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Author Topic: Last game played...  (Read 229361 times)

shaolin_monkey

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Re: Last game played...
« Reply #705 on: 21 January, 2014, 11:44:16 pm »
Don't worry - stick with the story right up until the diving bell, and say 'fuck it' to all that climbing rooftop bollocks. The sea exploration/battles is where the fun is!

Keef Monkey

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Re: Last game played...
« Reply #706 on: 22 January, 2014, 10:31:48 am »
I've played 3 AC games prior to IV, and I still find the controls to be sloppy, clunky and unpredictable. They've just never managed to refine them in any way, and they've had a few iterations to do it in.

I enjoyed ACIV a lot for the most part (once the overarching story becomes more prominent I found it a chore, because the overarching story in AC games is utter bobbins) but I also swore at it more than probably any game in 2013! The amount of times I knew exactly what I wanted to do but Kenway instead sprinted up a random wall or stopped climbing abruptly, or jumped on the wrong person, or hopped onto a piece of scenery mid-chase and just...stopped moving etc. It was incredibly frustrating in places and after skipping Brotherhood and Revelations I was a bit shocked none of that has improved or become any more intuitive in the intervening years.

It seems something that would solve a lot of problems would just be having separate Run and Free-Run buttons. That way you'd have the choice between running, or running and also clambering up and leaping off every surface you come across.

I did very, very much enjoy the pirating and sailing and going around the map finding everything and visiting every island was incredibly satisfying, so all other frustrations aside I largely liked/loved it. I'd be more than happy if they just took that stuff and splintered off into a separate piratey franchise and ditched all the AC trappings to be honest.

radiator

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Re: Last game played...
« Reply #707 on: 22 January, 2014, 11:43:11 am »
Quote
I've played 3 AC games prior to IV, and I still find the controls to be sloppy, clunky and unpredictable. They've just never managed to refine them in any way, and they've had a few iterations to do it in.

Yeah, it always surprises me just how many high profile games just cannot get the fundamentals right. I know nothing about game dev, but you would think that tight controls and rewarding mechanics would be the very first thing to get locked down. A lot of people can 'learn to live with/get used to' a mediocre control scheme, but that really isn't the same thing as 'mastering' a set of perfectly calibrated controls. I find a lot of games really lack that elusive sense of inertia and weight that the very best games - Nintendo games basically but many others too - have in spades, where navigating the world is a joy in its own right.

So far, I'm not finding the AC controls disastrous, but I am finding them very fiddly and a bit unsatisfying, and the way climbing and free-running is done for you automatically does take away a lot of the challenge and fun of traversal (and did anyone else find it a bit weird that the player character, an ordinary pirate posing as an assassin remember, has bizarrely superhuman agility from the off?). More than anything, this game is reminding me why I hate stealth games - because the controls and visual feedback are almost always never tight enough to make the experience feel fun and balanced.

Another example of counter-intuitiveness; on the aforementioned tailing mission, on-screen prompts kept telling me to 'hire dancers'. Why on Earth would 'hiring dancers' help if you are trying to follow people surreptitiously? That's just bad game design.

Quote
I'd be more than happy if they just took that stuff and splintered off into a separate piratey franchise and ditched all the AC trappings to be honest.

Hmm, yes. This seems to be a common view. I'd love a 'proper' open-world pirate game - something like a cross between Red Dead Redemption and The Wind Waker. I used to have Galleon on the original Xbox, but it was really just a platformer with a piratey aesthetic. I suppose in the meantime this will have to do.

And that sci fi stuff? W.T.F.? Wondering around some office in first person, listening to twattish NPCs blather on? Does anyone seriously think this aspect makes for a better game? Is being forced to walk agonisingly slowly while listening to badly-written exposition ever fun in any game ever? All the nonsense about 'synchronising', the graphical glitches, the disclaimer at the beginning of the game saying how it has been made by a 'multicultural' team. Sweet Jesus. There are things about this game that epitomise my frustration with pretentious game developers.

I'll persevere until I get to the pirate stuff, but at the moment I feel like there's going to be too much I don't like to warrant investing much time in it.

JamesC

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Re: Last game played...
« Reply #708 on: 22 January, 2014, 11:53:36 am »

Quote

Another example of counter-intuitiveness; on the aforementioned tailing mission, on-screen prompts kept telling me to 'hire dancers'. Why on Earth would 'hiring dancers' help if you are trying to follow people surreptitiously? That's just bad game design.



If you hire dancers they'll walk with you and you'll blend with them and so won't be noticed. If the people you're following go into a restricted area that's guarded then you can send the dancers to distract the guards while you find a suitable hiding place.

radiator

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Re: Last game played...
« Reply #709 on: 22 January, 2014, 12:14:44 pm »
But in that context, when you're on a strict time limit and under pressure, being told to 'hire dancers' seems a little incongruous - surely taking to the rooftops and tailing them unseen seems the wiser choice, especially since you've just spent the last twenty minutes running and climbing?

