Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

AD21- A Sin Well Done

So is Lust being nice and warning Addy about the dangers packed in with Fortune or is our fearless leader taking precautions so the impressionable youth doesn't join team Pride and take a shine to her new aunt instead? They'll have to vie for her love the way any real family does: who buys the better birthday gift.
Forget the mysteries of Jin and Chastity, what has Fortune done to make Lust all slack-jawed and agape? Baseless speculation always helps pass the time between pages.


Long, Magic Pope Review: Assassin's Creed 2- I wasn't a fan of AC1 so while 2 greatly improves the gameplay, it's still a wildly overrated series as far as I'm concerned. I spent most of the game not only not liking the hero, but kind of rooting against him too. You're given no reason to care for him because he's just another rich d-bag at the start of the game and as it goes on, he's a thug at best and a slut at most banal. He picks up at the end but his story and personality really just boil down to “guy wants revenge”. The whole futuristic Animus thing is still really lame and takes away from the main story. The historic setting and tale of a regular guy training to become and assassin and smite the shadowy organization that wronged him works fairly well, but once you start throwing in the futuristic stuff, magic Jungian machines, and the Matrix, it spoils the package. For a major title from a big-name studio, this game has some seriously hideous character models. I don't like to harp on graphics in reviews, but some of these characters outside of the main cast will show up in your nightmares. Everybody's lip synching, walking animations, and ability to come across as a human being is pretty messed up, but the side characters, egads. Ezio's younger brother looks like his eyeballs are trying to force themselves out of the sockets most times. In what's supposed to be a dramatic moment in the story, the subtitles even screw up the "your"/"you're" distinction and it kills everything. Onto the important stuff and it comes down to: bad camera, bad controls. Ezio has absolutely no regard for his own life with this control scheme rife with awkward button combinations and packed with unnecessary or useless options that it becomes unwieldy. If you're even remotely near a ledge, he'll fling himself off it to his doom. He'll hop to platforms in the opposite direction you're trying to guide him. He'll stick to ledges that are no more than three feet off the ground while you're trying to chase somebody. In general, you're not so much controlling Ezio as you are trying to cajole a profoundly mentally-challenged child into not throwing itself off a cliff. The combat is very clunky and poorly designed and there's just so much of it even if you stick the rooftops and try to act from behind the scenes like an assassin actually would. There's no flow to it. You have several options when it comes to how you strike, ways to dodge, etc, but you only even need two moves: grab and counter. Against most enemies, just grab them and slit their throats. There's no point dodging and fighting when you can do this. For large enemies, do NOTHING but counter. Don't move, don't dodge, just stand there and counter. They block every other attack, will counter you if you try to strike on your own, and the controls are so bad that if you try to dodge and strafe, you're just going to get slaughtered by an enemy out of the camera. The counter button is your “press this enough times and you'll win” button. But as I mentioned before, your moves are all done with button combinations and context sensitive controls that are completely oblivious to your context. The "grab an opponent" button is the same as the "put away your weapon" button AND it's also the "pick up the enemy's dead body" button, so even though you're surrounded by enemies, you'll find yourself sheathing your sword in the middle of a fight or bending over while you get stabbed in the ass by a guy you could kill with one stab if the game would let you fight. The camera is terrible so trying to lock onto a specific enemy is exceedingly difficult and forces you to just kind of randomly thrust around until you find a target. AC2 has all the usual sandbox/heavily populated game issues but I also had it crash on me and errors where it doesn't load certain aspects of the game. You might enter an area where there's no sound, textures are missing, and the oddest one was that it didn't load the sky. The mission took place at night and it was almost pitch black. I figured it was because of the time of day, but I died, reloaded the mission, and this time the sky showed up and it was bright enough that I could actually see. It saves often so the crashes didn't send me back far enough to give up, but that kind of thing is unacceptable from a big studio and well within an established series. While I do really like the time periods that the franchise goes to, I feel a little uncomfortable with how it uses real historical figures. It's kind of unfair to da Vinci to write his character shacking up with a religious nut assassin whore. If you want to use figures like Jesus in your grand history altering conspiracies, I'm cool with that, but leave Gandhi out of it. I think we owe him enough respect to not drag him to that level. I certainly did have fun for most of the time I played (outside of combat) and contemplated going for the game's platinum trophy (the collect all the feathers one made me come to my senses and pass on that idea), but I don't think I'll come back to the series as the company continues to milk it.
Sins Committed: Non-ending ending, Bad combat, Bad controls, Bad camera, Bad story (Future Desmond stuff only), Uninteresting characters
Virtues Acted: Good music, Punching the bards in the face (if you haven't played the game, trust me, it is 100% justified), The Pope is magic, that's kind of keen