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View Full Version : What the AC series needs to address as an open world (Will be updated *SPOILERS* )



Assassin_M
12-23-2014, 03:00 AM
So I have bought AC Unity again and i'm loving it. Finished the story a couple of nights ago and I think i'm ready to pour out what I think about the game. I'll write a full review soon in detail but for now, I need to write down all the problems that have plagued Ubisoft's vision of the open world game since Black Flag. (I'm a lazy bum, I don't want to write notes down)

- Ever since Black Flag, Ubisoft has adopted quite an odd approach to how it realizes the sand box genre. A large open world game is nothing without its side content (A huge complaint of mine with games like Mafia II). The AC series is in no short supply of great side quests. True, they can be mired with the tired flaw of redundancy and the reliance on archaic formulas of escort and/or follow but overall, every AC game had great side quests. Now the problem arises because there's A LOT of them and this is not a problem exclusive to AC, it's also present in Watch Dogs, where once the world is open to you, EVERYTHING is thrown at you all at once. It doesn't matter if no one ever introduced that strand of side quests, you can do it. Nothing matters, you can do it.
This is in itself an inherent problem, overlooking the minor details exclusive to AC, because it threatens to overwhelm players and that's one of the biggest turn offs when someone's playing an open world game that's NOT an RPG. You're not expecting to be overwhelmed. Naturally, players like to be eased in. Why is Ubisoft worried about their side content? quantity is NOTHING if there's no meat to the missions themselves. Surely one would think they'd have learned that lesson from AC III. If the side missions are quality, everyone will race to try and do them. Throwing EVERYTHING at the player's face is not going to accomplish anything, not to mention the awkwardness of starting a strand and then the ACTUAL introduction to that strand is shown in one cutscene (uhhhhh huh?)

Side missions should be introduced slowly and with context. Unity does the context part well, there's a sizable cutscene for each side quest strand (Enigmas, murder mysteries...etc) but the introduction is what suffers. It's all thrown on the map and it's overwhelming. As much as it is hard to resist boasting with "LOOOOK, OUR MAP IS SOOO FULL" it's even harder for the player NOT to be overwhelmed. I think this philosophy of short term successes is a rather general approach that Ubi takes for everything, including side missions.

Now we come to the bigger problem in AC. Because there're dates and chronological order, a player risks getting lost in the story because MOST of the side missions involve history. Sure, there're the dates in the co-op missions but what about everything else? A lot of things may not make sense in the story because the order of events in the story is SO out of sync with the side missions. This would hurt no one. I propose locking off historical side content until their correct chronological order comes. It'll be a boon for the story AND the history. There'll be no more of getting lost nor confused. News papers are good examples of this. I can't buy the newest edition until its respective year. That makes sense. That should be applied to every historical content.

SixKeys
12-23-2014, 03:49 AM
I agree. Ubi always stuffs their maps full of icons which tend to make players feel overwhelmed. What's worse is that Unity doesn't even allow you to filter out the icons you don't care about (at least I haven't found a way yet).

The dumbest thing was when I was spoiled on the single-player story by doing one of the co-op missions early. The co-op mission spoiled me on a major character death before I'd reached that point in the story. That's just bad design.

wvstolzing
12-23-2014, 04:18 AM
I think that one big problem facing open world action games is that 12 years after GTA3 hit the scene, the idea is *still* somewhat 'ahead of its time'.

That is -- they all come with the promise of providing a sandbox for the player, but with the current game engines, that's *still* not possible. The possible range of interactions a player can have with the environment is still very limited -- the world cooperates with the player only to the extent that the illusion of being in a real 'sandbox' kicks in, but that's about it.

So it's no wonder that they suffer from repetitiveness in their mission structures. I think that the current trend towards online co-op, aside from the ugly microtransactions business, is meant to let the players interact with the game world in fresh & unexpected ways, while the limitations of the environment remain as they are.

I think the way out of this will be through more 'emergent gameplay', and through engines that allow for freer manipulation of the environment. If we insist on 'photorealistic' graphics, and impeccably motion captured animations, the latter won't come for quite a while; but there's been some progress in the former lately.

ACU's large crowds *kind of* do introduce some potential for emergent gameplay, though I don't think they're as 'dynamic' as they were promised.
The new 'blackbox missions', likewise, have *a lot* of promise; but they're hindered by clunky stealth mechanics, and a still too limited range of possible interactions with the environment.

I haven't played 'Shadow of Mordor', but people are praising its nemesis system to high heaven, and how one can basically craft one's own stories of intrigue, revenge, etc. etc., through that mind manipulation system. That kind of thing would work *so well* in AC.

GTA 5's 'random events' get almost as repetitive as ACU's 'social events' after a while -- but some of those events have unexpected consequences, which keeps them fresh: You can get a huge tip on the stock market if you help a hitchhiker get to the airport, for instance; or you can encounter people who can be uniquely helpful for certain missions. That's also worth expanding & enriching.

But then again, if AC continues to offer tiny samples of such gameplay ideas, without integrating them into a full 'meal', so to speak, people will continue to be frustrated with it.

LoyalACFan
12-23-2014, 02:31 PM
I actually think the side mission problems started way back in AC2, not Black Flag. Your complaint about not being properly introduced to each side mission strand certainly began cropping up in AC2. "Here, random teenager, deliver these two letters to my lovers." Uh, okay... "Beat up my cheating husband, it is said you often help common folk!" Uh, I do? Because up until now I'm pretty sure I've just been murdering random guards and Pazzi. The only real difference is that Unity has SOOO much freaking JUNK on the map that it's totally overwhelming (500 collectibles is just beyond f*cking ridiculous), but it doesn't do anything inherently different from AC2 in the way it presents its content. I think the real problem with Unity was that the entire thing was rushed, not just the introduction to the side quests. While AC2 really takes its time (maybe too much time, honestly) letting you get immersed into the world and lets it unfold with plentiful narration and explanation, Unity just goes "zoom zoom zoom exposition exposition exposition here you are, go nuts!" and opens up the entire game within the first hour of getting control of Arno. AC2 also had the benefit of a memorable and likable supporting character (Mario) who introduced you to many of the game's key features. That was part of the personal charm of the Villa, and Unity REALLY needed this for the Cafe Theatre. All we got was some super-dry narration from that one boring Assassin council guy whose name I don't even know.

I actually think Black Flag did its side content damn near perfectly, aside from the pointless collectibles that have been in every AC game. It really moved away from the awkward "hi, I'm a person on the street asking a random stranger in a hood to do a favor for me" formula, and substituted it with a system where everything was systemic and fully explained. Plantations, Templar hunts, shipwrecks, contracts, ship raiding, and hunting were all explained in the story without it feeling overly tutorial-ish except for that one mission with Hornigold right after you first get the ship, and to be honest the rest didn't really need explanation. There's a harpooning location on the map, Edward's a pirate, he can go harpooning. Simple. The player can figure that out on their own. It's not some random NPC waiting patiently for some creep in a hoodie to show up and do their bidding. And AC4 really focused on gameplay LOOPS instead of just an interminable list of one-off missions. I haven't even come close to 100%ing Unity (and I don't really feel compelled to, honestly) but from what I can tell there ain't going to be jack squat left to do in the game after you beat all the missions except massacre guards and do the same three random events over and over :rolleyes: In good sandbox games like AC4 and RDR, you can keep going back to it for hours after the map is totally cleared of icons. In poor sandbox games like ACU, Infamous Second Son, and Watch_Dogs, once the map is clear, you're pretty much done. And Watch_Dogs is a particularly egregious offender since you can't make multiple save files or even replay missions, so the game disc is basically a Frisbee after 100% completion.

Anyway, TL;DR version- I hope Victory goes the AC4 approach of endless gameplay loops (i.e. maybe chess, dueling clubs, bounty hunting a la RDR, countryside hunting) with a few story-centric side missions with cutscenes and high production values, instead Unity's approach consisting of nothing but a CRAPTON of story-centric side missions with garbage production values and pathetic little stories I can't force myself to care about. There were WAY too many of those pointless, repetitive Paris Stories in ACU for my liking.

RuNfAtBoYrUn740
12-23-2014, 04:15 PM
So I have bought AC Unity again and i'm loving it.

lol that didn't take long

But in terms of the side-content, I would rather have less missions, but high quality rather than a crapton of mediocre quests.

I would rather have 10 Paris Stories with really in depth mini-narratives and cutscenes than 50 Paris Stories with average voice acting and repetitive gameplay objectives.

