Assassin’s Creed 3

It’s exams week and the essays are piling up on my desk rapidly, waiting for a gentle grader. For some reason one of the exams is scheduled for Saturday, a situation that is unfortunate, but survivable.

I am morose about the holidays so far. The usual perpetual state of mild excitement eludes me completely. I do like the weather, but that’s about it.

I finished Assassin’s Creed 3 the other day. Its attempt to retell the American Revolution through a half-British, half-Native American assassin was only mildly successful, but one part of the game really, really worked, and that was the sea battles. It made me want to play Pirates! all over again.

After sinking a few frigates and thus ahistorically making the patriot navy near invincible, I had to wonder – why isn’t this the entire game? Screw running around on rooftops, dodging musket balls; ducking broadsides while waves crash over the deck is far more entertaining and exciting. I could definitely see an entire game built around AC3-style naval combat. Basically, I’m asking for Pirates! and this section of AC3 to get together.

The rest of the game did have a few moments, but I have to take issue with the introduction to the game, which seemed about ten hours long before I controlled the main character and felt like I was playing an AC game. Designers, you created an enviable sandbox to play in – I just wish you would let some of the plot emerge from that. For example, have whether or not Connor has liberated some of the British forts affect the plot. It would also be notable if someone in the game acknowledged Connor’s propensity to be at every single damned decisive moment in the war. He was five inches from signing the Declaration of Independence below Hancock.

I’m not going to talk about the metanarrative. Well, maybe I will. Frankly, I have to say something. If you’re going to present a up/down choice to a gamer, don’t yank it away in favor of predestination.

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