Assassin’s Creed: Rogue (360)

While my 360 was on, I thought I might as well make a start on this. I wasn’t sure how much I was going to enjoy it, as I knew there was a lot more boating, like there was in Black Flag, and I’m not keen on the idea of being a Templar who used to be an Assassin either – although I do have a theory about that, which I’ll mention in a minute.

I’m only half way through Sequence 2, but I’ve heard Rogue is substantially shorter than Black Flag so I’m not sure how far that actually is storywise. Shay, the man with the worst Irish accent ever, is still an Assassin, and has killed George Washington’s brother and a fat man called Smith, but has started to question whether he should or not as Washington was sick and Smith was harmless. So far, there has been a lot of tedious boating, not much proper assassining, The actual assassining has, however, been great as always, especially Washington’s garden party.

You can see that the game is stitched together from other games. There’s asset reuse in the boats, the Homestead (straight from Assassin’s Creed III), and the Abstergo offices (from Black Flag). The “modern day” plot involves a virus hitting the Abstergo network, causing glitches and corruption in the Animus. It’s this which I think (and hope) may explain Shay’s Templar conversion. From some of the files I’ve found in the offices, it would appear that things are not as they seem. It wouldn’t be the first time either – in Liberation, Citizen E shows what “really” happened in various bits of the game – and I expect something similar to be happening here. We’ll see.

Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD (PS3): COMPLETED!

It seemed very hurried towards the end. Years were skipped. Very little story exposition happened. Events just occurred in quick succession, and I realised how linear this Assassin’s Creed game actually was.

I’d started to suspect a twist at the end, and by the end of Sequence 7-ish I’d realised what it was. The ending threw me, until (spoiler), and the Citizen E thing happened.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad game, but it’s probably the worst Assassin’s Creed title in a long while. Even without the boats. It’s just a shame that it was so short, so linear, and so disjointed, as the actual assassining was enjoyable. The PS3 pad didn’t help either, I suppose.

Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD (PS3)

On the PS3, you say? Am I mad, you ask? Yes, and possibly yes. In my defence, I had a load of PSN credit and it was on sale. And I’d been playing and enjoying Assassin’s Creed IV. So it made a bit of sense.

Currently, I’m about half way through the game (just returned from Mexico, for those in the know), and I’ve noticed that the game seems about half finished. No, those are two different things. What I mean is, it’s ugly and broken and they forgot to include a load of stuff. Missions are disjointed, with little reason or backstory (bar the odd loading screen info box). There are so many bugs where events don’t trigger or targets vanish completely, making progression impossible and a reload necessary. The graphics are muddy and blurry, like this is a Wii version of an Xbox 360 game.

Yes, I know it’s a port of a Vita game, but it’s supposedly an enhanced port with HD graphics. What they seem to have done is upscaled everything and applied a blur filter. Aveline’s three personas are unnecessary and stupid, and making one of her first missions literally a trip to buy a dress from a shop? Team AC don’t like women, do they?

Still, there aren’t any boat bits (well, no driving boats anyway, unless a canoe counts) and I love the modified return of the rope darts. I can’t really cope with the PS3 pad though, especially QTEs (this is not a new issue for me, though) and holding up on the stick for more than three seconds physically hurts. I’ll be glad when it’s all over, frankly.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Wii U): COMPLETED!

Another_not-Assassin_s-Creed_activityAnd with what seemed like a dash for the finish, the story blundered to a close. The second half of the game consisted mostly of actual assassinations, thankfully, but the boating was still there. Another rubbish element was introduced too – the diving bell missions which controlled horribly and you had to hide in seaweed from sharks. No, really. Rubbish.

ObserveLuckily, there was just one of those, and the rest were optional. I optioned not to bother with any more. Very few of the side missions attracted me at all, truth be told, and there were too many small locations rather than a few large locations which meant item collecting was more travelling and less rooftop running, so I couldn’t be bothered with that either.

The “modern day” plot reveal was seen from a billion miles off. “John from IT” indeed. And NO ACTUAL WAY! Edward has a son called Haytham? SPOILERS! The Observatory was a little like the area Desmond and Co set up in during ACIII but more rubbish. And somehow someone I actually killed managed to survive his wounds? Despite being dead? Stupid.

And_done.Having said all that, and as I mentioned before, the actual real proper Assassin’s Creed bits were pretty great. Overall, I enjoyed the game a lot more than III, but I hope Unity is more a return to earlier games in terms of missions and stuff. It certainly looks it. Not that I have a machine I can play it on. As for Rogue, which seems more of the same as shown in III and IV, I’m not convinced I want it. We’ll see.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Wii U)

PieratsAssassin’s Creed III was a disappointment. After the great previous three games (especially Brotherhood), Ubisoft seemed to throw all the fun out of the game and fill it with useless and tedious sidequests. You can see it started a little in Revelations with the ill-advised Tower Defence bits, but aside from one single mission it was entirely optional and avoidable, but III was filled to the brim with nothing I wanted to play. Naval battles. Ship upgrades. Homestead improvements. Yes, I know ACII had the Monteriggioni stuff where you improved the region, but you did that with money – not hunting and trading and zzzzzz.

The actual previous-game style Assassin’ing in III was great. Stalking your mark, taking out guards from cover, all that sort of thing. It’s just a shame that wasn’t what most of the game involved. I also wasn’t a fan of the tree climbing – I much prefer cities and rooftops. If it wasn’t for the story (as in, the “modern day” story), I don’t think I’d have bothered with Black Flag.

