I got to level 69 yesterday. I remember when the 40s felt high.
Some of my game purchases over the last month, I decided to leave the rest for later after writing about Assassins Creed 3.
Zone of the Enders HD Collection SE
I had never played the first game before but wow, that was terrible except for the combat. The second game was much much better which was how I remember it. Both versions of the game are supposed to suffer from frame rate problems in the second game, with the 360 version having less of a problem. I installed the game to see if that would do anything and the only time I ran into slow down in ZOE 2 was during the very large battle that takes place at the end of the game where you are fighting with multiple squads of allies against massive amounts of enemies. I enjoyed the demo for Metal Gear as well, which also doesn't suffer from problems that the PS3 version has.
Assassins Creed 3
Excellent multiplayer and naval battles are what saves this game for me, I love the new ways that you can use your recruit Assassins (even though I never used them in this game because they were pointless they could still be really fun to use in a better made game). Using axes and muskets as weapons is fun and I like all the new kill animations, especially the ones that have you countering multiple attackers. The new rope dart weapon is also a lot of fun and has many different uses, although it would be a lot more fun if the game was better designed and I had more places where using it made sense. They finally did away with health potions that made it almost impossible to die in a fight, although the game is still very easy of course, and wasted your time whenever you had to buy more. Now your health just recharges when you are safe, a very welcome change. I have a very large backlog of games and any changes that get rid of anything that does nothing but waste my time is a welcome sight. Now, onto something that wastes my time.
For the first time in the series I decided to go for the achievement for completing all the optional objectives for the main story. I managed to do it but I will probably never do it again for a few reasons. This game seemed to have much more poorly thought out optional objectives, a perfect example is during a battle where you have to kill the man trying to kill George Washington. You have to rush to get to him before he kills George's bodyguards which are part of another optional objective, and you have to kill two other enemies for the last task. The only way to do this is to run to the killer, hit him so he is out of his scripted killing animations, run back kill the other two people then run back and kill the guy. Make sure you don't stab the guy in the back for an instant kill because this game was lazy with their checkpoints and will immediately give you one before the next cutscene even starts forcing you to restart the entire mission and to watch the long cutscene before the gameplay begins. Other missions had me trying to get a perfect eavesdrop only to tell me I failed, even though I heard everything they said and moved away when they were done talking. A chase scene told me not to run into anybody on the street, makes sense, it doesn't make much sense that I also couldn't run into my target. Other missions just decided not to complete an objective after I did it. Other than the achievement for completing all main mission objectives finishing them serves no purpose at all, I don't even know why they have them in side missions, most of the time they are not challenging, they are not fun, and they don't make you try new ways of play, they are just poorly thought out, annoying, and sometimes broken.
During the opening of the game you play as Connor's father and for me, as well as many others, we ran into so many bugs and glitches that we thought that the game was almost completely broken. Enemies not able to die, the counter tutorial not counting our succesful actions and leaving us stuck until we restarted the game, getting stuck on and in objects, problems with climbing, characters that are supposed to move to an area to start an event getting stuck on walls or other NPCs, etc. Thankfully, we ran into less problems once we took control of Connor. Less problems gameplay wise at least, Connor himself became a new problem.
Connor is an uninteresting character, especially when compared to the last hero of the series, and I was really wishing that his father would just kill him so that I could play as him again. I spent a lot of time doing all the side quests that I found, prioritizing the ones relating to your homestead. Even though I was going out of my way to do all the ones I saw by the time the game ended I still found that I had some homestead missions left. The last few homestead missions should really have been a necessary part of the story as it gave more back story to one character in particular and shows what happens to him.
Not doing the homestead missions is kind of like playing Mass Effect 3 after you spend your time in 1 and 2 as a renegade character, maybe losing some people in the "suicide mission" on purpose or because you hate them (Miranda and Jacob) just to add some needed drama to it, and not having a relationship with Tali, you can do it but it really hurts the story for Mass Effect 3. Don't kill off characters or add much needed depth to characters in an optional side mission that happens so late in the game that you can miss it even if you are looking for it!
Assassin recruits are now actual characters with a backstory and dialogue, I really like that, but I was disappointed when none of them but your first recruit played any role in the main story. I expected that since the other seven were all optional recruits but the first recruit didn't even get to do much. It would have been nice if they had more personality when you called them, or if you could equip them and choose who you want to call, if they lived on your homestead/base, etc.
