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View Full Version : [Spoilers, of course] My take on ACIII + game questions



NumberSix1967
11-05-2012, 12:31 AM
Firstly, this is just my opinion. Secondly, this is quite long so I apologise. I hope to have been as clear as possible with my points. I do have some questions at the end, which may seem remedial to some but hey, I missed some play parts of the game. So, on with the show:

1. There is little connection to Connor’s tale. In 15 minutes of game-time Haytham Kenway is made a more interesting and dynamic presence than the protagonist with whom we spend most of our time. Now, that’s ‘presence’, not character as such. Haytham has a personality, and unfortunately no one else in the entire game seems to want to emulate that standing. Connor, I will say it, is boring. He’s a boring person. He’s monotone, greyscale and emotionless but for when he’s having a naive emotional fit. Regarding his actual story then I’m afraid it’s a letdown not least compounded by the game’s mechanics in places (quicktime events and playing all of 3 seconds to walk from one place to another before having to watch a cutscene is not immersive play). Playing as a Native American should have enabled players to experience a very ethnic take on a very interesting portion of recent history. The whole point in Connor’s adventure was to safeguard his people and culture and we, as players, saw very little of that and were instead thrust into a host of bland city streets and historical event checklisting. The Frontier should, along with other natural areas, have been the prime focus of the game along with a story encompassing the development of Connor from boy to man, as aligned with the Assassin’s order not to fulfil its doctrine but to use its methods to help his own people – successfully or not. In fact, Connor’s introduction to the Assassins v Templar world was purely by chance, when the old woman of the village shows him the apple following some local strife. From the very off he is given the role of ‘First Civilisation Pawn’ whereas in other games, our heroes are just men thrust into a situation, given a cause, and who go about learning about the bigger picture around them. At the end of the game, Connor is all but told to stop asking questions and do as told. Ezio was accepting of such a position in the end, understanding the nature of life and conflict from a wiser position; Connor was and is not and as such should not accept being sidelined.

2. Location, location, location. Boston and New York are a tad boring. They are a far cry from Constantinople, Florence, Rome and so on and so on. Now, I’m sure those cities at the time were very much as presented: a kind of burgeoning urban presence with ties heavily based on a foundling society, so it’s great such a vibe was recreated but as I say, it was dull. The game should have of course featured cities but we should have seen them as alien presences and landscapes, and been more at home with places such as The Frontier, and thus been more entrenched into the game’s main narrative thread: that of a Native American using what he knows, learning about the new world outside his traditional one. This is where the mechanics of the story fall down. The Frontier was impressive, but we had little reason to be there. Everything was very city-based, as it would be I suppose given that’s where most of the action of the time was taking place so then, why go with the Native angle only to use is sparingly? Aside from one tiny village, some hunting and looking rather fancy, there is no reason for Connor to be a Native American. It was a wasted opportunity in many regards. I was impressed with how brutal he was in terms of presence and fighting. I did enjoy his ultra-violence. It would have been nice to have had to use his stalking/hunting abilities in-game for more than just collecting animal skins as a side mission. In fact, the Native angle was a side mission. Why make the point about George Washington’s slave-keeping/use and not have Connor ostracised for his ethnicity? Why would these founding fathers, who it seems are blasé about the indigenous population’s plight and state, be so willing to operate with what appears to be a murderous, angry local forest boy? Altair had standing within his order; Ezio was always on the fringes...so, why the change in theme now?


3. Referring to a previous point. Some of the play areas were, dare I say it, ‘too big’. Or rather, they weren’t too big but too unused. Large sections of the cities were just streets and they were streets with not much going on too. I personally missed the shops/markets of Turkey and Italy; they gave you a reason to explore. I did in fact feel that the only downside to Assassin’s Creed II was the use of perhaps too many separate locations, whereas in Revelations, they game developers nailed it by having Istanbul not only vibrant, colourful and ambient, but utterly of use. Then again, I thought Rome was too cramped so hey, you can’t please everyone – plus, the setting to Brotherhood wasn’t its main issue.

