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View Full Version : One problem that sets AC's core gameplay experience apart from other AAA games.



Fatal-Feit
07-12-2015, 10:23 AM
It's not snappy enough. It's too... *gulps*...cinematic. Don't close the page, HEAR ME OUT!

There's a saying that's been repeated many times with AC throughout the years. Unity, especially. When the game works, IT REALLY WORKS. It's gorgeous. And there's really no other sensation like it. Not in any other game. AC has this unique touch with its quality that truly makes you feel immersed in its world. A real visceral world. That's why demos, despite playing the same, often looks absolutely outstanding compared to the final product. Why gameplay gifs (http://media.giphy.com/media/ugKmdd4Bu3iNO/giphy.gif) and pro gameplay videos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPqZv2GcbXM) make the games look incredible. But for most of the experience, YOUR EXPERIENCE, you have endure a batch of awkward controls, sluggish animations, etc, etc. Even the best of players are often running into strange, klutzy situations. It's always inevitable in Let's Plays or Live Streams. You guys know what I'm talking about. This is something that's been present in every entry. And it's the very reason why many people feel the gameplay is becoming worse and worse, despite the clear improvements in every aspect.

I've been messing around in other games, especially the big hitters like Witcher, Arkham, Bayonetta, Metal Gear Solid, and one of my favorite series, DMC. There's something all of these games have in common with their core gameplay that, IMO, makes other AAA games feel superior to AC. Almost everything related to gameplay is snappy. Controls are punctual. Press the attack button and the characters does it in an instant. It's expeditious. --Heck, even The Order: 1886 got it right. It's obvious, and you're probably shaking your heads at me, but you know what, the developers don't seem to get it. The demos of the new games surely looks fantastic, and I'm sure the game can play exactly like that, or even better, but first-hand gameplay comes off delayed... sluggish. This needs to be a topic. Every single time they rebuild the engine and deliver a completely new entry, this is one of the biggest problems with the gameplay. This is why, even though Unity blows Black Flag out of the water (pun intended) with its level designs, superior mechanics, etc, I can't help but believe Black Flag has better gameplay. It just does. And I mean, I HAVE spent a long time mastering the gameplay mechanics in BF and Unity. 600+ hours in BF and 350+ in Unity, if that means anything. Let's, for example, compare taking down a sniper from a watch tower and escaping. Unity SHOULD be better. It has upper-left/right climbing, super jumps, farther ledge grab distance, and controlled descent. And FAR superior animation quality. What can go wrong, am I right? Well, unfortunately everything. Animations are beautiful, but the controls are a lot more sticky and sluggish. When I boot up Black Flag and do the same thing, I'm just mesmerized by how much better it felt, despite not having any of the advantages Unity had. And worse quality animations. Climbing and pressing the X button to the kill the sniper was no longer a gamble of expectation, it was something more precise. And if I boot up Brotherhood and compare Black Flag to Brotherhood in this test, I may think the same thing too.

TLDR; The next major title desperately needs better focus on gameplay responsiveness over animation quality. These are games, not movies. Spontaneous visuals can only get you so far.

[EDIT] OFF TOPIC: The thread about Horizon: Zero Dawn being the AC3 sequel someone wanted compelled me to write this thread. The game doesn't interest me at all, TBH, and replaying the gameplay trailer made me echo in my head ''honestly, aesthetics aside, everything in the gameplay is samey stuff with seemingly outdated animations, physics, etc'', but in the back of my head, I just knew it will be an amazing game. And that's because the developers focused on precise and snappy controls. Watching the character hide in the bushes or switching to another weapon wasn't as visually spontaneous as what's in AC, but it obviously played heck of a lot better. That is exactly what I want to see in the next major AC game.

X_xWolverinEx_X
07-12-2015, 10:51 AM
u ***in wot m8

Namikaze_17
07-12-2015, 11:02 AM
Good post.

I mean ever since AC3, the developers have been fixing mistakes of the past. I personally believe the next game will get feedback from Unity and fix the issue(s).

