Ep. 088 – Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Whiplash, Halo: The Master Chief Collection – 22nd Nov. 2014

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This week on The Awesome Addiction, Shane, Jason and Ben welcome newcomer Amy to review the open-world of Paris in Assassin’s Creed: Unity. Shane still hasn’t played Sunset Overdrive, but for good reason: multiplayer in Halo: The Master Chief Collection has been patched which means he’s been playing it!

And in the second segment, the guys sink their teeth into Whiplash, a jazz-infused drama starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. If you haven’t seen it yet, FIX THAT IMMEDIATELY!

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10:40 – Assassin’s Creed: Unity
23:14 – Halo: The Master Chief Collection multiplayer
26:27 – Whiplash

It’s a big name week next week as the guys review Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire and Far Cry 4.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity Review

The Assassin’s Creed series has established itself among other franchises as a stand out in terms of historical settings and boasting beautifully recreated worlds across the spans of time. Despite this, I was starting to lose interest in the series, not even bothering with Brotherhood and Revelations. If it weren’t for 2013’s Black Flag, I probably wouldn’t even have picked up Unity. Ok, that’s a lie – I would have, simply because it’s a new PlayStation 4 game exclusive to current generation consoles and its promise of a beautifully recreated France during the Revolutionary period of the 1700’s.

Set in Paris, the story follows a young Parisian named Arno Dorian. Following the death of his Assassin father, a family – with ties to the Templar Order, sworn enemies of the Assassins – takes Arno under their wing. Blaming himself when his adoptive father is killed, Arno sets himself out on a quest to bring the killers to justice bringing him into the Brotherhood of Assassins and slowly rising through the ranks. Arno’s love interest is in the form of Elise who is his adoptive father’s daughter and a Templar herself. Much like in previous Assassin’s Creed instalments, the game introduces several historical figures including the likes of Napoléon Bonaparte and The Marquis de Sade.

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The games’ story is somewhat identical to previous instalments, but thankfully, the present day story arc is minimal in this game, giving much more immersion into the finely detailed world that is 1700’s France. Additionally the story has ties to Assassin’s Creed Rogue, the Assassin’s Creed game that was released alongside Unity for the previous generation consoles. While Arno himself is relatively cool, he isn’t at all relatable and he just seems bland and faceless amongst the “getting kind of stale” rivalry between the Assassins and the Templars, making the story seem really thin.

Booting up Unity and immersing oneself for a few moments into the opening levels, you immediately notice that the designers have utilized the power of the current gen consoles as the models and characters look beautifully rendered. With a few more hours of play, you are exposed to an open and immersive recreation of France and I must say – wow! I was so impressed at the immaculate detail of the buildings, alleyways and the entire volatility of the Revolutionary era. Streets are crowded with characters, more than I have ever seen in a game on screen at any particular time, the French flag is strewn in the mud amongst mobs, anarchists and police officers fight openly in the streets, the sounds of the pedestrians and markets are overwhelmingly detailed. Needless to say, my eyes and ears were impressed!

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However, after getting over the initial visual exposure and reveling in how beautiful the game looks, I became frustrated and annoyed about how the game feels. The problems with controlling the main character, Arno, are the same issues I had with Altair, Ezio and Edward from Assassin’s Creed I, II and IV respectively. While the game has a new “free run up” and “free run down” system for ease of traversal, I found a lot of my time was wasted yelling at Arno for climbing onto a ledge that was in the opposite direction in which I pushed the left stick or for hanging outside a window, furiously pressing the L2 button because the game said “push L2 to enter window” only for Arno to either hang there non-chalantly or even shimmy in the opposite direction. Oftentimes, I was frustrated when he was hanging on a building and I would hit X to climb up, only for Arno to stay in place and move slightly, further adding to my frustration.

Combat was another issue altogether. While the animations of Arno’s attacks are quite stunning and akin to a swashbuckling film, the camera always gets in the way of full cohesion and Arno struggles to respond to your commands with dexterity. In fact, so many times did Arno “disagree” with what I was telling him both in combat situations and with world traversal, I was legitimately questioning myself if I was actually this bad of a gamer.

This was exemplified during “stealth” missions. Requiring me to blend in with crowds and avoid detection, I found myself being spotted even when I was certain that I was not in the view of the guards. Sure, there’s a push L2 feature for a “stealth mode” and you can take cover on walls, but most of the time I was either spotted, or I was cursing Arno for going into the wrong direction. Ultimately, the stealth mechanic feels really broken and apart from some key “tutorial” missions at the beginning of the game, if you are spotted you can either throw a smoke bomb and run away or stand by and fight them, so in any regard I felt there was no point and no reward to stealth at all.

