Archive for December, 2012

Batman: Arkham Asylum And Arkham City or All Hail The Riddler

Posted in Played & Explained with tags , , , , on December 25, 2012 by Rabidgames

Admittedly, Rabidgames is rather late to the party. A couple of years back, he started playing Batman: Arkham Asylum, but gave up after 2 hours. Why? Good question! Maybe a slap to the own face is due.

A trip to the Asylum

This time around, Arkham Asylum was loved. And it was a great party for sure! To make it plain and easy, Batman: Arkham Asylum is one of the few action adventures where there is action AND adventure to be found. Alright, Rabidgames confesses: The action part is alright, but the adventure is where Arkham Asylum really shines! While it is fun to sneak around, eliminating goons silently (or getting spotted and getting away quickly), the melee system which is admittedly deeper as it looks like might be considered great, but to Rabidgames, it has become boring after the tenth fight: Yes, you can experiment, and yes, the gadgets are cool, but at the end of Arkham Asylum’s long dark night, it’s still doing your favourite actions over and over again, a tad too often.

Thankfully, this repetitive fighting is only a minor part of Arkham Asylum. The adventure part is where the fun’s at. Trying to find your way through rooms with the help of all your gadgets, using detective mode to find clues (it’s rudimentary, true, but a welcome change nonetheless), and then, the pinnacle of the Batman games: The many riddles of the Riddler. It is painful to see a riddler trophy you can’t access until later in the game, because you simply want them all. Finding a way to the trophies is fun, but even better are the proper riddles where you have to either align your sight to make a question mark visible, or you have to decipher a proper riddle and ‘photograph’ said image, sculpture or whatever it is. In those instances, Arkham Asylum makes you feel there is more need for great adventure games, a genre almost extinct these days. Plus, it might just be a small bonus, you have to think! Properly think, not just think “should I waste that Alien/Arab/beast/cop/gangsta/monster/pirate/terrorist with my shotgun or my plasma rifle”? And undoubtedly, the best part of Arkham Asylum is when you have collected all but one piece of the story of Arkham’s dark history, and the last piece to finally solve the puzzle is a search where you have to find the solution yourself.

Well, yeah, there’s a story too, but it’s rather a backdrop for your actions and adventures. As a Batman fan, you might enjoy all the hints, appearances and cameos of several characters. Rabidgames is not really a fan – in fact, Batman was just another ridiculous superhero to Rabidgames until the latest Batman movies. But even if you don’t give a riddle’s solution about the Batman universe, Arkham Asylum is still a blast if you like video games!

Welcome to the concrete jungle

Batman: Arkham City follows the events of Arkham Asylum, and as such, story, characters and gameplay follow closely. Unfortunately, Arkham City has become an ACTION adventure for some stupid reason. You’ll spend way more time fighting baddies over and over again, and while there is a wider variety of goons, melee battles are still boring, even a chore at times. Mind you, fighting enemies with guns is even more fun since they can now scan the area for Batman, and there are even more takedowns, more places to hide and more ways to trick your enemies.

The greatest weakness of Arkham City are the boss battles: Usually, there is the area boss and ten or even twenty goons. You just fight them seemingly forever, and then you beat down the boss, sometimes, you just beat him conventionally. Honestly, it’s motherfucking boring! There are only two amazing and great boss fights to be found in Arkham City; the one is as Catwoman against Two-Face and some of his armed companions, the other is Batman against Mr. Freeze. Both rely on stealth and cunning, not on mashing the same buttons all the time (and by the way, evading is the solution to everything). It’s just a shame Rocksteady has wasted quite some potential there.

Another thing is the buildup to the ending – in the last hour, half of the cast of Arkham City appears and dies, some characters just appear for seconds and for no apparent reason … It just seems the writers had to end the game quickly and therefore just packed a shitload of plot into the last hour. Speaking of the ending – the rather unlikely final boss in Arkham City  means you do the same rather stupid thing two times, and then a third time once more, only that the whole screen is full of enemies. Really? Come on, that’s really lame!