But as ever, It'll be filled with negative comments and ends on conversations on how "things have turned for the worse" later on.

Fatal-Feit
07-12-2015, 11:02 AM
u ***in wot m8

i dun did a thread. shocking, amirite?

X_xWolverinEx_X
07-12-2015, 11:05 AM
very shocking

Fatal-Feit
07-12-2015, 11:08 AM
But as ever, It'll be filled with negative comments and ends on conversations on how "things have turned for the worse" later on.

Yeah, I mean, I'll still defend the later titles to the death. They're not worse games. I would argue they're better. Like I said, the devs improved almost every single aspect. However, this is the one thing that seemingly gets worse and is really holding back the gameplay.

pacmanate
07-12-2015, 12:47 PM
I honestly think a bigger problem is story and removing little features for no reason.

Human Shield? Rock Climbing? Picking up bodies/weapons?

Theres probably much more that they remove that annoys me. They never build on top of stuff, they remove stuff and add new stuff.

Im replaying AC4 right now and am just going mission to mission and this game I think has one of the longest stories that also flows the best in any AC game.... then you get Unity which is shorter, a revenge story and just isn't as cohesive.

Shahkulu101
07-12-2015, 01:07 PM
I think you've hit the nail on the head. I've always thought that AC just doesn't feel anywhere near as smooth and responsive as other stealth-action titles and the controls have always been awkward. Unity was the worst in this regard what with the horrible cover system. The inconsistent and highly unrealistic AI just adds to the games roughness.

After nearly a decade it's really disheartening that the core mechanics in still pale in AC comparison to pretty much every AAA title in its genre. As long as they are the only ones creating historical open worlds though, I'll still buy the games. Perhaps they need competition of that sort in order to raise their game.

Sushiglutton
07-12-2015, 01:55 PM
Interesting... Since I haven't played Unity I can't really comment. But I think I have played a game with similar issues as you describe: GTA V. The movement in that game is just awkward compared to better playing TPS games, but the animations frequently look great. It's probably a technically difficult dilemma. If you want more natural animations they need to be longer. And it's harder to snap between animations because they are so detailed that the transition looks less natural if the game allows it. (I'm just guessing here obv lol). So the "solution" is less responsiveness.

I'm with you though, snappiness is super important quality that feeds feel-good-hormons into my brain :)!

Oh and that "someone" was me ;)! I agree that H looks a bit choppier, but gameplaywise more fun for sure. I mean compare the hunting scenario in the demo with one in AC3....



I honestly think a bigger problem is story and removing little features for no reason.

Human Shield? Rock Climbing? Picking up bodies/weapons?

Didn't they have pretty good resons to remove these though? I mean Human Shield was removed to make combat harder and promote stealth. Rock Climbing was removed because they needed a natural way to block the interior of the islands. Picking up bodies/weapons served almost no purpose, because guards didn't react to dead bodies anyway and their weapons were poor.

pacmanate
07-12-2015, 02:20 PM
Didn't they have pretty good resons to remove these though? I mean Human Shield was removed to make combat harder and promote stealth. Rock Climbing was removed because they needed a natural way to block the interior of the islands. Picking up bodies/weapons served almost no purpose, because guards didn't react to dead bodies anyway and their weapons were poor.

Human shield removal doesn't prompt stealth at all, it's simple a good way to survive if things go to crap.
Rock climbing to "block"stuff is just silly, they made a big deal in AC3 how "Rocks always block stuff, people don't like that so now you can climb rocks", then they remove it...
Picking up bodies did serve a purpose as guards always get attracted to them? It makes them go off path, you can use it strategically.
Picking up weapons is actually a good feature because although they might be "poor", its fun to use other things in combat. This whole "poor" thing only accounts to Unity anyway, stats for weapons in other games really didnt mean much.

