Why Assassin’s Creed III Is A Waste Of Time

Why Assassin’s Creed III Is A Waste Of Time
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It’s been a while since I’ve played a video game that was so blatantly disrespectful of my time.

As I type this, it is Monday. Here, roughly, is how I spent my weekend.

Saturday morning. I wake up; make breakfast, check my mail. Procrastinate on Facebook. I take a shower, clean the kitchen. I talk to my wife.

I play an hour of Assassin’s Creed III.

I exercise. I come home. I babysit my 19 month old nephew for a couple of hours. “He like lions,” says my wife. I load up Hakuna Matata on YouTube and he loves it. He looks at me. He says one of his few words: ‘more?’

So cute. I load up Circle of Life. He loves it. I’m on a roll. I search for ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’. He loses interest. I move onto The Little Mermaid. ‘Under the Sea’. It’s better down where it’s wetter. My nephew agrees. He might have peed himself.

‘More?’

My wife and her sister leave the house with the kid in tow, I have the house to myself for a couple of hours. I could cook, but time is sparse. I get take out; devour it. I do a quick clean of my apartment.

I play Assassin’s Creed III for three hours.

My wife comes home. We chat for 30 minutes. She’s tired and pregnant. We go to sleep.

—————


Sunday is busier. We go to IKEA. Urgh. Two and half hours. I consider myself lucky. We come home. It takes me 30 minutes to cart the furniture we bought upstairs. We have lunch. I go out climbing; two hours. I get home. I have another shower. I turn on the Xbox. “You have to build the IKEA furniture,” says my wife.

Urgh.

I build IKEA furniture. I complain but feel manly. I then ‘unbuild’ the furniture being replaced. I move it downstairs to the garbage area.

We need to go grocery shopping. We head to Woolworths. We buy food. We come home. I put the food away. My wife potters, I cook dinner. I make mince empanadas. I like cooking.

We eat dinner, we clean up. I was planning to play Assassin’s Creed III, but my wife says, “I want to watch a movie.” Fine by me. We watch a movie. We brush our teeth. We go to bed. We sleep.

—————
I don’t consider myself a busy human being. I have a full-time job, I exercise regularly and I’m married. But I don’t have children (one on the way). I don’t work two jobs. I don’t have elderly relatives to look after. I just lead a normal life. I have responsibilities.

But if I could take any of the time back I spent over the weekend I would take back the four hours I spent playing Assassin’s Creed III.

I have never played a game with such a blatant disrespect for my time.

“Yeah, the first five to seven hours are a bit slow,” says a friend. “But then it really kicks in.”

At first I nod. ‘I’ll preservere,’ I say to myself. But then I stop. A realisation. Seven hours? Seven hours.

I have to wait seven hours? Life is too short to wait seven hours for a game to become engaging.

—————


Don’t get me wrong: I like art that gives me space to breathe. I have no issue with pacing. My favourite movie of the last decade is The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford — three hours plus of stilted dialogue, silence, sweeping shots of scenery. My favourite video game this generation is Red Dead Redemption: a game that indulges in the same sense of emptiness.

Assassin’s Creed III is different to those things. Assassin’s Creed III is just self-indulgent, and I simply won’t let it waste any more of my time. If you’re going to take my spare time for granted, and squander it on ill-designed missions, on a character I have no investment in, in an universe loaded with bugs and bad dialogue — you’re sure as hell going to have to give me a reason to keep playing. So far I haven’t seen one. And that simply isn’t good enough.

I don’t consider myself a busy man. But I work hard, and my spare time is a valuable commodity. Assassin’s Creed III assumes your time has no value whatsoever. It treats your spare time with blatant disrespect. You can waste seven hours on poorly explained missions, ill-designed gameplay encounters, says the game. You don’t have anything better to do.

Actually, I do.

It’s a disrespect dripping in overblown self-importance. You’re invested in Assassin’s Creed III, it says — in the story, in the brand. You’ll suffer these five to seven hours because we say so, because you care about this game; because it’s important to you.

Actually it’s not. It’s really not.

—————
Assassin’s Creed III is a game bogged down and bloated by vanity, in an idea of video games as they no longer should be. Bullet points on the box; dull, narrative-driven design. An imagined past universe where games are collated and judged on the raw number of hours it took to consume it.

That world is dying a slow death and Assassin’s Creed III should be one of the first casualties.

I don’t consider myself a busy man, but my time is valuable and so is yours. Assassin’s Creed III simply wastes it.

Comments

    • I bought the game last week. Played it for the first time today. Not really interested after 3hrs of play. Still no Assassin outfit? Double You Tee Eff???

  • I made this decision after they made Assassins Creed Brotherhood. I don’t want to play the same game more than three times to get the whole story. A trilogy works. A quinology(?) is a bit too much to handle.

        • yeah..that is a sticking point…you could get by fine just be reading the wiki….for a few major plot points

          that is if they dont put them in DLC only for you to find out later *grumble*

        • Brohood adds absolutely nothing to the overarcing storyline, it adds more on the Ezio side, but even then it’s negligible.

          If you want to get the main points of the story in the least amount of time, then you only need play Revelations.

          • While this is definitely true, I still had the most fun playing Brotherhood. It never bogged to a grind for me, it was always exciting and fun. I cannot say the same for Revelations, which DID pick up and become great, after a while… but it still took a few hours. Not seven though… not seven…

          • False. You know what the big event at the end is. And technically you could get the main points just by watching the terrible intro to AC3 as narrated by William. Technically you could get the main points reading a Wiki.. but that’s not valid.

