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View Full Version : AC3's story feels lazy, for lack of a better word (SPOILERS)



twenty_glyphs
11-13-2012, 12:37 AM
AC3's entire story feels very lazy to me. I use that word with some regret because I'm sure that a lot of work went into the story and historical research. Unfortunately, the results feel rushed, unfinished, and just plain not thought through in many instances. The presentation of the story also follows the same pattern. This is not a complaint about the actual story content for the most part, but more of a disappointment in the story's tendency to take the easy way out of most situations.

I'm sorry this is incredibly long, but I just feel so disappointed that this game failed on so many levels to deliver on the things that have been set up in the entire series. I also feel like it ignores a lot of past plot points, takes the easy road out so many times in the story and doesn't even try to explain anything, which is a complete 180 from the way the series has generally worked so far.

I'll start with the present day story. Even though Revelations ended with Desmond's arm glowing and him saying he knows what they need to do, that's just thrown out the window. We don't even see Desmond tell his team what they need to do, they just go straight to the Temple and proceed to be shown what they really need to do in a cryptic way. Desmond still seems to have no clue what to do. Desmond doesn't tell anyone he just met Tinia, or what he found out in the Animus, or even what he knows about Lucy. Some conversations halfway through the game seem to be the first time Desmond brings up Lucy with his team, and they all just magically know that she was going to betray them. How did they know this?

The Animus 3.0 was lazily presented. AC1 opened with Vidic and Lucy showing us the Animus, and was a great introduction. AC2 doesn't have to explain much, other than that Rebecca built the Animus 2.0. But the explanation for the Animus 3.0 is just that Rebecca was busy upgrading the software despite them being chased halfway around the world by Abstergo. Also, why would Rebecca bother updating it? Just to add weather effects for Desmond's sake? The physical Animus machine is worse -- what is this thing? Is it the same chair with pieces stripped out? It kind of looks that way, but not entirely. Is it new stuff they developed while on the run (which would really make no sense)? The worst part to me is why do they go from letting Desmond sit in a comfortable chair to just propping up some Animus parts on a rock? That's just so silly.

Now we get to the Desmond missions. I'm sorry, but the story for these was awful. Rebecca says she can mask their van from Abstergo somehow. Really?! Holy crap, that seems like it might have come in handy as far back as AC2! The Initiates website just showed you hiding out from Abstergo and barely escaping Italy with several close calls just days ago. And now just like that, you can mask yourselves from Abstergo? Then there's the whole context for Desmond's missions being the Grand Temple power sources. This just comes out of nowhere. Suddenly Shaun sees one and he can just track them anywhere in the world? So the Apples have been well-hidden, and this Amulet they're after is nowhere to be found, but these Grand Temple batteries are this simple to locate? Seriously? And why are they missing to begin with? And their locations are just so arbitrary. A skyscraper, an MMA fight in Brazil, and a museum in Cairo. And Daniel Cross is always waiting for Desmond. If Abstergo doesn't know the Assassins are at the Grand Temple, how do they know about these power sources? Are they using them to draw Desmond out? If so, still, how do they know he'd need them? Even just a few lines of dialogue would have gone a long way to at least making this part of the story feel like it was thought out.

Then we have the obvious foreshadowing during the present day storyline. You practically tell us throughout the entire game that Juno shouldn't be trusted -- her emails are creepy, it's obvious she desperately wants Desmond to open the door, Desmond says whatever's on the other side benefits her halfway through the story. It was just too heavy-handed and obvious to make the ending a surprise at all. Not only that, having William go to Cairo by himself to get the last power source was also heavily cliched and telegraphed. This made the revelation that he was kidnapped fall so flat, because I knew it was coming as soon as he left.

Then there's the last Abstergo mission. The whole setup is just ludicrous and cliched. Abstergo kidnaps Desmond's dad and holds him hostage for the Apple. They seriously think that'll work? And yet it does! Despite all the work Desmond's doing to save the world, he'll sacrifice it for the father that just punched him in the face a few weeks ago. This despite the fact that if Desmond fails to save the world, his father is dead anyway. So does Desmond have a great plan to go in stealthily and rescue his dad? Nope, he just walks in the front door of the Abstergo facility, and they happily oblige, sending a handful of rent-a-cops after him. This mission and story needed to have so much more stealth. Then Desmond gets cornered by Daniel Cross and just acts like an idiot. If not for a Bleeding Effect fit, Desmond would be dead. Then he kills Daniel, who's just running around like an idiot. So he walks into Warren Vidic's office and suddenly remembers he has the Apple and uses it. This is so stupid. If it was so powerful and useful, why couldn't he use it to save himself from Daniel Cross? This feels lazy, contrived and convenient.

And while we're talking about the Abstergo scene, how come you keep changing the way things are presented? All of a sudden the Apple makes yellow technological-looking lines appear on people's foreheads? It makes Desmond's arm glow blue with similar lines in Revelations, but not anymore? The Apple even looked different in Revelations from the rest of the entire series. Please make up your minds and stick with it.

