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Top 64 Games: 56 to 49

By Shamus
on Wednesday Oct 22, 2014
Filed under:
Video Games


Reminder: Try not to stress out too much about the order of the items on this list, what games made it and which ones didn’t. This list is just PC games, limited to the ones I’ve played and I thought were worth discussing. If you rage out because I left out your favorite game then you’re just making a fool of yourself. Also remember the rule: A particular franchise can only appear in the list once, so if Resident Evil 4 makes the list then Resident Evil 2 can’t.

Just use this as an excuse to talk about / praise / eviscerate games we might not get to discuss very often. Read the intro to learn why we’re doing this.

56. Assassin’s Creed


I hate what Assassins Creed has become: A shallow dose of action schlock, built around a premise the writers don’t know what to do with and with a story that never goes anywhere. The present-day meta-story is a dumb waste of time, the overarching battle between assassins and Templars is a sophomoric mix of ideas with no theme or message, and the entries themselves became patronizingly Euro-centricI think fans would have welcomed more stories in the middle east or Asia, but Ubisoft is allergic to anything resembling risk.. The story of Ezio is the worst case of Marty Sue I’ve seen in a AAA game. If you have the nerve to put a spoiled rich selfish simpleton as the central character of your game, and then have the audacity to have him out-smart Leonardo da Vinci, then I am angry at you and we must fight.

So why is this on the list?

The core mechanics are solid, and I’ll always appreciate the seeds planted by the first game. And the series has a few good ideas sprinkled around out there, such as Black Flag’s naval combat. The series isn’t irredeemable, it’s just far short of what it could have been.

55. The Walking Dead

Ooh. Gut-punch time.

I’ve already said everything I could possibly say about the game, but in case you missed it: Telltale Games The Walking Dead is a powerful experience that proves you don’t need “Photorealistic graphics” to have “more emotions”, and in fact the reverse might be true. Lee, Kenny, Clementine, and the rest of the cast were able to enact scenes with subtle facial expressions and things left unsaid, while staying far away from the tar pit of photorealism.

54. City of Heroes

One of my characters: Fullmetal Jackie. Armor everywhere except where it counts, because comic books. Man I miss this game.

The best superhero MMO. One of the best MMO games, period. The genre has been in free-fall since then. Champions Online was stupid and filled with self-defeating gameplay design, DC Universe Online was shallow and dull and the interface wasn’t just dumbed down, it was lobotomized. Marvel Heroes is something else entirely, and has nothing to do with making your own hero and punching bad guys for fun.

53. FUEL

Link (YouTube)

I don’t have much to add beyond what I said in the video, except that I wish someone was using this technology to make something sprawling and Bethesda-ish.

52. Planescape: Torment

The logo for this game had a stylized + in it, so on the box it said Plane(+)Scape TORMENT. Took me ages to realize the game wasn’t called “Planetscape Torment”.

This game is held up as one of the classics of the RPG genre, and used as an example of just how far we’ve fallen and how shallow games have gotten. The game supposedly has more than a novel worth of text in it, every single dialog is brimming with options that put the Mass Effect dialog wheel to shame, and the game wonderfully realizes a strange and exotic world very unlike the usual swords & dragons RPG fare.

But the sad fact is that the game has a lot of ugly flaws. I thought the combat was a slog and a time-sink. The story is actually quite linearPerversely, the game does the opposite of what most RPGs do: The first act is free and open, and then later you’re funneled into a linear sequence of environments. and far too many puzzles and challenges have only one solution.

It’s a good game, but it also demands a lot of you. It comes from a brief moment in history when storage was big enough to cram tons of text into a game but before computers became fast enough to depend on cutscenes. I’d love to see an alternate history where Moore’s Law ran a little slower and so developers had spent more years depending on text to tell their stories rather than making the jump to movie-style storytelling. As much as people praise Planescape: Torment, I’d love to see what developers would give us after a few iterations on the idea.

51. Outcast

I thought the game was gorgeous, especially for a 1999 release. But the protagonist’s run animation was super derpy.

Another odd look into a history that might have been. Outcast used voxel renderingStop calling Minecraft a “voxel game”. While technically the data is indeed a grid of points, the world is drawn using plain old triangles, just like the ones in the latest Call of Shoot Guy. to realize its world. This means it didn’t use graphics acceleration.

Is it a shooter? An adventure game? An RPG? It defies modern categorizations. It’s a talk-heavy game on a fantastic alien world. There’s crafting and inventory managements. There’s shooting. Lots of shooting. It has quests and sidequests. There’s tons of worldbuilding, including an invented language with over a hundred vocabulary words. The main character is named Cutter Slade, an ex-military guy with some kind of haunted past, who shoots hundreds of guys during the course of the game.

I have no idea. You figure out what genre this is.

50. No One Lives Forever 2

Maybe it’s just me, but the 60’s styles seem to have aged much better than the 70’s and 80’s.

No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.’s way is playful and fun. It came from the golden age of PC shooters between 1998 and 2005, when graphics were just good enough to be stylish and awesomeAlthough some games have visually aged better than others. but still primitive enough that we could afford non-linear environments and a more cartoon approach to violence and bodycounts.

In a lot of ways it was ahead of its time: Lots of action set pieces. Animated, voice-acted cutscenes. In-game cutscenes instead of BINK video. Stylized visuals influenced by cinema.

This is something that would feel right at home on the shelf next to the latest Uncharted game. Why hasn’t this franchise been revived?

49. The Sims 2

I’m not the biggest fan of The Sims. The sims themselves are too abstract for me to feel a lot of personal investment in them, the “socializing and hoarding” gameplay runs pretty counter to my personality, and the needs-balancing gameplay never rose above dumb busywork for meI have enough time before work to either go to the bathroom or eat, but not both. And apparently there are no toilets or food at work, where I’m a powerful and important executive.. The underlying engine has always been offensively slow, requiring many times the horsepower it should and with loading times that transcend merely “annoying” and venture into “abusive”. The personalities are shallow nonsenseWe’re using the signs of the Zodiac, really? and the AI was so bad MOVE, I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM! NO, YOU MOVE, I WANT TO GO TO SLEEP! NO, LETS JUST STAND HERE AND EMOTE AT EACH OTHER FOR AN ENTIRE EVENING UNTIL I PISS MYSELF AND YOU PASS OUT. YES. THIS IS AN AMAZING SIMULATION OF HUMAN INTERACTION. the sims often crossed the line from “avatar” to “adversary”.

