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Merry Christmas, new Game Dungeon!

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Well hello there, Mario Nelson. It's been a long time, glad you're holding up well.


Come the full moon, the bat flies whose boiling blood shall stem the tide.

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Ross, the whole point behind The Purge movies is that the psycho killers aren't really even psychos, they're hired by the fascist regime that staged a coup before the series began to kill off the underclass to stem overpopulation. Hence the title.

My little gaming blog


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Wow. I remember this game garnering some controversy when it launched over the whole "armed quasi-military organization with no oversight" thing, but this is so much worse than I thought. Gee, I always wanted a game set in the Last of Us universe where you play as one of the evil military guys enforcing the quarantine zones. And speaking of other games of dubious merit that this makes look good by comparison, the stuff about the failure to establish why almost any of the "bad guys" are supposed to be considered the bad guys reminded me of Homefront. That game was criticized for going way too far to show how cartoonishly evil the invading forces were, but at least it bothered to establish it. Hell, if the footage you showed was any indication, they couldn't even be bothered to show any of the "rioters" and "looters" actually doing any rioting or looting. They're just kind of milling about in the street. I'd call it a Kyle Rittenhouse simulator but frankly that's an insult to Kyle Rittenhouse.


I have a hunch that the real reason nobody criticized this game's always-online nature is that they were too busy slamming it for being a piece of shit. I understand the preservation angle in the long term, but from the perspective of someone just reviewing the game it'd be like that joke about the couple at the restaurant who complain that the food sucks, and also that the portions are too small.


Besides, if a game's only justification for being preserved is to show other developers what not to do, I'm not sure I'd be on board with an arrangement where you still have to pay the publishers for the privilege (and that's without getting into the other valid reasons never to give Ubisoft, in particular, any of your money). Really it's a good argument for just making abandonware an official legal concept. So if a game is so bad that its own publisher decides to pull it from distribution early, it just instantly becomes public domain so anyone can snag a copy without paying the corporations a dime.

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One good thing about this game is that 99% of its value is the environment, and I don't think it's locked at the server side.





that one day someone would make the game work with only the local files, and this crippled version without enemies/progression/plot/etc will still be 99% as enjoyable as the original game.

Come the full moon, the bat flies whose boiling blood shall stem the tide.

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I think that Spec Ops: The Line should be mentioned here as a first person shooter explicitly deconstructing its premise. I wouldn't want to spoil it here (you can read all the spoilers in the plot on Wikipedia), but the way the "good guys" are shown here to be on increasingly shaky moral ground reminds me a lot of the plot of Spec Ops: The Line.

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Yeah, the YT comments mention that the game's story apparently does get a bit deeper and actually kinda tackles the implications of its premise, but it really does feel like they don't have the courage to go all-in on it. I was surprised you left off with the story, but I guess it had to do with the progression being slowed down by the leveling.


Also, Ross, I'm pleasantly surprised that you know about Brad Neely. "Baby Cakes Sees A Play" is one of my favorite videos ever.

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LOL, I've only just noticed the mistletoe on the thumbnail. Yeah, merry Christmas.

Come the full moon, the bat flies whose boiling blood shall stem the tide.

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Solid Game Dungeon Ross and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too.


The game does discuss more about the moral ambiguities later on, but a couple things do crop up that kind of ruin it:


Firstly, by nature of its game design, you're always going to be a government agent going around shooting non-complicit American citizens. Regardless of whatever the plot or characters bring up, they have no bearing on the gameplay itself. I'd say this is more or less an issue with it being a quasi-MMORPG, which really does feed into my view that something like the Deus Ex formula (also about government agents) would've been a better fit for the Division narratively and gameplay wise.




The game takes a big leap, notably around the end-game/post game content. You basically end up fighting not one, but two private military contractors trying to set up a quasi-city state in New York. The Black Tusks in particular, the post-game faction roll around with literal robotanks and weaponized Spot drones. Regardless of the story reason, it's a pretty big leap going from rioters to shadowy PMCs. Kind of dumps the whole morally ambiguous angle by the wayside at that point.

