EDIT: At the time of this post, I have actually gotten the Platinum trophy in Rogue and thus finished everything in the game 100%.
The negatives(So, everything)
I've put aside my shame(I have no shame) and I'm going for the Platinum Trophy in Rogue. I've now spent the last 10 something hours collecting and fighting and running and hiding and I feel as though I have no soul left inside of me. This game has sapped me dry. But, it has rekindled and sharpened and refined and clarified and blah blah blah the reasons I don't like this game. I figure if anyone out there is still on the fence, or is just interested in knowing why me, a shameless(I still have no shame) Assassin's Creed fanboy dislikes this game, then I'm gonna boil it down.
I've already discussed why I think the story is Grade A crap so I'll skip all narrative and move straight to gameplay.
The free-running navigation is the most unreliable and unpredictable I've ever seen. Ever. And this series used to have janky ass navigation. Nope, Rogue has outdone itself here and shines like the shitstar it is with a free-running system that will surprise you in every terrible way there is. Shay constantly clips through trees, falls off of ledges, flat-out refuses to jump or climb or free-run his way over a fence. You'll come to a full, dead stop. You'll have to wiggle around and try to climb over and over and over again as he just stands there holding his ass and not doing anything. And again, just for clarifications sake, this is not typical Assassin's Creed jank. This is beyond anything I've seen in previous entries and it's made my blood come to a boil so many times today it's not even funny. In fact, it's kind of sad.
Personally, I thought they pretty much fixed the free-running in Black Flag. I never seemed to jump anywhere I didn't want to go, most of the time(I seemed to constantly jump everywhere while on The Jackdaw, but never anywhere else). I felt like I was in total control. I have no idea what happened, but it's one hell of a shame. You're going to be running and jumping and climbing more than you will do anything in this game so the fact they fucked it up is pretty bad.
Combat sucks now more than ever.
If anyone remembers AC3(Aside from how terrible everything was) they will remember fast-paced and easy combat. Responsive. Enabling. "Layered". You were near constantly overpowered. Combined with your huge arsenal of weapons and Connor's crazily brutal combat animations it was a total blast to get into fights. Then, they did something to it in Black Flag and made it kind of suck(Okay, really suck). They took away enemy health bars and turned it into more of a rock-paper-scissors simulator than anything I've ever seen. And I've seen a rock-paper-scissors simulator!! The only way to kill enemies anymore was get them into ridiculously long and fucking stupid combos and then you'll begin your killstreak and THEN you can kill enemies with ease. And due to the often close proximity of being on a ship, it could make things easier. But it was still frustrating and unnecessary. For example, if you dropped the combo due to being hit or just not hitting the enemy fast enough, you'd have to work the combo back up all over again.
You couldn't just hit or fight enemies anymore. You had to combo and combo and combo. It was lifeless and boring. The only thing that made it ehhhh, "great" is because Edward had 4 pistols and you could lay waste to a whole group of enemies in just a second. It made up for it sometimes, provided you have ammo anyway.
And just to be absolutely clear while we are on the subject: Shay's animations are an exact copy and paste of Edward's from Black Flag. I have seen all of the animations and not a single one is new. Connor got new animations, I'm pretty sure Aveline got new animations. Adewale had some new stuff too. Not Shay though, fuck that guy(And yes, fuck that guy).
|"Fuck you Shay Patrick Cormac" - 2spookyman|
Rogue takes it a step further with its unreliability by making it impossible to even attack people at very rare intervals. At times you'll have to wait for an enemy to go into "combat mode" before you can fight him, which will again cause you to come to a full, dead stop as you wait and wait. Sure, it's rare, but you'll be fighting a llllllllot in this game and so it really stands out when you're trying to sneak kill a guy and his buddy sees you and now you suddenly can't stealth kill this guy or fight him because he's not ready yet. You just have to wait. Goddamnit.
Couple these things with the INSANE AMOUNT OF COLLECTIBLES IN THIS GAME, and you've got one hell of a cocktail. But wait! This cocktail has a special ingredient! It's... shit. The ingredient is shit.
I have had so many instances of running away from enemies and attempting to jump over something, anything, it really doesn't matter, and SHAY STANDS THERE. Or when he jumps he won't jump over, but jump at the fence, hitting it like an invisible wall and falling back to the ground and standing there again.
