Assassin’s Creed – Oh to be Thief: The Dark Project. The game is GTA on foot (mandatory parkour included). I’m on the 4th chapter of the story. After awhile things take on a fairly pleasant monotony. Scout the towers, Eavesdrop/Pickpocket/Intimidate, Save the Citizens, Informant Missions (Stealth Whacking Templars/Flag Gathering), Cutscenes. Battle isn’t much to speak of – Hold defensive posture until a guy attacks then right before it lands, counter. Repeat. Roll Credits.
The core premise for the game takes on a certain Cryptonomicon style timeline with two story lines going on – one of which has yet to add anything. There’s a whole veiled “question authority” undertone thing going on, which when you see where it’s going 40% of the way through the game doesn’t give you a good feeling (hooray subtlety). I’ll let you know if inevitable conclusion reached was in fact the right one. The greatest complaint I’ve had so far is that at one point, I fell through the world and it triggered the Eagle’s Will achievement. I’ve since slain enough guards that I’ve got this covered. And then some. But that didn’t stop me from scouring UbiSoft’s technical support forum and Microsoft’s Xbox support trying to figure out who I could report this bug on a game published in November 2007, because that’s the kind of guy I am. Yeah, that was a waste of time, but whoever coded it probably cares. The “animus” system for animating your sword swings based on your analog stick input seems fairly novel, but it doesn’t seem to matter how the sword comes in, the guy will block it as per his grunt mandated skill level. I did also enjoy one of the Eavesdrop conversations sneaking in the fact that “God helps those who helps themselves” isn’t in the Bible. The disclaimer at the beginning of the game however, starts you off with a bad taste in your mouth. South Park getting censored kind of bad.
But one thing the release date confirmed to me? Padding. Finding unnumbered flags and Templars gives me the cold feeling that to get 100% completion in this game, one is going to have to find a map, and check every freaking location. And rather than expanding what could have been a great game with more mission variety, better combat mechanics and enemy AI somebody decided it was more important to make the Christmas rush. Well there’s hope for the sequel being a complete game…
Additionally while perusing lists of underrated xbox360 games I came across a game called Culdcept Saga which while people said it takes awhile to play, it’s fairly innovative and largely entertaining. I checked and saw there was a demo game on XBLA. The game is a cross between monopoly and a collectible trading card game. No one likes monopoly. So after playing the one round, this game goes back to the “I’ll think about it” pile, where it’s looking like it’s going to stay.