Assassin’s Creed II

Back in 2012 I was full bore into my Steam whore phase where anything that even remotely looked interesting that was on a deeply discounted sale I would invariably pick up. I have dozens of games that I have either only played a few minutes in, and some I have never even installed (after five + years of ownership). During the 2012 Christmas sale I picked up Assassin's Creed II: Deluxe Edition for $4.99, as well as Assassin's Creed, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Deluxe, and Assassin's Creed Revelations - Gold Edition for $4.99 - $7.49 each.

I have no idea what the Deluxe or Gold editions mean because I barely have spent anytime in playing these games. After a small bit of research this year I determined that AC2 is widely considered to be the top game in the series, if not then in 2nd place behind the new Origins game (which I do not own). So, I installed AC2 on my new gaming rig and gave it an honest go to see if I could get into a game that features parkour-like actions.

To say that this effort was colossally frustrating would be a dour understatement. The keyboard and mouse simply were not cutting it, and even though I have an older Logitech Dual Action gamepad hooked up to my machine, the game did not set the default control scheme to that (these games seem to scream for the use of a controller over a mouse and keyboard). So, I went into the controls and located where it showed by Logitech controller and selected that.

After much trial and error, I finally managed to complete the tutorial sequence, with the main protagonist and his older brother sitting atop a church roof. This was a major pain in the ass just to get to this point as there simply is nothing intuitive about the control scheme (frustration mounts when basic front-back-left-right movement that worked previously cease to function and you are left with no indication as to why).

After a small bit of additional research, it appears my anguish over the terrible controls is not isolated to just me being a noob with the game. Far from it. In fact, there are articles from people who love the games still complaining about the terrible hit or miss control setup to this day. I find it odd that a company the size of Ubisoft would allow such an IP as Assassin’s Creed to suffer under such an anchor weighing it down.

The long and short of this commentary is I finally realize why I cannot get into these games. It is not because I am now 50+ and the days of being able to “git gud” are long past: It is because it is neigh impossible to get good at these games when you have a control scheme actively working against you at every conceivable turn.

Games should be a challenge, yes, but they should also be fun, not an exercise in frustration.

Would you drive a car if when you turned to the right, the car went to the left and in reverse?

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