Similarly with Murder Mysteries. I would rather have 5 really in depth mysterious ones than 11 mediocre ones (that's not the right word because the Murder Mysteries were awesome, but you get the point.)

But I agree with the above post. It would be cool to have some content that is repeatable (more than just co-op stuff)

In terms of collectibles, just remove them completely. They're just annoying junk that clutters the map unnecessarily. I'd rather they take the DAI approach where you have to 'claim' certain parts of the map. It might be a little gravestone, or a bouquet of flowers, or a corpse or something, and you just plant a little flag to 'claim' it. It's not too different but not as monotonous and intrusive as collectibles. You can easily connect a lore purpose to 'claim' these areas, like the Borgia Towers were in ACB.

Shahkulu101
12-23-2014, 11:05 PM
Yes, this.

Side content needs to be meaningful and entertaining instead of being half-assed content plopped on the map just for 'something to do'. I fully agree that having everything open is underwhelming and that we need to be eased into the game and see content unfold neatly instead of the map being cluttered from Sequence 1. The fact that some Paris stories don't merge with the timeline you're currently in is ludicrous. I shouldn't be getting a mission about saving King Louis son when I'm only on sequence 5 - just pulls you out completely.

Altair1789
12-23-2014, 11:44 PM
Big world shouldn't mean 1000 chests

Focus more on the story, Ubisoft. If the story and open world will take too long, a delay is fine. Just don't set out a release date unless you're SURE it'll be finished by then, so no more starting a game and saying "in 4 years, this game will come out"

I also want a bunch of assassin helping type missions (like in AC4 where you talk to bureau leaders about the templar key) and special templar hunts (like in AC Brotherhood) instead of random side missions

Hans684
12-23-2014, 11:51 PM
Don't do something like the Paris stories again, pointless Gump missions. There far more historical characters in Unity than AC3. At least in AC3 most of them served the story.

SixKeys
12-24-2014, 12:03 AM
I actually think the side mission problems started way back in AC2, not Black Flag. Your complaint about not being properly introduced to each side mission strand certainly began cropping up in AC2. "Here, random teenager, deliver these two letters to my lovers." Uh, okay... "Beat up my cheating husband, it is said you often help common folk!" Uh, I do? Because up until now I'm pretty sure I've just been murdering random guards and Pazzi. The only real difference is that Unity has SOOO much freaking JUNK on the map that it's totally overwhelming (500 collectibles is just beyond f*cking ridiculous), but it doesn't do anything inherently different from AC2 in the way it presents its content. I think the real problem with Unity was that the entire thing was rushed, not just the introduction to the side quests. While AC2 really takes its time (maybe too much time, honestly) letting you get immersed into the world and lets it unfold with plentiful narration and explanation, Unity just goes "zoom zoom zoom exposition exposition exposition here you are, go nuts!" and opens up the entire game within the first hour of getting control of Arno. AC2 also had the benefit of a memorable and likable supporting character (Mario) who introduced you to many of the game's key features. That was part of the personal charm of the Villa, and Unity REALLY needed this for the Cafe Theatre. All we got was some super-dry narration from that one boring Assassin council guy whose name I don't even know.

I actually think Black Flag did its side content damn near perfectly, aside from the pointless collectibles that have been in every AC game. It really moved away from the awkward "hi, I'm a person on the street asking a random stranger in a hood to do a favor for me" formula, and substituted it with a system where everything was systemic and fully explained. Plantations, Templar hunts, shipwrecks, contracts, ship raiding, and hunting were all explained in the story without it feeling overly tutorial-ish except for that one mission with Hornigold right after you first get the ship, and to be honest the rest didn't really need explanation. There's a harpooning location on the map, Edward's a pirate, he can go harpooning. Simple. The player can figure that out on their own. It's not some random NPC waiting patiently for some creep in a hoodie to show up and do their bidding. And AC4 really focused on gameplay LOOPS instead of just an interminable list of one-off missions. I haven't even come close to 100%ing Unity (and I don't really feel compelled to, honestly) but from what I can tell there ain't going to be jack squat left to do in the game after you beat all the missions except massacre guards and do the same three random events over and over :rolleyes: In good sandbox games like AC4 and RDR, you can keep going back to it for hours after the map is totally cleared of icons. In poor sandbox games like ACU, Infamous Second Son, and Watch_Dogs, once the map is clear, you're pretty much done. And Watch_Dogs is a particularly egregious offender since you can't make multiple save files or even replay missions, so the game disc is basically a Frisbee after 100% completion.

Anyway, TL;DR version- I hope Victory goes the AC4 approach of endless gameplay loops (i.e. maybe chess, dueling clubs, bounty hunting a la RDR, countryside hunting) with a few story-centric side missions with cutscenes and high production values, instead Unity's approach consisting of nothing but a CRAPTON of story-centric side missions with garbage production values and pathetic little stories I can't force myself to care about. There were WAY too many of those pointless, repetitive Paris Stories in ACU for my liking.

You make a lot of a good points. Personally I like Unity more than AC4, but you may be right about gameplay loops vs. pre-designed side missions. Then again, even with gameplay loops that are in theory infinitely regenerating and replayable, there's not much reason to go back and raid the same plantations or hunt the same sharks in AC4 any more than there is incentive to replay Paris missions you've already completed. Freedom Cry's plantations had one advantage over the main game, which was that daytime and nighttime raids were different. Guards' positions changed and the objectives were different. (Save families by knocking on their doors or just take out some select slave masters.) I had more incentive to engage in Freedom Cry's gameplay loops because there was more of a story attached to them. In AC4, Edward can keep raiding plantations basically forever, but why? His ship is fully upgraded, he's swimming in cash, the Templars are defeated, why would he care about stealing more sugar cane? In Freedom Cry, Adéwale's struggle is not over once the story ends. Saving slaves is more rewarding than stealing loot because there's a story, however small, attached. It's the same reason Red Dead Redemption's gang hideouts work after beating the game. You're not just fighting thugs for no reason, there's a small story surrounding each one (like law enforcement telling you "they've taken our sheriff hostage!" or "these rebel bandits have been killing folks around here"). If Borgia towers in ACB were repeatable, they would work because of the whole "removing Borgia influence/restoring Rome" narrative.

LoyalACFan
12-24-2014, 06:27 AM
You make a lot of a good points. Personally I like Unity more than AC4, but you may be right about gameplay loops vs. pre-designed side missions. Then again, even with gameplay loops that are in theory infinitely regenerating and replayable, there's not much reason to go back and raid the same plantations or hunt the same sharks in AC4 any more than there is incentive to replay Paris missions you've already completed. Freedom Cry's plantations had one advantage over the main game, which was that daytime and nighttime raids were different. Guards' positions changed and the objectives were different. (Save families by knocking on their doors or just take out some select slave masters.) I had more incentive to engage in Freedom Cry's gameplay loops because there was more of a story attached to them. In AC4, Edward can keep raiding plantations basically forever, but why? His ship is fully upgraded, he's swimming in cash, the Templars are defeated, why would he care about stealing more sugar cane? In Freedom Cry, Adéwale's struggle is not over once the story ends. Saving slaves is more rewarding than stealing loot because there's a story, however small, attached. It's the same reason Red Dead Redemption's gang hideouts work after beating the game. You're not just fighting thugs for no reason, there's a small story surrounding each one (like law enforcement telling you "they've taken our sheriff hostage!" or "these rebel bandits have been killing folks around here"). If Borgia towers in ACB were repeatable, they would work because of the whole "removing Borgia influence/restoring Rome" narrative.

AC4's sidequest model was by no means perfect, but I think it's easily the closest AC has come to a true sandbox open world (I'm lumping Freedom Cry in here too). Like I said, it needs a bit of re-tailoring, especially for the new setting, but I really prefer those infinite loops and repeatable side stories to something like the Paris Stories.

Of course, regardless of the style it's presented in, quality is everything. Mechanically, I like ACU better than AC4 as well, but I totally despise its side missions aside from co-op. Nostradamus Enigmas were far too difficult in all the wrong ways (it was about obscure knowledge rather than puzzle solving), murder mysteries were too simplistic, Cafe missions didn't have enough story, and Paris Stories... ugh. Every single one of them was basically the exact same mission. "Hi, I'm a token historical figure, go grab something for me in that restricted area over there." No production values, lame story, no reason to keep playing them unless you're hard up for cash. I feel like I've done a hundred of them and I'm not even halfway though.

SixKeys
12-24-2014, 02:05 PM
AC4's sidequest model was by no means perfect, but I think it's easily the closest AC has come to a true sandbox open world (I'm lumping Freedom Cry in here too). Like I said, it needs a bit of re-tailoring, especially for the new setting, but I really prefer those infinite loops and repeatable side stories to something like the Paris Stories.

