Lessons Learned While Playing Assassin’s Creed

So, I noticed that all of my posts have been politically centered.  That’s not really what I intended for this space.  I think I know why they tend to be focused on politics, (I don’t really discuss politics with any of my friends, so I use this space to vent,) but I want to branch out.

I recently bought an Xbox 360.  I used to be a Nintendo fanboy, but that ended back in the days of the SNES.  Now, I’ve progressed to the point where I own every system I can, and have far too many games to play than hours in the day to play them.  Come to think of it, I kind of miss fanboyism.

Anyway, I’m trying to catch up on the backlog of games for the Xbox that I’ve missed since the 360’s launch.  I bought GTA right away because I’ve always owned GTA right away.  Then I rented Assassin’s Creed and Halo 3.  I haven’t played Halo 3, yet, as I’ve been having a lot of fun climbing walls and killing crusaders.  However, the game brought to mind a number of random thoughts, both good and bad, that seemed good to write down, but wouldn’t really qualify as a full review.  I don’t know if I really want to bother with full reviews here, anyway.

But so, that’s spawned this idea of “Lessons Learned.”  Basically, this is where I’ll jot down the ideas and thoughts I had in no particular order, and let the chips fall where they may.  I should note that this is not a review and is not really an indication of what I thought of the game in general.  Maybe I’ll include a brief conclusion in these that gives my overall impression, I dunno.  This is going to have to be kind of organic, I think.

So, anyway, enough blathering, here’s my lessons learned while playing Assassin’s Creed.

  • I don’t care much for the main character’s attitude.  I’d much rather have played a true novice, than an asshole who got demoted.
  • Climbing is incredibly fun.  It consists of pressing up, for the most part, but that doesn’t matter.  The simple control scheme allows me to focus on how high I’ve climbed, and how fluid the animation is.  Very well done.
  • I wish that I didn’t feel like “Main Protagonist” all the time.  There are beggar women and mental patients in the street.  They see me and the beggars run in front of me begging and the deranged push me around.  In theory, I shouldn’t kill them, and I don’t, but they’re annoying.  The thing is, they only bother me.  I don’t see the beggars block anyone else’s paths, and I don’t see the (I’m guessing) schizophrenics push anyone else around.  I’m supposed to be anonymous while moving through the streets, but I very much don’t feel that way.
  • The outside the Animus scenes: please don’t ever do that again!  It seems to me that this was Ubisoft’s idea of keeping the player engaged during a cut scene, while also giving the option of skipping said cut scene.  I’m usually just annoyed, though.  There’s nothing to do, no gameplay to be had, and the story is largely throwaway.  It’s an irritating break thrown arbitrarily into the game and I have yet to feel like it adds anything significant.  Maybe when the game’s over I’ll have a different opinion, but, over halfway through, I’m just annoyed.
  • Speaking of cut scenes: all cut scenes should be skippable.  Lemme emphasize that a bit.  All Cut Scenes Should Be Skippable.  I’m sure that developers everywhere think that they’re story is incredibly compelling and needs to be seen, but gaming is about making your own story.  I just cut a swath of destruction across Acre, as I rode down the guards at the city entrance and picked every fight I could on my way to each of the city’s viewpoints.  That’s what I’ll remember later on, not the verbal sparring between the asshole main character I don’t identify with and the asshole assassin’s guild bureaucrat I don’t care about.
  • Audio should be centered on where the character is, by default.  I don’t know if this is an option that can be changed, as it’s only happened during the annoying modern day scenes, but the dialogue fades out if I move the camera around the room.  So, in order to hear what anyone is saying I have to have the camera pointed right at the person, regardless of where my character is standing.  This is boring, and in a scene I already find pointless, this is especially excruciating.  Audio (dialogue, at the very least) from the character’s point of view should be the default mode, regardless of whether it’s an option or not.
Overall, I’ve really enjoyed this game.  I’m sure I’ll have more later, but the next Lessons Learned… will likely be about Age of Conan.  I have definitely learned some things from that game.
Published in: on June 3, 2008 at 11:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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