Having said all that: This game is certainly… uh. Popular? For some reason?

Okay, it’s not just “popular”. It’s one of the best-selling games of all time. Still, I could never get over the notion that the only reason it sells well is because nobody is trying to compete with it. This formula could be done much better. I can see how having a little suburban ant farm of simulated consumers can make for a fun game, but this is an idea in desperate need of refinement.

And no EA, that doesn’t mean “even more DLC”. Jackasses.


[1] I think fans would have welcomed more stories in the middle east or Asia, but Ubisoft is allergic to anything resembling risk.

[2] Perversely, the game does the opposite of what most RPGs do: The first act is free and open, and then later you’re funneled into a linear sequence of environments.

[3] Stop calling Minecraft a “voxel game”. While technically the data is indeed a grid of points, the world is drawn using plain old triangles, just like the ones in the latest Call of Shoot Guy.

[4] Although some games have visually aged better than others.

[5] I have enough time before work to either go to the bathroom or eat, but not both. And apparently there are no toilets or food at work, where I’m a powerful and important executive.

[6] We’re using the signs of the Zodiac, really?


Comments (134)

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    What,already the next part?Shamus,you are going to spoil us!

  2. MichaelGC says:


    Unintentionally it’s not far off from being a metaphor for certain types of human interaction… :p

    • purf says:

      I can’t be sure what exactly you’re referring to and I’ve only played the first one but I’d say: yes. The AI was part of the appeal for me.

      But then again, I usually played it by giving myself unlimited wealth and constructing elaborate (and pretty!) ant farms before letting the ants in.

      • MichaelGC says:

        Heh. Aye – I was thinking only of Shamus’ little footnote vignette. There you have two people (whose goals and aims are not in fact in conflict) confronting each other over something only tangentially related to those goals and aims, with the result that ultimately neither gets what they want, both are unhappy, and everyone else has to deal with a huge unpleasant mess.

        Just seemed reminiscent of a lot of online discourse! (Present cybercompany obviously excepted.)

        I’ve not actually played any version of the game, but your approach sounds fun. I hope the elaborate ant farms have lots of nice wide corridors!

    • Cybron says:

      Are we sure this is not an accurate simulation of human interaction? It seems fairly reminiscent of my experiences.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “Telltale Games The Walking Dead is a powerful experience that proves you don't need “better graphics” to have “more emotions”, and in fact the reverse might be true. ”

    “Photorealistic graphics” fits there much better,because graphics in walking dead was good.What it proves the most is that your artists skill is much more important than the number of polygons they are working with.

  4. syal says:

    I got one plot item away from beating Outcast when I was young. One of the neat things was that you could stop the random patrols by doing one of the major sidequests. That was a good thing, until you got stuck because you couldn’t find a plot item and there was nothing to fight anymore or otherwise distract you from your massive geographical failings.

    Got to agree with Planescape Torment, I’m trying to play through it but there are so many enemies, and my squishiest people always run to the front, and reviving them is a real pain when they die in Every. Single. Fight.

    And how dare [other listed games] make the list.

    • Tizzy says:

      It’s funny, I don’t remember Planescape Torment’s combat as being that bad. Of ourse, it was a while ago.

      I liked a lot of things about he game, like the fact that engaging with the story and your companions gave you tangible upgrades. I liked the exotic setting and the hard work that was put into deliberately staying away from the more pervasive sword and sorcery clichés.

      The main mechanics were pretty standard at the time, but there were so many innovative story ideas in the game that it was enough to sell it then. But it was already painfully obvious that the story structure had some problems. as pointed out by Shamus, the latter portions were very linear and only worth playing to reach the narrative payoff (which, unusually for story-driven games, was actually worth the hype). The game overall had a pacing problem and an abundance of everything that could be overwhelming. Lots of combat, lots of dialogue, lots of exploration…

      Remains one of my favorite games, though.

      • Thomas says:

        You can break it fairly easy with the right stats. The combat was totally horrible though. Luckily I discovered the ‘run to the end of the screen’ strategy and never looked back. The middle section of the game feels unfinished, but the very ending is just as good as the start. Basically when you leave the city the game starts going bad until the endgame.

      • Zekiel says:

        Problem with the combat was:

        1) Screen zoomed in more than other Infinity Engine games. Therefore less ability to do anything at range
        2) Hardly any spells that let you do anything other than damaging the enemy, protection or healing. So no opportunity (unless I’m forgetting something!) to charm enemies, confuse enemies, summon monsters etc
        3) Vast majority of enemies have one tactic – walk towards nearest party member, attack in melee
        4) Sluggish movement (i.e. doesn’t always respond properly)

        So combat was just boring – and once you got out of Sigil, there was far too much of it.

        Compare with Baldur’s Gate 2 where there was tons of variety in enemy capabilities and party capabilities, which made it a much more tactical experience.

        The fact that in spite of those significant problems is remains one of my most beloved games is a testament to the writing, characterization, setting and plot which were generally amazing.

    • Tom says:

      Planescape Torment, well, torments me. I want to play it again. I want to play it again SO BADLY. The first time I played through, I could barely stop, the story and world were that good, and clearly there’s MASSES of replay value in how you play the character.

      But I can’t. I’ve tried, a few times, and I just can’t make myself fight that antique, grinding, clunking, juddering, crawling interface and gameplay a second time. I guess I’ve been spoiled by modernity.

      Half of me wants to scream, dear god, somebody do a remake, no game deserves updating as much as this one.

      The other half screams, dear god, don’t remake it; there’s no way in hell that that gorgeous script would make it through to the other side of any modern dev company except in tattered, incoherent shreds of ruination.

      Updated my journal.

      • Mike S. says:

        I keep trying to play it at intervals, and keep running into those interface issues. I think I made it as far as the exit to Sigil once or twice, but it’s slow going. If it weren’t such an acknowledged classic I’d probably drop it, but as things are I’m hoping it clicks one of these times.

      • General Karthos says:

        This is unfortunate for a lot of really great games that just didn’t age well. There are examples of games that age really well: I STILL regularly play Escape Velocity and it came out in 1996. But it has really no competition in the “Space Sandbox” genre. Escape Velocity: Nova had better graphics but vastly inferior storytelling and freedom. (The only missions that payed even decently required you to pick a side; and once you picked a side, the linear story carried you along far too quickly.