Of course, regardless of the style it's presented in, quality is everything. Mechanically, I like ACU better than AC4 as well, but I totally despise its side missions aside from co-op. Nostradamus Enigmas were far too difficult in all the wrong ways (it was about obscure knowledge rather than puzzle solving), murder mysteries were too simplistic, Cafe missions didn't have enough story, and Paris Stories... ugh. Every single one of them was basically the exact same mission. "Hi, I'm a token historical figure, go grab something for me in that restricted area over there." No production values, lame story, no reason to keep playing them unless you're hard up for cash. I feel like I've done a hundred of them and I'm not even halfway though.

I love the Paris stories and murder mysteries. It's true they're repetitive, but so are all of AC4's activities. I'm not sure why you think AC4's gameplay loops are so much better if repetition is the problem. What Paris stories had going for them and what they needed more of was story/characters. Iscariotte the Giant and Le Chevaliére (the crossdressing swordsman) come to mind. The Ezio games get praised for their side content all the time, but what was really so different from AC2's assassination contracts that made them superior to Paris stories? They were just as much "go into restricted area, kill this person or steal this thing".

I agree about Nostradamus puzzles being ultimately more annoying than rewarding. I do appreciate what they were trying to do, though. Ideally you want players to explore as much of the game's content as possible. The database has been largely useless except for major history buffs, yet the hundreds of entries must take ages to write. So the solution is to either get rid of the database completely - something that would undoubtedly draw criticism - or to make the player engage with it somehow. AC4's "puzzles" were criticized for being too simplistic (playing Frogger counts as "hacking"). Unity makes them harder again, with varying levels of difficulty, and gets criticized.

The real problem with the puzzles was that there were too many of them and the reward wasn't really worth all the trouble. Just have fewer puzzles and make the reward something amazing like the Truth videos and Bob's your uncle.

VestigialLlama4
12-24-2014, 03:36 PM
I love the Paris stories and murder mysteries. It's true they're repetitive, but so are all of AC4's activities.

Really, let's see ACU side missions in terms of variety:
- Nostradamus Physical Puzzles (Unlocks Altair Outfit in Blue Colour and Chainmail Hood packaged as Armor for No Sane Reason)
- Murder Mysteries
- Side Stories/Social Clubs/Cafe Theatre - Errand Missions, where you go to a new place and press B.

Black Flag side missions
- Assassin Contracts (Unlocked by visiting different islands)
- Naval Contracts (Unlocked by taking over Forts)
- Templar Armor Side Quest (Introduces Different Assassins Via Side Quest)
- Mayan Stelae Puzzle (Physical Puzzles/Riddles that encourages exploration and unlocks special armor)
- Diving Missions (Essential for Upgrade Plans for Ships)
- Treasure Maps (World Building/Puzzle/Economy/Plans for Upgrades)
- Plantation Missions (Important for Acquiring Material for Ship Upgrades)
- For Collectibles, you have
-- Letters in Bottle (Important for World Building-Backstory of Sages)
-- Sea Shanties (Which you can hear on deck of your ship)
- Lastly you have Legendary Ships.

Call me crazy, but the side missions of Black Flag offer a comprehensive scope of gameplay, worldbuilding, upgrading and scaling up, and provides variety in style and theme. I see very little repitition there.


What Paris stories had going for them and what they needed more of was story/characters. Iscariotte the Giant and Le Chevaliére (the crossdressing swordsman) come to mind.

So random character model with terrible voice acting is your idea of story/characters. As for Chevalier d'Eon, they could have done more wiht him/her if they had imagination. But alas, they have none.


The Ezio games get praised for their side content all the time, but what was really so different from AC2's assassination contracts that made them superior to Paris stories? They were just as much "go into restricted area, kill this person or steal this thing".

Okay let's compare again,
AC2 Side Missions
- Assassin Contracts
- Upgrading Monteriggioni
- Races
- Beat-Em Ups
- Mail Delivery (You get to read up letters on Raphael and Michelangelo in their early years)
- Assassin Tombs
- Collectibles
-- Feathers (Annoying but provides key story pay-off with Ezio and his Mother)
-- Codex Pages(Important for Plot)
Even AC2 which introduced a very primitive side-mission mechanic has more variety than UNITY.


By any standard, the side missions of UNITY is a total failure. They don't even have Assassin Tombs when France has plenty of monuments that could have provided them chances to use it. They even found tombs for AC3 in the New World.

LoyalACFan
12-24-2014, 11:16 PM
I love the Paris stories and murder mysteries. It's true they're repetitive, but so are all of AC4's activities. I'm not sure why you think AC4's gameplay loops are so much better if repetition is the problem. What Paris stories had going for them and what they needed more of was story/characters. Iscariotte the Giant and Le Chevaliére (the crossdressing swordsman) come to mind. The Ezio games get praised for their side content all the time, but what was really so different from AC2's assassination contracts that made them superior to Paris stories? They were just as much "go into restricted area, kill this person or steal this thing".

I agree about Nostradamus puzzles being ultimately more annoying than rewarding. I do appreciate what they were trying to do, though. Ideally you want players to explore as much of the game's content as possible. The database has been largely useless except for major history buffs, yet the hundreds of entries must take ages to write. So the solution is to either get rid of the database completely - something that would undoubtedly draw criticism - or to make the player engage with it somehow. AC4's "puzzles" were criticized for being too simplistic (playing Frogger counts as "hacking"). Unity makes them harder again, with varying levels of difficulty, and gets criticized.

The real problem with the puzzles was that there were too many of them and the reward wasn't really worth all the trouble. Just have fewer puzzles and make the reward something amazing like the Truth videos and Bob's your uncle.

I basically agree with what Llama said. Yes, AC4's side activities were repetitive as well, but there were a LOT of different activities. Whereas Unity basically just has three; Nostradamus Enigmas (which we have already agreed were pure tedium), murder mysteries (which were OK I guess but they felt too simplistic and half-baked) and a zillion Paris Stories that all feel basically the same.


What Paris stories had going for them and what they needed more of was story/characters. Iscariotte the Giant and Le Chevaliére (the crossdressing swordsman) come to mind.

And I agree with that, but the fact that there were SO MANY of them detracted from what they could have been. That's why I mentioned the Templar Hunts. There are only a few of them (AC4 could have used a couple more of them TBH) but they were very well-done and showed real interaction between the characters and Edward, vs. the long exposition dumps of the Paris Stories that Arno rarely even comments on. Theroigne and Chevalier d'Eon were cool, and it's a pity they didn't give them fleshed-out side missions with real dialogue and plot like those Templar Hunts. BTW wasn't Iscariotte the Giant just that random serial killer dude that walked around grunting? What was so special about him? I don't even think he had dialogue.

Assassin_M
12-24-2014, 11:35 PM
Okay let's compare again,
AC2 Side Missions
- Assassin Contracts
The Social clubs missions are basically the same thing.


- Upgrading Monteriggioni
Upgrading the cafe is the same thing. It's not like it's a lot of work either. You just go to a map of the place and choose what to upgrade.


- Races
The Rifts. Races are timed parkour puzzles, so are some forms of every rift.


- Beat-Em Ups
Just a halfassed combat sequence. Surely you're not suggesting that because they're hand-to-hand instead of with weapons that they're different.


- Mail Delivery (You get to read up letters on Raphael and Michelangelo in their early years)
Run from point A to point B. That's hardly innovative. If you'll talk about them being parkour puzzles, then we already have those in the forms of races and tombs. Reading up on Micahelangelo and Rafael did nothing. They never appeared in the story and thus had nothing to do with anything.


- Assassin Tombs
Timed parkour puzzles, we already have races.


-- Feathers (Annoying but provides key story pay-off with Ezio and his Mother)
Yeah, a cape that makes you notorious everywhere, what an awesome payoff.


-- Codex Pages(Important for Plot)
Important or not, there's NO excuse for holding the last mission hostage behind a white animus wall because we have no collected OVER 20 pieces of paper.



By any standard, the side missions of UNITY is a total failure. They don't even have Assassin Tombs when France has plenty of monuments that could have provided them chances to use it. They even found tombs for AC3 in the New World.
I disagree that it is in comparison to II. To Black Flag, sure. BF had A LOT of awesome side missions with a lot of variety but AC II was ****, sorry. The only decent side missions in AC II were the glyphs, tombs and the contracts. Everything else was basically half assed fodder.

