24/11/2013

live blogging from 1776

Straight from the frontlines of history and across the improbable threshold of genetic memory technology (yes that's a thing). I bring you the American Revolution as told by Ubisoft through Assassin's Creed 3. Join me as I go sneaking around killing people in the face.

Or what?


So I load my save game and already all of time and space is in the balance as an on-screen prompt tells me I must mount my horse or risk desynchronization, the Game Over state of the Assassin's Creed series. I walk away and sure enough history or memory or whatever is thrown asunder. Good start Dave. So remind me am I reliving history or rewriting it? This is all taking place in the brain of our future bore/hero Desmond Miles so is he essentially an unreliable narrator who sways the telling of the story? The notion of desynchronization suggests he is but that the powers that be curb it when he gets too out of line.

Oh details, details. There I go again putting too much thought into the mechanics of a plot device with vague mechanics. In this case its the Animus, a machine that enables him to explore the genetic memories of his ancestors. Operated by wizards mostly. So fresh from breaking history the game reloads and I mount the horse this time. On my way to New York apparently to save George Washington from a fate worse than this two dimensional plot. God history needs a wash. Look at this place. From a graphical standpoint its a sweet looking game though, you can almost smell the filth as you make your way through the streets on horseback.

Oh wait I'm tailing a counterfeitor of fake monies now. Well I'm all conspicuous in my white Assassin's dressing gown so who better for the job? You know apart from everyone. No one that's who. So I tail him and just like all memories an on-screen countdown appears when I lose sight of my target prompting me to get him back in sight until a miscue leads to my detection and restart. This is so authentic.

All my recollections contain abstract yellow icons too.

This time an errant button press sees me fly off the roof of a building into the face of a near passer-by. The games fluid free running controls do the heavy lifting for you, deciding in effect where your next few steps will take you. It makes the experience snappy and responsive but sometimes the game makes an assumpton too far and this happens. Aargh reload. This time I track our man to one of our standard issue bad guys. In this case a Templar because those guys get everywhere. A street chase and a discombobulation later and finally, its over.

Ha just kidding. Nothings resolved, our hero now languishes in jail and George Washington is still going to be murderised by the evil Templars. Only the Freedom Loving Assassins can save him now, apparently. Who writes this? Not sure whats so freedom loving about these assassins or intrinsically evil about these Templars. No one's really elaborating on anything here. Eavesdropping (because no one whispers their deepest darkest deadly secrets in this game) I learn a fellow prisoner may have the means to escape. A jailbreak how exciting! Where do we start? With a boardgame apparently. 

Life is exciting on the cutting edge what can I say?

About as close to a knife-edge cliffhanger as we're going to get then. Join me next time for more frolics in the ongoing battle between some people and some other.. people. Revel in the heart stopping action. Recoil at the inhumanity of man towards his fellow man. Marvel at the nebulous plot in its futile quest to be any good in a game that would probably altogether be better off without it. So yeah, more next time.