And then there’s that goddamn annoying bug where the screen stays black and Arkham City never loads. This appears roughly 3 out of 10 times, and it is fucking annoying to have to restart your Xbox 360 via a hard reset. Worst of all, this bug has been spotted by gamers as early as January 2012 (look it up over at gamefaqs). Mind you, Rabidgames bought the GOTY edition of Arkham City – and guess what, that fucking rancid fella of a bug is still in there. Seriously, Rocksteady, you need to do your homework!

Rabidgames has just realised you all must have the impression he did not enjoy Batman: Arkham City. That’s wrong. The detective work, the stealth, the gadgets, the ingenious riddles, it’s all still in there. So yes, Rabidgames really did enjoy Arkham City. Furthermore, the GOTY edition comes with tons of extras; you can play as Catowoman (she has her own way of moving and fighting), there is a new game + mode with tougher enemies, and then there’s the Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC which still has not been played. It’s just … Arkham Asylum was simply more to Rabidgames’ tastes. It was the perfect mix of action and adventure, while Arkham City has delved to deep into action land. And still, both games are a welcome diversion from all the shooters ands fantasy RPGs, a welcome change from the usual brainless mashing of buttons and triggers. We need more games like these, where the focal point is the gameplay itself.

By the way, both games come packed with challenges where you can match your skills with hose of your friends. Yet somehow, Rabidgames doesn’t give a rat’s ass about such online competition stuff where your only rewards are achievement and the knowledge you are better than 1.901.355 other people who have tried it at least once.

Rabidgames riddles: What will come next? Arkham Valley? Arkham World? Arkham Universe? We’ll see. If Rocksteady returns to the Arkham Asylum formula, it’s a day one purchase. Hell, it’ll be a GOTY purchase in any case anyway! Just do it.

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Far Cry 3 or Fun, Choices and Insanity

Posted in Played & Explained with tags , , , on December 13, 2012 by Rabidgames

Expect some crazy spoilers here.

Okay, ending rage (2012’s motto it seems) aside, Far Cry 3 is definitely a solid shooter where the fun and gun parts are a big plus. The insanity however, is only partly voluntary …

The first thing you should know if you want to have fun with Far Cry 3 – it’s not an ordinary shooter in the veins of Corridors of Duty, it is primarily an open world game. So please don’t expect a story-driven, linear experience – instead, be prepared the real protagonist of Far Cry 3 is its open and vivid world. With that in mind, Ubisoft itself is to blame for high expectations in storytelling – don’t advertise a game as a drama to explore depths of human minds, etc. etc. when it’s all about exploration and funny ways of killing after all.

That in mind, Far Cry 3 succeeds on a gameplay level. The story missions and side missions are varied, hunting down animals with specific weapons is sometimes challenging, sometimes pure chaos, and finding all relics and letters of the lost (which tell the story of Japanese forces in WW II; spoilers: it did not end too well) require you to explore caves, to fly on hilltops with ruins or to dive into the shark-inhabited seas. You have to finish off enemy “bosses” with a knife in assassination missions, which ranges from cool (if they battle with your allies) to boring (most of the time). Furthermore, there are your usual mini-games such as poker, sharpshooting and throwing knives. That’s all good. Not that good are the completely misplaced racing challenges with no story basis and the pointless online challenges (some are alright, some are boring as hell). While you can do a lot of stuff or ignore it, you’ll tend to ignore it since the connections to anything else are thinner than any golden thread.

But hey, fuck missions, the open world is where the fun in Far Cry 3 is: If you want to take on an enemy patrol or an outpost, there are many options to choose from: Do you feel like playing Rambo, shooting them up with RPGs, machine gun fire and grenades? Do you want to rush in there with a jeep and its machine gun or do you prefer to attack from the sea? Do you want to set fire to the surrounding woods to roast them? Do you want to eliminate them from afar with your sniper or your awesome bow (easily the best weapon of the game)? Do you want to take them down via brutal melee takedowns (which can later be combined)? or, if you’re special, what about leading a tiger or a bear to the enemy? All of the above is possible in Far Cry 3, and it’s all fun. Above all – stealth actually works great. If you hide in bushes, enemies won’t easily spot you as long as you don’t do something like, well, shooting them. Be aware of dogs though. If you get spotted, you can easily run away and hide somewhere else. Enemies know your general location, but you can outsmart them easily.