        • Not by a long shot. I played 1+2 and missed both Brotherhood and Revelations. Took me several hours and perusing of timelines etc on the net to get up to speed – only to lose everything again after the supposed ending of AC3, which is utter nonsense and only serves to hook you on a successor. Sorry.

  • I have been getting the same feeling from WoW recently, Perhaps time to quit again.

    +1 for Red Dead being the best game this generation.

        • I hit 90 3 days after release. When PvP gear was released fully Honor gear capped 3 days after aswell. Needed something more intense like a FPS…but was tired of hackers in CS:GO and COD!!

          • How could you get tired of SC2 and MC?? Are you Grand Master in SC2 also?? 😛 horses for courses, GL finding your niche! 🙂

            Maybe check out fighting games. SSFIV, SFxTEK and UMVC3 are really visceral, deep and engaging.

          • Not the same. Those games are designed to be replayed, have no actual “ending”, and you almost never play for the story (except maybe SC2 campaign). You know hat you’re getting yourself into…

            AC3 on the other hand…

    • Same here… I thought it did a great job of getting you invested in Connor and Haytham’s backstory… And really, when you’re looking at a 40-50 hour game, getting you invested through that backstory really helps.

      • its not a 40-50 hour game thats the main problem with a 6 hr bloody intro. The side stuff does not count because really the main story is the key bit and why this thing is so so bad

        • “The side stuff does not count”… Then let’s just agree to disagree. If you want to rush through a game without trying to experience everything it has to offer, and then complain about pacing (in a sandbox game, of all things), the we differ in the most base of opinions on how this game should be played, and will never agree on any points derived thereof. Personally, I’m about 35 hrs in, so saying the side stuff doesn’t count would mean I’ve wasted about 15 hours, and I don’t feel that I have.

        • I actually liked the intro’s pace. Especially since I knew next to nothing about this time period. I felt the boat trip to the new world establishes Haythams attitude well and how boring the trips to america actually were. Personally I quite liked the slow gradual intro into a world I never new, explaining mechanics I was unfamiliar with, with characters that I have to follow for the next 50 hrs.

          All previous AC titles never made me understand or care about the people I was assassinating (could be cos i got confused with all the Italian names), but here I feel the intro established much of the characters, their attitude, personalities, and the world itself at a natrual pace.

          Yes it wasn’t stabby-stabby from the get-go, but to be honest my Haytham left a very bloody trail in Boston when he arrived. So it got quite stabby for me early on. I know lots of people are complaining about it, but I like the first 3 sequences and feel it was a million times more exciting an intro then something like RedDead. Anyways, thats my 2 cents.

        • Yes the side missions definitely do count only a hater says they don’t count and the game is as long as you want it to be there’s no one length for any game i played ac3 for weeks straight

  • After the fan outrage at Final Fantasy 13, I’m happy to see more people calling out games that do this. It’s really disappointing when any medium takes a long time to become worthwhile.

    At least with TV shows, you can skip the initial episodes if they’re not so great (Dollhouse is a good example here, although the show itself never becomes great). With books, movies and video games, you have to endure the bad bits to get to the good and that’s just not a great experience.

    Assassin’s Creed is a weird series. The first game was a tech demo with a convoluted plot that didn’t win me over. The second game saw what was wrong with the first and addressed it, before creating a new game by splintering into expansion pack sequels that could have just as easily been handled in the main game if Ubisoft had been willing to wait before releasing the game.

    Now we’re onto the “third” instalment of the series and I have simply no interest in playing it.

    • I liked Dollhouse and thought it did get great.

      Totally don’t care about AC though. Picked up the second one because it was cheap and I heard a lot of good about it, but after completing it I had no desire to follow up on it at all.

  • Ouch.
    I’ve been holding off on AC3 (and Halo 4) till after exams, but this has definitely dimmed my enthusiasm. I remember AC2 had the same problem to some extent, but it was definitely more noticeable in ACB and ACR, and I was really hoping the shitty “introduction” part of the design philosophy wouldn’t carry over. I’ll definitely still get the game, but after the tedium of ACR, the devs went a long way to promise that AC3 would be as big a step up as AC2 was over AC1, and it’s a shame that doesn’t seem to be the case.

      • Actually, this is why i like the appeal of a game like just Cause 2 or infamous where you can pick it up and do 1 or 2 short missions that have an impact on the game or in just Cause’s case, are just dam fun and quick to do. I don’t have the time in between classes to play full on RPG’s or Open world games like red dead redemption. So i stick to my little quick one mission/level at a time games that are still good enough when you complete all the missions, not just a waist of time.

    • Revelations at least throws you straight into the action at the start. Not very good action (that goddamn carriage racing crap) but at least you’re doing stuff immediately.

  • True, for some reason i felt the game is like AC1. Amazingly repetitive sidequest. I’ve been trying to play the game after work and I end up playing until 3am everyday and continue work at 9am. Tiring the shit out of me now I’m stuck at sequence 7 too tired to continue

    • Not me! I have an infant and a long-hours job but Dark Souls is possibly the mot engaging rewarding game I’ve ever played. Obviously not for everyone, but I absolutely love it. AC3 sounds just irritating and badly designed.

      • Agreed. Its much more satisfying when you have to work for every inch of gains. AC3 is new school design, which is fine but its definately not “smash your controller” difficult.

    • Dark Souls has one cutscene at the start of the game to introduce lore, which goes for less then 10mins & then you are on your own. There isn’t hours of backstory or teaching you game mechanics.

  • A movie has less then 30 mins for you to like it (on average!). A book a couple of chapters. all under the 7 hours a game needs.