4. May I suggest leaving on-screen tutorial statements actually on the screen long enough to be able to read or, at least pace the game so you are able to digest say, information about being able to use a guard as a human shield before being led into a situation whereby you are ill-equipped to use some of the finer control mechanisms. A case in point is: I finished the game tonight utterly unaware you can dual-wield pistols and I didn’t once use anyone as a human shield (many optional objectives were missed simply because the missions started immediately and there wasn’t time to read and accept then as part of the up-and-coming action). If it would be possible to use clearer subtitle text and colouring during cutscenes/speeches/dialogue, that would be fantastic also because throughout this game I found myself trying to position the camera in order to cast the subtitles against the darkest possible part of the background just to be able to see them.


5. The story. Ah, right, er. Well, many of you have touched on this already. I’ve mentioned maybe some of the more disappointing elements of Connor’s focus but largely I’d say the writing team did an excellent job, as ever, weaving in history and fiction to one seamless piece of narrative – as they have done before in previous games. I will admit I did get a little lost between story missions but please don’t take my inability to keep track of such a woven tale thee first time round as being an indicator of anyone at Ubisoft not doing their job. Only on the second playthrough of Revelations could I assimilate the prose properly and so that should continue. Pull no punches, Ubisoft, pull no punches. I’d like to add that of course, postponing story missions to spend hours in the forest looking for a bear will test even the strictest of mind’s concentration. It’s par the course with a sandbox adventure. Again, don’t ever change that. What I wish to comment on however is what I feel is a bit of a theme to this game: the removal of immersion. As stated, some of the play mechanics sought to take you out of the experience with a few clunky in-game experiences and perhaps a bit of a trick was missed in not going as ‘native’ as much as I would have personally liked. But...but, all my previous points aside I do feel that this game, which apart from what I have talked about up until now I feel is a bloody great game, makes a bit of a hash of the main thread of the Assassin’s Creed mythos. Or in other words, the Desmond bits are f****** awful.

In making the adventures of Altair, Ezio, Connor and Desmond simply the machinations of one character whose presence we’re rarely felt or couldn’t care all that much about, it utterly robs the previous games of its motivation and worth. People have gone through the specifics of the ending elsewhere so I won’t regurgitate the same information but rather mention its effect.

Throughout ACIII, we are for the first time given a kind of neutral view on the Assassins and Templar struggle. Both sides have their faults, both sides have their ignorant convictions and both sides have their indignation with the general population and those aligned with the opposite sect. They are just the other side to the same coin. In using the American Revolution, and the British colony v independence developments as a kind of parallel/precursor to future events we are left wanting. Well, I say a precursor, what I mean is that the in raising the issues of America’s founding fathers perhaps not being the best role models, we are given a clue as to how this game’s narrative will pan out. I have to add, the conversation you can have with Sean about Washington et al being morally suspect by today’s standards was excellent and a great addiction to the scripting. I enjoyed all of those elements but at no point in the other games did I feel that we were ever left questioning just what the motivations of our heroes and villains were. In this one, we were and by proxy we were then removed of belief in either side’s actions or theories. Or, it all just seemed a bit of a waste of time; futile; pointless - having Juno be the architect of years’ worth of manipulations just to see herself set free was an utter dismissal of all our protagonists’ efforts and thus, our efforts. Focus shifted from that which we, as players (or users of the animus) were invested in for hours and years, to a story element that seemingly came from nowhere, was exposition heavy and frankly, a bit crap.

