Games · Technology

Comedy and Assassinations: A Winning Video Game Combo

Last Friday, a package arrived in the mail! Actually, two packages. Husband asked me, “Did my thingy come?”

I replied, “No, but two copies of Assassins Creed did.”

Box art! So spooky looking, just like London is totally super spooky. Right??
Box art! So spooky looking, just like London is totally super spooky. Right??

He: “Two?”

Me: “Two.”

He: “Are you sure?”

As I was literally holding them both in my hand at the time, I didn’t dignify that last remark. Anyway, that’s why, a week later, after rectifying the fact that we got an extra copy, I am watching my husband play Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate.

You may recall a blog post a small while ago about how I spent a couple of hours cuddling a little oodle-poodle of adorableness while listening to the giggles of children in Yoshi’s Woolley World. This week… not so much.

To begin with, Assassin’s Creed is about…

…wait for it…

…killing people. Not Goombas, no, people. Humans. Okay, video game humans, but still beings whose blood is a rather striking bright, bright red. You will see a lot of it, as you walk around murdering everyone in sight.

But lest I give you the impression that this game is all gloom, and guts, let me assure you that Syndicate is, as far as I can tell, from the comedy genre.

This is bloodthirsty, aka Jacob. Seems a bit dim so far.
This is bloodthirsty, aka Jacob. Seems a bit dim so far.

First off, you are an assassin. A big, tough, scary assassin. So big and tough that, actually, you are two assassins! Double the pleasure, double the fun. Or something. You are the Fry twins, Evie and Bloodthirsty (can’t remember his name), out to save London from vague Templar forces.

Go with it, seriously.

This is Evie. She's all about the big political stuff.
This is Evie. She’s all about the big political stuff.

Thing is, you’re not just an assassin, you are a parkour master. You have the climbing skills of Spiderman combined with the regeneration rate of Freddy Kreuger. But thing is, though all the going up buildings is fun, going down them is a bit tedious. Which is, of course, why there are giant piles of hay everywhere.

Or there used to be. But in Syndicate, someone in the board room went “Hey! Hay is not everywhere! Posh places in big cities do not regularly have large quantities of it sitting handily below their bell towers. Maybe we should change our strategy.” So they did, and that’s why in this game, there are also enormous piles of leaves.

"Where did Bill go?" "Don't know, lemme just stand next to this suspiciously-leaking haystack and speculate."
“Where did Bill go?” “Don’t know, lemme just stand next to this suspiciously-leaking haystack and speculate.”

Leaves or hay, these are very handy, because besides allowing you to swan-dive down Big Ben, they allow you to do a number of other useful things, like hide yourself, or dead bodies, because these piles of hay and leaves are made of Newtonian space. The number of corpses you can hide in a given stack seems only to be limited by the number of people willing to go investigate that weird whistling noise you keep making. Personally, I amazed at the amount of guards who think that saying, “Gosh, where did my compatriots go,” and then proceeding to stand in the best possible place to get their throat slit is a winning survival strategy, but they are, after all, video game characters.

That brings me to the next best part of the game: the AI. If you were guarding a train and stabbed in the neck, wouldn’t you die? I probably would. And if I didn’t die, I’d at least get suspicious of the guy standing behind me wearing a hood and holding a bloody great knife. Or gal, as it were. I would not continue guarding stuff while muttering to myself. But the Assassin’s Creed guards will.

Far from being a flaw, I see this as an asset. The fact is, it’s a pretty gory game. I just watched my husband’s character bludgeon two guards to death with their own walking stick. A bit grisly, it must be said. In a game where getting too dark is definitely a worry, I see the host of guards with IQs shorter than my drunken attention span as a means keep things from straying into “not before bedtime” territory.

No, this one doesn't have four assassins, just lots of costumes.
No, this one doesn’t have four assassins, just lots of costumes.

I must say that I quite enjoy spectating the Assassin’s Creed series. Last summer my husband and I were living with my parents due to visa issues (the immigration kind, not the ka-ching sort) and he played his way through first Black Flag and then Unity (the pirate one and the French one). During this time, watching my husband play became a regular pastime not only for me, but for my parents.

Watching it was like watching a serial show–and I’m not talking about the cut scenes. No, it was the game play itself. My husband, being the anal perfectionist that he is, went about picking up every do-dad and completing every mission while the rest of us stood around like the technology bumpkins we were, fanning flies out of our mouths.

Arr, arr, I'm a pirate! I don't have a plot because I'm an off-year game just like Syndicate! ...Oh, wait.
Arr, arr, I’m a pirate! I don’t have a plot because I’m an off-year game just like Syndicate! …Oh, wait.

Really, these games aren’t just for those who can actually play them, they’re perfectly good entertainment for those of us who failed mission one four times before giving up entirely. Husband jumps around, I point out things he might not have noticed, and it all goes well.

And when we get bored, well, we go out and jump in leaf piles. Maybe not from seven stories up, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

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