I went back to Black Flag to finish it but I was going to take an entirely different approach of doing close to the bare-minimum for completion and abusing every system. I ignored every little island with a chest with tiny rewards because they all appeared to be similar anyhow. I ignored the flotsams and the castaways that pop up every minute of travel, sorry buddy I guess you'll have to dehydrate and drown because you're not directly in my travel path. I ignored the diving but even when I did do a couple for the ship upgrades I ignored the sharks. They only dissuade you from swimming in the open for too long. The air barrels to replenish your breath more importantly replenish hit points.
I felt like all these systems were added to keep my attention, but personally if I'm playing your game you already have my attention. If you spend my time with cheap attention grabbing things I can get annoyed. If I'm bombarded by flashy arcade systems then I have to play it like one.
I distilled ship combat down to sitting in the opposing ship's blindspot and pummeling away with broadsides. It always worked except for the legendary ships. I took out the first one I faced but apparently I got lucky and picked an easier one with the ghost ship. The legendary ships can ridiculously outmaneuver you and I'm not sure what to do about them other than to fully upgrade and facesmash them with their own strategy. So I largely found the ship combat to be uninteresting.
I turned boarding into a procedure. If I had to kill 10 or less crew, I wouldn't bother leaving my ship. More crew means a larger ship, which means more platforms and whatnot to do immediate aerial takedowns. Every now and then I parkour myself right into the ocean but it certainly feels faster than fighting.
Playing this way I found the game had enjoyable content, not because I enjoyed playing this way but because it got the annoying parts out of the way faster/entirely.
It's often scenic. Storms are fun. It kind of bothered me that even a light storm causes fast travel to be disabled though. I did all the forts merely because the ground battle was fun enough to do over and over again. Some of the missions were very fun for me while I was trying to rush through them, specifically mission 9.
But the game also ended very quickly for me. I really was expecting a second map, even a third, or a different ship or a new mechanic or something. What I got was the rope dart, which is a largely useless tool, especially when the rest of the tools are so powerful. I kept thinking of how Far Cry 3 gives you the wingsuit and a whole new map and new weapons. Is that what the $20 season pass is for?
Ship combat needs to be slower with longer ranges to be meaningful to me. The checklist boarding system needs to be more like a morale system where any activity lowers morale, and then hanging people with the stupid rope dart could be that much more devastating.
The story is lopsided with a wooden leg. It has a cute ending that works.
I haven't played any of the newer titles in the franchise but if Brotherhood and Black Flag are still the best, I think Brotherhood is miles above Black Flag. It's a clever theme that fits very well with the AC systems developed prior. The systems that govern the waves and physics and water shaders weren't all that new six years ago at release. I think Black Flag is overrated.
Quizatzhaderac wrote:To me, the hallmark mechanic of the series is social stealth.
Me too, which is probably why neither of us have kept up with the series. Assassin's Creed was the first trailer for the first game. But apparently it was actually supposed to be a sci-fi RPG that then became an indefinite franchise with no identity beyond the trademarks. The abstergo stuff in Black Flag is horrific. Hearing their 'market analysis' about what they think about AC3... Those multiplayer videos... Makes me shudder. So disgustingly corporate.