Now for the Eye-Abstergo Satellite. This has been built up since the first game as the big threat, before the end of the world threat was even revealed. First this thing was going to control everyone's minds. Then Revelations' multiplayer story elements seemed to indicate that the satellite might have been for protection from the solar flare or even for helping to find people who might develop the Sixth Sense. AC3 literally just tosses this plot point aside. Desmond says Juno showed him a vision of the satellite not working, and Shaun wraps the whole thing up in an email saying he doubts Abstergo has another Apple of Eden to use in the satellite. I can't even begin to describe how unsatisfying and lazy this feels. If you're going for a twist that this thing was never important to the story, at least give me some more story devoted to explaining it away. I'd still be mad that you intentionally mislead me, but at least there'd be some story there. You built up Abstergo as this all-knowing, all-powerful enemy in the first 4 games, and then you made them look like incompetent fools in AC3 out of nowhere.

In general, this game just ignores so much of the lore established in previous games that I can't imagine the writers really knew where this story was heading all along. First Abstergo wanted Desmond so he could lead them to a map of the Pieces of Eden, then they wanted him just for Ezio's Apple, which Lucy said Minerva altered somehow. All of this keeps changing, and the point about Minerva altering the Apple somehow is just ignored. Did her alteration allow this Apple to act as the key to the Grand Temple, or would any Apple work? The Truth files showed all of these Pieces of Eden in use throughout human history, and indicated Abstergo had obtained 4 of the Apples by 1969 after retrieving one from the Moon. It also indicated the Assassins got one at the end of World War II. All of this is ignored -- you've told us Abstergo destroyed one accidentally, but they should still have at least 3 Apples according to your own story, but that's ignored now. All of Subject 16's clues feel empty and meaningless now -- "The Pieces were once part of a whole", "In Eden. Find Eve. The key, her DNA", "I know how to open the Path", "The Sun... your son.", the hints about people under 30 evolving unexpectedly to show some resistance to the effects of Abstergo's mind control. All of this, just ignored. If you don't intend to touch on this until future games, you should have at least teased them some more to show they still meant something. If you want to explain them away as the ravings of a madman, then congratulations on making the most interesting character of the series meaningless. Good plot twists never involve lying to your viewers. Also, what's up with Juno's hint showing the Masonic Eye and the Phrygian Cap, which is an obvious hint about the French Revolution? If this was just a lie on her part, it still makes no sense. It's infuriating that so many of these things were ignored. There's just no payoff to anything that seemed important to the story before.

Now for Connor's story — I just don't feel like there is a cohesive story here. If I had to summarize it, I'd say it's the story of someone fighting to protect their own village by simply joining the Assassins, then deciding that Templars are bad and going after any he finds for no apparent reason. Meanwhile, he decides that helping the American Patriots fight will help his cause. That's until he realizes George Washington is actually burning down his village, and may have done so in the past (this is never really touched on at all). At some point, for some unknown reason, he chooses to work alongside the Templar leader even though his whole adult life has been dedicated to hunting him down just because he's his father — a father he never knew but had resolved to kill. Meanwhile, the bad guys are planning on... creating "order". How they plan to do this is beyond me. AC1 handled this generic bad guy goal so much better, by at least telling us what they were after to achieve their goal -- an Apple of Eden. There were also a lot of small details about what different individuals were doing towards the Templars' ultimate goal in AC1. In this game, we still have no idea why William Johnson is gathering land, or why Pitcairn is supplying troops, etc. I can't even begin to care about stopping the bad guys until I know what they're even planning.

The story did start off interestingly enough, with Haytham acquiring the amulet and setting off to look for a precursor site. But once he finds it and can't get in, he just gives up. This is not like any other Templar encountered in the series so far. Their whole cause has been to do whatever they can to gain access to First Civilization artifacts and locations, and yet he just decides to not worry about it anymore even though it's right there in front of him. Even though the whole game is set up as being about this amulet, it's then ignored until the final sequence of the game. And for some reason, Haytham no longer wears the amulet but has given it to Charles Lee. I presume that's just so he can be the final target in the game. And why does Connor think the amulet is important enough to take after killing Lee? He never seemed to know anything about it before.

The way the Assassin and Templar Orders are presented during the American Revolution leaves a lot to be desired. The Templars are basically 6 men loosely united for some nebulous idea but not much of a scheme (the sixth, Biddle, isn't even part of the main story). The Assassins are basically an old, former Assassin who really doesn't seem to care about the Assassins at all anymore, and his protege Connor. A few database entries hint at a Templar scheme in 1763 that nearly wiped out all the Assassins, but no more information is given. Achilles never even mentions this in the story itself, so one point of interest in why the Order is so small is just ignored by the story.

AC3 almost completely ignores the Pieces of Eden, which have been one of the most unique, interesting aspects of the AC franchise. The idea that many of the important people and events in human history had these ancient pieces of technology behind them was interesting, and AC3's story just completely ignores this. That would have been tolerable if the story was still interesting and focused, but it wasn't. And to top it off, AC2 specifically showed us George Washington with an Apple in 1781. AC3 brushes that aside with a quick conversation that says Washington had it much later than Connor's story, even though Connor's story ends in 1783. This felt like a huge copout.

