Horsing Around in Assassin's Creed 3 - shootist2600 Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Horsing Around in Assassin's Creed 3

I can't help but ruin most games by puttering about willfully ignorant of guidelines, control configuration or mission objectives. Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed 3 is no exception. The joy of discovery is what motivates me, especially in open world games, though that unbridled joy can turn to unmitigated rage sometimes LOL.

I played (I use that term very loosely) the very beginning of the game, experiencing the open seas and the environs of Boston. Oh and the Animus or whatever, but don't ask. I only played less than a third of the first game and moments of the second, and what I know of the story can fill a matchbook.

Haytham Kenway (above) is the star of the show at the beginning. He can make frilly cuffs look tough, though not as the tenderfoot I play him as. At least below deck he can do no harm, right? And BTW, the details are gorgeous in this game, with elaborate textures, realistic lighting and seemingly authentic design whether settings or wardrobes.

The boat Haytham is on at the beginning is impressively realized whether above or below deck. And just like in modern times, workers apparently believe they are paid to gossip, game or cause trouble instead of actually perform their jobs. Gasp! Haytham must be chomping at the bit to lay down the law.

Fortunately for him, his naive shipmates are only to happy to oblige. The melee tutorial features combat similar to previous installments in the franchise, focusing on alternating blocks and attacks, and countering moves. Even with on screen direction I still got walloped but good.

Haytham is not one to be trifled with, not always anyway, and lets fly his wounded ego when confronting the captain. The dialog and voice acting is pretty good, though facial animations and expressions can be more stiff than loose. Or maybe colonists were generally uptight, befitting the oppressive royal yoke around their collective neck.

Getting away from it all on the open seas entails walking the plank or a mast. Well, I'm not sure this qualifies as the latter, but it's hard not to explore in a game with solid platforming mechanics. Good thing hats in this bygone era apparently were tarred to one's noggin.

Two heads are better than one, and the spotty collision detection in this game guarantees awkward encounters such as this (above), though shipmates stuck on a ship at sea for months on end might not mind the cozy confines.

One of the thrills of the previous games was taking a nose dive off a high perch and into the unbelievably soft embrace of a small pile of hay. Let's see you do that, David Blaine! In any event, I was eager to experience that particular thrill again. In retrospect, too eager as I thought the game would keep me from leaping to my death. It didn't.

The nights grow awfully long when stuck at sea day after day. Without any Irish Spring to take the edge off, the journey can seem that much longer.

Despite their seeming familiarity, Haytham and the captain are not fond of each other. That said, they must share a weird telepathic link as their lips didn't move during this exchange. The spectacle of otherwise well produced cut scenes can be undermined by such shortcomings.

Fighting is one tradition these sailors take seriously and they engage at every opportunity. Sword fighting is introduced here and features similar moves to regular melee combat. Which is to say, I was more belle of the ball than skilled swordsman in this encounter too. Thankfully practice makes perfect, in theory at least.

The only thing worse than being stuck at sea is being stuck at sea, in churning waters, with a foe on one's tail. Thank goodness Haytham is skilled at sailing even if I am a hapless landlubber, and that scripted events typically unfold by design.

Ubisoft's recreation of colonial Boston is a sight to behold. Not as dense or vast as other cities visited in the franchise, it nonetheless impresses with its attention to detail and historical period. I haven't explored it to any great degree but my brief visit was memorable.

People might not warm to Haytham, especially as the pushy, impatient lout he becomes with me behind the controller, but dogs (and cats) are truly his best friends. Too bad he can't recruit them for the assassins!

This female inkeeper (above) was none too fond of Haytham but, unlike others, she wasn't afraid to show it. Getting to close to her prompted her to throw down her broom, straighten up and shove Haytham with all her might. A couple times he almost fell over a chair LOL. And once, she pursued him out of the room just to push him. My favorite moment!

I don't know why, but horses and glitches go together like hand and glove when I play games. In this game and Red Dead Redemption, I found a spot where my horse gets stuck and proceeds to slide back and forth over and over. Hardly a glamorous glitch but it proved entertaining enough for a while.

The videos (above) are likely too long and insufferable as is, but I swear the interminable laughter was not my kids but some orphan children in-game! Lucky for you hehe.

Last and likely least, I managed to maneuver my horse inbetween these redcoats just because I could. They, predictably, just ignored the stupid colonist.

I've played precious little of Assassin's Creed 3 but am eager to return to its impeccable historical period and proven gameplay. Platforming and exploration for me has always been the real joy of this series, but thankfully the gameplay is solid enough so that combat too can be entertaining.

I have read that horse riding was awful but so far found it fine. And of course the presentation is impressive. Oh, the one caveat to this point is that I HATE ranged combat. Using I think L1 (PS3) for aiming is standard enough, but you have to be in range of a foe, and then I believe it's the triangle face button that fires. Huh?

Hopefully I can reconfigure, though I understand the more useful and regular actions were mapped to the trigger buttons if I remember correctly. In any event, I didn't have too many other issues and can't wait to hit the wilderness so in the meantime, thanks for reading!

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