Assassins Creed III Reborn

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As a History / Political-Science major, I was excited over the launch of Assassins Creed III. I even pre-ordered the game (a rarity for me). When all was said and done though, Assassins Creed III was a disappointment. So many ideas, poorly executed, with a game engine that couldn’t do the heavy lifting those ideas required. The end result was a buggy, slow-running mess, and I quit.

The upcoming PS4 remaster of Assassins Creed III has me intrigued. I’m wondering if the game engine has been upgraded? I’d love to play through this period of history. Maybe protagonist Connor has been given some hugs/love to help with his sour disposition? Maybe not. I guess we’ll soon see.

First Impressions: Assassin’s Creed Unity

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Tale as old as time

Song as old as rhyme

Arno and Elise

Les Misérables. The Count of Monte Cristo. Tales of hardship, revenge, and redemption. Classic literature depicts the nation of France as a country fueled by passions. Life is never easy. Royalty forever corrupt.

Assassins-Creed-UnityI started playing Assassin’s Creed Unity last night (3/25/15). The war of the Templars versus the Assassins is in full swing. Lightning swords, hidden blades, and historical tourism are loving rendered in next-gen console glory. The game is the most realized Assassin’s Creed game I have ever played. Much like Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, Unity runs on an engine that allows the game to soar. There is rarely ever any distracting slowdown. The loading times are, for the most part, quick–more so miraculous for how much the game is loading–. Unity is both limber and taunt, ready to take the player on one heck of a roller coaster ride.

Buckling in

Arno Dorian is Unity’s protagonist. He is the French counterpart to Ezio, from Assassin’s Creed Ezio Trilogy. This is the highest compliment I can pay the game, at this point (I am a big Ezio fan). Assassin’s Creed III fell flat in the character department as did Black Flag. All I want is a character I can somewhat like, Arno delivers in spades.

1024px-Prise_de_la_BastilleMemory sequences of Arno’s childhood build back story and player empathy. The use of Arno’s father’s pocket watch, as a symbol of something lost, is fantastic. I also enjoyed the prison escape framed against the Storming of the Bastille.

Unity features slight game control tweaks that serve the series well. For instance, Arno now has the ability descend buildings in a quick manner. Sounds like a simple mechanical change but it is often breathtaking and crucial to game flow/movement. Sword fighting seems like a Black Flag upgrade. I can’t tell if I like it or not. First impression: Doesn’t feel tight but reminds me of Batman Arkham Asylum. Go figure.

I am excited to see where the Templar/Assassin romance could be heading. SPOILERS! Can love cool revenge? Can love overcome death? I can’t wait to find out.

(This is the 600th post on my blog. Woo hoo!)

Off Campus – Theology Gaming Podcast #65: The Worst Games

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Last week, I had the privilege of sitting down with Zach, Ted, and Elijah to talk about some of the worst games ever. Expectations, marketing, and questionable game design elements fueled our discussion. I encourage you to tune in if only to listen to Ted sing a small portion of a Paula Abdul song. Yes, really.

Listen to the podcast here

What are some of the worst games you’ve played?

Assassin’s Creed III: Shifting Emotional Gears

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Note: The following contains spoilers regarding Assassin’s Creed III. Turn back now if you have yet to play this game. You will thank me. I promise.

Three hours into my Assassin’s Creed III play-through, I finally came across the emotional meat needed to sustain my gaming appetite. Up until this point, I had been playing through what I now know was a three sequence long prologue. Using Haytham Kenway as the player’s gateway into the world of ACIII was genius if not jarring. After months of seeing the protagonist Connor’s face splashed across multiple web sites and magazines, my initial reaction to Haytham was a resounding, “huh”. Why am I not playing as the awesome looking assassin on the front cover of the game? Who is “Haytham Kenway”? Time certainly did reveal that all along I was playing as both Connor’s father and as a much hated Templar–plot twist!–.

I was excited to finally play as Connor last night. His story seems to be fueled by revenge, much like Ezio’s story in ACII. How this The Patriot meets Pocahontas/The Last of the Mohicans mash-up plays out remains to be seen. I will be back.

Assassin’s Creed III Impressions

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The adventures of Haytham Kenway continued last night as I dove back into Assassin’s Creed III. During my hour play time I:

  • Accidentally fired my pistol at a British officer walking by (this did not go over well)
  • Recruited some men sympathetic to my cause
  • Killed a slave trader
  • Freed a group of Mohawk Indians
  • Met Pocahontas–I tease! Pocahontas was not a Mohawk Indian–.

Write your own caption in the comments below.

Overall, the game’s story has not been as compelling/coherent as Assassin’s Creed II so far. I am hoping that the story line soon picks up and that my $60 purchase is justified.

Assassin’s Creed III

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A few weeks ago, I did something out of character, I went and pre-ordered Assassin’s Creed III (ACIII).

Last night I went and picked up my pre-order at Gamestop. After being carded by the clerk, who said I looked under 30, I quickly exited the store. An hour or two later I found myself waiting for the game to install. 10-15 minutes later, I was treated to an opening video that highlighted that something bigger than the war between the Assassins and Templars was about to unfold, the end of the world is nigh. Only Desmond, the “link” between all of the Assassin’s Creed games and the player, holds the key to the planet’s salvation.

This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. – Morpheus, The Matrix

The Mark of an Assassin

Note: Spoilers are incoming! If you wish to remain an ACIII virgin, steer clear. You have been warned.

Contrary to any promotional material you may have seen, ACIII opens in Britain with a tutorial assassination–how clinical sounding–at the London Opera House. In the boots of Haytham Kenway, you wade through eager operagoers and make your way to your seat and contact.

Notice how dimly lit the opera house is in the above picture. The poor sap, whose soul you’ve come to rid from this world, will never see you coming. And so the saga of Assassin’s Creed III begins.

I managed to play for just under an hour last night. In that time I assassinated a man, journeyed to the American Colonies, and met Benjamin Franklin. My only criticism so far is that the game seems perfectly happy holding my hand and guiding me through the various assassin processes. Like a child, I want to break free from that hand and truly discover the world that exists around me. Patience, I tell myself.