Comic: Psycho’s Creed

I mentioned in my Assassin’s Creed III review that its main character, Connor, was a little bit different from the past protagonists of the AC series.  And that difference is Psychopathy.

You see each of the assassins fights a little differently in the games, this can be seen most closely shotgunning AC III right after AC: Revelations.  Altair seems to be faster and, surprisingly, more stylish than Ezio with some of his manuevers; utilizing a few flying thrusts.  But Ezio kills like a true master!  Where Altair hacked his saber into a soldier’s shoulder, Ezio thrusts his saber between the links of a man’s armor and guts him eloquently.  You could argue that it is because Altair was fighting plate-armored crusaders and Ezio is fighting leather-clad Italian barons, but that’s all beside the point.

We come all the way to the New World and find Connor, who bears the real name Ratonhnhhaketon (Ra-doon-ah Gah-doon).  Well Ratonhnhhaketon is not your average Assassin, he does not live solely for the order like his ancestors and forebears.  No, rather Ratonkatruck finds himself quite tri-polar, switching sides between the Mohawk, Assassins, and Colonials randomly throughout the game.

First he’s all like, “I must ruthlessly murder the Templars, because I am an Assassin.”  Right up until he kills a few and finds that they were actually doing positive things.  Then he decides, “I must aid my colonial comrades to beat back a tyrannical government!”  Right up until he finds out that his tribe is about to be wiped out because the local Native Americans have sided with the British in the war.  Then we take some time to go back to, “Kill the Templars, because one of them is responsible for my mother’s death.”  Until we discover that he actually isn’t, and then it becomes, “Well…kill that particular Templar anyway, because I’ve spent my whole life fixated on killing him and really don’t know what else to do with myself.”  The only thing for certain on Connor’s mind is, “Anyone wearing red is the enemy!”

Oh no!  Take off the flannel, Granny!

Oh God! Put it back on, put it back on!!

Throughout the game though he kills British Regulars, Scottish Grenadiers, and Hessian Jagers, all adorned in red, of course.  He also kills black-clad templars, colonial soldiers in blue, and even bashes or chokes out a few of his fellow Mohawks.  And that’s not even the real issue; what’s really messed up about Rowdycartoon is the way he kills people.

Whether it’s using a hatchet to slowly and methodically slash a man’s throat, or wrapping a trip-mine to their foot and then pushing them, or shooting an arrow directly into their eye at point-blank range, he never really gets across the proper way to use his tools.  He finds fault with killing enemy soldiers, especially those who have surrendered, in the cut scenes…but then he doesn’t use the snare items to bind their wrists and leave them incapacitated…no he strangles them.  Raedawnchong wraps the cord of the snare around their neck and pulls them over his back, much like Agent 47 of the Hitman series does with his garrote wire.  Except that Agent 47 tugs on the line a bit to snap their neck and kill them as quickly as possible and Rancidspittoon rolls them over his back and just squeezes the line so that they struggle and gasp until they finally succumb to sweet, sweet, death.

One of his counter executions actually has him drop an enemy to his knees, point a rifle at his opponent, force the man to beg for his life…then shoot him in the face at point-blank range.  Another has him trick a man into shooting his own comrade, then he jams a rifle bayonet into the poor schmuck’s ballsack.

Cartman would not approve of the dick-stab.

That being the case, I commissioned my artist friend, Kim Samson (she’s the one who drew Dick Lee for those who are familiar with the anthropomorphic penis on the right side of the page) to draw me a little comic about Badonkadonk’s psychotic behavior.  I hope you enjoy her artwork, my writing, and a free advertisement for an Ubisoft game.

Art by: Kim Samson

~RCS

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New Years Resolutions?

My New Years Resolution is a simple one…stop losing my blog posts.  And maybe try to keep up with Dick of the Month posts a little better.

Here’s my first step toward my resolution…I finally found the Assassin’s Creed: Revelations review I’d written, which was supposed to go up between the PS3 unboxing and the AC III review(s).

So here it is, in it’s entirety…keep in mind, at the time I hadn’t yet played Assassin’s Creed III and had just beaten Revelation the night before.

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Altair is an Arab man beloved by millions of Americans.  He's the first step to ending the wars in the Middle East!

Altair is an Arab man beloved by millions of Americans. He’s the first step to ending the wars in the Middle East!

So, now that I’ve gotten my PS3 opened up and had a bit of time to actually play some Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.  Now, like I said in the unboxing video, I’ve played the original which I fell in love with immediately; Altair ibn La Ahad is one of my favorite characters, although in retrospect he is written in a rather lackluster fashion.  I also played Assassin’s Creed II which introduced Ezio Auditore da Firenze; at first I was a little skeptical of changing the protagonist, especially since I didn’t particularly like Ezio much at first.  But he certainly grows on you as he matures throughout the game(s), from a lazy playboy to a calm, warm-hearted, leader of men.

Ezio...the ladies' man of the Assassin's Guild.

Ezio…the ladies’ man of the Assassin’s Guild.

Now we have Revelations which is supposed to bring the stories of Altair and Ezio to a conclusion.  I’ve played and finished the game, as of this writing, and I have to say that if you’ve played Brotherhood, you’ve played Revelations.  The hook-blade is nifty and the zip-lines are fun the first few times, the only problem with them being they are one-way and rarely go in the direction you need to be headed, to you use the zip-line rather sparingly for the most-part (in my experience).

