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Assassin’s Creed III

As much as I’m enjoying playing this game, the irks are … very, very irksome.

This is not a review of ACIII, it’s a rant. I am actually enjoying the game, just not nearly as much as I could be with small amounts of simple polish.

It also suffers from several cases of over-solving of problems where the combination of fixes actually create a new and – in a couple of cases – worse problems.

Like it’s predecessors and other PoP-ilk games, ACIII controls appear to be based on camera context rather than what you’d expect. On an HDTV this makes the games wickedly sensitive to display lag. When I tune RockBand/GuitarHero, my TV gets an unfortunate 75-100ms.

There’s something more than that going on: When I get into open combat, my character drops into an extreme pedestrian mode. He won’t jump over stuff, he won’t duck under things, he can barely climb the most basic climbing faces (and when he can, he’s usually so slow about it that he gets shot down again).

They also tried to simplify the controls down and so there’s a lot more “auto” stuff going on. They’ve added a GoW style “press to wall” behavior. It’s automatic. And it will do it against even half-height objects. Like tables, or rocks. Which is ok, if a little goofy. Except when it turns out that almost everything you need to interact with, ever, is on just such an object. Sure; you just have to learn to approach things you want to interact with slowly so that you can find the miniscule corridor where the button “interacts” as oppose to doing nothing or something entirely different (such as “drop”, because that’s also what the button does).

I also don’t understand what is with the lighting on the 360… Every face is in shadow, making them look ghoulish, and the lighting frequently flickers like mad.

Other frequent nuisances:

  • The camera doesn’t automatically come out of the down-over-the-shoulder view it uses when placing a snare, you have to run around to clear it.
  • There’s no way to dismiss your horse so if you’re not paying enough attention, it tramples and breaks your snares when you don’t even realize it’s still following you.
  • The bizzare “strangle-hold” thing while climbing synchronization trees when you are climbing the close-together branches and the camera decides to rotate at just the right moment that your “forward” stick pressure becomes slightly sideways; the only escape is to drop and die.
  • Ridiculously hard to pick up weapons during combat.
  • You wanted to send 3 wolf pelts on a convoy? Have fun scrolling thru all the selections 3 times.
  • After zooming in to kill a target, the camera stays zoomed in instead of auto-releasing (should be an option).
  • Sometimes you *can’t* loot a caravan – this may be that you need to move the guards’ bodies a really long way away.
  • To use a rope-dart, you’re supposed to hold Y and press L. Pressing L turns on Eagle Vision. Uhm.

 

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