    As a father of one child, i only get a couple hours here and there a week to play games myself. I want them all to be exciting. Not 7 hours of “boring” followed by 2 hours of “ok”, then 1 hour of “totally awesome”, spread out over 1-2 weeks of spare time playing.

    And as Zico said…. 1 problem the final fantasy games wont ever get me back playing them unless they shift completely.

  • What an awesome read – with 3 kids now, my gaming time is much less available and I spend more time playing games I can pick up and put down (Trials, Rock Band Blitz, DOA, Forza etc) than games I have to spend hours “getting into the world”. I can’t do 50 hours on Skyrim or dark souls, as much as I am sure they would be great, so I guess my only RPG’s for the next few years will be Skylanders (Train the kids to play games early….)

  • “I talk to my wife.” that there is your problem, prioritise.

    Seriously though, this is the exact same reason I stopped AC1 after 2hrs, it was far too slow to get going.

    It is also the same reason I find myself always going back to BF3, or Bad Co 2, before it. If you only have an hour or so at a time over a week, it is just easier and better to have games you can jump straight into.

    RDR is one I do need and actually want to go back to and actually finish, yes I know how it ends.

    • Yep. This is me too. I love games, but having 2 kids it’s just not worth the time investment on most games these days.

      So I’ve gravitated to BF3 and fighting games. In 20mins you can get a good hit of gaming. I just don’t have time for RPGs or even adventure games anymore.

  • Good article. But given I’ve just finished school forever, I’ve got a good eight weeks of absolutely nothing to do, so it sounds fantastic to me.

  • You know… I think this is the same problem I have.

    Over the past 12 months I’ve bought many PS3 games but barely played more than 3 or 4 hours of each. They just don’t draw me in and make me want to keep playing any more.

    To be fair, within that 12month period I have bought my first home and my wife and I have had our first child.

    Like you, I don’t consider myself overly busy – but my time is better spent elsewhere right now.

    Maybe I’m buying the wrong games?

  • While I haven’t played AC3 (yet), I think this applies to a lot of games, but it’s just been overlooked. I firmly believe the first act of a game is by far the most important. It’s the selling point, you need to rope me in, to make me believe the game is a worthy investment of my time, and you’ve only got an hour to do it. Otherwise, I’ll become bored and turn off my console. Next time I go to play a game, I look at said game with a feeling of boredom and disappointment, and I’ll opt for something else. I won’t buy your DLC, and I won’t buy your sequels.

    This is why I don’t understand when games come along and force you to sit through hours of tedium for some fun. Give me some of your best bits straight away, then once you’ve got my faith, commence the slower build up to something bigger. A perfect example is God of War. I rented that, not knowing anything about it, and really not expecting to like it. After playing the first act, I became an instant fan, and not only did I buy the game, I bought every game that followed. That’s the power a good opening act can have, yet so many developers are still getting it wrong!
    /rant

  • Haha, “more”. Kids love that word. Learn to love it, because you’ll be hearing a lot more of that two years from now!

    On topic though, I agree that modern time-wasting-for-the-sake-of-it games are downright rude. One of my biggest problems with Skyward Sword too.

  • Whines about ACIII “wasting time” & being “Self indulgent”, spends 1/2 a post prattling on about his F’ing weekend; hour by hour. Self indulgent Hypocrite.

    • That’s a bit harsh don’t you think? His job is to get people talking. Seems to be working. I identified with everything he said.

      I’m a gamer, but I’m becoming very selective about how I spend my time gaming. Because there are a lot of titles out there that just aren’t worth my time.

  • This is why I still have not really got into AC2 despite getting it twice. With AC3 in the mail as we speak I’ll still play it, but Agree that time is valuable. I happily played 50+ hours of borderlands and about 100 on Trials Evolution, but that was because they were engaging so I would make sacrafices. I have a job/wife/kid so the thing that gets sacraficed is sleep. Not Ideal but I can’t dip into the other aspects of my life. If a game is good I’ll sneak in a little more before bed.. if it takes 7 hours to start, I’d just rather sleep.

    • Yeah sleep is the thing that gets sacrificed for this hobby when faced with 40+ hour epics. Also when faced with fucking stupid motorbike games where you need to cut 0.2s off your time to beat a platinum time/rival.

  • Ubisoft launches ACIII around HSC and university holidays

    married men complaining about waste of time

    my time is not valuable

  • Obviously, this is all relative. If you have a busy life, perhaps any form of long video game is going to be judged harder due to time constraints. I would have killed for games like skyrim back when I was in my late school years. Now, looking down the barrel of my thirties, life demands further effort that doesn’t necessarily include videogames.

    • Its not that games are more demanding, it is that life happens. You either make time for gaming or great games will pass you by.

  • Also, admit it Mark – it’s obvious that you’re just biased against non-wild-West based media. If Connor was wearing a cowboy hat then you’d be lapping it up.

  • This is an excellent article, and I agree with it completely (the sentiment, anyway, because I haven’t played AC3 yet). I’ve reached a point in my life where if I’m gaming, it’s not to kill time, it’s because I have consciously decided to prioritise gaming over one of the other leisure activities that I don’t have enough time for.

  • you have to hold down bumpers to keep menu’s open… i mean really wtf were they thinking.. also the pathing while free running still randomly jumps of buildings and kills you and they made crafting and most of the subgames half baked. Huge step in the wrong direction. I am sort of enjoying it but really its like they built the game and didn’t try playing it.

    • “they made crafting and most of the subgames half baked”

      This is disappointing to hear. This unnecessary bloat was a big problem with the last couple of Assassin’s Creed games and I kinda hoped they had pared it back this time to focus on the core experience. I haven’t read any reviews yet but all the comments I’m reading make it sound like they went the opposite way instead. This is a Very Bad Thing for several reasons, including the ones that Mark highlighted.

