005 – Distracted by Assassins Creed

On the painting side,  I’ve been spending some of my valuable, and already scarce, painting time doing “other things” in the last couple of weeks (I know!….. alright!…. don’t judge me!) which has meant that I’ve only completed 3 more models since the last update. On the bright side, these models are 2 more Grenade Launchers and a converted Plasma Gun, so my special weapon options are finally beginning to fill out. Lined up to paint next are 3 Melta Guns, 2 more Grenade Launchers, and parts to build 3 more Plasma Guns. I think I should set myself a short term goal of getting 5 of these models finished, along with completing the first track for the Leman Russ, by the end of the month. There, I did it! No backing out now!

The only obstacle to this target will be those pesky “other things”, which at the moment takes the form of the new Assassins Creed: Brotherhood on PS3. For those not in the know, the game casts you as an Assassin name Ezio Auditore and picks up from the end of Assassins Creed 2 however, instead of being set in Florence and Venice, this time Renaissance era Rome is your playground. I’ve always found the environments in the Assassins Creed series to be the most impressive part of the package. The cities are accurately reconstructed in the game as they would have been in the period, from the Forum and Colosseum (already in ruins) to the market squares, churches and slums. I’ve been to both Venice and Rome in the last couple of years, and it adds an extra level of enjoyment to be able to say “There’s a cafe on that corner these days” and “Oooh! I’ve seen this place in real life (although from ground level)”. The cities also feel bustling and alive, even more so than, say, Grand Theft Auto, and there’s always something happening nearby to the point where even sitting on a bench and people watching can be entertaining for a while

Spot the Difference

The single player story sees Ezio wielding the usual assassin’s toolkit, including swords, daggers, poison, and smoke, to bring down the corrupt Borgia family who rule over Rome with an iron fist. Missions range from simple (and some not so simple) assassinations and rescue missions, to sabotage and espionage and beyond. I’m about half way through the storyline now and it’s a pretty good one so far, better than AC2. I’ll let you know if that opinion changes by the end.

Complementing this is the all-new Multiplayer mode which is, quite frankly, one of the most enjoyable multiplayers I’ve ever tried my hand to. Eschewing the traditional gung-ho “frag as many targets as possible in the time limit” format, Brotherhood multiplayer instead plays more true to type. After picking a civilian character, you’re placed in an area with 7 other players, one of whom is your assassination target, and one or more of which will be hunting you down as their own target. The area is also populated with a few hundred NPC civillians going about their business. To make things interesting there are only about 10 different character models available, and both players and NPCs share the models. You generally know what your target looks like, but there are hordes of NPC doppelgangers out there, and the only way to identify the player among them is to follow your compass (which will get you within 30 yards or so), and then look out for any unusual behaviour from the people around you. Is one person running when everyone else is walking? Is he taking an unpredictable route? Does he have a guilty look on his face? All the while, you have to try and blend into the crowds yourself, because your stalker is out there trying to pick you out from the crowds too. Anyone you pass in the street can be (and often is) the guy that plunges a knife into your ribs as you get close! He could be behind you right now, so should you start running, or would that just give you away? As you can imagine this makes for incredibly tense and paranoid games of cat and mouse, but where everyone is some sort of mouse/cat/assassin hybrid with knives and I think this analogy is getting away from me….

Anyway, I can’t recommend this game enough. You should all go play it forthwith, just don’t complain to me if it stops you getting any painting done!

Mike

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