Gamer Hate

Belligerently lacking in remorse.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Assassin’s Creed
It’s just a bad game…

When I first read all the negative reviews about Assassin’s Creed, I was pretty skeptical. I’ve seen reviewers pan good games before for trivial and stupid reasons. Warcraft 3 was once touted as having “too much game design” by a reputable video game magazine. That’s pretty much the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, so it was with a wary eye that I looked over the Assassin’s Creed claims of boring repetitive gameplay.

So much so that when given a gift certificate by a good friend, I decided to pick up a copy of the game. I’ve always loved stealthy assassin style games. I often play rogues in World of Warcraft. It should be a fun experience, right?

After making the biggest plot point reveal in the first five minutes of the game, I was unleashed onto their world. A world where stealthily killing someone will cause everyone around you to immediately lock onto you and begin trying to impale you on their swords, no matter how slow you move. You have no smoke bombs, no fun assassin tools. Just your hidden blade (with which you can either stab people quietly or in a giant leap attack), throwing daggers, and a sword which means you failed at stealth. Which btw, they force you to fail everytime you actually assassinate someone cool.

So what happens when people spot you (which btw, walking at more than a snails pace apparently translates into hired assassin back in Jerusalem)? Well, you run… you run and you run and you climb and you break line of sight with the town guards who can climb anything you can btw. Then you either jump in a bale of hay, sit next to two other townsfolk on a bench, or hide in a roof-top carpet kiosk. That’s the stealth portion of the game… Once you’ve hidden in one of those three things, no one will see you until you walk out of it and start moving at a faster clip than a legless rabbit.

So between forcing you to walk slowly to avoid detection, immediately alerting everyone around you everytime you assassinate someone (with no chance of hiding the body), and the only real method of subterfuge being running away and hiding in one of three types of hiding spots, it’s no wonder that I was bored after 2 hours of playing. I never even accomplished anything really cool. I was hoping that I’d be able to just walk around the town, interact with some citizens, assassinate some guards to advance the plotline… But no, you do one of three things to get to the high profile assassination where you gank a guy, listen to him talk for 10 minutes and then either sword everyone to death or run like a bitch.

Which is fun, for an hour… But then they needed to switch it up. How about a mission where I have to assassinate guards in key locations so another group of spies can get into the city. Or maybe a mission where I have to assassinate 3 templar in under 10 minutes using a stealthily shod mare? Or a mission where a group of invaders are sieging my castle, and I must sneak into their ranks and start taking out their commanders at night without alerting anyone?

Nope, sorry. You have three things you can do in each category. 3 ways to kill someone (stealthy, sword, thrown dagger), 3 ways to hide once they’ve seen it (bench, hay and carpet kiosk), and 3 ways to gather info (pickpocket, eavesdrop, or pummel blabbermouth). They’re all… okay once or twice. But this is the entirety of the game with no variation.

I suppose my disappointment with this was directly linked to my love of ganking people in new and fun ways. Crackdown satisfied that in a lot of ways. I always felt like I was building towards something, and I was always finding new horrible way to kill people (and eventually very large groups of people). Assassin’s Creed I just sort of… held the stick in the direction I wanted to go and the guy went there. It even looked nice, but I never felt like I had any real control. The combat itself always felt muddy too. About the only time I ever really enjoyed myself in Assassin’s Creed is in the 6 second interval between initiating a stealth kill and it finishing. The rest was just an exercise in frustration and unfun gameplay.

Assassin’s Creed – C+

    Pros:
  • Pretty world.
  • Easy to figure out.
  • Fun concept.
    • Cons:
  • No fun of mastery.
  • Poor story reveals.
  • Gameplay becomes drudgery (and I like MMOS).
  • posted by CommanderHate at 10:23 pm  

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