Reviewing ACIII - lots of spoilers
Hey guys first of all this is my first blog so apologies for any mistakes, feedbake will be appreciated.
I'm going to start off with saying - ACIII in my eyes is a good 7.5/10 (that's quite complementary in my eyes, but it has lost points for things which were seriously lacking from its predecessors)
Things I liked!
ACIII really impressed me for many reasons and I'm going to do a list of them here to start on a good note!
1.ACIII has greatly improved combat!
I like the new counters, the uniqueness of the tactics and the environmental interactions were really good, it was a nice step up from Ezio and introduced lots of neat ideas which I would like to see more of in the future (the issues with combat are listed below)
2. The scenary.
Aside from the weirdness of Connor trying to free-run up bushes/fir trees I really like how the environment looks and behaves. One of the fantastic Captain Kidd missions in an old Mansion had some amazing detail and was really nice to play through.
3. The time the game was set.
I really liked this, as a Brit who has had next to no lessons in the Revolution it was a really interesting time setting and has really drawn me into reading more about the founding of America. What I especially liked was how human they made it, it was really nice to not have to wade through glorified views on what the founders of America were like.
4. The Templars and Haytham.
Despite my initial surprise at the lack of Connor for (roughly) a quarter of the game, I think they did a great job at really showing how blurred the lines are. Templars don't sit around sharpening their swords and moving evil looking pieces across a map, they too are as idealistic aas the Assassins and their methods are hard to seperate.
5. The economy system and hunting.
I liked how this was, how you had to be actvie to earn rather than Monteggrioni and Constantinople's casual background earning. It annoyed me slightly how Bear fur can make a bigger profit than most 'crafted' goods, and I can't help but feel that being able to order convoys from anywhere (perhaps using a recruit token) would have made it much more playable.
6. Just casually striding into Abstergo as Desmond....
7. The uniqueness of events/people.
Something that bothered me on previous AC installments was the generalisability of a lot of the abckground people/recruits/missions.I must admitt ACIII did a great job of adding different characters and creating a much nicer world to play through. Especially with the Assassin recruits (I think they were a little too spoilt in possibilities, I love their local abilities escort, distract etc. and so never felt the need to send them off on holiday around America, I just like them too much!)
8. The Naval Warfare
As someone who sails/teaches sailing professionally I really was glad to finally see a game where your ship suffers from luffing issues and good wind awareness plays favourably - I got so excited in some of the bigger seas as well...made me want to get out there too so well done for that ACIII!!!!!
Things I didn't like - the negative points for ACIII
I know this is going to be an unpopular one but to me he was continually brash, immature and disrespectful, which the series has taught us so far is something the Asdsassins have to grow out of. His initial quiet, determined personality made him likeable but then he just seemed to remain stropy, maintain a lack respect for his mentor and was so overconfident he ends up strolling around the templar dominated land with his hood down - with a shoot me please sort of attitude...I don't know a bit more time and personal growth might have made me sympathise with him some more but her really wasn't my favourite protagonist so far.
2. Missed opportunities in combat
in particular horses and traps. It's really odd to me, as someone who is such a fan of the rope dart, how you cannot use it on a horse? Bearing in mind the physics of the rope dart are...creative (being able to hang someone from a tree, throwing without swinging etc,) why can't you ride past a guard, wrap a rope dart around them and drag them off on a quick drive-by assassination? Also With the introduction of corner covers, it would have been really nice to have a trip wire effect where you could throw a rope dart into a barrel/wooden crate (which are always laying around in the AC universe :)) and pull it tight, then whistle away/get apprentices to lure guards out, and trip them up, causing chaos and thinning the ranks of those mobile armies.
T'he bow counter attack also kind of annoys me. He parries a sword then gets out his bow and shoots it...the gun counters are so creative, would it have heard for the bow counter to be him using an arrow creatively/using the bow itself in part of a counter? Again realism would suffer but that doesn't seem to be much of an issue with the rest of it.
Throwing knives? I missed these babies...they were my best buddies in ACII, ACB and in particular ACR. I know we have plenty of alternatives but it's sad to see an old friend go, especially one which had been with us since day
3. The modern day sections of the story.
For this I am just going to disucss how you cannot replay any of Desmond's memories. They made him playable, they made him mortal (at last), they gave him things to do but for some reason you can't replay his levels at the end? Would it hurt to have an option on the animus menu labled 'review security footage' - could be phrased in game as Rebecca giving Desmond the chance to look over his performance and see how he can improve.