I thought the American Revolution was an interesting time period if not an interesting physical setting because of all the conspiracy theories that abound about the Freemasons, the Founding Fathers and even the Templars. I was looking forward to seeing AC's unique science fiction twist on those same conspiracy theories. Imagine my disappointment when all of those elements were ignored. Freemasons played no active role, and their only real mention was their underground tunnels. Haytham's clothes had a pattern that looked like the Freemason logo, and the Assassin Recruit missions used this logo as well, but there was no explanation for that. AC1 did such a great job of creating a twist on the real-life Templar legend of the Templars finding some treasure under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It was even hinted that when the Templars were "disbanded" in the 1300s, that several ships sailed for places in the rest of the world. There is a real-life legend that some Templars sailed for Scotland, then later the New World at least a century before Columbus crossed the Atlantic. One of the theories behind Oak Island involves the Templars. The Templars are linked to Freemasonry in legends. Yet none of that was touched on, and the Templars apparently didn't come to the New World until Haytham. Anything interesting about the true motivations of the Founding Fathers and how that related to Freemasonry was also ignored.

Thanks to anyone who actually read this whole essay. I just feel like so much of the story would have been better if people stopped to ask, "Why is this person doing this? We should show the viewers." or "What about the things we said in the game 2 years ago? Shouldn't we touch on that at least a little bit?" As it is, it feels like AC3's story ignores a lot of previous continuity and takes shortcuts with the story instead of putting in the time to explain some events better and explore real-life legends and conspiracy theories.

F4H bandicoot
11-13-2012, 12:44 AM
Great read ( :) ), sums up a lot of my feelings about Connors story specifically.

NumberSix1967
11-13-2012, 12:48 AM
I'm posting this reply so I remember to respond properly tomorrow. For now I'll just say that at no point would they keep William Miles strapped to a chair in a science project leader's office while a murdering looney rampages through their lower levels with an 80,000+ year-old piece of all powerful technology...when you have some yourself; more in fact...lots more.

I shall reply fully later. First, sleep.

F4H bandicoot
11-13-2012, 12:52 AM
I'm posting this reply so I remember to respond properly tomorrow. For now I'll just say that at no point would they keep William Miles strapped to a chair in a science project leader's office while a murdering looney rampages through their lower levels with an 80,000+ year-old piece of all powerful technology...when you have some yourself; more in fact...lots more.

I shall reply fully later. First, sleep.

This basically is what will do too if I find the time.

Layytez
11-13-2012, 01:00 AM
http://www.reactiongifs.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/yes-rudy1.gif
Well done man...well done.

alientraveller
11-13-2012, 01:02 AM
I thought the American Revolution was an interesting time period if not an interesting physical setting because of all the conspiracy theories that abound about the Freemasons, the Founding Fathers and even the Templars. I was looking forward to seeing AC's unique science fiction twist on those same conspiracy theories. Imagine my disappointment when all of those elements were ignored. Freemasons played no active role, and their only real mention was their underground tunnels. Haytham's clothes had a pattern that looked like the Freemason logo, and the Assassin Recruit missions used this logo as well, but there was no explanation for that. AC1 did such a great job of creating a twist on the real-life Templar legend of the Templars finding some treasure under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It was even hinted that when the Templars were "disbanded" in the 1300s, that several ships sailed for places in the rest of the world. There is a real-life legend that some Templars sailed for Scotland, then later the New World at least a century before Columbus crossed the Atlantic. One of the theories behind Oak Island involves the Templars. The Templars are linked to Freemasonry in legends. Yet none of that was touched on, and the Templars apparently didn't come to the New World until Haytham. Anything interesting about the true motivations of the Founding Fathers and how that related to Freemasonry was also ignored.


Corey May took the refreshing route with an accurate depiction of the Freemasons rather than more boring conspiracy claptrap. Still not sure about the idea of them having an underground network though.

the-notna
11-13-2012, 01:26 AM
I pretty much share your views on everything that you brought up. Great post. I hope the developers read this and learn from it, enabling them to once again create a story as good as AC1's. A man can dream...

thomas_shaw
11-13-2012, 01:47 AM
Amen sir. The conspiracy theory/alternate history angle has always been the draw for me in this series and it almost completely absent here.
I really miss the truth files, and it feels like the devs not only forgot them, but forgot the canon that was in them.

I expect the Washington had an apple in 1783 thing to be heavily addressed in the King Washington DLC,
which features a picture of Washington with either an Apple of Eden or a Crystal Skull/Crystal Ball.

With regard to the Masons and "historical accuracy"... Since when has AC been about accuracy? Assassin's Creed has been making the Templar/Mason/Illuminati/New World Order connection since the first game, and it was a major theme of the Truth Files in ACII and ACB. It's very disappointing it didn't get portrayed at all in this game.

Some of my own questions:
When and how did Haytham know Connor was his son?
When and how did Achilles know Haytham was Connor's father?
Which characters were Masons? Which where Britisth or Scottish Rite, as the Scottish Rite officially claims direct decent from the Knights Templar?
How are we supposed to know which combinations of which six alien techs Juno used to save the world?

Em-Man
11-13-2012, 01:56 AM
I thought the American Revolution was an interesting time period if not an interesting physical setting because of all the conspiracy theories that abound about the Freemasons, the Founding Fathers and even the Templars. I was looking forward to seeing AC's unique science fiction twist on those same conspiracy theories. Imagine my disappointment when all of those elements were ignored. Freemasons played no active role, and their only real mention was their underground tunnels. Haytham's clothes had a pattern that looked like the Freemason logo, and the Assassin Recruit missions used this logo as well, but there was no explanation for that. AC1 did such a great job of creating a twist on the real-life Templar legend of the Templars finding some treasure under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It was even hinted that when the Templars were "disbanded" in the 1300s, that several ships sailed for places in the rest of the world. There is a real-life legend that some Templars sailed for Scotland, then later the New World at least a century before Columbus crossed the Atlantic. One of the theories behind Oak Island involves the Templars. The Templars are linked to Freemasonry in legends. Yet none of that was touched on, and the Templars apparently didn't come to the New World until Haytham. Anything interesting about the true motivations of the Founding Fathers and how that related to Freemasonry was also ignored.

