Same Game, Same Frustrations
This is now the third game in the Assassin's Creed series and I have stuck through these games so far mainly for the storyline. The overall arch that Ubisoft has developed here with a broad conspiracy theory spanning hundreds of years is incredibly engaging. Their ability to weave in details to actual history is nothing short of brilliant when you see it in play. This third game in the series keeps trading along with the same mechanics and gameplay that we have essentially seen for the past few years. The game is still a graphical masterpiece and the sites and sounds are again very well done. You do find yourself relegated largely to just one city (Rome) in this game and the story is well played out. The ending here is not as ground breaking as the second game, but it does seem like the developers were trying to match the surprise factor to only moderate success.
Now part of the issue here is that this game is so iterative that it borders boring in some respects. All of the game play mechanics are exactly the same as the first game save for the introduction of the recruits this time around. That aspect is fun and it is a blast to see your "army" ride into the scene, jumping out of doorways, etc. Some of the other aspects from the second game took a turn for the worse though. In the previous game the upgrading of the manor was a fun and rewarding aspect. In this game you are left to a upgrade of monuments in Rome itself and unfortunately you don't see a lot of visual change in many of them. The final result is un-satisying and ultimately just not that fun.
Almost all of the frustrations from the previous games are still here as well. Fighting takes forever, jumping occasional has you leaping to your death and climbing is sometimes just too slow. I am amazed actually in a series that sort of redefined the climbing and acrobatic genre, I found myself largely running through the streets of Rome rather than the rooftops.
Overall so much of the game just felt too gamey. The treasures, the feathers, the side quests were all way too clearly laid out on the map. They all felt way to mechanical too. The Romulus quests for example always ended up being either a timed climbing event or a follow and catch the leader sort of thing. I think the formula is just getting a bit too long in the tooth at this point and I really want to see the Etzio story just come to an end.