3 2018 after thoroughly enjoying its predecessor (Assassin’s Creed Origins) so this was a pretty exciting day.

After about 3 hours of play (that Cubs game would not end) here are just a few of my first impressions:

* If Assassin’s Creed Origins was “baby Witcher 3”, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is “adolescent or teenage Witcher 3”.  Bulletin boards in towns, dialogue trees, choices with consequence (we are told), contextualized quest lines, and more means that at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if the next Assassin’s Creed takes place in medieval Poland…with monsters.  I have no problem with this.

* Speaking of the Witcher, the music of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, featuring strumming guitars and heavy drum beats, is very, very reminiscent of that series.  I am not expert enough to compare the respective histories of Greek and Polish music to speak to Ubisoft’s intent here, but suffice it to say, you will be reminded of the Witcher at every level up (and quite often at other times throughout the game).

* Assassin’s Creed Odyssey offers a new first for the series: a choice between two characters.  After much consideration, I am playing though the game as Alexios.  Interestingly, I had intended to play through as Kassandra, but two things changed my mind: (i) I am currently playing through Shadow of the Tomb Raider and liked the juxtaposition, and (ii) after playing the first hour or so of the game with both characters, there is a…twinkle in the eye…of the Alexios performance that seemed absent in Kassandra’s.  At least in that first hour, Alexios comes off as a puckish rogue, while Kassandra comes off much more serious and straight-laced.  Neither is seemingly “better” than the other, but I liked the feeling of Alexios being “in over his head”.

* The story starts slowly, with no real inciting incident but more as “a day in the life of a Greek mercenary.”  There are indications, though, that this start is just the launching point for a real…odyssey.  Provided that is the case, I think the slow beginning (think The Hobbit) is well-considered and gives grounding to “where your character came from”.  We will see.

* Playing without a shield is interesting.  It certainly makes ranged enemies much more deadly.  I’m not sure I like it as much, but it definitely makes aggression more attractive as a defensive option than it was in Origins.  Time will tell.

* I am apparently much nerdier than even I usually give myself credit for, as I was immediately tickled to be playing in Ithaca and exploring Odysseus’ old stomping grounds.  Thanks high school literature class!

* Not sure if it will be added later (as it was for Origins) but the absence of Discovery Tour is noted.  In particular, my daughters love exploring Origins in that mode, going on tours and learning about ancient Egypt.  My oldest (8) was very excited about this release and got a chance to see a bit of it, but the violence in the “real” game is a bit much for her.

* Odyssey does add little “tool tip” historical information as you discover “historical sites”, but while the information is cool, it is hidden two menus deep on the map, and is often presented in a dry manner.  (Pedantically, it also doesn’t really distinguish between “history” and “myth” in a way I personally find a bit confusing.  This may wind up an issue with the game overall, of course.  I’ll let you know if I meet Zeus.)

* Finally, Nintendo and Mario should be thanked for helping teach folks (like me) how to spell the word odyssey for the past year.  It has helped tremendously in writing things like this post.

Overall, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey makes a tremendous first impression, and immediately thrusts you into a world worth exploring, with the feel of launching an epic adventure.  I can’t wait to see and do more, and will be very much looking forward to seeing all it has to offer.

TGIF: May 12, 2017 – Mortality and Analytical Release in the Sublime “What Remains of Edith Finch?”

Despite what you may have heard, lawyers are, in fact, human beings with interests and hobbies all their own. They are not, I repeat not, robots sent from the future solely for the purpose of billing hours, drafting documents, and negotiating terms.  Not all of them anyway.  

In TGIF, I touch on some of my own interests primarily through the lens of the “Rules of the Game”, focusing on the rules and incentives that affect many aspects of our daily lives. I may even crack a joke or two. Hard to say.

TGIF will be published regularly on (surprisingly enough) Friday mornings. For more information, check out www.hoeglaw.com or drop Rick a line at rhoeg@hoeglaw.com.

***

Believe it or not, “TGIF” did not start its life solely devoted to reviewing every dotted ‘i’ and crossed ‘t’ in the multinational airlines’ bag of tricks.  No, my intent with the series was to show that lawyers have interests both varied and wide…which of course means that I enjoy reviewing statutes, regulations, and contract terms of my own volition.  Of course.  Perhaps I doth protest too much.

But today, I turn to thoughts on one of my other loves, the oft-ridiculed “video game”. Though the term “game” seems too dismissive for the interactive experience I’d like to discuss today: Giant Sparrow’s What Remains of Edith Finch (Edith Finch from here on out).

But first, a story.

Continue reading “TGIF: May 12, 2017 – Mortality and Analytical Release in the Sublime “What Remains of Edith Finch?””

TGIF: March 24, 2017 – Abiding Andromeda in Ancient Japan

Despite what you may have heard, lawyers are, in fact, human beings with interests and hobbies all their own. They are not, I repeat not, robots sent from the future solely for the purpose of billing hours, drafting documents, and negotiating terms.  Not all of them anyway.  

In TGIF, I touch on some of my own interests primarily through the lens of the “Rules of the Game”, focusing on the rules and incentives that ultimately affect all of us in pursuing our life’s endeavors. I may even crack a joke or two.  Hard to say.

TGIF will be published regularly on (surprisingly enough) Friday mornings. For more information, check out www.hoeglaw.com or drop Rick a line at rhoeg@hoeglaw.com.

***

Mass Effect Andromeda – Optimism in a Sea of Cynicism

This week sees the launch of the latest in one of the most well thought of western video game role-playing series: Mass Effect.  In previous games, your character (called Shepard, or “The Shepherd” when series creator Bioware really wanted to step up the haughtiness) helped fight off the existential threat of giant mechanical squid things from beyond called “The Reapers”.  Ah, video games.  The third and final game of the original trilogy in particular, really delved into the “end of all things” of it all ( I mean, just listen to this.)

Rightfully thinking that after two sequels, “galaxy-wide apocalypse” could not easily be topped, the newest game in the series, “Mass Effect Andromeda“, takes a different approach.

Continue reading “TGIF: March 24, 2017 – Abiding Andromeda in Ancient Japan”