I have finally gotten around to playing Assassin’s Creed III, one of the many games I had on my list of games to play. Having played a few hours — surely enough to pass judgement, wouldn’t you think? — of the game so far I have a few concerns I would like to discuss, if that’s all right?
I’m kidding, of course. I want to rant about it… but boy, where do I start?
With the list. Yeah. That’s as good a place as any to start. Especially since I’ve managed to get through most of the games that had accumulated — over the years — on my gaming bucket list. Yeah, I have genre-specific bucket lists, don’t you?
- Alice: Madness Returns
Assassin’s Creed III
- Bioshock: Infinite
Deux Ex: Human Revolution
Fallout: New Vegas
- Far Cry 3
- Halo 4
On to the game in question then. Ubisoft Montreal is hereby simply referred to as Ubisoft.
Oh you, where do I start? Whilst I appreciate what you have done — especially visually — and I can still remember fondly walking through Italy in Assassin’s Creed II. Your eye for detail is so astonishing that whenever I look at peoples’ holiday photos afterwards I constantly experience déjà vu and think to myself that I’ve been there, until I remember that “Oh, right. I was here, jumping from rooftop to rooftop and stabbed the Pope.”
But [deity] the exposition I have to sit through at this point before I even get any actual playing. You’re kidding me, right? Assassin’s Creed III basically starts of — like a bad daytime TV Soap opera — by recapping every motherfucking thing that happened in the previous 7 games. At least that’s how it felt as some random fucker I couldn’t care less about, narrated me into a mental coma. And then I finally got the controls I thought “Fuck yeah! It’s neck stabbing time!” and I started walking, only to have the control taken away from me by another cutscene and exposition about present events.
Yes, you see despite being a game whose events mainly take place in some distant — and actually interesting — past, Ubisoft would like to remind us — a lot! — that this isn’t a historical game. Oh no, no no no, you silly gamer, this is a science-fiction action adventure game with this douchebag called Desmond, who quite frankly wasn’t very likeable in the first game and has done zero character development since.
Only this time it’s a lot more apparent that they’re are trying to make him likeable — I assume — as they try to play up the estranged relationship between him and his father by making his father a bigger douchenozzle than Desmond is. Sadly it doesn’t work and we instead end up with two douchenozzles competing for whose nozzle is the douchiest on screen.
“Ooo! Neck-stabbing time now?”, I say.
“No”, says game. “Some slight walking and more exposition time”, says game.
You know what Ubisoft? I don’t care. I really, really don’t. I just want to jump from rooftop to rooftop and stab people in the neck. Is that too much to ask, I ask? Because you had a nice amount of stabbing in the first game — sure other parts sucked but the stabbing was good — and quite frankly I would consider it an improvement if there were more stabbing in the numerous sequels you have since made. Not less. Okay? Simple formula, m-o-r-e stabbing.
Having sat here and “played” for — what feels like at least — over an hour now, I’ve barely gotten to do any assassinations. In fact, I’ve barely gotten to do anything. Whatever I’ve been playing it sure hasn’t been Assassin’s something or other.
Maybe, Sir-Walks-A-Lot’s Creed III. And if it was exercise I was after, I wouldn’t be playing a video game, now would I?
Or maybe, Wanker-On-A-Boat’s Creed III.
After having ploughed a few more hours into the game I am now playing as the actual protagonist, Connor Half-n-Half who seems determined to join Desmond and his father in the competition for the title “Biggest Douchenozzle”, despite Ubisoft’s best efforts to give him a super tragic back story.
Then of course there’s the “Oh my [deity], I’ve been playing the first hours as my own father, who apparently is also a Templar. The Templar who of course are my sworn enemy” -twist Ubisoft fisted into the story. Yeah, we get it, you really really want us to care about this revelation — see what I did there? — but Ubisoft, remember what I said earlier about the caring. Yeah, that still applies. Now repeat after me, m-o-r-e stabbing![^1]
I doubt I’m actually going to finish playing Micromanager’s Creed III because I’m already bored with it and there are so many more exciting games out there, like Far Cry 3 and Bioshock: Infinite.
And let’s not forget Batman: Arkham Origins, the upcoming successor to Batman: Arkham City, a game I was a bit hesitant about at first back when the initial teaser and subsequent trailer was revealed. “What? New studio? No Kevin Conroy? No Mark Hamill? No thanks.”
But after having seen their gameplay video from E3 all I can say is “Holy Hard Bat-Boners!”. Aside for the gameplay looking exactly like it should — additions and all — it was actually the developer Ben Mattes talking about how Batman, having only been Batman for two years in their game and how he hasn’t quite learned his own strength yet, that swayed me from a flaccid Chiroptera to a raging Bat-Boner™. Now I am very much looking forward to seeing the flawed incarnation of Batman that I always have in mind when I talk about Batman.
So, Warner Bros. Games Montreal, I might have been hesitant at first but you have managed to convince me. Now where would you like me to send you my money?
Honest Critique Time! Ubisoft Montreal? May I call you Ubi? Good. The two main problems I have with your Assassin’s Creed series is that: The main gameplay elements — neck stabbing, right? — has become underdeveloped as you have insisted on adding other superfluous elements, like boat warfare and tower defence. Give me less things — more stabbing though — to do but more ways to do them. The Precursor blah blah stuff and everything Desmond would be more interesting if it was only alluded to and not shoved in my face. I care less — annoying, I know — when you want me to care more.