As seen, choice is an elemental aspect of Far Cry 3’s open world, which also comes into play if you upgrade your arsenal: By “repairing” radio towers, you get almost all guns for free (you could also buy them, but why would you?), you can buy weapon upgrades, and after hunting animals, you get upgrades for your wallet, more weapons slots, more ammunition, and so on. Sadly, that’s where the pacing of Far Cry 3 is off: If there are two islands, why are we allowed to unlock everything but a few weapons on the first island? This makes no sense whatsoever. Exploration on the second island is rather pointless unless you’re a completionist.

Now, let’s talk about insanity: As Rabidgames mentioned, don’t expect a serious, down-to-earth drama from Far Cry 3. But still, a spoilt, annyoing, useless brat turns into Rambo within mere minutes? Just because of some magical tattoos? Dear Ubisoft, try to find the middle between your rushed characater development in Far Cry 3 (good for gameplay’s sake, bad for immersion) and the looooooong tutorial in Assassin’s Creed 3 (bad for the gameplay, good for immersion and that nice twist). It can’t be that hard.
Then, Far Cry 3 is another victim of the villain-dies-early disease: Just as in Saints Row The Third, trailers, the beginning and the plot are focussed on the one main villain … who dies halfway through. Seriously, what the holy fuck? This is insane!

The story … well, it seems as if important chunks are missing here and there: Abduction, liberation, boy-becomes-warrior-and-finds-his-meaning-in-life-or-so-he-thinks, Vaas, something else, Hoyt, and then the most insane twist ever … the ending is simply insane. But let’s put the story into a fair perspective here: First, it’s well done for most parts (let’s forget heavily scripted scenes and QTE boss battles for a minute). But second, it could have been done ten times better. Yes, it is an open world game, and yes, Just Cause 2 is fun despite having virtually no story at all, but that doesn’t always work. With Far Cry 3, Jason’s decisive moments are not fleshed out, his friends remain spoilt douche bags who should have been sold to slavers or killed and no one would have given a tiger’s left ball, and Vaas, Becker and Hoyt should have been featured more in the game. Don’t get Rabidgames wrong, the story is okay, but it’s not great, it’s a tale of wasted potential.

Now, let’s talk about scripted scenes: Remember the open world and choices? Well, forget about them in one third of the story missions of Far Cry 3. It’s either sneaking or run ‘n’ gun. Worse, many levels are strictly linear: one way in, one way out. Even worse, some are scripted – granted if you like Uncharted and timers ticking down, you won’t have a problem with it but if you don’t … you’re sometimes fucked.

And then, let’s rage: That ending. First of all, it’s insane. Well, choose if you think it’s insanely awesome or insanely awful, but it only makes sense in a mind full of drugs. So, after you are the hero of the islands and a worthy Rakyat leader, your allies abduct your friends and gently ask you to sacrifice them in order to literally sever your ties to the past. Alright, yeah … But that’s not even worth the ending rage. That one starts when you choose the bad ending, which tells you why the French associate orgasm and death. But hold on, Jason is Jesus! After the credits, Jason is alive again! Halleluja. Seriously, Ubisoft, first you dictate which ending is supposed to be good and which one is deemed bad by treating us like naughty boys, and then you resurrect a dead protagonist? Fuck off! Oh, and if you want to see what happens when you choose the other ending – bad luck, mate. Just play the last couple of missions again, which are a collection of long interactive cutscenes, a ridiculous QTE fight, one shoot-out, an airborne rails mission and some more interactive cutscenes, culminating in you making your choice. Yes, the only available auto-save is AFTER all this stuff. Oh, and forget about manual saving. Goddamn it, that fucking ending!