And the sequel pretty much turns the setting into pure post-apocalypse, although I don't know much about it story-wise.

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Ok, I have a lot to unpack on this one, since I've played it from beginning to end (except the DLC missions), but first: Merry Christimas.


First off, the flamethrower boss. You need to shoot him enough times on one of his fuel tanks so they will explode, it will not kill him but will deal a lot of damage and destroy his armor. I could say you messed up, but I also have to agree that this is poorly explained by the game itself. (although it shows a yellow marker when you hit it)


As for story, well... First, some details are better explained in logs you find spread out in the city in typical Ubisoft open-world fashion, but it's still poorly explained in typical Ubisoft open-world fashion, so I don't blame you for trying to understand the game's story just by playing the main missions.


But of course, the premise is executed in a very bland way. There's socio-political themes floating around, but nothing is explored properly, and all characters are forgettable. But there's a good reason for that, you gave it the award "Secret Genius?" and I could say there's one, but it's not what you think.


The "secret genius" is that the themes and overall idea of the premise are not there because it has a meaningful message to say, they are there to fool you into thinking there's a meaningful message. In other words, they are there to make the plot sound "deep". Believe me, I can tell from experience that this hack writing tactic can work sometimes, especially if you are younger and/or don't have much clue about this stuff, just like bikini armor does to the mind of a horny teenager.


Still pressing "X" to doubt? Why don't take a look back at The Crew? Sure, it was a complete different beast compared to The Division, but it was trying to be a more "mature" drama story in a video game. Because, according to some people at least, video game plots usually suck. And that's a trend that I'm noticing a LOT with AAA games over the decades: They are trying way to hard to make the games feel more "cinematic", and not just with brown filters, but also with writing.


Don't get me wrong, I do think video games CAN have good writing if given the chance, but that will not happen if we still are trying to write them like movies. Which makes me think it could be a good idea for you to cover a David Cage game. Because for a guy that ranted a lot about the industry needing to "mature", his plots are juvenile. (especially Indigo Prophecy)

Edited by Kaiosama TLJ (see edit history)

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Great video and I hope Ross had a merry Christmas.


Just a couple things I'd like to say, the first being that I've previously mentioned 3D Ultra Lionel TrainTown as an obscure puzzle game with an entire series of Christmas levels where you have to save Christmas. Also, someone wrote up a scenario and even drew a world map that tried to make sense of the world of the Purge movies. It doesn't excuse the filmmakers not doing the legwork themselves, but it's an interesting exploration of why there are so many nutsos and government kill-squads in the Purge universe.


The Division never particularly interested me since it kinda looked like every other generic modern Ubisoft shooter with a dumb story, so I'm glad there's a Game Dungeon that...kinda proved my intuition right. Maybe someone very smart was trying to craft an implied layer of story, but with the current rate that people are leaving Ubisoft because they suck even by AAA gaming company standards, I doubt they are still an employee there. As for gameplay, I hate when shooters have RPG leveling that makes you shoot someone in the head three times with a high-powered sniper rifle just to kill them. Way to preserve immersion, game industry!


That old Cracked article (remember when they were good?) is also very interesting, I wish you had posted a link to it. I also would like seeing those elements included in war games that purport to be realistic, though of course there's a balance between those elements and not frustrating the player because they don't have enough control. Then again, there ARE games like ARMA where realism is supposed to be the first and last priority.

Edited by Trar (see edit history)

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Merry Christmas everyone!


Nice to see Ross coming back to this one and giving us his particular angle on it. It's always fun to see someone return to (or even play for the first time) a big title that basically no one is paying attention to anymore. Especially considering the clash of "weird scenario + Ross".


I was somewhat interested in it at some point, but the online component and the narrative did turn me off. Just running around on the map to experience weather and atmosphere and such, would be quite cool though. It's another case of a game where I would like the game to leave me alone so that I can enjoy the open world.



