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No. of Recommendations: 2
I'm playing. I'll echo some of Nomes' comments in that the opening sequences are fairly interesting, and the new guy is definitely no Ezio. I didn't realize how much that character contributed to the series until I had to go back to playing someone else.

On the same note, I'll also say that running around colonial Boston (and now New York) is a whole heck of a lot LESS interesting than running around renaissance Italy was. Ditto for running around the wilderness.

Overall, I have to say I'm somewhat disappointed so far, especially for the final installment in the series. I feel like this series hit it's peak with AC2, which fixed many of the annoyances in AC1 without messing up the good stuff. Unfortunately, each following installment seemed to try to fix stuff that wasn't broken and over time I feel like they've "improved" away some of the good features and replaced them with unecessary clutter and complexity.

In some ways, I feel like AC3 has reversed course (in a bad way.) In prior games, the introduction of new gadgets / gizmos was always woven into the storyline - i.e. someone invented them, you did something to acquire them, learned how to use them, and they had a purpose. Now I have a bunch of stuff that just showed up in my inventory with little (or no) introduction.

Worse still, none of it seems to really that useful. In prior games, it was difficult to complete some missions without relying on poison darts, smoke bombs, etc. I haven't needed any of them in AC3 so far. I just sneak as much as possible, killing people with my hidden blade, and then when I'm exposed I whip out my axe and kill everyone else (a process which also seems a bit dumbed down from prior games.)

Overall, the constant tweaking of the fighting system and needing to relearn things each game (with only a briefly flashed message on the screen for guidance) has become pretty frustrating. They used to do better at this via training missions / practice arenas, but these are missing in this game.

The economy is a little more interesting than it used to be, but also more complex and somewhat tedious to manage. Rather than the fairly passive invest / collect system in prior games, you are now running a full fledged trading concern where you can buy raw materials, craft goods, then sell them via convoys. More interesting, but also a lot more work required and I don't seem to be anywhere close to being able to take full advantage of it yet.

Hunting (another way to make money) is kind of fun at first, but I got bored with it after a while. Now I just run through the wilderness and stab critters with my hidden blade when I surprise them, or wait to get attacked by wolves. One thing I'm really puzzled about is how useless the bow is. It doesn't seem to kill most (any?) humans or anything larger like deer. If you use it on any thing smaller, then you ruin the pelt. So either I'm doing something wrong or it's just a pale shadow of the one-hit kill crossbow which I relied on so much in the last few games.

I haven't done any naval battles yet other than the tutorial, but that seemed reasonably fun. I'd really like to try to make some more money so I can upgrade my ship first, but I haven't been able to really get my crafting / trading going to the point that I have enough money.

The lockpicking mini-game is awful but that's a minor point.

Not sure how far along I am in the total story (I end up missing most of the optional objectives so my synchronization is so bad it's impossible to tell based on percentage) but I don't feel like I can comment one way or the other on it yet. I think it's really going to depend on how they wrap it up. If the ending is good, I think I'll be able to forgive any other flaws in this game. At least they finally explained why I killed Kristen Bell (Lucy) way back ... although apparently that was already exlained in a DLC that I never played.

Alright so that was a bunch of rambling. To sum up, there's a lot of negatives in my mind, but it's still Assassin's Creed and I've enjoyed the series tremendously so I'm willing to put up with them to see it through to the end.
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