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The exploration of Revolutionary era France made up for a lot of control issues I had experienced, including doing side missions like collection heads for Madame Tussaud and uncovering clues to solve murder mysteries, adding more depth to a rather thin story-line. During the story line, the player is given Assassination targets, which I had found rather enjoyable purely because of the free reign you had to accomplish them.

Assassin’s Creed Unity also boasts a variety of customization that I quite enjoyed. As with all games in the series, Unity rewards exploration and I loved spending a bit of time finding chests to earn money so I could update Arno’s look, in turn updating his health, combat and stealth statistics. Making my Arno look like a Musketeer was a very proud moment for me. Doing missions also gives you points to spend on skills to develop Arno into even more of a killing machine, such as giving him the ability to roll after a great fall, or throw coins into public – ok, so not so much of a killer then, at least I still enjoyed unlocking a using these skills. The game also has a very rewarding multiplayer aspect whereby you can join Assassin’s online and complete difficult missions and earn better weapons and gear.

Concluding, I have had quite a bit of fun marveling at the visuals and stunning recreation of France and free running across rooftops and atop Notre Dame, however the clunky controls prove frustrating and take a lot out of the game. The story is very “by the books” and I got very little fulfillment from it but I absolutely loved roaming France, completing murder mysteries and doing random side quests. I would still recommend playing Assassin’s Creed Unity, but I would warn about the frustration the controls gave and the silly glitches the game contains. Ultimately, I feel like the game needed a bit more time before its release as it feels somewhat unfinished.

Ep. 087 – Halo: The Master Chief Collection, John Wick – 15th Nov. 2014

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It’s an action-packed episode this week as Shane, Jason H and Terry take the mics to review the latest and greatest video game compilation, Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

And like a deadly hitman, in the second segment they carefully pick apart the action romp John Wick starring Keanu Reeves. Spoilers: it’s a friggin’ awesome movie!

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02:23 – Halo: The Master Chief Collection
25:35 – John Wick

Thanks for listening, awesome addicts! Join us next week for our reviews of the open-worlds of Sunset Overdrive and Assassin’s Creed: Unity and the Miles Teller film, Whiplash.

Ep. 086 – Interstellar, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, The Evil Within – 8th Nov. 2014

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It’s another blockbuster episode this week as Shane, Jason H, Jason M and Terry orbit the mics to review several games including Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, The Evil Within, Fantasia: Music Evolved and more!

Then buckle in for a discussion of galactic proportions as the guys attempt to review Interstellar, a sci-fi epic that has the crew very divided.

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01:18 – The Evil Within
18:35 – Fantasia: Music Evolved
24:17 – Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
34:38 – Steamworld Dig
39:43 – Interstellar
01:07:37 – Interstellar SPOILERS

Thanks for listening once again, awesome addicts! Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to catch our thoughts on Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Sunset Overdrive and John Wick.

Ep. 085 – PAX Australia 2014 – 3rd Nov. 2014

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The guys trip it down to Melbourne this week for PAX Australia 2014! Join Shane, Jason H, Jason M, Terry and now-official PAX Correspondent Adam Rida as they discuss the latest and greatest games from the show floor!

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From AAA titles to indie darlings, from console classics to the latest tabletop experiences, the guys spend a whole 3 days covering the whole damn thing! Plus Shane and Jason H interview some Aussie indie devs from the show floor including League of Geeks, Cardboard Keep and Thomas Janson.

Thanks for listing guys! Join us next week for our reviews of Interstellar, Fantasia: Music Evolved, The Evil Within and much more!

Ep. 083 – Gone Girl, Shadow of Mordor, Super Smash Bros. – 18th Oct. 2014

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It’s a smashing episode this week as Shane, Jason, Ben and Terry tick all The Awesome Addiction boxes again: games, movies and TV!

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In the first segment, Jason has finally watched Book 1 of The Legend of Korra and the pilot of House of Cards, and Shane couldn’t be happier. Terry and Shane give their thoughts on Super Smash Bros. on 3DS while Shane tells tale of his adventures in Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. Your host has also dabbled in Diablo 3 on PS4 (thanks to Jason) and he explains why Destiny could learn a lot from Blizzard’s action-RPG.

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And to round it out in the second segment, the guys do their best job to explain just how much and why they love David Fincher’s latest dramatic thriller that’s sweeping the world, Gone Girl.