        Another one I still play pretty regularly is Master of Orion II. (Which I am pretty sure will HAVE to make this list, since I know Shamus played it, and he’s written an article about how much he likes it on this blog already.) It’s still got one of my favorite space combat mechanics and simple building and simple ship design systems are awesome. The AI is pathetic, and it cheats absurdly on higher difficulty levels, but it’s still very fun.

        A game that didn’t age NEARLY as well for me was Baldur’s Gate. I LOVED the game when it first came out, and I still think it has one of the best stories of the day, but I just can’t get over the clunkiness of the interface, the problems with knowing where you are and where you’re supposed to be going, and the crushingly unforgiving gameplay. I keep swearing I’m going to play through it all again, now that I own it and I just can’t. Maybe that makes me shallow, but…. *sigh* Just doesn’t work for me, which is a shame, given that I love the guys who created it.

      • Corylea says:

        Do you know about the mods that have updated the game? They don’t bring it all the way up to 2014, but they DO help. You can find a guide to that here.

    • NotDog says:

      I never played Planescape myself, but the impression I always got was you’re supposed to dump your points into Wisdom to get all the pacifist dialog options.

      So I guess the bad combat is a property of the game being unbalanced against fighters.

  5. Lachlan the Mad says:

    Shamus, I have what may or may not be a minor disagreement with you on Assassin’s Creed, when you say that “The present-day meta-story is a dumb waste of time”.

    If you’re talking about the story of Desmond, I absolutely agree; Desmond is dumb and boring and the only interesting thing he does is make a moral choice (which the player should have had the right to make) at the end of Assassin’s Creed III.*

    However, I really, really like the postmodern take that the present-day sections of Assassin’s Creed IV have; you’re a game developer who is using the Animus to perform research for Abstergo’s video game division (as well as their “take over the world” division, but you don’t know that at first). This is a rather hilarious piece of postmodernism which removes the vast network of logical flaws involving Desmond’s (lack of) character. I would have liked AssCreed I-III a lot better if they’d had this postmodern story going on from the start.

    *This moral choice is that you can either (a) let most of humanity die from a solar flare, in which case you will be remembered as a hero by the survivors, but your memory will be perverted into a force of oppression as civilisation rebuilds or (b) sacrifice yourself to save humanity at the cost of nobody remembering you and also releasing a devilish trickster god upon the world to advance her own agenda . I really like the way it’s structured, with no clear “good” or “evil” option but it’s stupid that the protagonist gets to choose instead of the player, especially considering how boring and flavourless that protagonist is. Sure, one of the options kind of cuts out any possibility of sequels for Ubisoft, but there’s nothing wrong with a game having multiple endings but the developers declaring only one of them to be canon.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “and the only interesting thing he does is make a moral choice”

      And get punched in the face by John de Lancie.That was interesting as well.

      Also,animus as a plot device is actually a pretty good idea and an excellent way to handwave practically all the plot holes.

      • Lachlan the Mad says:

        And yet, up until AssCreed IV, they completely failed to do anything interesting with the animus, and its use caused way more plot holes than it fixed.

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          I’ll have to disagree on the use of animus in IV. I think at one point I could have appreciated it as Ubi sort of poking fun at itself, sort of going meta… but to me everything about IV felt like it was put together in a desperate bid to cash in on the sea battle mechanics from III.

          As for animus created plotholes, I liked it as a handwave for some “unrealistic” game conventions, such as the world waiting with the events on the PC. In IV… why would you ever let random employees anywhere near sensitive data on the A-T war and the artifacts?

          • Lachlan the Mad says:

            Eh, AssCreed IV was poorly justified (every AssCreed game has been poorly justified ever since Ubisoft decided to change the series from a discrete trilogy into a once-a-year Christmas-release money-spinner) but the meta-story worked really, really well. Sure, it’s illogical for the evil corporation to let employees access the secrets behind the ancient conspiracy on day one, but it’s an evil corporation, what kind of logic do you expect?

            • Sleeping Dragon says:

              Things is, I can appreciate games either going for an involved, deep story or not treating themselves too seriously but not switching between the two. Not to mention IV feels like its using most of the “evilcorp” silly tropes while still treating itself very, very seriously.

              To be fair, the sharp decline storywise already happened in II far as I’m concerned so I will admit that I’ve approached III and IV with some hostility. At this point I’m really playing the series mostly for the mechanics and gritting my teeth through the story bits.

        • ACman says:

          And it’s completely pointless. Just make a game series about a pan-eurasian, centuries-spanning conspiracy if you must join the games together.

          Why do you need eldar gods and future-tech in a game about stabbing people in historical periods? The whole things stinks of hack writers doing too much blow.

    • Thomas says:

      The thing about Assassins Creed 1 was the meta-story wasn’t a dumb waste of time then, not because it was any better or worse, but because it was planned to be a trilogy. So you’d have three games with individual plots and a meta plot to tie everything up.

      But then they pretended the trilogy idea never happened (after dragging it out by suggesting it was going to go 1,2,2.1,2.2,3,3.1,3.2) it becomes the most useless thing in the world. It literally can’t progress in a meaningful way because that would ruin the sequels. They managed to force an MMO static questline onto themselves.

      At least a non-meta storyline can resolve issues brought up in individual games. A meta storyline to a franchise with no end can’t even do that

      • Lachlan the Mad says:

        I don’t agree with that, if only because Desmond is a useless boring twat who never makes the slightest attempt to escape or indeed to anything interesting, and I really don’t see how you could possibly hang a meta-story on that.

        • Thomas says:

          Desmond good have been sacrificed to the plot, or the actions of the Templars could have been interesting.

          This was back when we were hoping the third game would be set in the modern day (somehow)

      • Taellosse says:

        Yeah, the meta-story, back in the original game, is what had me most interested (Altair’s story wasn’t that good, really, but I’m a sucker for secret wars and massive conspiracies). The mechanics of the game proper were nice enough, but got too repetitive after a couple of the main missions were done. The mechanics improved in subsequent games quite a bit, but the story started reeling about like a drunkard, finally descending into complete garbage with III. I bought IV, but the fact that they seemed to have completely given up on the meta-narrative now soured me on the franchise. I still haven’t finished the game, and may never get around to Unity or Rogue.

  6. MichaelG says:

    Is this also your “games you should really try” list, or would that be different? I’ve hardly played any of these.

