When summer time finally arrived, we were excited to finally get around to playing some games that had lived on our backlog for a while. Some have been pretty great (Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons!) and some have not (Lords of Shadow 2, ugh!). Right now, we're enjoying Assassin's Creed: Black Flag. Our full review is on its way (probably next week), but as we've been playing through the game we have already noticed several annoyances that have repeatedly appeared in these games that really need to disappear, especially as we move in to the next generation of systems. Assassin's Creed games are flooding the market and as fun as these games are, there are some persistent problems that need to go away. So here's our take with What's Wrong With Assassin's Creed (the series).
The surveillance is no fun at all
There are few things less fun in Assassin's Creed games than having to track somebody. The game is great to give you x-ray vision well enough to see your target through a crowd, but having to maintain a proper distance from two strolling, randomly stopping guards feels just outdated. In Black Flag this feels particularly egregious. The game gives you a pirate ship and you can seamlessly transition from sailing to swimming to fighting without a moment of load time. Having to stroll awkwardly behind Rosencrantz and Guildenstern while they aimless roam and ramble through plot points feels like a gameplay mechanic from the late 90's, more suited to Rare's Goldeneye than to a game from 2013.
Real life always sucks
If there is anything annoying about the Assassin's Creed games, it's the incredibly irritating insistence that we return to a modern day environment. This is a hold over from the original game (and we loved Kristen Bell's role in the game!) and it has never been fun. Just when you're getting in to the swing of the gameplay, you find yourself emerging from some kind of machine and have returned to the "real world" where you have none of your abilities and can no longer kill anybody. Our take: if we want that experience, we can always stop playing the game and go do something else. We're playing because we want to be a pirate, not a programmer.
The controls have always been awkward
One thing we would love to see Assassins' Creed address is simply the general awkwardness we experience in the game. We repeated try to chase after someone and found our assassin clamoring up a drainpipe rather than running down the alley. We want our assassin to run up and assassinate someone and instead he'll run past them and slash the air in front of them. Don't get us wrong, we greatly prefer the fluid movement the game provides to the sluggishness of some other games (sometimes the Thief in Thief moves with all the grace of a sack of potatoes) but we would like to have a little more control over the variety of movements available to the assassin.
We'll have more to see in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, what'd we miss? Tell us in the comments!