Great point. That was my initial thought too.
I thought they had a bigger reason why they specifically chose the American setting. Freemasonry, the Founding Fathers and bigger Templar conspiracies were the first things that came to my mind. But then, I found myself throwing tea at the Boston harbor, commanding patriots in the Battles of Lexington and Concord, rode around with Paul Revere yelling that the British are coming and questioning if I bought the right game or if i accidentally picked up "American Revolution The Game: Fan-Service Edition".

Pretty much everything Alex Hutchinson said in this part of the video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olYAVbnmc4w&t=1m46s) was a lie. It's like they really forgot the formula that made AC1 story great.
They failed at making the American setting feel important to the overarching plot.

Otherwise you really nailed it at every single point you made. You are truly a great person to write such a fine piece of criticism.

vivaxardas
11-13-2012, 02:10 AM
Good analysis. Ubisoft really dropped the ball with the story in AC3. I guess they did not make it a priority, there are way too many inconsistencies, irrational turns and loopholes, and not too much continuity with the previous games. I guess they tried to avoid complicating things for the gamers new to the franchise.
For some of the missing parts it is easy to give a convenient explanation. For example, the templars could not activate the site, so they switched to other things, and simply wanted to preserve the site itself and a possible knowledge Connor's tribe had. That's why they sincerely wanted to help this tribe to secure their lands, not out of the goodness of their hearts.
But other things really got lost in Ubi's quest for the new gamers. I still wonder what the hell happened with that famous satellite we all were so concerned about. May be they will explain it in ACnext.
Also, what bugs me is a change of a concept of templars. It seems at the end Connor hunts them down and kills simply because they are the templars, i. e. BAD. Are they now like goblins in a fantasy game, or zombies in a horror movie? It turned out they did not do any harm to the natives, and their political schemes are similar to any of non-templar guys. I did not see any actual TEMPLAR activity, like in AC1 and AC2. So what, do we now kill people just for what they happen to believe in? Is it a freedom for anyone but the templars? Isn't it kind of... I don't know ... racist? A good indian is a dead indian... Oh, not that, sorry, a good templar is a dead templar-kind of deal? Only it does not really mesh too well with the American revolution, freedom of speech and belief, and such. So may be in the next installment, Connor should tone it down, murdering people just for who they are and what they happen to believe in?

Iamsosobad
11-13-2012, 02:21 AM
All painfully true. Ubisoft says the same team that made AC2 made this game, but I find that really hard to believe.

twenty_glyphs
11-13-2012, 02:34 AM
Corey May took the refreshing route with an accurate depiction of the Freemasons rather than more boring conspiracy claptrap. Still not sure about the idea of them having an underground network though.

I'm not saying I think they should have shown the Freemasons as really conspiring for something in the American Revolution. I'm just saying I expected it to be addressed somehow. Show the Templar connection to the Masons to be from some misunderstanding or deliberate misinformation, show the Eye of Providence to be a warning about Abstergo instead of a Freemason conspiracy. I just wanted an original take on the fertile ground that is there. I don't see how there was an accurate depiction of the Freemasons when there was pretty much no depiction of them. They're never brought up in conversation in the game other than to say they built those tunnels. The game gives the impression they built tunnels in American cities and disappeared years before the Revolution or something.

Ditto for George Washington -- there are all these legends of him, like him being bulletproof in a battle during the French and Indian War (Shard of Eden?), him meeting with Native American chiefs who prophesied he'd lead a great nation (visions from Piece of Eden?), and him seeing a vision of an angel while praying at Valley Forge (message from Juno?). Many of those legends are fake, but they were such fertile ground for fun in the context of this series.

I'd also just like to say that I don't blame any one person for this. I'm sure if this wasn't a game, the writers would have written a much different story in some places. I'm sure mission design and creative direction influenced a lot of this story. The blame should be shared by the team, but that makes me even more dumbfounded that so many people saw this and didn't see the ways in which it didn't create any sense of payoff and how so many things just don't make sense. I rarely criticize stories for this, and usually just take things as they come because stories should be fun and interesting. But there was just so much of that in this game, I couldn't help but notice it.

Em-Man
11-13-2012, 02:43 AM
Ditto for George Washington -- there are all these legends of him, like him being bulletproof in a battle during the French and Indian War (Shard of Eden?), him meeting with Native American chiefs who prophesied he'd lead a great nation (visions from Piece of Eden?), and him seeing a vision of an angel while praying at Valley Forge (message from Juno?). Many of those legends are fake, but they were such fertile ground for fun in the context of this series.

So much lost potential... I'm so sad. This game is actually making me sad because it could have been great.
This game is closer to being a Washington Dating Simulator than it is being an AC game.
Only the dead can know peace from this evil.

CodeWarriorJPN
11-13-2012, 04:09 AM
There is nothing more to say. You have said it all, and I find it hard to believe that AC3's story was a let down by Ubisoft. I had expected way more out it.

