The protagonist character in the game Assassin’s Creed spends a lot of time surrounded by baddies. The setting is the medieval mid-east, around the time of the Crusades, and all the fighting is with swords, knives, arrows, kicks and bad language. The AI is pretty neat; one of the major goals is to blend in with the surrounding people and finish your missions without attracting undue attention. Often, if you’re spotted you can simply run away and find a place to hide until the heat is off.
Of course, things sometimes get a little pear-shaped. When they do, all the guards that have been standing around nursing their bad attitudes wake up and suddenly you’re the center of attention.
“Keel the infidel!”
What? Oh, that’s me. Shhhhnick!
When happens then is quite similar something you probably see in real life once or twice a week: Rather than gang up on you wholesale and simply stomp you to bits, the gathered mob of guards mills about while one or maybe two guys come forward and attack you. The rest just crack unhelpful jokes about your ancestry, dodging wild parries until it’s their turn to have a piece of you. Even though you’re surrounded by maybe a dozen baddies, it’s not the overwhelming chaos of getting slammed by a hundred critters in, say, Diablo II or anything Warcraft-ish. It’s usually doable.
Yup, it’s an AI-driven construction crew metaphor for the middle ages. One guy has a shovel, the rest manage and drink coffee. Some things never change.
Assassin’s Creed is a kick-ass game, by the way. Definitely check it out. It probably won’t make Game of the Year (because Bioshock, Mass Effect and maybe Portal will be there ahead of it), but it’s right up there, and it’s a darned good reason to buy a 360.