Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Assassin's Creed: back to Damascus

I've now completed Memory Block 4, which looks to be the longest in the game, and am back in Damascus to explore the last part of the city.  I'm getting through things much quicker now, especially since I fully understand what is expected of me.  It took me just over an hour to climb all the high points and save the citizens, with a few of the investigation missions along the way.

I've been trying to complete all investigations before going for the assassination, but there are two informer missions in this part of the game which are really difficult.  You have to kill certain guards without being detected - but the issue is that the guards in general are all on heightened alert and so you need to constantly blend in with the crowd to hide.  Within the crowd are people carrying pots and bits of wood, and if you get near them they drop these, alerting the guards even if you're blending.  As a result, you need to blend and then stop walking any time a pot carrier comes near.

An exercise in patience then?  It would be if the missions weren't timed.  Very frustrating.

The rest of the game continues to entertain.  The missions are a little samey in some ways, but the story that they impart is interesting and the information you collect can really help with the key assassinations.  The overall story has an obvious twist coming up - all of the victims after death seem to be happy with their actions, after all - but one of the last victims (the executioner) seemed to actually be a thoroughly unpleasant man after all.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wario Land 4: gem collecting

One of the 3DS ambassador games, this isn't something I'd normally have picked up.  While Super Mario Land and SML2 were excellent examples of handheld gaming, taking home consoles experiences and reducing them to more immediate and shorter challenges, I had heard that from SML3 (Wario Land) onwards the games got just a little too complex.

That's true of Wario Land 4 to some extent, with levels being just a little too big to play on either part of my commute.  The character of Wario is a little too large to show enough of the level, and the jumping physics are a bit suspect as well.  It just doesn't feel like a Nintendo platform game.

I think it's unlikely I'll be back to this given the wealth of other games on the console ...

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Assassin's Creed: touring the Holy Land

I've completed an assassination in each of the cities now, and am on Memory Block 4 which has three parts to complete, one in each area.  I've killed the man in Damascus, and have completed my investigations of Acre.

This is a really good game.  The gameplay flows well, and there's enough variety in missions to mean that at the half-way point (which is roughly where I am) it feels as if there's still a lot to experience.  The difficulty is starting to increase, with guards being tougher and more numerous, and targets are better protected and hidden.  Before each target I'm carrying out the full investigation - including climbing to all high points and saving all citizens - but at times I'm just getting lost in the metagame of assassinating guards and sneaking around.

Controls are still on occasion awkward, and the entire idea of losing your abilities after the first mission is just daft - especially the loss of the ability to catch a ledge as you fall past it.  I can understand not being able to carry certain weapons if you're demoted, but stopping yourself falling to death?  It's also constraining only having five throwing knives, and I hope that I can carry more at some point soon.