One of the games I've played on my PlayStation 4 is Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. It rekindled my love of the franchise to the point that I'm very keen to see the next AC instalment: Assassin's Creed Unity.
And when I learned that a new Assassin's Creed mobile game was being made - entitled Memories - I was really rather excited.
Imagine my disappointment when I discovered this early version was a bit bobbins when I recorded a hands-on for AppSpy.
Now the game has been launched globally, and I get to revisit it in a review for Pocket Gamer. Has Ubisoft listened to the criticism? Find out as I play it over the course of a week, reporting back periodically.
One of the main draws of the Assassin's Creed series is the complex universe it creates: where secret orders of assassins and Templars fight for control of the world, the world teeters on the edge of annihilation, and high technology allows human beings to explore their own "genetic memories" via a device known as The Animus.
Assassin's Creed Memories makes passing mention of these elements, potentially confusing those not familiar with the franchise, but doesn't focus on them enough for fans to find the experience satisfying.
You're working for Abstergo by diving into the memories of various assassins and reliving parts of their lives. The reason for this is not really made clear. You can also battle your colleagues in an arena, but why your character might want to do this is anybody's guess.
The opening section of the game is a basic tutorial that only vaguely manages to explain how the game works. Once I've figured it all out myself, I'll document my findings in an update.
So far it's confusing, and missing that authenticity that Assassin's Creed fans will be looking for. I'm really hoping things improve shortly.
Day 3: Secret society
As I spend more and more time with Assassin's Creed Memories, I'm beginning to understand its terminology and gameplay a little better, as well as figuring out its occasionally confusing layout and unique play kinks.
I'm revisiting the game at least a few times every day, using up my Stamina on the regular Missions. When I run out, I quit and go play something different.
Unless I have points to upgrade my character with, that is. If I do, then I increase the amount of points in either Weapons, Armor, or Allies, so in multiplayer battles I can bring a more powerful set of cards with me.
Sadly I'm yet to participate in any of these encounters. They're incredibly time sensitive, for one thing - usually a window of just a couple of hours.
You're sent a Notification when you can participate in one of the fracas, but I've not been near my phone when one has kicked off.
Even if I did participate, I don't think my guild would fare very well, because I'm the only person in it. Hooking up with other players is surprisingly difficult in Assassin's Creed Memories, but I guess that works thematically, what with the Assassins being a secret order and all.
If you can organise it so you and some pals are playing at the same time, then the game offers rich rewards. You can activate a Hack, for example, which reveals all the details of an area and guarantees success in a mission, for ten minutes.
It applies to all Guild mates, so you're giving your brothers and sisters a helping hand at the same time as making the game easier for yourself.
Day 7: Altair, Ezio, Connor, Kenway, and... uh...
I have a correction to make from my last update. The window to enter one of the online battles is 30 minutes. I managed to squeeze into one yesterday, grabbed an opponent and played all of my AP to launch a bunch of moves.
The other player didn't respond. I'm fairly confident I'd been automatically paired, and that they weren't actively playing.
So that area is currently a wash out. That means that the main appeal of the game, as with any card battler, lies in the collecting of rare and valuable cards.
The art on those cards can be cool, too. When I got to the Sengoku period this week - a setting most Assassin's Creed fans are desperate to see realised in a console game - and saw how the Assassins look in that timeline, I was immediately reminded of just how striking the imagery of the series can be.
The issue I've found though is that there aren't enough memorable characters and items from the series to fill out an impressive-looking deck.
So you're left with a bunch of swords, armour, and Templar henchmen that you have no love for (that are immediately sacrificed to make other cards more powerful), and a handful of "oh yeah I sort of remember him" rares.
The global release of Assassin's Creed Memories is certainly a step up from the soft-launch version. But while missions are now a lot faster, it's still not really enough of an improvement to wholeheartedly recommend.
Assassin's Creed fans who have never played a card battler before may get something out of seeing more of the AC universe, but if you've only a passing interest in the series, it's not really worth your time.How are you getting on with the game? You can tell us and the rest of the PG community about your experiences by leaving a comment in the box below. Click here to learn about our free-to-play review policy.