Friday, February 01, 2013

Assassin's Creed III, part 2

Yeah, I definitely hate this.

It's like the people who made it didn't want me to enjoy it. Every time I get into some element of the game - the free-running, the fighting, the ship sailing (which I really liked, actually) - they throw something in my way to break it up. The ship stuff is a good example: pretty much at the exact moment I thought to myself, "hey, this is pretty awesome," it threw stupid side-winds at me. When I got back into the fun bit, then it starts the cannon tutorial. Would it be too much to ask for just some sailing around first, let me get used to that?

Running through the city, I'll cut a corner and smack into guards before the camera has a chance to catch up; there's twenty minutes gone for combat, escape and tearing down Wanted posters. I'm in a good flow with a fight and suddenly the musket line across the street is ready to fire, right when I'm too far to grab one of the other enemies to shield me. It's like there's an AI watching me, making sure that I never get to enjoy too much at once, in case my blood pressure drops to a reasonable level.

I'm still annoyed by the story, too, although I really should know better than to expect coherence from Assassin's Creed at this point. It's not even so much the plot - which was never going to be any good, if I'm honest with myself - as the non-existent characters. I don't give a shit about anybody in this game. I didn't like Ezio, but Jesus at least I had an opinion of him. I could understand why he was doing this stuff. Connor's been told he has this great destiny and seeks out the Assassins, but he doesn't really know who they are or why it's important. Even the story's feeble attempts early on to justify his eagerness to murder these particular Templars doesn't really figure into his actual motivation when he comes down to it1.

I don't know how much longer I can keep playing. There's undoubtedly a lot of stuff in there that's executed better than the original Assassin's Creed, which I've never gone back to since the second was released, and I can tell there's a good game in there somewhere under all the tedium and awkwardness. But while I was willing to forgive a lot in the first game because of that buried kernel of potential, by this installment - the fifth in the main console Assassin's Creed series, they should have figured all this crap out.

1 Spoiler: I was incredibly disappointed that Connor knew who his father was right from the start. They missed out on a potentially very interesting "I am your father" revelation - for both Connor and Haytham - when they finally meet. Even though the audience knows, that "twist" could have been something worth sticking around for.

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