Matknapers18
07-12-2015, 03:45 PM
Completely agree. This was a great post Fatal, nice job. I feel like you have perfectly summarised something that Ive been struggling to put into words recently. I feel like Unity really took a huge step back in this department. Although the combat was a general improvement (in my opinion) the flashy, delayed and incredibly prolonged animations were just ridiculous. Every animation from moving into cover from climbing into a window felt so slow and needlessly over the top. Its so difficult having to go back to the sluggish Unity combat after playing games like Witcher, Shadow of Mordor and Arkham Knight.

And Horizon doesn't interest you? But... Robotic Dinosaurs?

Xstantin
07-12-2015, 03:55 PM
It feels better to pull off a perfect stealth run with the gang hangouts in WD instead of awkward crouching around in some heist from AC Unity. Maybe it's just me though.

Sushiglutton
07-12-2015, 04:18 PM
Human shield removal doesn't prompt stealth at all, it's simple a good way to survive if things go to crap.

Hmm ok, don't know since I haven't played Unity. A lot of games, like Arkham, use firearms to promote stealth though.



Rock climbing to "block"stuff is just silly, they made a big deal in AC3 how "Rocks always block stuff, people don't like that so now you can climb rocks", then they remove it...

Because the geometery of the maps are entirely different. In AC3 they had one big frontier. In AC4 they used a big ocean dotted by islands. In AC3 they only needed to block the edges of the map. In AC4 the center of every island. That means that for AC4 they need way more natural looking blocking.



Picking up bodies did serve a purpose as guards always get attracted to them? It makes them go off path, you can use it strategically.
Picking up weapons is actually a good feature because although they might be "poor", its fun to use other things in combat. This whole "poor" thing only accounts to Unity anyway, stats for weapons in other games really didnt mean much.

I think the strategic use of bodies is pretty limited. In most games (like FarCry for example) guards move into an alert state when finding a body, but in AC it doesn't matter.

To each their own, I don't see why using enemy weapons is fun in combat. You just click counter and the fight is over anyway. Thought slimming the weapon options in combat is a smart thing as it opens up for expanding the moveset (fingers crossed), which would add meaningful variety.

pacmanate
07-12-2015, 04:25 PM
In AC4 there are plenty of rocks on land that could have used the rock climbing tech. Its not like every rock in AC3 was climbable anyway.

Also I wouldn't say using an enemy's weapon is "fun" anyway. But sometimes its nice to use a different weapon in one fight without having to go to a store or through loads of menus to equip something different for that one fight.

Moving bodies doesn't make enemies go on alert no, but it did alter the AI's movements, they start a search for you in AC and that's enough imo.

Regardless, both picking up weapons and bodies use to be Circle or B in everything except Unity. They should have just kept it in, it worked fine in other games.

EmbodyingSeven5
07-12-2015, 05:04 PM
In AC4 there are plenty of rocks on land that could have used the rock climbing tech. Its not like every rock in AC3 was climbable anyway.

Also I wouldn't say using an enemy's weapon is "fun" anyway. But sometimes its nice to use a different weapon in one fight without having to go to a store or through loads of menus to equip something different for that one fight.

Moving bodies doesn't make enemies go on alert no, but it did alter the AI's movements, they start a search for you in AC and that's enough imo.

Regardless, both picking up weapons and bodies use to be Circle or B in everything except Unity. They should have just kept it in, it worked fine in other games.
Agreed. Too many features from previous games were thrown out for no good reason.

Also......Am I the only one who really misses the weapon wheel from AC 2- AC R? ( Yes I know I'm not the ONLY one, I was just wondering your opinion! I know one of you will point that out!)

BananaBlighter
07-12-2015, 06:18 PM
I would also say that the games have generally been improving, though with all the removed features in Unity due to time pressure I would put Unity in 2nd place behind Black Flag. Unity was super unresponsive as you say, something that has been getting worse, though from the Syndicate demos, this time we may be getting a serious improvement.

SixKeys
07-12-2015, 06:52 PM
Agreed. Too many features from previous games were thrown out for no good reason.