        • If the first 7 hours not being engaging was the only problem, I’d be inclined to agree with you. But you also have terrible mission design, buggy AI, characters respawning in the exact same place straight after you’ve killed them, citizens spawning and despawning in front of you (and real immersion-breaker when you’re running down a major street and seeing people pop in and out), enemies attacking you for being in the same street of a building they’re guarding when you’re incognito (particularly in New York), poor explanation of new features (I had to look online to find out that The Encyclopedia of the Common Man required you to use LT on people when they doing a particular task, rather than at any point, and the crafting made no sense until multiple attempts to understand it) a thoroughly bland and boring protagonist (Hatham was much more engaging to me), and terrible city design (it might be fairly accurate, but it sure isn’t fun). The Frontier is certainly interesting for the most part (tree traversal feels pretty good, and is a nice addition) and everything naval is great fun, but the problems with the game far outweigh the positives, IMHO. And when the previous main game in the series does the majority of things much better than the sequel, you’ve made a pretty bad game.

          That being said, I’m loving the multiplayer (particularly after how bad Revelations broke things). You can definitely tell it was handled by a different team.

    • Agreed, I cited that as a perfect example on the previous page. I persisted because the meat of that game was so good, but damn, they could have provided the same experience in about a third of the time. Cutting out the stupid bird travel and some of the slowly playing out item relocation “puzzles” would have been a good start.

  • Mmm you take your time getting to the point. But I already agree, so you’re going to have to learn how to write better sentences before I trudge on to your next installment.

  • I’m usually pretty forgiving of flaws in games, but there needs to be something to engage me right from the start in order to forgive.
    What Assassin’s Creed III did really wrong was to force a disconnect right from the start. It’s not who you were expecting, so you’re suspicious of your character and feel like nothing you’re doing really matters. And this is for the first fair few hours of the game, not just a couple of quick missions or something. No pay-off is worth the way this makes you distrust the game and not invest yourself in what’s happening.

    And then there’s the bad level-design which really does disrespect the players’ time in a whole other way. Things like in one particular early mission where there’s a forced restart if you are spotted, even if you’ve completed 2 out of three tasks required, let alone completed the “optional” objectives.
    And for that matter, why is there even checkpoints? If Dishonored can manage to let you save wherever you like in a mission, then why can’t ACIII? That’s one of the biggest wastes of an adult gamer’s time. Not being able to save. With a family to look after, I need to know I can pick up and put down a game during the small amount of free time I have. Even Dark Souls which doesn’t let you pause lets you quit and when you start up again you’ll be exactly where you were when you stopped, not hours of gameplay behind.

    Assassin’s Creed III is simultaneously demanding of your trust and investment, and making it as difficult as possible for you to give it. And it is most definitely not giving the player any trust and investment in return.
    At least not for the first seven hours.

  • I’ve played a few hours and admittedly I’m enjoying the story line. I actually am finding it refreshing, I’ve actually really taken my time to explore the world a bit. I do have a history though of enjoying character development and the setup of a universe. The games not perfect but with an early-ish plot twist it’s story isn’t the weakest point.

    I’d pick on the teleporting to the mission location which entails a loading screen, then starting the mission 3 seconds later which initiates another loading screen. Except the one time it forces you to run slowly through the snow to kick off the next mission.

    I’d be interested to know more about what you found wasted your time, you’ve claimed it did but cited no examples.

  • I look at all the great reviews this game got, and I’m enjoying it immensely myself – but I feel like I’m the only one. Don’t understand the hate for this game. First few hours were slow and linear, but by no means boring. You’re still free-running and stabbing dudes.

  • I haven’t felt let down by a AC game yet, except when i tried playing the first one again but the whole purpose of that game was to establish the universe.

    I can’t wait to get my copy in the mail to see how the story goes on outside the animus. This wasn’t really covered in Revelations and I agree, this game was more of an expansion of Brotherhood.

  • Agreed.
    I loved AC2. it’s first 3hrs were Tutorial and Story Building, introducing Characters reasonably early and a build up to a moment that was life changing for the main protagonist. after those invested 3hrs it was easy to come and go as I please, learn a new Ability, take out a Major Target, uncover a bit more Story and then Turn off and live my life only to come back at a time that suites me.
    It took me an entire year to Finish AC2, only playing when I had time but I was never lost, I always knew exactly where I was and who I had Assassinated. It was simple and without bugs.

  • Come on, Mark. The biggest waste of time over the weekend was spent trying to remember where you put the allen key while constructing that IKEA tat.

  • I wonder if the first 7 hours would be as painful for some one new to the series as it is for a regular like Mark or indeed myself.

    I mean I’m all for good storytelling in games, but not when it’s all done through expositionary cutscenes a la Hideo Kojima.

  • I really appreciated this article. I’ve been sitting on the fence on whether to buy this game, people have either said its buggy or its sort of great. Much like you I don’t have the time to invest 5-7 hours before I am rewarded with intriguing gameplay/story. I need to be immersed within the story/world early to commit long hours into an rpg. I haven’t been a huge fan of the series. I enjoyed II but haven’t found the others engaged me and it sounds like I won’t be in this game until quite some time into it.

  • This was my experience of 1 and 2.

    To me, Assassins Creed is the most bewilderingly popular game today. I don’t get it at all. Lots of popular games aren’t to my tastes, but Assassins Creed broadly falls into my favorite genre (sneak-em-up/assassination), and I just can’t stand it. The missions are so boring, easy, linear and unimaginative. I think its objectively the worst game of its type, whether you label it open world, sneak-em-up or action. It does almost everything poorly.