Boston and New York are much less interesting locations than the cities of past games and give you much less room to climb on rooftops, they also make it much easier to be caught when you are climbing meaning you will likely spend your time in the cities on the ground. You can now climb on trees which his fun but sees very little use in the cities. It can be done a lot more on the frontier but there really isn't much to do out there but hunt for no reason or collect feathers for no reason, making the majority of the map pointless. Even on the frontier it can be difficult to find trees that you can climb and that are able to take you were you want to go, almost making the entire feature seem useless. I want to sneak up on enemies in the forest on trees and hang them with my rope darts but you spend so little time out there during the campaign and run into so few enemies who are anywhere near climbable trees the rest of the time that the most fun weapon in the game also doesn't see much use.
In the frontier you can make use of the games deep hunting system. You won't do that because it isn't fun, there is no payoff, and I don't feel like running around killing defensless animals for no reason. Unless I was hunting I also found no use at all for the Bow and arrows. Collecting feathers is pointless, searching for the peg leg trinkets just waste your time but does have a purpose, it can unlock four missions, the first two being worth the time spent collecting them. The third and fourth unlockable missions are boring and give you an item that makes bullets miss you, because that's what the Assassins Creed series needs, to be made even easier.
The convoy menu where you can create and buy and sell supplies is one of the most poorly designed menus that I have ever seen and basic features that should have been included, like choosing a quantity of something you want to create/sell/buy is absent forcing you to scroll through menus multiple times for each thing you want to do. Don't have enough of that one item to make what you want then you have to cancel what you were doing, scroll through more menus to get to what you need, make that (assuming you have what that needs), and enter in what you wanted again. Luckily money doesn't serve much purpose like the other Assassin Creed game so you have very little reason to bother with this anyway.
The only founding fathers you really spend any time with is Samuel Adams, most of the other people, even George Washington, have very little to do or say in the game. Franklin only has about three lines, if you wanted another well done character like Leonardo da Vinci you won't get it here.
The historical battles you take part in are all horribly done and boring. Instead of an epic battle like the one shown in the trailer of Connor charging through musket and canon fire to kill his target you have short, easy, and boring battles, it's like Mass Effect 3's ending all over again when compared to the trailers of battles on Earth. There are three battles you take part in one has you moving behind rocks every time the enemy reloads, climbing a hill, and killing the enemy general behind 100s of enemy soldiers, then jumping off the rock to safety. The next battle has you riding on a horse between three groups of men and telling them the best time to fire their muskets, somehow you avoid being shot the entire time even though you make yourself a huge target. The last battle has to firing a canon at large groups of troops, again you should have easily been gunned down, anyone could have done it, and Connor takes credit for winning Washington the battle. The historic battles were some of the laziest, most poorly designed missions I have ever played.
Desmond's three missions are almost as poorly handled as the historic battles. One has you climbing a building, running into a new character who is supposed to be some kind of bad ass only to have Desmond just punch him and knock him out while a gun is being aimed at him. The next has you looking like an idiot and trying to stand out from everyone else while the game tells you to sneak around and use crowds that you look nothing like to blend with. The third and final mission is just, hilarious, and ends the completely useless Daniel Cross' role in the story. The only good thing about being taken out of Connor's story is Shaun, talking with him is always fun as is reading the entries in the database he makes for characters, events, buildings, etc.
The Naval battles bring something new, not only to the series, but almost new to gaming in general. It's so rare to get a fun game where you are having ship battles during that time period, and even more unique to this game is that it is actually a lot of fun. Go to full sails, half, or none to change your speed, avoid or get into range of guns, to increase or reduce the winds effects on your ships turning. Load different kinds of ammunition to attack ships with what they are weak against or to destroy a ships sails to cripple it and ready it for boarding. Decimate an enemy fleet by ramming your ship through their smaller and weaker vessels. Large waves can do damage to your ship if not avoided or if you don't order your crew to brace for impact at the correct time. The environments look beautiful, and the rain and fires make the battles all the more exciting. Your commanders yell orders to the crew, react to what is going on, scream when hit, and cheer when you sink an enemy ship. The final "story" battle, technically all but the first don't need to be completed to finish the game, that has you going up against a Templar captain is probably the only well done and exciting mission that has you killing one of the main Templars. I would happily throw out the rest of the game and make a game just based around this, hip hip hoorah!
The multiplayer is back from the last two game, with new modes and abilities, and is as fun as ever. It's also great to have a well done multiplayer game that a lot of people are playing that does something different.
Angry Joe gave the perfect review for the game