I Have Halted the End of the World!

Okay folks, I did it; I succeeding in saving the world (if you’re reading this from a fiery pit of hell, then I lied; sorry).  Today (the 21st of December, 2012) was supposed to be the end of the world, but thanks to my time in the Animus I was able find the key, open the door, and save the world!

In case you’re totally lost, I’ve beaten Assassin’s Creed III, just in time to thwart the end of the world, as is the purpose of that particular entry in the series.

As you might know from earlier posts I am a huge fan of the Assassin’s Creed series and I have recently received a Playstation 3 and Assassin’s Creed III to go along with it.  I was ecstatic as I hurriedly played through Revelations, my other gift, for which you can read about my thoughts and exploits as soon as I find where I saved that post (yes, I lost it…ungh!).

Well now I have played through Assassin’s Creed III, beaten it, and finally managed to let myself get some sleep (8 hours at work, plus an hour and a half in commuting, plus eating and restroom breaks, plus 9 hours a night on the game…doesn’t leave much time for this fabled invention of ‘sleep’).

And all in all I have to say…

I was dreadfully disappointed.  In almost everything.  The sailing portions were frickin’ awesome, the hunting was an interesting addition, and there were a lot of nifty improvements to the game.  Nevertheless it was extremely buggy in weird ways: There were a lot of cut scenes where character’s lips wouldn’t move, all of the cut scenes had Connor (the main character) in his original assassin’s outfit even though for much of the game I was wearing one of the other available outfits (whereas in Revelations, which was a veritable bugfest, whatever Ezio was wearing in the game he wore in the cut scenes), and the storyline was…again, very disappointing.

As far as characters go, Assassin’s Creed has been fairly good.  Altair was a bit formulaic, but as the first game progressed he developed a kind of fascinating personality and this shown through in later games (particularly Revelations where you see his final days).

Ezio was an asshat when we first meet him, but you can quickly warm up to him.  He is on a murderous quest for vengeance, but he becomes more than that; going so far as to spare the life of the man who orchestrated the execution of his father and brothers.  He winds up becoming a man brimming with personality and emotion, he was truly a surprise for me when I realized I started actually liking him.

So with the writers at Ubisoft able to do all this, so-far, I went into Assassin’s Creed III with high hopes; of course, given the storyline my hopes weren’t as high as I had gone into Assassin’s Creed II, because I figured it was just going to be, ‘The founding fathers of America are great beyond measure, yay!’.

I was pleased at how they displayed some of the founding fathers:

-Benjamin Franklin as a philandering and conniving man-whore.

-George Washington as a poor military tactician and lost many of his battles with the British.

-The ‘founding fathers’ were wealthy, slave-owning, aristocrats who refused to pay taxes, for the war which kept them from being conquered by the French.

One depiction I wasn’t happy with, though: Benedict Arnold was depicted as a sniveling and cowardly fool when really he was a great warrior, general, and intelligence officer who was continually passed over for promotion and set upon by lesser man who wanted to steal credit for what he had done.

A few funny moments, I must admit, were the times you were with Paul Revere.  He was portrayed as kind of a fruit; he liked to grab Connor by the shoulder and he was awfully cheery when he mentioned how there was only one horse for his famous ride, so he and Connor would have to ride it together.

Nonetheless, Connor was a piss-poor character.  Now you start the game off as Connor’s father, Haytham, who seems a little dry and stiff at first.  But you can quickly warm up to Haytham, especially when he comes back into the picture while playing as Connor and you get to hear the banter between Haytham and Connor.

Haytham is definitely the greater of the two characters, the game would have been so much better if you’d just played as Haytham, instead of Connor, I think.  Not to mention, Haytham believes in his cause with determination and conviction.  He fuels his ideals with logic, cause-and-effect reasoning, and critical thinking.

Connor, meanwhile, fuels his beliefs with, “Ung…that man say you enemy, I kill you now, ung!”

And on the subject of poor speech…who the hell thought that leaving the Iroqouis language in the game was a good idea?  Especially when they then put white subtitles on the bottom of the screen…over top of white backgrounds?  I still have no idea exactly what happened between Connor’s mother and Haytham to explain why she left him, or at how far along with Connor she was when she left Haytham (or why Haytham never tried to see Connor, since he had to know where her damn village was the whole time), because her moment of soliloquy is spoken in the Iroquois language that they use for Connor’s tribe and has the white subtitles overtop of the Animus’ white background.  It can translate Arabic, Italian, Turkish…but not Iroquois?  Except that it can translate it, because it puts up subtitles!  Whoever had that plan was a schmuck who needs fired, immediately.  They must have spent a small fortune on translating the English script into this Iroquois language, finding voice actors who could speak it, and then typing up the subtitles.  Why not just make the Iroquois tribes all speak English with an accent or something?  That’s what they’ve done for four games, why not the fifth?  Or at least have black letters over the white background, or vice versa.

This becomes especially transparent when Connor becomes an assassin and is able to recognize his father, whom as far as the game suggests he has never actually met.  Even more interesting is when Haytham recognizes Connor as his son…even though Connor is now in his early twenties and the two of them have never actually met.

But anyway, back to Connor’s weakness as a character.  He has no logic or critical thinking skills, he wants to avenge his mother’s death, but even when he finds out that the man he has been tracking for almost a decade is not the man who killed his mother, but that it was actually the guy he is working with/for he just cuts ties with everyone around and decides to keep trying to kill the guy who has now been exonerated of Connor’s quest for vengeance.

Connor is a complete tool and when the game ends you just wind up feeling…used and disappointed.  Connor is also a fucking psycho.  I’ll go more into detail on that in a later post when I compare the separate protagonists a little more thoroughly.

But for now just know that Connor is a complete psychopath.  With a rifle, equipped with a bayonet, in hand…he bashes a soldier in the face repeatedly with the butt of the rifle.  With a knife in one hand and a hatchet in the other, he punches a man in the face…to death.  With a knife in one hand and a hatchet in the other, he grabs a man by the shoulders and slowly, and deliberately, slashes his throat…with the hatchet instead of the knife.  Psycho!

The battle system took a bit to get used to, since they completely changed the mechanics of it.  But once you get used to the new mechanics it is better than the old ways in almost every way.  Just a shame if you want full synchronization in the game…because 90% of the ways to do it are to avoid open combat.

The whole full synchronization thing was stupid, too.  Adding unnecessary difficulty and then punishing me with a ‘bad’ sound and little red ‘x’s all over the place.  And sometimes the synchronization options were just plain stupid.  Like when you’ve got to follow a couple of guys and listen in on their conversation, it tries to make you do it without climbing into the hay wagon their riding in undetected.  Which is, of course, the smartest idea.

Assassin’s Creed III was so disappointing, it has broken the spell that the series had over me.  I don’t think I can take another disappointment this bad.  If they make a fourth game or start a new ‘Connor’ trilogy like they did with Ezio…I don’t think I’ll bother buying any of them.  Between the shoddy AC3, the buggy Revelations, and Ubisoft’s piss-poor customer service, I don’t think I’m going to be buying a whole lot of their stuff in the future.


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