Assassin’s Creed

71233_frontTo be clear, this is a pretty old game. I remember reading about Assassin’s Creed in Gamestop’s magazine sometime in 2006 and being really excited about what they were doing with the cities full of random people and the ways you could run and climb and otherwise interact seamlessly with the environment, and without a lot of weird button combinations and things. Plus also the plot, which pits historical Assassins against the Knights Templar in the Crusades setting; it seemed to have a lot to offer on both the very pretty and the very cool scales. The framing story, which has a faceless but clearly very wealthy corporation essentially kidnapping a man who is a descendant of one of these assassins, because they can put him in their cool sci-fi device and use the blood link to pull genetic memories from him, seemed like it may also have been cool, but I really didn’t get far enough into the game to form a valid opinion.[1]

So, right, that part is probably relevant. Despite all of the real coolness inherent in the gameplay and plot in concept, in practice I found it absolutely unplayable. Part of this, I realize now after the fact, is that the introduction was weak and did not provide as much direction as I think I needed to latch onto the plot. The other part, that caused me to stop playing out of pure frustration, was mechanical in nature. Without a clear set of roadsigns to pull me quickly into the plot, I was still enamored of the beautiful countryside, and on top of that there were collectible items and very tall towers with expansive views to enjoy, so I started poking around into that, still perfectly happy with what was going on around me. Until I learned that any time I ran (or ran my horse) past a soldier, I would be targeted for death. It’s not like I had started murdering people yet, and it’s equally not like it was based on some recognition of me, as obviously a walking person is easier to look at. No, the designers just made a terrible decision in which any person who is running must be evil and in need of capture. And once I had to enjoy the expansive open world at a snail’s pace always instead of slowing down at the parts I wanted to explore in greater detail, or else I’d have to fight all the time? And I still didn’t really have a feel for the actual main game on top of that? It was rendered unplayable.

In the meantime, people have sung the praises of its sequels, and while nobody seemed to hate the one game-breaking aspect of the first game the way I did, everyone seemed to claim that the sequels fix a lot of other small problems that I never really saw for myself, and the whole is a massive improvement. My completionism still left me believing I might try to pick up the original again someday, but having played a few hours of its first sequel (review forthcoming, though likely not anytime very soon) and seeing that on top of my complaint, it really does feel a lot more polished and playable in ways I can’t even explain the differences for, it has become clear to me that I would only be punishing myself by going backward.[2]

Anyway, this right here? Kind of a horrible game that thankfully got another chance at life. Because the concept I loved so much? It works every bit as well as I had imagined.

[1] The wikipedia summary that I recently read tells me it probably would have been very interesting, though.
[2] Hence the wikipedia summary.

3 thoughts on “Assassin’s Creed

  1. Pingback: Shards of Delirium » Assassin’s Creed II

  2. Pingback: Assassin’s Creed: Revelations | Shards of Delirium

  3. Pingback: Assassin’s Creed | Shards of Delirium

Comments are closed.