Assassin’s Creed 3′s Mistake
I want to start out this post by saying that I truly love the Assassin’s Creed series. I love the story, some of the characters are amazing, and the gameplay (while sometimes awkward) is a stunning amount of fun. I love getting totally immersed and exploring the world. My average play session starts with me doing a handful of actual missions, then ditzing around whatever city I’m in, collecting trinkets, jumping off buildings, and occasionally going on a homicidal rampage. What can I say? Even wandering around in these games can be fun.
That being said, there’s one thing that Assassin’s Creed 3 has done that really bothers me: “optional objectives.”
For every mission you do, there are a handful of “optional objectives” that make it more challenging. They vary based on the mission, and a third of the way through the game, I’m not sure what the point is aside from cheevos.
Now, I’m all about adding challenges. That’s awesome. However, these can’t be turned off or hidden. They’re always there, staring at me when I’m trying to focus on something else. If I succeed the mission but don’t complete the objectives, I get these red ‘X’s in the corner of the screen making me feel like I’ve done something wrong. I’m dragged out of my immersion, and am made to think about how I’m supposed to do the mission vs how I’m actually doing the damn thing. I’m worried about checking off those boxes instead of worrying about how Connor will get out of this one, or why he’s being attacked – the mission is reduced to numbers and checkboxes rather than saving The President or assassinating that Templar.
I want my first playthrough of a game to be as immersive as possible. The first time through, I’m playing it for the plot. The second time, I’m probably playing it for the cheevos. So let me hide the optional objectives – give me the option to squirrel them away for later, when I want more challenge. This time around, let me play in peace.