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Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 8:27 am
by Big slim
The ending segment actually gave me interest and hope for the next game.

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 8:54 pm
by El Canuck
Finished Syndicate.

This was a weird one in terms of my expectations going in as for the first time in the series, Unity had left me greatly cynical of Assassin's Creed games. Up until then it had an assurance that I was going to get some enjoyment out of it and Unity dashed those hopes on the rocks like Edward Kenway running down Templar ships. So, I was wary, upon playing Syndicate and perhaps my overall satisfaction stems from that sense of wariness.

The only big red flag going into this from reviewers was the ending. Everyone seemed to shit all over it, but I gotta say, both the in-era ending and modern-day ending were perfectly fine in my books. This is a serial at this point, you're never going to get a conclusive ending to the Assassins/Templars feud, it's never ending, and the First Civilization's involvement in everything only serves to extend that further. We may got conclusions to specific loose threads along the way, but temporary happy ending's and cliff hangers are the norm in this series and I was perfectly fine with everything they presented.

Gaming wise, Syndicate feels like the game Unity wanted to be. If Ubisoft Montreal had been given the extra year, I feel that Unity could have been just as good as Syndicate. Nothing that can be done about any of that now though, both games are what they are and while Unity was one whole disappointment, Syndicate was a joy.

For the first time we get TWO Assassin's to play as together: Fraternal twin siblings Evie and Jacob Frye. Evie is the dedicated Assassin who is true to the order and dutiful in her work and Jacob is the lackadaisical one, caring not for the rules and dictated by his own whims. It takes place in London, 1868 and the era is well represented, in my opinion, featuring some of London's most famous characters of the time like Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Florence Nightingale and Queen Victoria, UK Prime Minister at the time Benjamin Disraeli and his wife among others.

Many of the working mechanics from Unity are in play here again, but the combat, overlays and movement all feel vastly improved and much more functionable. Jacob and Evie both handle mostly the same, but with slight, albeit noticeable differences to make switching between them not a jarring experience between missions but also varied enough to make switching for certain side missions worthwhile. I almost exclusively played as Evie when I could, only switching to Jacob for his specific missions and Fight Club side missions. I liked her more as a character and I liked that she was the stealthier of the two, which is an asset as an Assassin no matter how you look at it in these games.

That brings me to my next point, for the first time since Ezio's trilogy, the Assassin's Creed game actually is about Assassin-ing again. In the engine used from AC III to Rogue you could full well just blast through each game like a Viking berserker swinging your sword/hatchet like a maniac and slaughtering everything wearing a Templar cross without discrimination or pause and not be any worse off for it. While there was always an element of stealth there, it wasn't critical to the game play like it was in earlier installments or even in Ubisoft's other stealth series: Splinter Cell. In Syndicate, it's much more rewarding and gratifying, but still not totally necessary to play through in stealth and Evie compliments this nicely. The enemy detection system is better than it's ever been and that makes you WANT to play stealthily just to use this function. The main storyline consists of sequences that all lead to a single big assassination job mission that can be played several different ways but all culminates in the whole role of the Assassin's order: Being fucking assassins. That got lost along the way in some of the games, but Syndicate came back around to its roots nicely.

Speaking of the Main Story. It felt to me like the writers were clearly fans of The Gangs of New York movie. Several times during the story, (particularly any scene involving main villain Crawford Starrick and/or Jacob Frye had me humming "Hands of America" by U2 from that movie soundtrack. In fact, replace Crawford Starrick with Bill "The Butcher" Cutting and Jacob Frye with Amsterdam Vallon and it's not far off from Gangs of New York, just on the opposite side of the pond. The characters have slightly different motivations, but the basic premise is there. While this may seem hackneyed, we're talking about a fifteen year old movie that they borrowed from, it's fresh enough to not seem blatantly ripped off and changed enough where they made it their own.

Evie has her own story going on involving our first ever Assassin from India, Henry Green. She's after an artifact and more or less trying to stay out of Jacob's way as he tries to take London from the Templars. Naturally there's overlap in their stories, but they both play out well and I think conclude nicely.

One other little point that I thought worth mentioning is Lydia Frye, granddaughter of Jacob who has her own subgame based in World War I, also set in London, in the general area of the Tower Bridge and involving Winston Churchill. She plays pretty much identically to Evie with a few of Jacob's exclusive skills, but the change in setting and a second female Assassin to play as is a pretty neat addition.

Gameplay: 8.5/10
Story Rating: 8/10
Side quests rating: 8/10

The graphics are sensational. This generation of games, while not majorly advanced in the obvious graphical things like previous generations have been, still do have their own power that the bring to the table and in AC's case, it's the ability to make a city really look massive and intricately detailed all at the same time. The player characters and main npc's are beautifully rendered in startlingly crisp animation that becomes really evident in the cut scenes and the menu when selecting outfits for the characters. The detailing alone is worth mentioning.

Graphics: 8.5/10

Finally, while you don't hear much music playing throughout the game, except in particular main missions, you do hear a beautiful soundtrack if you decide to just chill atop one of the synchronization points. It sort of sneaks up on me and then I'm tempted to just hang out there and listen and look around. It's the little things like that, that I find really help bring this game together.

