Friday, 23 August 2013

Ass In Ass's Creed 3

There’s something terribly wrong with the world.

Film directors appear to want to be video game designers and video game designers appear to want to be film directors.  And what we, that is those of us who are neither video game designers nor film directors, are left with is either films that have little or no story or video games that have little or no gameplay.

There should be a way to sort all this out.                                        

JJ Abrams should just be put back where he was found – presumably somewhere outside Ubisoft’s offices with a sign around his neck reading, ‘Will Make Wing Commander Games For Cash’.  And the ‘multicultural team of various religious faiths and beliefs’ ™ that made Assassin's Creed 3 should be given a camcorder, some period costumes and a handful of unexceptional GCSE Drama students.

And David Cameron, who incidentally is the spitting image of this game’s antagonist, should just join the Navy so he can fulfil his dream of sailing boats.  Over the River Styx.  While clutching the coins of the dead.

Assassin's Creed 3 is the latest instalment in the Assassin’s Creed series and you’d be forgiven for thinking that we reached this point in 2010 with the release of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, or in 2011 with the nigh on identical Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.

But it’s okay because the developers have found a way to reinvigorate the franchise.  They’ve removed assassinations from the game.

Yes, it is a strange move.

Instead what we have here is a series of cutscenes and loading screens lasting for roughly 10 hours and linked by gameplay that is largely reduced to ‘climbing things’ or ‘walking to things’ for decreasingly necessary or comprehensible reasons.

Like previous games the movement system still maps ‘run’ and ‘jump onto the nearest wall’ to the same button, which is a pity when a core part of the game mechanic requires you to ‘run’ away from mildly suspicious guards who go absolutely apeshit at anyone who ‘jumps onto the nearest wall’.

When the game is in full flow the free running over treetops can be exhilarating, the combat has been 
improved to flow nearly as slickly as the Batman Arkham series and the naval battles are nothing short of breathtaking.  If the next game was based around these naval scenes it could be spectacular.

But do games not have editors?  Like books have editors.  You know?  To stop them being shit?

It’s almost like the game designers made a brilliant game, the story writers wrote a brilliant story but the person responsible for co-ordinating those two departments was a disinterested chimpanzee who distrusted the notion of interactive entertainment and had been strapped to a chair for its entire life and forced to watch trashy American civil war TV shows.

The pacing and balance of the game is seriously flawed.  The enjoyable side missions of Assassin’s Creed 2 have been ‘tweaked’ back to the incomprehensible mess of Assassin’s Creed 1.  The protagonist is voice acted by someone who has had all their emotions removed.  I might have empathised with him on this point if he wasn’t such a cloying arse.

Clearly a lot of work went into making Assassin’s Creed 3 but unfortunately it’s rather like a U2 song.  Expensively produced but with little enjoyable substance and made even more frustrating because you suspect they could do better if they just took a step back to re-examine what it actually was they were meant to be doing.

As it is there’s no motivation to DO anything in the game.  The side missions are optional and devoid of 
purpose.  If you win you gain nothing.  If you lose you lose nothing.  You won’t ever unlock any more weapons.  You won’t ever learn any new abilities.  It must be what it feels like to be Robbie Williams.

Diary entries in the previous games were ingeniously integrated to provide you with real historical information on the Renaissance architecture you were scampering over in the game.  This made the whole experience feel borderline educational and briefly enabled me to fantasise about a utopian future where all educational and teaching needs are delivered purely through a series of checkpoints in a Need For Speed title or maybe delivered by the idiotic bray of Andy Townsend as a reward for scoring a goal in Fifa:

“And it’s 1-0 to Watford!  What a goal from Deeney!  The Magna Carter was signed in 1215 by King John 1.  Terrific stuff!”

Unfortunately in Assassin’s Creed 3 diary entries only pop up when you find a fox or a badger.  And frankly if I want to read something that’s dull, uninformative and trying but ultimately failing to be funny then I can just read my own Blog.

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