By the way, Rabidgames might be a bit harsh on Far Cry 3. After all, Yahtzee likes it. And is it insane if someone thinks he’s a banana?

A banana. Seriously?

Rabidgames draws his bow: For once, Ubisoft listened to the fans: Virtually all negative points of Far Cry 2 have been eliminated. That’s a good thing, of course. Plus, Far Cry 3 IS fun. Hunting pirates with your bow and explosive arrows is basically the definition of fun! And yet, what could have been great is just good once more. Sometimes, fun is a good thing, but you know, sometimes there’s more to life than a hedonistic life style … which ironically is also one of Far Cry 3’s lessons.

That Fucking Far Cry 3 QTE Boss Fight … And A Solution

Posted in Gaming these days ... with tags , , , , on December 12, 2012 by Rabidgames

Obvious bossy spoilers ahead!

Boy, what did Ubisoft think? Why taking the fun out of Far Cry 3 in such an important moment?
QTE boss fights while dreaming/high on all drugs that exist are shit. Utter shit. Well, it’s mostly that fucking QTE part which stinks (yes, Lollipop Chainsaw, Rabidgames spits at you).

Anyway, the Vaas fight was alright, but that Hoyt fight is QTE fucking galore. One mistake, you’re fucked. It makes you want to break your Far Cry 3 copy into smithereens! But don’t panic, Rabidgames has the solution.

Here’s the button combinations you have to press when QTEing Hoyt to death (/ indicating some chatter. Oh, the Y is optional):
AXBX / XB / XBA / XBX / XBAY

There’s even a youtube video, just in case you’re still overwhelmed by those flashy buttons blinking too quickly (the QTE relevant stuff starts after 5 minutes):

Rabidgames spits: To be fair, that fucking stupid QTE battle does not ruin Far Cry 3. But it’s utter bullshit. There is this Tony Montana lookalike and his huge compound … the perfect ingredients for an epic battle against hundreds of goons – and then you get to the big boss himself who greets you with his little friends … But no, instead we are punished with some fucking QTEs … Seriously, the next game with QTE boss battles should get castrated!

Oh, and then, there’s that ending … but let’s vent our unholy wrath on that another time …

The Stick of Truth Hurts

Posted in News with tags , , on December 11, 2012 by Rabidgames

At least those with a politically correct mind.

If you’re not, you’ll enjoy that insanely hilarious new trailer for South Park: The Stick of Truth, THQ’s and Obsidian’s RPG adventure in Colorado’s most famous town:

As it seems, the weird story of seems to be about a simple stick humans and elves have been fighting for since the dawn of time … or something.

We can also choose between the following classes in South Park: The Stick of Truth: Warrior, Paladin, Princess Kenny, Fat Grand Wizard … and High Jew Elf! Sadly, we don’t get to see any gameplay material.

Rabidgames prepares some spells: If it is done right, South Park: The Stick of Truth could become an amazing RPG which combines Lord of the Rings, South Park and maybe even some Star Trek … if THQ gets it right. Please, we want the complete game at launch, not 40 biblical weeks of DLC crap!

Dark Souls 2 Announced … Yawn

Posted in News with tags , on December 9, 2012 by Rabidgames

At the oh so all-important Video Game Awards, Dark Souls 2 has been announced, including this shiny trailer:

Rabidgames’ first reaction was “interesting”, but then quickly followed by “well, let’s hope it’s better than Dark Souls“.

Now don’t get Rabidgames wrong, dear Dark Souls fanboys out there. Dark Souls has its moments. The fighting system is the most elaborate and rewarding as well as the most punishing one of this generation, the experience of being thrown into a completely unknown world, the interesting leveling and experience system … it all was intriguing – at first.

Then, boredom set in. You keep on fighting the same tedious basic skeleton forever and 42 days, bosses are nothing but trial & error exercises (err, and you plough your way through hundreds of unchallenging skeletons once more on your 10 minute way to said boss), and worst of all, there was no story. In the first 10 hours, there was no fucking story at all! None, nada, nichts, ничто, nothing. It is a shame for all the good elements of Dark Souls, but yes, Rabidgames states it, Dark Souls is a borefest.

