1UP commissioned a series of great faux-comic book covers using video game characters in place of the original characters. The Assassin’s Creed / Spider-Man mashup is particularly enjoyable.
Entries in Assassin's Creed (5)
One last thing about Assassin's Creed Recollections: while the game is played "in real time", that's hardly accurate. As far as I can tell (I don't own all the cards, nor have I actually timed anything), every card in the game takes half a "day" to play, and has half a "day" cool down. The only exception to this is the "Surprise" class of cards, which are effectively instantaneous.
In other words, it may be real time, but no cards take advantage of this. If you're fast with playing them and don't dally, the game basically becomes turn-based. It's a missed opportunity, really; why not have some fast attack cards? Some slow ones? That's the big advantage of a digital, real-time game, isn't it?
I purchased Assassin’s Creed Recollections this morning, and beat it by lunchtime. For those of who you can’t tell all the Assassin’s Creed games apart (myself included), this is the Assassin’s Creed themed DIAPCTCG (Digital In App Purchases Collectible Trading Card Game) for iPad. And it’s a real tragedy.
See, the gameplay is actually really cool. I won’t bother explaining it in detail, but it’s a 1v1 card game involving trying to take control of the three “regions”. You can attack with Agent cards, take slow control using Sites, and use Actions to spice things up. Your deck (“sequence”) can be themed by various factions within the fictional Italy seen in Assassin’s Creed. Overall, I really dig the gameplay.
But then you get to deck construction. Unlike Dominion, Recollections is a collectible trading card game, which means you buy boosters of randomized digital cards. Now, playing through the story mode will earn you ‘Animus Credits’, which are used to buy boosters. Good start. And you can spend real money to earn additional Animus Credits, if you’re an Creed fiend and you need more cards now. I’m okay with this too.
But once you complete the story mode, you cannot earn any more Animus Credits without spending real money. This is a bit of a shame, especially considering the game is $3 to start playing. I sort of want to start playing online, but I’m stuck with the paltry amount of credits you earn through story mode, which I stupidly spent on an expensive booster.
Take a gander:
I have almost no “memories” (i.e. cards), but I’ve 100% the story progression. There’s also a XP-system in place for winning story mode battles, but this seems to have zero effect, so I’ll continue to ignore it.
I’ve now won two games online, and aside from a Game Center achievement, you’d never know it. No Animus Credits, no bonus boosters, nothing.
I’d love to play more Recollections, I really would. But I don’t feel like spending twenty bucks to try a bunch of random boosters; so aside from beating down more people online who really shouldn’t go online, the game is over.
P.S.: Yes, I’m indulging myself.
P.P.S.: Interestingly, all the card sets in the game are named ‘Renaissance’.
Wonder if we’ll see any expansions to this game once the main series moves out of the Renaissance era?
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood’s multiplayer mode is a strange beast indeed. Ubisoft has a history of including unique multiplayer modes in their games, and Brotherhood is no different. I want to discuss the mode’s unique properties as well as it’s shortcomings. First, I feel it’s best to give a quick overview of how it works.
The only game mode I’ll be discussing today is the Wanted game mode. This is also the most popular mode, but most modes that I’ve tried work pretty similarly. You and your enemies each pick a character and are dropped into the map, which is populated not just with you, but also NPC civilians who are drawn from the same set of models as you and your enemies. If nobody picks the Priest, there will be no Priests on the map, and there are no generic “civilian” models that NPCs are. In other words, even though the maps are full of people walking around, any of them could theoretically be a human.
Essentially, the goal is to assassinate your opponents (no, really?) in such a way as to earn you large amounts of points. Now, the game isn’t a strict deathmatch - every time you spawn you’re given a target to assassinate. Killing civilians or other players will not earn you any points; only killing your target and evading pursuers earns you points. Points are how you’re scored, so having 10 kills and 1000 points means you’ll lose to someone with 5 kills and 3500 points.
