So I watched both the Microsoft and Sony presentations during E3 as they were streamed, because it’s a New Console Intro Year and those are always Big Time Hype Years. Microsoft’s Windows Phone Live Events app, by the way, is pretty impressive.
Anyway, the PS4 event was pretty bland with regards to the actual GAME content they showed. I’m pretty sure it was a matter of “well, we know that we’re going to come out at the end and say it’s a hundred bucks cheaper and doesn’t jerk you around with the games you buy, we don’t really have to bring our A game to anything before that.”
Nonetheless, I did find myself getting Some Big Hype for Assassin’s Creed IV, and this surprised me because I’d gotten kind of burned out on Revelations about three hours in – so, really, I hadn’t even gotten to the end of the introduction.
So with Some Big Hype burning in me, I decided to get back to AssRev and see how I felt about it on a second run.
It was pretty damned good actually. The renovating Istanbul (not Constantinople?) was a little dull compared to building up the Villa in AC2, and I really could have done without the entire Cappadocia sequence, but Ezio is still a fascinating character and the game does a fantastic job of making you feel like a Grade A Bad-ass.
I even spent a six hour stretch just running around town doing side missions and taking over Templar dens, completely ignoring the main plot, just because it was so much fun to run around and Be Awesome. It DOES have far too many tutorial missions at the beginning, but I’m in a mood to forgive those.
Then I played AC3.
Now, the only thing I’d heard about AssThree was that the end of it featured a legendarily awful chase sequence and that you were playing a native American guy.
It was a bit of a surprise, therefore, to play for a few hours before I actually got around to playing as the native American guy. They really ramped up the tutorials in this one, made necessary because it was packed FULL of side content. In addition to the typical “bump into a bunch of famous guys who are being manipulated by Unseen Figures In The Shadows” plot that has been the hallmark of the series up to this point, you get hunting missions, recruitment missions to build up your assassin army, naval battles, an economic simulation, a homestead to build up in the manner of AC2’s villa, and even trade skills.
It actually felt like an MMO in many ways, but the depth of it was… well, was actually a little unwelcome, and I resolved to simply play through the main story plot and hope that I wouldn’t be held back as a result. I am pleased to report that this is entirely possible.
My final take on it was that it reminded me a lot of the first game. There’s a lot of stuff in there that is really neat, but it needs some serious polish. Fewer terrible chases – the ending one was only one of a series of terrible chases – would be a start, and some tweaking of the stealth mechanics and notoriety systems wouldn’t be unwelcome. The new graphics engine was phenomenal, particularly the subtle facial expressions, but the walk-five-steps-Now-Loading-Watch-Cutscene-Now-Loading thing could use a little work.
I WAS glad to see many of the mysteries from the first several games get wrapped up, and the inevitable cliffhanger was a serious case of “how the heck are they going to get themselves out of this?” that has me looking forward to AssFlag.
Fortunately, I have AssLib to play in the meantime.