If you love it, change it: Assassin’s Creed

[Editor’s note: Justice takes a look at Assassin’s Creed and gives us his take on how he would go about improving the series it as part of this month’s Monthly Musing. — CTZ]

I know a lot of people didn’t really care for this game and/or didn’t enjoy it much at all when they played it. But for some reason, the game appealed to me quite a lot. I enjoyed it the whole way through except for the crappy ending.

However, I did notice a lot of faults in the game (as did many other Dtoiders), and these are the main changes I would make to the game. Hit the jump to read on.

Also please note that the game is the first in a series, and so these changes can be seen from one of two points: how to change the first game, or what to add in the sequel (which is supposedly set in Japan).

Add variation to the landscape

One thing annoying about Assassin’s Creed for me was that although the landscape was beautiful, most of the buildings looked the same. I know the buildings may not have been that varied back in old Jerusalem, but surely they were more varied than how the game presents them.

Add night and day effects

The entire game is set in daylight. Not once did I see a hint of sunset, sunrise or night. It never even rains! How on earth do the people go to sleep and not die of thirst! It would be good if night and different times of day were added in to add variation to the game. The buildings would look different in the light and dark too (think GTA IV). Perhaps certain buildings would only be open at certain times in the day.

Add more variation to the missions:

In Assassin’s Creed, apart from assassinating people, the player has to gain information on targets through a few different types of missions: eavesdropping, interrogation and pick pocketing. There are also a few other missions such as assassinating a few people for a brother within a time limit and taking out a few people hassling a civilian in the city. It’s nice that these were added but it’s too much of the same thing. Plus, when you help a civilian out they’ll say something like I wish my sons were as great as you or I’ll make sure my husband hears of your kind service and repays you kindly. Yet for some reason, this husband never repays the favour, and it doesn’t benefit me at all helping these people (unless you’re an achievement whore).

How about some missions that actually pay off, like smashing up some bazaar that belongs to an enemy of the brotherhood so that he knows the brotherhood is not to be messed with. Then the main character could be repaid in money or with +5 aggression points or something.

Add more customization

The only thing that you gain throughout the game is more abilities (mainly for fighting) and your weapons back. How about the main character not have superhuman strength that allows him to hang from high places for unlimited amounts of time? Instead, the player gains grip points the more he trains hanging from places. The same goes for his speed and balance based on a points system, rather than having him being able to run at the same speeds the entire time.

The main character (Altair) never really changes throughout the game. How about he has choices in clothes that allow him to blend in with different types of people, rather than getting sweaty since he’s in the same clothes the whole time.

Add more weapons

Throughout the game you gain back your weapons, which are: a small knife (perfect for slitting necks), a long sword, throwing knives and your fists (perfect for knuckle sandwiches). This is all well and good but it’s not enough variation really. Where is the bow and arrow?! Where is the torch that you can light up that lets you set people on fire?! There could have been so many more weapons.

Change the fighting system

Fighting is pretty damn easy in the game. You can block and punch and all that, but it’s easier to just tap the X button (square on a PS3 pad) when someone is about to attack you because it initiates a combo kill. Taking out a group of 20 or more isn’t really a problem. The system should be re-worked so that combo kills are harder to execute, and punching and blocking are actually worthwhile.

Let the main character swim

The guy can kill a man with his bare hands, but if he touches water he drowns straight away? That is so Vice City. Give him the ability to swim, and make areas of the levels only reachable by swimming there.

Make free running useful

It’s all well and good that if I want to get from point A to point B, I can take a different route every time. Other than that, it hasn’t really got much use (except for escaping and reaching look out points). Add some chase missions against free-running thieves that give you a run for your money (C WUT I DID THAR?!) Or chasing a cat to return it to an old woman who pays handsomely.

Change the cover system

To escape pursuers, you usually have to run and hide in some hay, or in these booth atop most buildings without being seen going into them. To me, this isn’t very imaginative, especially when you just narrowly manage to get into a booth, followed by your pursuers walking around the top of the building and checking everywhere on that building (the ceiling is flat for goodness sake) EXCEPT THE BOOTH. The only thing on most buildings is the damn booth. Either these guards are the offspring of a cow and a goldfish, or they’ve fallen from buildings so many times that their only brain cells left only understand one command: hit with sword.

I understand that attempting to keep it fairly historically accurate produces limitations but I still think most of my points could be implemented without changing history too much. What do you think?

Sean Justice