Was the Juno revelation a potentially good story thread? Yes. But, that’s not what we had been building to for the last five or six years. The story in ACIII presents itself as a host of inconsistencies, as already mentioned in some excellent posts about the forum. This has been the most disappointing element to me and as some have said perhaps it was a bit of a ploy to stretch the games’ lifecycle out further. Perhaps not. I’m not on the writing team so it would be remiss of me to state any certainty to either idea. My concern is now with the motivations in-game to carry on playing. Why, possibly, would anyone need to use the animus again? Surely from now on pushing this long-standing story arc to whatever length is becoming tired. The issue isn’t with Desmond dying (quite glad he’s gone to be honest) but with where the series is going to go from here. It was always apparent that the series would continue and thank the Lord for that, but now with each character all but cheapened in many ways, why on Earth should anyone care? The First Civilisation were always an ethereal presence and in making at least one of them some kind of sleeper agent super villain relying heavily on game-changing exposition it removes the mystique. In making our antagonists’ actions a kind of secondary, thinly plotted ploy, it removes our investment (did it really have to be Desmond on that date, in that year to have to press that magic ‘stop solar flare’ button? [wait...so, Juno was down there, but no one knew until later on that she’d fiddled with the machine so that ‘STOP DEATH’ and ‘FREE ME’ were the same thing?]) and in continuing this story we are also robbed of our conviction in the Assassins v Templar struggle.

At the end of the game I found myself asking “what is it the Templars want as no one seems to be able to say anything other than that pantomime villain chap and all he mentions is ‘control’?” Case in point: would Haytham be okay with the idea of a mind-control satellite being launched into space? Oh, a satellite that wouldn’t work, that is. Why do the Templars want to get into the Grand Temple? Won’t they be okay with Juno taking over and bringing ‘order’ etc on and on. Others have discussed this in a clearer way than I could. What I really mean is...****ed. ****ed ****ed ****ed. If the writing team can somehow manage to answer all these questions effectively in the next game and make it seem plausible then hey presto, we’re onto a winner again. But, the saturation of the plot point we’ve all been working over for years is where the real let down of ACIII presents itself, and that is a crying shame. In saying that, we may all get our heads turned over in the next game by some Earth-shattering story developments that leave us saying “wow, and we thought AC3 had jumped the shark...we were just being kept on addictive tenterhooks all this time!” and I can only pray that to be the case. Glitches can be patched but once a story starts to wane then, hmm, you lose people. It just seems that this game involves you less, on all levels.



Questions:

What were the printing shops for? I went into many of those and nothing happened.
How do you up your arrow count? Someone mentioned a tailor. I have no idea who that is.
How do you dual-wield guns, because at no point (like with the tailor) was there any mention of this feature?
Crafting and trading. Erm...not really reaping any rewards from that. Any tips?
Is it possible to get the first assassin's clothing; the outfit mentioned by Achilles?

My game was SUPER buggy in parts, so much so I de-synched a good few times because I feel through floors, so maybe, just maybe some game elements were stalled a bit during my first playthrough.

NumberSix1967
11-05-2012, 10:56 AM
...in saying that, I would like Connor to have another game. They could make best use of him in so many ways.

ElDoucherino
11-10-2012, 06:14 PM
Questions:

What were the printing shops for? I went into many of those and nothing happened.
How do you up your arrow count? Someone mentioned a tailor. I have no idea who that is.
How do you dual-wield guns, because at no point (like with the tailor) was there any mention of this feature?
Crafting and trading. Erm...not really reaping any rewards from that. Any tips?
Is it possible to get the first assassin's clothing; the outfit mentioned by Achilles?

1) Yeah, had that problem to. Went in and nothing happened. Guessing now but i believe that you have to have 3 dots or whatever you call them in notoriety before being able to use those shops.

2) That book that you find in the mansion and in the general store is to extract material from your homestead inhabitants and use them to build new items. But before you have to level up specific traders, like blacksmith or tailor, and collect layouts for these items that you can find in chests.

3) No clue

4) Pack a boat with pelts. That is what I was doing before my boat got wrecked. And now I have to get my *** to bear country and collect some bear grease.

5) Yes, but how I am not telling cuz that might spoil it for you.