Work for it

Work for it

Monday, February 24, 2014 | 01:53 AM | by

AC4 mostly got kicked to the sidelines during my busy holiday season, but recently I've started picking it up again here and there (in no small part due to my enjoyment of Black Sails). I do still wish that it wasn't an Assassin's Creed game at all... that is to say, I wish it was a pirate game free and clear of the ridiculous "magical artifacts and memory surfing douchebags" story that runs through the veins of the entire franchise. I think playing assassins through various periods in history is interesting enough to carry the brand, and the games are weighed down by all that out-of-animus crap. But, with that said, I do like the game... moreso than any other Assassin's Creed for the past few years. 

However, the controls drive me absolutely nuts sometimes.

Maybe I'm alone here, maybe I'm just nitpicking... but I feel like the more open world these games become, the more their particular control scheme starts to break down. What works great for allowing anyone to easily free-run, makes any minute task an effort in frustration.

The AC games have always had this problem to a degree... when you're attempting to trail someone, and your character is latching onto and hanging from everything in sight like a frothing-mad spider monkey. But it was a tradeoff that we (or I, anyway) accepted for the cool parkour stuff we did so easily throughout the majority of the game.

But now Assassin's Creed is offering me tons of things to interact with, chests and boxes to open. It's bad enough that Kenway mounts and vaults these things every time you try to get close to them, like he's training for a trip to Rio in two years. But for some fucking awful reason, you can only open treasure chests if you are standing and facing directly in front of the damned things. The issue with the fiddily controls could at least be mitigated by allowing access to the item from any angle. I'd be fine with it if activating a chest from the side "magically" pulled my character around to its front to play the opening animation. Just spare me the frustration of trying to line up a perfect facing while controlling a drunken gymist.

Often I have to swoop around on a re-approach, like I'm trying to land a fucking airplane, in order to find the "Open Chest" prompt. And if the chest is on a ledge or near a rock or something? Fuck you.

Perhaps the issue would be solved by, somehow, allowing us to click the magnetic free-running mode on and off at will, if they insist on continuing to expand to a more open world, and more traditional adventuring tasks. I just don't think the current controls are quite "one-size-fits-all" for the various things they're attempting to do in the game.

As it is, I am increasingly turned off by the prospect of hunting any collectibles. Every time I cruise by a small sand shitstain and the game tells me "Look at Location" so I can see that they're some sort of chest or item there, I wave my middle finger and sail on by. A game can suck me in with completion-hunting, but not if they're going to make it painful.