It also bothered me how after all that climbing and being told you're going to break into an office building, you parachute in and....cutscene? Who didn't want to run around, silently, taking down the odd guard in a restricted area, getting to the office and then (if we must) be cutscened out of there. I was left kind of shocked how empty that level seemed.
4. No glyphs!
It is said on the wiki (I think on the ACIII page itself, please don't assassinate me if I'm wrong!) That glyphs/rifts in some way would be making a return. THEY DID NOT. The whole 'history isn't what it seems' thing I loved in ACII/ACB. Now while there were puzzles, yes. They didn't give you any more info about the AC universe. I would really have liked to see the Hacker (whoever he is), Erudito or even one of TWCB giving you insights into the past, perhaps even telling you more about the POE or TWCB because we still really know nothing!
5. The Ending.
This to me (and I'm guessing plenty of other people) was a dissapointment. Just to note this isn't because we are done with Desmond, it's about time really. I read that Ubisoft were 'concerned' about it and I think in a way they were right to be. It's not that Juno is now seizing contorl of the world, it's not that Desmond dies. It's how it happened.
A) Killed him off really easily. Whoomph he was gone. It seemed that after Altair's little extinguishing excercise, Ezio's dramatic death...I felt the 1 continual playable character was let down a bit...saying that I personally don't know the alternative.
B) Why was it important to have all that Minerva bit? I would have been content in Desmond released all TWCB as they knew no better. I would have been content if the Eye had shown him the same thing the TWCB girls told him , then gave him the choice, but pitting them against each other left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. I like the idea that not all TWCB are on the same side and was a nice technique, but Minerva's counter arguments and planning into predicting Desmond's existence, genetics, arrival is all worhtless if she couldn't predict that the Assassin/Templar war would still be going on. she said that the temple was there but they wasted their time and therefore it is their fault that the warnings were ignored? But she clearly predicted Desmond in 2012 viewing through the animus Ezio's life...which surely must mean she must know the rest of his experiences? It just seemed...not lazy but not up to the usual AC standard. Especially since it makes Ezio's life mission a bit confusing. And where was Jupiter? the leader of the triad. The one who told Desmond to go to the temple, the one who orchestrated it all....did nothing really in ACIII....oh ok moving on...
C) Is Desmond coming back? This really isn't that big a question guys. He is either dead/possessed by Juno. IF he doesn't come back that's fine, but in the usual AC way I think it would be pretty cool for him to swan into the Farm and everyone cheer to meet him only for Juno to have been released upon the world within his body and with his control over POE...anywhere in my opinion this really isn't that big a point so moving on....
6. BUGS BUGS BUGS BUGS BUGs
Whether it's the fact that every new area I enter I have a different second gun (single/double barreled, it varies), the fact that I lose all my consumables the minute I get on a boat, the number of animals I have lost after shooting with arrows to the inside of a tree, the loss of my Washington sword becuase I went to the frontier, or my personal favourite the loss of a tomahawk becuase I was lockpicking...this game's bugs drive me mad! I can't help but feel the impending deadline let some of these slip through...but I am not going to get on my high horse and judge (mainly because whenever I whistle for it it gets stuck in a tree) because I couldn't have made a game at all and the compliments above still stand!
All in all
Overall I liked the game but it just didn't feel...Assassin's Creed to me. whether this is becuase the standards of previos games were so good I don't know, or whether the build up was too much, either way it's complimentarily dissapointing (if that makes sense).I am glad I bought it and would reccomend it 100% but sadly it is not going to be my favourite game of all time.
Musings about AC4
Noone knows what the future holds and I really hope ACIV will surprise us. I would like to see more of the other POEs. Maybe the sword? The hundred years war would be an interesting opportunity for this, especially with the death of Joan D'arc. It would be good to extend the 'Haytham Illusion' and get us to play as a Templar for a lot more of the game just hope that noone mentions the Father of Understanding! I am desperate to see more of Eden and would like that but I doubt the game would go back before 450 BCE becuase then there would be no hidden blades...also the tantalising shot of Jupiter with that gun and the introduction of the Shard of Eden makes me think the next game will be part of an arms race, ready to counter the Juno threat. (Of course if Juno is controlling the world and only the people with TWCB DNA are resistant there could be a real Agent Smith/Matrix or Dream People/Inception thing going on where everyone you are trying to free is actually against you if you act up....
That last bit was probably nonsense and please don't slate me for how my mind works!
Long post over!