Friday, October 19, 2012

Week 4: Finally Killed Assassin's Creed

     It took longer than I anticipated, but I finally finished Assassin's Creed. I put other activities to the side and tackled the final three hours of the game in one sitting. I admit that I probably overlooked a great deal in this playthrough, and for good reason.

Interesting and well-executed game mechanics do not excuse a so-so, predictable story and repetitive tasks across a handful of cities broken into various stages themselves.

I love the living cities. The guards prowling the streets, the annoying beggars you can shove away, the merchants who get pissy when you leap through their set-ups.

I hate the formulaic approach to each assassination. Eavesdrop here, pickpocket those guys, do an informer's job for him, return to the Bureau, rinse and repeat.

The story played out in the Animus was predictable and did very little to engage me. As I've mentioned, I cared more about regaining all the rank and equipment the game teases you with in the first mission than carrying out the Brotherhood's orders.

[Here come some spoilers for all 17 of you that have not played this, though only one of you is likely reading this]

Can I pat myself on the back for calling the finale? Halfway through the game I could tell I was going to have to kill Al Mualim. When it came down to it, I didn't really care why and the reason given was pretty stupid.

The pieces of Eden were becoming more and more like MacGuffins, and the payoff didn't redeem them in any way. My waning interest in Altair's story, and my growing interest in Desmond's fate made it nearly impossible to care about them in the end.

I was let down by the way they ended things with Desmond, though I'm sure it feeds directly into Assassin's Creed 2. There was legitimate tension when Vidic put it out there that Desmond would be disposed of once they found the Templar's treasure.

The crazy writing on the floors and walls, the sudden ability to switch on the Assassin Vision as Desmond brought to mind some interesting directions for future installments...

...But to end it on that note is just stupid. Cliffhangers have no place in video games. Foreshadowing, sure. Not outright cliffhangers.

Now that I've finished the first, and arguably hardest, part of my backlog playthrough, I feel compelled to move on. I have abandoned my alphabetical approach for something less... rigorous. With my desire to game returning to respectable levels, I don't have to force myself to play anything.

For my next act, I have picked Batman: Arkham Asylum. A game I have played through just once, and have been meaning to replay ever since.

I'll save my personal feeling for this game until then.

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