Cabbies hate this weird trick
Come out of St Pancras, turn right, take the first left, head straight down, and you’ll be at Piccadilly Circus in seconds. Wait, what? Assassin’s Creed’s trip to Ye Olde London has long been rumoured, and the idea has always been appealing. We didn’t exp
When Ubisoft stitched together Assassin’s Creed II’s Florentine landmarks in its own way, we were none the wiser. To the tourist, a city is a collection of landmarks, their surroundings irrelevant on a whistle-stop tour of the most famous sights. In games, geography is a matter not of accuracy, but atmosphere, something Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (p112), despite its problems, has in spades. So too does Yakuza 5 (p114), which finally comes west this month and is, on first inspection, worlds apart from Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. It’s the latest game in a series that’s a relative unknown in the west, arriving three years late on a now-unpopular console. It is, to put it politely, rough around the edges, certainly when put next to a big-budget Ubisoft project. Yet it, too, is steeped in the atmosphere of its setting.
The cynic might reasonably contend that this is a simple matter of logic: a game is always going to feel more true to its real-world setting if it’s made by people who actually live and work there. But Yakuza’s greatest asset is stability. Because it’s rooted in a single setting – the fictional Tokyo red light district of Kamurocho – we’ve come to know it like we know the route to Piccadilly Circus, and every new release feels like going home. Any Tokyo cabbies reading this will disagree, of course, but it’s all a matter of perspective. Perhaps they’d like to take a trip to Victorian London.