I laid out some initial thoughts a few days ago, and then I’ve given some time to the co-op experience, but this is further look into the campaign and the game in general.
This game is flawed, there’s no way to hide it. It has awful awful combat mechanics, tied-in with a camera that seems to make sure you can never see the people you’re battling. Fighting is a nightmare, every time. Thankfully we have smoke bombs, and a little bit of time with the game means you have a rough grip on the movement controls, so you can get out of the way.
The general controls (movement, climbing, camera) are clunky and old-fashioned, but you find yourself just getting used to them. It’s not to say they don’t need improving, but it isn’t the end of the world. You adapt and get on with it.
Granted, a game shouldn’t be a chore to start with, but the controls and fight mechanics set you off on a really bad footing and you have to endure a little to get much out of it.
But then, then you do. You climb to the top of a building and look around you, and it is gorgeous, it really is. The attention to detail is fantastic, and (as I mentioned previously) I love the interior spaces, lush, ornate areas of the wealthy, or wooden and cold attic spaces that people seem to be squatting in. The amount of places to explore internally and externally is damned impressive, particularly with the finish applied to every detail.
On top of that, Arno’s mo-capped movements are a thing to behold, truly. Everything seems more fluid (when you get a hang of the controls, and have a little luck on your side), and more importantly, everything looks more realistic in the way that he moves.
To top it off, the audio is excellent from the music to the busy folk around the city, everything seems to mesh really really well.
Yes, there are occasions where the framerate dips a little, and yes sometimes the AI is a little off, but I’ve found myself charmed by this game. It presents itself really well, but it requires a little time to “settle-in” which is poor design by anyone’s standards.
I’ve been playing the campaign missions almost exclusively, and found myself actually enjoying it all. The set-pieces that happen at the end of some missions, the characters and the ongoing war between Assassins and Templars. I love this universe, and feel like I have a reasonable handle on it, so it’s comfortable to get back into it.
The missions are varied, although there is a lot of breaking into places to get to your target, (showing off the interior spaces) which are tough because all of my previous assassin training from the other games has taught me that I can just climb high and take everyone out from afar. This is different and it’s been a jarring change for me. Forcing me into combat situations (which I loathe), and frankly, re-starting missions over and over until I find the shortest/safest route to my target.
I love that they’re trying to mix it up, and being an assassin would (I expect) mean going indoors, but it’s increased the difficulty significantly.
I’m not quite sure how French everyone is, though. They all speak in British accents, and throw in the odd French word, much like I could/would. I’m not fully immersed in the area. I feel like everything looks and sounds right, for the era, but I don’t feel like I’m in France! Even some accents would help.
I’m not particularly fussed about Arno, he’s a bit of a tool. However, I do like Elise, and their chemistry is nice. She’s well voice acted, and reasonably well-written. I suppose she’s a bit of a cliché (my French is as good as theirs!), as a not-quite damsel in distress type, but it works.
So what next?
I intend to finish the campaign, play a little more co-op and see how it leaves me feeling when the credits roll.
Then I’ll score it as a final piece about the game, but I can see it shaping up as above average, whilst lacking in some fundamental areas. Not sure how much can change now? We shall see!