Monday, November 30, 2009

Nothing Is True, Everything is Permitted

I was one of those people that loved the original Assassins Creed. I could understand why some people found it repetitive but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute running around as Altair. When the news broke of Ezio I was a bit disappointed in the new setting, Renaissance Italy doesn't really have the same back drop as the Third Crusade. But the closer we got to launch the more thrilled I got to be slipping back into the role of an Assassin, especially with some of the new developments that the game was meant to introduce, such as the fact Ezio doesn't carry around his own weapons apart from what's on the wrist blade and the throwing knives.

This didn't turn out quite the way I thought it would, much to my disappointment as I was really looking forward to walking in somewhere looking more or less normal, ripping a sword from a guard's hand and having at them. However, Ezio walks around tooled up just as much as Altair does. He also can pick up weapons from the enemy, even the ones he can't carry around himself such as spears and double handed axes if he's had the right training but I ended up mostly using the standard stuff.

That's right, training. Unlike Altair who knew everything just wasn't permitted to carry certain items Ezio needs to be trained as this is the story of how Ezio became an Assassin. Obviously the majority of the training is story related, however some of the finer details are optional, and quite hidden. I totally missed the training for spears, double handed and a special ranged move until quite late in the game and I still managed to miss another as the trainer didn't want to charge me for it and I only know about it because my flatmate mentioned it.

Still the development team have improved upon the original in every way. Loads of new additions to the series have been introduced such as what there is to do at the villa in Monteriggioni and upgradeable armour and weaponry. The repetition has totally gone and everything towards an assassination is done as part of the story and are all very different. You no longer have to travel at 2mph outside of cities on your horse. Instead of guards being a bit jumpy as they were in the first game they now react to your notoriety which you can control at your own leisure.

Not that it's all sugar and spice, the side missions take the form of some of the better assignments from the first game. However, by taking them away from the story I couldn't help but think that they seemed a little pointless for a man on a mission of vengeance for the death of his family. This revenge fueled assassin takes time out to beat up cheating husbands and delivering letters. It just seems beneath what Ezio has become, at least for Altair it was all part of setting up the assassination.

They also seem quite tacked on, the models for the characters you're working for can be very random. The first time I had to deliver letters it was to a man's two mistresses, the second of which was a very old woman. Then later an old woman in another city asked me to go beat up her cheating husband, so off I free-run and find the dirty cheat, only for it to be a city guard, whose first reaction to Ezio was the fact he was a wanted man. Luckily once I cracked him in the chops he reverted to cheating husband mode and after a few more licks he went running on his way.

However, I thoroughly enjoyed this game and the ending totally took me by surprise and I had as just as much of a “What the Fuck” moment as the main characters. I can't wait for Assassin's Creed 3. I wonder when we're going this time.
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