Saturday, December 29, 2012

Assassin's Creed 3 - It was kind of terrible!

You might be wondering why my next thing is over a video game when I made this blog for movies while also writing for a video game site already. Well, anything that I say about this game is basically just going to amount as a review and we already have a review written by someone else on that site. So, can I also talk about video games on this thing? Alright, cool!

Anyways, on to Assassin's Creed 3...

It was was really, really awful!

The Assassin's Creed games have always been at least interesting, and there are at least two games I'm willing to say are genuinely good. The first one did have some major problems but it was also something different, unique, and it was running on a pretty great theme. The second game decided to drop the theme, but it looks like they sacrificed it for smoother and better gameplay. Assassin's Creed 2 is probably the best game in the series, but I'd say the first game should get the most recognition for being a well taken risk and all the second game had to do was build on that.

After those two games, the series felt like it didn't know where it wanted to go after that, other than be a series with a really dopey conspiracy story. Brotherhood and Revelations were more or less padding out Ezio's story, but at least they not only wrapped his story, they also wrapped up Altair's story, which was a really pleasant surprise.

So, now, we can get into the third installment in the franchise.....and they not only threw everything that was interesting about the series, they really wanted to put all of the problems the series has been dealing since the beginning on full display. Problems I had with the series, like story structure and major pacing issues, seem to have been amplified while the strengths that the series has been running off of, like assassinating guys and the parkour style of exploring, has been shoved off into a corner and are not the focus of the game anymore.

The entire game is really just a bunch of cut-scenes that are loosely tied together by a bunch of small mini-games. This wouldn't bother me as much as it would sound like, but the story that focused on in this game is boring. So, they try to make sure that the things they make you do make sense in context of the story. So, you'll be commanding armies, riding along with Paul Revere in order to let people know that, yes, the British are coming, and you'll be doing battles on ships. Actually, the ship battles are the coolest part of the game and the few times I actually wasn't bored. You control the movement of the ship and you get to tell the gunners when to fire. And during the times you have to fight more than one ship, the battles can be pretty intense. It sounds like it could be a basis for a really cool pirate game.

Other than that, the game part is more along the lines of you getting from point A to point B in order to continue the story. And since the game seems to be son interested in its dopey story, lets tear it apart.

Like I said earlier, the games have suffered from major pacing issues, but since this is the first game to actually let the story get in the way of the gameplay, it becomes one of the biggest problems this game has. The game is really all about you experiencing the founding of the United States, so it makes sure to put every recognizable event into the game while also trying to connect it all together with a barely there over-arching story involving a conspiracy with an antagonist that the main character Connor has to go through.

It doesn't help that Connor manages to be an even more boring character than Altair in the first game, but at least with Altair, they passed him off as some sort of stoic and silent bad ass. Here, they actually try to make a protagonist as a fully developed character....and it comes off as a literal check list of the Hero's Journey. Except, they don't even do anything with the character still, he's the same boring character at the beginning as is in the very end. And the worst part is, you don't even get to play as him until a FULL THIRD OF THE GAME! And by the time you do, they spend way to long making sure they establish his character motivation and training before he actually even becomes an Assassin. It probably takes about 5 or 6 hours until the story finally starts going anywhere.

A lot of people were excited when we found out that the new character we were going to play was a Native American. Think of all the interesting things story-wise they could have done to make this something special. They could have tackled issues involving the relation ship between the people who were colonizing America and Native Americans. Unfortunately, they decide to go with the boring route where they don't even try anything interesting, rather just make sure that we know that the Americans are the good guys and the British are the bad guys. The main character, Connor, is the one helping the Americans out.

Remember how I said that you don't get to play as Connor until a full third of the game? Well, the first third is you playing as Connor's father, a British man who is a part of the Templars, who are the bad guys in the series, and they are going on this sort of quest with a magical key to help unlock this magical temple of some sort. It turns out, the key can't open the temple, but he got help from Connor's mother, who is Native American, and then you can imagine what happened to where you get to play as Connor. The weird thing is, this story line is actually slightly more interesting and better paced than the story line Connor is in.

I guess I can say, during the times I'm feeling more generous, is that once the game is finished reading its own rule book, the game does finally gets better and it is slightly amusing to see all of the historical events that take place in this game. But, at the same time, it's really not all that engaging. This can be blamed on minimal gameplay, a really sketchy story, and the series forgetting what made the games good in the first place.

If anything, the combat has improved. It's the most fluid combat in the series. Each game, the combat becomes less about people standing around and waiting for the other guy to make a move and more about actual fighting. You are given new tricks to deal with enemies and you can even counter attack two people at once. The combat isn't as good as the two Arkham games or Dark Souls, but the game is finally at a point where the combat isn't bothersome anymore.

What's really weird is how Desmond's story line is not only more interesting than the rest of the game, it some how manages to be the best moments that the series has provided. Desmond is the guy in the future who is experiencing his ancestors' memories in order to help train to be an assassin and to also help find the secrets their ancestors carry. And there's hardly anybody who actually likes this part of the game. And yet, this actually plays as one of the better parts of the game now. While there are only three missions involving Desmond, those missions focus more on what Assassin's Creed has usually been focusing on. So, think that one over for a minute. Desmond's part in this game feels more like an Assassin's Creed game than the main part of the game.

And for a game that's called Assassin's Creed, the amount of times the story involved Assassinating people could be counted on one hand.


Guys, no one is as surprised as I am as to how much I disliked this game. All of the good moments this game has only comes in short bursts and the rest of the game is just one long boring sludge to get through. The only reason to play this game is to just see how much weirder the ending is than the last games, as they do keep on getting weirder with every game for some reason. It does look like there are going to be more games, but, frankly, I'm really worried right now on what they're going to do next. I'm really hoping they can redeem themselves afterwards, but seeing how a lot of people responded with this game makes me thing that they feel like they're going in the right direction. And the fact that this game has been getting as much positive reception as it has, while also being a nominee for game of the year, is......interesting.

Ok. Phew. I had to get this off my chest. Oh, and this probably isn't going to be the last time where I talk about video games on here, but, don't worry, new movies are way more accessible to me than new games, so this is still going to be more movie focused if you honestly care about that.

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