Music/Sound: 7.5/10

Average ranking: 8.1/10. I was thinking 8/10, round it down, boom, right what I was thinking.

Final Ranking, where it sits among the other games of the series:

1. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
2. Assassin's Creed II
3. Assassin's Creed: Syndicate
4. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
5. Assassin's Creed: Rogue
6. Assassin's Creed: Revelations
7. Assassin's Creed III
8. Assassin's Creed V: Unity
9. Assassin's Creed

While great and very enjoyable, to the point where I liked it more than two of Ezio's games and Rogue, it's still not above AC II or Black Flag. Which are still the two "Must-Play" games I would recommend to any newcomer to the series.

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:13 pm
by El Canuck
One more thing I forgot to mention: One mission takes you to the Kenway mansion and has a pile of little mementos lying around from Black Flag. In my mind all I could hear was The Parting Glass.

The songs referenced:

The Hands that Built America, listen to this and think of the ending of this game and the cut scenes of Jacob and Starrick throughout and tell me this doesn't blend perfectly with it. Also, look at Daniel Day-Lewis there and tell me Crawford Starrick doesn't remind you of him.

The Parting Glass, sung in character by Anne Bonny, voice actor in spoken dialouge was Sarah Greene, no idea if she's the one singing here.

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:36 pm
by Big slim
I might have to pick up Black Flag for my PS4. I have an itch to play as a pirate.

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:38 pm
by El Canuck
I still have a free digital version of it I can download for the XBox One, evidently. Although, I still own it on 360, so the download would be pointless for more than minor graphical improvements.

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:49 am
by Big slim
I can see after the next game (possibly 2), the series having a sort of soft reboot. With a new modern protagonist getting involved in the Templar/Assassin War. Shaun and Rebecca's story could wrap up in a way and we get new tech and historical support.

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:13 am
by Big slim
So, I just accidentally deleted my Syndicate file from my PS4 and all the data from it is lost, so no Dreadful Crimes and no Darwin/Dickens Conspiracy.

Its gonna be one of those Sundays.

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 10:55 am
by El Canuck
I don't really see a need to wrap things up for Shaun and Rebecca, I rather like both of those characters and I think they're finally getting the modern sequences right, in that it doesn't interfere with the main game for more than cut scenes here and there. Plus, for returning players, they're about the one constant, familiar presence in the whole game.

How did you manage to delete your file, Slim?

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:53 am
by Big slim
Not playing attention, I hit the wrong sequence of things when selecting the game.

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:16 pm
by El Canuck
Ouch, that bites.

Speaking of Shaun and Rebecca, what did you think of that new female Assassin in the modern day sequences? She seems mentally unhinged, especially once you read her bio, which gives insight into why she's in such a mental state. However, given her abilities, she seems like a good candidate should they want another player character in modern day sequences. It almost seems like her appearance foreshadowed as much.

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:41 pm
by Big slim
I thought she was going to betray them and wind up killing either Shaun or Rebecca. I'm glad she didn't and she seems to be a fun member to add to the team.

Nucks, what do you think of a possible romance between Shaun and Rebecca? If well paced it could be a nice wrinkle to add to the modern story.

And I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Bishop is actually Desmond's mom. Wild guess, but why not?

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 3:50 pm
by El Canuck
She's a loose cannon, but after reading her bio in the game's encyclopedia, I had no doubts of Galina's allegiance.

I think Shaun and Rebecca are as close as siblings, but it's been revealed that Rebecca is a lesbian, so I think that's as far as things will go for them.

Also, I think Bishop looks WAY too young to be the mother of a man who would now be 28 (The modern day sequences follow our own timeline) The woman looks mid thirties at most.

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 4:31 pm
by Big slim
Where did they reveal Rebecca's sexual orientation?

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:32 pm
by El Canuck
I'm trying to find it, if I remember correctly it was stated by her voice actress (Eliza Jane Schneider) in an interview, though this fruitless Google search is proving that I may well be wrong about that.

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:07 pm
by AndyF1069
Quick thoughts on Rogue anyone?

I've still got III and IV to playthrough, but I have the chance to pick Rogue up in a discount games bundle but I already have two of the games included in the bundle so I'm not desperate to buy it. If Rogue is recommended then I might go ahead and get the bundle.

It also includes the China Chronicles but that doesn't interest me too much.

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:29 pm
by El Canuck
If you liked III and IV at all, then you'll like Rogue as well. You'll be playing as a Templar in the North Atlantic and St. Lawrence River, the controls are identical to III and IV in all aspects, the story is between III and IV, both chronologically and bridges the Kenway stories quite nicely. If not for Unity coming out at the same time, I think Rogue would have gotten more attention, but as it was, it was pretty overlooked for the mess that Unity became.

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:32 pm
by El Canuck
El Canuck wrote:
Finished Rogue. The ending sets up AC Unity in quite the surprising and shocking way. A few achievements and minor collectibles left that I could still get, a few locations in the Navy Campaign to see, but for the most part I've collected everything and gotten 100% sync in all missions.

