Assassin's Creed: Revelations
(You know, this was actually relevant when I began writing it.) Unfortunately, as I have sat on it for too long without changing a goddamn thing about it, this blog has become anachronistic. My steadfast refusal to adapt this piece of writing to the modern blogging scene will no doubt earn the ire of many a reader, insisting that I try something different, for a change, instead of milking the same dead horse over and over again. Speaking of Assassin's Creed: Revelations, absolutely fucking none of that applies to the game I'm talking about in the next dozen or so treatises.
But as long as I'm being negative, let me just say that the story isn't terribly good. It begins with Desmond acting as a ridiculously ignored and strange framing device, and gets....OK, to be fair, it gets better from there. Rather than deal with Desmond's techno symbolism whatevers, we have Ezio Auditore leaping about Constantinople (the game makes the Istanbul joke for you, dreadfully unfunny readers) and taking out the Templar threat...as a 50 year old man able to survive huge leaps off buildings (except for that one time at the beginning). See, that's my problem with the story: the broader story works well, especially as a dumb action movie, but zoom in, and you start to worry (that Ezio may be a psychopath, among other things). Leaps of faith in an atheist world aside, what language are these guys speaking? I know that the Animus is supposed to translate everything into English for Desmond (even though the game doesn't really tell you this, which just makes things more confusing), but every now and then, a character will drop a line in a foreign language, and the captions translate (killing any such arguments that the translation doesn't work). Sooooo what language are they speaking? It can't be Turkish, it can't be Italian, and there's no effing way it can be English, so what are they speaking?
And that's not even getting into Altair's part of the story. Turns out there's a sub-plot about Ezio searching for the Masyaf Keys to Altair's library, which logically leads into some Altair backstory. I don't take issue with that. It's more the execution, really. See, the writers try to elicit some sympathy toward Altair by making his life goddamn miserable. And it is miserable, just so long as you ignore the fact that Altair's bringing all this suffering on himself for no real reason. Just about every bad thing in his life (at least the ones depicted in the game; I can't say much about puberty during the Crusades or whatever) is something he could have stopped quickly. Don't want your friend to fuck up the Assassins' Order? Banish his ass; you have the authority. Instead, you keep him around and let him kill any sympathy I may have felt for you. And why are the Templars so cartoonishly ev-
*sigh* Pointless bitching out of the way, how about I talk about something I actually liked? Like everything else? And I mean literally everything else, because there is a lot to do at any given time. You want to buy up all the failing businesses in town (because the Templars are shitty businessmen, for some unexplained reason)? Go right the hell ahead. Pointless collectibles? Sure, why the hell not? I'd go so far as to say that I spent less time playing the game and more just jumping from side-goal to side-goal with the attention span of my average reader. (I can't imagine anybody reading these things in one sitting without severe health risks.) Of course, it's also super easy to ignore a lot of this content, but I imagine it has less to do with that content being weak and more because it's easy to latch onto one thing and ignore everything else. Like the tower defense, for example, which I'm required to address because apparently it's the worst thing in the world since Hitler AIDS (AIDS that turns you into Hitler). I played it, like, twice, and then never touched it again. Only one of those was required of me. I don't see what's so bad about it.
Predictable transition into climbing around environments. OK, not actually climbing around environments, which is just point and do nothing else, but finding your way around can be pretty fun. This is partially for reasons I've described before, like those objectives or my short attention span, but a lot of it is also due to how beautiful the environments are. I don't know who chose Constantinople as the setting for this game, but whoever did deserves all the thumbs up in the world. I don't even know how to phrase it; there's just something elegant and appealing to the city that makes me want to explore every nook and cranny. Throw in a ton of cool missions and everything else I've previously mentioned, and what more could you ask for?