    • Good luck with City of Heroes. You can still download the client, make characters, and even run around the zones, but the game’s pretty much gone unless someone manages to revive it.

      It was pretty unique as far as I can tell. Watching it evolve based on player feedback was pretty amazing. For example, as soon as a “Boombox” emote was installed, players would gather, a few would turn on some music, and everyone else would trigger powers to create the effect of an impromptu rave. Based on that, the game eventually got a dance club called “Pocket D,” which also became a handy hub for some of the holiday and co-op missions between heroes and villains, and allowed people on either side of Good vs Evil to meet up without PvP.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        “You can still download the client, make characters, and even run around the zones, but the game's pretty much gone unless someone manages to revive it.”

        Is it at all possible to turn an mmo game into something able to run on a home computer?Because Id buy this one in that case.

        • Radio Silence says:

          Current scuttlebutt is that Missing Worlds Media is (and has been discretely) in negotiations with NCSoft to acquire the IP Rights, and start up a maintenance mode version of the server as of at least Issue 23.

          So folks may have a chance to see the game how it was when they killed it while MWM works on an /actual/ successor as opposed to a ‘spiritual’ one.

          As to local emulation, I know someone put together a startlingly good script using the client’s demorecord feature for flying around zones, but I don’t know if anyone’s going to be able to extend that into mimicking gameplay altogether…both for legal and practical reasons.

      • Mike S. says:

        I’m not an MMO person, and even less so when I tried CoH (which was my first MMO, so I didn’t really get a lot of the conventions). But there were a lot of things I really liked during my brief sojourn there. The powers were cool and made me really feel like a superhero, even at low levels (especially flight!). The people (when I was able to make myself interact with strangers) were really nice and helpful, even though I was handicapped by not being a subscriber. (I think that not allowing chat to non-subs was a little extreme, though.) The voice balloon system was great for keeping track of who was speaking.

        And I don’t understand why every game hasn’t adopted the exemplaring/sidekicking system for allowing people of disjoint levels to play together. Or why every game with factions doesn’t have a system for people to transition between them. (With time and effort, so that the factions aren’t trivial.) I was shocked when I went to SWTOR as my second MMO, and found that these “obvious” elements weren’t universal.

        (Especially the second. Falls and redemptions are at the heart of Star Wars: surely Jedi should be able to fall to the Sith, and Sith repent their ways and seek reconciliation. Even with the non-Force users, an Imperial Agent who’s found he’s working for the wrong side should be able to come in from the cold, and what kind of smuggler is reliably tied to any government?)

    • Shamus says:

      That’s a good question. I’d say probably not. At least, it’s not explicitly a recommendation list. A lot of games are here for historical significance, and are by nature less interesting than later games that improved on their formula.

  7. purf says:

    You made me buy FUEL back then. I don’t regret it but what almost amazed me was how shit the game was to not even try to make any whatsoever connection between the races and the roaming. It felt like a tech demo with an unrelated forgettable racing game attached. And it would have been sooo simple: just some random encounters in the world. A tiny bit of effort on those dumb ghost trucks. The realization that I’ve just driven up to the starting line so don’t fly me in with a helicopter! Or how, awesome, you could make your own races/tracks in the world but, they didn’t become part of the world; you could race them (against yourself, if I remember correctly) only by selecting them from a menu.

  8. Matt Downie says:

    Even after reading the Intro, I don’t understand what this is a list of. I assumed it would be a personal list of favorites but “This game is certainly… uh. Popular? For some reason?” suggests maybe it’s a list of ‘important’ games or something?

    • shamann says:

      My interpretation is that it’s meant to include games Shamus either wants or feels should be in the list, a mix of personal standards of good and pseudo-objective standards of either technical excellence or cultural/gaming significance, where the challenge is to balance it all so that the list’s criteria feels meaningful. As such, it’s a list meant to highlight the difficulties and flaws of making such a list.

      So the troubles should be well-established by the end, but I wonder if upon its completion, we’ll have a sense of the rewards of creating such lists?

      • NotDog says:

        I’m just going to assume Shamus is making this list to delve into the sick and twisted thought processes of journalists who create top-x lists.

        It’s the only way I’ll stay sane when Shamus leaves out [game I like], or places [game I like] at the [position I don’t want [game I like] to be at]th spot, or otherwise rags on [game I like].

  9. Lame Duck says:

    I believe that the reason NOLF has never been revived is because it fell down the back of the legal sofa and now no-one’s entirely sure who owns the rights to it, which is why neither of them have been re-released digitally either.

  10. mike says:

    Time for another round of guess the header image games!

    1. WoW
    2. Monkey Island
    3. Red Dead Redemption
    4. Dishonored
    6. Myst
    7. The Path
    8. The Witcher
    9. Thief 2: The Metal Age
    11. Braid

  11. poiumty says:

    I love Outcast. I never got to play it properly during its heyday, but I played the demo to death and it was like eating the most delicious cake.

    Cutter Slade might just be the tackiest unironic name for a protagonist ever, though.

    Didn’t expect to see Planescape: Torment at #52. Was expecting to see it closer to #1, where Baldur’s Gate 2 should have been all along.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    By the way,why didnt we get more voxel graphics games?

    • poiumty says:

      something something graphics card manufacturers

    • Naota says:

      Well… you asked. Ready the reading glasses and gangway!

      If I had to guess, the tax of extra difficulty it placed on the artists. I’ve been meddling in 3D graphics just long enough to have caught the rear end of voxel modeling, and it’s a very tedious process.

      Basically, imagine creating a high-quality sprite. The bigger the sprite, the more detail you need to make it look good. Eventually you reach a point where merely placing pixels by hand stops being a reasonable way to create the image, which is where tablets, vector-based image editors, and suites like Photoshop come in for modern sprite artists (or even polygonal 3D models rendered orthogonally back down to 2D, ala the arcade brawler from Saint’s Row 4). This is the reason sprite graphics haven’t really scaled up larger in resolution than, say, Skullgirls or the Battletoads.

      With that in mind, consider that to make a voxel-based 3D model, you have to make a similarly high quality sprite out of hundreds of “slices” – one for every pixel-wide measure of depth the model has. You only need to paint the exterior pixels unless the game cuts your model in half, but there are many of them, and they all need to line up right and define a 3D shape, like an ultrasound image. You essentially have to fulfill the function of a human 3D printer, but with colour as well as shape.

