I started playing the first Assassin’s Creed game recently. I may not finish it. It feels much like Assassin’s Creed III, but severely limited. That is not necessarily its fault, one would hope that a series would improve as it went along, it doesn’t make it any more fun to play. It did make me think about a problem Still, the game is beautiful in many ways and troubling in quite a few as well.
What I find beautiful and troubling is that they can make such a detailed recreation of the Middle East during the Crusades and can think of nothing to do with it other than have the players kill people. I’m not complaining about there being killing in a game called Assassin’s Creed, it’s pretty obvious what the game is going to be about. However, I do think it is something of a problem that nearly all games come down to the same thing. I’m not against violent video games on the whole; I just wish that it wasn’t redundant to call them so. The majority of games are violent. The rare games are the ones that aren’t violent.
That is not necessarily true of movies. There are a lot of action movies that have a similar level of violence to video games, though presented over a much shorter time so it feels a little less grating to me, but there are tons of thriving genres of movie were no one throws a punch, let alone kills someone. Why can’t video games move beyond the action movie template?
I just wish that developers could find another way for player’s to interact with the world rather than just killing things. They can create wonderful, living worlds but it all boils down to killing things. I don’t really have a solution; generally the not fighting stuff in games is less fun than the fighting. In Assassin’s Creed, though, the most fun I had was in exploring. I would take games just about that. I don’t really have much more to add. This is just something that weighs on me as I play Assassin’s Creed, among other games. I climb to the top of a tower and look down on a bustling city, but then I remember that I all I can do down there is kill people.