“An exercise in Frustration – in regard to both story and control schemes”
I wanted to like this game. I will freely admit that I had little else but contempt for the first. I thought the second one was a borderline masterpiece…this however is simply an exercise in inconsequential story writing and filler. I say this in regard to the missions, in regard to the actual story.
To be fair, for what is provided, it is fairly well done, but it was an unnecessary game. I can’t say much without giving spoilers, but this feels unnecessary. Basically you spent all of Assassin’s Creed 2 making Ezio into an untouchable beast. In this, you spend your time rebuilding him. It basically feels like Bully Chapter 5 (for those that play it). Ezio was fun for the first game…but he has quickly gotten stale. Ubisoft need some new writers. Sure they have the cryptology puzzles down, but puzzles don’t make an action game.
Graphics – 9/10
I don’t think anyone could say the graphics on this are bad. They are quite nice. There are excellent costume designs and armor. It’s amazing how all the helms have etchings and the like (if you knew how much it cost to actually do that, you would know it was near impossible for anyone outside nobility…but that is another issue. Either way, the scenery is beautiful, vivid and very colorful.
Sound/Audio – 8/10
It’s largely atmospheric music. There was nothing particularly epic for me, but it was quite good nonetheless. Where the game excels is at its voice work. It sounds authentic. One thing that did begin to grate on me though was the odd swearing thrown every now and then in Italian. It was cute at first, but grew old fast (I think they overdid it this time).
Controls – 6/10
I never particularly liked the controls on this game. While basic wall-climbing works well, what doesn’t is jumping to ledges. It feels like the game is trying to make you suicide sometimes when you hold the controller in a certain direction, and Ezio (at times) jumps in a different direction. It very frustrating especially when you are on missions trying to get full synchronization. I died a number of times because of bad controls; I didn’t like it. I don’t mind dying, but at least make it because I made a mistake, not because of the awkward controls.
Another thing I found annoying was when you are attacking an enemy and there are civilians around. Quite often you would have your enemy lined up (you might have guys around you) and a civilian walks in and wham, you end up killing him (or even a target ally). It’s like Ubisoft wants you to mess up. Seriously, it can get very irritating. All they have to do is make it so you can’t target them, but they didn’t and again, it can affect your full synchronization for missions.
Story – 6/10
The basic premise of the game is that Desmond is looking for the Apple. That’s a worthwhile objective in itself if you’ve played the first two (it’s pretty much vital to the series). That said, you spend eight hours in the Animus doing missions to find where Ezio has stowed it away with filler story to keep you going. The makers throw in cameo appearances from Machiavelli and Da Vinci to keep you interested, but it just feels unnecessary. That doesn’t mean it won’t be enjoyable for some, but it wasn’t for me (I’ve encountered too many stories that resemble this (with the exception of the inclusion of the Animus, which is merely a plot device to extend the story). It just feels like the kind of game that is supposed to function as a link to keep you going until they are done on Assassin’s Creed 3; I personally don’t think it did a very good job of doing this.
Last-ability – 8/10
It’s surprisingly a long game (once you get past the core). There are side missions galore. You can also liberate Borgia controlled areas (ala Infamous and the infected area). It should keep the average person pretty busy. Personally I wasn’t interested in it, but there is plenty there for those that are interested.
It’s hard to give this game higher than this knowing that it is just filler. The plot isn’t particularly engaging (helping Ezio build an army is sidetracking…all you want to know is where the Apple is. Given that this is all you are trying to do, it’s pretty lazy writing). It’s hard to care for many of the characters. The one’s I was actually interested in got cut out early on (Sforza). That said, because of the quality of all the cut scenes, it’s very hard to give this game lower than what I gave it. Without the cut scenes, this would score lower, but this is not a must buy game by any stretch of the imagination. Basically, I would recommend this as a rent and nothing more. I am returning my copy.
Reviewer’s Score: 7/10, Originally Posted: 12/01/10