Top positive review
69 people found this helpful
Great story and setup with some bad missteps
on October 29, 2013
Assassins Creed has been a series near and dear to my heart, so I'm somewhat unsettled by the number of flaws that the latest installment has.
The story is the mainstay still. You start off as a down on his luck sailor who accidentally kills an Assassin after escaping from a sinking ship. What follows is a rather pleasant exploration of more of the Templar backstory. The best part is Edward though, who flies by the seat of his pants with a panache thats almost Bond like and a real treat to watch. No training, no prep, you're dropped in the ocean and have to swim immediately. In the modern day, you are a Abstergo employee, silent and with your eyes locked into FP view with a tablet screen never out of sight, it feels like you've woken up in Google Stepford Wives.
Graphics are off. I don't know if is my TV, but everything had too much color, like you were running through a Salvidor Dali painting rather than a Caribbean beach. While this worked great with the jungle environments, in the cities, it always felt like you were slightly stoned with how bright and vibrant everything looked. Similarly, the modern day setting has everything so clean and neat, without any realistic grit to it, that it creates a sense of detachment thats hard to ignore.
Audio continues to be near flawless. Voices match well to characters, the dialogue is set to the time period but still understandable, and even foreign languages all add to the sense of involvement. It'd be more interesting if they messed up a voice badly enoguh to be noticeable with Ubi's track record in that area.
Gameplay is basically all the same. While a handful of minor polishes has been added, theres almost all the core gameplay of AC3. The naval warfare has been greatly expanded, and you have a lot more options with targeting with ship to ship combat, and the boarding actions are well put together, and don't feel railroaded like they were with Connor. Another major improvement is the buildup of your stronghold and ship. It used to feel like you would put in five minutes of effort and have the remainder handed to you on a platter, albeit slowly. With ship upgrades and even cash, you're working every minute. Not hard, but you definitely will debate at points whether to up your guns or your ship armor, or should you get a mortar to attack the higher level fort. You'll also not roll over every sea battle either, and you'll want to pass by several fat prizes and jump on the man o' war way off in the distance because its the one that has the last 100 or so metal you've been scrounging around for, and every battle hurts, even if its just a little bit.
Multiplayer continues to get its slow steady polishing. Aside from general gameplay balance upgrades that are apparent, theres not a terrible amount of difference between this and AC3. The best improvement is that you can now do solo wolfpack, meaning there's the option of doing multiplayer without having to wait for friends or rely on strangers if you just want to make level 35 to get a specific upgrade. The only downside is the story for multiplayer has been cut down to the marrow, and its basically vestigial.
A whole bunch of nits abounded, which is what, graphical anomalies aside, kept this from being 5 stars. You're shotgunned in the face with collectibles immediately, which is annoying. You are also given the option to do Assassin missions immediately, despite not even knowing who the Assassins are at that point(this happens within 5 minutes of starting, so no real spoilers) I want a reason to collect the journal pag-i mean sea shanties, even if its just a token one. The Abstergo overlay is a tad offputting, as it feels like it gives away the game to easily. I really didn't want to know in the first 5 minutes of play that Havana has 7 secrets. Isn't that why they're... secret? I'd have liked to have an option to create a modern day character to not feel like a floating pair of eyeballs. The guards blend in to well with the populace, so its too easy to bump into them.
Overall, this is still a great game. Entertaining story, good main character thats easy to slide in behind, and tried and true gameplay. Just some graphical issues and really jarring nits keep this from another deserved 5 stars.