I started my other post by saying I will explain why I love this game, and also why I hate it, but I don't think I ever loved this game, or even liked it. I saw the naval combat and fell in love with Black Flag again. It's like that scene in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty where Raiden meets "Solid Snake" on the bridge to Shell 2. Solidus Snake introduces himself as Solid Snake, prompting "Iroquois Pliskin" to reply "NO! That is NOT Solid Snake!". This game is an imitation of Black Flag 2.0, but it is not Black Flag 2.0.
Hunting is useless!
Black Flag made an interesting change to crafting armor and accessory items by allowing you to either hunt the animals needed, or just buy the pelts/skins/hides from the store and craft the items yourself. It was fun deciding to spend all of your money on animal carcases to make yourself better so you didn't have to go out to the high seas and look for the animals, then hunt the animals, then look for more animals. I mean, it was fun too, but if you're lazy like me it can make all the difference.
Problem with Rogue is, and I've noticed many other people talking about this as well, is that you find these designated places on the map where these specific animals are supposed to be. Issue? They aren't there. I know I went through the whole game without seeing a single animal in one of those zones. Aside from the sea creatures you can harpoon out in the ocean(They are always there and easy to find), I bought all of my upgrade materials from the store. Those animals just weren't there.
I personally spent about an hour or so of my total gametime searching for specific animals that I needed to, say, upgrade my health, or how much ammo I can carry. And every time, there was nothing there. I don't mean "Not enough to craft the item", I mean "Not a single animal in the entire area". It's funny though, because some time after I beat the game, as I was going everywhere to get collectibles, that's when I started seeing animals everywhere. I know for a fact it's not random, there are always supposed to be animals in those designated zones, but it just didn't take until a while after I had already finished it. It's very frustrating, but I guess that's what Rogue has going for itself.
That's a popular topic for Assassin's Creed recently. While I haven't had any crazy framerate drops(Aside from that one time I had a crazy framerate drop, but that was only once and has never happened again), I have not frozen one time, and I certainly haven't fallen through the world, there have been some bugs.
I am going to consider the whole free-running mechanic to be a bug because it always seems to freak out and Shay ends up falling off of everything which causes you to have to go around and try whatever you were doing again, which is problematic during areas where you have to climb a series of trees and other objects to get to a new area. And I mean "falls off". You could sit on a tree branch for like 2 minutes with no issue, then you start to move him and he slips off and he's somewhere else now. It's the worst.
The gas mask is not only entirely useless, it also borks your game right up. I used to try to use the gas mask pretty heavily in the early game where it seems like every enemy has a gas grenade and maybe you want to use your Air Rifle to throw down some gas of your own. You know, using the tools the game provided you to succeed. But nope. The gas mask always bugged out for me and caused things like this to happen:
What happened before the video was this Assassin saw me coming and popped out with a smoke grenade. I saw the prompt for the X button(PS3), to put on the gas mask and negate the effects. And then... that happened. I had to restart to a checkpoint because Shay decided that interpretive dance was the way to go.
It happened a few more times and that's when I decided the gas mask had to go. To be fair though, after a couple of days passed and I began using it again, nothing terrible happened. But that anxiety was always with me.
...Some good, some bad, some that kill
I already gave what I consider my "professional"(I am not a professional!) opinion by giving the game 2 Joakims out of 5, but if I had to say anything on top of that, the game functions, it's just shit. You could totally pick this game up and go to town and play it and complete it. Who knows, you may not even experience some of this. They might even patch some stuff. The issue is a collective of things. The animations being ripped straight out of Black Flag, the combat fucking up, the free-running constantly doing anything but what you want it to. The fact that there are several giant sections of the world only for the collectibles that no mission will ever take you to(And therefore is totally useless). It works, just not very well. As I said above, I think "cash grab" is too unfair and maybe even a little vitriolic. I'm good with calling it a shitty game and moving on(I say that but here I am, talking about it again...)
It's not going down in the history books as the worst game ever made, or even the worst Assassin's Creed(That belongs to Liberation. Now THAT'S a fucked up game!), but it's bad. "Buy or rent?" I don't recommend you play it. At all. If you did like Black Flag it will warp your memories and replace the good with the bad. If you didn't like Black Flag, you will most certainly hate it with a vitriolic passion. It's a lose-lose.
If you have more questions, say, about the story, I do answer some of that in my original blog(Spoiler alert: I think it's terrible) as well as in the comments but feel free and ask. I've beaten it once, went through and picked up all of the collectibles and side missions and I'm almost done with the Naval Campaign stuff. I'll be going back through the story for the rest of the 100% synchronization as well.
Because I hate myself, I guess.
And that's it. The final nail. The finail, if you will.