SteelCity999
11-13-2012, 05:01 AM
Good job on expressing alot of the issues. I fear that Ubi got the story too convoluted for its own good after AC2 and didn't really have a clear destination that they could achieve within one game. The story is a patchwork of ideas that were never stitched up correctly. Too many gaps and too many assumptions take place over the course of the game and opportunities were sorely missed. I thought the ending was good but I felt like I was robbed from a lot of the backstory and too many things happened just "because". I was expecting more from the present day story and got very little. In fact, if rumors are to believed and the third game was orginally supposed to be all present day, the AC series would be absolutely finished based on what we saw in AC3. The Abstergo and Daniel Cross storyline never got developed and was just there to give us something to do. Connor's had enormous potential but only gave us a glimpse of what it could have been.

For three years worth of work on this game and 4 other titles, I am more perplexed about the story and its disconnected nature than any of the gameplay. It's sad because there was a lot of potential in what they tried to accomplish but managed to come up with only a good game to finish up Desmond's narrative instead of a great game.

Syler99
11-13-2012, 05:05 AM
Agree OP. I also thought the Lucy thing was poorly handled.

Desmond: " So everyone's ok that I just killed Lucy?"

Team: " Sure she was going to betray us anyway!"

Everyone was too accepting I mean maybe they didn't want to piss Desmond off or something but Shawn was too high horsed about things he didn't understand instead he should of been using that judgmental and hypocritical energy to figure out why Desmond murdered his former boss.

Also Desmond's dad just pops into existence from the last game and Desmond who has issues with his dad and up bringing is all cool with it? Sorry if you have extreme issues with your parent you aren't going to accept them back like that.

I'll also have to go back and look but to me his dad sounds just like the lead scientist guy who kidnapped him in AC which is a double wtf? So Lucy who plays assassin who chops off her finger to do so is a double agent and so is his dad? And we're trusting him why?

Then Desmond starts spouting retcons to tech girl about how the apple showed him things well back in ACR I didn't see anything involving Lucy giving info to the Templar infact I just heard Juno spamming me.

Another huge problem with AC series is so far ubi can't define what the assassins are as a group. They did try to explain their slogan in ACR but that is all contradicting Altier is contradicting himself as he goes its obvious ubi just made that crap up so far the assassins are anarchist dressing up as freedom fighters and the templars are communist control freaks.

Agree with the animus comments not to mention tech girl does so great at hiding them from everybody despite how wanted they really are airplanes, subway tickets? Really that's some really well done hiding in plain sight.

Agree on Desmond's missions also how did those power sources get out of the temple which was sealed? Did a spelunker drop in and steal them? Why those? Why not artifacts or take some photos something? That makes no sense I'm going to build a super weapon but I'm going to leave the keys for it everywhere but with the actual labs the thing was designed in.

I'll start sounding redundant if I agree more but with the Abstergo building that's right too not only rent a cops but rent a cops with one shot pistols who dramatically draw their guns one at a time to shoot then reload? Ummmm guys you really need to talk to your armory department....

And why not use the other abstergo assassin agents you know the ones they had all those animuses for to train? Only one crazy guy who I have no clue who he is. Seriously send one crazy to stop your arch enemy whom you know can use the apple to destroy people's mind.

projectpat06
11-13-2012, 06:38 AM
All painfully true. Ubisoft says the same team that made AC2 made this game, but I find that really hard to believe.

I think they did have some of the younger staff that worked on ACB and ACR come onto AC3's team. I felt like ACB and ACR had the same problem where the presentation was poor and very confusing. With all the negative feedback, I feel that Ubi may pump the breaks on the franchise for a while which may be a good thing. It could also be a bad thing bc their other games like prince of persia and splinter cell started going downhill after a while

TrueAssassin77
11-13-2012, 05:00 PM
Darn..... I was gonna come in and shut you down, and say the story is awesome.....

But you argument is to good....

*walks out the door dejectedly *

infamous_ezio
11-13-2012, 05:17 PM
Man, i love reading your posts, so interesting, pretty much summarize my thoughts nicely into a well written way :)

I agree with everything you said. Desmond's part of the game, IMO was a complete failure. the missions were terrible, everything was rushed, so it seems. I'm really angry how they didn't touch on previous plot points.. i mean.. dafuq?!

The lucy part was a joke, Jeff yohalem stated in a podcast that when we play TLA, we are viewing it from clay's perspective, so really, Desmond didn't even know about it. The desmond journey trailer seemed to hint that we would know the truth with the hole "lucy, you will know the truth". What i gathtered, is that no one on the team really has any idea what the hell they were talking about, i mean, they didn't even add a cool cut scene where desmond learns the truth (assuming he viewed TLA as they say in AC3..) where he confronts clay about that... I had my hopes high for AC3, i really thought this would be the game of the series that would blow my mind away. Nope, I was instead left disappointed. They really need to take a step back and have a think about this garbage they are putting out... 3 years production they say, and apparently that wasn't enough time to figure out desmond's story..

twenty_glyphs
11-13-2012, 05:20 PM
Good job on expressing alot of the issues. I fear that Ubi got the story too convoluted for its own good after AC2 and didn't really have a clear destination that they could achieve within one game. The story is a patchwork of ideas that were never stitched up correctly. Too many gaps and too many assumptions take place over the course of the game and opportunities were sorely missed. I thought the ending was good but I felt like I was robbed from a lot of the backstory and too many things happened just "because". I was expecting more from the present day story and got very little. In fact, if rumors are to believed and the third game was orginally supposed to be all present day, the AC series would be absolutely finished based on what we saw in AC3. The Abstergo and Daniel Cross storyline never got developed and was just there to give us something to do. Connor's had enormous potential but only gave us a glimpse of what it could have been.

