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Farlander1991
11-01-2013, 01:22 PM
I didn't want to create a new thread for this originally and posted about this in my Assassin's Creed III Level Design thread, but then I thought, that thread has run its course and purpose really (plus if somebody's interested, who's going to look for ACII stuff in an ACIII thread?), so it's better to let it go and start a new thread. So, the premise of the thread, I'll just quote that post of mine.


I don't know if it's worth starting a new thread for this, so I'll revive this one if nobody minds. Though I guess it's kinda off-topic. After having conversations in regards to AC2 over the past few months on these forums, I've decided to just put my thoughts into the blog so I wouldn't have to argue over and over again in regards to points that I find to be quite irritating or badly designed in the game. This post is about Sequence 9. (http://stanislavcostiuc.com/2013/11/01/assassins-creed-ii-sequence-9/)

Hope you enjoy the read and don't find my points unfounded :)

And, as with the level design thread, I will keep a table of contents of the blog post which will be updated. I think there will be like 4 posts in total from what I planned in my head. This is a much broader topic in focus than my specific ACIII mini-series. So, yeah. Hope you enjoy.

Table of Contents:
1. Sequence 9 (http://stanislavcostiuc.com/2013/11/01/assassins-creed-ii-sequence-9/)
2. Plot Pacing (http://stanislavcostiuc.com/2013/11/05/assassins-creed-ii-plot-pacing/)

Farlander1991
11-05-2013, 01:38 PM
New post is up, where I talk about the pacing. Next post is going to be about Sequence 10.

2. Plot Pacing (http://stanislavcostiuc.com/2013/11/05/assassins-creed-ii-plot-pacing/)

roostersrule2
11-05-2013, 03:14 PM
This is nothing but discrediting AC2.

Sushiglutton
11-05-2013, 03:56 PM
Reading this blog makes me want to replay AC2 again :). It was an interesting read, I'm not accustomed at all to analyzing plots this way (or any way for that matter lol).

About sequence 9 I think your points are correct from a logical standpoint. Years of gaming have made me fairly immune to these kinds of problems though. I mean I can see why they don't want to use the flying machine twice and why they want the assassination to take place at a party. Sure the solution is contrived, it's not easy to solve though. They could have restructured the entire thing as you suggest, but that would have meant discarding a fair amount of content.

My biggest issue with the sequence was how the party sequence played out. It's a classic AC-misstake imo to add challenge when none is needed. Instead of letting the player freely explore the party at his leisure, you are constantly harassed by guards. Walking form one group of courtesans to the next is an extremely gamey mechanic and annoying. The challenge component detracts from the experience. Instead they should have let you walked around freely listening in on conversations until the oppurtunity for the assassination presented itself.


About the pacing issue, I think you put words on something I've clearly felt while playing through the game. Namely that the plot loses steam once we reach Venice. It's obv very difficult to keep the momentum in a game of this scope. But you are correct they stumbled in this part of the game.

I think it was in an E3 demo that the flying machine was used at the carnivale? Maybe that was the plan and then they felt the need to expand upon it for some reason?

Farlander1991
11-05-2013, 04:34 PM
Years of gaming have made me fairly immune to these kinds of problems though.

I don't know, I've been gaming since before the memory functions of my brain have properly kicked in, and I wouldn't call myself immune to that :D And, you know, a lot of things are part of suspension of disbelief so to speak, or its 'gamey' equivalent I guess. The fact that assassination takes place at a party doesn't really shatter that 'suspension of disbelief', but everything that leads up to it, not to mention some parts of the mission itself, does (and the flying machine part is just a cherry on top, really)


Sure the solution is contrived, it's not easy to solve though. They could have restructured the entire thing as you suggest, but that would have meant discarding a fair amount of content.

Well, if we speak of Sequence 9 on its own, while the variant I propose in the blog (i.e. remove everything leading up to the Assassination Mission since the Assassination Mission makes it pointless anyway and make the mission more open) does discard a fair amount of content, there's a second way: make that content matter. At the LEAST three things should happen:
1. Have ALL members of the party wear the Golden Mask model you've created (and by you I mean Ubisoft, not you :D ).
2. Don't have ANY factions (or NPCs of these factions like Teodora) inside the party.
3. Don't place the target in a location that can be reached by a route that can be went around. I.e. don't place it near the water (since you can swim), and don't place it in the open near a building (so you wouldn't be able to air assassinate it avoiding the party), this means that it's got to be some covered up building some distance from water.
THEN the main issues of 'why the **** we were doing all this?' would be solved. Heck, they could've as well gone the 'The Doge sets up the party in the Palazzo!' route, and mention somewhere that he has put an insane amount of archers on top of the building, and this solves EVERYTHING - he won't leave the Palazzo anyway so we can't track him on the way to the party, we can't use Leonardo's machine this time because the element of surprise of using it is gone, we can't swim or climb to that place, so we have to get to the party.

