A) Arrive at city of choice.
B) Gain access by blending in with a conveniently placed group of scholars, who stand in one spot until a stranger decides to mingle with them. Despite the outstanding climbing system in the game, you can't breach a city by climbing over its walls, just through the door above the guards.
C) Once inside the city carry out the exact same tasks, in a quantity left to your choosing.
- Sit on a bench and eavesdrop a conversation. Because these people always discuss their private business in crowded places, and right near benches.
- Pickpocket a guy who has a map, or who, for some reason, has decided to write down on a piece of paper all of the known weaknesses of your target.
- Find a fanboy of your target (the guys preaching to an audience about how great the guy is), then punch him three times until he tells you everything.
If you feel like a good Samaritan, you can save all of the citizens being harasses by guards, all of whom are apparently thieves, and are about to die for it, but never get killed no matter how long you sit there and watch them get beaten, or how many times the guards say they're going to kill them. Then once you save them they will either "Go home and hide" or "Tell their sons of your heroism". If they're a woman, they let you know "They were just about to be made off with". And I'm paraphrasing, but the dialogue is word-for-word the same every time.
Then you finally get to go after your target, which ends up being the only variable in each mission. Currently I'm not quite sure what I benefit from seeking out all investigations as opposed to just doing the minimum number and then killing my target. It doesn't seem like any of this information really changes the fact that I'm just going to walk up behind the guy and kill him in front of a hundred people anyway. And then have a ten-minute conversation with him as he lay dying, while his guards must be standing there waiting for us to stop chatting.
It just seems like there was so much more potential here that wasn't used. I mean, instead of five methods of collecting information (pickpocket, flag collecting, brute force, eavesdropping or murder) and using them for every single mission, they should have made, say, ten methods and then mixed them up for each mission.
Like what about breaking into someone's house to steal information? Or eavesdropping from directly overhead, atop a building. Or dangling someone off a rooftop until they gave you the information you wanted.
I hope that they maybe flesh it out a little bit in Assassin's Creed 2, because what else there is to the game is outstanding. And even all of this stuff is really great, you just have to do it over and over and over.
As far as Mass Effect is concerned, I have a feeling it will be Christmas before I complete this first game. Now that the initial rush of excitement over the game is out of the way, I feel like I've settled in for the long haul, for what seems to be truly a gigantic galactic space opera. For at least my first play-through, I'm determined to experience it all, which includes zipping around the galaxy on a ton of side missions.
I'm still waiting to see if higher level weapons and armor really look all that different, or if they use the same models with different color schemes. So far pretty much every assault rifle I've come across looks exactly the same, even when they're made by different manufacturers. While I assume most people won't care, part of the reason I enjoy RPGs is so that as I work to advance, my character looks cooler and cooler. If at level 60 I look the same as I did at level 1, that's sort of a bummer. So as a mid-twenties soldier right now, I'll have to see what I get later on. I'm only around the IV and V versions of weapons and armor, and I've seen a couple of VI versions in stores. Maybe once I get around level 30-40 I'll see some new models.
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