Wait, there's combat. I forgot about that, and I have my reasons. There's a rhythm to it, but it's hard to get excited about it. There's something to be said for treating every encounter like a prison yard knife fight, watching who's gonna slit your throat first and stabbing them before they do, but it errs too much on the easy side for my still-in-my-neck-blood. You know, since the game blatantly warns you about each potential hit. I'd also say something about the weapon variety, but what's the point? They all play pretty much the same (mash attack and counter, sometimes), so there's never really any point to experimenting with weapons. I want to like you, Revelations battle system, but you don't exactly give me a lot of reasons to do so. Stealthing around is better, though. You don't get a lot of help in that regard, so you're forced to sit back in the shadows, plan things out, bide your time, and take out your enemies one by one. You know, like in every good stealth game ever. So yea, I'd totally recommend this game, like I've done so many times before.
- Ezio's an unreasonably spry old man, and Altair's a tragic figure without much of the tragedy.
- Revelations is like watching a squirrel jump from tree to tree for no goddamn reason: the best thing in the world.
- Oddly enough, giving that same squirrel a switchblade so he can fend off hawks doesn't improve things.
- For some reason, past me thought it relevant to write down "Ezio Auditore: Magical Master of Urology" in preparation for this blog. Anybody have a clue what the rambling bastard is talking about?
You know what would improve Family Circus? Besides everything? If it was accompanied by the ramblings of a renegade mustache. (Not mine, obviously.)
North & South
(My dearest Taiyn, the year is 1862, and I do hope this war ends soon.) Both sides are populated by fools of the highest order, with nary a clue as to proper military strategems. Day after day, my superiors tell me that the end is nigh, though I slay men in these hellish fights day after endless day. And yet each battle summons within me raging fires of joy I dare not comprehend. I fear this war may ravage my spirit to its very core.
And yet this unjust war continues. You know that I am the most upstanding Lunarian gentleman ever blessed to walk this green Earth, and yet I find myself conscripted in a fight whose details confound me still. Apparently, the fine black men of our country are rising up against their tyrannous Pokemon Masters to topple the mighty oppression of King Frost. I so very wish that Lincoln had provided us men with a proper education regarding this land's history. Instead, that Illinois lawyer has provided us with mere entertainment. The music of the American peoples and the new European stylings of "shadow puppet theater". (A wax cylinder recording and a daguerreotype, attached for your pleasure.) Do not misinterpret my ramblings, fair maiden; I am truly grateful for this Nation's attempts at entertainment, glorious as they may be. I am a humble man; I ask for nothing more than the motives of this war.
What's this? The war begins, my maiden! My singular commanding officers, in a most bold maneuver, have sent me into this fort alone. Though I dare say that this bold-faced maneuver has won us the battle, for the Southern men could nary penetrate this hard vestige. You would think them but babes, suckling at their mothers' teat! My officers, meanwhile, must think the same of me, for not having shared with me the glories of their conquest. It must have been because of my first experiences in battle. I had nary a clue how to operate a sorrel stallion or mount those great cannons. But time, dearest Taiyn! If time I had, I could have shown them all the diverse strategies the scenario demonstrates! Could you expect less of me? Indeed, I can only but imagine the myriad tactics they could employ against the Confederate scourge. I have the utmost confidence that they shall win this war yet.
But alas, dearest Taiyn! I see not the reason why I remain a soldier at the bottom of these social rungs! I understand these Napoleonic lessons as well as any general who commands me. My fellow men need merely follow the cavalry march, and the war is but won! What defense hath those Southern brutes? The Fates have turned against them! Their West Points allay them not, for these gambits never fail me. Always, they are subdued by my two-point gambit. (Except when they blow up the bridge, the cheating bastards.) The North shall prosper forevermore! And yet still, those damnded Southern dandies must mistakenly believe that time will bear them out the victor, for indeed, time wears away at my fellow men's fortitude and morale. Yet time they have not, for Sherman can seize the Georgian mountainside by March time, indeed. But some demon deep within me refuses to accept this base fact. It demands that this war continue, that I continue so monstrous a fight so that it may derive from it some perverse joy. I fear for my sanity. I shall write you again on the morn.
Your Most Assuredly Confused Monarch,
- (There's no way a Civil War letter could involve a goddamn review synopsis or anything remotely close to the concept, so allow me to drop the shtick so I can make sense, for a change.) The presentation's pretty cool, I gotta say that.
- There certainly is a lot to fuck about with, here.
- But the ease and lack of overall depth to this game limit it to something you'll play to blow ten minutes.