I want to talk about Assassins Creed but first I need to get something out of the way. I have a lot to say about the game and I want to talk about some of the bad reviews it’s getting but I want to make sure everyone understands I’m not saying this because of the comic we did for them. So I’m going to link you to an old set of news posts about Prince of Persia 2. Feel free to read those and come back if you like.
Now I’m going to tell you how advertising on PA works. Every other game site out there takes ads for whatever game they can get. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pile of crap, if the publisher pays for the spot IGN or Gamespot or whoever will run the ad. That’s fine but that’s not how we do it and the news posts you just read are part of the reason why.
We were huge fans of the first Prince of Persia game so when Ubi came to us and wanted to run ads for the second we said yes. We had no idea they were going to completely fuck it over. So from then on we started demanding playable copies of games before we’d agree to advertising. No matter how early the build we tell the publishers that unless we can see it played in front of us or play it ourselves we won’t run ads for it. Obviously a lot can still go wrong during development but we make the best decisions we can. We do not think of the ads you see on our page as ads. They are recommendations and we try extremely hard to insure that anything we put over there is worth your time. When Prince of Persia 2 came out and we saw that it was crap we said as much on the site. Ads for the game appeared right next to those news posts slamming it. Needless to say Ubi wasn’t very happy and Robert got some angry phone calls but our loyalty is to our readers not the people paying the bills. We explained to Ubi that the reason our ads perform better than any other site out there is because our readers trust us and that means we have to admit when something we advertise doesn’t turn out as good as we hoped. Obviously they understood because we’re still advertising their games but like I said this isn’t the way other sites operate. I actually give Ubi a lot of credit for not just telling us to fuck off and buying more ads on IGN and Gamespy with the extra money.
I’m telling you all this because I want you to understand that if Assassins Creed actually was a 7.0 game I’d tell you. I also want you to know that when I tell you it’s fucking incredible I’m not bullshitting you because we’re running ads for the game.
There are about four or five reviews of the game with scores in the low to mid 7’s. I want to cover some of the common complaints these reviewers had in case anyone out there is worried about them.
Many of the reviews say that the ending is bad. Obviously I don’t want to give away any spoilers but I will say that the final confrontation was exciting and gratifying. It was an extremely satisfying ending to this chapter of the game. Chapter is the important word here. This is a huge story, probably a trilogy at least. The game does end with a cliff hanger and it certainly sets up the rest of the arc but that’s how the first part of any multi part story ends. If Star Wars had ended with Luke jumping into his X-Wing to go take on the Death Star that would be a shitty fucking ending. It doesn’t though, Luke destroys it and then we get hints about what’s in store for our heroes. I’m telling you right now Altair destroys his Death Star.
I also can’t be 100% positive but I’m guessing that some of these reviewers didn’t let the credits role. Again, I don’t want to spoil anything but wait for the credits to end. Until reviewers start posting their Gamertags along with the review we’ll never really be able to tell how much of a game they played. But I’d be willing to bet some of them are missing the "Visions of the Future" achievement. I’m not gonna say why but If you don’t have this achievement you can’t say jack shit about the ending.
I think the biggest complaint I saw was that the missions become repetitive and boring. I actually didn’t understand this complaint at all until just the other day. I had gotten an early copy of the game just like everyone else in the media but I was just playing it for fun. I’d cracked into it over the weekend and when I got into the office on Monday I started seeing these negative reviews. When I saw the low scores I was actually really upset and I wanted to talk about the game here on the site. I wanted to tell everyone that these guys were full of shit. However, since so many of the complaints were based on the ending I wanted to beat it first so I was sure I wasn’t missing anything. I attacked the game again but this time with the goal of beating it as fast as I could. I was determined to get a post up on Tuesday and I was pushing through the game as fast as I could. I went from finding every high perch in a district to only getting the ones I needed to advance the story. I stopped saving every citizen and avoided any unnecessary confrontations. The informer missions that I had really enjoyed before, I now avoided because I knew they took too long to complete. I did the bare minimum of missions to progress the story and anything that "hindered" my progress was frustrating. Monday night after skipping over another combat (something I used to really enjoy) I stopped myself. What the fuck was I doing? I wasn’t playing the game because I wanted to I was playing it because I had a deadline and I needed to beat it. I stopped immediately and decided I’d write about the game whenever I got around to beating it. I spent another day and a half with it and during that time I hunted for hidden flags and explored the cities again. I came in this morning and finally did beat it but I did it at my own pace and I enjoyed every part of it.
Imagine what an open ended sandbox title must look like to a reviewer especially right now. How many games do they have piling up on their desks? A game like Assassins creed isn’t meant to be played under a deadline. You shouldn’t be trying to beat it as fast as you can so you can move on to Mass Effect or Mario Galaxy. As soon as I gave myself a deadline all of a sudden I understood all their complaints. It was like a fucking Escher painting. I had put myself in their shoes and suddenly the landscape flipped and I could see games from their perspective. In the end I wasn’t angry at them for their bad reviews. I actually just felt bad for them.