Assassins and what they believe

[I’m going to try to post my thoughts about new games as I play them. Hopefully, these will be of interest to someone else (other than me). This is a follow-up post on yesterday’s First Look.]

I talked before of how even the pause menu is styled in a way to reflect Animus usage. The world itself even echoes this. Try to go to a place where your ancestor hasn’t gone and the game stops you. Animus error. Everything is steeped in the in-game fiction. Having spent so much time making little details explaining the experiences in the Animus, the game fiction falls flat when the Game takes over.

Each town has there own sets of flags to collect. Similar to the Agility Orbs in Crackdown, these are scattered through each town while frequently on rooftops. This type of collection is pretty common in sandbox designed games. In order to have the player explore every area, the designers place things for people to find. I understand this. I even like this. The problem is that I don’t want to be reminded, nearly constantly, that I am living through a simulation only for it to break suddenly. I’m on the trail of my target. I’m pickpocketing maps and notes. I’m listening to the conversations of the townspeople. I am an assassin. Then suddenly I’m stopped. Hey, look, a sweet flag! I’ve gone from being a badass assassin to being in yet another collect-a-thon. Fiction. Broken.

This game is designed for session gaming. Each mission, genetic memory fragment, is a separate event. Each starts in the same town. Each has Altaïr sneaking into the target town — often via the same method. These tropes follow the player from mission to mission. Get the target’s name from the boss. Leave the home town. Travel to the target town. Gather evidence — pickpocketing, listening to townspeople. Assassinate the target. Escape to the Assassin’s Guild. Restart at the home town. Rinse. Repeat. Each mission contains the same basic structure. If you play this in longer sessions, playing more than one memory at a time, it will seem extremely repetitive. It is. It’s also designed for those who will play the game maybe once a week or less. Spend enough time away from the game and having to pass through the home town is a relief. It is a welcome calm before the real play of the latest assassination comes.

Neither of these problems have been game-breaking to me. I can see how they would in others. If you had the pick of new games, why would you play something that you, the hardcore gamer, will probably not like? You wouldn’t. If however you are looking for a game that has a good story — I’m liking how they are telling it — but is still a game Game. You might want to play this. I’m definitely interested in how the story ends. I’m also afraid that this repetition might get on my nerves though.