Friday, August 26, 2011

Assassin's Creed: Worst Recent Game of All Time

Assassin's Creed sucks. Plain and simple. It showed a lot of potential, and got tons of marketing, but the thing is just terrible. Everything starts out interesting, but then it goes downhill for the entire remainder of the game. Further and further into the abyss of suckiness. Right up until the final stretch, at which point it buckles under the weight of sheer awfulness and turns into a black hole. It's hard to believe that a game from a reputable studio with a budget of over $20,000,000 could turn out so bad. But it did. So here's why Assassin's Creed is the worst game ever.

1) The Repetition: 90% of the game has you going through the same formulaic cycles: pick up mission, journey to town, scale viewing points to find map markers, do odd jobs to gather intelligence, kill your target. The only part that's remotely unique is the actual assassination; everything else stays the exact same from mission to mission. Most of the preliminary tasks are boring and tedious, and there's barely any kind of reward or incentive to do them. The whole game is just a chore because there's no variety to anything.

2) The Stealth/Hide System: I like the idea of "hiding in plain sight," but guards are finicky about sounding the alarm. If you're moving at any pace faster than a snail, the guards get suspicious, especially if you're on a horse. But once they turn aggressive you have break the line of sight and hide. This is extremely annoying, because running away just results in running past more and more guards. You can't go into a hiding place when they can see you, and there's a constant issue of guards always spotting you the split-second before you go into the hiding space and having to run all over the place looking for a new one. Most of the time it's more efficient to just brazenly kill every guard instead of hiding.

3) The Expository Dialogue: There's supposed to be some kind of a plot. It's barely there, but they tell it through long, boring dialogue scenes where you watch two characters standing around flapping their jaws for five minutes. There's nothing for you to do but take your hands off the controls and listen; you can click to change the camera angles but that doesn't make it any more engaging or interesting. Somehow the characters can jabber on and on without saying anything important or meaningful. The game doesn't give you any reason to care about the expository diarrhea (or the characters) and it doesn't add anything to the experience. 

Have fun listening to these twits rambling on and on and on and on.

4) The Hand-Holding: Everywhere you go and everything you do prompts a tutorial message reminding you to do things or telling you how to do things. It's helpful at first, but it gets to be pretty stupid having the game explain things to you that you figured out five missions ago. After giving you a taste of all of the weapons and abilities you can use, they take it all away and slowly restore them one-by-one. They don't just give you the tools and let you use them, you have to play along until the game feels you're ready for another step. 

5) The Automation: Most of the real action in the game is automated. Combat involves very simple clicks while your character does fancy, elaborate moves. Performing a gory finishing attack is purely cinematic and involves no player input. While free-running, you basically just hold down three buttons and let your character automatically jump to or climb up the next available thing, but since everything happens automatically you frequently end up doing things that you never intended to. Despite having nearly every player action require obtuse button combinations, most of the actual action feels devoid of real interaction as if you're just watching what's happening instead of actually controlling it. 

6) The Animus Framework: The idea is that you're actually just re-enacting genetically-encoded ancestral memories through a Matrix-style computer. It's interesting because it gives a plausible explanation for the unrealistic things that are necessary in a video game like health meters, maps and quest markers, boundaries, floating messages, etc. But we're so used to these things being available that when this game reminds us it's all part of the computer simulation, it actually ends up breaking the immersion slightly. It pulls you out of the experience more often than it bolsters the atmosphere.

Have fun fighting 15 enemies at once and then doing it again ten more times in a row.

7) The Combat: Full-on combat gets to be extremely tedious. There are a number of different maneuvers you can pull off but the only one that's really worth using is the counter-attack, since it's an instant kill. Most of the moves involve some kind of two or three-button combination; your fingers get used to it after a while, but in longer fights against groups of enemies it gets difficult to keep track of everything. Despite that you learn "new maneuvers" as you play, it doesn't feel like the combat really evolves or changes and it then feels stale. Especially towards the end when the game forgets that it's a stealth assassination game and turns it into a large-scale melee brawler. 

8) The Climax: The ultimate build-up as the "plot" comes together and you chase after the final confrontation is complete horse manure. It's like the devs thought "How can we make the climax epic and exciting?" and someone said "I know! Let's have the player fight dozens of enemies at a time, killing an entire army of templars wave after wave. That'll make him feels like a real badass! And then for the final boss, we can drop the player to zero health so that he's a one-hit kill. That'll make things really tense!" The result throws away the only good aspects of the game (stealth assassinations and free-running) and just makes it a tedious, frustrating action game, when it wasn't designed from the ground up to be as such.

9) The Lack of Aerial Attacks: You spend a lot of time running around on rooftops. It's just about the only way to stay out of sight, and it lets you move around more quickly. But there's no way to do a pouncing assassination, jumping from a ledge and planting your blade in their throat as you land on them. There are a lot of occasions when it would be much more prudent to do this; the only way to get to your target unnoticed is by the rooftops, but then you have to drop down to attack them. Which invariably results in them hearing you land and sounding the alarm, turning the assassination into an all-out brawl. 

The only thing that Assassin's Creed gets right is the general premise. Otherwise, it's pure garbage.


  1. I agree with you, but the fact why I played it so much is because the exploring freedom it gave you, but surely most of those problems where fixed in Assassin's Creed 2, or so I believe

  2. You're right on both parts. I'm playing Ass Cred Too right now, and so far every single criticism I had against AC1 has been addressed. But despite its vast improvements, I still find myself missing the atmosphere of the original game. It's like despite all of the gameplay improvements, AC2 lacks a lot of the soul that was established in the first game.

  3. Everything you pointed out is 100% true. I literally can't stand this game. I played AC2 first because my roomate had it, then felt empty because i never played the first one. I rented it through gamefly so I just wanted to beat the game quick, not play it as an open world, do anything you want kind of game. Everything in this game annoys me to the point of gritting my teeth. The informer missions make me want to snap the disc in half. I can't believe its rated 7.9 on Gamefly. I will rate it as a 1.0. Period. Games are meant for pleasure. I utterly hate playing this game. So it fails at what a video game is suppose to be. WTF ubisoft.

    1. You literally can't stand it? Literally? Hokay.

  4. One lone blogger...

    Desperately trying to destroy one of the greatest game franchises of our era.

    And you know what?

    Nobody cares.

    We're all playing Assassins Creed.

    1. One anonymous comment....

      Desperately trying to justify a flawed video game.

      Your words amuse me.

    2. Not even close to the best game.

      The game is the most anoying game I have ever played in 25 years. I swear they tryed thier best to make the most tedious anoying game.

    3. It's nice for you that you enjoy it. Good for you.
      Regarding whether everyone is playing this, take a look at the best list of best selling beers in the US and you'll (probably) realize that mass appeal says less about product quality than it does of unrefined customers.