I was thinking of using some stupid pun like ‘Syndishit’ or ‘binthisshit’ but it seemed tacky.
The reason this savagery is rose tinted is because I got this game free with games with gold on xbox, so this is the best possible review I can give this game as the sting of not having paid forty quid for it is not present. Baring in mind if I had paid full price or anything at all I would have torn it to shreds because it’s not worth the full price of a game.
I honestly tried to like this game, I haven’t actually played an AC game since rogue which was ages ago and after that these two didn’t really interest me. I enjoyed it at the start, AC is fun when you get going, the gameplay is decent, the world looks all right. But once you really get into it there really isn’t a lot to these games.
You run around and climb and stab the man and then run around and climb some more. And after that’s it’s just constant repetition.
The things I liked about it were the combat system, they seem to have changed and I thought it was just mashing X to win but there is a little subtlety to it and there are combos. Taking the boroughs is repetitive but it’s fun testing out new skills and weapons and I thought I’d hate changing between the two characters Evie and Jacob but I actually really liked it.
It made for a nice shift in gameplay, I’m playing Evie one minute being all stealthy taking down workhouses and then I switch to Jacob and I walk right into a gang stronghold and just start punching people. It makes for a nice switch in gameplay and it stops the rpg elements from breaking the game. Because in a lot of stealth games you get rpg mechanics that ruin the game because if you invest too much in stealth you inevitably have a boss fight where you cant even hide and it just makes it impossible. But this gets around that because you have your stealth character and you have your combat character to switch to if you need to. And I liked how they had their own individual skills, like Evie couldn’t unlock the top fighting, toughness and shooting skills and Jacob couldn’t unlock the top knife and stealth, keeping both play styles unique.
Also finally different costumes have different effects and you have lots of different gear play with. And the game basically entails doing a bunch of fetch quests or nonsense missions to unlock an assassination mission. They’re pretty good, you have lots of different ways to approach them, when I say ‘lots’ I mean three. But they’re ok, kind of like Hitman but then why wouldn’t I just play hitman if it allows me to cut out all the busywork and pointless collectibles. (Seriously does anyone collect the collectables in AC games, there were like fucking pressed flowers to collect in this and I was like ‘huh’).
Now onto the fun part the stuff I hated haha.
First thing that let me down is there are basically only three variants of the same weapon for the entire game. You get a kukri, or a ‘cane sword’ (in name only because it’s a fucking knife it’s not a sword) or brass knuckles and then every subsequent weapon is just a reskin with different numbers next to it. And what really annoyed me is you only see the weapons when you actually attack, so I invest in this dope looking ‘cane sword’ and I can’t even walk around with it. And don’t get me wrong I love kukris, I have like four of them but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like a bowie knife or something just for a change. And in previous AC games you could get maces and axes and each sword had different speeds. I dunno this just seems like streamlining instead of expanding.
The guns on the otherhand were pretty cool, reminded me a little bit of red dead but not nearly as good in the selection but on the whole I like the leveling because they dished out weapons gradually and you get a feel for a difficulty curve.
The next gripe I have is a difficult one because I actually liked the climbing in the previous games but I guess it made it necessary to shrink their game worlds before because you couldn’t get around the map fast enough. So in this game you have the scouting positions as fast travel points and you have carriages but you also have a grappling hook zipline thing.
So yeah that sounds cool, you’re zipping around like batman dropping smoke bombs and zipping away, that sounds really cool. Like it’s a game version of gotham by gaslight. It sounds cool but we’re forgetting this game was all about climbing and climbing was almost a sort of puzzle and having a grappling hook basically makes all of that unecessary. So where as in the previous games climbing to the top of big ben would have been this awesome achievement that took time and effort and skill it now takes literally one button push to go from the ground to the top with the grappling hook.
And as far as the climbing goes it’s been simplified to the point of absurdity and I honestly don’t know why they would introduce a grappling hook in this game and not in any of the others and it makes me think its because their climbing system has basically been dumbed down to the point of not even mattering so they have a grappling hook to cover that up. It essentially removes climbing from the game.
Now I’ve got the gameplay stuff out of the way, I mean if you know AC as a series you know what gameplay is like, I mean if you play one AC game you’ve basically played them all. They just add a little something new each time. Like building a town and hunting in 3 and pirate ships in 4. Time to move on to the the story; there isn’t one. Well that’s that done.
No seriously the game literally starts with the main characters just going to London to fight templars and get some relic and that’s it. There’s no back story or emotional tie to the villains, no revenge story or redemption story or coming of age. There’s no arc, no character development that stretches further than ‘Oooh Jacob has a new hat’. It’s completely hollow and all the characters are cardboard cut outs or tongue in cheek over the top representations of historical figures introduced like they’re on a cast of a kids tv show. “Ooh look it’s Charles Dickens I wonder if he needs me to stab anyone in the neck for him!” And once I realised that these side quests for these figures didn’t propel the story at all and weren’t necessary to complete the game I never did another one because they were completely pointless.
