Monday, February 25, 2008

Ok, Break's Over

The wife is back, the children are happy to have the nicer parent home and it's time I should get back into posting on a regular basis. Not with anything substantial anyway, but at this point, anything is better than nothing. Maybe not. Really, I have no idea.

I've been playing a lot of Assassin's Creed of late and while it is a very beautiful game, there are some annoying design choices that mar the experience. For one, the informant missions are just plain annoying. The way it works is that when you get a new target, you have to do side missions in order to find out enough information about your target so that the local Assassination Bureau is confident that you won't fuck things up. Some of the side missions you do involve you going to an informant, a fellow assassin, and doing all of their dirty work so that they tell you stuff.

The informants fall into several categories. One guy, who you see multiple times, is just a dick and wants to make you jump around like a monkey before he'll help you. I get that. We all have coworkers who won't help us until we listen to their boring ass vacation stories, or get them a soda, or a cheese danish, or whatever. The other guys are either cowards or layabouts. Either they have to kill someone, but they don't know how, or they have to kill like nine guys and they want you to do it because, and these are two real reasons I've been given in the game, it's hot, or their back hurts. Seriously? You're part of a brotherhood of lethal killers, men who can slip in and out of a crowd and take out your target while the whole city is watching, and you can't nail your targets because it's too hot? It's fucking Damascus! It's hot city! Loser. It wouldn't be so bad if you didn't have to do all of these guys' work at your leisure, but no, you have time limits. Tonight I had to kill five guys in five minutes, while dodging the guards, flinging aside beggars, and getting punched by crazy/mentally deficient people. It ain't fun. Granted, I'm doing all of this so I can get an achievement, so I guess that makes me the mentally deficient one, but that's nothing new.

The free running stuff is definitely cool, and it seems to be a nice compliment to the system in Crackdown. Crackdown certainly gave you a much better superhero feeling to it as you jumped 30 foot gaps at a time, but this game is much more realistic in how your character finds footholds, and different grips to scale the different structures. As I said, it's all very impressive, on a technical level, and if I were playing the game without having to do all of the side missions, it'd probably be more fun, so some of the problems are of my own choosing, but at the same time, why put in side missions if they're not going to be any fun? I think that Crackdown struck a much better balance. The side missions, namely killing all of the gang leader's generals, had a tangible benefit on the killing of the gang leader in that there would be fewer gang members, or fewer guns, or whatever. In Assassin's Creed, the side missions don't really tell you anything you wouldn't figure out on your own as you go about casing the joint.

Despite all this, I'm still having fun playing the game, and the ramping up in difficulty seems to work fairly well. I'm not looking forward to the one versus one hundred fight at the end, but hey, it's all in a day's work. I'm sure I'm up to the task.

I'm also playing the new Apollo Justice game which is the sequel to the Phoenix Wright series, and so far I'm really enjoying it. It sticks to the same formula as the Phoenix Wright series, but there's some updates to it, as well as some more gentle prodding for those new to the series. This game also takes advantage of the DS's touch screen, which is something the Phoenix Wright series never did, with the exception of the last case in the first game. Granted, it's not huge things, but enough to make you have fun with the system. My review is due on Friday, so look for it in the coming weeks. After that I'm taking on God of War: Chains of Olympus for the PSP, Super Smash Brothers Brawl and Baroque for the Wii and Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword for the DS. That should bring me to the end of March. After that, I'm not sure as I haven't looked that far ahead in the release calendar. Once I figure it out, I'll be sure to let you know.

There. I think that catches us up nicely. Stay tuned for more endless rambling tomorrow.


Booster MPS said...

I honestly thought AC was a fresh new take on telling a story in a video game. For the most part I really enjoyed the game and the missions. Yeah doing the same thing in each city got old but I cranked through it. I think it would have been better if they had tailored the missions to the cities a bit more just as the architecture and history of the cities differed.

Brandon said...

I agree that it is a cool story, and the reasoning behind why you're reliving this guy's missions is very well done. I certainly wouldn't tell people to skip the game based on the side missions, however if you're an achievement whore like me, it does get to be a bit of a grind. That being said, I look forward to playing it every night.