Also......Am I the only one who really misses the weapon wheel from AC 2- AC R? ( Yes I know I'm not the ONLY one, I was just wondering your opinion! I know one of you will point that out!)

I miss the old weapon wheel, especially AC2's. Namely because I felt AC2 had just the right amount of weapons. The later weapon wheels started getting more crowded as they added weapons (sometimes to the detriment of gameplay, like the OP crossbow and poison darts). Sometimes less is more, which is precisely why I'm one of the people who doesn't mind that Unity removed some features that made the games too easy. Of course, people like easy, so now they're bringing all that stuff back. Sigh.

Sorrosyss
07-12-2015, 07:04 PM
There is no doubts that Unity has much slower combat to the rest. Does it add tactical depth? Not really, everything just feels drawn out longer, as we still have the same toolset as all the older games. I actually did the same thing recently, finished off Unity then went back to complete my save on Black Flag. As you say the responsiveness is drastically better.

I have been very vocal about how poor the animations are for Syndicate, but if the faster combat speed can make things a bit more enjoyable in the combat then it may be something I have to swallow. I've always been an advocate for Brotherhood's combat as it always felt fast, and the excellent counter and chain killing was fun to pull off. Yes, it was ridiculously easy, but then you are supposed to be a master of close combat. The parry fest that is the later games, and especially Unity, have lost exactly that - the fun.

pacmanate
07-12-2015, 08:01 PM
Agreed. Too many features from previous games were thrown out for no good reason.

Also......Am I the only one who really misses the weapon wheel from AC 2- AC R? ( Yes I know I'm not the ONLY one, I was just wondering your opinion! I know one of you will point that out!)

Hmm, there are pros and cons.

Weapon wheel breaks up combat, however its easy to select things.
The D-Pad allows for on the fly switch of gear mid fight, however the more weapons and tools we have the more cluttered it gets

GunnerGalactico
07-12-2015, 08:19 PM
TBH, I didn't quite mind the difficulty of combat in Unity. Every time I faced multiple guards, I parried and "rolled" my way out of situations. I also felt that the crouching was awkward and they probably added that because people kept requesting for a crouch feature/button.

Alphacos007
07-13-2015, 03:19 AM
Totally agree, the stealth in Unity is pretty much a gamble. "So if I get over that balcony I should be able to air assassinate that guard" "Wait, why isn't it working? The guard is highlighted, I should be able to do this!" "Oh **** he is seeing me, RUN", then a few moments later, trying to stealth assassinate the another guard from behind *Arno jumps down the balcony and kills the guard on the lower floor, instead of the one that was right infront of you*
I don't even rely on stealth anymore, I pick out as many guards as I can stealthly but once Arno ****s it all up I just throw smoke bombs everywhere I rush to the objective.




It feels better to pull off a perfect stealth run with the gang hangouts in WD instead of awkward crouching around in some heist from AC Unity. Maybe it's just me though.

True, WD stealth actually works, I usually manage to do the missions completely stealthy.

king-hailz
07-13-2015, 12:20 PM
I said this ages ago and I agree 100% since AC3, the parkour combat and even the walking feels too cinematic and makes it feel sluggish and laggy! It was better in AC1-ACR. I really hate this! But you won't see a difference until they make a new engine.

Sushiglutton
07-13-2015, 01:42 PM
In AC4 there are plenty of rocks on land that could have used the rock climbing tech. Its not like every rock in AC3 was climbable anyway.

Also I wouldn't say using an enemy's weapon is "fun" anyway. But sometimes its nice to use a different weapon in one fight without having to go to a store or through loads of menus to equip something different for that one fight.

Moving bodies doesn't make enemies go on alert no, but it did alter the AI's movements, they start a search for you in AC and that's enough imo.

Regardless, both picking up weapons and bodies use to be Circle or B in everything except Unity. They should have just kept it in, it worked fine in other games.


You claimed they removed the features for no reason, at least I gave a few ;)!