For three years worth of work on this game and 4 other titles, I am more perplexed about the story and its disconnected nature than any of the gameplay. It's sad because there was a lot of potential in what they tried to accomplish but managed to come up with only a good game to finish up Desmond's narrative instead of a great game.

I think you're right. The story just got too big and convoluted for its own good, and they must not have had a clear destination in mind. I know The Truth in AC2 was written and somewhat designed by Jeffrey Yohalem, who also wrote the present-day dialogue in AC2. He was the lead writer for Brotherhood and also handled The Truth again in that game. After that he went to work on Far Cry 3, so I'm thinking that's why this element of the story really suffered in Revelations and AC3. Actually, Yohalem actually helped out on Revelations' multiplayer story content, which might explain why some of the dossiers there had some interesting content that felt like it was building to something. They had a lot of cool side story content in Project Legacy as well. Even Alta´r's Codex in AC2 had interesting side content and talked more about TWCB and the nature of the Apple.

At the end of the day, it just feels like all that side content wasn't actually hinting at or leading up to anything. It was all so interesting and it seemed like it was actually there to flesh out lots of little details in the universe that would bog down the main narrative. Now it feels like it's all been tossed aside and made useless. If they didn't want to bog down AC3's main narrative, why not answer some of these mysteries or at least elaborate on them in side content for AC3? It not only makes me upset that there is no payoff, it makes me feel like a sucker for ever trying to decipher the clues to begin with. Eve, Erudito, the Eye-Abstergo, the Akashic Satellite Plexus, Consus... all of that just ignored. Shoot, even the interesting multiplayer story development in Revelations was basically ignored, unless the Abstergo recruit you were playing was on the raid with Daniel Cross that failed to get William Miles and team and was only shown as a website entry on AC Initiates.

Daniel Cross was another failure. He was a great character in the comic books and they tried to fit him into the main narrative, which was a good idea. But he feels tossed in, poorly explained, and he's pretty much just a moron in AC3. I imagine the way his character was shoehorned into AC3 was disappointing both for fans of his character and for people who had no idea who he was.

Em-Man
11-13-2012, 05:24 PM
I think they did have some of the younger staff that worked on ACB and ACR come onto AC3's team. I felt like ACB and ACR had the same problem where the presentation was poor and very confusing.
But ACR did have an amazing ending with a very elegant way to end Altair and Ezios story.
And the revelation itself with an actual cgi video of the first catastrophe did feel like a proper ending to a game.
I think we all can agree on ACR having a great ending. It had everything that AC3 didn't

ACfan443
11-13-2012, 05:45 PM
Now we get to the Desmond missions. I'm sorry, but the story for these was awful. Rebecca says she can mask their van from Abstergo somehow. Really?! Holy crap, that seems like it might have come in handy as far back as AC2! The Initiates website just showed you hiding out from Abstergo and barely escaping Italy with several close calls just days ago. And now just like that, you can mask yourselves from Abstergo? Then there's the whole context for Desmond's missions being the Grand Temple power sources. This just comes out of nowhere. Suddenly Shaun sees one and he can just track them anywhere in the world? So the Apples have been well-hidden, and this Amulet they're after is nowhere to be found, but these Grand Temple batteries are this simple to locate? Seriously? And why are they missing to begin with? And their locations are just so arbitrary. A skyscraper, an MMA fight in Brazil, and a museum in Cairo. And Daniel Cross is always waiting for Desmond. If Abstergo doesn't know the Assassins are at the Grand Temple, how do they know about these power sources? Are they using them to draw Desmond out? If so, still, how do they know he'd need them? Even just a few lines of dialogue would have gone a long way to at least making this part of the story feel like it was thought out.

Then we have the obvious foreshadowing during the present day storyline. You practically tell us throughout the entire game that Juno shouldn't be trusted -- her emails are creepy, it's obvious she desperately wants Desmond to open the door, Desmond says whatever's on the other side benefits her halfway through the story. It was just too heavy-handed and obvious to make the ending a surprise at all. Not only that, having William go to Cairo by himself to get the last power source was also heavily cliched and telegraphed. This made the revelation that he was kidnapped fall so flat, because I knew it was coming as soon as he left.

Then there's the last Abstergo mission. The whole setup is just ludicrous and cliched. Abstergo kidnaps Desmond's dad and holds him hostage for the Apple. They seriously think that'll work? And yet it does! Despite all the work Desmond's doing to save the world, he'll sacrifice it for the father that just punched him in the face a few weeks ago. This despite the fact that if Desmond fails to save the world, his father is dead anyway. So does Desmond have a great plan to go in stealthily and rescue his dad? Nope, he just walks in the front door of the Abstergo facility, and they happily oblige, sending a handful of rent-a-cops after him. This mission and story needed to have so much more stealth. Then Desmond gets cornered by Daniel Cross and just acts like an idiot. If not for a Bleeding Effect fit, Desmond would be dead. Then he kills Daniel, who's just running around like an idiot. So he walks into Warren Vidic's office and suddenly remembers he has the Apple and uses it. This is so stupid. If it was so powerful and useful, why couldn't he use it to save himself from Daniel Cross? This feels lazy, contrived and convenient.

