The Assassin's Creed series has always been full of weird ambient dialogue. People on the street mutter the same few lines, and the mix never sounds quite right. Most of us have less-than-fond memories of the "Mah-ney mah-ney mah-ney!!" guy from earlier games in the series, and those accursed bums who bump and bug us as we try to look cool and flit about the streets.
While Assassin's Creed III thankfully doesn't feature any physically aggressive passersby, it does feature the weirdest, creepiest NPCs I've met all year — those ghastly children.
They roam in packs of three. They laugh like Pennywise the Clown and gesticulate like… I don't know, like they're doing a magic trick? And everywhere you go, they follow.
I wouldn't mind the kids except for the fact that every time I see them the game plays the same audio loop, over and over and over and over and over again. Seriously. One audio file, repeated with such frequency that I just can't believe no one working on the game noticed it.
I've been playing ACIII again on PC (the PC version just came out on Tuesday), this time with a mind towards finishing it. Despite the fact that I've been very disappointed with the game, I'm determined to really dig in and get into it, to better understand what it's all about.
Happily, the PC version runs much more smoothly than consoles, and whether it's because of the sizable patch that's been released or the increased power of the PC, I'm seeing fewer bugs and weird transitions than I did on 360. (Though there sure still are bugs.)
I'm playing with an open mind, and want to be sure I don't overlook the things I really do like to focus only on the things I don't. But the repeated, looping sound effects remain baffling to me. How did no one notice how strange they are? In an early mission, you attempt a rescue of a guy who has been swept on a log down a river. "Aaah! Help meeee!" he screams, over and over and over and over again, his audio on an incessant loop. In a bar fight, a guy gets stuck on a table and begins shouting "Too slow, I'm afraid!"
That kind of thing happens so often Assassin's Creed III that I have to wonder: What drives the decision to make audio loop like this? Who on earth hears it and doesn't immediately think, "This sounds weird! We should fix it!" Is this actually the kind of thing that can happen haphazardly, or by accident? Can it really be that at some point, someone said, "Well, all of our ambient audio is looping constantly, but there's nothing we can do about it"? It seems unlikely, but if you have insight into this sort of thing, I hope you'll pipe up in the comments.
All I know is, if those kids ever come for me in real life, I will run the other way and never look back.