Revelations is kind of a small game, basically more like a Brotherhood mod than its own game, really.  But the story is pretty good; on-par, if not better than Brotherhood’s story in some ways.

My main problem with Revelations, actually, is the other side of the game: The Desmond Files wherein you play in a 1st Person Platformer style of game.  It’s not the system, the reasoning, the story, or anything like that…it’s the fact it didn’t work.  I don’t know if my disc is bad or what or if it’s just that I can’t get an update to fix it, but I can’t play the Desmond files.  My system locks up and freezes as soon as I try to play it.

Along with the other bugs and glitches (fair warning, do not try to assassinate someone with the crossbow in a story mission, because your arm will freeze and the crossbow won’t be able to fire and you won’t be able to draw another weapon or climb) this is a pretty big one.

Speaking of big glitches…when your tutorial has a game-breaking glitch that makes it unbeatable (it took me 20 minutes to succeed in a routine roof-climb act because the roof would glitch and hurl me in a random direction) then you automatically have low expectations for a game.  But that’s a pretty big glitch to have in a AAA game.

I’m glad I didn’t buy it when it first came out, but it is a good play in the end.  I would have to suggest, unless you’re a die-hard fan and have to own every Assassin’s Creed game (in which case you probably already own it) I’d suggest renting it or borrowing it from your die-hard friend (and no I won’t lend you my copy).

I'm sure Ezio was disappointed, too.  This is the first game he hasn't had sex in.

I’m sure Ezio was disappointed, too. This is the first game he hasn’t had sex in.

Needless to say it’s, in the end, an okay game.  Good story, short game (I beat it, including all of the secret locations and stuff in a little more than 21 hours), and basically the same Assassin’s Creed you’ve already played twice in II and Brotherhood; which is actually kind of a plus, because I enjoyed both of them.  Although in the end Revelations would have been a really great ‘second city’ (along with Rome) or ending chapter of the game Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood instead of being it’s own game.  It could have made a great $20.00 DLC instead of a $50.00 game, I think.  Well, you know…if it worked at all; I still haven’t beaten the Desmond Files stuff because I can’t play them.

On that subject I did contact Ubisoft Customer Service about the situation.  I was told in a confirmation e-mail I would receive a response in about 1 business day.  I submitted it on a Friday morning and got a response back…Wednesday.  So not scoring high on that.

And their answer was, “Try adjusting the video settings on the system”.  If that doesn’t work try deleting all the game files on the system and put the game disc back in to let them re-update (they did, at least, tell me that my save files would not be affected by this).  And if that doesn’t work…put the disc in a second system and see if the disc is faulty.

Keep in mind doing the last-ditch effort would require actually playing a significant portion of the game, because you have to unlock at least the first set of Desmond’s files.

Wait a minute!

Who the fuck has two PS3 systems sitting around in their house to try the disc in a second system?  I’m certainly not going to buy a second PS3 just to test one possibly faulty disc.  Only after I’ve done all that will Ubisoft even consider the disc is faulty and offer to maybe fix it.

So Ubisoft kind of fails on the whole customer service aspect, I have to say.

~RCS

Assassin’s Creed III: Addendum!

Oh yeah…I almost forgot to mention the new economy system in Assassin’s Creed III.

It sucks.  It is, literally, forgettable; clearly.

Instead of buying property which produce rent income, or such, like you did in Ezio’s day now you instead can hunt and skin animals to sell the meat, fangs, claws, and pelts.  But more importantly you can send trade caravans around the new world to make money.

Unfortunately the trade convoys have a horrible chance of success (at 85% chance of success, I failed 5/6 convoys) and the money you do make is about $200 in twenty to forty minutes.  I can make $5,000 in forty minutes roaming about the frontier with a bow and arrows and a knife.

Hence the forgetability of the feature, because it’s totally useless and I stopped using it by the first quarter of the game.

Not to mention the entire point of the naval section of the game is to make sea trade routs safer.  Except that you can’t get naval convoys to use the sea trade routes until the last third of the game.  By that point in time I had all four trade routes cleared to 95% safe and still lost one of the two naval convoys I sent out.  The other sat in my inventory until it went derelict, basically.

The whole economy system was also not very user-friendly.  Menus upon menus upon menus…and every time you wanted to change something…back to the beginning of the list with each menu.  The whole thing sucks beyond repair.

Besides, The starting weapons are better than most of the weapons in the game, anyway, so you don’t actually need money except for Ship Upgrades (by the end of the first half of the game you’re pretty much done with the ship, by the way…the hardest missions are actually already over, to be honest) and maybe one or two weapons and all the maps.  I bought a knife that became available shortly before the half-way point and a sword to go along with it…I didn’t buy another weapon the entire time I played.  That knife lasted me until I crafted a new one in the last two hours of the game and that crafted knife was only better than the one I’d had almost all game in one of the three attributes each weapon had.

Although I do kind of want to get the double-barreled pistol, merge that with my twin holster, and be able to fire four rounds in quick succession.

~RCS

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.

~RCS

Unboxing a PS3!

Well I was planning on buying her a Gaia Cash card anyway, so when she asked for one I admitted I was going to get her one.  Then she made me an offer: Giver her the card early and I can have the PS3 early.  That was a no-brainer for me.  So here’s an unboxing video of me opening and setting up the PS3.  If you like unboxing videos, there’s a few good jokes and funny bits in there, so feel free to enjoy my comical idiocy.

Hope you enjoy it!  I can’t wait to play some Assassin’s Creed!

~RCS

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