November 19, 2012

Assassin’s Creed 3 (Part 2)

Finally! It’s taken the assassins about 5,000 years to train and learn the necessary forbidden skills, but it seems to have finally paid off since we can now climb trees. I do not understand why it was down right impossible for the incredibly skilled master assassins, Ezio and Altair, to simply grab a branch and pull themselves up. It cannot be much harder than leaping off buildings and catching yourself with nothing but your fingertips on a ledge a hundred feet down, but enough of the past. The first thing I thought when tree climbing was introduced was nothing short of awesome. However, I became skeptical of how such a feat could be done. Despite my bitterness for the lack of tree climbing in the past Assassin’s Creed games, I understand that it must be hard to make something organic and unique climbable. Making a forest of climbable trees without having the whole frontier look like one massive cookie cutter sheet was probably an issue Ubisoft took care to avoid. Nonetheless, Ubisoft seems to have pulled it off without making the entire frontier look like a copy and pasted mess. The mountains and trees look quite randomized and unique compared to each other. Sure, if you take the time to really scrutinize the trees, you’ll find that they are indeed pretty much the same although you won’t notice it at first glance. Not all of the trees can be climbed though, so traveling through the frontier without touching the ground once can be difficult at times (not that you need to).

Another thing that I was a little skeptical of was the new climbing system in general. The developers made a point that they were going to make the climbing more organic and contextual giving the player more freedom in what he or she could climb. With that said however, it is difficult sometimes to know where you can or can’t climb – most specifically in the frontier. It’s generally quite easy to find ledges that you can grab onto when dealing with buildings. Rock climbing however seems to be a little bit trickier since ledges and cracks are less defined, and therefore makes climbing a little bit harder. This doesn’t seem to be a huge problem though, and I’m willing to bet it is just me and my inability to see such cracks and ledges clearly since I basically just started this game.

Aside from that, I have indeed begun playing as Connor, and in doing so have been introduced to many more game mechanics. First was the aforementioned tree climbing and rock climbing. Second of many more to come is the hunting mini-game that has grown on me to the point where I have found that I love it much more than I thought I would. At first I thought that the hunting aspect of the game was fairly unnecessary due to the fact that I figured most of my time spent killing things would be in the cities assassinating those dirty Templars. I was right of course, but that doesn’t make hunting less fun. For starters, hunting in Assassin’s Creed 3 is a steady source of income and unquestionably much more fun than any other way to make money in the game. You can sell your hunting spoils (i.e. skins, hooves, etc.) for money and depending on how you killed the animal, decides on how valuable the skins you get are. So if you kill a deer by blowing its brains out with a colonial pistol, you’re going to get a less valuable pelt than if you slit its throat with a hidden blade. Shooting it is easier however since getting it with the hidden blade can be quite tricky if you don’t get it on the first try. But regardless, there’s just something I love about the hunting that doesn’t get old. Sneaking around as you draw your bow and arrow and aim at your target while delicately balancing on the branches of a tree twenty feet up holds a predatory aspect that I love… not that I know what it’s like to stalk someone from a tree…

Image Credit: Ubisoft

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