In regards to the Murder Mysteries, I LOVE them but maybe i'm just spoiled by watching Conan. It felt so empty that Arno never spoke during his investigations (SixKeys you liezz to meh) Arno would never comment on clues found, reply during interviews, nothing. It always feels empty when the avatar is just standing there. Something to think about is adding input from the protagonists if those ever return.

In regards to the Paris stories, I love a lot of them but some are just bad. really bad. There's the gump factor which CAN be tolerable, if the writing is good but in some strands, it's forced gump factor AND bad writing.
Why am I helping Napolean with his high school love life? Why does he command me like i'm an inferior solider who'll listen to his every command? Why am I here? It doesn't help that Arno doesn't reply to him at all either, so I just feel like i'm his *****.

Continuing on, who am I actually working for? am I working for Napoleon? Desiree? or the captain of the guard? One time, i'm helping Napoleon discover the extent of the relationship between his fiancee and the captain but wait, not i'm helping Desiree unite with the captain? AND she's asking me to steal letters from Napoleon's house? and ARNO AGREES TO THIS? Okay, fair enough....I'm sneaking into the guy's house but wait, i'm not supposed to because he sees me AND he tells me to take the letters, he's over Desiree becauselol

There is some really good stories in Paris but some of them are just mind numbingly dumb.

Megas_Doux
12-24-2014, 11:42 PM
The codex pages ARE mandatory, vestigia. If you skipped collecting those, the game will command you to do such in order to gain access to the last sequence....

And well, I said Ubi could have some trouble with the side content in Unity because unlike AC IV, in which there was the super rich pirate stuff to take advantage from, the French revolution would be a more dry setting in that regard......

LoyalACFan
12-24-2014, 11:52 PM
Important or not, there's NO excuse for holding the last mission hostage behind a white animus wall because we have no collected OVER 20 pieces of paper.

You say OVER 20 like it's a lot :p

I really didn't have a problem with the codex pages, it takes like 30 minutes to collect all of them, the insights from Altair are awesome fan service, and if you don't have them all (or almost all) by the end, it's kind of your own fault. The game makes it ABUNDANTLY clear that you're supposed to be collecting them, it tells you so in the main story. I don't think it's some outrageous, unforgivable design choice to lock the final mission behind collecting them all since you're literally handed a free map that shows you exactly where they are. If you missed some along the way, sure it's slightly annoying to have to go back, but it isn't a huge issue.

But yeah, beat-ups, couriers and races were lame.

Assassin_M
12-25-2014, 12:03 AM
You say OVER 20 like it's a lot :p
it IS a lot when they MUST be collected to unlock the friggin final mission AND that they're scattered around EVERY city. Go to travel point, choose city, run run run run, hire prostitutes, steal page, run run run run to next one, finish city, go to travel point rinse and repeat. That was terrible. Just a superficial way to make the game feel longer.


I really didn't have a problem with the codex pages, it takes like 30 minutes to collect all of them, the insights from Altair are awesome fan service, and if you don't have them all (or almost all) by the end, it's kind of your own fault. The game makes it ABUNDANTLY clear that you're supposed to be collecting them, it tells you so in the main story. I don't think it's some outrageous, unforgivable design choice to lock the final mission behind collecting them all since you're literally handed a free map that shows you exactly where they are. If you missed some along the way, sure it's slightly annoying to have to go back, but it isn't a huge issue.
No, the game really doesnt make it clear that you need them. The game forgets about them half way through sequence 4 and suddenly remembers them again in sequence 10.....10. Not to mention that to actually be able to collect them without the map, you need to sync every view point, so more grinding through the city and there's NOTHING different about them. They're all locked behind 4 guards. At least the chests in Unity actually had some variety to them. Some were underground guarded by 2 guards, some were inside locked rooms, some were locked in of themselves, some are guarded by 5 or 6 or even 7 guards. It's different and that is appreciated.


But yeah, beat-ups, couriers and races were lame.
You are on the right path. Follow the Morgia.

ze_topazio
12-25-2014, 12:18 AM
Reading up on Michaelangelo and Rafael did nothing. They never appeared in the story and thus had nothing to do with anything.

Probably they were too busy beating bad guys and eating pizza.

VestigialLlama4
12-25-2014, 05:26 AM
The codex pages ARE mandatory, vestigia. If you skipped collecting those, the game will command you to do such in order to gain access to the last sequence....

And again many incentives to collect it. Each codex page deciphered gets you an extra bar of health. The Codex Pages are story-wise the source of Ezio's Hidden Blade Upgrades. They also advance the Lore with Altair's later life fully and comprehensively told in the pages. So perfectly integrated into the story as a collectible.


And well, I said Ubi could have some trouble with the side content in Unity because unlike AC IV, in which there was the super rich pirate stuff to take advantage from, the French revolution would be a more dry setting in that regard......

Seriously, this is your argument. The French Revolution was far, far, far, richer as a setting than the Pirate Era, or even AC3 (or Revelations) for that matter. If they had actually researched the period instead of plucking at straws they could have found stuff that made AC2 look paltry. Paris alone has a history that the game didn't even tap.

The fact is they got some hairbrained idea of "History=Cooties" which might have been justifiable for an Uncharted game where the historical details don't really matter at all, but its criminal for an AC game to have.

VestigialLlama4
12-25-2014, 05:40 AM
I disagree that it is in comparison to II. To Black Flag, sure. BF had A LOT of awesome side missions with a lot of variety but AC II was ****, sorry. The only decent side missions in AC II were the glyphs, tombs and the contracts.

The point is in terms of variety it was still quite a lot. In any case, in AC2, the side-missions were used for the first time so naturally it's a little on the thin side compared to the later games that build on it, I mean Brotherhood is a game with nothing but side-missions.


In regards to the Murder Mysteries, I LOVE them but maybe i'm just spoiled by watching Conan. It felt so empty that Arno never spoke during his investigations (SixKeys you liezz to meh) Arno would never comment on clues found, reply during interviews, nothing.

Also the main thing is there's no pay-off. For completing the murder mysteries you get nothing. It's just there. There's no pay-off in terms of story-and-lore, worldbuilding, character progression and upgrading. Murder Mysteries is also on-the-whole not innovative in terms of gameplay, its a gloss on Connor's Frontiersman missions(investigating Sasquatch and the like-Which also felt out of place there as well, to be honest) and the whole Paris Side Stories has the same approach as that game. The other thing is that its awkwardly integrated into the Revolutionary setting. And one of these murder mysteries - The Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat - has never been a mystery. People who know of Marat usually know the young lady who whacked him.


In regards to the Paris stories, I love a lot of them but some are just bad. really bad. There's the gump factor which CAN be tolerable, if the writing is good but in some strands, it's forced gump factor AND bad writing.
Why am I helping Napolean with his high school love life? Why does he command me like i'm an inferior solider who'll listen to his every command? Why am I here? It doesn't help that Arno doesn't reply to him at all either, so I just feel like i'm his *****.

Continuing on, who am I actually working for? am I working for Napoleon? Desiree? or the captain of the guard? One time, i'm helping Napoleon discover the extent of the relationship between his fiancee and the captain but wait, not i'm helping Desiree unite with the captain? AND she's asking me to steal letters from Napoleon's house? and ARNO AGREES TO THIS? Okay, fair enough....I'm sneaking into the guy's house but wait, i'm not supposed to because he sees me AND he tells me to take the letters, he's over Desiree becauselol

There is some really good stories in Paris but some of them are just mind numbingly dumb.

To be honest people who complain about gump factor in AC games shouldn't play AC games. It is the appeal and promise of the game that you will hang out with historical figures from the past. Anyway, Arno being Napoleon's busboy, man-friday, and all purpose b-tch is the sum total of his life achievement anyway.

Assassin_M
12-25-2014, 07:18 AM
The point is in terms of variety it was still quite a lot. In any case, in AC2, the side-missions were used for the first time so naturally it's a little on the thin side compared to the later games that build on it, I mean Brotherhood is a game with nothing but side-missions.
I just explained how it wasnt. AC II's side missions were anything but variable. Your comparison with Black Flag and Brotherhood, I agree with but not AC II, no. The side missions in AC II were horrendous, at least every side mission in Unity has context and an explanation, not just some random stuff where an Assassin stops in the middle of his revenge mission to deliver letters or beat up cheating husbands (heck, what wife stops random strangers in the street and tells them to beat up their cheating husbands?)