I had a lot of trouble with that mission - I kept getting spotted and didn't really understand why, and the people I had to tail kept running off ahead when I walked slowly behind them, so I would run to chase them, then get attacked by soldiers. I mean, I'm just some dude in a cloak - why would soldiers attack me just for running in the street? If I held back a bit I kept getting the 20 second countdown, saying I was too far from the people I was following. Hiring the dancers didn't really seem to help matters. I only eventually completed the mission through trial and error and by blagging it by the skin of my teeth.

JamesC

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Re: Last game played...
« Reply #710 on: 22 January, 2014, 12:40:19 pm »
Not exactly sure where you are in the game but from your description it sounds like you're at this bit:

http://uk.ign.com/wikis/assassins-creed-4-black-flag/...And_My_Sugar

This walkthrough gives some good tips on what is basically 'best practice' for these types of missions. Using Eagle Vision to mark targets for example.
I'm still not sure why you're getting attacked by guards in the street. As long as you stay off rooftops and out of areas marked red on your mini map you should be fine. At this point you're trying to stay hidden from the people you're following, not guards in general (although once you enter the restricted area it's a different story).

Have you sychronised all of the viewpoints in your area yet? These are marked with a black eagle icon on your map. Sychronising these viewpoints will open large areas of the map and make the mini-map on your HUD much more useful (on the sailing sections, destroying forts serves a similar function).

If the walkthrough I've linked to is this part you've been playing then the reason you're getting prompted to hire the dancers is because it's one of the optional objectives (basically a mini-challenge) that you can complete to get 100% for this mission. If you don't complete both optional objectives you'll get a score of 80% but it doesn't affect your game progress.

There are always numerous ways to complete missions. You can do this one by traversing rooftops but you have to keep an eye out for guards (Eagle Vision is good for identifying and tagging targets) and assassinate them as quickly and quietly as possible. It's probably easier to stick to street level at this stage. As I said earlier, rooftop guards become much less of an issue later on when you get a blowpipe and some sleep darts.

radiator

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Re: Last game played...
« Reply #711 on: 22 January, 2014, 12:50:51 pm »
I have definitely been attacked by guards simply for committing the crime of walking past them (even when not in a restricted area), and as I say, getting too close to the guys I was following would result in almost instant mission fail. However, if I hung back, they would go running off ahead, forcing me to run after them, again resulting in a fail.

Don't get me wrong, I've done hundreds of missions like this in other games - this one just seemed especially frustrating, schizophrenic and unintuitive.

Overall so far I'm reminded me of something like the singleplayer Call of Duty, which I can never really enjoy because I feel like I'm perpetually being shot at by some d-bag so I can never get my bearings and take my time.

Another thing about the controls - I'm constantly lunging headfirst into the nearest bale of hay, whether I want to or not. Seems really weird to have the character do this without a button prompt.

radiator

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Re: Last game played...
« Reply #712 on: 24 January, 2014, 12:35:33 pm »
I'm been digging in to Black Flag a bit more now and am starting to see a little of what Shaolin enjoys so much. Certainly the seafaring/exploring is by far the strongest part of the game for me and brings back fond memories of Wind Waker, though imo it's a shame that the seas are so (laughably) crowded with other ships and islands - it can often feel like manoeuvring a shopping trolly around a particularly congested supermarket. I understand the need to pander to the modern ADD gaming audience who would decry any quiet, contemplative moments as 'boring' or 'filler', but personally I'd have liked more of a feeling of being on a voyage on the open seas.

Picking a uncharted destination on the map and setting sail as your crew start singing a shanty never gets old, the climbing and exploring is immense fun (when the controls are working), and there something very satisfying about reaching the birds nests to get the lay of the land.

As for the other stuff, I still maintain that the controls and mechanics are borderline broken, and are simply too shoddy to make for decent and balanced stealth gameplay. It beggars belief that there is no clear way of knowing if you'll be seen or heard, and being detected feels arbitrary and at times completely random. You never feel 100% sure whether walking past an enemy will result in detection or not, and there have been multiple times where the 'whistle' or stealth takedowns simply don't work consistently. As a result - and because they take so long, every single stealth and assassination mission so far has ended in a big scrum as I give up on sneaking and just charge in.

There was one particular section - in some ancient temple ruins where you have to sneak past a load of assassins - that was so unfair and frustrating that I almost gave up on the game then and there. Resorting to online walkthroughs I discovered that many, many others had been stuck at exactly the same point or given up there, and I was genuinely surprised as I thought this kind of thing had been streamlined out of modern games. I'm good at games, and I don't mind hard games at all, but if I fail I want to feel like it was my fault. Ubisoft really need to take a look at the Arkham games and especially Mark of the Ninja to see how a stealth game can be tight, fair and immensely satisfying.

