Ruth's Diary


I'm now done playing Assassin's Creed 3. My thoughts? Overall my thoughts are very positive.

A very interesting thing about this game is my language experiences. This is the first game I have actually bought here in the Czech Republic. Now, most games around here don't have a Czech language option, a number of them aren't even especially prepared for this region of Europe. But here is where I am and so the language options in this game were Russian, Polish, Hungarian and Czech. I pick Czech as I am learning it, naturally. So I have this bizarre experience where I'm playing a game, with all its menus and digital documents in Czech, but the script is completely in English. Oh, not completely. I had the bizarre sensation that someone had been reading my previous blog posts on Assassin's Creed entries and so made sure that all the scenes with members of the Mohawk tribe interacting with each other were in the Mohawk language. Which is cool...except after such cut scenes I then looked them up on Youtube just so I could read the English subtitles! ^^;;

Hm, other changes I liked...I liked that they improved the pickpocket system. The games in the Ezio saga were plagued with the problem that you pressed X in order walk fast and pickpocket, so by walking fast into people you were pickpocketing by accident. In AC3 you have to hold O, so I was only picking pockets if a mission told me to. And then there was that lock-pick mechanic introduced. I don't mind it so much, but I wish the game had explained it better. I had to look up the controls to find out you had to repeatedly press R1 before the lock clicked open. It's also disappointing that you're only ever picking a door lock once. What's the point of that? I also liked it that Connor and Haytham are really good climbers, so I was never struggling up structures like I was with Altaïr and Ezio sometimes. I also found it good that enemies were not patiently waiting to beat you up 1 at a time, even if I was annoyed by the multiple attacks sometimes.

In a segue to changes I didn't like, however, I sometimes felt fist fights diminished my health way too quickly. I also didn't like the fact that this game went back to the AC1 sensibility of soldiers sometimes deciding to attack you for no reason (I think the reason was I was too close to a guarded point or something, but the game never made that clear). I also found it strange that there were all these collectible items but you had little incentive to collect them at all. In Ezio's games, the incentive to collect them was obvious: trophies. Here you get no such thing. Also, you do recruit some new assassins and such like. And like Brotherhood and Revelations, you can send assassins to other territories on missions to free the area from Templar control. Again though, there wasn't much incentive to do so, so I really didn't bother much. But one thing I hate was that the fighting mechanics were seriously dumbed down. Literally, when in a fight, all you're doing is mashing the square button and deflecting attacks, no option to outright defend, no counter-attacks, no grabs... I wondered for the longest time why they did this and later in the game, I noticed that where I fought and the number I deflected influenced what 'super-cool' cut scene I activated. that's why they dumbed down the fighting mechanics. Personally, I would have traded in the cut scenes for decent combat.

Now before I get into story, I have to comment on the music. I found it odd that, unlike previous Assassin's Creed games, where the music was a mixture of elements from the period set and electronic, artificial elements, the music in AC3 was very natural and folkish. Or classical epic. So I looked up who did the music and my hunch was right: this was not a soundtrack composed by Jesper Kyd (aaaw). This time all the music was done by Lorne Balfe, who had actually worked with Jesper when the soundtrack to AC: Revelations was being composed. I had assumed Jesper was not involved here because of the new Hitman game out this year but I was wrong. It turned out he had 2 other big projects known as Darksiders II and Borderlands 2. That's a lot of 2s in 1 sentence. But I must thank Lorne Balfe for his contributions here as the eloquent background music heard in each inn/free house added to a lovely atmosphere that encouraged me to spend hours attempting to win the various old board games you can play. (I really want to play Fanorona in real life now.)

So, story and characters. I love Connor Kenway. He's straight-forward, vicious yet eloquent in speech and manners, always has something quick and concise to say. Although in certain scenes (usually when interacting with villagers on the homestead) the voice actor Noah Watts made him sound awkward. I also related to him as he's half English, half Mohawk; at one point I had him return to the village he started from and his close friend accused him of acting like a colonist. *sigh* Being half and half myself, I know what it's like to feel as if you truly don't belong anywhere. I also enjoyed playing Haytham Kenway when the game started with him. I didn't complain, despite him not being the heavily promoted and marketed protagonist, because naturally we need to see how the battle between the Assassins and Templars reaches the US. And seeing Haytham and Connor together was a lot of fun, but I cannot specify why as that would spoil too much. (My brother hasn't played the game yet.)

Now the story was so good that I was always trying to find time to play the game; I wanted to play as much as possible to see what would happen next. Would Connor succeed in this mission? Will he manage to lead his ship through battle and rescue the cargo? (Oh yeah, it was fun having my own ship.) Just what will Desmond find behind that temple door? (There are a lot more missions with Desmond leading the way here.) Will Connor's village stay safe? Would he ever be able to go back to his people? I also found it so riveting the moral ambiguity of the entire colonial rebellion.

But...I did not find the ending to the game very satisfying. Connor's battle with the final boss did not feel that grand, epic, nor final. The fact that there were epilogue scenes available after the credits rolled accentuated this idea in my head. And then I had some time to play Village Sims, Assassin's Creed style (I helped a couple start a family :P). Not to mention finish my personal treasure hunt (it involved collecting peg leg treasures, one of the few times collecting things had an incentive). As for the end of Desmond's story, I was left partially confused. And...was that a sequel bait I saw? For the game that should have ENDED AND COMPLETED A FRANCHISE?!?!

Uh, I couldn't help but remember the final boss fight in Assassin's Creed 1. It was so awesome, so epic, so cleverly thought out satisfying. And then I thought of Metal Gear Solid 4, because even if it was somewhat weaker than the entries before least it ended Snake's story.

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