Criminals make terrible bedfellows. Don't have sex with criminals is the one key point I want you to take away from all this...
I’ve finally finished playing Assassin’s Creed, and I know you’ve seen some reviews saying it’s great and other reviews saying it’s terrible, and you probably want something a little more authoritative. I can be authoritative! I can also tell you things about the game that no other reviewer appears to have said. I don’t really know why, because it’s fairly obvious stuff.
Assassin’s Creed is an open world game, sort of like GTA. I actually don’t get what the big deal is with open world games. Theoretically you can do whatever you want, but practically, you can’t actually do very much. Seriously, think about this: What have you done in GTA that’s emergent behaviour?
Most answers I’ve got regarding this is hilariously exploiting bugs. This is less “fun” and more “Hey look I'm beta testing a video game without getting paid for it”. The only other thing I can think of is doing boring things like “driving a taxi... like a real taxi driver... yay?”. I can see the potential for machinima here, but I can’t see any of this being fun.
OK, so Assassin’s Creed is like GTA, except that you can just run around. You can’t actually do things like be a taxi driver (or whatever it’s equivalent would be). It’s all about the missions (and collecting flags, more on this later). In it’s defense, Assassin’s Creed does the “running around” fairly well. It pioneered the parkour style of running around now seen pretty much everywhere in games. This is great, because it allows you to... well... press forward and the game will do the running, jumping, and climbing without you having to press any other buttons... (yay?)
In fact, in the beginning I was having a lot of fun doing rather mundane things like climbing buildings and jumping from roof-top to roof-top. Climbing buildings is necessary, you see, because you have a radar (including your mission objectives), but in order to see items on the radar you need to climb on top of towers. I’m pretty sure the whole reason they added this into the game was so that you had to use the rather impressive parkour system of “press forward and it all happens”.
In case you’re wondering, there’s no story. At least, nothing better than stuff out of a Capcom game.
If you do something silly like, say, running down the street (shock!) people will generally gasp and talk about how you’re so irresponsible (killing people hurts you, in case you were wondering, so at best you can repeatedly tackle them to the ground when they do this gasping). If you so much as breathe heavily near a guard, however, he will fuck you up.
I want to take the time now to say the most fun you will have in the game is holding down “gentle push” while standing in a doorway.
Where was I? Oh yeah! At this point you can try and kill the guard, which is fine, but guards who see another dead guard and you among a crowd of people will automatically assume you did it and not any of the other hundred people standing around. Something dodgy looking about you, I guess. The rather more interesting option for someone who is meant to be an Assassin is running away. Running away is great, because you can use all your parkour skills, but instead of just pressing forward, you can move in different directions.
Eventually you’ll lose the guards (you know because you have a handy icon and warning bell), at which point you can hide (in hay, or between two people). At this point, every guard who is chasing you down will dramatically walk right past where you’re sitting (or the hay in which you’re hiding), and say something like “Looks like he got away again”. At this point your icon will stop it’s bitching, and you can walk out right in front of the guard as he’s putting his hands up in frustration. He will fail to recognise you.
It’s a video game, people!
That kind of covers 90% of what you do in the game. Climb shit, walk places, run away from guards. Towards the end of the game you will have guards on roof-tops, guards near towers, and guard patrols walking around on the ground. All these guards will pretty much make your life shitty, and make you hate the game so much you’ll want to stab Jade Raymond, and not in a good way.
The rest of the time is spent in mini games, which range from Informer missions (where you have to kill a few dudes without anyone noticing in exchange for information), to Interrogation (where you punch someone repeatedly until a little movie comes on), and Eavesdropping (where you sit down and press triangle and wait for the movie). As you can probably tell, Informer missions are the only ones where you have to actually do something. These are completely ruined by the fact that if you screw up (which is hilariously easy, because like I said before, if you murder someone, everyone assumes it was you and not the woman standing next to you begging for spare change) you have to reload somewhere completely irrelevant, walk all the way back to the informer, and listen to him talk the same shit again for an hour before he’ll let you kill some noobs for a second time.
Killing people is done in one of two main ways. Quietly, which you can do as guards are watching you and they won’t know what just happened (made difficult by the fact that once someone is dead, everyone assumes you did it), and Loudly, where everyone and their mums goes ape-shit. Killing people quietly is very satisfying. Killing people loudly is also fun, unless you use your sword, in which case, it’s a motherfucking quick-time event par excellence. Towards the end of the game, you’re fighting so many people at once it’s fucking ridiculous. Not that fighting a lot of people is any harder, it’s just more irritating.
There are also a shit-load of flags littered around the place. You can pick them up to get... nothing, as far as I can tell. I don’t really know why anyone in their right mind would wander 'round town looking for some fucking flags.
I feel like I’m forgetting something here...
Oh yeah, the assassinations! Yeah they’re pretty forgettable. You walk up, watch a movie where the guy you’re supposed to kill does something (I never really pay much attention). Then you get stabby! Usually either just afterwards, or just before-wards, every guard in town goes bananas. Just before-wards is the worst-case scenario, because now you have to kill everyone so you can get to your victim. Eventually you do kill them though. I think I can count on my fingers the number of times I died in this game during an actual assassination attempt, it’s just a matter of slogging through it.
Which brings me to what this game is all about: Slogging through it. It’s pure grind, like an MMO, only you’re all alone. You can’t really interact with anything, you can’t really do anything, everything is irritating instead of challenging. I have no idea how anyone can have a good time playing this game, especially the later parts. If this were a movie (and really, it is a movie with some quick-time events and some running around thrown in), I’d watch it, but as a game it’s a total waste of time.