      There are conceivably vector-based tools one could make to help shape models like these, but nothing can really eliminate the human effort of painting every pixel on what amounts to a giant 3D texture. Then there’s the fact that there are no vertices or edges to shape the outline of your model, so the only guideline is your brushwork on the previous “slice”.

      Finally there’s the matter of storage. A single voxel-based model is effectively a thousand bitmaps with dimensions in the thousands, while a polygonal model need only store a few thousand instances of XYZ coordinates and a binary value for the normals of the triangles they form, where a single texture can be used for the “skin” of the model. Again, there are compression and automation techniques that could lessen the load of the voxel model, but never enough to compete.

      Add to all this the fact that you can simply scale a polygonal model to any resolution a PC can handle, while a voxel model can never look any better that the resolution it was created at… it’s easy to see why polygons won out in the end, despite the cool-factor of voxel graphics.

    • ehlijen says:

      When voxels were big, 3d accelerator hardware came onto the market. While voxels could make more realistic landscapes, your game would run a lot faster if it used acceleratable polygon based engines. That’s why so many shooters at the time were set in underground bases: no need for natural landscapes. It was just overall faster and prettier to use 3d acceleration.

      Eventually, it was discovered how to make polygon art assets that looked truly round without overloading every known graphics card at the time, and the need for voxels went away.

      Also, by then almost everyone had a 3d accelerator, and the software only option for voxel games lost its appeal.

    • Well. There was Blade Runner The Game which used voxels for the characters (and pre-rendered backgrounds), pretty clever. The game was made by Westwood Studios, I’m sure some of their other games are recognizable too.
      “When we told Intel that we were doing a 640×480, 65,000 color game that emulates true color, with a 16-bit Z-buffer and six channel CD-quality audio, they said you can’t””the PCI bus can’t support it…we hadn’t even mentioned the 750,000 polygons for the characters yet.”

      “” Louis Castle, executive vice president of Westwood Studios

      Reading the development info it sounds like in theory the game can potentially be “hacked” to up the voxel count. *hmm*

  13. ehlijen says:

    I think there was actually a short lived series of sims like games, but they were explicitly about getting housemates to shack up or something. Singles I think it was called?

    From what I remember of the review it had the sims furniture buying and needs balancing, but no random neighbours or anything. It was apparently just about whatever 2 pregen sims you put in the same house.

    I’m guessing that sort of missed the point of the sims? (Not that I ever got what made the game so popular myself.)

    • Otters34 says:

      Yes, it was called ‘Singles: Flirt Up Your Life’. And it really was(from what I read about it back in the day) a stripped-down and hyper-foxused version of the Sims.

      And it was sorta-popular( if it was at all, i barely heard of it more than twice in the Middle Internet Era) for the same reason The Sums still is: people like playing make-believe, and one of the universal imagination games is imagining relationships and how they might play out.

  14. Ringwraith says:

    Random nitpick about The Sims 2: sims actually eat and/or relive themselves while at work if the respective needs gets low-ish. (Probably some others too, seems to be “within reason” somewhat).
    This often required putting them in a situation where they weren’t at their peak motivation for work that day, but time-wise was more efficient as they essentially did in a gap of otherwise “wasted” time, and they tend to max themselves out when it happens.

    Maybe I just liked building boring houses with my lack of inspiration, no idea, because those are all valid problems but I enjoyed it regardless.

  15. Shep says:

    Ass creed 1: Middle east
    Ass Creed 2: Italy
    Brotherhood: Italy
    Revelations: Turkey + middle east
    Ass creed 3: US eastern seaboard
    Liberation: Louisiana
    Black flag: West indies

    I can appreciate a lot of the other criticisms of the series, but I’m struggling to see how it is “patronisingly Eurocentric” when only 2 out of the major 7 games in the series have been set in Europe. I believe there is also a game in development that is going to be set in China taking a pre-existing character from the novels so I’m not sure that Ubisoft are really that allergic to risk.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      While its true that not many asscreed games were set in europe,most of them revolved around european colonies/european conquests.

    • Patrick the Bananna Hammer says:

      All of the characters, with the exception of Altair, were white men of European descent. I’m assuming he was referring to this and not the actual locations.

      Personally, I love the franchise. BUT….the story has started to unravel considerably. In Black Flag half the people in the universe seem to be either a Assassin or Templar. The entire Aztec/Mayan empire was presented as an dedicated Assassin factory, rather than some secret club. Which made no sense since their was no indigenous Templar presence in the Americas until the 16th century, which meant he Aztec/Mayans were just cranking out a hundred generations of Assassins for no reason.

      The concept of the world being controlled by a “secret” society of Templars, and opposed by an also “secret” society of Assassins, is made moot when those people walk around with badges and patches proclaiming their allegiance. The two groups are about as “secret” as LA street gangs wearing colors. They might as well hand out business cards.

      And don’t even get me started on the….umm…story arc? If you can call it that. The whole franchise seems to have been hijacked by some half-assed, wanna-be Hideo Kojima.

      • Shep says:

        I dunno, Ratonhnhaké:ton was half native american, Aveline was mixed race and Ezio was not exactly a WASP. In addition, you have Adéwalé who was the main character in a DLC and the aforementioned China DLC. I think Assassin’s Creed does a lot better than most games series in avoiding “generic white dude” syndrome which is why i’m a little baffled the series gets a lot of stick for it.

        I take Daemian’s point about the new world series focussing on the period of colonisation, but I think it would be difficult to even vaguely accurately portray a pre-Colombian society in the context of an Assassin’s Creed game – we don’t have anything like the historical knowledge that we have post-European discovery or even that of classical age Europe.

        Personally, I would like to see a few ideas in new games: ancient Rome, Egypt or Mesopotamia or maybe China/Japan but to be fair, many fans wanted revolutionary France too and that is what they are doing now.

        I’m with you 100% on the whole “secret society” thing – they couldn’t be much less secret if they wore name tags.

        • Patrick the Bananna Hammer says:

          I don’t have as much of an issue with the WASP-y thing as Shamus does, either. A very sizable chunk of recorded history comes from Europe, so it only makes sense that a sizable chunk of the game is derived from that, too.

          My issues are 99% due to the change in narrative. The universe makes sense when it’s few/one assassin fighting a larger collective of ‘bad guys’. It makes zero sense when there are more Templars/assassins than there are regular citizens. I can almost feel the writers dragging the narrative closer to modern day times and attaching the Templars to the GOP.