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On the subject of the environment, something I forgot to bring up before: I really hope they shared assets between this and the Watch Dogs series, or the other Tom Clancy games, or both. There are a ton of generic materials and objects that might as well be identical between one game and another, and I'd hate to think their artists were stuck doing hundreds of man-hours of redundant work. Even if they were running on different engines, the source files were probably created in the same industry-standard programs and file formats.

Edited by Steve the Pocket (see edit history)

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You can call me paranoid, thats fine, but the way the story, or hell even lack of one...
No Especially the lack of one is really damn unnerving to me.
Ok, everyone else here is saying there is a point to all of this being really vague, but are saying the point is half hearted and that in of itself is also an issue. I read the wiki synopsis all I can say is that it didn't really help make the feeling go away, because at least in the beginning the people were still people, and not noticeably organized in any way and you stay the good guy throughout, and the military are still the ones who bring order to the place, which almost gives off this subconscious acceptance of authority and their right to do... anything? With no need to parley and try to reach a peaceful resolution? and it delivers it borderline subliminally in a way that if you just play the first couple of hours you would seemingly be unable to realize what exactly about what you were doing was wrong, and maybe even unconsciously reinforce certain ideas you may have about real world protestors and rioters? Maybe?
Like it'd be one thing if it was full patriotic with a caricature villain and everything, but the way this doesn't even have that for, seemingly a good while, feels either too hamfisted and awkwardly delivered to properly say its point without accidentally saying the opposite of what it wants or is just unintentionally raw in how some people just look at things, which unnerves me a lot. I need to know how some of the stuff at the beginning was justified, because otherwise it feels like you are supposed to root for your character doing this? Like its a good thing, somehow, that a covert military agent is open-carrying and shooting people without asking any questions to people who may just be trying to survive.
At its worst it could literally be an unconscious, lazy confession of the writer(s), who think that this is how world is. Faceless "rioters" who deserve to be shot because they are doing anything bad while the "good guys" are around, no matter the context or reason the rioters are doing something "bad".


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Here is something weird, while this is technically a Ubisoft title, the game engine and the game itself is developed by Massive Entertainment.

On their website it says they are a Ubisoft company https://www.massive.se but the studio's roots go way back till 2001 with their first title

Ground Control, a very competent fully 3D RTS, and Homeworld + Ground Control were the first fully 3D RTS games that I know of. In 2004

they released a sequel to Ground Control, which I love none of them have base building etc. they focus soley on the action and tactics

side of things. Finally in 2008 they released World In Conflict and almost went bankrupt and Ubisoft bought them out.


And at this point the story goes pretty bizzare in typical Ubisoft fashion, they had Massive Entertainmet cancel their work on the World In Conflict console ports and potentially any other RTS game they were making before their acquisition. Massive is at this point a studio known for

making purely RTS games and have ~8 years of experience under their belt, so naturally Ubisoft tasks them to make the tacked on multi-player

portions of their Far Cry and Assasin's Creed games for years on end and also puts them in charge of developing and maintaining their

Steam competitor DRM thingy Uplay (now it's called some other weird thing but whatever even Blizzard changed their DRM name but

people still kept calling it Battle-net lol).


I was massively surprised when I saw this Massive Entertainment's name attached to the Division because I thought they went poof under

all that AAA published slave driver culture, similar to what Activision did to Raven Software. The game was pretty much so so in my opinion

and I have no idea why they made it an online only looter shooter when it could have been a solid single player game. But the talent is

still there, the amount of detail and effort poured into making that city, that amazing winter storm atmosphere, I've never really felt any

other game conveyed a cold winter city any better.


To my knowledge the music in this game was made by Ola Strandh, who also made the music to Ground Control back in the day and that was pretty awesome. But I suppose corporate meddling or whatnot mandates that games don't have any musical identity anymore. I mean just listen

to this track from 2001 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ir74RSi-5Gs&list=PLCF6ACD0618F0879D&index=5

Edited by JudasPhysicist (see edit history)

It took six years to get a physics degree. Don't do what I did, try engineering or social studies.

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