Why I Want Assassin's Creed II More Than MW2
This is one of those times when one game captures the vast majority of gamers everywhere, while a few other excellent titles labor in its expansive shadow. And unfortunately, I find myself in the unenviable position of desiring Assassin's Creed II more than Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
I suppose I should explain myself because whenever I make such a statement, most people look at me as if I have lobsters crawling out of my ears. Yes, MW2 sold nearly 5 million copies in the first 24 hours and ACII will be lucky to sell that many copies in a 6-month span (the original sold surprisingly well; check it out), but I've never cared about sales numbers. The bottom line is that I find something like ACII to be a very unique experience, and one that I'm certain I'll enjoy for a variety of different reasons. Don't get me wrong; I really like FPSs and I'm not one of those people who simply don't play the genre based on personal preference. I love me some FPS action. But these days, I find myself wanting a little more...I don't know...substance, I guess.
And let me just say this: right now, it looks like MW2 is the casual blockbuster hit of all time. I've never seen more people who don't often play games get so excited over this one; not surprisingly, many of them have been playing the original MW online since it came out two years ago and are just looking for their new fix. I'm not saying it doesn't take any skill to play, but I am saying absolutely anyone can dive right in and participate with very little in the way of effort. This is a nice attribute for certain games and accessibility is always crucial - especially if you want to appeal to the widest audience possible - but I really do want to play something that tests my mettle. You know, something that requires patience and intelligence here and there; something that isn't entirely reliant on reflexes and a bit of simple strategy.
And yes, I do value a story. I value singular atmospheres like the 14th-century Venice setting. I value some freedom to approach objectives as I choose and becoming a living, breathing member of a world that also appears to be living and breathing. I guess that's why I like GTA so much, too. I do anticipate playing MW2 at some point but for this month, my attention is firmly fixed on ACII and it's simply because I feel it will be a fuller, more involving experience for me. There are only so many times I can run around in circles and shoot people, although I know it's like the siren call to anybody who has even touched a controller in the past year. I get that multiplayer is the main reason to have a game like MW2 but if you're not on board with that, I can't see paying $60 for a short campaign.
We all have our personal gaming preferences. But please don't act like I'm a nutjob because I didn't flock to the stores with everyone else and have no intention of buying MW2 any time soon. Believe it or not, I want something different. So sue me.
11/13/2009 Ben Dutka