Assassin’s Creed III – Father and Son

The series of Assassin’s Creed III mission analysis continues. Today I’m going to look at Mission 2 of Sequence 9 – Father and Son.

This mission is… frankly, a mess. You know, whatever I may say about other Assassin’s Creed III missions I’ve posted about in the blog, I had a blast going through them the first time I played, and even during replays, I still enjoyed them to a varying extent (even Hickey’s assassination mission, which I consider to be one of the most disappointing levels in the game). They’re not bad per se (and, as evidenced by the Tea Party missions, there’s quite a few of really good ones), even if I think they could use improvements. But ‘Father and Son’… it feels like it was made in a stage of development hell, and left as is because there was no time left to redo it. The only good thing going for this mission is the interaction between Haytham and Connor in cutscenes. If I wasn’t enamored by their chemistry, I would have noticed everything I’m about to say back during my first playthrough. But, let’s just look at the level, shall we?

Objective 1 – Follow Haytham to Benjamin Church’s location
Actually, before I start, I want to say one thing. The mission before this one, ‘Missing Supplies’, is Connor’s ONLY main mission in the Frontier that takes place during winter (his other winter missions are in Boston and Homestead). Taking Haytham’s sequences into account, we’ve got three winter Frontier missions in total. You know how many winter New York missions we’ve got? Zero. None. Nada. Without the ‘Season Changer’ Animus Hack we can get after completing the game, we don’t see New York in winter mode. Ever. This should’ve been it, the New York winter mission.

Assassin's Creed III - Father and Son

Which reminds me. Recently I played the first episode of The Tyranny of King Washington. It was quite nice. Has 6 missions, 5 of which are in the Frontier, and actually we go through 7, I think, out of 12 Frontier regions. It’s not bad, right? But, here’s the kicker. Do you know how many main storyline missions are there in the Frontier in Assassin’s Creed III? 12. Three of them you play as Haytham, so no tree-running. Three others are Connor’s tutorials (for clues, hunting and tree-running). So there are only six missions where we play as adult, fully trained Connor in the Frontier. Pretty much the same amount as in the DLC. New York has it worse, though. We’ve got 8 main missions in total there, and 2 of them don’t take place on the New York map itself (but inside buildings). Doesn’t all that make you wonder, what would happen if the original game had an extra year of development, how much more extra content there could’ve been?

Assassin's Creed III - Father and Son

Anyway… there’s not much to talk about this objective. Follow Haytham, listen to a cool dialogue, follow Haytham again until you get to the brewery. I think the dialogue they have in the middle should be moved to the intro cutscene, and the brewery goal should be like a race. You know, fatherly-son competition, Haytham wants to see how skillful Connor is in navigating a city. It could be the optional Full Synch objective, beat Haytham to the brewery. Since there’s nothing to the goal but to get from point A to point B, might as well base the optional objective is a ‘perfection challenge’ rather than a related side-goal.

Assassin's Creed III - Father and Son

Objective 2 – Disguise yourself as one of Church’s men
Now, THIS is the messy part. Okay, first, let’s talk about the logic of the story. We need to disguise ourselves as one of Church’s men, because Church has switched guards to people Haytham doesn’t know. And Haytham wants to go through the door guards without any accidents or raising suspicion. Okay, first… Haytham. You were beaten up by Church’s men in the last mission. I’m pretty sure they know you’re an enemy. In fact, you’re a smart guy, you should suspect a trap if they just let you in. Which, actually, happens in the next mission. It. Is. A. Trap. This whole plan to get through the front door without raising suspicion doesn’t make any sense.

Assassin's Creed III - Father and Son

The second problem. Connor is going to look for a guard off duty and steal his uniform… The uniform which is STREET CLOTHES. I.e. it’s NOT an uniform. It’s just clothes. And the guard at the front still does not like the ‘savage’ very much, so it’s not like that helped a lot to blend in. Heck, Connor could just remove his coat-robe to look less like an Assassin, and THAT’S IT. Street clothes. Done. I think originally there were supposed to be British troops guarding the door (and the lines were recorded taking that into mind). Because… That would make sense. Church is working with the British. There are British soldiers guarding (not directly Church’s men, so they may not know that Haytham’s got a grudge against Church exactly). And it would make sense then for Connor to get a uniform from a guard off duty. He wouldn’t notice they’re gone (off duty) and THEY ARE NOT STREET CLOTHES.

Assassin's Creed III - Father and Son

When we take control of Connor, we can do whatever we want with the front guards. There will be no penalties or desynchronization. We can attack the guards upfront, and Haytham will join in to help his son. We can call marksmen to just kill everybody at the front.

Assassin's Creed III - Father and Son

We can lure the guards away.

Assassin's Creed III - Father and Son

We can distract the guards with a riot.

Assassin's Creed III - Father and Son

And, heck, we can call for an escort, and the guards will try to let us pass through the gates. Gates which we can’t climb even though it would make perfect sense we would be able to. I understand the high walls, there’s nothing to hold on to, but, gates… Connor would be able to climb that.

Assassin's Creed III - Father and Son

Though, you know, you can’t climb the front gates, but you can get past them an alternative way. As you can see in the screenshot below, Connor is looking at small figure of Haytham from the top of the brewery Church (or, more precisely, his impostor) hides in. I’m not going to say how I got there, though. Try it out, and please tell me your way of getting past the un-climbable wall, I’m curious how many possibilities are there.

Assassin's Creed III - Father and Son

But, really. Walls you can’t climb over (or, well, you can with difficulties and luck) with the gate being the only entrance to the premises – I’m fine with that. However, the gates should be open, with just a guard post infront of them. Our objective should be to get to the entrance of the brewery itself. And this whole area should be restricted. And not only this area, the area around the brewery too, with more Church’s men patrolling. And we would have to use one of the main core pillars of Assassin’s Creed, which is social stealth (that is SEVERELY underused in this particular game) to actually get past. Only, don’t have desynchronization if noticed. Maybe just have a Full Synch objective to not get detected. I know I’m preaching the synch objectives to be side-goals that don’t restrict playstyles, but… I don’t know, storywise, Haytham and Connor want to get in discreetly, so a massacre is really not wanted. Maybe in this particular situation, I would let a ‘do not get detected’ Full Synch objective slide.

So, this is it… Father and Son… Not much to analyse. Awesome interaction between Haytham and Connor, an objective that doesn’t make sense (at least to me) and, frankly, it’s more boring than the tutorial missions.

Posted on February 20, 2013, in Game Design and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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