          • It’s very much headed to Vampire: The Masquerade territory. Before anyone jumps on me for dissing the game’s nuts & bolts, that’s not the issue. It’s just kind of how the game lore kept getting more and more detailed, eventually everything that happened in history was to do with a vampire, a mage, or whatever, and regular people did eff all.

            It’s like how if you believe conspiracies for long enough, there are no longer any coincidences, and you wind up shaking your fist at the Illuminati because your toast came out slightly darker than you’d hoped for.

            • Mike S. says:

              That’s something common to both secret histories and serial shared universes. (Try to find a major historical figure who hasn’t met Superman or Batman at some point in the last seven decades. And I’m pretty sure that at one point George Washington was officially replaced by Illuminati superstar Adam Weisshaupt in DCU history, before someone came to his senses.)

              So a serial shared universe about a secret history, like the World of Darkness, is going to get it in spades.

            • Holmann says:

              Illuminati burning the toast? Nah mate, you’ve got it all wrong. It’s the Bilderberg Group what’s responsible for that, what with their ties and control of the global military industrial complex.

              Illuminati are the ones that use their mind-control rays to make you forget your keys and get the pigeons to defecate all over your car in the morning.

              (Incidentially, the NWO are the ones that periodically back up your plumbing.)

          • swenson says:

            Pretty sizable chunks of recorded history came from India and China as well, y’know.

      • NotDog says:

        Now I’m curious about what the Assassin’s Creed franchise would be like if headed by the actual Hideo Kojima.

        Besides, you know, the really long cutscenes.

    • Thomas says:

      I’d say 5/7 are eurocentric though. Maybe even 7/7 in that the middle east ones specifically deal with the points of history in the middle east that are important to Europeans.

      When people talk about ‘Euro-centric history’ they basically mean ‘western-centric’, it’s just that the USA doesn’t have much history to speak of. It’s the tales of Europeans and the continent they settled after ‘discovering’ it away from the natives. In a similar way, Pirates are the story of European colonialism and European trade.

      I think the series would have been at their best if the globe-trotted and were fairly surprising with each new location. A chinese or Japanese or African Assassins Creed would be great. The African one would have the problem that the great African Empires were oral cultures but the series has always sucked at conveying history anyway, and it’s not the most realistic franchise.

      Heck it would have been worth it just for the number of people who would be surprised that there were African empires in a very recognisable usage of the word.

  16. Patrick the Bananna Hammer says:

    I was wondering where you would put The Sims. I remember buying this game WAAaayyy back in 2003(?) when it first was released, just to see what everyone was talking about. You described it then as a game that “..occupies your every waking moment and infiltrates your every thought, right up until the day you load the game and realize you have absolutely no desire to play it again.Ever“

    It was every bit of that, and nothing more.

    And to an extent, it HAS been redone and refined. Just about every browser Facebook game that ends in “˜ville' or has “˜City' in its title steals some components of The Sims style and gameplay. They just wrapped The Sims around farm animals and called it a game. The dynamics aren't really all that different.

    Also, I always thought that The Sims stimulated the female user that couldn't relate with anything being released at the time. Back in 2002 there were what…maybe 5 genre's of video games? All of which were (more or less) directed at the post-adolescent male? I'm not trying to be misogynistic, but socializing and consumerism are two things that (more or less) are of great interest to the post-adolescent female. I don't think it was intentionally designed just for women, but without looking up any hard user data it's a safe bet that The Sims had a much higher female user rate than any other game during or before it's release.

    • Hal says:

      I had the first Sims as well, and enjoyed it well enough. A bout of nostalgia induced me to try to find it; since my disk had long-since vanished, that meant finding a place to download it.

      This was basically an impossible task. The game was called, “The Sims.” I pawed through search results for hours without finding anything that wasn’t a sequel. So frustrating.

  17. MadTinkerer says:

    “I'd love to see an alternate history where Moore's Law ran a little slower and so developers had spent more years depending on text to tell their stories rather than making the jump to movie-style storytelling.”

    I would like to see an alternate history where id Software’s main business became porting Nintendo games to PC, and Nintendo on PC became as big as First Person Shooters were at the time. I don’t think this would necessarily be a better world, but without the entrenched FPS genre and publishers jumping on the 3D bandwagon we wouldn’t have had 3D accelerators in the 90s and game graphics would have focused on fast 2D and slow 3D for at least a whole further decade. Developers who started in the 80s and early 90s and specialized in those early games would have had more of a chance to survive without the chaos that sudden shift to 3D caused.

    Heck, I’d just like to see what 2D alternate-universe Everquest and WoW would look like…

  18. Cilvre says:

    Surprisingly while I preferred the story in the first assassins creed, the gameplay felt repetitive and like I had to slog through it, I felt they fixed that in the second one but the story felt a bit off pace to me. I played all of them through the ending of assassin’s creed 3 and while I liked that they ended the story, I didn’t like the lack of choices at the end. I at least didn’t feel like I wasted all my time though the third game was where I started to feel done with the series.

    • Ivan says:

      Really? I had the opposite experience. The gameplay in the first one was just enough to get me to the second to last boss and after that I decided to finish it because I was so close to the end. But when I started up 2 I was quickly disappointed that nothing substantial had changed. You were still just as overpowered as ever and there was never any reason to run from a fight. I honestly don’t know how I managed to play it through to the end. I’m not quite sure how my friends convinced me to try Ass-Creed Bro-Ho but I think it had something to do with it being $5 and maybe some multiplayer that I never ended up playing. That was more interesting with the ability to call in your minions to kill some dudes at a moments notice, but again you were even more overpowered than ever.

      I will be playing Unity though, for two reasons. First, because they axed the counter kill, and second, because of Co-op.

      • Cilvre says:

        i tested the 3rd one for ubisoft when they were alpha and beta testing multiplayer, and it’s what kept me from playing multiplayer, feedback was ignored on multiple issues and I watched the match and invite system devolve into a mess. The second game had a bit more variety in how you could accomplish tasks and you didn’t have to do the same exact submissions in every city to get the main mission like you had to in the first game. I had quit playing the first game for a while and then just plowed through it in a day so i could try the second one and know the story.

        Because the story for me ended with ac3, i refused to try any of the new ones that have come out. the plot for me ended.

