It’s not that they’re not as good as Bioware or don’t have Naughty Dog’s flair for dialogue, it’s simply that they suck. They can’t tell a story to save their lives, it’s like all their writers are 13 year-old kids who’ve never read a book or seen a classic movie. Don’t believe me? Allow me to illustrate.
Ok, the story here is so stupid and inconsequential that you’re better off skipping the cut scenes (those that will allow you the privilege of doing so) and reading thisinstead. Not only is it more entertaining but it’s funny and extremely accurate. It’s certainly a lot more fun than watching the idiotic story take place in the game. Just cause I’m nice, I’ll summarize it for ya:
Your niece is killed and this turns you into a sociopathic killer by the moniker of The Vigilante. There, that’s the whole story, that’s all you need to know. In fact, you don’t even need to know that, it’s so nonsensical it doesn’t matter, just go kill people and try to have fun if you can.
Assassin’s Creed I
Well, it’s about assassin’s and… you need to go assassinate some seemingly bad people. Who cares? Have you seen the visuals? It’s in Constantinople in the middle ages, you get to run around and climb stuff and kill people, this is awesome! Oh, and you fight the Templars. Templars shmemplars, look at this castle I can climb up on! Awesome.
Assassin’s Creed II
OK, here they tried harder, it’s about Ezio, a real arsehole, who has to climb stuff and kill people. Who cares, it’s in fucking Florence during the Renaissance! Florence! Oh and you meed Leonardo Da Vinci, portrayed as a dumb, geeky hacker with a cape. Fuck that, I can climb the fucking Duomo di Bruneleschi! Oh, and you’re still fighting Templars. Is that Venice? Venice! Sweet! Oh, and we’ve introduced a fun (in a really boring way) strategic element of assault here that… Hey, I get to travel by horse. Kewl.
Assassin’s Creed III
This game is dogshit. In every possible way, not only is it unfinished and bug-ridden but it’s completely unplayable due to the mechanics. In the hours I played this offensive piece of shit, always just waiting for it to get better because I simply couldn’t believe that this is all there was to it, all I did was run around, watch a very lengthy video (which I couldn’t skip) then run around some more. I’m not even kidding, that was the whole gameplay, I couldn’t believe it. Whoever designed this game should be shot. All those people who gave it good reviews should be shot and buried with the designer. The idiot who decided that it was time to release it in its unfinished state should be drawn and quartered. And buried along with the other miscreants.
In terms of story, I’m not sure. First, because I was so pissed off at having to run around and watch videos that I couldn’t pay attention, second because the time period is so fucking boring (especially after we had Constantinople in the middle ages and Florence during the Renaissance) that I just didn’t bother. But apparently you play as an English dude, then as an indian kid (oh, excuse me, native american kid), then as a youngish dude, you might play as an indian girl, I’m not sure, this is about the time I turned it off and deleted it from my hard drive.
In short, avoid it like the Black Death.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
You’re a pirate. That’s it, that’s the whole story. You play as a pirate. Except when you don’t. About 25% of the game takes place in a cubicle, a fucking cubicle! Why the hell would I want to play a dude who works in a cubicle when I’ve actually done that in real life? Why? I’ve never been a pirate, I love to play at being a pirate, but playing a cubicle dweller? Who in their right mind thought this was fun? And why force it on me? It doesn’t add to the story at all and it’s incredibly boring yet you can’t skip it. It’s there just so Ubisoft can say they have X hours of gameplay. Who cares when half of those X hours make you want to kill yourself? For those doing the math at home, it’s not only the cubicle dwelling that’s boring, some of the missions and side quests are dumb as hell too.
When you’re not playing as an awesome pirate you get to do cool stuff like eavesdrop on your boss’s phone calls (note to Ubisoft: the whole following and eavesdropping lost its appeal years ago with the first Assassin’s Creed because you overused it. Don’t do it any more, it’s not fun! it’s shit). You also get to ride down in elevators, whoohoo; give USB drives to a messenger chick while you eavesdrop on her conversation with the dude who’s trying to pick her up, exciting; ride up on the elevator back to your floor, whoopee; and some other inane cubicle shit that I’ve done my best to erase from my poor brain.
The guy who designed this whole cubicle bit needs to join the other offenders from Assassin’s Creed III in the mass grave.
Far Cry 3
You play as a really obnoxious whiner who’s out for Spring Break with his brother and some buddies. They end up on an island infested with psychopathic killers (I bet thatwasn’t on the brochure), your brother gets killed, some girls get raped (I think they hint at it, again wasn’t paying attention), so you proceed to kill every living thing on the island, including the animals, and I do mean all the animals, alligators and sharks too because, fuck them, why should they get a pass?
In the end, you get to have sex with the hot island princess and kill your remaining buddies because… uh… the hot island princess tells you to, and who can say no to a hot island princess? Best Spring Break eva!
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
You’re a bad-arse dude who fights terrorists. You find a list of bad things the terrorists want to do, or maybe it’s people they want to kill or things they need to buy for breakfast or something else, can’t remember, I was too busy looking at Grimmsdottir’s knockers to really pay attention. Anyway, there’s a list. Along the way you fight with all your workmates and alienate the hell out of everybody including the government that employs you. This, of course, leads you to play the lone wolf, ‘one man, abandoned by his comrades, betrayed by his country…’, go against explicit orders, defy the government and everyone else and save the world.
Another top-notch piece of Ubisoft writing.
If you can’t tell a decent story or don’t have a decent story to tell, why even bother? Just don’t tell a story, let us play the game, that’s what we’re here for anyway: The Game, the fucking game, the gameplay, not some inane story unless that story is compelling and interesting, in which case it does do a lot for our appreciation of the game, and, depending on the game, might even be crucial to it. But those games are few and far between. Mainly Naughty Dog and Bioware are the only developers who come to mind with compelling, interesting stories that make you care about the characters and actually draw you into the game. The rest? Pfft, might as well skip the story entirely, you’ll save a lot of money that you can put into gameplay and your audience will really appreciate it, trust me, I’ve been playing video games for more than 30 years.
Remember those wonderful games of yore that didn’t even have a story? Those were great, you started up the game and you got playing, Metroid, Double Dragon, Karateka, Mario Bros, Bionic Commando, Narc, Contra, etc. Even though a couple of these games had some introductory story, mainly consisting of someone getting kidnapped, it was at most 7 seconds long, no shitty dialogue and you could get your game on. Today’s developers could learn a lot from these games.
Case in point, the wonderfully underrated Bulletstorm has a pretty thin and inconsequential plot but it doesn’t get too much in your way and it’s funny most of the time. Before you scoff at it, this game has to be played with a certain sense of levity, everything is a joke in it, even when it seems not to be. Even this game succeeds in terms of story where Ubisoft so miserably fails.