Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Waiting. Waiting.

Assassins Creed III is trying to be all things to all people.

It makes the assumption that the player is new to the series by forcing them through a tutorial that rivals Final Fantasy XIII in length. Don't get me wrong, I like Haytham. He sounds and acts like a colonial Bond, complete with attracting random females who fall in love with him quickly and for no reason. I would have liked Haytham more if I got to take him on an actual assassination mission instead of a series of 'this is how things are going to work in six hours when you get to the actual game' hand holding exercises. Connor finally showing up does not improve things because the game decides to teach you how to hunt and trap animals. There is no getting around it: hunting and trapping animals is lame. I want to be hunting and trapping people. This is Assassins Creed, not Subsistence Hunting Simulator 3.

To great contrast, the story has been completely divorced from the game pay. If you have not played all of the previous game you will have fuck all idea about what is going on. There isn't even a snazzy intro sequence recapping the last game. Desmond and company find their way into a new cave, set up the Animus and off we go into the head of Haytham. I have played all of the previous games and I still would have liked a little more review, though it is pretty interesting that no one has mentioned the girl that Desomnd stabbed to death at the end of Revelations. His father will hit him with that later. And then punch him. For being a whiny bitch.

Series loyalists (and apologists, of whom I have been one) are annoyed because the meat of the game is walled off. I have a very particular way of entering a new city: find all of the vantage points, do all of the sub-missions, then advance the story. Assassins Creed 3 has yet to let me do that because everything is scripted and narrow. New players are frustrated because, while they are being taught how to play the game, no one has explained who the hell the Templars and Assassins are. Neither word is even uttered for the first three hours, most likely to build up Haytham's Templar reveal.

That's right, I spoiled it.

I had already figured out that Haytham was Conner's father but him being a Templar surprised me because it didn't make any sense. He was using the hidden blade and had all of the same abilities as Ezio and Altair. I assumed that the Assassin dress code had been relaxed. This gotcha moment is only a surprise to the (annoyed) series vets so they had to make Desmond react to it with a comical 'wait, what?' and record scratch sound effect to prove to the noobs that that had just had a fast one pulled on them.

All of these complaints will go away as soon as I get the the actual game. After six or so hours, I am wondering how long that is going to take.

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