While the notion of “don’t buy games at launch” is a sound one, it’s also not unreasonable for consumers to expect their purchases to WORK.
— Patrick Klepek (@patrickklepek) November 13, 2014
1. My rental copy of Assassin’s Creed Unity has not yet arrived – it might come tonight, it might come tomorrow – and yet considering the spectacular number of glitches and game-crashing bugs that are dominating my Twitter feed, I’m not sure I want to start it until the first wave of patches arrive (and that those patches don’t further break the game). And by that point, when enough patches have come out so that the game is in a playable state, I could very well be knee-deep in Dragon Age Inquisition and might not want to bother. The larger problem is that the code isn’t the only thing that appears to be half-baked; Assassin’s Creed games have always been tough nuts to crack from a narrative point of view, and I keep hearing that Unity’s story is bland, boring and nonsensically enigmatic, the way it’s always been. No amount of patching can fix a busted story. Do I want to spend 40+ hours of my life wrestling with something this problematic? I mean, I’ve played pretty much every AC game there is (except the Vita game and Rogue) but I haven’t been afraid to leave them unfinished (i.e., Revelations, AC3).
Furthermore, regarding Ubisoft’s actions with respect to Unity’s release – specifically, the bizarre 12-hour post-release review embargo – well, it smacks of bullshit and corporate shenanigans, a desperate flailing to reduce the number of cancelled pre-orders once the word got out that Unity was straight-up broken. And considering how the pre-release hype failed to live up to the post-release reality of Watch Dogs, I can’t help but feel very nervous about Far Cry 4.
2. And speaking of broken stuff, I must admit that I’ve stalled a bit on my NaNo project. Honestly? The subject matter started sending me into a very inward-facing, navel-gazing spiral of depression – which was exacerbated by re-reading my college diary – and so I’ve been mired in this weird melancholic funk of nostalgia and regret for the last week (which itself has been exacerbated by a nasty cold that my family has been passing around to each other for the last month or so, as well as some day-job-related stress that I can’t talk about here). Indeed, this morning I listened to the first half of Marc Maron’s WTF interview with Allie Brosh (of Hyperbole and a Half fame) and what I heard hit me square in the face. I go through these depressive cycles every once in a while, and they’re a real pain in the ass; I get apathetic, and then I get mad at myself for being apathetic, and then I get mad that I’d rather get mad at myself than stop being apathetic, and so on and so forth. So, yeah – writing about one of my college friends and collaborators has turned into something a bit uglier. That doesn’t mean I intend to give up on it, though; it means that I need to approach it in a different way.
3. Switching back over to games: I beg your forgiveness for all the Xbox One bashing I’ve done this year. I’ve been playing Sunset Overdrive and Forza Horizon 2 just about every night since I bought the damned thing, and I’ve become rather enamored with it. So much so that I haven’t decided which platform to play Dragon Age on; frankly, I’m waiting for the Digital Foundry people to get their hands on it (especially once the PS4 patch is in place that supposedly fixes a lot of what was broken during the review period). Because unless the PS4 version is noticeably and markedly better-looking and performing, I might just stick with the XB1 – even though I have a $15 credit on the PSN store.
4. And now switching back to books: I’m trying to keep my good-book-reading streak alive, and so I’m still trying to figure out what to read next. In addition to the list of 10 as-yet-unpurchased books I put up the other day (as well as the countless already-purchased-and-still-unread books on my Kindle), I’m now tremendously intrigued by Michel Faber, who I’d never heard of until yesterday, when I flipped through this week’s New Yorker and saw his newest book mentioned in their Briefly Noted section. David Mitchell, writer of this year’s “Bone Clocks” (which is my personal Book of the Year and might end up in my all-time Top 10), calls Faber’s new book “his second masterpiece”, and so I had to find out what the first masterpiece was, which is “The Crimson Petal and the White”, which a few Facebook friends also raved about; and it turns out that he also wrote “Under the Skin”, which is also a movie I’ve been wanting to see all year. So, then: if you’ve got anything to say about him, please let me know.