Also the main thing is there's no pay-off. For completing the murder mysteries you get nothing. It's just there. There's no pay-off in terms of story-and-lore, worldbuilding, character progression and upgrading. Murder Mysteries is also on-the-whole not innovative in terms of gameplay, its a gloss on Connor's Frontiersman missions(investigating Sasquatch and the like-Which also felt out of place there as well, to be honest) and the whole Paris Side Stories has the same approach as that game. The other thing is that its awkwardly integrated into the Revolutionary setting. And one of these murder mysteries - The Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat - has never been a mystery. People who know of Marat usually know the young lady who whacked him.
You get weapons and that's pretty fine. We'v come across a subjective field now but factually, there IS pay off to solving each mystery. They only felt out of place to me because here's a guy who murders people solving a mystery where people are murdered. I was surprised I never ran into a mystery where I was the culprit.

You're being really inconsistent now. in the third paragraph below, you talk about how the gump factor is okay because this is what AC is about but then complain about Marat's murder being a mystery. Mate, isn't it about the fantasy? hanging out with historical characters and stuff? Market this: Play as the man who put Marat's killer behind bars. You can sell a whole game based just on that.




To be honest people who complain about gump factor in AC games shouldn't play AC games. It is the appeal and promise of the game that you will hang out with historical figures from the past. Anyway, Arno being Napoleon's busboy, man-friday, and all purpose b-tch is the sum total of his life achievement anyway.
I agree but the gump factor unfortunately sometimes leads to very uninspiring ideas and missions. Gameplay and design do not dictate the story anymore, the gump factor takes lead, which is just bad thinking. You shouldn't design a mission based on what you want the story to be--You actually shouldn't do it the other way around either (most of the time, it still works better than the earlier though) but you need to find a middle ground. Okay, so we want Connor to be present for the midnight ride...fine, fine, what do we do? put him right in the middle of it and have him chauffeur Paul using our most broken transportation mechanic (the horse)? Nah, that's not fun but we need him to be there. Okay, then how about have Connor follow Revere into each town and then as Revere closes in, they find a lot of redcoats guarding it and Connor has to knock them out silently so Revere can warn the patriots. This would create various little well designed playgrounds that give the player a lot of freedom and room for strategy.

I need a reason for being Napoleon's *****, I need context. I don't mind being a leader's *****, Ezio was Lorenzo's ***** but there was a reason for it.

VestigialLlama4
12-25-2014, 08:26 AM
You're being really inconsistent now. in the third paragraph below, you talk about how the gump factor is okay because this is what AC is about but then complain about Marat's murder being a mystery. Mate, isn't it about the fantasy? hanging out with historical characters and stuff? Market this: Play as the man who put Marat's killer behind bars. You can sell a whole game based just on that.

You didn't understand what I am saying. The missions are called "Murder Mystery" but there is no mystery behind the death of Marat. The person who did it got caught at once. Ideally, they could have integrated Marat in the main narrative and have a boss fight/chase to catch Charlotte Corday. If they want to do murder mysteries they can do fictional crimes all they want, that's fine, but introducing that famous incident in this situation is totally ridiculous. As is the treatment of their characters by the way.


I agree but the gump factor unfortunately sometimes leads to very uninspiring ideas and missions. Gameplay and design do not dictate the story anymore, the gump factor takes lead, which is just bad thinking. You shouldn't design a mission based on what you want the story to be--You actually shouldn't do it the other way around either (most of the time, it still works better than the earlier though) but you need to find a middle ground. Okay, so we want Connor to be present for the midnight ride...fine, fine, what do we do? put him right in the middle of it and have him chauffeur Paul using our most broken transportation mechanic (the horse)? Nah, that's not fun but we need him to be there. Okay, then how about have Connor follow Revere into each town and then as Revere closes in, they find a lot of redcoats guarding it and Connor has to knock them out silently so Revere can warn the patriots. This would create various little well designed playgrounds that give the player a lot of freedom and room for strategy.

I need a reason for being Napoleon's *****, I need context. I don't mind being a leader's *****, Ezio was Lorenzo's ***** but there was a reason for it.

You need a reason and a context for everything. Mostly you need a reason and a context for doing an Assassin's Creed game in the French Revolution when the developers have a patent lack of interest in the setting, time period and major figures.

SixKeys
12-25-2014, 08:31 AM
Really, let's see ACU side missions in terms of variety:
- Nostradamus Physical Puzzles (Unlocks Altair Outfit in Blue Colour and Chainmail Hood packaged as Armor for No Sane Reason)
- Murder Mysteries
- Side Stories/Social Clubs/Cafe Theatre - Errand Missions, where you go to a new place and press B.

Black Flag side missions
- Assassin Contracts (Unlocked by visiting different islands)
- Naval Contracts (Unlocked by taking over Forts)
- Templar Armor Side Quest (Introduces Different Assassins Via Side Quest)
- Mayan Stelae Puzzle (Physical Puzzles/Riddles that encourages exploration and unlocks special armor)
- Diving Missions (Essential for Upgrade Plans for Ships)
- Treasure Maps (World Building/Puzzle/Economy/Plans for Upgrades)
- Plantation Missions (Important for Acquiring Material for Ship Upgrades)
- For Collectibles, you have
-- Letters in Bottle (Important for World Building-Backstory of Sages)
-- Sea Shanties (Which you can hear on deck of your ship)
- Lastly you have Legendary Ships.

Call me crazy, but the side missions of Black Flag offer a comprehensive scope of gameplay, worldbuilding, upgrading and scaling up, and provides variety in style and theme. I see very little repitition there.

I won't call you crazy but I am calling you dishonest. You lump all of Unity's side missions into one based on their mechanical similarities yet separate Black Flag and AC2's missions into separate categories even though they're mechanically similar.

Let's try this again:

ACU:

-Social Club missions
-Paris stories
-Murder mysteries
-At least 5 different random events (tackle thief, scare bullies, give beggars money, kill messenger without being seen, kill extremist thugs)
-Heists
-Co-op missions
-Rifts (timed races)
-Upgrading Cafe Theatre
-Cafe Theatre missions
-Nostradamus puzzles (unlocks ultimate armor)
-Cockades (unlocks customization options)
-Chests (money and special outfits)

AC2:

-Beat-up missions (go here, mash button until NPC surrenders)
-Letter deliveries (timed races)
-One random event (tackle thief)
-Glyphs (puzzles)
-Assassination contracts
-Tombs
-Races (same as letter deliveries)
-Upgrading the Villa
-Codex pages (unlocks ultimate armor and the final mission in the game)
-Feathers
-Chests (only reward is money)

AC2 has 10 side mission types in total. 6 of those are exactly same - mechanically - that we find in Unity. (Races, chests, assassination contracts, upgradable homebase, timed races and puzzles.)


So random character model with terrible voice acting is your idea of story/characters. As for Chevalier d'Eon, they could have done more wiht him/her if they had imagination. But alas, they have none.

I thought the voice-acting was just fine. But if you wanna compare, do feel free to elaborate on the harrowing vocal performance given by AC2's side mission NPCs. "My-a husband is-a cheating on-a me. You will-a find him near the church-a!"

Your listing on Black Flag's side missions is equally dishonest because instead of comparing the missions purely on a technical level, you focus on the rewards they provide. Mayan stealae puzzles are really nothing to write home about - you literally walk towards a spot on your map, press a button a couple of times and that's it. You reward is a key, and you havew to do this about 15 times to unlock the ultimate armor. Whoop-de-doo. The Nostradamus puzzles actually require the player to use their brain, makes them explore the database and learn history in the process, and your reward is another ultimate armor. Which approach you personally find more fun is up for debate, but mechanically they are exactly the same.

You also name a bunch of other AC4 side missions not because they're more unique than those found in Unity but because you enjoy the rewards they offer more. AC4's side missions are designed with ship upgrades in mind, AC4's with character customization. Same approach, slightly different rewards. I don't really care about upgrading a ship but I do care about upgrading my character. So that's something that comes down to player preference.


By any standard, the side missions of UNITY is a total failure. They don't even have Assassin Tombs when France has plenty of monuments that could have provided them chances to use it. They even found tombs for AC3 in the New World.

Personally I'd rather see something new than the same old mission types we've had since AC2. AC3 only had one good tomb (the Mad Doctor's castle), the new freerunning system made the rest intolerable. With all the raging Unity got from players who can't even enter windows, imagine the complaints about platforming puzzles. The murder mysteries were something new. It could be argued they don't quite fit within the narrative, but then, neither did Ezio's letter deliveries and domestic violence disputes. Just because a particular mission type has been there for ages doesn't mean it should remain in all future games.

Dev_Anj
12-25-2014, 09:03 AM
And again many incentives to collect it. Each codex page deciphered gets you an extra bar of health. The Codex Pages are story-wise the source of Ezio's Hidden Blade Upgrades. They also advance the Lore with Altair's later life fully and comprehensively told in the pages. So perfectly integrated into the story as a collectible.