        • Ivan says:

          Ah, that’s right, I’m starting to remember all the complaints I heard about the first game being repetitive. That wasn’t the part that bothered me though because I entertained myself by playing with every weapon in the game until I couldn’t think of any new ways to mow down/kill guards. Sword, dagger, hidden blade, tackling people off of docks and roofs and into scaffolding, turns out you can even win a fist fight against the guards so long as there aren’t too many of them. By the start of the last mission though I had run out of creative ways to kill people to master and I was really disappointed that the second game was nearly identical on that front. It would have been more interesting if the game had some reason to use the stealth mechanics but once you master the counter kill the rest of the game is mindnumbingly easy.

  19. Attercap says:

    The Sims series is probably my biggest time and money sink, game-wise. I’ve been playing the franchise since it launched and bought just about every expansion (I think I missed a few for the first game and have skipped certain “stuff packs”). I enjoy coming up with (or downloading from modders) new fashions and house designing, but I never feel an extreme sense of fun from the gameplay itself… and yet it’s also one of the only games where, when playing, I lose all sense of real time–I finally stop to look up and it’s 2am and I just have no idea where the time went.

    If I had to come up with my top N list of games, the Sims franchise would have to be part of it just because of the amount of time and money I’ve invested (I’d go with the Sims 3, though, as the open world and create-a-style really shined). And yet I couldn’t really tell you a single story made from gameplay memories.

    • Patrick the Bananna Hammer says:

      My biggest turn-off (the point when i realized when i didn’t want to play again, ever) was when it donned on me, that despite logging a few hundred hours, I never at one time felt any sense of accomplishment. I never “completed” anything. You never ‘ding’, never gain any palpable advantage, never advance the narrative…..it feels more like..i dunno…work. Like digging a hole in the sand.

      At the time, I got more satisfaction and fulfillment re-designing my Myspace page.

      • Attercap says:

        I think it’s that lack of achievements or progress of worth which make it such a time-sink. The game just keeps going. And, for some reason, even through 3 sequels, I keep playing. I’ll get into the game for a solid month or month and a half, then walk away for half a year, only to return again. It scratches an itch for me that no other game seems to hit–except for maybe the character creator in the late, lamented, City of Heroes.

    • Ian says:

      I also would pick Sims 3 over 2 because there are now toilets at work and people there to talk to and socialise at the same time as working. Much more playable that way.

      • Thomas says:

        Sims 3 really is a worthy advancement on Sims 2 in all ways. The path finding was better, there are no load screens, you can let diagonals enter your life, you can switch families without freezing the first in time… it just generally feels a lot more user friendly.

  20. Thomas says:

    Oh wow I just realized you were putting alt text on the pictures. How long have I not been properly enjoying your website, Shamus? HOOOOW LONNNG?

  21. Michael says:

    “As much as people praise Planescape: Torment, I'd love to see what developers would give us after a few iterations on the idea.”

    Fortunately, the next iteration is coming out next year.

    I backed the hell out of that Kickstarter.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      There’s more than one contender for next iteration as I understand it. Forget what the other is called. Pillars of Eternity?

      • Thomas says:

        Pillar of Eternity it is, coming out beginning of summer 2015.

        @Michael Torments: Tides of Numeria isn’t coming out next year. My guess would be end of 2016 at the earliest. Once they went over their asking price, the plan was never to meet the original deadline and they announced that it’s going to be much later than that.

        On top of that there’s another two factors:
        1. Kickstarter games (and in game development in general) are always late.
        2. They were late starting on Tides because Wasteland 2 was late. Because kickstarters are always late.

  22. Robyrt says:

    For all the silly excesses of the later Assassin’s Creed games, the original had a coherent premise, a cool future subplot, and a storyline that had you sympathize with both sides of a secret conflict that was an actual secret. The trademark white outfit was actually linked to the “blend in with crowds” gameplay mechanic. There was a way to stealth through every single mandatory mission, until you got to the terrible ending section at least. The free running mechanic was basically the next step from Prince of Persia. They did a lot of things right, and it’s a shame they stopped there and just started iterating on blameless protagonists and all the historical characters you like versus the GOP Inquisition.

  23. Jokerman says:

    The Walking Dead should be higher, your opinion is wrong… im done with this site.

  24. lethal_guitar says:

    “The story of Ezio is the worst case of Marty Sue”

    I guess that was supposed to read “Mary Sue”? Or is this intentional?

  25. Thomas says:

    The Sims is a great franchise, only Minecraft rivals it for it’s expressiveness. Real Sims fans know that it’s all about the Motherlode cheat and just creating a world that looks pretty and interesting to you.

    But I’m always shocked that there is no competition. It’s hard to name a single other genre where a game is so phenomenally successful and yet no-one has tried to imitate it.

    My only guess would be, maybe it’s really hard to make one and developers can only afford to do it nowadays thanks to all the legacy code? But that seems like nonsense. The Sims prints money

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Sims 2 introduced the genetic algorithm, so it became interesting and plausible skip the motherlode cheat and actually see what you could do with multiple generations.

      I usually start with 5 families (2 of each personality, one of each career) and then play it forward, only creating new characters as necessary to avoid cosanguinity in each subsequent generation.

      Just for a little variety, I’ll even pretend that the game starts in a certain year and only use technology roughly appropriate. So, starting in 1900 means no electronics. Around 20 days into it, I randomly have the men change to the military career for 2 days and then find a new civilian career. Randomly get them fired around 30 days -but if they can afford a radio…

      Virtually everyone in the second generation has to start off in the military career for 5 days.

      I’ve never gotten past the 3rd generation like this before the game crashed or the computer died. But there is a lot to enjoy about it. With the later expansions, I’ve even tried to create a self-sufficient city with farmers and shop owners. Even the cars are produced by mechanics.

      Fun with Sims 2 is where you find it.

    • Patrick the Bananna Hammer says:

      I think it has been copied. Thousands of times. Nearly every FB game that ends in ‘ville’ is just The Sims re-packaged as animals, vampires or some other quirky universe. The all share the same base philosophy: Socialize, build, decorate, repeat.

