I’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed 3 for a bit longer than an hour and while I applaud Ubisoft for coming to its senses and finally dropping their boneheaded DRM schemes, I have to take notes of a few things here. Not all of them good I’m afraid. And don’t worry there are no spoilers in there.
The textures are excellent as always in the series and the ocean shader is very pleasing to the eye. The cloth-to-skin is also overall quite nice.
But as I started the game I was worried to see the main protagonist (Desmond Miles) not emoting one bit facially. And during cut-scenes nonetheless. I still remember the facial animation in “Brotherhood” as being quite appealing. Oh well.
Then later when my character was finally let loose in Boston I met a bunch of kids which were in fact adult models scaled down with no regards to an actual child’s proportion. Sure, their heads were a different model, but their skeleton structure was identical to a grownup’s. And their animations were in part shared with the adults’, including “walk-like-a-6-foot-tall-trucker” ones. I can hear the producers from here: “No need to animate characters by hand anymore! We can just slap any old grand mocap data on them and voila!“. Voila indeed. I shook my head in disbelief and moved on.
My attention was then lead to a man vehemently arguing with… no-one. He was shouting and grabbing the air with a firm IK grip. So I thought “Did they mean to do a drunk mime arguing with himself?” But then the man got violently shoved away by an invisible assailant and I had to accept I was simply staring at a very, very big bug. So I sighted and moved on.
And I went walking on some patches of grass that would look right at home in a very old game. Just a few straight polygons, grossly crisscrossing. So I looked at a nearby tree and noticed it had no branches except some flat triangular polygons at the top. I hope the forest trees are much nicer than the city ones.
Then I walked some more and met a dog three-quarters buried in the ground. But it wasn’t dead. It was walking and barking as if to nothing. But buried three-quarters in the ground.
I also witnessed a horse leaning backwards at 45 degrees, and two characters engaged in a face-to-face conversation practically turning their backs to each-other, and a soldier cycle-running into a wall, and… oh, forget it.
Is this really the quality everyone has come to expect from a multi-million dollar video game today? I really, really hope the rest of the experience shows a little more care than I’ve seen in this early session.