Monday, January 25, 2010

Assassin's Ramble, pt. 4: Odds and Ends

For my final Assassin's Creed 2 post, here are odds and ends that crossed my mind while writing up my previous thoughts:
  • It struck me that Arkham Asylum pulls off the "assassin" vibe better than Assassin's Creed. I feel far more assassin-like when I manage to pick off a thug and get away completely undetected than I ever do chasing a guy through a crowd to stab him. I enjoyed the thought of traveling along the rooftops in a city as in Assassin's Creed, but with Batman's abilities.
  • I hated that NPCs of middling ability were revealed as a group of master assassins by the end of the game. It made me wonder if it would be more interesting to have the Templars very nearly succeeding at wiping out the assassins but in seeking revenge for the death of your father you unravel secrets and rebuild the Creed. In this scenario, you would have been the same rapscallion, but your father is just a kind, non-assassin who ends up being killed as a consequence of association with the Creed. Perhaps the death of your father lures out the assassin (someone else) who is consequently killed. When you seek out meaning and information, you meet the last remaining servant of the Creed who is convinced the order is done for until you carry out a simple mission with starting abilities. This leads to more missions and growth as you eventually accept the mantle of restoring the order.
    • This makes the death of your father more stirring because he can be a purely good man that was a victim of circumstance.
    • It makes your actions less destiny (following your father's footsteps without question) and more choice-driven (like the audience, who must be convinced of this path).
    • Being choice-driven means more incentive for the writers to actually give me meaningful information (to the player and to Desmond) instead of dangling meaningless hints at unanswered conspiracies.
    • Dramatic twists are simpler and more interesting (e.g., you find your family or others at risk by your actions; you are becoming the thing that haunted resulted in your father's death)
    • It makes your actions more meaningful because you are solely responsible for the Creed that you believe is important (at a meta level) but at great risk.
    • Gives simple leverage for a real character arc. The worst thing happens to him (father dying) which causes a moral quandary (anger with those responsible) which is challenged by aspects of revenge (endless cycle), questionable evil (the Templar or myself?), and consequence (danger to family), all of which requires him to accept moral responsibility (for knowledge and ability) to do the right thing in the end.
  • I wondered if combat would be better without a block. Blocking is a very static behavior, and if replaced with a dodge, would have you paying more attention to combat and actively doing something with your controller. If crowds are an issue, I wondered if making dodging possible with character replacing (I dodge at character x, so x and I play an animation where we exchange places) would work.
  • I really don't care about Desmond. I don't understand his stakes, he's not particularly sympathetic, and I don't see how the skills he's learning will have much application unless the enemy keeps carrying stun-batons. I wish they did more to make my actions relevant to his situation. (E.g., perhaps the group that led him to escape didn't know he could pull abilities out of the Animus. He starts to sneak around his building and discovers the "rebels" he is currently with actually have some sinister motives. Perhaps that "other" character in the Animus is someone communicating directly with Desmond to unravel that mystery as opposed to the mystery about Adam & Eve that I think everyone working for the Creed for millennia should already be able to explain to me.)
That wraps it up. Thanks for letting me yap. :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment