Friday, July 18, 2014

[Review] Assassin's Creed 4


Yeah, I'm sure you knew this review was coming. I've been playing a lot of AC3 over the past week, maybe week and a half since I bought it and didn't want to leave it unplayed... like the other 100 games in my Steam library, but nonetheless I wanted to play it since I liked the setting of AC3. At least, how it sounded.

Anyway, AC4 is a much better game than AC3 all around in every aspect whatsoever! 

"Ubisoft made a decent game?"

"OH GOD THE WORLD IS ENDING"

Yep.

So the crafting is better, the story is better, the naval gunplay is better, general gunplay is better, everything is better. Combat too, an important part of Assassin's Creed games.

The game is about an Edward Kenway, who goes off from his life with his pretty good looking wife for a guy like Kenway, to go be a pirate. He talks about his father wanting to be a privateer in the King's Navy or some shit and apparently he never did so he wants to be better than his dad I guess, I dunno.

Anyway, so he gets wrapped up in the conflict between Templars and Assassins by accident, since he wasn't looking for a particular person or anything, just floating from island to island. I believe this takes place in the caribbean too but I'm not really sure to be honest. However it gets to the point where you can really just tell that Edward was meant to assist the assassins.

I just have one problem with the beginning of the game, as Edward has had no prior assassin training, yet he runs like an assassin. This baffled me at the beginning of the game as it was really weird to see. 

Anyway, so the story is about Edward getting wrapped up in Assassin and Templar affairs to the point he becomes an Assassin himself. He doesn't like doing it however as he's more of one of those 'free spirits' or whatnot but he always gets tangled in stuff anyway. Also I believe this is set somewhere in the 1800's as it's definitely not the 1900's, possibly the same time that AC3 is set in, maybe a little bit afterwards, I am not sure. Anyhoo, I'm not sure how to go about describing the story other than everyone pretty much dies besides a woman on Edward's crew and himself, along with a decent amount of the Assassin population. That pretty much entails the story, to be honest, if you play it, you'll just see what I mean by "everyone dies".

However, I found the real world in the game more intriguing and better than AC1, 2, and 3. You play as a nameless, faceless person who works at Abstergo, testing the Animus and testing the memories of Edward Kenway. One can only assume that by doing this, the person playing it (I.E. the anonymous person you're playing as) has a relation to the Kenways, but I'm not sure as there's no I.D. card or anything that tells you who you are, so eh. It's just a theory.

That being said, in the real world there's a guy named John who happens to work slightly for the Assassins... in a Templar building. But he's head of IT, so no one can eavesdrop on him. However he has you deliver various recordings to, I think her name is Rebecca? Who grabs them from the tablet you carry around with you and leaves. Also the techie guy from the last game, AC3 is also in the building and is sort of like, "reception" even though he's not, it's never really defined who he is. I didn't know who these people were because it's been awhile since I've played AC1 and AC2, but I knew who they were from AC3 because they worked with Desmond... and were significantly less whiny, I'll say that, jesus christ.

Anyway so John has you sneak into a bunch of crap and you're also able to hack other Animuses (Animusi? Animus? Plural?) and get information about what happened to Desmond and such, A lot of it was interesting because I hadn't played AC3 yet, so I read everything I could get my hands on about it. Hours worth of reading in there, I have to say, Ubisoft did an awesome job with the lore of these games. They may be copy+pasted, but goddamn the lore is off the chain!

Anyway, at the end of the game, some stuff happens to John and you keep your job. You're also still alive, yay! So you still get to explore the offices and hack the computers for information, etc. There's 33 computers to hack but I can't find where the other like, 22 are, it's weird. Ah well I'll look at a youtube guide later probably. Anyway, there's a decent amount of stuff to do in this game, for sure.

There's buried treasure, collecting items (chests and other things), doing assassination contracts (which are a lot more formal than AC3, running to the guy and smacking them with your axe and doing 5 of them and getting 2000 reales. (The fuck is this) and collecting animal pelts for crafting. Oh and sailing, they really nailed the sailing. Though it honestly feels less... satisfying taking ships down in this game, but I'm not complaining about the aiming mechanics because it was really frustrating in AC3 for sure, but it was satisfying when you took a man 'o war down or another boat, etc. I'm not saying it's not satisfying doing it in AC4, 'cause once you build your ship up, she's goddamn impenetrable unless you're really careless with things and inventory, I.E. Heavy shot and mortars. They did implement other weapons for the boats into this game which I'm glad to see, makes things a lot more interesting for sure, in ship-fighting.

Nonetheless, the crafting system is very well done in this one. None of that "homestead" shit, you're a goddamn pirate and you know how to make stuff! YEAH! ARRRR! You can expand your inventory to very large portions and go for awhile without needing to restock (15 unit dart pouches are AWESOME). They did a good job with the crafting in this, and I hope they don't change it for future Assassin's Creed games.

Ah... I think that's it? Oh, community events! So if you have a bunch of people on your UPlay friends list, they can come across special events on the map, such as chests with large amounts of money in them (about 1000 reales), white whales to get white whale skin for crafting (buying a skin will run you 20,000 reales, but sometimes you need it so... yep), and Royal Convoys. Royal convoys usually have anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 reales in them, so it makes for good money. However, friends on your friends list have to sail across these/find these in towns to show up on your map and vice versa, so just be aware. And make sure to fill up your Uplay friends list!

I realize a lot of my reviews have been very jump-around lately but whatever, I'm just trying to get points across:

A: Good Game!
B: "Eh" game.
C: Bad Game.

So yeah. I may also add things down the line for both my AC3 and AC4 reviews as I haven't played AC4 in awhile and I'm still working on AC3's collectables.

However, AC4 is a great game. If anyone from Ubisoft reads this, or whatnot, keep this style of game up and just copy+paste into other AC games, damn it!

I'd highly recommend it at full price, or on sale, either or.

Purchase it here:


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Sunday, July 13, 2014

[Review] Assassin's Creed 3

Genre: RPG

Assassin's Creed 3 is a game set in the colonial era, in a setting between two secret societies that have been carried over from Assassin's Creed 1 and 2, namely the Assassins and Templars. The character you play who controls Connor inside the Animus, a virtual reality machine capable of exploring stories through people's DNA, is Desmond Miles, who is, in my opinion, a whiny, careless guy who doesn't give a hot shit about anyone else, ever, in the game. Which is why the ending is supposed to be so explosive, I guess?

Assassin's Creed 3 was developed by Ubisoft and their various sections of Ubisoft who seem to have just slapped together this game. I'm not going into the details of Ubisoft because they seem to just butcher or copy everything they put out.

Assassin's Creed 3 starts with some of Desmond's stuff, etc in real life. The Templars and Assassins are alive and well in the modern day world, and it seems with Templars in power and the Assassins undermining them at every turn, as it is in other Assassin's Creed games. I can't really remember what happens and I'm not going to go back through this piece of work game to get the information, but I'll sum it up in that the character Desmond plays as in Assassin's Creed 3, Connor, is every bit naive and a little less whiny than Desmond is. However the gameplay doesn't leave too much to be desired... on consoles. But according to the general public, the game does have a ton of bugs, none of which are good and a lot are game-breaking, though they seem to be in the beginning of the game and based on your machine's hardware. If you have a great or good machine, you should be fine. If not, you're on your own with Google search results as Ubisoft does not support AC3 anymore.

Anyway, the first thing I did was hop in the Animus, because I absolutely detest Desmond and wanted to get right into the experience. The game does do a... job on delivering the AC experience, however. But I can't really say if it's good or bad, because I know some people like the AC3 experience and some don't. I seem to be in neutral territory. See, I'd have no problem with the game as long as:

A.) Horse spurring worked (Spurring your horse to go faster while already at a gallop, it can make or break a chase, especially for one mission in the campaign where you essentially have to 'cheat' the system by going backwards...)
B.) Synchronize viewpoints revealed everything on the map. They don't, in this. Or rather, they only reveal a 'few' things on the map. 

More in depth on the viewpoints: You have to uncover viewpoints via running around FIRST, then you can use viewpoints to uncover other viewpoints... sometimes.

The rest of the collectables you have to purchase through maps that show locations or such through the general stores or find them on your own. However, there is no map for viewpoints, only blank spots on the map where you have to go find either the viewpoint for that area (or viewpoints in some cases) or you have to actually walk into the area and uncover most of it, or a little of it if you're lucky, to find a collectable. Also, chests are not uncovered and neither are the pages you have to collect along with... I think that's it actually. But there are a TON of each thing, and the developers didn't exactly think about the routes for the pages to run as sometimes they go across an entire street that you can't exactly just jump across to follow. (The pages move and you have to chase them)

The storyline follows Haytham Kenway through, a beginning of sorts where you find out he meets up with his buddies searching for a Precursor site with an amulet they think is a key for it. You find out later what side they're on, however you can pretty much guess the Native American guy on the cover is the assassin, so you can guess what side Haytham is on. (Interesting connection but one nonetheless, Haytham is son of Edward Kenway, who is the main character of AC4. I like exploring family lines like that, it's interesting to see.) Haytham ends up having sex with a Native American woman he rescues from the British from a slave camp named some really long Native American name but she has Haytham call her Ziio for short. Then, perspective switches from playing Haythem to Ziio in the loading screen, to playing Connor Haytham as a child.

I'm gonna skip ahead a bit here to the point where you actually start playing in the open world, because the game holds your hand to a point for a fairly long while.

Ziio dies, and Connor grows up more and a sphere is given to him where he meets one of the members of The First Civilization. Connor is sent to a man named Achilles, who teaches him the way of the assassins pretty much.

A few missions later and multiple years passing, Connor is a full grown man and a skilled assassin.

I have to point out here that at this point in the game some coding must have been removed or something or the model for Connor gets broken because climbing small ledges and trees and moving in different directions gets significantly harder.

You go out into the world to protect your people and help people like Paul Revere, Sam Adams and Benjamin Franklin produce the American Revolution, more or less. You assist in killing a leader at Bunker Hill, all the while the story being more intertwined with the now Americans and Brits and your own Native American people, along with the Assassins and Templars of course. At a point, even Washington commands his men to take out your own people and you have to stop the command.

At this point I'm not looking forward to doing anything else in the game but the missions, as collecting things is way too damn tedious and time consuming to do, considering the vast map distances and lack of fast travel points. Inb4 'Hurrdurr casual fast travel points' Shut the fuck up. Everyone likes fast travel points now.

Edit: I recently found out about War Clubs. And apparently you can throw war clubs. How the FUCK does this make sense? A tomahawk I'd understand throwing, but a fucking CLUB? It's a fucking joke, what the hell?

As for what happens to Desmond in the real world, Desmond pursues some power cells or something like that to power a First Civilization structure. There are three of them plus the settings (places to put them) you have to find inside the structure or something like that. Honestly I'm just skipping over all of it until the game forces me to put everything in. As it turns out, the First Civilization was wiped out by solar flares, and the game bases the next giant solar flare that will wipe out all of humanity on December 21, 2012 which is when the game is based, harharharharhar, so original, Ubisoft.

All in all, 7/10. Including game glitches and all. Love the story, likable characters (and hateable), but the atmosphere of the game is just... not good at all. Love the time setting though, definitely. And what happens to Desmond in the end is just for the best.

Edit (a few days later): Oh yeah, I forgot to talk about the crafting. I believe AC3 is the first game in which they introduce crafting for bigger inventories, etc into the game, and also at this point in the game (since they've stopped patching it despite some very glaring flaws) you can produce items to sell in shops for money too, but it doesn't bring you in much money in my opinion. Anyway crafting is utterly useless until you get everyone on your Homestead. Your Homestead is where you basically live, and you recruit new people to make you products, whether it be to upgrade your inventory space, or to sell to the general stores/around the colonies via boat. However like I said, unless you uncover ALL OF THE MAP EARLY WHICH IS A LOAD OF BULLSHIT BY RUNNING AROUND INSTEAD OF VIEWPOINTS, you'll be doing this in the endgame. Which means you'll be running around with a tiny fucking inventory all game. Yes I'm mad. Currently, I finished the storyline and am pursuing the collectables, as that gives me somewhat of a satisfaction. There's a little more to crafting via Benjamin Franklin's almanac pages which gives you "inventions" you can craft, but you need parts from a lot of people before you can even craft it.

Honestly, the crafting system is really weird and Ubisoft did a bad job with it. I'm not sure when Farcry 3 came out, but the crafting system in that is more similar to what is in AC4, which is a far better crafting system. I respect the idea of a "homestead" since it is colonial times, but I mean, come on. You're playing a Native American character who was raised on the land. You should at least be able to craft your own holsters and pouches to increase your inventory space or something, but I guess Ubisoft took the low road on that one. F you Ubisoft, F you.

Needless to say if it's cheap, pick it up as it's worth at least 15 bucks at the most. Anything over that is a no-no.

Buy Assassin's Creed 3 here on Amazon (DRM STEAM FOR PC):


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