You remember incorrectly. You need four, not one codex page to upgrade your health. Besides, the health increase isn't really much of a reward when the AI is so dumb and you take very less damage in any fight, not to mention how healing items are so cheap and you can store a lot of them.

Oh wait, okay Ezio got two upgrades from the Codex pages. So how does that mean that these pages are just put in banks with four guards all the time? Why are these pages not in the Vatican? What are they doing with these pages? The pages are nonsensically just placed behind a group of guards so that you have to either fight them or distract them.

Not to mention that from a gameplay perspective, all you really do to get these is fight or distract a group of four guards, along with some stragglers who might join, enter a small room and open a chest. Now it's very easy for someone to get tired if they have to repeat this twenty times.

Sure, the pages have some of Altair's observations. Sure, some people would like to read this. But this doesn't justify any of the above problems with them. In effect, you're making people distract or fight four guards to give them a page repeatedly.

In short, no they are not well integrated into the story, they are just another ridiculous collectible in Assassin's Creed 2's list of ridiculous collectibles.

shobhit7777777
12-25-2014, 07:52 PM
A game like Assassin's creed shouldn't NEED side missions

Shadow of Mordor has very robust gameplay systems..and I'm not talking about the Nemesis system...the core gameplay is solid. The side content revolves around giving the player mini-sandboxes that utilize the entire gamut of player abilities. The content is also extremely organic to the game world.

**** stopping thieves, collecting flyers or some damn pamphlet and eff the platforming

Give me solid AI, solid crowd systems, varied player abilities in a living, breathing, SIMULATED world and you'll have users generating their own side content. Take a leaf out of FC4 - outposts, hunting animals and ambushes...the side-content revolves around the core gameplay and rests on the main game pillars....its also extremely organic.

I'm tired of every other AC game being as engaging as a wet fart.

I mean are y'all blind!!

LOOK AT THE PREMISE!! Look at the core mechanics!! The franchise is bursting at the seams with potential! Living breathing worlds teeming with NPCs DESIGNED for you to manipulate....a world which offers you unparalleled mobility!

Assassin_M
12-25-2014, 08:30 PM
LOOK AT THE PREMISE!! Look at the core mechanics!! The franchise is bursting at the seams with potential! Living breathing worlds teeming with NPCs DESIGNED for you to manipulate....a world which offers you unparalleled mobility!
Mate, the title says it'll be updated, this is just the first issue off the top of my head.


You didn't understand what I am saying. The missions are called "Murder Mystery" but there is no mystery behind the death of Marat. The person who did it got caught at once. Ideally, they could have integrated Marat in the main narrative and have a boss fight/chase to catch Charlotte Corday. If they want to do murder mysteries they can do fictional crimes all they want, that's fine, but introducing that famous incident in this situation is totally ridiculous. As is the treatment of their characters by the way.
The same thing happened in the game. Charlotte was already in custody but the whole thing was manipulated a bit to serve the side mission, like every other AC game. No one was present to save Loreno from the Pazzis, it's the same deal, to be honest.
I wont get into an argument about historical authenticity with you, it's a lost cause.



You need a reason and a context for everything. Mostly you need a reason and a context for doing an Assassin's Creed game in the French Revolution when the developers have a patent lack of interest in the setting, time period and major figures.
Again, wont get into it.

VestigialLlama4
12-26-2014, 08:15 AM
AC2 has 10 side mission types in total. 6 of those are exactly same - mechanically - that we find in Unity. (Races, chests, assassination contracts, upgradable homebase, timed races and puzzles.)

So that's four more than Unity. AC2 was the first game that had side missions and it was added later into development as Desilets admitted, the Tombs were made by one of Ubisoft's subsidiary studios(the same one I believe that came up with the sailing component). UNITY is several years later, has time and experience to integrate different kinds of side missions within the workflow, it has a weak central story, a large map and pathetic excuses for side missions that compares poorly with AC2.


I thought the voice-acting was just fine. But if you wanna compare, do feel free to elaborate on the harrowing vocal performance given by AC2's side mission NPCs. "My-a husband is-a cheating on-a me. You will-a find him near the church-a!"

None of the random NPCs in AC2 are major historical figures(the ones like Lorenzo, Machiavelli, Da Vinci, Caterina are voiced well). In UNITY, no historical figure has a distinctive voice since they have that irredemably silly English accent.


Your listing on Black Flag's side missions is equally dishonest because instead of comparing the missions purely on a technical level, you focus on the rewards they provide. Mayan stealae puzzles are really nothing to write home about - you literally walk towards a spot on your map, press a button a couple of times and that's it. You reward is a key, and you havew to do this about 15 times to unlock the ultimate armor. Whoop-de-doo. The Nostradamus puzzles actually require the player to use their brain, makes them explore the database and learn history in the process, and your reward is another ultimate armor.

I actually like the Nostradamus Puzzles among the side missions, its just that I prefer gameplay and physical puzzles, something my player character can interact and grapple rather than consult the in-game database. As for ultimate armor, I don't see what's "ultimate" about a dated/reskin of Altair's outfit, I don't see any reason why Arno should prefer wearing it over the other gear, why would medieval Assassin Robes be more useful in an age of gunpowder and shot. The Mayan Armor is bulletproof(which is why I never wear it since it breaks the game), Altair's Armor in AC2 provided a lot of protection and it looked cool, the same applies to the Armor of Brutus, Ishak Pasha's Armor and the like.


Personally I'd rather see something new than the same old mission types we've had since AC2.

So the same mission types in AC1 are preferable to that (actually its a poor imitation-I am replaying AC1 currently, and UNITY isn't even close to it).


A game like Assassin's creed shouldn't NEED side missions

Well if its an open world game(I actually wouldn't mind a linear AC game, it would give it more level freedom like Dishonored) than having side missions is a kind of unwritten contract. Side missions can give you chances to do gameplay or explore locations that the story otherwise wouldn't provide. I mean in REVELATIONS, they didn't find much to do with Hagia Sophia in the main story (and you can't do Istanbul without its greatest monument) so they saved it for a Tomb.


Oh wait, okay Ezio got two upgrades from the Codex pages. So how does that mean that these pages are just put in banks with four guards all the time? Why are these pages not in the Vatican? What are they doing with these pages?

The fact that its awkwardly put in place is not the point. AC2 was made in 2009, nearly 10 years ago, it was the first time they introduced side missions and obviously there was some silliness to it. The point of the bank guards is to make you use the different crowd systems. Just like in Brotherhood, you had Borgia Towers to use and take out with your Assassin Brotherhood and Arrow Storms.

Dev_Anj
12-26-2014, 01:04 PM
The fact that its awkwardly put in place is not the point. AC2 was made in 2009, nearly 10 years ago, it was the first time they introduced side missions and obviously there was some silliness to it. The point of the bank guards is to make you use the different crowd systems. Just like in Brotherhood, you had Borgia Towers to use and take out with your Assassin Brotherhood and Arrow Storms.

Open world games have been doing side missions years before Assassin's Creed, with some success. There are several side missions that have been handled better than AC 2's, so saying that they should get a free pass for introducing a silly side mission doesn't make any sense. Let's actually talk about the side mission itself though.

The guards are added to provide some sort of obstacle to gaining the collectible. I understand that they would want to give some security to the collectible, and so used them. But they aren't particularly involving obstacles. The only things you can do to get past them is either hire some factions to either distract or fight with them, throw coins to distract them( which doesn't work properly as they still stay in place while collecting the coins, giving you just enough time to assassinate one guard and quickly enter before the others become aware) or fight them head on. There are no crowd systems involved, you just hire a faction, and send them to distract the guards.

SixKeys
12-26-2014, 01:51 PM
So that's four more than Unity.

Um, no. I said missions that are mechanically the same. So AC2 and ACU share a lot of the same mission types PLUS a bunch of unique ones. Unity's heists, co-op missions and murder mysteries are unique to that game, plus the crowd events that AC2 doesn't have.


AC2 was the first game that had side missions and it was added later into development as Desilets admitted, the Tombs were made by one of Ubisoft's subsidiary studios(the same one I believe that came up with the sailing component). UNITY is several years later, has time and experience to integrate different kinds of side missions within the workflow, it has a weak central story, a large map and pathetic excuses for side missions that compares poorly with AC2.

AC2 shouldn't get away with having poor side missions just because it was the first to have them. AC1 didn't have side missions at all and it was a better game. Why would you excuse AC2 for making worse development choices than its predecessor but criticize its sequels for the same reason?

