Funtime Friday: Parkour
The title of this week’s Funtime Friday actually offends me to some degree, mainly because it’s a tad misplaced.
You see, it wasn’t until Mirror’s Edge was released that people began to truly comprehend how “parkour” should feel in a video game. Faith’s little trip up and down buildings even made some people sick, which you can’t say for this week’s game.
That’s not a comment on the game’s quality though. In fact, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to classify this as a better game, in terms of polish and execution.
I’m talking about Assassin’s Creed 2, which, to date, is considered the best iteration of the series that recaps the genetic memories of the far less interesting Desmond and his bunch of miserable modern-day heroes.
I recently had a friend stay over and I offered him the use of my PS3 while I was on the night shift. Assassin’s Creed 2 held the most interest for him, so that’s what went into the Blu-Ray drive. And since he didn’t get to finish it, I asked, why not go through the rest of the game for him?
The whole parkour story earlier on was because the original Assassin’s Creed really opened the doors to a different way of navigating around a city, even though it doesn’t convey the same sense of anxiety you get in Mirror’s Edge when you realise you’ve missed a jump by a fraction of an inch. But unlike other games – Uncharted being a good example – you get to navigate the environment on your own terms, rather than there simply being huge swathes of cities that you have no capacity to climb, jump or run around on.
Of course, there are some limitations, although these are usually unlocked after a quick trip to the nearest vantage point. And that’s part of why I liked the game so much; I felt like I was in control of my movement, rather than having it being dictated to me by a completely linear path.
The other guilty pleasure I have with AC2 is “The Truth”, the series of riddles and videos that unlock some of the convoluted backstory behind Abstergo.
It’s all complete nonsense, of course, but there is an almost childlike, addictive quality to the way various events in history are pencilled into the plot. The riddles themselves act as a fantastic foil to the main action, by introducing elements that take you out of the game while still keeping you connected with the world Ubisoft have created.
So you kids can enjoy your Battlefield and your Uncharted shenanigans. I’m going to stab some Romans for dinner tonight.
But, as always, the question is: what are you doing this weekend? Hopefully it’s not jumping off buildings – but if it is, please tell us in the comments below (so we can recommend other, less harmful activities).