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[AC2] Animus Lab - All Takedowns, No Damage

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Leo K's picture
Leo K
Toronto, Canada
Joined: 12/30/2009

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Animus Lab - Takedowns, No Damage

There are some cool things you can do in MD. I’ve always known this and wanted to pursue it but just ended up getting myself into gear recently. Checkpoints are also not very generous in Present Day, which is fine if you’re playing normally, but can be quite tough if you want to do something like no damage / no mistakes.

Pushing whatever limits exist in Present Day would help to communicate to someone, somewhere (if they’re paying attention) that this element of the franchise is important to us, and that Interactivity is the most compelling way in which we can experience it as it gives us an unprecedented degree of ownership and personal feel to our own experience. (Even if there is zero character customization; the intrinsic nature of choice in a game environment means that we feel connected to each button we press while embodying a Character, much more than if we were reading about that character on a comic book page.)

Mechanical exploration of Present Day is also worthwhile because it can reveal things that we didn’t know.

Fist “Backstabs”

I didn’t know until I made this vid, as a silly but useful example, that Desmond can insta-kill with a Fist “backstab” animation in Present Day. Just never thought to try it. But this discovery dramatically powers up how fast he can takedown Abstergo personnel, as opposed to sloppy punching, grabbing and throwing only. It also increases the tactical significance of going into Grab and getting Knockdowns.

At the beginning of the game he can’t Counter (this is why I have Lucy do it for me, she’s better than me) since the Bleeding Effect hasn’t overwritten Ezio’s Fist-Counter neural pattern onto Desmond’s mind yet. Lacking this normally “core” player-tool makes the player feel weaker in Present Day than they felt as Altair in the preceding game. This is a great example of how mechanics can inform the experience and bleed into what we consider narrative.

As mentioned, you can throw Guards which is extremely helpful for limiting the amount of Abstergo forces that can Engage you at any given time. This + [Fist] Backstab means it MIGHT BE POSSIBLE to do No Damage on the Parking Lot, without being ultra-conservative – something I’ve never done before and the next thing on my list. There’s some cool things I want to note down as I go through the game to check out at which “thresholds” Desmond gets certain abilities and how the level design and enemy design reflects that. As another example, the final encounter against Abstergo (where Desmond gets his Hidden Blade) is quite rich with mechanical options for a tiny section of a tiny element of a huge game.