    • Thinking on this further – this is how I’m feeling about To the Moon. It has its moments, but there is basically no gameplay – just walk here and pick random shit up. And then I think the story is too judgmental for its own good.

      • Fascinating, I agree completely with your first post, while I’d add I personally also find Ezio to be the worst character of this generation (I think the first time I tried to explain to a friend why I found him so aggravating I used the term ‘Retarded, immature, irrational slut’… yeah.. AC2 was the only game I’ve returned in the last decade.

        But while I can understand your criticism of To the Moon, I really enjoyed that, for different reasons. I read a LOT, write a bit, and am just really into storytelling, and while the prose was hardly superb, the overall plot was interesting and told in an engaging and interactive way, and I thought you could really feel how much heart had been put into the game by the creators. I guess it’s another one of those problem grey areas where you could make an argument for it not really being a ‘video game’ in the classic sense, but it is interactive media, that, I think, benefitted from the interaction rather than was hindered by it. Basically I think there’s other reasons to enjoy to the moon, while I agree that the popularity of the AC series is bewildering. The gameplay is boring and the narrative sucks… I guess the animations are pretty good…

        • How far did you get into AC2? Ezio’s character develops a lot as the story progresses and you really get to see him change as a person. If you see him as you described, I don’t think you played enough of the game to see that character development.

  • Yeh was tossin up between this, Halo 4, Dishonoured and XCom as my next game to get.. I still have Sleeping Dogs and AC Revelations to finish though. I definately see where ur coming from Mark about wasted time. I too think that I don’t lead a busy life, but also don’t want to waste it. Hmm think I will hold off for a bit and focus on finishing off some games first.

    It’s also interesting to see some more different opinions on AC3 come out after its been out a while.

  • I had this trouble with AC1. I managed to finish it because I liked the story. I played 2-3 hours of AC2 before losing interest. Let us compare this to, say, Uncharted. Or Batman’s Arkham. How long did it take for something interesting to happen in those games? Not long at all, of course.

    The problem is that we are swamped with entertainment media that we can spend our free time with. I’m busy, too. But would I rather risk AU$80 on a game that “starts slow” or would I rather watch a new TV-show in bite-sized chunks that is designed to entertain within a specific time frame? More and more I find myself drawn to the latter.

    In Skyrim, the pace is determined by what the player wants to do. In Bioshock, the game was directed from the very beginning to be engaging. I would like to play more AC – I’ve found the story to be relatively sophisticated and bold so far, but I just don’t know if I want to spend this amount of time in an action game – that’s what RPG’s and strategy games are for! =)

  • Nice article – although perhaps a touch hypocritical given the disection of your normal daily life – or were you being ironic?

    I fundamentally agree, although I can’t speak in relation to Assassins Creed directly.

    I’m not a “busy” person, and I don’t climb mountains quite as often as the Writer, but my time is spent on “normal” activities, such as eating, sleeping, watching TV, watching movies, going out, cooking, cleaning, farting, etc.

    I love games. I love reading about them, I love watching videos of them, I love discussing them, I love playing them. But I don’t actually get a great deal of time to spend playing them. Oh I used to when I was a teenager, but that was a long, long time ago. And the pressures of normal life responsibilities has made the amount of time available to playing games even more restricted.

    I own far too many games, and far too many have gone largely untouched. I won’t play AC1, which i’ve owned for nearly 3 years, as it’ll take approx 40 hours. I know this because I’ve looked it up on the internet – how many hours will it complete… – and the google will always provide results. But those results don’t include real play time. For example, if someone on the internet says that it will take 8 hours to complete Dead Space, then they mean it will take 8 hours to complete Dead Space if you don’t die a single time, don’t take into account any C.G. movies, don’t take into account any time that you take a pause to have a pee, have your dinner, be distracted by the cat etc etc. So, that being the case, when someone on the internet says it takes 8 hours to complete Dead Space, they are fundamentally lieing given that there is no way that any gamer on this planet could play that game and not die a single time.

    Now I started Dead Space a couple of months back and I was really enjoying it, and then I hit a brick wall. But I perservered and got past that brick wall, only to walk right into another one. Which fortunately wasn’t as hard as the first brick wall, so I managed to get past that brick wall, only to walk directly into another one.

    I want to finish Dead Space, but I’m effectively too scared to load it up. Not scared of the scary aspects of the game, but of the sheer difficulty, the sheer hard work, and the fact that if I don’t complete the level in that gaming session it will start me from the beginning of the level the next time I play it – regardless as to how many check-points I’ve pushed through. I need to set aside enough time for me to complete a whole level, and that might well be several hours. I don’t know when I will be able to sacrifice several hours to attempt to knock off another level, given that it’s very likely that it will be harder than I’ve previously experienced, and there’ll likely be another harder level directly after it.

    So I concur with the writer. Dead Space is too much hard work. I only have a short time to play, and I’d like to have a bit of a challenge, and some fun. So for me, Battlefield 1943 dominates my gaming sessions the vast majority of the time.

    • I loved Dead Space!

      You got stuck???? It’s so linear that seems impossible.

      But both games kinda lose their way at the end, so if you’ve soaked up the atmosphere, then you’ve probably seen the best out of it already.

      • There were a couple of sections that were darned hard, and I think there’s more to come. But yeah I think I have had the best out of it already. Still I want to finish it then I can happily sell it or trade it in. I feel dirty if I sell it before i’ve finished it,

        • I used to feel that way. But now, my time is too valuable to grind on a game just for the sake of finishing it.

          As soon as it becomes not fun, I put it down. Life’s just too short.

