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Friday, December 30th, 2011 10:37 pm
I wrote a long entry about ACR and fucking Firefox ate it, so here I am posting everything again.

The story lacked purpose and felt disjointed. You had two main threads, the quest for the Masayf keys and the political ascension in Constantinople, but neither held much personal stake for Ezio. I don't know what's in the library, let alone why Ezio should care to go to so much trouble, aside from finishing his father's life goal. Maybe he had a lot of overdue library books to return? LOL Good thing Altair's not alive anymore to charge him a fee! In all seriousness though, the motivation behind that quest was weak, and I couldn't make myself care much even at the end. As for the fight over the sultan's throne, Ezio had even less reason to be involved, except to impress his cute uke boyfriend, Prince Suleiman. Seriously, for no reason whatsoever, he decides to become Suleiman's personal assassin and goes around knifing anyone that gets in the kid's way. (Come to think of it, this is probably how Giovanni hooked up with Lorenzo, LOL). True, there were some Templar influences thrown in, but those seemed more like an afterthought that the writers included to try and give Ezio's involvement some legitimacy.

Along with the lack of purpose, we are treated to few new characters, most of which lacked any significant depth. So Yusuf is cute and bouncy, Sofia is kind of a book nerd, but we don't get to see more of their personality beyond that. Except for Prince Suleiman, the other main characters really didn't have anything interesting about them. I had such high hopes for the leader of the guilds (particularly the Romani), but they didn't even get a name! And why were there no cameos from AC2 and ACB? Even a small hint of Machiavelli or La Volpe or Leonardo would have been fantastic. *sigh* I just felt like in every interaction, Ezio was the outsider... and that meant he never had a deep relationship with anyone. People seemed shallow because we, as Ezio, never really saw more than skin deep. In fact, my favorite cutscene didn't even involve our old assassin - it was the chess game between Suleiman and Ahmet, which was a nice little metaphor for the political battle raging in Constantinople.

The core gameplay is still the same, although combat is so easy that you can basically button mash your way through every fight. (Does anyone remember how fucking hard it was to counter in AC1? Now you can press at practically any time and auto-kill enemies). The new bombs are interesting from a tactical standpoint, but honestly, I didn't use them very much outside of a few story quests. You already have so many weapons and guilds at your disposal that they don't feel essential, and sometimes it's just easier to hire thieves or hack-and-slash your way through, instead of putting together a complicated tripwire bomb with a smoke decoy. Den defense could have been good, except I only did it the one time during the tutorial, since I was careful to keep my notoriety down. Finally, what was the point of buying up stores and landmarks? Unlike in ACB, where Ezio is undoing the damage that the Borgia had wrought, here that minigame just felt completely out of place. Am I Ezio Auditore the assassin, or Ezio Auditore the venture capitalist with an eccentric choice of clothing and a penchant for stabbity-stabs?

So I've ranted about all the disappointments in ACR, but honestly, it's not a bad game. The elements that made me fall in love with the Assassin's Creed series are still there, and they are the highlight of the game. The environments are beautiful, the buildings very unique and detailed, and we still have our wonderful climbing puzzles (although I felt there were less in this installment). I especially loved the maiden's lighthouse, where you retrieve the final Masayf key, and the sidequest at Vlad Tepe's castle to retrieve his sword. Visiting Cappadocia was also a nice change of pace, with the very dark, somber mood. I really wish we were able to explore more cities like in AC2, each with its own unique architecture and culture. Every time I send my assassins on the missions to other cities, I want to scream, take me along! Please! Maybe in AC3, Ubisoft will finally allow us to do more than play out little menu text adventures >_>.

Oh, and finally, Desmond's sequences deserve their own special paragraph of hatred. Whoever thought that a first-person platformer was a good idea should be dragged out into the street and shot. Seriously, how the fuck am I supposed to gauge distances for jumps when I can't even see where I'm standing?! I wanted to throw my controller at my TV at times. Finally just gave up after sequence 2. I mean, it doesn't get more boring than running through drab, grey and white environments while Desmond monologues about his past. If this is what the writers consider good story-telling, then well... congratulations, Ubisoft. You just managed to steal everything from Portal except, you know, the elements that made Portal fun.

In summary, the game's not bad, it just didn't live up to my expectations. The enjoyable moments were few and far between, while a lot of other elements got tacked on with no real plot purpose. I do have to say that I loved Ezio the minstrel, though. That was by far my favorite mission XD. I can only hope Ubisoft releases a skin~ so I can run around tra-la-laing to annoy the populace.