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View Full Version : Assassin's Creed, My thoughts and Opinions. (Moderate Spoilers)



ebassist
12-16-2007, 02:10 PM
I'm mostly a PC gamer, but my brother recently purchased an Xbox360 and I had the pleasure of playing Assasins Creed through.

I had noticed, before playing it, that it was stirring up a lot of mixed opinions within the gaming community so I was thoroughly prepared to be underwhelmed.

Cynical ******* that I am when a game has mixed opinions about it I usually fall into the "Dissapointed" camp (I even thought HL2 was way overated), however I can say that for me Assasins Creed is a great game and certainly IMHO one of the best titles currently out on the next gen consoles. Thats not to say thats its perfect however, which I will come to later, so lets start on the good bits.

The Animation - Someone at Ubisoft needs a pat on the back for this. The animation routines are simply superb, bumping into people when you're running and stumbling with them recoiling from the force. I mean most FPS/Third Person Shooter games can't even get it so the players character grips the actual rungs on a ladder rather than simply doing a climbing animation while on it and ascending.

How you managed to make Altair grip each individual handhold with such dexterity is beyond me. This excellence extends right across the board, horse riding, combat, free running every animation is spot on perfect, perhaps the best I've ever seen.

The AI - Now I know a lot of people when hearing this will go "WHAT THE AI IS TERRIBLE!" and point out a number of examples where the AI has done clearly stupid things. Ok it isn't perfect by any means but let me say this. "Social Stealth" AI is very hard to do.

Only really the Hitman series has attempt it before, they knew that someone walking past in someones clothes wasen't always going to fool someone, so whenever you walked past a guard he pretty much had a random chance to suddenly "twig" you.

But AI routines lack (and will probably for at least decades) the complex reasoning and decision making proccesses that human beings would go through in order to deduce that someone is an imposter (Or in Assasins Creed's case the assasin in a group of civilians) Gaming also lacks the basic inputs to deduce said things that would be taken for granted in real life. (players for example have no control over how nervous the avatar looks).

It took four games (Blood Money) to realise that simply being randomly "guessed" to be an imposter by chance and luck was no fun and they made it so if you were in the right costume you were basically in the clear as long as you did nothing explicit to arouse suspicion.

Assasins creed did a very good job of knowing when the guards had found you. When I got busted I never really felt that the guards had "cheated" and simply determined my identity unfairly. Of course the gameplay mechanics used to achive this state are clearly ridiculous in real terms, a person walking with his head bowed and arms together would be no less suspicious in at the scence of an assasination that someone walking calmly (indeed the reaction of an innocent bystander would probably be to run as fast as you can away, the very thing that is SURE to get you noticed)

AI is still going to be very basic compared to human intelligense for a good while and we need to allow developers of games liscence to set some "game rules" within which their AI can work.

Regarding the AI I must also mention pathfinding here as a triuph. How many games have we played where NPCs get stuck on scenery far less complex than the ones encoutered in Assasins creed? But in AC the AI will leap happily all over the terrain in persuit of you.

I'd like to also put in the reactions of NPCs to your actions (especially in the sound department) was pretty good. Leap from a roof and right in the middle of a crowded street and people recoil back, clearly shocked by your actions muttering "what the hell is he doing?" Very nice touches.

The Story - When I found out that the story in Assasins creed was told through memory diving into the past, and you're actually some nonce in the present/near present, I was concerned. But I felt it worked very well to drive the plot and the "Sync" bar is probably the best excuse for a traditional health system I've seen in a while. Overall I thought the plot was excellently written and executed though I could see the twist coming before I'd even gone through half the game.

The Cities - Each one was individual and beautiful. Its probably the best example I've seen of a "living city". Of course the people within it are the same dumb drones of GTA and its clones but the chat among its citizens, the random events (preachers infront of cathedrals with a crowd infront of them) and people carrying stuff around made it FEEL more alive.