And then, those annoying fanboys. Worst of all, gaming sites like Eurogamer who promote each and every bit of useless information of the game. You hear nothing but “the game we all love” and “finally, a feast for us hardcore gamers”, even if it is about some other game which happens to be a RPG, too. And yes, Dark Souls had technical weaknesses as well – what about the framerate implosion in Blighttown?
What about the clunky controls? You don’t believe Rabidgames? Do the test. Play some Red Dead Redemption or Dragon’s Dogma or whatever game you like, then play Dark Souls again. Conclusion: The controls are clunky and imprecise. Sure, you get used to it but they’re simply not that good.

Alright, back to the point:, there is another gaming commandment: “Thou shalt not criticise Dark Souls“. And if you dare to molest the Holy Grail of gaming, you get told “you don’t get it, go back to your Call of Duty” or “dude, there is a story, it’s just not spoon-fed to you” or simply “die” … damn, those fanboys are annoying. In their elitist ivory tower, they’re even worse than that obnoxious 13-year old Black Ops fanboy screaming in your ears when his kill ratio gets even …

So yeah, back to the sequel … let’s hope Dark Souls 2 does the following things right:

  1. Keep most of your stuff. Most of it is perfectly fine and works.
  2. Story. Rabidgames needs an engaging story, not just a gnawed hint or a word thrown here and there.
  3. Implement proper controls. That ons shouldn’t be too hard.
  4. What about a safe haven immediately before a boss? No more boring strolls through peasant hordes, please.

Rabidgames might buy Dark Souls 2: If From Software listens. If not, well, leave Dark Souls 2 for those who enjoy it. Rabidgames out.

Assassin’s Creed 3 or Of Unfinished Greatness

Posted in Played & Explained with tags , , , on December 2, 2012 by Rabidgames

[Careful, many spoilers ahead! Oh, and in the game itself …]

Okay, Rabidgames has finally finished Assassin’s Creed 3. Now is not the time to talk about the bugs or some gameplay details (be they good or bad); this has already been done. This time, we’ll talk about some of the achievements and some of the integral shortcomings of Assassin’s Creed 3.

First of all, Rabidgames lied. Assassin’s Creed 3 is not finished yet. Yes, the main story is finished, Desmond’s story has come to a questionable end, and yet, while the clock is at 51 hours, the completion display stubbornly says 85%. Even now, there’s still a ton of stuff to do: 100% synching of all missions (although this is a no thanks from Rabidgames), collecting the last almanacs, completing deliveries, the fight and hunting clubs, hunting down some of the amazing pivots, and more. In terms of content, Ubisoft delivered – not exactly a matter of course in today’s gaming world. Mind you, the multiplayer of Assassin’s Creed 3 is still untouched, and with the possible exception of the promising cooperative Wolfpack mode, it’ll quite likely stay that way (unless the MP storyline is worth trudging).

Thankfully, the story of Assassin’s Creed 3 returns to the moral grey areas of the first Assassin’s Creed game: Are the Assassins really right, and are the Templars really that bad? What is more important – freedom or order? And why can’t we have both? And finally, we get to witness some irony in both times: Connor has been fighting for freedom, but what freedom did he end up with? While Connor chose freedom, Desmond chose order. Both come at a price. Most amazingly, the epilogue clearly shows that even if the Patriots were striving for freedom, it was just theirs, not freedom in general. Poor Connor. And on a grander scale, Assassin’s Creed 3 is satisfying as well: The Patriots are not solely depicted as noble gentlemen, the British and the Loyalists not as tyrants. On the contrary, both groups (and the French, of course) are hinted the be greedy white men who want to take the land from the Indians. Thank you, Ubisoft, for speaking out the truth Rabidgames once had feared would not be addressed.

