Once Assassin’s Creed 3 entered canon, it became possible to have a pretty sophisticated philosophical conversation about the setting. That’s the one people don’t like, of course; the one with the best twist, the one that drops the mask. The one that makes you understand at the edge of a knife that your entire conception of the narrative is essentially propaganda.
It’s also the end of a discrete trilogy, even if the second game is a trilogy by itself. Don’t think about it too much unless you’re in the market for an embolism. But Black Flag is them flipping over the hourglass, and starting fresh in some ways. Generally speaking, people seem to prefer this one to the last. Maybe not Gabe. The introduction of its two-tier narrative is a little hmm.
I’ve played a few hours, did some basic maintenance work on a trachea or two, but I’m having a hard time staying focused in there because the multiplayer is so Goddamned good. That’s where my cohort can often be found also, so it works. I really want to know who came up with it, because it slices a few Gordian knots. The asymmetries we adore in Spies vs. Mercs are either intimidating or incoherent to most people. What’s more, people avoid playing as Mercs when they can get away with it. So what if everyone just sneaks, all the time? Could that work?
I don’t know that there is another multiplayer game as cinematic. The costumes and characterizations, particularly when you take customization into account, cover ground you never get to see with startling sophistication. The animations are the worst kinds of grudgefuck nastiness this side of the reverse chainsaw execution in Gears. These are animations you avoid with every cubic centimeter of skill you can muster. You “do not want” this to happen to your skull. If you are scared of exposing your tender organs to Internet murderers, I get that; AC works incredibly well as a party game though, too. With friends, all the nastiness becomes slapstick.
There are some games I won’t refuse when invited, and the bang/buck on just a round of AC multiplayer is incredibly high. Gabriel has streamed us playing a few times, and I’d be surprised if he didn’t again. Because he’s running the stream though, he’s the only one people can hear - even though all the things I’m saying are incredibly fascinating and relevant. This seems like it has to be a temporary oversight.
I think I understand why: streaming is basically surveillance in reverse. Right? They don’t want to create situations where people are being streamed inadvertently, or without their knowledge, while they gradually increase the resolution and bit depth on their anti-Semitism. But it’s not hard to message things like this to participants, or to make Twitch the invite you accept, and the opportunities it creates for people’s broadcasts are profound enough to consider enabling the feature.