Private virtue.” When playing Assassin’s Creed IV this past week for review I kept finding myself put off. I like to think I take ‘gaming’ more ‘seriously’ than most in terms of what a game is trying to communicate, and I just kept coming up empty with ACIV. What is this? Who exactly wants to play a semi-historically accurate stealth…brawler, that’s about viciously murdering people?
Then I started to think about the public interest. The idea that media creators, writers, actors, anyone in a position to communicate a message, should in some way, shape, or form, be attempting to enrich some aspect of the general public’s lives. It can be through a strong message of friendship like in Entourage, or hard work being its own reward like in Rudy, or even simply be about entertaining the audience in a creative way like in the Lethal Weapon movies.
Honestly I think even most of the stuff that’s like, really fucking terrible and vapid – Like E! Shows or Honey Boo Boo are enriching in their own way. It’s *fun* to watch C-list celebrities bicker, and there’s certainly more people in this world like Honey Boo Boo’s family than there are high-minded characters Aaron Sorkin or David E. Kelly come up with.
But you get into trouble when your movie, or show, or book, or game doesn’t know *what* it is, but is still executed with something resembling technical prowess. Anyone remember how dissapointing The Dark Knight Rises was? Comic Book Men on AMC has this problem, as it’s part podcast, part comic-book pawn stars, and part…I don’t know what. A better example would be the Star Wars prequels, which are action movies about an intergalactic power struggle in which we see absolutely zero effects of suffering, and the plan is so convoluted there’s a 3 hour review about it online – what is that movie *about* ya know? The “Son Of The Mask” is simply bizarre because it has no idea what kind of comedy it wants to be.
What are movies, books, TV shows, games, or wrestlers you view as hollow? Sure, they may look good, but there’s absolutely *nothing* going for it below the surface.
For the record this is the reason I can’t do strip clubs. I know what boobies look like, I know what booties look like, I care about what kind of person is behind those boobies and booties, and a strip club ain’t a fun place to find out.
My biggest gripe is how Sci-Fi has made a literal mountain of money off of intentionally bad films. They somehow figured out a way to make movies that are supposed to be cheesy, and C-level in terms of acting and affects, and people love em’. I don’t get it. Bad on purpose is bad. Bad on accident can be good!
Also Randy Orton does nothing for me. He’s had good matches, but I don’t think there’s ever been a time in my life – save a few matches in Booking Revolution, where I looked upon Randy Orton with anything other than a “meh” in terms of character. He’s a pretty good wrestler, I just don’t care about him because he’s a blank slate.
But back to Assassin’s Creed. Somewhere between the disclaimer that says Assassin’s Creed IV is made from a mix of cultural and religious backgrounds, and the end of a story that takes so few risks it was probably written by the legal department, I came to realization that whatever “Assassin’s Creed” has been putting down, I’m not picking up. I don’t get it.
But when both my mom and dad take note of the game, marveling at its beauty and animation, and I’m underwhelmed, I’m starting to think this is a me problem. So, what’s my problem with Assassin’s Creed? A lot, actually. Quite a lot.
I hate how it attempts to combine historical settings with brutal violence, then claims that the mass-murdering character you play as, is the hero of an organization fighting for the freedom of all peoples.
I hate that the game constantly makes you tail, then eavesdrop on characters who are saying very important things that you can’t listen to because you’re too busy trying to hide or blend in.
I hate the suspension of disbelief I need to make in order to accept that the character I’m playing as has already had all these things happen to him, and I’m just reliving his memories, like a bloody freedom trail.
I hate that this is seemingly now the ONLY game without some sort of moral choice system.
I hate the countless moments where you’ll stand upon the ledge of a garrison, looking down upon two guards having a chat, drop down upon their necks with furious anger and piercing steel, hop into a nearby hay bale to avoid being spotted, then catch the fact you’re half smirking with triumph like a mini-Walter White. This happens *all* the time. Every silent infiltration, every distracted guard, every rooftop murder, makes you feel like a king.
I hate Assassin’s Creed IV does pretty much everything it can to extract dopamine from the player as often as possible. I feel violated.
Anyway, it’s a fun game, but junk food.
1. Hope you don’t mind the double dip QOTDs! I’m trying to make up for missing days so I’m on track to hit 100 on the 100th day.