There’s even this side quest where you play a later Frye set in WW1 London where you meet winston churchill and its just more of the same game I don’t think there were even new weapons or anything and the new Frye is even less developed as a character than Evie and Jacob. And her goal, I kid you not is to get the vote for women, when she said that I literally did a full body cringe.
I expected there to be some story surrounding what happened to Evie and Jacob’s father and it’s touched on like a couple of times in idle conversations in carriages you can skip by getting to your destination faster than the characters dialogue and it’s never touched on in regards to the story rendering it utterly pointless. And the characters of Evie and Jacob can just be summed up in grumpy tough girl stereotype and charming rogue stereotype. They’re not developed any further than that.
It lacks the essential emotional drive of a story that makes you want to go forward and I ended up just completing it for this review instead of actually wanting to know what happened at the end because I already knew what would happen in the end.
They defeat the snidely whiplash moustache bad guy who is only evil because he shoots a man for interrupting him once and he has evil hair and a big moustache. That’s it. And really all you do in this game is go around to his parts of town and make his men wear different coloured coats because all that happens when you kill everyone is that they respawn working for you instead.
Now all this story stuff aside, I honestly have no problems with games having shit or no story or very little story as long as the gameplay is fun and inventive and doesn’t get repetitive. And on the other hand I don’t mind if a game series has the exact same gameplay tweaked a little each time as long as it has memorable likeable characters and a good story with interesting worlds to explore, like uncharted. I don’t care if the gameplay is the same in uncharted as long as you’re exploring a different country and Sully is there. I don’t care if they literally copy paste last of us for a sequel as long as the story is as heart rending as the first (both naughty dog games, wtf how did the people who made crash bandicoot come up with some of the tightest story driven games in history and the people who made prince of persia make this tripe???).
This game and the entire series as a whole does neither of those things. It has the worst of both worlds, it recycles the tired rinse and repeat gameplay and has a lazily written nothing burger of a story. It fails on every level because even returning characters are fucking insufferable.
I mean they keep bringing back Shaun and Rebecca like anyone liked them even as far back as AC2, but we’re supposed to be like torn up when Rebecca gets shot at the end and that sad music is playing. It was beyond cringeworthy, why do they think people like these characters? They’re mildly annoying at best, insanely irritating at worst.
I didn’t have a big problem with how they were introduced in 4, they were almost an easter egg and I thought that was fun. But it’s beyond cheesy in this and I honestly don’t know why they don’t drop the side by side time jumping. It served it’s purpose in the first three games but now it’s just a gimmick they can’t let go of and really should. It doesn’t serve the story at all anymore because they’re never going to do a present day game because they don’t have a replacement for Desmond, so why bother? Why not just have the games set in that time and drop the animus all together?
It seems like a tradition almost, would any one care if in 4 you didn’t have to come out of the animus and walk around the office and collect post it notes? No because it was pointless, it mattered in the first three games because it was all about the two worlds colliding and the difference between reality and history as a game, a game within a game, now it’s just this tumour on the series, an excess of flesh that just has to be there. You could literally cut out all the present day scenes in this game and it would make no difference.
The problem isn’t that they keep the two timelines running concurrent, the problem is they don’t put any effort into either story but also won’t let the concept go. Either drop the present timeline and focus on the main game or make the present timeline relevant and not just a shitty immersion breaking gimmick.
What do you do with a series that basically peaked on it’s first outing? I mean 4 was nice but all it did was give was give a terminally ill franchise the strength to limp on to even more mediocrity.
The problem I have with these games is similar to star wars, they have no plan. They don’t have one person or one group of persons or a show runner planning their games and stories out so they interlink into these nice weaves of narratives it’s just ‘Hey why don’t we set a game in victorian london?’/’That sounds great I’ll go draw some top hats.’ Narrative is a complete afterthought to costumes and micro transactions.
And moreover the world was flat and boring and it didn’t feel like London it just felt like another AC game and I think a lot of that is all the immersion breaking stuff.
… Now you’re like ‘this is when he’s gonna talk about tranny stuff right?’
I’m not gonna dwell on this too long but yes ubisoft has drank the coolaid seen fit to put a female to male transvestite in victorian england for whatever reason that is obviously a woman dressed like a man but everyone still refers to them as ‘Ned’ and it’s not a joke and no one draws attention to it. But they’re really only in the game twice crucially and after that optional side quests I didn’t bother with when I realised the side quests weren’t necessary to either leveling or the story. I got to level ten and maxed out all my skills just by conquering the boroughs and the main quest so they’re completely superfluous and only give you gear that is beaten out by stuff you get just through the regular quests.
So yeah I just went over two thousands words ranting about a game I didn’t even pay for, now imagine if I paid full price for it on launch.
To conclude, stop giving ubisoft money, just stop. The AC series just needs to be allowed to die. If it was ever good or original that was long ago and now it’s a pale, cynical husk of it’s former self. AC wanted to be the COD of third person games and it got it’s wish.