Friday, January 30, 2015

The inverse assassin rule

More blank days.

The of head of my department at work (at least the department I do the most work for) either left or was fired, depending on whose story is told. He was the only one doing sales. I am not a sales person. I fix things in the background, exist as a voice over the phone or reassuring words in an email and I abhor paperwork. Interacting with people in person is not one of my favorite things nor is asking them for money.

This may or may not be the way this are going to stay. It has not been a pleasant few days.


Each time the Assassins Creed franchise has moved forward in time I require convincing that the formula of hooded guys jumping between rooftops is still going to work. With the exception of Desmond's foray into the modern world, I have always come around. The time of Napoleon and the Marquis de Sade (who cleared putting this guy in a game) works but only because the houses are so crammed together and there are giant cathedrals to scale. It is approaching the limits of believability.

And then game jumps into World War II era France and has Arno scale the Eiffel Tower while shooting down planes with turrets. I was stunned. It worked just as well as anything else the game had done and looked significantly better. It was a stunning sequence that was intentionally out of step with the rest of the game. Made modern Assassins will work, just not with Desmond. Or Arno, for that matter, he is a wuss in comparison to Captain Kenway and Shay Cormac, and not just because the later wore cooler hats.

Black Flag and Rogue finally realized that no one plays an Assassins Creed game for the combat. Their solution was not to fix the mechanics, just make it smooth and easy. It looks good, people die, and then the player is allowed to move on. The specific change made (that probably existed in previous game but was not as prevalent) was the ability to string multiple kills together as long as you are not hit in between them. As soon as the first deathblow is landed each hit thereafter is a one hit kill. Shay could lay out a dozen men and look cool doing it with little player instruction beyond mash A to make them die.

The combat is not good, it is flashy and easy, but that is fine because it is not why anyone is playing the game. Unity removed the kill string completely. After a fancy deathblow the player is forced to start over on the next enemy, waiting around for a counter opportunity, charging a heavy attack or more likely getting stabbed in the back for the trouble. The combat is more difficult, takes longer, and is still not why anyone is playing the game. Encounters with more than three or four enemies always end up with me dropping smoke, stabbing a few dudes, and then running away.

It may be more assassin-like but it is certainly dis-empowering for the character. Worse, it's boring and repetitive.

I have no idea how much of the game is left and I want to play Life is Strange. Maybe I will take the weekend off from 'work' and play a few things for fun instead.

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