OXM ETboy wrote:
Indeed, we have been known to differ as regards AC combat
You're right, I'm probably being overly critical - I just wasn't quite as blown away by my hands-on as I thought I'd be.
At half a dozen games into a series, that's no surprise though. I find at a point like this there is an issue for developers of keeping their game familiar for series fans but changing/adding enough to feel different. Unless they were to make a dramatic overhaul I don't think there was any way you could feel any different than you do. Even then, a dramatic overhaul could have jumped up and bitten them in the bum. I think the reality is that you're playing an AC game and you were aware that you were playing an AC game.
If you think about it though, how much could they actually do to make it different without changing the core of the game that has made it popular and successful? The setting is slightly familiar, but certainly new enough to be interesting, at least for me. They could have done other settings, but how different would they be really? Feudal Japan? A gorgeous setting to be sure, but it's not anything we haven't seen before in Tenchu and the base gameplay would be very familiar, it would rely almost entirely on the story to be different and stand out. World War 2? We've seen that in The Saboteur, and whilst Ubisoft would certainly make a more polished job of it, it's not like the setting is all that unique. I guess my point is that whilst different settings could have been used, they're just aesthetic changes, the pure gameplay would remain largely the same. It's how they utilize it that really makes the difference now and I wonder how much of a chance you had to do that? For example, the stealth mechanics they've added seem interesting and quite new to the series.
I get the impression that you've been focusing a bit too much on the staples of the series and not enough on the new ways they're implemented. It's easy to become weary of Assassin's Creed if you just focus on how the game plays, because it's never really changed all that much. Look to the new things, the expanded naval element, how much of a pirate can you be? Is there any level of mercantilism, supply and demand at different ports? What about new hunting elements like Whaling etc? The under water searches? How is the variety in the landscape, is it so different as to be constantly interesting to explore? See, I read this article, and after AC3 I understand the concerns, but when I watch the videos of AC4 I'm always interested in the new stuff, how interesting the game looks to just bop around not being an Assassin, just exploring places and doing stuff. When that's the goal, as long as the game play is smooth and fun, I'm not concerned by how overly familiar or limited it might be.