      • Thomas says:

        But they don’ actually contain much of the core gameplay. They’re the Flash game knock-off, which is very different from an actual game knock off. (Speaking of which, there is a pretty good 2D knock off of the Sims, Extra Credits mentioned it once)

  26. Adam Haase says:

    I miss City of Heroes a LOT. I feel bad for not playing it more near the end, but I doubt it would have saved it from the clueless bureaucratic greed of NCSoft. (These are the guys who fired Richard Garriot and tried to claim he quit so they didn’t have to pay his stock options…)

    Some MMO’s we don’t miss at all when the servers are finally shut down… I won’t shed a tear when Ultima Online is finally gone. But City of Heroes is the kind of game you remember running around King’s Row and you sigh and just want to go back one more time…

    • Chargone says:

      I had So Much Fun with traps!

      Pointless in an 8 man team (setup time), and good luck getting randoms to cooperate on smaller ones, but a good traps build and smart players could let a 4 man team hit like a seven. (Had to be careful with the difficulty though, the favoured high level 8 man “everything is purple!” Was a bit much.

      And who doesn’t like explosions?

  27. ET says:

    Minor mistake:
    You forgot to put a break in, so the whole article shows up on the main page instead of just the first couple paragraphs.

  28. vdeogmer says:

    Regarding the alt-text on Planescape’s picture, I wound up with the opposite problem. I had friends that were in love with this game called “Planetscape” back in the day, and kept insisting I needed to check it out. I would try and look it up, and figure I just wasn’t meant to find whatever they were talking about because all I could find was Planescape, and that plainly wasn’t what they were talking about.

  29. General Karthos says:

    Okay, I’m a Sims fan. I enjoy the game for just plain relaxing. I agree that the load times are absurd, and there are other things I hate about the game, but I like making a little family (with generous mods) that I can build from extreme poverty to glorious wealth in a few generations. And I really enjoy designing creative houses with towers and secret passages and hidden basements….

    So I’m not getting The Sims 4; I’m perfectly happy with Sims 3, and Sims 4 is removing features in a blatant attempt to include content that SHOULD have been in the base game in DLC, and thereby making those DLCs “must haves”.

  30. Phantos says:

    The Walking Dead.

    *grumble grumble*

    Like Spec-Ops The Line, there’s a game that should have been one of my favourites. But the way it abandons even the illusion of choice, and completely throws out every choice you made before the end infuriated me. The way it threw out those choices in favour of narrative-destroying stupidity and contrivance on the part of the writers. The way it blatantly lies to you at the start of every episode about what your input means.

    This game is a broken contract. Peter Molyneux has promised less and delivered more. I’ve never felt so betrayed by a developer.

    …Until I played The Walking Dead Season 2. It’s time for me to accept that Telltale Games is just another soul-less, horrible game developer.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “The way it blatantly lies to you at the start of every episode about what your input means.”

      Except it doesnt.What people keep forgetting is that choices in video games dont have to affect the story as a whole,but they can just as well impact the player/his character.Sure,it doesnt change the ultimate outcome if you try to cut off the chain first,or if you go immediately for the leg,or if you just leave the guy behind,but i changes what kind of person lee is.

      • Merlin says:

        That’s been one of the things I found most interesting about picking up pen & paper RPGs: how replayability can negatively impact the player’s feelings on a story. In a video game, you might choose to align yourself with a gang, leading to a shootout in a warehouse against the cops. And then you load up your save, side with the cops, have a near-identical shootout against the gang, and feel cheated because the overall outcome of your choice is basically the same. Even if the shootouts were fun, the first response is often a complaint over the choice existing at all.

        On the flip side, if I’m DMing a relatively heavy system like D&D, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m going to lean on palette swaps every now and again. But the simple fact that the players don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes keeps things feeling relevant and fresh. And I’ve found that, being on the planning side of the equation, it’s made me much more positive towards false-ish choices like this in video games.

  31. Phantos says:

    I admire classic Sims, if only for it’s ability to either be a virtual doll-house, OR a twisted game of survival. One where you pit people in confined place with no escape, and watch them die one by one, either by drowning, starvation, or seeing which one burns last.

    It’d be like Survivor, except less of a soul-scarring waste of time.

  32. Zak McKracken says:

    I do wonder what the order of games is based on. You heap praise on the walking dead at 55, sitting next to AssCreed, and at 49 there’s very few nice things about the Sims …
    If I had had to guess, I’d have expected Fuel and TWD much further up your list.

    Disclaimer: I’ve not played any of these games, and my opinion is mostly based on what I’ve learned about them from this site here. So I’m curious whether I got it all wrong or whether the list is meant to mean something else.

  33. Amarsir says:

    At the time you played DCUO it was a bad console port. In the months after that they changed their interface a lot to the point where everything after character creation is really well done. (Creation is still a controller-type interface, meaning it’s overly nested where point-and-click lists would be better.)

    Rewards are more about mission than combat, that remained true. But you get a lot of combat in those missions.

    They added more powers, and although still not as many as CoH at it’s prime, it doesn’t feel that repetitive either.

    And as for costumes, that’s an interesting thing. DCUO treats costumes as collectibles and rewards. That does make it more difficult to create a character with a concept, you’re correct. But it also creates goals for people who love costumes, and I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. It’s an interesting topic with pluses and minuses on either side.

  34. Corylea says:

    I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t like Planescape: Torment better. I agree that the combat is a pain in the neck, but I just use mods to make it better. To me, the game is wonderfully brilliant; the slowly dawning realization of who you have been and what you have done is an experience like no other. The depth and creativity take my breath away, and this game will always be on my personal top-ten list.

  35. Someone says:

    Picture guesses 56-49:
    1 – World of Warcraft
    2 – Monkey Island???
    3 – ???
    4 – Dishonored
    5 – ???
    6 – ???
    7 – The Path
    8 – The Witcher
    9 – Thief 2
    10 – ???
    11 – ???
    12 – Marlow Briggs and whatever of bullshit thing

  36. Jabberwok says:

    Just came here to say that I loved Assassin’s Creed 2. Though there were many things in it that annoyed me, but all of those have always been in the series. Ezio’s arc was definitely the highlight of the series for me. It helped that he had three whole games to develop through. It also helped that the Crusades and Renaissance Italy are two of my favorite periods in history. AC3 and beyond is all gibberish and feature creep to me, but the first two games are great. And while I like Altair’s story, I found him too dour to be enjoyable as a protagonist. Young Ezio had the right amount of insufferable cockiness to see him become more interesting with experience. But admittedly, it takes playing every sidequest all the way through Revelations to get a sense of that. And I wouldn’t blame anyone for getting bored halfway through Brotherhood, if not before.

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