I haven’t had the motivation to blog much, even when I have a ton of things that I could talk about. I just don’t feel the need or want to type something up. I’m not sure what this will mean for the future, most likely it means blogs will be fewer and farther apart, and when I do take the time to write them, I’ll probably have a ton of stuff to say.
There are a couple events that I haven’t touched on in the past few weeks; I’ll leave these topics to bullet points before getting to the main part of the blog.
- I saw Prometheus about 4 weeks ago. It was a very good movie aesthetically; however, the plot left a lot to be desired. It just wasn’t well paced and seemed like an event would just happen without a proper explanation. It also left many key points ambiguous.
- I beat Advance Wars: Dual Strike 2 weeks ago. It was a fairly tough game, but I had a great deal of fun with it. I was really digging the strategy/turn-based genre as I played it, and I may pick up a couple more titles in the genre.
- I have started playing Mario Kart 7 again. I initially didn’t really care for this iteration of in the series. Despite some cool features like coins, kart customization, and terrain, it took out some of my favorite characters and lowered the roster to 17. I also wasn’t a big fan of the tracks at first; however, the game is growing on me a little more this time around. I hadn’t played it since December, and even then I had only played it for 3 hours. This week my playtime racked up around 10 hours, and I have now cleared the 150cc and Mirror Cup. I’m currently working on getting 3 stars in every cup.
And now to the meat of the blog. I want to talk about a series I just picked up a couple week’s ago. It’s been out since almost the beginning of the generation, but I just now went out and bought it. I think I was hesitant mainly because I was a Prince of Persia fan and was a little ticked off that Ubisoft Montreal was moving away from PoP to focus on this series: Assassin’s Creed. I have yet to pick up Brotherhood or Revelations; in the the past two weeks I managed to beat the first 2 games – in fact I beat the second one only an hour ago, but here is my impression on the series.
Assassin’s Creed wasn’t that great of a game. It had a really good concept, and touches some interesting themes, but when I say touch, I mean it only slightly grazes anything. It’s such a shame too because it has a very interesting setting-the crusades, but the tedium and frustration experienced while playing this game almost put me off the series.
The platforming and combat are fairly slow and monotonous, climbing to the roofs of smaller buildings is a chore in its own right, but when you’re trying to get to the top of a cathedral it becomes tedious affair that leaves you wanting to put down the controller and do something else. Add to the fact that the platforming can be quite erratic at times. Sometimes you won’t be able to reach out and grab a ledge that is clearly in range while other times Altair seems to have no problem doing so. Altair also fears water and this can lead to a fair amount of annoying deaths when you jump to a platform but Altair veers off target.
The game does have sparks of joy, sneaking up on a guard that’s standing on a rooftop and using your hidden blade is also fun to do; however, this stealth element is lacking, you can’t leap from a roof top to kill your target, you can’t hang from an edge and throw your target over it as they approach. The assassination range seems very limited, and this is even more apparent in the 9 bosses Altair must take down. First you gather “intel” on your target then you go after them, these fights end up pitting Altair against 15 soldiers. There is no real stealthy way to take out your target. You’re just left to parry a wave of enemies into submission, and then fleeing and hiding.
The 9 targets do have cool personalities and are each unique, but you really only get to see this in a cutscene leading up to the fight, and although the personalities are unique the fights are the same for every encounter. Not to mention there barely is a story. Altair wasn’t a very likable character; he was kind of a dick, and although the game preaches about questioning everything, Altair is basically a slave who must follow his masters every order. The most interesting parts of the game, in terms of narrative, are when you play as Desmond.
Slow, erratic, monotonous, unchanging, boring, repetitive, these are a couple words I would use to describe Assassin’s Creed. Thankfully the sequel changed almost everything.
Assassin’s Creed II is a completely different story. The game has improved on so many things that it’s a breath of fresh air. In Assassin’s Creed I ended up rushing through just to be done with the game, but with the sequel I found myself lingering, looking for viewing points, codex entries, feathers, and glyphs. I’ll just list all the great things that were improved in Assassin’s Creed II to show you how much of difference between the two there really is:
- Story is more character focused. Ezio Auditore is much more likable and relate-able.
- Platforming is faster and smoother. There are even tomb levels that play out like Prince of Persia levels.
- Combat is faster and smoother. There is much more variety in battles to, use of different weapons and equipment
- Customization of equipment and weapons.
- Missions greatly vary. It’s no longer find intel using 3 methods and then assassinate a target.
- There is currency to purchase items and equipment.
- The cities are much larger, there are also more rafters and carts positioned strategically to make getting on rooftops easier and traversing the worlds faster.
- You can flee battles at anytime.
- Stealth plays a bigger part, and some of the things that seemed like they should have been in the first are now included (i.e. leaping kills, hanging on roof top kills, two hidden blades).
- Added night and day dynamic to world.
I couldn’t really see all the hype behind the first, but after the second I really want to platinum this game and get the rest of the series.