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brad drac avatar 10:05 AM on 11.19.2007  (server time)
Don't Believe the Anti-Hype, Assassin's Creed is Well Worth Playing

Assassin's Creed is a fairly amazing game. The enormous, beautiful environments, which grant you complete freedom to climb and explore. Exploring itself, with the wonderfully implemented parkour control scheme, is an absolute joy. Sword fighting, once you get the timing down pat, becomes a whirling waltz of death. Slowly walking up to your prey, maintaining secrecy and discretion, and sticking a knife through his throat is the kind of visceral thrill that qualifies the existence of action games in the first place. These are just my opinions, but I have a hard time understanding how people could disagree to the extent that they seem to. So why do they?

By far the most prevalent complaint seems to be the repetitiveness of the game. The game is repetitive, but so is virtually every other game ever made. Repetitiveness is a fundamental part of game design. Consider Halo; all you do in it is run and drive through a variety of similar levels shooting things. Tetris, make solid lines of blocks to make them vanish. Mario kart, drive around tracks using power-ups to competitive advantage. I could go on, but I think the point is made. As long as the repetitive actions are fun, which in the case of Assassin's Creed I most certainly find them to be, it's usually forgiveable. Besides, there is some divergence from routine in the form of informer missions, which involve secret assassinations or checkpoint races, both of which are totally awesome despite not being mentioned in any reviews I've read.

I will agree that the cut scenes being unskippable was a design foible, all that exposition can get rather tedious. That said, the actual plot of the game, flimsy as you may think it, is head and shoulders above the industry standard. Sure, that's not saying much, but such criticism should not be dropped on it without context. As for difficulty concerns, it's true the game won't be the greatest challenge ever for many players, but considering how fun the gameplay mechanics are, I found that to be pretty forgiveable.

Of course, it's fully possible you disagree with everything you said, and that you found those flaws I mentioned to be too overwhelming to properly enjoy the game. I'm not going to argue with you about that. It's a matter of personal taste and everyone else's view is just as valid as mine. My only reason for making this post is that with all the negative press the game is getting, it might discourage some players from giving it a fair chance, with an open mind. Seeing as the game is so different from everything else on the market, so gorgeous and interesting executed, I think anyone who cares about gaming as a medium should at least try this game. You might not like it, but at least it'd be something a little different.

I have a suspicion that if this game had just quietly sneaked out, without the hubub and fanfare and Jade Raymond's boobies, it would have been lauded by the hardcore just as much as games like Okami, or Katamari, or Beyond Good and Evil, or Psychonauts. I think it's a shame that such an interesting game should fall victim to it's own hype. After all, not buying a game because of the hype is just as bad as buying it solely because of it, if not worse. So do yourself a favour, give this game a whirl.

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