Because I’m bloody-minded, or maybe just idiotic. Really, there are so many other ways I could spend my time. I have hobbies that don’t elevate my blood pressure, cause me to swear compulsively and drive me to thrash a pillow against the end of the bed. My gaming computer is tucked into a nook in the bedroom, so my tantrums can be wonderfully private exercises. The whole house is aware I am currently playing ACIII, however.
Why do I persist in playing a game that is so obviously annoying? (I just let out a deep sigh.) There are so many answers to that question, but the simplest explanation is that I have enjoyed all the previous games and I want to enjoy this one too. The story is amazing. I want to tell my friends how awesome it is. I’d rather not explain the pile of feathers on the bedroom floor.
These games have always had niggling issues. The combat irks me, mostly because I’m not sixteen and my reflexes are SLOW. By the time I decipher a combat tip and find the corresponding button, I’ve missed the opportunity to counter, break or launch a kill streak. But, knowing combat is my weakness, I find inventive ways to complete each assignment. I love aerial assassinations and will scale a building ten times in one fight in order to pick off my targets one by one…which brings me to one of the other annoyances of Assassin’s Creed: the sticky fingers of your assassin.
Ever pickpocketed by accident and brought the wrath of the whole town down upon you while trying to remain incognito? Ever watched, stunned and amazed, as your assassin scaled a pillar only to be trapped under a ceiling? Tapped B a million times while swearing at the bastard to let the fuck go and run like a normal person. Tapped B whilst clinging to the side of a clock tower and watched in dismay as the bastard does let go and plummets to a messy death…or worse, survives the fall only to be trampled by wrathful citizens. No? Obviously we haven’t been playing the same game.
While annoying in previous installments, these issues plague ACIII. I don’t know if it’s just me being the WORST PLAYER EVER or if they really did expand the magnetism of every scalable object. My assassin wants to vault over everything. Or climb it. Or just cling to it while every redcoat in a ten mile radius fires a gun at him.
My annoyances are not confined to game mechanics. In fact, there are some improvements there. The dreaded hook blade and extended jump are GONE, thank all the gods. The assassin now climbs anything with a simple compression of the right trigger, reserving the tendonitis-inducing button mashing for combat.
Instead, I railed at being railroaded. For the first three sequences, the action is narrowly directed, leaving very few opportunities to explore the world. Cut scenes interrupt looting—never stand between a magpie and her loot—and mission starts magically transport the assassin to new locations, rather than allowing me to meander toward the exclamation point collecting treasure and achievements along the way.
Then there’s Hatham Kenway. I didn’t like him. Not at all. I hated the idea of being stuck with him throughout the game. I’m up to sequence seven, so I’ve learned the startling truth about Mr. Stick-up-his-arse, but I can’t say as I like Connor any better? He was cute as a boy, but startlingly apathetic as an adult.
Another part of my issue with this game is that I miss the European cities. They were so vibrant! I miss Ezio. I understand his part of the tale is done, but after three games from his perspective, it’s hard to move on. The American setting is interesting and being from the North East, I do get a kick out of seeing familiar names and places. Riding through history with Paul Revere is fun. Trying to coordinate the defense of Barrett Farm is not.
I’m just not even going to mention ship combat. (Whoops.)
So why am I still playing this game?
Because I’m stubborn. Because I want to get another piece of the puzzle. Because I’m invested enough in the bigger story to struggle through a game that drives me to drink (and pillow destruction). I guess that says something about the story, eh? That I need to read this chapter in order to move forward.
Or maybe I just hate the thought of giving up.