Surprisingly enough, actually assassinating somebody is pretty easy. The game does help you find your targets; a simple compass system alerts you to which direction your target is, how far he is, and whether or not you can actually see him. Then, once you’re at arms length and facing your foe, pressing the Square/X button will kill them. Killing them is great and all, but remember, the goal of the game is to actually earn points. Your final score isn’t based on the number of kills, it’s based on how many points you earn. Killing a foe stealthily, killing him from hiding, killing him while “focused” (i.e. standing basically adjacent to him in extremely close proximity for about three seconds), jumping off a building for the kill, these are all bonuses that you can apply to your kill. So if you jump from above on a target who you’ve been staring at for a few moments, who has no idea you’re there … you can end up with several hundred points (a standard kill is worth 100). There’s a trophy for earning 750 points or over in a single kill. Furthermore, if you aren’t stealthy, you might be revealed to your target, who will see a GIANT BLINKING RED ARROW over your head, indicating that they should run like hell. If they do escape your clutches, they receive points just like they would for a kill. Plus, they survive, which is always a nice incentive.
Stalking your foe slowly though the crowd, not attracting attention, then finally finding him and sidling close for the kill, before finally actually assassinating him is a great feeling. It’s totally awesome, and rather unlike anything you experience in most competitive games. The problem is that the mathematics of scoring doesn’t quite add up.
Remember all those bonuses you apply to your kill? Except for the “jumping from the rooftops” bonus, all of them are painstakingly slow. I don’t find that a problem because I’m impatient, I find it a problem because some dolt always just sprints to the top of the nearest building, uses his compass to see his target, leaps for a 100-250 point kill, then rinses, washes, and repeats. By the time a stealthy player even reaches his target, xXDolt69Xx has probably already killed four people, one of whom might even be *my* target, meaning that I have to wait for the game to re-randomize my target. It’s much easier to kill somebody in this aggressive, reckless fashion, and while it isn’t worth as many points per kill, you can get kills much faster and much more consistently. Now, there are three defensive options players have from this sort of tactic.
- Travelling in packs. If you travel with other NPC models who look just like you, it makes your foes much less likely to kill you. The problem is that these NPCs rarely travel where you want to go, making them great for ambushing or escaping and plotting, but near useless for offensive movements.
- The Hidden Gun. This weapon is actually the only realistic defense against a xXDolt69Xx sort of player. Essentially, it’s an activated ability that will assassinate a foe from range, but for very few points. That said, in a match where 7 of the 8 players want to play the way it’s intended to be played (cat & mouse), the Dolt will get Hidden Gun’d down quite a bit.
- Stun. This is the worst defensive ability I’ve seen in a while; a Graveller’s Self-Destruct is far more useful, even though the Graveller will not survive to see his foe slain. According to the in-game tooltips, Stun will let you stun pursuers near you, but in practice, it’s nearly useless. A pursuer has to have revealed themselves to you (see GIANT RED ARROW), be standing in melee range near you, and you have to let the stun button appear. I’ve only stunned one person across several hours of gameplay; it’s nearly impossible, because when you’re in melee range with somebody who’s trying to assassinate you … yeah, you can figure out how that ends.
So it’s clear that being defensive isn’t the best option. The only problem is that because your defensive options sort of stink, being an xXDolt69Xx actually tends to earn you just as many points-per-minute as a skilled assassin. But unlike being a skilled assassin, playing in that style requires no skill, is far less luck-based, and scales better with your score.
What do I mean by that? The other wrinkle in the gameplay is that the better you’re doing, the more people will be assigned to kill you. If you’re in last place, you might have one person assigned to kill you, at most. If you’re in first, having three people trying to kill you is a certainty. There’s no time to stalk through the crowds when three people are all being told where you are, what you look like, and that they need to kill you. Thus, the only way to really stay on top once you are on top is to either perform an incredibly tricky and difficult escape, or to run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, mashing the kill button as soon as your compass fills up (indicating that you are near your current target).
Some people don’t see this as an issue, but I do (as does Angry Ezio). If I wanted to play a frantic deathmatch, I’d play Call of Duty, Unreal Tournament, or something along those lines. But at the same time, it’s hard to remove this type of gameplay, since chasing your foes down is an integral part of an assassination; if the subtle fails, you should still be able to try and run after him, although that is dangerous for your safety.
So, what could Ubisoft do to improve this? I can think of one obvious way to completely nullify the xXDolt69Xx style of gameplay. When I *know* that idiot barrelling towards me is trying to kill me (again, giant red arrow), often there’s almost nothing I can do about it. The defensive abilities that are unlocked by level 15 are all nearly useless. Your only hope is to either escape, or to Stun. The escape mechanics work great, except for one problem; your character’s initial turn is glacial, and the “kill-range” is surprisingly long. If you see somebody running at you trying to kill you, you’ll probably be killed as you’re turning around, even if you know he’s coming. That leaves the useless Stun as the only realistic defensive option from a completely reckless Assassin. I propose the following change:
- Stun becomes higher-priority than an assassination, if you are facing and locked onto a known pursuer. However, Stuns reward only half as many escape points as escaping by hiding.
