Autumn Brings Games
This is my 400th post! That’s pretty good, right?
No more days sweltering in “feels like 48℃” weather. No more avoiding going outside for fear of melting. No more extreme temperature shifts from the boiling hot pavement to the arctic conditions of the convenience store. No more showering 2-3 times a day. No more drinking beer on a roof in the afternoon and then passing out a few hours later because I didn’t drink enough water during the day.
Autumn is here and with it comes the changing of the leaves, the changing of menus, beer cans in red and brown, and a collective sigh of relief as Japan emerges from the stifling humidity of summer.
Autumn also brings games. Lots of lovely games.
In particular, Autumn brings blockbusters. Huge games with bloated budgets, teams in the hundreds if not thousands, vast advertising campaigns, and irresponsible use of dubstep. The yearly sports updates like FIFA, Madden, and NBA all hit around this time of year. Huge series like Uncharted, Fallout, Grand Theft Auto, Halo, Dragon Age, The Elder Scrolls, and Forza have all taken a crack, and sometimes multiple cracks at this most lucrative time of year. But there are two series that have shaped my autumnal gaming habits more than any other, games that are inextricably linked to this time of year: Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed.
For some, these near-annualised series are the highlight of their year. For others, they are prime examples of numerous industry evils. While I agree that they have their problems, I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy them both. They are as autumn as conkers, brown things, slightly thicker t-shirts, and not passing out after an afternoon spent drinking on a roof.
My relationship with both series started a decade ago. I played CoD4: Modern Warfare and the first Assassin's Creed within a few months of buying a PS3 in 2008, but it wasn't until the following year that they become annual, autumn staples. Each October or November, I'd pick up the latest instalment. Sometimes they were pre-ordered, other times they were an impulse purchase. Being very different games, there was no crossover, and they complemented each other nicely. Once I got bored of killing people in a modern setting, I could switch to killing people in the past.
2009-2012 were the best years for CoD, AC and I. While 2012’s Black Ops 2 was the last CoD I bought at or near launch, I have still stuck with the series. No longer interested in multiplayer, I’m content to wait and pick up the previous instalment at a discount, so I can play through the campaign on my lonesome. With the latest entry, Black Ops 4, completely doing away with single player, my time with the series is likely drawing to a close. I don’t need a twelve-year-old with a microphone to tell me that I’m shit at games. I’m already more than aware, thank you very much.
Assassin’s Creed is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance. I stayed with the series up to 2013’s Black Flag, but I became tired of the lack of innovation. A fascination with history was no longer enough, and I played only a few hours of Unity and completely skipped Syndicate. This break was a welcome one, and the jump to an ancient setting was enough to entice me back in. Origins might be my second favourite AC, or at the very least the best since Brotherhood, and I’m well up for exploring ancient Greece in Odyssey.
With that being said, this autumn is going to be all about Red Dead Redemption, so please ignore everything I just wrote.
Odyssey, I’ll see you in the New Year. Black Ops 4, you can sling your hook.