          • Yep, I’m beginning to head that way too. This generation i’ve tried to play a lot of games – mainly those games that have been hyped to the hilt. I’m now realising that it’s probably better just to stick with the few games that really resonate.

  • assassins creeds main purpose is to teach people history. Most of the games are very historically accurate to that time period with the exception of the first one. Brotherhood was meant to show the liberation and freedom of Roma, revelation was meant to show the up roar and rebellion of Constantinople and to give the precursor to the main event which is the sum of the series in three. With out these so called “expansion packs” you will be lost. The gameplay in assassins creed three is unpresidented. Aka one of a kind. It is not a mind numbing game as red dead redemption. The cliche gameplay of the old west. Boring. No story while in game play. Boring. No historical value. Preposterous. This game is far better and more interactive than any movie that you could have watched with your pregnant wife. Let’s face it this game is so visually stimulating that cinematically it is in itself a movie with a interactive controller.

    • Mate, it’s a game. It’s main purpose, it’s ONLY purpose is to be fun.

      If you want to learn history, there are plenty of books on the subject that teach you about history.

      Games are supposed to be fun. Period.

  • Im tired of games using redundant money-making systems for in-game currency.

    Like, all these open world games give you challenges to find stuff, hunt stuff and explore stuff – but merely for the sake of itself.

    You don’t need to interact with the stores, weapons or upgrades in any of these games – once you master counter attacks, which is easy, you destroy everyone with even the most basic of weaponry.

    I kill animals when they annoy me, but I have made plenty of cash just running through the narrative – and I have bought nothing.

    Useless systems as these annoy me by presenting a facade of depth – but only filling out the desolate, empty spaces with generic grinds and treadmill gameplay.

    Also my gripe with this whole series is I’m a parkour fencing ballet instructor, not an assassin – the game supports brawls more than it does stealth.

  • Fuckin’ A Mark! You get me, you really do…7 hours for a game to get going? Please…I’ve got better things to do instead of having a shitty game being prolonged by shitty pacing. Yeah I went there. AC is overrated…

  • great article. I feel the same way (although not specifically about AC3). Single-player/ Campaigns need to be exciting the whole way through. There seems to be a lot of “filler” in games these days.

  • I did like the opening of the game for the story and I’m only at Sequence 5 myself.

    My beef these days is that all games essentially treat the opening levels as a massive tutorial to explain everything and this isn’t a terrible thing for games that are a new IP.

    I’m on my 6th AC game here (Liberation included) and I know what I can and can’t do in Low Profile / High Profile mode and all the basic stuff I’ve been doing through all those games. All of that could have been cut out and left in only the actual new stuff (hunting, traps) and it would have been alot smoother, it’s just a simple fact that sequels still cater for newbies far too much.

  • I remember when Final Fanatasy 7 came out on the PS1. Everyone told me how awesome the game was, so I picked it up. After 4 hours of the most boring gameplay ever, I gave up I wanted that 4 hours back. Then I was told, nah dude the game really kicks in and gets better after 20 hours…WTF!!!! Repetative random battles, spawning enimies, turn based battles and pages of pages of pointless text get any better. I’m not wasting 20 hours of my life, when I know nothing ain’t changing and it ain’t getting any better….overrated!!!

  • Immediately after reading this I Binged (yes, some people do use it) up the average age of gamers – Kotaku ran a story in 2008 that said the average age was 30!

    30-year-olds have a hell of a lot less free time, even if you’re single, than the teenagers that are thought to be the bulk of the gaming population. I play on a MC server run by highschoolers, and it’s amazing what they can accomplish seeing as they don’t work fulltime and highschool assessments are a piece of cake. That’s not the average gamer, and it’s not me.

    I would like to see more reviews of this nature: is the game worth it for a married adult? If you have IRL responsibilities, a family, a job, and you still can’t wait to get back to the game then it’s gotta be something pretty special.

  • Really this is the article, not a bad one but one struck with an affliction common to many articles on gaming and reporting websites, a bad title. The title implies that the whole game is a waste of time and by extension all work done on it by developers, PR,etc. But it is in fact about how it wastes your time and that of others. Alternate titles Assassins Creed III time thief, Assassins Creed III and the four hours I want back.

  • I am finding the game to be tremendously engaging. I feel the slow introduction is designed to introduce you to the world and the reasons and motivations of certain characters. The transition from Europe to America would be too big a jump if they simply just dropped you in and said go. Ezio and Connor are so completely different in why they do the things they do, it needed some form of transition.

    I just want to know why is everyone so determined to rush through games as quickly as possible and not “waste time” which in itself is amusing as gaming is essentially wasting time you have free for some enjoyment. Why do we need to smash through games as quickly as possible? Can’t you simply enjoy playing? For example take Skyrim, I spent hours, days, weeks and even months playing it just exploring the world, which is what I’m doing with ACIII.

    If you deem playing ACIII a waste of time as you don’t have enough personal time to play it to it’s fullest, it’s probably not the game for you. You probably need to go play COD with all the other lemmings if your want your quick fix.

    • Lets assume everyone who doesn’t enjoy ACIII or its 5-7 introduction is COD fanboy. Man that last sentence undoes everything you wrote above it.

          • No. If you don’t like the intro / pace, go play something that doesn’t require such a tremendous investment of time, such as CoD.
            His analogy was fine, your interpretation wasn’t.

          • Stu, you are correct, that’s what I meant. My choice of the word “lemmings” was a poor one I admit. I just meant the general consensus of today is that of a quick fix, which a game like COD provides.

  • How meta, this article was the exact same way. The point came at the end after I struggle through exposition enough to make a JRPG exclaim “Man! The point is here someone, just show me it!”.