And while we're talking about the Abstergo scene, how come you keep changing the way things are presented? All of a sudden the Apple makes yellow technological-looking lines appear on people's foreheads? It makes Desmond's arm glow blue with similar lines in Revelations, but not anymore? The Apple even looked different in Revelations from the rest of the entire series. Please make up your minds and stick with it.

Now for the Eye-Abstergo Satellite. This has been built up since the first game as the big threat, before the end of the world threat was even revealed. First this thing was going to control everyone's minds. Then Revelations' multiplayer story elements seemed to indicate that the satellite might have been for protection from the solar flare or even for helping to find people who might develop the Sixth Sense. AC3 literally just tosses this plot point aside. Desmond says Juno showed him a vision of the satellite not working, and Shaun wraps the whole thing up in an email saying he doubts Abstergo has another Apple of Eden to use in the satellite. I can't even begin to describe how unsatisfying and lazy this feels. If you're going for a twist that this thing was never important to the story, at least give me some more story devoted to explaining it away. I'd still be mad that you intentionally mislead me, but at least there'd be some story there. You built up Abstergo as this all-knowing, all-powerful enemy in the first 4 games, and then you made them look like incompetent fools in AC3 out of nowhere.

In general, this game just ignores so much of the lore established in previous games that I can't imagine the writers really knew where this story was heading all along. First Abstergo wanted Desmond so he could lead them to a map of the Pieces of Eden, then they wanted him just for Ezio's Apple, which Lucy said Minerva altered somehow. All of this keeps changing, and the point about Minerva altering the Apple somehow is just ignored. Did her alteration allow this Apple to act as the key to the Grand Temple, or would any Apple work? The Truth files showed all of these Pieces of Eden in use throughout human history, and indicated Abstergo had obtained 4 of the Apples by 1969 after retrieving one from the Moon. It also indicated the Assassins got one at the end of World War II. All of this is ignored -- you've told us Abstergo destroyed one accidentally, but they should still have at least 3 Apples according to your own story, but that's ignored now. All of Subject 16's clues feel empty and meaningless now -- "The Pieces were once part of a whole", "In Eden. Find Eve. The key, her DNA", "I know how to open the Path", "The Sun... your son.", the hints about people under 30 evolving unexpectedly to show some resistance to the effects of Abstergo's mind control. All of this, just ignored. If you don't intend to touch on this until future games, you should have at least teased them some more to show they still meant something. If you want to explain them away as the ravings of a madman, then congratulations on making the most interesting character of the series meaningless. Good plot twists never involve lying to your viewers. Also, what's up with Juno's hint showing the Masonic Eye and the Phrygian Cap, which is an obvious hint about the French Revolution? If this was just a lie on her part, it still makes no sense. It's infuriating that so many of these things were ignored. There's just no payoff to anything that seemed important to the story before.

I just cannot agree more. All of my feelings about the present day plot lie in your review. The sheer number of mystical plot points dropped and contrived Desmond missions made the present story extremely underwhelming and unsatisfactory. I was hoping for big epic battles against Abstergo and really epic Desmond missions , but no. When the email from shaun came through saying "Abstergo have postponed their satellite lauch - permanently" I was like WTF? All the stuff built up since AC2 has just been knocked down by laziness and rush. After 4 games Desmond was supposed to be the ultimate assassin, what did he do? climb a skyscraper, swiftly walk in and out of Abstergo, then die.

Turul.
11-13-2012, 06:13 PM
"And for some reason, Haytham no longer wears the amulet but has given it to Charles Lee. I presume that's just so he can be the final target in the game. And why does Connor think the amulet is important enough to take after killing Lee? He never seemed to know anything about it before."

biggest problem of the whole story. the entire game is about finding the amulet and Connor doesn't even know what it's even for.

So whats the point of involving him other than his dad had it?

NumberSix1967
11-13-2012, 07:16 PM
There is nothing more to say. You have said it all, and I find it hard to believe that AC3's story was a let down by Ubisoft. I had expected way more out it.

I agree. I have nothing to add to this thread as it has all been said and stands true. All i can say, I suppose, is that if we were to have had the most of this new world we were created then perhaps the game failed in trying as hard (or not) as it did to tie itself to the Assassins. I can't help but feel that playing a character more in tune with the political/character/geopolitical themes of the time would have best served. I have said such things around the site in other threads, but I always comes back to: this would have been more interesting if we'd had played as Haytham. The twist of his allegiance could have been saved for the end.

Having read a good few interviews and looking into as much of the production history as possible to do with this game, I'm still not 100% on all the decisions and such and no one will be be but, I can hazard a guess and say that creative decisions were made to extend the series in such a way that would fully utilise the company's creation of the new game engine. By that I mean, they spent most of the time working on the hard/software, outsourced some of the game elements to other Ubi branches (Singapore for example) and when the time came to stick it all together it turned out as a game that is maybe 70% finished and that could have done with another few months of planning and maybe 6 months to a year of development. Alas. (I'm not saying they didn't work their behinds of or that we're thankful for that)

But, with that in mind I can imagine the next AC game will be brilliant. We're just going to have to skip over this one.