What the hell does this do? Well, it’s rather simple. This won’t at all affect stealthy kills, nor will it modify chases; since your character is running away from their pursuer, he won’t be able to just high-priority stun. What this change will do is modify those situations where some idiot just barges towards you through the crowd, and it’s obvious what he’s going to do. If you see him barging through the crowd or leaping off a building a block from you, you can stop, face him, lock on, then just stop his idiotic rush in his tracks; since your stun is higher priority, if you try to stun him and he tries to kill you, you will stun him.
This will still encourage players to escape when they feel that it’s worth the risk, as escaping is worth more points than the stun. The stun will also remain virtually useless in nearly all situations, only being useful when the pursuer is standing right next to his target but not attacking (target is hidden, or perhaps the pursuer just ran past him and is confused), or when the pursuer is just running directly towards the target in an unstealthy fashion.
If you don’t want to make a big change, try increasing respawn times for players who repeatedly reveal themselves. Say, each time you reveal yourself to an enemy, you triple your respawn time if you die in the next fifteen seconds. Thus, if you just ignore all stealth and run at people, if you get killed because of your foolishness, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. This might be less invasive than the Stun buff, and without the possible repercussions of overpowering Stun.
Other than that idiotic type of gameplay, I’m really enjoying this competitive multiplayer mode. It’s very personal, and when you get killed in a dramatic and surprising ambush, you only wonder “How could I have hidden” and “When can I get revenge?”. Respawn times are fast, which is nice, and customizing your Assassin’s abilities lends a nice level of customization to the game. The matchmaking is atrocious, but once you’re in a game lobby, waits in-between games are quite short.
There are a few other game types, none of which I’ve spent much time with. The game mode I described above is ‘Wanted’; I’ve also unlocked ‘Advanced Wanted’, but I’ve never been able to get such a game to start. I tried playing a team mode called ‘Alliance’, but I found it to be essentially the same, only with a greater emphasis on aggressive and reckless assassinating.
Overall, I’m really impressed with the game’s multiplayer. I think that Ubisoft really should find a way to tone down the frantic “run towards your compass direction mashing kill” style of gameplay; there are lots of other games for that style of gameplay. Even if Ubisoft doesn’t tone it down, I figure most of these players will quit within the next few months; a lot of people I’ve played with expressed a desire to play in a more “Assassin’s Creed” fashion, and indeed, I’ve played several incredibly tense, exciting matches. If you own Brotherhood, don’t write off this mode; it certainly is worth a look.
First, if you have no idea what the above image is, head over to 'rebuildbrotherhood.org'. Do so now. This is perhaps the best advertising campaign I've seen in ages.
i was walking through my local EB Games and I saw this goofy yellow pamphlet with that logo on it, and the words: "Rebuilding Trust With your Friends" printed on it. My first inclination was to completely ignore it as some sort of weird thing EB's head office was asking them to promote. My girlfriend pointed out the hand-blades protruding from the wrists of the clasped hands, and we examined it closely. The pamphlet is purely amazing, with lines like "Is it still friendly fire if you use a knife?", "We don't know how to use Twitter", "Now that we have things like science and lost things like the ozone layer...", and my personal favourite, "Click here" (remember, it's a physical pamphlet). The pamphlet is a genuinely hilarious parody of a self-help pamphlet, only it focuses on how to rebuild trust between friends when teamkilling drives them apart. The entire thing is loaded with awesome jokes and is a pitch-perfect parody that only gets better if you check out the website which has videos, cards you can send to people, and videos of people butchering each other set to relaxing music.
Too much game advertising is generic trailers that reveal all the game environments. I don't even remember most marketing campaigns for games except that most of the big ones buy IGN's background right before the review hits.
This campaign is genuinely hilarious not just for being original, but for also being extremely accurate; the bits about screen-watching and retelling someone exactly how you just killed him are both things I experience nearly every time I play with my friends. I definitely grabbed extra pamphlets and I'm handing them out at Halo night this week, and if you ever play local multiplayer I highly recommend checking them out or downloading them from the website.