    I do accept that this is your opinion, but someone like me that loves the story also really enjoyed the pacing of AC3 (yes it was slow to start). It even had a moment within those 7 hours that had me exclaim “holy crap…” and my partner ask what I’d done now.

    I digress, anyone who’s enthusiasm for AC3 that has been dimmed by this article needs to evaluate why they care about games. If you love a franchise, get enjoyment out of it, then no other opinion should matter. Surely not one weighted down by an exposition on the finer points of putting together IKEA furniture and babysitting minors.

    This game has its flaws, but I found it to be charming. The new additions to be refreshing, and my interest in shanking guys reinvigorated. If you have played any AC game, and care even slightly about the story, you will want to know about Connor, Desmond and largely, the Assassins as a group.

    • Haha! I did sort of realise this when I was writing it. I was like crap. This article is just like the game. I thought about cutting it, but I reckon I’m just as self indulgent!

      • I…I thought you meant it. 🙁 I’ve been pimping it around to my friends saying how self-deprecatingly meta-textual the piece was, and why you are one of the most interesting games journos in the country. I’m just going to pretend you did mean it. 🙂

    • “anyone who’s enthusiasm for AC3 that has been dimmed by this article needs to evaluate why they care about games. If you love a franchise, get enjoyment out of it, then no other opinion should matter. ”

      You start with a broad generalisation and back it up with a specific scenario.

      If you love the AC franchise then I would imagine you have AC3 already since it’s a no-brainer.

      As someone “who’s [sic] enthusiasm for AC3 has been dimmed by this article”, I don’t really feel that “evaluat[ing] how [I] care about games” is a necessary step – mainly because I was looking forward to AC3 as a breath of fresh air for a franchise which has been, and I’m getting subjective here, stale and underworked from the get-go.

      As this article indicates, obviously not much has changed. So I’m not buying. This doesn’t make me a bad gamer, there are just better options to spend my money on.

  • That’s exactly how I felt about Final Fantasy 13. Except you have to wait 20 hours apparently. I f***ing loathe Squeenix now.

  • I admit, having only just actually taken control of Connor, that I spent those first few hours hoping for the game to hurry up, but really, play something else if you’re not prepared to put the time in.

    Another “jaded gamer who can’t be stuffed anymore” article on a gaming site. Yippee.

    • There’s a lot of us getting older I think. That’s why it gets that way. Once you start hitting your late 20s early 30s, and you realise just how many hours you’ve already sacrificed of your life to games, you start to only want to play game that are life changing. Or really, really fun.

      At least, that’s how I feel.

      • Also, that’s the part of your life where time becomes really short. Work, family and other obligations start eating up our lives. Leisure time is doled out with an eyedropper – if you’re not enjoying each moment, you damn sure want to know why.

  • “Assassin’s Creed III is just self-indulgent”

    Thank you! After spending 5 hours in his fathers missions, then literally 5 minutes on Connors backstory before his ‘big tragedy’ and realising it was severely poorly paced and really badly written (much like my post), I too came to the conclusion that it’s a badly made game.

    A game no matter its budget, that is bad, is still a bad game. I spend more time on DayZ, getting more enjoyment out of that, than I do out of this game. I love AC2, ACB and to a lesser extent Rev. I just could not get into this. It reeked of egotistic people making a pure ego-driven game. A game they were SURE we would love. Sorry, but no, the game is bloated, badly paced and just plain boring.

    How to partially fix it? Turn that 5 hours as his father at the beginning into a 5 minute cutscene. *It can be done*. *EASILY*. There’s your pacing issues gone for the most part.

  • It’s slow. That doesn’t mean unnecessary. The story is pretty good. An interesting addition to the AC lore… More disjointed than bad.

  • Totally agree. Bought this game and was excited to get going. What I get however is hours of faffing about in a seemingly pointless “set up” phase. Seriously a good game is like a good movie – it should grab your attention (one way or another) straight out of the gate. It’s now warming the bench whilst I dive into Halo.

  • Here’s the thing: it’s written by young guys, educated, but without the experience to write characters older, more adept than themselves. Of course it’s a waste of your time.

    Agree that the first sequences are a tragedy too – old school is fine when it’s good, but here it’s barely average.

    I rather like Haytham, but he lets me down – not in the voice acting, it’s the writing.

    So far the game has a sideways feel to the whole thing, over hyped and just nothing like the greatness of the second game all those years ago.

  • First of all – child on the way – congrats man

    Second – I still remember what it was like Before that first child was born, and after – I went from a lifestyle packed with Videogames to No Videogames – purely because of the different demands on your time, you definitely get that time back eventually but nowadays I get maybe two hours a night (none during the day) to waste on my favourite pasttime, and it comes at the expense of other things like TV or sleep, when your time is that lean a 20 hour game turns into 18 months (like the recently completed Assassin’s Creed II) things like difficulty spikes or grinding really start to get up your nose.

    I’ve just started Brotherhood last Friday night (I bought it ages ago to jump in on the MP, but am only just now starting the story, and I really commend the opening of that game as a model of how to open a video game.

    The first level (a tutorial I guess) where you’re escaping the Vatican is brisque, assumes you have a basic knowledge of the controls and doesn’t waste your time with unneccessary repetition.

    By the sound of it they’ve designed III as if the player has never played an Assassin’s Creed game before, which is a dissappointment

  • Why can’t you just say “I don’t like assassins creed 3” I played it for over 3 hours today and loved it, totally engaged from the start. The only thing I’ve wasted time on today is reading, and now commenting, on this article. So I guess you win, douche

    • I’m sure this was his intention all along, to waste the time of his readers!