Regardless, I feel these small things are insignificant compared to the issues Fatal brought up in the OP. Combat feeling unsatisfying, unresponsive, sluggish is a waaay bigger deal than not being able to pick up enemy weapons.

VestigialLlama4
07-13-2015, 04:27 PM
To be absolutely honest, I like AC precisely because its not like Devil May Cry, its not fixed to one kind of story and gameplay, one kind of tone.

I like the hybrid action-adventure-stealth-platform-sandbox. For me, these games may not be mechanically satisfying, they might even be tours, but so what? There's only so many remakes of Thief or Splinter-Cell or Hack-and-Slash knock-offs you can repackage under a New IP. Hitman probably has more of the open assassination and multiple choices than AC games but at the end of the day its just a stupid dumb game with a tunnel vision. Much as I like Arkham games, at the end of the day, those games are operatic stories about pulp fiction characters and the structure and limitations means that there's only two or three kinds of games or stories you can do in that genre. Even Rockstar with all their expansion into open world still keep doing the same kind of stories because their

AC games however are ''endless'' and infinite in potential and the main failing of AC is that the publishers don't seem entirely aware of how much potential it has, or rather they are aware but are spoiled for choices and competing visions (which I think is more accurate).

People should focus on what makes AC different and unique that rather than say introduce a grappling hook in Syndicate so they can be "keeping up with the Arkhams". AC was the series that allowed for one kind of game to become another and the connection between them was what made it work. A pure open-world sea game for instance will focus on that more than anything, but in AC game you can appreciate how the ship gameplay is part of something bigger just like in real-life, ships serve maritme trade and form part of naval defenses. Darby McDevitt said about Black Flag that a pirate game will have everything be about pirates, have skuls and stuff everywhere whereas in Black Flag, piracy is part of a bigger story and larger context of New World Colonialism.

You ask me, other AAA games should want to be like AC not the other way around. Of course by AC I mean everything before Rogue-Unity

Hans684
07-13-2015, 06:22 PM
To be absolutely honest, I like AC precisely because its not like Devil May Cry, its not fixed to one kind of story and gameplay, one kind of tone.

I like the hybrid action-adventure-stealth-platform-sandbox. For me, these games may not be mechanically satisfying, they might even be tours, but so what? There's only so many remakes of Thief or Splinter-Cell or Hack-and-Slash knock-offs you can repackage under a New IP. Hitman probably has more of the open assassination and multiple choices than AC games but at the end of the day its just a stupid dumb game with a tunnel vision. Much as I like Arkham games, at the end of the day, those games are operatic stories about pulp fiction characters and the structure and limitations means that there's only two or three kinds of games or stories you can do in that genre. Even Rockstar with all their expansion into open world still keep doing the same kind of stories because their

AC games however are ''endless'' and infinite in potential and the main failing of AC is that the publishers don't seem entirely aware of how much potential it has, or rather they are aware but are spoiled for choices and competing visions (which I think is more accurate).

People should focus on what makes AC different and unique that rather than say introduce a grappling hook in Syndicate so they can be "keeping up with the Arkhams". AC was the series that allowed for one kind of game to become another and the connection between them was what made it work. A pure open-world sea game for instance will focus on that more than anything, but in AC game you can appreciate how the ship gameplay is part of something bigger just like in real-life, ships serve maritme trade and form part of naval defenses. Darby McDevitt said about Black Flag that a pirate game will have everything be about pirates, have skuls and stuff everywhere whereas in Black Flag, piracy is part of a bigger story and larger context of New World Colonialism.

You ask me, other AAA games should want to be like AC not the other way around. Of course by AC I mean everything before Unity

As much as we disagree I agree with this. AC is a series with unlimited potential because of it's lore(history, First Civ. and MD). All AC games can be different from each other yet be AC regardless of how big the formulas change. A MD AC will be different from the "traditional" AC, an AC in one of the First Civ. era will be different from the "traditional" AC etc... AC has no limits because of it's lore, it's like the golden egg of gaming. It can be everything and anything they stay true to what it is(despite having major flaws like Unity).