View Full Version : Bait and Switch and other gripes and ramblings

02-01-2015, 08:11 PM
First of, what's up with this trend that Ubisoft shows us epic cinematics that never make it into the actual game?

The Assassin's Creed Games used to have an intro cinematic that you get to see in the menu if you don't press any buttons. In AC and AC 2 (1-3) these cinematics were also part of the actual game. And while in some games the cinematic or cutscene veers from the actual mission of that particular scene, you at least got to play those scenes or missions.

AC cinematics in order:

AC / AC 2 / AC Brotherhood / AC Revelations - all had cinematics of scenes that you could play in the actual game
AC 3 - could have followed the formular with the one man army battle scene from the trailer, which was dropped in favor for a story recap. But even though you play in that battle field (dodging from cover to cover), you never get to see that epic cinematic sequence in the actual game. First slight by Ubisoft.
AC Black Flag / AC Rogue - both feature an exposition cinematic that reveals the protagonist.
AC Unity - nothing, null, nada, nix. No exposition cinematic, no cinematic of any kind. On top of that the missions Marquis de Bullion / Captain Xavier / Storming of the Bastille (which all had great cinematics) were entirely cut from the game.

With AC 3 Ubisoft started to make extra cinematic trailers for TV and internet which is nice, even though they never make it into the game, but at least they are out there, right? Not really. I mean why not at least have them on the disc? All of them? Under Extras? Many games do that these days.
I get that they cost a lot of money, but if they already produced them, why not put them on the discs? From what I see, there's always enough space for a cinematic or two or three. What a waste...

Now for some other things Ubisoft could have left in the game and ditched for no apparent reason:

At some point you could disarm your enemies and use their weapons against them. Can you still do it in AC Rogue? I forget. Anyway, that's gone in AC Unity. You can't throw people of roofs anymore either, something I sorely miss. Gone are also the days where you could gently push people out of your way, which always felt very organic. Now you're just a wooden log that characters bounce off of.

Remember there were different running modes? You could run normally or shoulder your way through a crowd like a quarterback. Those were the days. The loading animation is also gone which makes the loading time (which is already a lot longer than in the past) that much more frustrating and tedious.

Another little thing is the little ones: I always understood the reason why there were no children in the AC universe. Being able to harm children in a videogame (purposefully or by accident) is just not something you want in your game. So I was pleasently surprised when they added child NPCs in AC 3. They couldn't get harmed and made the AC universe that much more complete. They were also annoying as hell, mainly because of their sound sample, which was a "whoops, lol, am I in your way? u mad bro?" kind of thing. But it was just the sample. Take that away, and the kids have their place in the world. So for the sake of authenticity, bring back the kids! You already have proven that you can program them so they can't get hurt.

And bring back the lifestock too. Nice to have chicken, cats and dogs. But where are the other farm animals? I especially miss the horses. You used to be able to command a whole ship for crying out loud, now you can't even ride a horse anymore?

Btw, the sound sample that grinds my gears in AC Unity is the high pitched shriek in some mobs in Paris. Anyone with me?

Also, I always wondered why every thug, grunt and soldier must have the same voice? A little variety goes a long way. There is variety in the things they say, which is nice, but please not all in the same thuggish manner. Mix it up a little.

What I love is that you can now actually walk through the interior of housed. But I don't get, why some residents are forced to enter or leave their housings through a window. Because, you may have noticed, but some appartments have no stairs. I guess all of them must have a trap door and a ladder handy. I don't know about the architecture of that time, were there houses which individual floors could only be accessed by ladders and trap doors? Seems a bit odd.

On a different note - while I liked the three Anachronistic missions, I still feel a little cheated. The interaction with the Animus used to be a quintessential part of the AC universe. Over the years the interaction with the Animus has been scaled back more and more so that at this point it's become more or less nothing more than a footnote.
You are virtually living another persons life. It makes sense when you're lying down in total relxation in a deep meditative, dreamlike state you would be able to become part of the Animus world. I can get with that. But casually sitting in a chair with the only thing linking you to the Animus being some sort of VR Headgear? Not so much. And while Abstergosoft little by little took away the immersion factor the Animus used to provide, Ubisoft did away with the Animus altogether.
The protagonist and the player have been merged into one person. It's a nice idea in theory but it has its flaws in that it opens itself up to plotholes. At least they way it was handled when it arrived at the latest installment:

In AC Unity you as the player are not playing someone who relives Arno's life, you yourself as the player are Arno now. But are you really? Here's why it doesn't work: Think about it, you / the player / protagonist of AC Unity are no longer limited to researching only your own lineage. In the beginning you see a menu with all AC games that have come out so far. They have to be unlocked first, something you as a player are familiar with. This means that these experiences are basically just Abstergo games anyone can play.
This was a huge mistake, because for the first time in the Assassin's Creed storyline we have a plothole. If anyone can play these memories does that mean that the research of certain lineages is completed and, within certain boundaries set by Abstergo, can now be replayed by anyone? Or is the research ongoing for all lineages under the guise that they can be played by anyone?
In any case, how can it be possible to access the lineages of other gen-pools? That was never explained and is a very important piece of information that must be addressed at some point if they plan to further run with this idea.

Being the player / protagonist who is hooked to the Animus is a nice idea, but ulitmately with AC Unity this is as far as Ubisoft can go with it. Otherwise it will become a gimmick. It's time to go back to an actual protagonist. Someone a little more like Desmond and a little less like Knuckle Head. They could do a transition where you start off as the player / protagonist, but then you give the reins over to the actual new protagonist and are only along for the ride. Immersion is good and all, but not if the actual storyline suffers because of it.

Ubisoft, you have gone as far as it was possible with immersing the player in a storyline, so much so that he feels that he's actually part of that storyline. But please stop now. The 4th wall has been broken and it was nice for a while. But what made Assasin's Creed really great was the overarching storyline! Please remember that and get back to it! There has not been an actual story since the Desmond Arc ended!

Well, I guess that's all the things I can think of that bug me about AC Unity and AC in general, from the big fish to the small fry.

I love Assassin's Creed and I hope Ubisoft plans to reform the franchise to its former glory in the future.