My heart goes out to Kirk for his struggles with the end of Assassin's Creed III, because I must have failed that mission around 30 times before finally nailing it. As frustrating as it was, though, I have to disagree that it's the worst thing about Assassin's Creed III. The worst thing comes shortly afterwards.
I'm talking about the game's credit sequence.
If you want to know what it looks like when over two billion are involved in making a video game, look no further than the end of Assassin's Creed III. Because you're going to find out, whether you like it or not.
The credits sequence goes for nearly 20 minutes. Try for yourself in the video above. This would be a moot point if you could skip them, but you can't. You're left sitting there wondering if there's going to be any story revelations during the credits, because they begin with overlaid text and visuals, only to give this up and never resume. Like the world's most tedious bait and switch.
Or whether there's going to be some kind of post-credits cutscene or playable sequence. Which there is, but after sitting for 20 minutes, I'd lost interest and swiftly turned the game off.
Actually, that's not right. I made myself a cup of tea. Then, when they hadn't ended, I had lunch. Then, when I'd hit every key on my keyboard in an attempt to skip the credits and failed, I put some washing on. Then I played with my kid. Then I checked back and, hey, the credits were still going.
What irked me wasn't that every person involved in the game was getting their dues. Credits are important, and everyone who worked on the game should be properly acknowledged.
But you shouldn't force me to endure them. I mean, every cutscene in the game I did want to see had an obtrusive "PRESS B TO SKIP" prompt hovering over the screen. The one thing I do want to skip? I can't!
The reason I'm picking on this, and not some of the game's more obvious shortcomings, is that it perfectly encapsulates the disregard the game has for the player's time. A tutorial that spans five chapters and 4-6 hours, for example, which pissed me off but really upset Mark. A conclusion that's padded to the extent you feel exhausted by the game's end, rather than jubilant.
Making them a pain, something I'm writing about negatively here, also defeats the purpose of a credits sequence in the first place. I know, most people in the credits are really just there so they can see it, since the average consumer doesn't know them and won't remember them, but still. It feels shitty to have to say that the most symbolic (if not mechanical or narrative) failure of a game is the part where hundreds of people are being thanked for their work.
It's a sad irony that, for a series that should be about open-ended design and expression in play, that the end of Assassin's Creed III, whether playable or in this case unplayable, was anything but.