Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dodge this!

As happy as I am with Assassin's Creed: Rogue I do need to admit that the Assassin's Creed games as a whole have not improved upon themselves as much as they have figured out what not to make the player do, ship to ship combat notwithstanding. Each progressive game has recognized the predecessors' weaknesses and tied to avoid them instead of fixing them.

For example, as awesome as the free running is to watch it is more than a little dodgy in practice. Players can inadvertently run up a tree or a wall or plunge to their death because the 'dive into a bale of hay' animation didn't fire. This made chase sequences much more difficult then they needed to be. As the game went on there were both fewer chases and they were laid out in such a way as to better guide the player. Almost scripted, but not quite.

Rogue has examples of both extremes: a very good chase sequence and a fuck I hate this game why am I still playing one. The good one comes very early in the game when Shay destroys an entire city by mistake. The player flees from one collapsing building to another. It is quite the spectacle for a last gen only game and it kept the player involved and not frustrated by making the path fairly obvious.

Many hours later, after Shay has flipped allegiance and started to kill off his old team, there a city chase between him and Hope, a female assassin who leaves a trail of poison gas in her path. The player must avoid the gas, avoid soldiers enraged by said gas and not fall too far behind.

It was terrible and was everything wrong with the worst parts of previous games. To top it off the game crashed after I failed several times in a row. A reboot later and I was back at it, determined to finish it so I could get back to the parts of the game that I enjoy.


An unfair number of games just dropped. Geometry Wars 3 was purchased site unseen and has yet to be played. Tales from the Borderlands will suffer the same fate. The demo for Guilty Gear Xrd has been downloaded and not looked at. Rogue is still not complete and Dragon Age is still waiting in the wings.

I know I should not complain when in this exact space I will lament the summer doldrums in six month time.

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