Assassin’s Creed: Five Years Later
I’ve embarked on an incredibly awesome or incredibly lame journey (you decide) to replay all the Assassin’s Creed games up to the release of the “third” installment of the series. I began this quest on my 30th birthday and ended the first game this weekend.
It was a pleasant surprise to return to the original and refresh the story a bit.
Here are a few ruminations from a second helping of Assassin’s Creed:
1. Altair’s Voice: Is the first thing you notice. Or at least, the first thing I did. It’s so…wrong. It sounds like a blonde Californian man strolled into the middle east straight off the University of California Berkeley campus. It doesn’t seem to bother the majority of fans, but it does rankle me. Especially when all the other characters surrounding Altair HAVE middle eastern accents. I just…it makes no sense! Every time I hear him speaking, I can do nothing but think of Paul Walker from the Fast & Furious franchise. It’s terribly distracting.
2. Throwing Knives: Granted, it’s been multiple years, but I didn’t recall the glory of the throwing knives quite so much the first time around. This is a delightful trick that was seriously under-utilized in most of my other play-throughs, including the entire Ezio saga. Ah, to leap across rooftops and fling knives effortlessly to destroy guards and enemies. Woooot.
3. Desmond Miles: I got a little more mileage (heh) out of him this time. The last go round I didn’t steal Vedic’s pen or hack my way into the conference room. I don’t really even remember reading anyone else’s emails besides Lucy’s. Knowing the culmination of all this information, it’s intriguing to go back through the series and see how everything lines up. So far, so good. Anywho…I hung out with Desmond more. If the series suffers from a lack of anything, it’s Desmond. He’s an interesting character who gets side-lined by his assassin ancestors a bit too much.
4. Repeated phrases: Wow, does this game suffer from limited dialogue choices. “Thief, you are filth!” Has been a common phrase uttered around our home recently. The priests all rant about the same stuff. Even the same lines are recycled when you rescue the victims from the constant torment of the guards…speaking of which.
5. Saving Citizens: I was very thorough this game. While I didn’t collect all the flags from each city (holy smokes, that is not interesting or entertaining), I did make it a special point to save all citizens and climb all the eagle towers. So yeah, that ended up unlocking achievements, which was pretty bad-ass. But my goal of completing all achievements in AC might never come true, because who wants to collect that many damn flags when there is no purpose?
6. Altair Can’t Swim: No really, he can’t. He just flails and drowns and dies anytime even a pinky toe touches water. It’s the most infuriating and frustrating aspect of this game, especially when an assassination target is on a boat out over the water. I cannot even begin to count how many times I died during this mission. Too many times. It was sad.
7. Timed races: I hate timed racing missions. The end.
8. Malik: OK, I kinda get why all the slash fiction with Altair and Malik. Malik is a bit of a stud, and there is an interesting relationship development between the two throughout the course of the game. I found myself looking forward to all the Jerusalem assassinations because I’d get to talk with him and he’d berate me, but then eventually softened and said kind words to me at Massayaf. It was the opposite of his first pissy greeting in Jerusalem. Witness:
Altair: Safety and peace Malik.
Malik: Your presence here deprives me of both!
Altair: Safety and peace Malik
Malik: Your presence here will deliver us both.
When I heard this final utterance, I had to fangirl squee. Malik doesn’t hate me anymore. YAY!!! If there were a multi-player or squad option, I would have chosen surly old one-armed Malik everytime.
Overall, it was not a bad way to kick off the AC 2012 Quest. It was shocking how easily I picked up the controls and I’m happy to say even my fighting style has marginally improved since the first AC playthrough. What’s even better is that there isn’t much variance between the first and second games (which I’ve already started) when it comes to controls or movements.
I can’t even begin to describe how frustrating it is to do playthroughs of Dragon Age and Mass Effect because the fighting styles and controls vary between the first and second installments. Holy hell, it takes at least a day to get used to. With AC, there was no stutter whatsoever.
Though I do miss the digitized female voice of the Obstergo animus. It was oddly comforting.
There might not be an Assassin’s Creed II update for awhile yet…I’m really taking my time. Trying to collect all those damned feathers, score Altairs armor (though we purchased DLC at one point that lets Ezio wear Altairs original outfit – YAY!), complete a good smattering of side missions, buy all the art and beef Monteriggioni up to 100% awesomeness. We shall see!