Video games don’t usually bear very much resemblance to real life. Not only a lack of consequences, and super powers, but the characters often seem to exist in a post-human state without jobs, mortgages or families. It was with some excitement then that I read Mark Clapham’s review of Assassin’s Creed 2 – Ezio has a firm family story.
But it doesn’t stop there, he has a pampered younger sister Claudia. “Wrenched from her fashionable city life, Claudia finds herself in an unusual position for a wealthy young woman, taking charge of the estate accounts and managing the family business. Her bickering discussions with her older brother, as she rails against this new life and berates her brother when he neglects his duties, are wholly believable.”
Here, Assassin’s Creed does something very unusual – focuses gameplay itself on this day to day running of family affairs. So much so that Clapham, Game People’s reviewer who focuses on story, was taken up by the task of making this aspect of Ezio’s world work. I’ll quote from Clapham’s review:
This micro-economic sub-game is surprisingly akin to Animal Crossing in its warm, nurturing atmosphere, and I got real pleasure from seeing Monteriggioni transform from a dilapidated, bleak town with boarded up windows to a thriving, well-lit community. It’s a surprisingly gentle, sentimental diversion in a game full of bloody, retributive violence. Without enemies to deal with, exploration in the town and various hidden areas becomes a more relaxed experience.
Eventually, I’d levelled up most of the assets in town, and my vendetta needed to continue elsewhere. However, returning to Monteriggioni remains advantageous between missions, as a relaxing diversion as well as a chance to refill Ezio’s money purse. Tokens of your adventures are displayed around the house, to be admired.
Are there parts of other games that you have found fun and obsession in? It’s one of my favourite aspects of modern gaming that every player can play them their own way. In our family each of us certainly seems to find different ways to enjoy even the simplest of challenges. I really enjoy reading game reviews that focus on this aspect of personality play.