Biting the Bullet 1/16/10

I know it has been a little bit since the last column. With the holidays and work on the podcast, I had to take a little break. I wanted to kick 2010 off with a game that I am really enjoying on the cheap .

I have a Steam account and recently purchased Assassin’s Creed: The Director’s Cut for my PC. I am a big fan of games sent in some form of historical past. Actually this applies to comics and television as well. This is one of the sandbox games similar to some of the Spiderman, GTA, and Infamous games that have been released in recent years. Basically, that means there is a living world with a main quest. You can choose to follow the main story or go on side adventures along the way. There are also tasks to complete to give you more bang for the buck.

It’s set in 1191 AD during the third crusade. You play Altair, an assassin who is part of a guild. The problem is you start off as the black sheep of the guild who is demoted for not following the main rules of the guild. This serves as an excellent way to give the character a history as an assassin but also to explain the need to go through a tutorial to “prove” you belong.

During the game, you discover that you aren’t actually Altair but actually a distant ancestor from our present day who is part of a complex science experiment. The technology in the present day is being used to manipulate a person’s DNA to unlock past lives of their ancestral line. It’s a cool concept. It also opens up the opportunity to play as different characters in different eras. I haven’t played Assassin’s Creed II yet but know that this is the premise.

I like the concept that there is a code you have to abide by. You can’t kill innocents or you violate the rules of the guild. There is a stealth component where you need to blend in. The object isn’t to “run and gun” or kill everything in sight. The object is to infiltrate, eavesdrop, pick pocket and kill when directed.

Exploration is necessary to open up memories and unlock the game’s world, the premise of you leaping into a past of an ancestor serves as a great tool to explain why you can’t go everywhere at first. You get to new places by remembering those places. The deeper your connection to your ancestor, the more of that ancestor’s memories you unlock. It makes the world feel alive vs being unable to explore for a nonstory related reason.

Overall the world is very rich and for $19.90. It has been well worth the purchase. Thanks for your patience. I plan to get this more regular now that we are past the holiday season.