So after I spent the last few months putting together the editorial series (if you can call it that) on Assassin’s Creed, I figured I may do another piece about the series in general, my thoughts on it and how it actually is important we talk about it.
A friend of mine is a consolero – he only plays games on console. I have no such affiliation, I play games on whatever system that supports it. I own consoles from all manufacturers, a PC, a tablet, you name it. But there is a general lack of thought that system fanboys of any system have.
When Assassin’s Creed Unity came out on PC I complained that the game is poorly optimized even after a few patches to which my friend replied laughingly that the PS4 version runs fine and that it is my own fault for getting the PC version. But is it, though? Is it really MY fault that big companies don’t give a fuck about consumers to the point where they charge 70 bucks for a broken mess they KNOW is broken. I think not. I think the entire idea that “it’s fine on system X, fuck everyone else but me” is a good way of thinking is stupid at best and, as much as I hate that word, toxic at worst. My friend figured he could rub one on by showing me how superior his PS4 was compared to my PC (a PC that has 3 year old components and STILL blows everything out of the water any console could offer, but I digress) and that if I would just be much better of if I follow every whim of the industry to get the best experiences instead of, you know, the industry actually making sure we get the best experience no matter what.
This sort of corporate think runs deep with my generation – I am in my early 30s – and those younger than I am. The belief that the big corporation knows best and that we all just have to obey to have a good time is not only absurd, it is scary.
Nintendo is about to unveil the NX and from what I know it will follow the traditional Nintendo model: Underpowered, gimmicky and pointless. But people will buy it because the media tells them it is actually great to pay a lot of money for a shitty product. Now, I don’t think the product will actually be bad. But Nintendo’s practices surely are bad. The system will most probably not be backwards compatible with anything, meaning you will have to re-buy all your Virtual Console games AGAIN. Now, maybe Nintendo will actually fix this issue this time but if time has taught us something, it is that Nintendo will be Nintendo. And I am not a fan of this practice.
As for Assassin’s Creed, the series has always been know to be incomplete. Assassin’s Creed 3 for example has a rather bad reputation, citing the bad protagonist and boring gameplay. But is it really this simple? Connor, for example, is not a bad character at all. He is one of the best written, three dimensional characters in the series, really. The problem people have with him is that he is not a power fantasy character and that he is not the proagonist in his own story. America is. Connor just stumbles from one historic event into the next and that makes people dislike him since they don’t feel he has control over his own life. But that is in fact the whole point of his entire story. And by the end of the story he indeed does gain control and takes matters into his own hands. The game works well with that. If anything, his story missions are rather dull which makes people associate him with being dull and his game being boring. But it really is a great game. It is just very bad with explaining its mechanics. The game offers a manual hidden in the menus that explains a lot of things, but you will probably never read it. The battle system, while being incredibly simple makes you feel like a bad ass and hunting and traversing the frontier is just great fun, once the gameplay mechanics click.
Assassins Creed Unity on the other hand overexplains and oversimplifys things to the point that it actualy does become boring. The new navigation and battle system is pretty much exactly like it was before jsut simplified to the point that it feels more complex when in reality it is not. Arno is the most boring and dull character ever up to the point when my friend who compleed the game 100% simply can’t remember ANY remarkable thing he did whatsoever. As I have said earlier, the devlopers wanted to copy Ezios games without understanding WHY those were so good to begin with.
With an Ezio Collection for PS4/Xbox One on the horizon, the circle is now complete, really. After the franchise being milked to death they now milk individual characters. So expect the next AC game to be the start of a trilogy where everyone and everything will be milked to death.
Console fanboys will eat it up, however, that their system of choice will or won’t have exclusive bonusses that are not really exclusive at all and PC Master Race idiots will eat it up that they can get so much more graphical fidelity out of their 30fps game than the console peasants. And above all sits a multi billion dollar corporation that laughs at all of us.
Does that mean we should stop playing the series? Of course not. It is a good series and even the bad entries are quite enjoyable. But we should stop thinking along company lines and more along the lines of what is eventualyl good for the consumer. Gaming has become worse and worse every single year. And if we don’t wake up, it will get even worse. Don’t let it get worse.