Assassin's Creed Impressions

Assassin's Creed is pretty neat, but incredibly repetitive.

It's neat

It's neat because it takes a fast paced approach to Stealth killing, compared to Metal Gear Solid and Tenchu which believe that patience is your number one weapon when killing unnoticed. The fast paced nature comes from the Free Running style of gameplay. Just hold down the run button and the sprint button, and off you go. You can run up to a wall to scale it, climb on top, and then jump from roof top to roof top.

It's also neat because of the incredible scale of the cities you're free running through. When perched on top of a tower, you can see all the buildings of the entire city. Then you can crawl back down the tower, hop along a bunch of roof tops to the next tower, climb to the top and actually feel like you've covered a significant amount of ground.

It's also neat because with this scale, comes crowds and crowds of people. So many people that it can become difficult to run through the streets. You'll either need to start knocking everybody down as you bolt through them or get knocked over yourself.

Scale and Speed

The sense of the scale and speed are the greatest accomplishments of the game I've experience so far, but with scale comes the question of how you fill it? You need a lot of stuff to make these cities feel alive, and the best way to make 10 people look like 100 is to copy and paste 10 times. Recycle models, assets, textures and place everything in the world randomly, but come back afterwards and start molding it so it actually works.

The physics and gameplay engine are KEY for creating a game like this. The gameplay needs to be absolutely flexible to operate correctly no matter what is actually in the environment. Back at PAX last year, when the lead designer was demoing Assassin's Creed, he said that that was exactly their goal. He pulled out his dev kit and set up a bunch of objects in the environment for Altier to run across and jump around on. It was pretty fluid, like the environment was pre-setup. But then he started moving around a bunch of the objects put them in places where Altier obviously couldn't move the same way as before. He ran Altier through the objects again, and he acted completely different, but still completely fluid.

That's a lot of how Assassin's Creed feels when you're running across the roof tops. You look to your left and right and look for little foot holds or nearby roof tops to jump across to. It doesn't take long for you to figure out just how far Altier can jump and what makes sense to latch on to. It's really fun ^_^

Over and over again

Each city feels like it's been setup in certain areas, but all the recycled textures and models make me feel like I'm walking through the set of a Flintstones cartoon. There's that guy again.. Oh! There's that doorway again. Thank GOD you have a radar you can set waypoints onto.

On top of that, you have about 20 or 30 tasks to do per mission, which limit themselves to either helping Citizens from bully guards, pickpocketing, eavesdropping or intimidating. Once you do all the tasks, you bring your information to the local guild and he tells you where to assassinate your target. You go there, kill him, return to the guild and mission complete. Then you get to do it ALL OVER AGAIN. Rinse and repeat.

I've spent 5 hours rescuing stupid citizens and gazing from towers and hardly anytime actually assassinating worth-while targets. I'm more focused on the grueling tasks ahead of me than any amount of story.

Story Telling

And the story telling is crap because you aren't actually Altier. All this running around killing people is completely senseless and meaningless because in the overall plotline it is wholly unimportant. You're actually a guy named Desmond, who is the great-graet-great-etg-earg-erae-fga-g-grandson of Altier and you relive moments of your grand pappy's life through inherited memories.

The real question of the game is why do I give two shits about Altier. They mention that to get to the useful memories of Altier you have to start at the beginning, but seriously?! can't we just skip through all the piece of crap side missions which are the same as all the other side missions where are the same as the ACTUAL missions. Where's the fast forward button? ..

In the 5 hours I've been playing so far, I've had about 30 minutes of story outside of Altier and as Desmond and I'm so bored, I'd rather be beating up people in the past. They have given me absolutely no incentive to care about anything that's going on. Even though the "Desmond goes to the Past" thing is a clear rip-off of LOST.

Why?

Why am I playing this game? Why should I care about Desmond? Running around through the streets and roof tops is neat. Looking off in the distance over a massive city that I can walk every inch of is neat. But adding those two things together is a gameplay concept, not a game. This story is going no where fast... How long is this game anyways? When can I quit?

Also, I like pushing over ladies with pots on their heads. I also like punching bums right in the jaw when they ask me for change. It's a lot of fun messing with the AI in this game because they just can't win. Pots? That's a pushin' Change? That's a stabbin'




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