As for the game itself, I thought it was an amalgamation and wrap-up of AC III and IV. It took place right between the two games and featured appearances by characters from both games. Most notable is the appearance of Haytham Kenway, the link between III and IV's protagonists (Edward Kenway's son and Connor Kenway's father). They tried to make the Templar's the protagonists here, but outside of Shay and his motives and the amiable, if misguided (in my books anyway) Christopher Gist, I thought they failed on that front. Haytham is still the biggest asshole around, even if the player character is working with him, he still comes off as a pompous, obnoxious douche. His father was twice the man he was. The only thing positive I can say about Haytham is that at least he's more fleshed out and well rounded than his son.

The other Templars they try to paint in a noble light, but Gist and Monro are the only ones who seem to have any redeeming qualities. The rest play the "We're trying to save the world from the Assassin's" card, but it's a thinly veiled "We want control of everything and everyone and every penny." Even the modern day Templars come across that way, especially that Otso Berg character. There's two types in the Templar group, either they put up the smokescreen of saving the world from the Assassin's, or they're buying into the lies of the first. It's a tangled, shitty web and they throw the player right into it as an unwilling participant.

The side quests were enjoyable, but they were cut and paste from AC IV for the most part. (Even the last legendary ship battle was similar to AC IV's most difficult.)

Story Rating: 7/10
Side quests rating: 6/10

Gameplay wise, it's an amalgamation once again. The best parts of both games with the shoddy parts of the engines trimmed down neatly. This has been the best game so far since the Ezio games in terms of free running. The least glitchiest of them all and very fluid. The fighting is identical to III and IV, if you liked those, Rogue will suit you just fine. That goes double for ship control. It's a duplicate of IV, right down to the feel of the ship. (Though I still say the Jackdaw is superior to the Morrigan, but I might be biased in that assessment).

Gameplay: 9/10

As for the Music, the shanties and tavern songs are cut a paste from AC IV, but they threw in a few more of each for good measure. The main theme is easily one of my favourite AC themes to date. I stop and listen to it every time before loading up the game. Outside of a few new compositions superimposed over the cut scenes, there's nothing to really stick out from AC IV.

Music/Sound rating: 6/10

Graphics: Identical to AC III and IV. It is set in the North Atlantic and St Lawrence Rivers, so its setting is similar to AC III, but it looks exactly the same as IV. Same non-VIP NPC's, same ships, same icons, same marine wildlife. The land animals are from AC III, some are new, like Polar Bears, but there's not a lot of change. It's familiar, I'll give it that.

Graphics: 7.5/10

Average rating overall: 7.1/10. Better than Unity, but just a touch too much retreading and a lacking storyline brought it below AC IV for me.

Ranking. Where would I put it among the other AC games? Well, going by the list I put up after rating Unity:

1. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
2. Assassin's Creed II
3. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
4. Assassin's Creed: Rogue
5. Assassin's Creed: Revelations
6. Assassin's Creed III
7. Assassin's Creed V: Unity
8. Assassin's Creed

Right there. I enjoyed it more than Revelations, but not as much as Brotherhood. It plays just like Black Flag for the most part, but the reason it fell so low was because of the storyline. I just didn't connect with it and enjoy it as much as Black Flag, II or Brotherhood. It was nice to finally have a game featuring Newfoundland, but it was poorly represented. I get that they were basing it off maps at the time, but we now know those maps to be incorrect. It's not like the landmass shifted and changed based on cartography advancements. At the very least, they could have defined the Avalon and Burin peninsulas more and made St. John's actually look like St. John's.
Also, my more detailed review from a few pages back.

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:33 pm
by AndyF1069
There are so many games that I lost track of what came when and which games were considered good and which were bad. I know that syndicate is the most recent game and that Black Flag is fourth chronologically. It's silly that I have to resort to wiki to know the order of game releases.

I've been debating on which game (in general) that I want to try next and I've been leaning heavily towards Assassins Creed. If I end up caring enough about the story then it sounds like Rogue will be a smart purchase to make.

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:16 pm
by AndyF1069
Gave AC:III a try, but the PC controls are god awful and controller support isn't enabled for this one. I'm mildly intrigued by the character so far, but the controls are ruining it for me.

I'm debating on if I should just skip it entirely and move on to IV (which my ps4 controller works on). I'm hesitant because of missing out on the story.

Re: Assassin's Creed: The Thread.

Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:00 pm
by El Canuck
Well, the Kenway story unfolds out of line with when the games were released. Here's the order that they play out chronologically:

(Order, from first to last/Game title/Player character/Era/Location)

1. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag - Edward Kenway, mid 1710's, Caribbean.
2. Assassin's Creed: Rogue - Shay Cormac is the player character, but Edward's son Haytham is heavily involved, 1750's to 60's, North Atlantic/St. Lawrence River
3. Assassin's Creed III - Connor Kenway, 1770's through the 1780's, New England to New York.

Assassin's Creed: Unity is loosely tied into it. If you have either an X-Box 360 or a PS3, I'd recommend going out and getting III used. You'd get it for about $10 (I don't have a pounds stirling symbol on my keyboard, but it would be about the same) just to complete the trilogy later. It's worth the play-through if you can get it on console.