Sunday, March 31, 2013

Gaming Reflections: Assassin’s Creed

I wrote fairly recently about my first impressions on Assassin’s Creed.  You can find that post here.  Long story short?  It was a good game in theory that was frustrating me to hell and back with its poor game design.

I said a lot about what I wanted to say there.  About the poor level design, the monotony of the missions, et cetera.  I don’t have to say much more about that, and while I do plan on comparing and contrasting that to Assassin’s Creed II (which I’ve started on), but I’d like to get further into it before doing so.

Now, though, it’s time for me to reflect on Assassin’s Creed now that I’ve finished it.  It won’t be too long of a post, as all I have to say boils down into one question: did my opinions of the game improve?

The answer: kind of.

Okay, yes.  Assassin’s Creed had some boring missions and the parkour stopped being fun and became a chore after having to do a certain amount of it.  Combat was pretty bad.  And I found out that all those flags the game asked me to collect and the generic Templars it asked me to kill?  Yeah, doing that doesn’t do anything other than giving me an achievement.  Or, since the copy of Assassin’s Creed I played was a DRM-free PC edition, nothing other than the satisfaction of 100% completion.  Those are all issues that didn’t change because they were part of the game.

However, I found that when you stop trying to go for 100% completion and just do the minimum of three tasks before embarking on the actual assassination mission, it’s more fun.  What’s more, the boss fights become a bit more varied later on.  My personal favorite was sneaking across the boats on the water to assassinate Sibrand.

Of course, while the missions get varied near the end, that doesn’t mean they get better.  The final battle is just a series of straight-out fights, and I’ve already mentioned that the combat mechanics aren’t exactly great.  That, and there’s no way to replace the throwing knives you use near the end, which I began to grow fond of.

The plot…improved.  It came together some at the end, and the story began to become enjoyable.  However, there wasn’t a lot that I found special.  It was a twist we’ve seen before, alongside some intriguing plot threads that were left ambiguous.  Overall, it felt like the game’s plot was nothing more than a setup for more games.  How they thought people would want to buy more games like this is beyond me, personally.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  The game is still really cool, despite its flaws.

So overall, my verdict remains mostly the same, with one small update: I no longer think that Assassin’s Creed is a good game that’s secretly really terrible.  Instead, I think it’s a decent game on the condition that you do not in any way attempt 100% completion.  Either take away the sandbox to streamline the game, or give me a shovel and a bucket or some other fun toys so I can actually have fun when I play in the sandbox.

I’ve heard good things about the sequel, and from the short amount I’ve played, I have high hopes for it.  I’ll see you when I have more to report on that.

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