Monday, January 28, 2013

Assassin's Creed ZZZ

I'm pretty sure I hate Assassin's Creed III.

The process for even getting into the thing - insert disc, would you like to update?, downloading update, installing update, installing game, would you like to pay for an online pass?, please sign into/up for uPlay, all before the main title screen - was a pretty tedious affair, but I'm tempted to say that the game itself is surpassing even that snoozefest so far.

It's just tutorial after tutorial, with all-too-regular loading screens and badly-designed cutscenes. I'm pretty sure every cinematic so far has had at least one shot where a speaking character's face has been partially or entirely obscured by a low-poly wine bottle in the foreground.

And that's once I've made it into the Animus; all this Desmond nonsense at the start is skating on the very thin-ice notion that anybody actually gives a shit about the ridiculous scifi conspiracy/apocalypse story supposedly underpinning the narrative. I'm not here for the story, goddamn it, just f--king let me stab guys.

Oh what's that? I've got to play through the entire 16th-century voyage to America? F--k you, Assassin's Creed III.

Even when I have gotten to actually play a bit of murder, the game seems so determined to hold my hand the entire way through that my slightest deviation from its exact instructions has caused me to repeat a couple of sections several times. Maybe my memory's wrong, but I don't recall being spotted by guards having such a disasterous insta-fail outcome in the original game (my favourite) or Assassin's Creed II (objectively the best).

I'm going to force myself to get to the Conor stuff. I'm hoping the world opens up a bit once you get to the guy on the box, but I have a bad feeling it's not going to be any different.

Just give me a target and an environment. That's all I've ever wanted from Assassin's Creed, but the series has become so obsessed with micromanaging your progress that every two minutes you're interrupted with a checkpoint or cutscene or loading screen and you're rarely trusted to do things by yourself. Except hunting for flags, feathers or Benjamin Franklin's almanac pages.

So long as it's not important, knock yourself out. But don't get any bright ideas about how you're going to approach the actual game. Ubisoft has a script, you know.

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