      That’s why he went and got qualified, spent over a decade in the game industry and gradually rose to be editor of Kotaku AU in order to publish this very article and cost dozens of people valuable seconds of their lives.

      How diabolical!

  • I have had this feeling on and off for the whole series but I am more interested in the story of this character then the game itself sometimes.

  • While I don’t have anything inherently against people liking games that ARE ‘exciting’ the whole way through, I’m vehemently opposed to the claim that games SHOULD be exciting the whole way through. I typed out a looooooong post, but realised it was likely tl;dr, but there’s a lot of literature out there on how society has become obsessed with action and … stuff .. happening all the time OR ELSE IT’S BORING, and it’s a product of.. well a lot of things, how busy we are to consumerism etc etc take your pick, some sound tinfoil, some are pretty legit observations, if anyone cares enough to go looking.

    But basically, I despise the ‘setpiece a minute’ style so prominent today, the slow build up (which while not all ‘exciting and action packed’ can still be interesting) is an important aspect of many narratives, it’s what gives the audience a reason to care, about the character and the setting, by establishing that there’s something worth caring about (character/community/town/ideal), we actually give a damn when said thing is threatened. Throwing a random character into a series of action sequences with 1 liners in between as “character development” isn’t enough and nor should it be. The sheer lack of this actually happening in the adrenaline/dopamine fueled world of current gaming is why Nier is quite simply the best of storytelling this generation, and anyone who gives a damn about how to tell a story in an interactive setting should experience it.

    Having said that, I suspect the above isn’t really the problem with AC3, and it’s simply a poor narrative with horrible pacing.

    But hey The Wheel of Time is my favourite book series, so maybe I just care about the art of storytelling and worldbuilding way too much >.> Woops still a looong post!

    • Ironically Mark’s article is a somewhat apt illustration of this. As some have pointed out it might come off as a bit self indulgent, BUT, his exacting description of every little detail of his weekend is WHY you can empathize with him when he complains that this game is wasting his time, it’s a better reason to accept his premise that AC3 is an ill designed game than ‘I tried AC3 this weekend and it was boring, so i stared at a wall instead, don’t buy!’
      This guy is like you! He’s relateable, he has things to do, people to see, and if he’s going to game instead of do those things, it better have the decency to hold his attention! Right!?

  • hahaha, glad i downloaded.

    Yes it is a bid slow, the ‘twist’ as it were downright confusing – im getting some bugs with my control but not sure if it’s just the cheapo controller or the game..

  • This article is a waste of time.
    If you have a family and don’t get time to play game, why are you in this business?
    You bias(uneducated) opinion on a surprisingly popular(why) hobby specific website has the power to increase/decrease sales.
    Play a little of the game and know, you can pick up and play for a short time.If you only want to play the main quest, check points and save points are extremely frequent and restarting starts from the last save point. So, play for fifteen minutes, it saves, then come back a few hours later and start off from that save point, it’s not difficult.
    I though the Aussie version of this site was meant to be better? It becoming more of a joke everyday

  • Lost interest in AC series after AC2, which I just barely finished. The only thing that kept me going was the conspiracy story, but I could’ve just watched the recap on YT.
    When I saw the first video for AC3, I thought “It’s exactly the same as the last 4!! Da fuq is everyone spewing rainbows over this outdated, over milked ip?”
    IMO they should’ve just made 1, 2 and 3. Where in 3, Desmond gets to grips with his abilities, and dons some modern day Assassin gear.

  • Absolutely agree with you on this one Mark. I don’t have six or seven hours to waste on gameplay that is less than engaging these days, particularly from a series I never had a strong connection with anyway. I’ve never been a huge fan of the series, but I must admit I was suckered in by the hype of AC3. The setting was what pulled me in, but unfortunately the experience is nowhere near as inspiring as the American Revolution.

  • If you aren’t enjoying a game don’t play it. I didn’t realize that is such a foreign concept. How long did it take you to write this? If your life is so busy go do something else. Most people like this game and if you don’t sell it, give it away, or break it but no one really want to hear you complain about it.

  • This franchise was the one I’m waiting for one year before PS3 was released. It hooked me up real bad. The art, engine, visuals are stunning. How they mix historical events and places in a science fiction story from part I and tie it till now is really amazing. I love the theme of the game. I bought the special edition for AC3, then due to personal matters couldn’t play it until now, and by now I have already bought AC4. So I’d be lying if I said I don’t love the game.

    BUT! Since AC2 I started to feel a bit bored from all the walking, silly side missions like carry crates over, and the repetitiveness. It’s the story that kept me going. However you have to spend the first 5 hours or so to start to get into the story, and every new sequence will come with many silly side missions and time wasters until you get into the real joy of that sequence, and most often than not, story only gets interesting towards the end, when most side missions are done, and the story pace picks up.

    Ubisoft have been trying to improve traveling around on the one hand, but then build a complex environment like the forest which makes it even worse than before. What saddens me is this is a really excellent story if you look at the big picture, and the game mechanics like battleship scenes are amazing, but then you compare it to a much shorter game like Uncharted, which has much less complex environment in the sense that it’s linear and not open (not undermining my favourite PS game here in anyway), you divide the fun time / hours spent, and you end up with much better experience in Uncharted. Or hey, perhaps even games like Limbo. They’re just 3 hours. But they’re 3 hours of absolute joy.

    I’m married, have two kids I make sure to spend time with, I have my own business, I have other family commitments as well, so when family takes day out, and house is empty, and I decide to spend these few free hours on a game, only to end up almost where I started, just with few less silly mission items taken off, it really pisses me off.

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