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My progress in Assassin's Creed

So last night I played some more Assassin's Creed. First I remembered I could climb stuff so I ran around and practised fleeing from guards. Then I did the pickpocketing mission again and it was, in fact, ridiculously easy. I guess I forgot to press LT the first time.

I then immediately failed the next mission: interrogation. I vaguely knew I had do something with some dude talking near a tree somewhere (NEAR A TREE - thanks Ubisoft). I could hear a dude talking quite clearly, but when I came near him and I was told to press LT to start the interrogation mission, the game targeted a guard standing right next to the talking guy. I tried multiple times. Little triangle over his head, funky cyberspace sparkles over his body: This was clearly my target. So I followed him and since I couldn't find an 'Interrogate' button, I punched him. This annoyed him and his two dozen pals, so I ran off. I tried again in a quiet alley and hey presto! I killed him. Wait. Um. Press LT again. Another guard targeted. I figured this was not what the game wanted me to do.

So, you need to get close to a dude. Then when the game says: 'Press LT to start the interrogation mission', press LT. The game may tell you you are too far away. Or too close (too close to interrogate someone?). But once you've started the mission you can target the right dude instead of random guards. It's a bit like GTA's side missions, only awkward.

So it turns out that Assassin's Creed is a brittle, tangled mess of interface modes. It also has a metric ton of different gameplay elements. Saveable Citizens. Scholars. Vigilantes. Viewpoints. I am not quite sure how to recognize all of these things. I do know that the legend of the map has something like 3 columns of symbols. Seriously. I can barely tell where what is due to the cool styling, but it sure has a lot of different symbols.

I am also having some trouble understanding the setting. I work for some organization in some country. It appears they have a creed. They also have a big honking castle, and get attacked early on, but they protect the citizens of the town outside the castle and repel the invaders. So I am guessing they are good guys and they sure aren't secretive. So which organization do the guards in town belong to, and why do they try to kill me when I look at them funny? Either they are on my side in which I am totally not finding it funny that they're messing with me, or they are not on my side, in which case: Dude! I am with the people that protect this town! Where were you when the Templars attacked? Cut me some slack! I am picking this guy's pockets for a good cause! (Don't ask me what it is, I have no clue why picking one guy's pockets leads me to interrogating some random other guy.)

And why do some guards find me suspicious on sight (unless I walk slow) while others assume I am just a regular guy? I have absolutely no clue. And Ubisoft's choice of frame story, while being cute in general, makes it hard for them to just have a narrator tell me what's up.

Overall I have to say that so far in Assassin's Creed I am having trouble figuring out exactly what situation I am in and which tools I can use to achieve my goals.