I did say elsewhere that I wouldn't post these again but they do sum up my feelings on the game. Read them if you wish but this thread does a good-enough job of stating what ails me about Assassin's Creed III.

http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/720979-Assassin-s-Creed-3-Single-Player-Gameplay-Feedback-DO-NOT-POST-SPOILERS?p=8692226#post8692226
http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/723403-Spoilers-of-course-My-take-on-ACIII-game-questions?p=8677516#post8677516


EDIT: I can imagine with posts and threads like these floating around, the guys at Ubi will take note and hammer the hell out of us with story in the next game. I can only hope so.

twenty_glyphs
11-13-2012, 07:48 PM
Having read a good few interviews and looking into as much of the production history as possible to do with this game, I'm still not 100% on all the decisions and such and no one will be be but, I can hazard a guess and say that creative decisions were made to extend the series in such a way that would fully utilise the company's creation of the new game engine. By that I mean, they spent most of the time working on the hard/software, outsourced some of the game elements to other Ubi branches (Singapore for example) and when the time came to stick it all together it turned out as a game that is maybe 70% finished and that could have done with another few months of planning and maybe 6 months to a year of development. Alas. (I'm not saying they didn't work their behinds of or that we're thankful for that)

I completely agree. I get that Ubisoft has all these studios all over the world that they can use, but I think AC3 shows this concept at its worst. It was fine to outsource just the tomb/lair levels in AC2/Brotherhood, or the Leonardo War Machine missions in Brotherhood (I think they were another studio than Montreal), or even the naval and multiplayer stuff. But at the end of the day, this stuff just doesn't come together when there are too many different pieces.

I feel like AC2 had a focused core that the Montreal team was able to work on over time to polish and perfect, and the tombs were a nice side project that kind of stood on its own. But AC3 seems like it's the classic example of trying to make a baby in 1 month with 9 women. A lot of these elements simply need more time and iteration to work well, not more people. You can throw all the people you want at a gameplay system, but without the time to iterate, refine, question, and rebuild it at times, it's not going to come together as well.

It just seems they tried so hard to make AC3 as big as possible, but lost sight of the core experience. I'd like to see future games get smaller and get the core experience right with a dedicated team all working together in one studio. If they get better gameplay systems in place and figure out how to build a real sandbox with interesting, ongoing random events, the game will be big on its own without needing so much extra content to pad it out.

NumberSix1967
11-13-2012, 08:26 PM
I completely agree. I get that Ubisoft has all these studios all over the world that they can use, but I think AC3 shows this concept at its worst. It was fine to outsource just the tomb/lair levels in AC2/Brotherhood, or the Leonardo War Machine missions in Brotherhood (I think they were another studio than Montreal), or even the naval and multiplayer stuff. But at the end of the day, this stuff just doesn't come together when there are too many different pieces.

I feel like AC2 had a focused core that the Montreal team was able to work on over time to polish and perfect, and the tombs were a nice side project that kind of stood on its own. But AC3 seems like it's the classic example of trying to make a baby in 1 month with 9 women. A lot of these elements simply need more time and iteration to work well, not more people. You can throw all the people you want at a gameplay system, but without the time to iterate, refine, question, and rebuild it at times, it's not going to come together as well.

It just seems they tried so hard to make AC3 as big as possible, but lost sight of the core experience. I'd like to see future games get smaller and get the core experience right with a dedicated team all working together in one studio. If they get better gameplay systems in place and figure out how to build a real sandbox with interesting, ongoing random events, the game will be big on its own without needing so much extra content to pad it out.

If ACIII was to follow ACII you could have seen, perhaps, how the direct involvement of the core creative staff could have led to a more involving and maybe natural progression. You can't blame Ubisoft for wanting to extend the series by having Brotherhood and Revelations fit into the yearly release plan they crafted following the success of ACII; even if those games themselves are more companion games and were again an example of the story being extended (but managing to do a decent job of it). I can see that in another time and place ACB's ending was just a part off AC2's, which would in turn have led to maybe an extra game here or there dealing with some of the larger points of thee plot but ultimately it would have all been leading to AC3. This was THE game we'd been waiting for. Now, three years isn't a long time in the grand scheme of things but it is in film/game world, especially when we have more and more studios creating a franchise production line. ACB and ACR perhaps had to happen in order to finance other Ubisoft games and of course, the creation of the new engine which future games will be using as a platform. In fact here's an interview with Alex Hutchinson almost stating as much: http://www.computerandvideogames.com/363428/assassins-creed-iii-interview-alex-hutchinson/ (3 pages of it)

The team themselves will know how this turned out, and what they liked and didn't like. They will also know that this game will have sold a bucket load anyway. It's unfortunate that ACIII is basically a kind of tester game for new software. But, that's just the 'game' if you like. The game can be modded, fixed, ammended or just updated either by way of patches and or future releases. I didn't mind the bugs too much as I knew those were teething issues. The real downer is that the story has been saturated and butchered. Of course, maybe with peoples' complaints in mind, Ubi will address each and every one of them and hit us hard with a story-mad release next year. It's just a shame that to many of us, and it's still perhaps a small portion of the game's players, the name 'Assassin's Creed III' will bring about the rolling of eyes and a quiet groan.