I_can_see_my_house_from_here_You see, the problem with Black Flag, before you’ve played it and if you didn’t like the bits of ACIII that I didn’t like, is that looks like it’s more of the same. More boats. More trees. Less actually being an Assassin and doing actual assassin tasks. It’s not Assassin’s Creed: It’s Pirates of the Caribbean With A Hood On.

Thankfully, I was wrong.

So_it_s_raiding_tombs_you_ll_be_doing_now__is_itNot on everything. Oh no. Firstly, there is a lot of boating. Boat here. Boat there. Cannon that boat. Boat over to that fort and cannon that fort. Drive your boat between some rocks. Board other boats. Salvage cargo in your boat. Steal a boat. Upgrade your boat. BOAT. BOAT. BOAT.

Climb a tree. Hide in a tree. Use a tree as cover. Run along tree branches. Hunt animals. Stab crocodiles. AIR ASSASSINATE AN OCELOT. Gah.

Mancomb_Seepgood__I_bet_he_fights_like_a_goat.Even worse, is how most of these tasks aren’t even optional. At least in III you had very few boat bits unless you’re an idiot and wanted more. Once you’d done the hunting animals tutorial, you could ignore it forever more. In Black Flag, you need to hunt to improve your stats. You have to boat everywhere in order to get around the world. You can’t avoid it.

So why is it that I’m enjoying the game so much compared to ACIII? Because the actual Assassin’ing sections are excellent. For the most part, they’re in towns with rooftops and alleys and although there are tree and forest sections, they’re infrequent or part of the towns themselves. Havana even feels a lot like Constantinople, just with more palm trees and a larger Jamaican population.

Toilets_everywhere.The plot has been good so far too. Both the Kenway time period stuff, with him wanting to make his fortune but then being a bad boy pirate and now is slowly coming round to being a good boy Assassin, and also the modern era with John the IT guy in Abstergo Entertainment’s offices. And the toilets. Very impressive toilets. I spent a long time looking at the toilets, for some reason.

Welcome_to_the_jungleIn fact, even the boat bits aren’t really all that bad. As boat bits go, they’re probably just about the best boat bits in any video game. My issue is more to do with I don’t want them cluttering up my Assassin’s Creed game, interspersing all the fun bits with boat bits. They’ve made an effort to integrate them a bit with proper AC gameplay, in that when you disable a boat or a fort you then get off your boat and take it down on foot, but still. Boats.

All these thoughts are, however, subject to change. I’ve played for about 12 hours or so, and reached the bit in the main story where James Kidd’s second revelation occurs (that is to say, I’m in Kingston and am looking for the Sage).

Assassin’s Creed III (Wii U): COMPLETED!

Well, I’m glad I didn’t spoil the ending for myself before getting to it at least. Not nearly as bad as people had made out though. There may be spoilers to follow…

I didn’t like the final two “boss” fights. Haytham’s was complete rubbish and different to any other fight in the game, and Charles Lee’s was basically a chase followed by a cutscene. You don’t actually get to properly assassinate either of them – it’s done for you by the game.

There’s no way I’m going back to the game to do everything it suggests I can do. I’m not going hunting, collecting things for the homestead, doing naval battles, collecting feathers or doing any liberation missions or assassination contracts. Unlike similar things in previous games, all these things seem completely superfluous to the narrative. Sure, they weren’t essential before, but they’re an unnecessary chore here – not a fun character and/or money building task.

Speaking of money, there is literally no point to it in Assassin’s Creed III. You gain enough from simply following the story to unlock all of the extra weapons like rope darts and poison, and you never need to restock any as people you kill replenish them easily enough. As a result, I ended the game having only spent about £2000 on such unlockables, with a good £70,000 still in my pocket. At least in other AC games you could buy better swords and things, but here you don’t even need a sword and I never used one, intentionally at least (there’s a bug where you sometimes automatically get equipped with one for no reason), at any point in the game.

What I did do, however, following the end of the game, was find all the pivot points to get the “animus hacks”. Which was fun for a bit, although Fast Travel stopped working again so I had to go everywhere à pied. Sadly, these hacks were not as fantastic as they sounded (invincible, unlimited ammo, fast reload) as when applied you can’t save your game. Tch.

Overall thoughts on Assassin’s Creed III? Yeah, it’s aight.

Assassin’s Creed III (Wii U)

And so the neck-stabbing continues.

Well, I say that, but in fact it doesn’t. One major issue I have with this version of Assassin’s Creed is that you have no way of telling when you’re supposed to press Y to assassinate anyone. You have to guess, whereas previously it would appear as a prompt on-screen. Which means that most of the time you either miss, or worse, miss and everyone notices you.

As a result, picking off guards one by one is rarely possible, and you instead have to go for the all-out fight. That’s fine, as the fighting is excellent (I especially like the slow-mo attack reversals), but it’s not usually the best option. Far better to wipe out as many redcoats as possible in secret first – especially if they’re the harder to kill types who you don’t really want to take on in open combat. Yet another reason why it doesn’t feel like Assassin’s Creed.

So yeah, less neck-and-back stabbing, more chest and face slicing. Mmm.

Plotwise, I’ve just met up with Daddy and am “bonding” with him. We did some missions together and did a terrible naval battle thing. He berated me a lot, and I told him he was a bad man. Then we stabbed all the men.