If I could criticise anything I'd say a bit more random events and lawlessness among the populace would be nice. Some battles between thugs in the market, guards chasing a thief etc.

The Free Running - Glorius, simply brilliant enough said. Again if I had to criticise I'd say that making sprint and free run the same button caused a few problems. I'd be sprinting from the guards and suddenly Altair would jump up a small post or try to shimmy up a wall. Still, minor complait.

The combat - While I admit to not playing many Third person action/platformers I thought the sword fighting and assasinations were bang on. However, how they were implemented wasen't more on this....................... right now.

Ok here come the bad bits. The point of being an assasin is taking one life and getting out. Ok you might be elitely trained in case you get into trouble but NO ONE can take on four people wielding a sword and win.

I'm guessing they made the combat so easy because they wanted you to feel like a badass, but they went far too far. A lot of the time I didn't feel like a badass, I felt like I was cheating. It should have been that taking three people on in a sword duel would have been a very difficult test of your sklls. Four? Time to run.

If I had beaten three people in a hard sword duel I'd have felt like a badass. When I've beaten 30 hardly taking a hit it feels cheap. It completely removed ANY sense of threat from the game, which is a real shame.

In other stealth games like Splinter Cell if you've cocked it up you run and hide because if you don't you'll die. In Assasins Creed when I was fleeing a crime scence I WANTED to have to run and hide from the superior force and numbers of the guardsmen.

I wanted to be chased across rooftops driven by the knowledge that if I stopped I died. Ok I COULD have run and jumped and done the hidey stuff but when I tried it it felt hollow. Knowing I could simply turn around and beat a load out of any number of pursuers made the whole excercise pointless. By the end of the game, whenever I went to enter a new city I just killed the guardsmen on the door because it was quicker and easier than waiting for the scholars.

Combat brilliant, easyness of combat, BIG downer on the game.

The Gaining Intelligence missions - UBIsoft you can do better. Identikit Pickpocket, Assasinate, Eavesdrop, Flag Gathering or Intimidate is simply not good enough. An overiding feeling I have of Assassins Creed is that it does the hard stuff well and the easy stuff..... okish. You've made a brilliant engine, compelling combat, glorious cities.

How hard is it to code in a few extra mission types? They're just a bunch of scripts telling people where to go. Ok, I'm no expert at this but I've made some single player levels in my time and once you have the framework, hanging some basic AI routines and voices files on is easy.

They don't need to be works of art, but come on. You've got great AI for free running in the guards, start someone on a roof and put him on a waypoint across town. Mission? Assasinate him before he gets to the end of his waypoint for some invented reason (before he passes on his message or something). Not good enough.

The Intelligense Gathered From These Missions - After going through all that hard work you expect a useful bit of intel. But no, almost all the pieces of intel you pick up are useless. Even the "useful" ones, (positions of the guards etc) are hard to decipher and mostly misleading.

Despite getting every piece of intel in the game and double checking each one before I went to any target, on every assasination (except the scholar one where all the intel can show you where he is straight away)I simply used common sense. This leads into my next point.......

The Assasinations themselves. I don't know how exactly to go about criticising these, cos they are the best bits in a game I like a lot, but they DO need criticising.

Firstly, too easy...... way way way too easy. Whenever an assasination went wrong and the it hit the fan I let them kill me to restart the game from the last checkpoint. Even though I KNEW I could just fight my way to the target and kill him with my sword without breaking a sweat.

This links in with the sword fighting being too easy. The fastest and simplest way in most of the assasinations was simply to wade in and hit everyone with your sword till you got to the target. I won't go much further cos I've covered this particular point in detail already, but put simply in a game about ASSASINATIONS if I screw up up with 20 guards around I should be dead. Period.

Every assasination was too similar in both approach, method and layout. Gain entry to sealed off area either by the roof or with scholars, get as close as you can without being busted then sprint and jump-knife him. Of course you can deviate from the forumla here and there but mostly thats what it boils down to.