The other problem that should be solved is the stealing the Golden Mask part. Going through all the trouble of winning it in a game so you would steal it anyway, once again, makes what you were doing pointless. So it's either just steal, or make the win an actual win.

Now, I want to say that failed plans are not a bad thing, but we're dealing here with a situation that has several effective alternatives, so you don't want the player to be asking 'what is the point?'


I think it was in an E3 demo that the flying machine was used at the carnivale? Maybe that was the plan and then they felt the need to expand upon it for some reason?

I don't know. The target was still Carlo Grimaldi (the same person we kill in the actual flying sequence). I suppose it's the same kind of 'change the mission around to suit the demo purposes', just like the E3 AC4 demo mission. But I must say that the Flying Sequence during the Carnevale with all its fireworks looks much more beautiful than without them :)

EDIT:
One note regarding the pacing post. Four sequences of 'nothing but a sub-plot' CAN work, but it means that all those four sequences have to be, like, "OMFG!!!" in terms of what's happening there.
Sequence 7 is "OMFG VENICE!!!!" (a new city as beautiful as Venice with such awesome music is always going to be OMFG :) )
Sequence 8 is "OMFG LEONARDO'S FLYING MACHINE!!!!"
Sequence 9 should be "OMFG CARNEVALE!!!!", but I already stated the bunch of reasons why it's not working for me and why I find the Carnevale to be a botched up opportunity that leaves a very sour taste.
Sequence 10 is... uhm... OMFG... uh... well, it should be... I don't even know what it should be. But a separate post is reserved for Sequence 10. Easily my least favorite sequence of AC2. (which kinda proves the fact that you can't keep up the OMFG factor forever, even if the Carnevale from previous sequence wouldn't have failed)

And because of this (i.e. the possible failings of the "OMFG" factor) I kinda find the solution I proposed in the post to Venice sequences to be much more suitable :) With the exception of one sequence, all others have got plot and/or character development.

Sushiglutton
11-05-2013, 06:02 PM
Yeah setting it indoors (or at least a seal-offed area) would have solved a lot of the issues.

Thing is you can either compare a game to some sort of ideal situation, or you can compare it to other similar games. If you do the former there are several flaws to be found. I think it's good to think that way to push the medium forward. But it can also be a little harsh if you do not think about how it compares to other games. Imo the way AC2's story unfolded was overall a great strength, if you compare it to other titles. I can't say I have played many action adventure games with a story I felt more invested in.

When it comes to the core gameplay and how some some of the missions play it's fairly easy to come up with superior games which makes that criticism more straightforward imo.

pirate1802
11-05-2013, 06:25 PM
rooster, don't act like a ****.

Good points Farlander, I'll read them in more detail when I have time and reply. :)

Farlander1991
11-05-2013, 07:03 PM
Thing is you can either compare a game to some sort of ideal situation, or you can compare it to other similar games. If you do the former there are several flaws to be found. I think it's good to think that way to push the medium forward. But it can also be a little harsh if you do not think about how it compares to other games. Imo the way AC2's story unfolded was overall a great strength, if you compare it to other titles. I can't say I have played many action adventure games with a story I felt more invested in.

Well, thing is, I think that comparing to other games can also be... dishonest, in a way. I mean it can lead to thoughts like (and I'm not talking about AC2 or any game in particular right now), "Well, this is not great, but it's better than others", and that's... a very toxic way of looking at things. I think you should never compare to something that does something worse, you should always compare with something that does something better, and if there isn't or you simply can't find it - think how to make what you have better. Always strive for perfection :D ... BUT. Never reach it. Because actual perfection is bad. Perfection is soulless and artificial. ... Yes, I know, makes making things so much more complex now, does it? :D :D :D Everything good has flaws. The difference is, there are flaws that are easily overlooked, and there are some that aren't.

But, I'm glad that you've mentioned investment. The very fact that I'm talking about this, with other people, shows just how massive the work is that the devs have done and how awesome they are, because, we care. We care enough to criticize, we care enough to analyze, we care enough to defend, we care enough to discuss. We care, and none of our discussions, or my blog-post series, or anything, wouldn't have existed if we didn't, it would be like, 'eh, whatever'. But the game made people invest, it made me invest, and it also has set certain expectations, level of quality and coherence, which is why it's very disappointing to me as a player when those expectations aren't met.

roostersrule2
11-05-2013, 11:05 PM
rooster, don't act like a ****.

Good points Farlander, I'll read them in more detail when I have time and reply. :)Haha, it was a joke lad.