Story is a matter of opinion and has nothing to do with what we're currently discussing. Don't try to change the subject.

If you think Paris stories, murder mysteries and co-op are "pathetic excuses" compared to beating up cheating husbands and delivering letters, then we have a fundamental disagreement.


None of the random NPCs in AC2 are major historical figures(the ones like Lorenzo, Machiavelli, Da Vinci, Caterina are voiced well). In UNITY, no historical figure has a distinctive voice since they have that irredemably silly English accent.

LMAO! So now the accent makes a voice distinctive? Screw good voice-acting, we need fake accents to make characters memorable! If that's true, why do people criticize Altaïr for having an American accent in AC1? It made his voice more distinctive, after all, according to your logic.

First you claim the problem is that Unity's side missions have bad voice-acting. When I say "so did AC2", you move the goalposts and say "it's actually not about voice-acting, it's about them not being historical characters and besides, Unity doesn't have fake accents, so there". Either admit that AC2's voice-acting was just as good/bad as Unity's or make up your mind on what your problem really is. Don't keep trying to change the subject every time you get called out on your hypocritical statements.


I actually like the Nostradamus Puzzles among the side missions, its just that I prefer gameplay and physical puzzles, something my player character can interact and grapple rather than consult the in-game database.

Then that's a matter of opinion, not a point in favor of AC2 actually having better side content.


As for ultimate armor, I don't see what's "ultimate" about a dated/reskin of Altair's outfit, I don't see any reason why Arno should prefer wearing it over the other gear, why would medieval Assassin Robes be more useful in an age of gunpowder and shot.

Why would Ezio wear Brutus' armor, an armor made hundreds of years before his time, before the invention of guns and crossbows? Why would he wear the Turkish assassin armor when there was literally nothing unusual about it apart from the mask? Why would Connor wear Achilles' old robes when they offer no extra protection? They may have had better stats in-game but there was no reason offered for it. Altaïr's armor was explained in the Codex as having been made from special metal, but what made Achilles' robes or Ishak Pasha's armor so strong?


The Mayan Armor is bulletproof(which is why I never wear it since it breaks the game), Altair's Armor in AC2 provided a lot of protection and it looked cool

You just brought up a conundrum that's plagued the games ever since AC2. Should there in fact BE an "ultimate armor"? Due to their high stats, they break the game and most of them are so fugly they're not even worth it. De Carneillon's outfit looks cool and doesn't break the game, that's all I want.


The fact that its awkwardly put in place is not the point. AC2 was made in 2009, nearly 10 years ago,

2014 - 2009 = 5, not 10. :p A 5-year-old game doesn't have nearly as much excuse to get away with poor design choices.

RinoTheBouncer
12-26-2014, 01:58 PM
I agree with almost everything you said. I’m really tired of side contents being more like “hey look! we have the highest numbers of icons on the map”. It looks frustrating and inhibiting, to be quite honest. It feels like it’s all about quantity rather than quality and it lacks any type of arrangement and order. I’d rather have fewer missions that have a story value, great cutscenes, correct timing and unlock one after the other, rather than just run around and do whichever I want, whenever I want.

Another thing is the number. Collectibles may be an excuse to force us to explore the city and they may be fun for some, but having 300 or 500 of them is a terrible idea. And doing tens of Paris Stories, Murder Mysteries and Enigmas that look and feel the same and lack any type of depth and story-value and are meant to just say “hey, here’s this historical figure that you’ve read about in your history book” feels so empty to me. I’d be a lot happier if I had 7 Paris Stories that take a while to finish and requires some tactics and have some interesting cutscenes, and unlock at the appropriate time or at least after finishing previous ones, so that you know, they feel like a story unfolding gradually, not just scattered quests.

I know they’re optional, and to be quite honest, I don’t really bother with those unless I was in the mood. But to be perfectly honest, I don’t care about side missions BECAUSE they don’t make me care about them. For example, Mass Effect 2 and 3 have the best side missions I’ve ever played. They’re optional, yes but they’re so rich in story-telling about the characters and the crew and they have amazing cutscene, they influence your Galactic Readiness (ME3) and your Ending, which eventually affects ME3, with Loyalty Missions in ME2. Those missions were optional, yes. But I felt that the game won’t be complete without them because they’re side quests connected to the core of the game and the story.

However, I can’t say the same about most AC side missions, and if they ever become like this, I’ll be super happy and ready to invest time in them. Other than that, AC games are done for me once the credits roll. I don’t need a super strong weapon that unlocks after beating every single legendary ship, because it’ll be pointless since I need to be super strong to beat these ships to begin with. I also don’t need a super strong armor after finishing all side missions, because if I wasn’t strong, I wouldn’t have been able to finish them and if all missions are over, why do I need to be stronger?

So what really matters is what these side missions have to offer, story-wise. If they’re just repetitive actions that I have to do tens of times to unlock something, then I don’t think there will be much of a motive to finish them.

ze_topazio
12-26-2014, 02:06 PM
Excessive repetition really needs to stop, there's need to be moderation.

30 collectibles it's fine, 300 collectible is not fun.

Collecting 10 keys to gain access to an Armour is cool, collecting 100 keys to gain access to that Armour is not cool.

Even with more complex side missions there's need to be moderation on how much that mission style is repeated, too much and gets tiring.

harsab
12-26-2014, 02:20 PM
I agree with almost everything you said. I’m really tired of side contents being more like “hey look! we have the highest numbers of icons on the map”. It looks frustrating and inhibiting, to be quite honest. It feels like it’s all about quantity rather than quality and it lacks any type of arrangement and order. I’d rather have fewer missions that have a story value, great cutscenes, correct timing and unlock one after the other, rather than just run around and do whichever I want, whenever I want.

Another thing is the number. Collectibles may be an excuse to force us to explore the city and they may be fun for some, but having 300 or 500 of them is a terrible idea. And doing tens of Paris Stories, Murder Mysteries and Enigmas that look and feel the same and lack any type of depth and story-value and are meant to just say “hey, here’s this historical figure that you’ve read about in your history book” feels so empty to me. I’d be a lot happier if I had 7 Paris Stories that take a while to finish and requires some tactics and have some interesting cutscenes, and unlock at the appropriate time or at least after finishing previous ones, so that you know, they feel like a story unfolding gradually, not just scattered quests.

I know they’re optional, and to be quite honest, I don’t really bother with those unless I was in the mood. But to be perfectly honest, I don’t care about side missions BECAUSE they don’t make me care about them. For example, Mass Effect 2 and 3 have the best side missions I’ve ever played. They’re optional, yes but they’re so rich in story-telling about the characters and the crew and they have amazing cutscene, they influence your Galactic Readiness (ME3) and your Ending, which eventually affects ME3, with Loyalty Missions in ME2. Those missions were optional, yes. But I felt that the game won’t be complete without them because they’re side quests connected to the core of the game and the story.

However, I can’t say the same about most AC side missions, and if they ever become like this, I’ll be super happy and ready to invest time in them. Other than that, AC games are done for me once the credits roll. I don’t need a super strong weapon that unlocks after beating every single legendary ship, because it’ll be pointless since I need to be super strong to beat these ships to begin with. I also don’t need a super strong armor after finishing all side missions, because if I wasn’t strong, I wouldn’t have been able to finish them and if all missions are over, why do I need to be stronger?

So what really matters is what these side missions have to offer, story-wise. If they’re just repetitive actions that I have to do tens of times to unlock something, then I don’t think there will be much of a motive to finish them.

What i think we need is the side missions we got in the previous games like the ''Truth'' videos in AC2, Shard of eden missions in AC3 & pretty much anything to do with the lore somehow.

if we get an AC Game that has an extremely long rich story with side content that has to do with the lore i think Ubisoft will create the perfect AC Game.

Honestly no disrespect to Travis Stout but when i heard his interview with AC Initiates he didn't seem passionate or care about the AC Universe at all. Just seemed like he was doing his job because he's getting paid good $ by ubisoft.

Ubisoft just leave AC to Corey May & Darby Mcdevitt. They are the ones that work the best with AC, so why fix something that isn't broken?

No. More. New. Writers. Ubisoft.

Voyager456
12-26-2014, 02:57 PM
Improving piss poor draw distance in next AC games would be nice

RinoTheBouncer
12-26-2014, 03:00 PM
What i think we need is the side missions we got in the previous games like the ''Truth'' videos in AC2, Shard of eden missions in AC3 & pretty much anything to do with the lore somehow.


if we get an AC Game that has an extremely long rich story with side content that has to do with the lore i think Ubisoft will create the perfect AC Game.

