1. I’d hoped to get the 360/PS3 post up before Thanksgiving, but you know what? It can wait. There’s no rush. I’m dealing with a thousand other distractions, to be sure, but the fact remains that this generation is still not over. And in any event, I’d rather put the post up when people are back in front of their computer monitors, freed from tryptophan-induced eye-glazing (and family-induced eye-rolling).
2. I continue to be tremendously impressed with Assassin’s Creed 4, even if I’m starting to realize that the reasons why I’m enjoying it so much are because of all the things that are cribbed from other games. The platforming is still very much classic AC, though the controls feel much tighter (most likely influenced by Uncharted and Tomb Raider), but the hunting and crafting is straight out of Far Cry 3, a lot of the treasure map stuff and related ambient events feels lifted wholesale out of Red Dead Redemption, and the customization of the Jackdaw reminds me very much of Mass Effect‘s Normandy. All games steal from everybody else, and it just so happens that these are good things to steal from, and I’m very glad to have them in this particular context.
Moreover, I love that the game is letting me play at my own pace. If there’s an undiscovered island between my ship and my next mission objective, you can be damned sure I’m going over there and clearing out as much of it as I can – opening chests, chasing down sea shanty pages, clambering towards Abstergo artifacts. And along those lines, I’m happy that the incentives for finding all of that side stuff are, for the most part, worthwhile. (The sea shanties alone are worth it.) The Mayan statues are a far cry from the weird future glyph puzzles in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, but they’re a fun enough diversion.
And even though I’m not particularly interested in the naval combat (partially because I’m not particularly good at it), I don’t necessarily have to engage with it if I don’t want to. I suppose I’ll have to get better at it at some point, as I’m sure the game will require me to engage in some heavy-duty naval battles in order to get through the narrative, but for the time being I’m happy to ignore it, and I’m pleased to not be punished for doing so.
I’m also really intrigued by AC4’s “modern” storyline, though I’m reluctant to say more on that until I get around to a full-on spoiler post.
I guess the thing that’s impressed me the most is how relatively un-glitchy it is, especially compared to AC3. I’m probably 12-15 hours in at this point, and I’ve only ever gotten stuck in a tree once. That being said, the glitch in the video below is maybe the best glitch I’ve ever seen:
3. While I’m glad that I’m still resolute in my decision to hold off on buying one of the new consoles (even if it’s been less than a week since the Xbox One launched and I’m already getting super-fidgety), I’m finding that the decision itself is becoming harder and harder to make as more impressions come in. I suppose this is a good thing. Ever since E3, I had always been hell-bent on acquiring a PS4 as soon as possible, but the more and more I hear about the XBO, the more intrigued I get. The short version of this argument is that the PS4 is, essentially, a super-deluxe version of the consoles we currently have, but that the XBO is a machine from the future. Of course, the Kinect is still a bit buggy, and the idea of constantly talking to my television is strange (especially during the hours when the baby is sleeping in the next room), but that’s stuff that can be fixed with software patches, and I expect that when that stuff is working the way it’s supposed to, it’s going to be very cool indeed. If any of you have either or both of the new consoles, I’m very curious to hear your thoughts and impressions.