April 14, 2012

Assassin's Creed: So Far and What's Next

Yesterday, got to playing Assassin's Creed Revelations on PC at last. Not only I had this game day one from Steam release, I already manged to buy a second copy and gift it to a friend of mine without even checking it out for myself first.

First of all, PC version of AC never felt better. Ubisoft continued the trend (started only in Brotherhood) to include graphical setting that will push the game much further from the looks of the console versions. Not only PC owners get to enjoy higher resolutions, it's possible to have nice looking shadows and a highly detailed crowd, among other nice details both, X360 and PS3 can't even dream of. Revelations runs very smoothly at 30-60 FPS (averaged at 45) at 1920x1080, all settings on maximum, on my severely outdated E8500 with 3GB RAM and GTX 295. Yeah, I'm getting a hell of a ride for what I've spent on my hardware 3-4 years ago.

AC: Revelations doesn't stand out from the other games in the series. The setting is different but it's still same Ezio you get to play, and I can't think of a reason to stick with this character for so long when it was obvious, right when he first came on stage, that he is not as cool and interesting a protagonist as Altair was. Nonetheless, Revelations is not as boring as AC II was and is completely on par with Brotherhood.

The original still remains the best game in the series. Not only Altair is the character I'll always associate with Assassin's Creed first and foremost, the story and gameplay of the first chapter in the AC saga were the most interesting of all the games in the series released up to date. Starting AC II, the game was stripped of major unique gameplay and storytelling elements, the atmosphere was never the same.

And now there's (at least one) ACIII out there for everyone to see. Upon watching the trailer, I got very excited about the new era and finally getting a new character. I was also hugely disappointed. The new AC trailer is not only the worst trailer of the series, it's one of the dullest and forgettable trailers overall. Every AC entry had an incredibly memorable trailer or even set of trailers and ACIII started with something extremely dull and original. I really hope the game will be unlike the trailer. Although, to think of it, the best AC trailer was actually for the best game in the series... The game that started it all.

Difficulty Curve

After finally acquiring all of the God of War games currently available for PS3, I decided to start my adventure with God of War Collection: Volume II. This disc contains two of the Kratos adventures, Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta, both previously PSP-exclusives, now rendered at high resolution with AA and 60 FPS. Despite being located on disc labeled Volume II, Chains of Olympus is the very start of Kratos epoch.

I started the game on the maximum available game difficulty, Spartan Mode (one more difficulty level is unlocked upon game completion), and was having a blast of a time throughout the whole game. I haven't felt like the game is offering any serious challenge at any point of Kratos' short but brutal undertaking to save the world from the wrath of Titan Atlas.

I felt like game is cutting some serious slack up to the very end, the final battle, the dance to the death with Persephone, queen of the underworld. After dying for at least ten times in a row and abandoning the game in a frustration, I now feel as this female boss is one of the most challenging encounters I have seen in any game lately. The most disappointing thing about the whole situation is how unbalanced Chains of Olympus appears. Compared to Persephone fight, everything else in the game is a  breeze. I remember dying about two times during my adventure alongside Kratos and now I'm completely stuck.

I haven't given Persephone a second chance. After having a row of most disappointing goes at her the first time, I feel discouraged to return back for another try. No matter if I finally have my victory over the goddess or not, I will definitely continue playing all the other God of War games. I could only hope that the remaining chapters have a better balance and have their difficulty gradually increased, instead of just throwing the player to hell at one point.