02:01 – The Legend of Korra
08:18 – House of Cards
10:05 – Super Smash Bros. on 3DS
25:26 – Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
35:07 – Diablo 3 vs Destiny
44:52 – Gone Girl
01:13:27 – Gone Girl SPOILERS

We hope you enjoyed this week’s episode, fellow addicts! Join us next week for our reviews of The Legend of Korra video game, the historical dramedy Pride starring Bill Nighy, and Brad Pitt and Shia LeBeouf in the WWII action drama Fury.

Ep. 080 – The Maze Runner, Destiny, D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die – 27th Sept. 2014

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Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 12.35.03 pmThis week on The Awesome Addiction, Shane, Jason H, Terry and Ben review the teen-fiction adaptation/sausage-fest known as The Maze Runner. Is its by-the-books storytelling a good thing or a bad thing?

In the second segment, the Destiny discussion continues as both Terry and Jason pass Level 20 and Shane wonders if he’s had enough. One game he hasn’t had enough of is the Xbox One Kinect exclusive D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die. You’ll wonder why he’s interested after you hear what the game entails. And to wrap it up the guys play some Survival of The Nerdiest and VS.

02:25 – The Maze Runner
18:15 – The Maze Runner SPOILERS
29:13 – Destiny
46:37 – D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die
54:11 – Survival of The Nerdiest
01:03:50 – VS

It’s EB Expo time next week! Shane and Jason M are making the trip down to Sydney! Look forward to their their thoughts plus the guys thoughts on Denzel Washington’s new film, The Equalizer.

Ep. 079 – Destiny, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, Forza Horizon 2 – 20th Sept. 2014

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Destiny is still the talk of the town this week as Jason Hendrickx rejoins the cast to tell us why he’s loving Bungie’s latest game, while after a few more hours Shane raises a few criticisms. Your host also dabbled in the Xbox One demo of Forza Horizon 2 and, as a non-raceing fan, gives his brief thoughts on the current-gen sequel.

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Then in the second segment, Ben and Jason review Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. How does it hold up after nine years of production troubles? You’ll have to listen to find out. And to round things out, Ben raises a question about how we view attractive women in films and what’s involved in critiquing them based on their looks.

01:30 – Destiny
20:45 – Forza Horizon 2 demo
24:47 – Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
52:27 – Attractive Women in films and how we critique them

Join us next week for our reviews of The Maze Runner, The Boxtrolls and the Xbox One Kinect game, D4.

Ep. 077 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Boyhood, Summer Movie Wager – 8th Sept. 2014

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It’s all about the movies this week as Shane, Jason H, Jason M and Ben orbit the mics to review Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the first segment. Cowabunga!
Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 10.28.53 amIn the second segment, the guys review a film that can only be described as a piece of cinematic history: the 12 year epic, Boyhood.

And in the final segment, they discuss the results of the Summer Movie Wager (which you can listen to here) before rounding it out with another round of Survival of The Nerdiest and everyone’s favourite game, VS!
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02:59 – TMNT
25:58 – Boyhood
52:29 – Summer Movie Wager Results
01:05:27 – Survival of The Nerdiest
01:11:51 – VS.

Thanks for listening gals and pals! We’re diving into Bungie’s Destiny next week while Mr. Hendrickx and Ben are hitting up a Pile of Shame film of their’s, The Great Escape.

Ep. 076 – Magic in the Moonlight, Diablo III, The Spectacular Now – 30th Aug. 2014

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It’s another ULTRA-MEGA 4 part show this week as Shane, Jason, Terry and Ben orbit the mics to discuss a plethora of games and films!

Before Shane kicks the show off, he takes the time to give some well-deserved praise to Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra, a show you NEED to be watching! In the first segment the boys review Woody Allen’s latest movie Magic in the Moonlight starring Colin Firth and Emma Stone. In the second segment, the boys have been playing quite a few games including Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition, Yoshi’s Island, Unturned, Space Engineers and Cards Against Humanity.

And in the third segment prepare yourselves for the return of VS and Survival of The Nerdiest, followed by a review of 2013′s The Spectacular Now starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller in the fourth segment.

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02:25 – Shane’s fanboy love-fest for The Legend of Korra
05:45 – Magic in the Moonlight
25:36 – Unturned
34:45 – Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
42:13 – Space Engineers
56:22 – Yoshi’s Island
01:00:18 – Cards Against Humanity
01:04:58 – Survival of The Nerdiest
01:13:57 – VS.
01:30:51 – The Spectacular Now

Thanks for listening this week, fellow addicts! Join us next week for our reviews of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Boyhood. Plus, we’ll have the results of the Summer Movie Wager and boy is it coming down to the wire!