By Ventilaator 21 Comments
WARNING! Might contain spoilers for Assassin's Creed 1!
"You guys keep telling me not to play Assassin's Creed 1, that's kind of why I want to"
- Sir Bradley Shoemaker
I've always had an interest in the Assassin's Creed series, but due to some not-so-pleasant experiences with the first one, I've kind of avoided it. Then everyone kept telling me how the second one is an infinity or two better. Then I saw Assassin's Creed Brotherhood get a 5/5 on here and get a #1 spot on Ryan's GOTY list. Then I heard it even has subtitles this time around! Maybe they actually figured out how to make this game properly!
So I was willing to give it a chance. Not ready to spend full price on a game I think might be good, I got an used copy for super cheap. I have a week or so until it arrives. That's enough time to go back to and finish the first game!
I loaded up my save file I had from a billion years ago, and felt kind of lost. The map was full of "Save citizen" markers, without anything else. What do I do? Where do I go? Who do I stab?
Screw this, I'll start this game over.
This game starts showing problems after the first few minutes.. First of all, it needs subtitles badly. Second, it needs some good voice actors. I laughed when people talked in the first few hours before I got used to it, that's not good. And third, it needs an editor. This game seriously wins the award for "Most words spoken without actually saying anything", and this is coming from a guy who loves the Metal Gear series.
This continues throughout the game, whenever anyone starts saying anything it's very eye-stabbingly slow and boring. After a few hours I stopped paying attention to what anyone was saying, and used the conversation parts to stretch or talk to somebody in the room with me while I was playing.
I repeat, this is coming from a guy who loves the Metal Gear series.
With this game being called Assassin's Creed and all, you might think that you'll be playing an assassin. Not so, instead you'll be playing an errand boy called Altair, who died and went to hell, doomed to run the exact same errands over and over and over again. The repetitive nature of this game has been talked about a lot, but I cannot stress enough how bad it is. I salute you if you manage to play this game in a marathon-y fashion, because doing the same exact things all the time should fry your brain after a few hours.
As a huge fan of the Hitman series, I have an appreciation for a good assassination where everyone is left wondering what the heck happened while you walk away with your target dead. Doing that is completely impossible in this game. You walk to your target, watch them do something evil, take a step towards them, alert every guard on the planet, fight for an hour, kill your target in the process, and repeat. There was only one target who I managed to kill without him seeing me, but that still alerted every guard on the planet. It was hard for me to let go of that, because if that happens in Hitman you're supposed to restart the level.
Storywise, there's no story. You're an assassin who is supposed to kill people because that's what you do. All of this is completely meaningless though, because you're actually a future-dude in a future-chair seeing past-things. There's absolutely no story to the past parts, and having it made completely meaningless like that doesn't help.
And then, suddenly, in the last 15 minutes in the game or so, everything turns awesome. It's revealed that your boss told you to kill those people so those people would get out of his way so he could run away with this magical sci-fi artifact. You obviously aren't too into that and go to kill him. He waves his artifact around and stuns you in place with Random Yellow Magic. He then waves it around some more and makes every assassination target from the entire game appear around you and fight you. After that he makes like 12 versions of himself and fights you. After you do all that, future-man steps out of the future-chair and shows some past-powers he randomly gained.
I was a fan of the endgame, not so much the rest of it. The climbing around mechanic is as stable as Fallout New Vegas. When it works, it's awesome, when it doesn't, it's so bad it's funny. I can't count the times I ran away from guards, started climbing a building, suddenly stopped and couldn't move in any direction at all until I got rocks thrown at me and fell down. There was an obvious direction to climb, Altair must have gotten cramps or something. The combat looks completely awesome, but it's way too slow. If you want to get through it without getting beat up too much, you need to rely on the counter, but to counter someone they need to attack first, but often they stood around you and....stood around you.
After a GTA game rolls credits, I immediately go back and start doing some side stuff and other things I missed. After this game rolled credits I took the disc out, put it on my shelf, and never plan to look at it ever again. There are brilliant ideas here, all done in a half-assed "Let's just do this so we could go home" kind of way. If the second one is this, but good, it will probably be pretty amazing.
We'll see at some point.