Saturday, September 26, 2009

Assassins Creed II: Visions of Venice

This trailer came out almost a month ago, and I didnt post it because a few things struck me as odd about it. First and most obviously, the music. OK, we all know Assassins Creed isnt all it appears to be in metaphysical terms, but do we have to have our romp in meticulously crafted ancient Venice set to a thumping techno soundtrack? Im not a musicologist, but Im thinking that maybe, just possibly, somebody during the Renaissance might have crafted some good music. Now, I dont know what the actual soundtrack to the game will sound like, but this trailer music - while bumpin and grindin and phat with its slap-bass track - just doesnt fit the atmosphere they are trying to create in the trailer.

Secondly, this is a game called Assassins Creed. Unsurprisingly, its a game about assassinating people. As in, murdering them in cold blood. But, look at the trailer. Wheres the blood? There is none. Now, maybe, possibly, this is just an accidental omission and the guy making the trailers for Ubisoft forgot to turn gore on in the menu options. I really hope so, because I was actually looking forward to playing this game and having it be that hugely immersive, amazing experience that the original game strove for but never quite attained. Killing people with no blood? Please, Ubi, dont insult me.

Im starting to become a bit skeptical that the people at Ubisoft actually know what they are doing with this franchise. They completely fucked up the telling of the story in the first game, it had more bugs in it than an entomologists laboratory, and the overall mission and world design seemed to have been crafted by highly trained chimpanzees or small children. The fact that despite these flaws it still managed to be a good game is a testament to the power of an open world in allowing the player to create their own game within the game. Just running from the guards across rooftops or hiding in crowds while stalking a target was a revelation we had never seen before in videogames.

But we are really expecting a lot more from this game. My expectations are extremely high, and my tolerance for poor design choices or a lack of immersion is extremely low this time around. In my book, Ubisoft (or any game company) gets a pass the first time around on a new franchise. Ubi made a fun game with Assassins Creed but it wasnt a great game by any means, and if you argued that it was horribly repetitive or broken by glitches, I couldnt really defend it in objective terms. But I would still recommend playing it, because I want game companies to take risks in making new games, I want to see new characters and new intellectual properties. Nobody is expecting perfection when you debut a new franchise full of new ideas.

But the second time around, Im going to be much less forgiving. Ubisoft needs to deliver a great game with Assassins Creed II - not a good one. It doesnt need to be perfect, but it needs to be damn close if they want me to hang around for a third installment.


Chronic said...

I cant help but admit that I wish this franchise was more like the Thief series on the PC.

Thief 4 has been confirmed to be in pre-development by Eidos as of May 2009.

bond said...

I think that music worked and why would you want to put Renaissance music into a new video game trailer?

Chronic said...

Because the game is set in the Renaissance?

The music is great in and of itself, but it doesnt have any connection to the video in the trailer.

If Ubisoft wants lessons on how to score trailers, there this little company called Rockstar Games...

md said...

I tried to love the first one, and did for a few hours, but then I hit the wall. Over and over and over... the gameplay just never changed. Climb, kill, save, ride horse, cutscene, repeat.

As for this one, I won't touch it, regardless of its high reviews (which are bound to come no matter what like the first), until I hear about DRASTIC changes.

Chronic said...

By the end of the game, you were fighting literally dozens of enemies at a time. The problem is, the combat system only allowed you to take on one enemy at a time, so it was incredibly slow going.

How a single guy with no armor or superpowers is fighting two dozen guys with full plate mail never quite made sense to me. Also, to say that the ending left a lot to be desired is an understatement.

It was one of those games with some great high points and some incredibly painful and totally hilarious low points.

BlankVoid said...

I think i bought the first one, hearing it was a great game; but man did i regret that. It was alright but just the repetition of stuff was annoying.

I will most like rent this one through gamefly a few months after it is out.