Overall I can't quite shake the feeling that as a package it's just a bit too unpolished to warrant spending the time on it - the combat is a little sloppy, the graphics engine is pretty but feels like the 360 hardware is struggling under the weight of it, there are constant glitches like a sailor leaping 100ft into the air off the back of my ship or characters getting stuck in animation loops, the stealth and tailing missions can be a chore, and even the minigames like harpooning sharks feel a bit half-cooked and underwhelming. The underwater swimming controls are utter balls too. Genuinely shocked that Edge would give such an obviously flawed game a 9/10.

It's a minor point, but I find in inordinately aggravating that secondary objectives like assassination missions are permanently displayed on top left of the screen like a big old eyesore. I've tried playing around with the hud settings but can't seem to get rid of it short of doing the actual mission.
« Last Edit: 24 January, 2014, 12:37:18 pm by radiator »

shaolin_monkey

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Re: Last game played...
« Reply #713 on: 24 January, 2014, 01:55:15 pm »
I feel your pain re the stealth assassins bit of the story - it took me frikkin hours to do it, and that was with the help of a youtube guide.  It sucked!  I wanted to get past it as quickly as possible, unlock the diving bell and go swimming for treasure.

Have you encountered the elite ships yet?  I took my first down the other day, and my ship is only about 80% powered up.  I rule!!! (the seas)

radiator

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Re: Last game played...
« Reply #714 on: 24 January, 2014, 02:18:07 pm »
I feel your pain re the stealth assassins bit of the story - it took me frikkin hours to do it, and that was with the help of a youtube guide.  It sucked!  I wanted to get past it as quickly as possible, unlock the diving bell and go swimming for treasure.

Have you encountered the elite ships yet?  I took my first down the other day, and my ship is only about 80% powered up.  I rule!!! (the seas)

It was that multi-level open area with the crocodile in the pool in the middle.

Those last two assassins on the upper level - a man and a woman - with a sniper across the gap. There was literally no way I could see of reliably taking both of them down quickly without alerting the sniper. Hiding behind the column or in the grass and whistling would alert them both. It took about an hour of playing the same 5 minutes over and over and each attempt got progressively more tense because you could randomly be spotted at any moment, and because failing sends you back unreasonably far. I only did it in the end by sheer fluke.

Even then, the sniper saw me and I failed the mission, and I was like 'right, that's it - I'm done with this game', but luckily it has check-pointed just after the difficult bit, and that's the only reason I'm still playing.

Just seems bananas to me that something like that slipped through QA. Hopefully, now I have the blowpipe some of the stealth frustrations should be eliminated, but if the game pulls any shit like that later on, it's going in the bin.

I haven't got the diving bell yet, I've just done the mission where you have to rescue the assassins, but for the most part I'm just sailing to desert islands and strip-mining them of collectibles.

shaolin_monkey

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Re: Last game played...
« Reply #715 on: 24 January, 2014, 03:10:16 pm »
Yep, that's the one.  It fucked me up too.  But I knew there was so much goodness in other areas of the game it got me through.  I was crying with frustration though.

Keef Monkey

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Re: Last game played...
« Reply #716 on: 24 January, 2014, 03:49:29 pm »
I struggled massively with that mission too. My last run at it was actually amazingly satisfying, because I was so frustrated that I just tried to speed through it without pondering too much, and I wound up scraping through by the skin of my teeth. I was well aware I'd passed it purely by a series of really lucky breaks though, which shouldn't really be the case in a well designed encounter.

Richmond Clements

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Re: Last game played...
« Reply #717 on: 24 January, 2014, 03:54:41 pm »
I spent 8 hours at it, but my son walked it first time...

radiator

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Re: Last game played...
« Reply #718 on: 24 January, 2014, 04:12:39 pm »
I think overall I'd prefer there to be far less enemies, but maybe have them more intelligent. Some levels have so many enemies that it's impossible to track all of them, or get a good idea where they are, meaning they have to rely on the 'eagle vision' thing to give you a chance.

But then I think that of most games in any genre - it's about time they figured out how to make smaller, more contained encounters thrilling, and lose the crutch of just spamming you with enemies to keep things exciting.

That was one of the things I loved about the early Gears of War games - they made fighting two or even one enemies thrilling, and each fight felt like a set-piece from an action movie.
« Last Edit: 24 January, 2014, 04:16:59 pm by radiator »

shaolin_monkey

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Re: Last game played...
« Reply #719 on: 24 January, 2014, 04:49:51 pm »
Who has done the elite ships then?  The one in the bottom right of the map is easy, if you stay behind it.  Just keep pummeling it with the chain cannons.