Sponsored By

Featured Blog | This community-written post highlights the best of what the game industry has to offer. Read more like it on the Game Developer Blogs.

Assassin's Creed Goes... Tower Defense?

I'll keep this short. As noted, this post includes spoilers. They are not plot spoilers. Mostly, they focus on the absolute failure and tragedy of game design which is the tower defense minigame in Assassin's Creed: Revelations.

Moses Wolfenstein, Blogger

November 23, 2011

4 Min Read

I'll keep this short. This post includes spoilers. They are not plot spoilers. Mostly, they focus on the absolute failure and tragedy of game design which is the tower defense minigame in Assassin's Creed: Revelations.

The best things about this game for me so far include:

  • It is even more beautiful than the previous games. At times, I find myself shocked that I'm seeing this game on a current gen system.

  • Ezio feels older and less agile. This is freakin awesome. It becomes offset in terms of character ability when he gets the hookblade, but the feeling is maintained of playing an older character throughout the game thus far.

  • There are still assassins to recruit and deploy. The assassin recruiting/managing minigame and the ability to call assassins in different ways in AC: Brotherhood were some of the best parts of that game. The assassin management game already fits nicely alongside a third preson action/puzzle/platformer like the Assassin's Creed games since you already spend time in the interface and maps in these games, and calling assassins in for a strike is just badass.

  • So far the save points in relations to content (including dialogue) seem promising. This was a big problem in the last game, but they seem to have fixed it. I'll have to replay some of this stuff to know for sure, but it does seem promising

  • The crypto-historical storytelling continues to be totally fun and engaging. This team has always prided itself on offering a good blend of historical and fictional content, and they seem to be maintaining that commitment in this game. 

As for the things I don't like so much:

  • The writing in the present day/near future setting continues to suffer. I can't really complain since that's always been the weakest part of the game and it might even be improving but, meh...

  • The load time on things like the map are totally painful. I can't believe this is still a problem. I need to get in and out of the map with way less load time.

  • The fast travel, while otherwise nicely distributed, does not play well with the new tower capturing mechanic.

  • The tower defense minigame pretty much sucks, and doesn't seem to fit well in the setting.

This last point bears repeating. As far as I'm concerned, the tower defense game that they've added to Assassin's Creed: Revelations is one of the worst cases of over thinking it I've ever seen in game design.

I mean, Ubisoft already had an incredible product in Brotherhood. All they had to do to get Revelations right was tell the story well, and add a few fresh secondary verbs  (which they did, and it is awesome).

Instead, there's the massively narrative disrupting tower capture mechanic combined with a tower defense game that is problematic on so many levels that I won't actually go into it right now (this is supposed to be a short post). it seems to be the case that in theory if I maintain a low profile, the tower captures doesn't happen as often, but that's really not the point here.

Here's the thing. If you table the issue about fast travel in relation to towers, I can see a solution that would've worked beautifully. Instead of tower defense, when Ezio enters the perimeter of a tower being attacked he could go into a sort of super assassin command mode.

It would be like his regular deployments of assassins using the signal (maybe combined with the bomb throwing mechanic), only it would be in overdrive with more bars. Perhaps Ezio could also get some sort of buff during defense as well...I don't know, it's the sort of stuff that needs to be prototyped and play tested to balance and refine, but you get the idea. Waves of templars attack, and you get to deploy massive assassin smack down using a variant of the same basic controls you do in in the rest of the game. Simple, right?

Anyway, I'm going to keep playing Assassin's Creed: Revelations, because I'm still enjoying the world and much of the writing. The action continues to be epic, and I haven't quite made up my mind about the bomb crafting system.

All I can say is, people at Ubisoft, just don't be afraid to go with the strength of the game going forward. If you keep up and/or improve the quality of the story telling, do something about the map problem, and make the action just a little different and fresh (as you've been doing), the next game can be great.

If you insist on trying to freshen it up by adding minigames that disrupt the play, I'm going to start worrying about whether you're actually capable of delivering Beyond Good & Evil 2 as the game it deserves to be. 

Reposted from moseswolfenstein.com 

Read more about:

Featured Blogs
Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like