Sadly, Assassin’s Creed 3’s dense story seems too twisted for its own good at times; if Haytham has known before that Washington gave the order to attack Connor’s village – why the hell did Haytham not tell Connor when he tried to seduce him to the dark side? And even worse, Washington is responsible for killing Connor’s mother, but Connor still supports him? Come on!!!! And then, there are amazingly good details to be found in Assassin’s Creed 3 (just go to Achilles’ grave and read the name of his son), but there are also stupid stories like that one: Achilles tells Connor he could pass as a Spaniard when walking throughout Boston – erm, a Spaniard with the name of Connor, dressed in Indian garb? Really? And honestly, how on earth is Connor supposed to be walking around town unnoticed in a classical fucking Assassin gown anyway – in 1770? It’s moments like these when Assassin’s Creed 3 loses immersion and credibility – it seems the scale was just too big, and some obvious details might have been taken care of if someone had taken just a step back and taken a good look at some of the trees in the woods …

The Desmond situation, joy … His sequences feel rushed – especially putting an end and to Vidic and disrupting Abstergo definitely felt rushed and bring sup the next question: Why sneaking and searching through Abstergo HQ instead of just using the Apple all the fucking time? And then, that Assassin’s Creed trilogy ending. Granted, it is not as abysmal as that Mass Effect 3 disgrace, but come on – another dea ex machina? And then Juno and Minerva are trying to convince Desmond to do what they want. And while we get to see exactly what happens if Minerva gets her way, what about Juno’s way? Nothing? No explanation, no premonition, just a muttered warning! And for fuck’s sake, give us a fucking choice (hint: Desmond is an idiot)! And honestly, Ubisoft, what about that “we bring Desmond’s story to an end”? Technically, you do – but seriously, another huge cliffhanger? Have you ever heard of the word “closure”? Look it up, please. Sorry, an ending which has only been designed to be a cliffhanger for the next game is pure bullshit, and definitely not worthy of the story arc and the artistic integrity of the games (yep, our favourite word is back once more).

Then again on the upside, there is a huge mystery: The end game of Assassin’s Creed 3. You collect some pivots (which was fun), and all of a sudden, “you’re (as in your gamertag) synchronized with the cloud” and you overhear some conversation outside the Animus. Also, there’s the sequence 5523C2302553. And the best part … no one knows what it means. Sure, the pivots main function is to unlock cheats and such, but is there more to it (remember you must be online in order to get that message)? Is it Desmond’s consciousness, somehow thrown into the Animus similar to Subject 16 aka Clay? Or have we just played a video game within a video game within a video game now (remember, there is no game over when Desmond dies, it’s just like when Connor gets desynchronised)? Or is it some organisation hacking into the Animus? And why?

Another dispitable issue are the characters. There are way too many characters in Assassin’s Creed 3, and the game has a terrible way of introducing most of them briefly (“hi, that’s my uncle’s father’s second grade nephew from Liverpool) and then neglecting them altogether for the next 10 hours – until they return out of the blue, leaving you wondering “so, who’s that guy again … let’s check in the ADB”. Then, there are guys like LaFayette – you talk to him (around sequence 9) and wonder “who is that guy now?”, checking faces with French names in the database. Speaking of the database: rarely has Rabidgames seen a game ruining itself by fucking up spoilers big time. Don’t read stuff turning up, please don’t. Except the existing database doesn’t make any sense if you don’t use it, but then again, if it contains a motherload of spoilers, you shouldn’t …

In terms of gameplay, it is surely a good thing we have much freedom in general, but why on earth is there basically no freedom in the story missions anymore? Remember the first game where you could really plan your assassinations? Speaking of them, why is a game called Assassin’s Creed, but then, not only play the Assassins and the Order a minor role in Assassin’s Creed 3, there are only a handful of proper assassinations to plan and execute. For fuck’s sake, what about meaningful assassinations sidequests (those 5 walking targets in New York don’t qualify, dear Ubisoft) at least? Why do you neglect the assassin in Assassin’s Creed? It’s where the fun is!