Honestly no disrespect to Travis Stout but when i heard his interview with AC Initiates he didn't seem passionate or care about the AC Universe at all. Just seemed like he was doing his job because he's getting paid good $ by ubisoft.

Ubisoft just leave AC to Corey May & Darby Mcdevitt. They are the ones that work the best with AC, so why fix something that isn't broken?

No. More. New. Writers. Ubisoft.

I totally agree about the Truth Video and Rifts thing. Those were side missions, with rich and informative puzzles and conspiracies that rewarded us with even more story. That’s what I want.

I am all for the lore. But sadly, there wasn’t much of a lore in ACU. Like the database did have good info., but that’s not really how I wanna explore it. I’d rather have a proper narrative, proper story-telling, cutscenes, puzzles..etc. than just clicking on icons in an app or reading letters.

RinoTheBouncer
12-26-2014, 03:06 PM
Excessive repetition really needs to stop, there's need to be moderation.

30 collectibles it's fine, 300 collectible is not fun.

Collecting 10 keys to gain access to an Armour is cool, collecting 100 keys to gain access to that Armour is not cool.

Even with more complex side missions there's need to be moderation on how much that mission style is repeated, too much and gets tiring.

AGREED.

To me, it has to be about quality and narrative rather than quantity.

Megas_Doux
12-26-2014, 04:26 PM
And again many incentives to collect it. Each codex page deciphered gets you an extra bar of health. The Codex Pages are story-wise the source of Ezio's Hidden Blade Upgrades. They also advance the Lore with Altair's later life fully and comprehensively told in the pages. So perfectly integrated into the story as a collectible.



Seriously, this is your argument. The French Revolution was far, far, far, richer as a setting than the Pirate Era, or even AC3 (or Revelations) for that matter. If they had actually researched the period instead of plucking at straws they could have found stuff that made AC2 look paltry. Paris alone has a history that the game didn't even tap.

The fact is they got some hairbrained idea of "History=Cooties" which might have been justifiable for an Uncharted game where the historical details don't really matter at all, but its criminal for an AC game to have.

You did not get it, I´ll explain self better:

As shown by M and Sixkeys, AC has always suffered -no matter the setting- of that easy, tedious, monotonous padding quantity over quality side mission stuff with the exception of ACB and mainly AC IV. I knew Unity will struggle the same as before due to time constraints because annualization does not allow developers any big chance of improvement,

AC IV felt like an exception -while still carrying much of it- because Edward was a pirate, a "profession" that both theoretically and practically is just TOO different from what you would expect of a "traiditional" assassin. Therefore much of main and side content in Black flag is indeed pretty refreshing and thus unique to that game: destroying forts, diving into underwater locations, hunting whales, mayan ruins, etc etc etc......

I am not saying the side stuff was great in Unity or better than the rest of the games. I´m sayin that under the current model is pretty much imposible to deliver in that regard unless they create another "far from your traditional expectations" assassin character in the likes Edward again.

That another question Ubi has: whether to make the side quests completely different from the main game and or main mechanics or just an extension of those.......

VestigialLlama4
12-26-2014, 05:17 PM
AC2 shouldn't get away with having poor side missions just because it was the first to have them. AC1 didn't have side missions at all and it was a better game. Why would you excuse AC2 for making worse development choices than its predecessor but criticize its sequels for the same reason?

Because AC2's side missions are fairly modest in intent and purpose, so its easier to forgive a few repititions. The game was the first to embrace a large historical scope and dimension and most of that is engaged with in the story itself, the side missions serve a minor purpose to explore the map and different locations, its not there to further the story, background or connections. They introduced Assassin Tombs specifically because there were locations they couldn't put in but wanted to, so they created that around an Armor Upgrade Quest to chain it around.

In UNITY, the historical element which had been the fundamental in all games since II is consigned to poorly edited s--tty trailers for the Brotherhood Co-Op Missions and the Paris Side Stories. So naturally it had a bigger function than encouraging gamers to explore the map and give them something to do while exploring around. And again its just patently silly and extremely absurd. Like there's little Napoleon in the main game, so go be his personal b-tch and spy on his girlfriend, go be his wingman on his first date with Josephine. Oh, apparently one Revolutionary is a psychopath who skins women and makes it into his inner breaches, go and replace it with real leather...that'll teach him. Oh one Jacobin is criticizing Girondins for their warmongering, go and murder anti-war protestor whose logical points defeat the propaganda we are spilling in the game in the main story. Another mission, has him hunt this Scarlet Pimpernel-ripoff because Arno is a bigger aristocratic p-mp than the Pimpernel. It's just one absurdity after another and the history is completely turgid and false.


Story is a matter of opinion and has nothing to do with what we're currently discussing. Don't try to change the subject.

If you think Paris stories, murder mysteries and co-op are "pathetic excuses" compared to beating up cheating husbands and delivering letters, then we have a fundamental disagreement.

Story has everything to do with these games. It is the subject of the main story and the side missions. The side missions in the earlier games merely existed to provide background texture to the main conflict. In UNITY, the side missions have the burden of chronicling the actual historical events in the background that the main story keeps sidelining, marginalizing and badmouthing. Because it has a larger burden, the mechanics of the side missions ought to evolve to bear this weight, I am afraid that it did no such thing.

I mean, a game like BROTHERHOOD, if you play just the main story, its a pretty mediocre extended DLC of AC2. The side missions provide the real meat and anchor the story. The Ezio games have boring villains because the hero and his supporting cast is more interesting and likable. In the side missions, Ezio's relationships with his supporting cast (Volpe, Bartolomeo, Claudia, Leonardo, Machiavelli) are further developed. The finale where all of them confront Cesare's forces have a richer payoff as a result. In AC3, Connor's revival of the Homestead (which has nothing to do with the Assassin-Templar conflict) provides him the small measure of triumph and do-gooding that the main story denies, its the optimistic balance. It also provides a pay-off with his relationship with Achilles(since that's where we see him dead, and then bury him for his funeral). In terms of mechanic, it has the same go do an errand, fetch an item thing you do in the Paris Side Stories but the smaller, lighter, even goofier scale(like the one where you have to do pig farming) manages to ensure that it doesn't have a weight it cannot hold.



Screw good voice-acting, we need fake accents to make characters memorable! If that's true, why do people criticize Altaïr for having an American accent in AC1?

Because its absurd to hear a French dramatist like Pierre Beaumarchais talk in fake aristocratic English. It's why Leonardo doesn't talk like a posh English dude in the AC2 games. And likewise that annoying Lenormand woman who has the same voice actress as that annoying begging woman from Acre and she talks in that hilariously silly, "I see Great Things in your future" voice of all carny hacks.


Why would Connor wear Achilles' old robes when they offer no extra protection?

Huh...Connor unlocks Achilles' robes after completing the Homestead missions, and its not armor, its just an outfit. AC3 doesn't need armor since it has auto-healing. The Captain Kidd Chain Mission unlocks a Shard of Eden that protects marginal protection against gunfire, in that it bounces of a shimmering green shield that shows up around Connor.


You just brought up a conundrum that's plagued the games ever since AC2. Should there in fact BE an "ultimate armor"?

I actually agree. I think it made sense in AC2 since Ezio is deliberately following in Altair's footsteps and sees him as his role model and spiritual forefather (as confirmed in Revelations, where he calls him "the Great Altair"). After that, they used armor rather than provide something more unique McGuffin (like in AC3, where Connor's Shard of Eden provides a marginal boost but it doesn't break the game totally). Like in Brotherhood, they wanted to touch on the Brutus-Julius bromance and Ancient Roman era, so they created the Armor or Brutus fetch-quest and the armor's main purpose is that it looks badass. In Revelations, it doesn't even have anything to do with the Lore, since Ishak Pasha is a fictional character and his involvement with Turkish history and the like is not elaborated and it doesn't mean much to wear his armor. Whereas Ezio wearing armor of Altair or armor of Brutus(along with his badass Dagger) has some meaning and payoff.

In Black Flag, they wanted to do something with the Mayan Stuff but found it hard to manage on top of the Pirate Lore. I dislike the Mayan Armor since it brings too many absurd questions, namely why would Edward ever part with something this valuable ever again. I wish they provided a different MacGuffin.


Due to their high stats, they break the game and most of them are so fugly they're not even worth it. De Carneillon's outfit looks cool and doesn't break the game, that's all I want.

His outfit is an Altair reskin, why go for that, as opposed to Altair's full white regalia. It doesn't merit as a reward for all these puzzles.