As far as I have been able to find out you cannot fire a musket in this game. That’s just incredibly stupid. Hell, at least in previous games if you picked up a spear you could throw the damn thing.
Really? Cause...you know, you can. Firing a musket is easy. How are you not doing this?
Finished out the game last night. Despite the internet hate, I really do enjoy this series. I'm breaking this up into two parts. The first is the overall feel. The second is more thinking about the story itself.
Out of all the AC incarnations, I would say this one had the best story. Ezio will probably always be my favorite character, and Brotherhood is still my favorite in game-play, but the story in this one was quite good. It had a few genuine twists I didn't expect, and the ending itself was both satisfying and unsatisfying (in a good way) at the same time.
Graphics: I don't buy a lot of the big name games like Call of Duty or the like, so I'm not up on what is typical in graphics these days. The closest I get to the big stuff is the DCS World and perhaps Skyrim. Thus, my ability to recognize good graphics might not be as keen as others. Having said that, I found on the whole AC3 to be gorgeous and definitely a major step up from the previous AC games, which I never thought were that bad.
The little things. Early in the game Haythem was in Boston and I was just milling about and looked over and saw an NPC leaning against a wall. I went over closer, and while you couldn't actually see it, the pose and the way he moved clearly indicated that it was supposed to be a guy peeing in the back ally. Little details like that spread throughout the game really brings the game alive. There seems a substantially larger amount of details in this game to bring it to life than previous games.
Weather and seasons. Finally. This was long overdue, and they handle it fairly well.
The economy. Not the whole economy, perhaps, but shipping and crafting and the like. The whole process is considerably time intensive and incredibly annoying. By that matter, a lot of the menus are poorly laid out compared to previous games and add to confusion. I was on the PC version, and it took me a hell of a long time to even figure out assassination contracts because you had to left click to get to them, but it didn't say you had to do this on one particular part of the screen. I have to now figure out what pivot points are because that's a new thing now that I've beaten the game.
Condensed controls. This has been a problem with all AC games, really, and it's a product of these games being used for other platforms. As a PC gamer, I'm used to having a large bank of controls, not limited to only a few. The afore mentioned DCS World uses every key and nearly every combination of keys. This title, adding more abilities, further constrains the controls. Certain abilities that used to be separate keys are now mashed together, and sometimes makes for more frustrated play.
Ship combat. I was fairly certain I was going to hate this aspect of the game. It turns out that I don't hate it quite as much as I thought I would. It is kind of fun, but the objections I had initially still remain. I'm cursed with playing too many sea-going games and so the non-realism of this game really grates. The ships feel like they're moving at 60-80 knots, not 12 or less. Missions are more centered on destroying rather than boarding, while the latter was more common in that era. I suppose this is a pithy objection, though, as we had Ezio flying around and engaging in tank battles. But I always took those as interesting "what-ifs" whereas this was a more well-documented history that could have been done better. Sea combat during rough seas though was particularly fun and enjoyable.
Bobcats and wolves and Bears, oh my. Combat with these things annoys the crap out of me, but mostly because I hate games that force you into combating in this certain way. The "you must hit these keys in this order or you fail" meme is annoying as fuck. It encourages me to try and kill these animals in more stealthy ways, but the problem is that there is often more than one of them around. The way they do this makes fighting these animals much harder than fighting any human, which seems idiotic given the tools you have.
The ending battle. One of my larger complaints involves the killing of the last two targets. Both of these were highly disappointing. In Brotherhood, the ending battle was more traditional, having to go through waves of enemies (or avoid them) to get to the final boss, where you fought him and his reinforcements and weren't forced to hit certain combos in certain ways. This game had the most disappointing ending battle I've seen in the entire series.
The battle with Haythem was a gimmie. You had no danger of losing health (no health bar) and required scripted actions to beat him. You kill him through a single click cutscene. Lee was even worse, where no actual fighting occurs with the man and the climax is just a chase. Lee dies by cutscene without your input. This left me very unsatisfied.
Desmond. I was really hoping a separate game would involve Desmond's quest throughout modern world. It's clear that such a thing was theoretically possible given what we see in this series, but ultimate the modern setting was too subdued and wasted an opportunity. The whole "gun" issue still is a bane against this series' existence, and shows up in a glaring way here. When you see Abstergo's guards reloading their 9mm pistols after every shot like the revolutionary guards do, it's a real face-palm moment. If they plan to do a new series of games, they need to address this issue. The lack of any real threat or ability for you to die as Desmond also kills the atmosphere, but then that's been there since the beginning.
Overall, I think this game is a fine addition to the series. It has it's weak points but has a lot of strengths, character, and a lot of environmental factors that make me feel like I'm there. I look forward to playing a lot of the extra quests now.
Continued in part 2.