Yes, we should not forget the historical setting; assassins in the classical sense have kind of gone out of style, and freedom must be limited in the Animus since we’re not free to change history (well, we couldn’t anyway – remember, we’re reliving memories). While this might explain all the historical setting stuff and bonus objectives and such can be seen as “this is how it happened” – it is no excuse for a linear level design. Why is there only one single way, one linear corridor to reach the target unnoticed? Remember Assassin’s Creed 1 – granted, it was the same stuff 9 times all over, but the assassination missions granted you many different options and choices.

Let’s talk about fun (after all, fun is the most important thing in games): Again, a double-edged sword. Some missions in Assassin’s Creed 3 are plain boring. Yes, Rabidgames looks at you, you turkeyfucking chase missions. First, they are frustrating, second, they are boring, and third, they are frustrating AND boring. There is only one way to reach your goal, and it’s all about trial & error. In an open world game, such blatantly lame trial & error chores should be a big no-go area. Another funkiller looms as well; it’s the sort of  the “dramatic” Ubisoft threw in sequence 12: You’re hurt, so you can only walk painfully slowly. Well, except you can run and fight all of a sudden again for no reason, but then it’s back to limping again. But the point is: It sucks. It sucks to be forced to need a fucking minute to reach a fucking house in order to progreess. That’s not drama, and reaching a climax does not mean slowing down mere seconds before you reach it. Okay dramatic stuff and artistic integrity aside, the missions vary from “this is awesome” (huge naval battles, brawls, duels, shooting cannons) to “fuck off, you fucking piece of shit game, die, all of you” (scripted missions requiring the fucked up stealth system, or battles with and unlimited amount of soldiers, and, last and definitely least, those fucking chases).

Main missions aside, Assassin’s Creed 3 offers tons upon tons of optional content: Building your homestead and the accompanying missions are mostly fun, the economical factor is amazing in theory yet lacklustre in execution: You only need a handful of recipes, and sending convoys with that botched interface is a huge pain deep in the ass. Assassin recruits are back in Assassin’s Creed 3, but they have to be on a top level to be useful. Their special abilities come in handy here and there, but that’s about it. Unfortunately, the amazing Mediterranen Defense minigame (by far the best thing in Revelations) is gone, and you simply send your Assassins on completely irrelevant and insignificant missions to gather stuff, money and XP. Sad.

We were talking about fun, right? The most fun to be had in Assassin’s Creed 3 is the sandbox part. In cities, it means thinking of creative ways how to send your Assassins into battle most effectively, creating huge fights: At one point, it was 6 Assassins plus Connor against 30 redcoats. Connor won. In the Frontier, hunting down enemy patrols is fun as well (free-running in trees is what makes it really great), but the true destiny there is hunting. Stalking prey or suddenly becoming prey is by far the best gameplay experience in Assassin’s Creed 3. It’s a shame there are only a couple of hunting missions, too.

Rabidgames despairs: Assassin’s Creed 3 is rollercoaster lucky bag – you never know if the game will make you laugh or cry in the next 5 minutes. Then, you have a story which stumbles upon itself a couple of times, and the irony that a game about freedom does not grant you much of it in its main missions … But that’s not even the worst part; the worst part is: Despite its many achievements and the fun to be had dispatching guards and animals, despite succeeding in telling a morally ambiguous story in a mature way, Assassin’s Creed 3 is stuck in a cloud of arbitrariness:
In the battle between art and commerce, art loses in the end. All greatness is compromised by marketing constraints – not too much freedom so players can’t get lost, the release of an unfinished game (look at them bugs and glitches!), logical loopholes the size of a mass relay, no conclusion to the story so the sequel stays hot, … it’s a shame. Assassin’s Creed 3 could have become an amazing game, a figurehead next to Red Dead Redemption that gaming can cross its boundaries; but the way it has turned out, it is just another good game which raises some philosophical questions here and there, but it won’t be remembered for much more – as opposed to Red Dead Redemption. Maybe the next Assassin’s Creed will have left puberty.