Where was the variation? What about a target thats on a millitary parade through the city? You could see his route through the city and find a perfect rooftop to jump him from. Or perhaps someone attending a church service? Pretend to be a churchgoer and strike him when he enters, wait for him to leave and strike him then? Or wait till he's walking home and shiv him in an alleyway?

Linked with this point, was that the targets were far too static. They sat in their pre-determined point and stayed there. Meaning any meaningful "planning" of assasinations was out the window. "Ah I've learned that the English leader will be adressing his troopers and he'll be distracted I'll strike then." Except that I didn't need to learn thats when i "should" strike. During the entire assasination he's adressing his troops thus rendering my intelligense gathering moot.

You don't "feel" like you're stalking your prey in any real way cos they never move so you can stalk them. You can't wait for them in an alley or anything like that.

Also far too many assasinations were SCRIPTED to end in cluster****s, meaning I felt less like an assasin and more like a tactless thug with an admittably ridiculous skill at swordplay. Again, lessons should be learned from the Hitman series, who realised after the first two games that "Hitman" games which turn into "Mediocre third person shooter-man" games, doesen't work.

The ending - Nuff said. Setting up for a sequal is fair enough. If you want to carry the story on thats fine, but at least bring this segment to a satisfactory conclusion! "WOW WIERD WRITING WHAT DOES IT MEANZ l0l$!" CREDITS is insulting.

Replaying segments starting with unskippable cutscences and starting in a position which no one will ever want to be, neccesitating a 5 min journey? Come on UBISoft BASICS BASICS. BAD Idea. You're gamers like us, come on can't you see thats obvious? Free-Run mode with everything unlocked to find templars/flags etc once you've completed the game should have been an obvious inclusion.

Thanks for reading.

spazzoo1025
12-16-2007, 04:55 PM
thank you for sharing your useless opinion

http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Tela
12-16-2007, 05:09 PM
I was not bothered to read that whole thing. Honestly, how long did it take you to type all that up?

All that I read was the end. You are, in a way, able to free-roam at the end. Load block 6, and you can go anywhere, and do anything, AND you have all weapons.

It's true that you can't really "stalk" your prey, but killing them in an alley? The point of the assassination was that it was seen by people. Not in some deserted area.

ebassist
12-16-2007, 05:26 PM
I know you can "In a way free roam at the end" the point is that if you just want to quickly pick up and play for fun, having to go through a 5 minute unskippable talk from your master, then run down the hill and ride a horse out to kingdom is silly.

And where does it ever state that the purpose of these assasinations is for them to be seen by people? The purpose is to make the target dead.... end of, the most effective way to do this would be to do it subtlely (well it would be if the sword fighting wasen't so ridiculously easy) not do it infront of a load of armed heavies.

Tela
12-16-2007, 05:29 PM
It does not say so in the game, but point of assassinations themselves is that they are seen. People know what happened.

Actually, come to think of it, Altair DOES say something about them being public. After one of the assassinations, he's talking to Malek, who snaps at him because "the whole city knows", and Altair replies that that's the point.

BMasters87
12-16-2007, 08:35 PM
i agree with Tela, I do recall something being said that the assassinations being seen was the point, supposed to instill fear or something of the matter.

if assassinations weren't seen how would they be called assassinations to begin with?

ebassist
12-16-2007, 09:26 PM
A) What the game "says" is a moot point. The point I was making was that in my opinion the game giving you the option at least some of the time to make a stealthy silent kill would have made the game a more well rounded and better experience.

B) The game actually states nothing of the sort by anyone who would be considered a credible source. The conversation you are refering to goes something like this.

Altair - "It is done."
Tamir - "I know that, half the city knows you half-wit!"
Altair - "A good assasin makes sure his enemies fear him."
Tamir - "No a good assasin gets the job done with the minimum fuss and maximum effeciency"

So what we have is a differing of opinion between two assasins, not a statement of fact. Considering that this is early in the game and Altair is still an arrogant toe rag I'm more inclined to believe Tamir is right.

C - Performing Assasinations in public is clearly unproffessional and in somewhat of defiance of their Creed.

Never expose the brotherhood - Well if you're performing assasinations in front of about 50 people who could identify you and then having to sprint back to the bureau chased by 20 guards? I'd say that goes some way towards breaking that tenant.

Never kill an innocent - A less clear violation, but if you're performing assasinations in public you're often killing legions of guardsmen. (Who are probably simply conscripted young boys and in most defenitions of the word would be considered "innocent". Ok you could argue that when they put on that uniform they accept that death may be a part of their proffession and so murdering them is vindicated. Well yes to some extent but that still doesen't excuse cutting them down in hordes when it could be avoided.

Not to mention killing people in public is likely to cause a mass panic with guards not knowing whats going on and people getting crushed to death, or cut down by scared guards. Again not an outright violation but certainly a situation that should be avoided if its possible.

Besides if I knew an Assasin was assasinating people in public I'd be far LESS scared than if my comrades had been found dead in their bedrooms with one knife wound with no one having raised the alarm.

Anyway the point isn't that the game says this or the game says that. The point is that with a more varied mix of options during your assasinations it would have been a better game.

And masters I think when the victim is found dead with a knife wound in his neck it would be a fairly clear indication that he'd been assasinated, witnesses or no.

LesPaul5391
12-17-2007, 03:03 AM
Well, I read every word of the original post(I'm bored ok?),and all-in-all I think you made some nice points about the game. There was a fair amount of praises and constructive criticism. But some things you criticised I feel like were more your opinion, rather than actual negative points in the game.

For instance, I agree with Tela that I would rather perform the assasinations in public, where there are people that I want to witness them. If I'm putting a blade in an important person's throat, I'm making a statement, a statement that is hard to make if noone sees it happen. I mean if you do it quick and get out, it's not likely that anyone who saw it will recognize Altair if they see him again, as he is not disstinctive looking from many other people in the town. But they will know the person he wanted to kill is dead, and it wasn't an accident.

And you made it seem as if it was impossible to free-roam with all your weapons after the game's completion, but it certainly can be done. An unskippable cutscene isn't really a big deal to everyone, including myself. It may even help you keep up with every detail of the story better, which pays off whenever we play a sequel. And who care's if you don't start off in the perfect spot, isn't half the fun of them game roaming around discovering everything in the different cities?

I'll admit I don't have Assassin's Creed yet, (Christmas is approaching though!) but from lurking these forums and reading every article I find, I think I'm not the only one who shares my opinion.

BobDown
12-17-2007, 03:41 AM
If you knew anything about the Hashshashin, then you would know that they intended for their assassinations to be public. It was so that they were feared.

Also, don't be disappointed in a game because it doesn't meet your expectations...it was never made to meet your expectations, it was always going to be the way the developers designed it.

ebassist
12-17-2007, 08:49 AM
Firstly, read the post and note the point isn't historical accuracy its about what would make a better game. Note I'm not arguging AGAINST assasinating people in public I'm saying the option to use other techniques at least occasionally would be nice.

Second read the post and note that I'm not "dissapointed" in the game I liked it. These thoughts are my opinion on how the game could be improved.

And if your statement is true no one could ever be dissapointed in any game ever. What other criteria can you judge your satisfaction or dissapointment in a game other than by your expectations of it?

MiniAssasin
12-17-2007, 01:28 PM
i think he means the fact that killing the guy in public sucked because its too easy to kill 30+ guards if it went wrong

doesnt matter that the devs said assassins did it to make a point the op is saying he wantrs to kill the target and have to flee for his life or die or if seen then he has to run and i think a god idea would be for the target to run somewhere else, up the guards be harder to get

that would have made a great experience

but yea great post op

nail on the head

ebassist
12-17-2007, 04:00 PM
Quite so, thank you