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Some spoilers for the end of a quest in OC: Odyssey

Butch:

Didn’t play any more.

But we can talk about those three missions to lead up to the Dagger!

Now…

It’s not that they were bad missions. They weren’t. But I have gripes. As I do.

The boat diving thing: Having to talk to that lady there before diving down to get the doohickey was a waste of time. Someone OTHER than her could’ve told me that ahead of time. Seriously.

The Farmer: So, why, exactly, was “The Taxman Cometh” a thing? I show up, I get attacked by guys all “We knew you’d come!” I kill them, the dude is all “Hey, thanks again, and now the thing about the Dagger.” So….why’d he have a quest all to himself that was really part of this quest? Kinda a waste of time. Seriously, game. Stop it.

The dudes at the theater: Ok, that was kinda harrowing. I didn’t like that they died. And, yes, THEY. I kept TRYING to keep one of them alive. I reloaded a bunch. But, each and every time, they’d kill one and the other would die in the ensuing fight after about twelve milliseconds. I eventually gave up.

But here’s the thing, and why I’m kinda annoyed: Each one of these three things, certainly the farmer and the theater people, led to the exact same thing. Even the slave lady there by the boat told me the exact same thing. When the poor theater people were getting killed, I was all “Yeah, knew that, you died for nothing.”

So why’d I have to do all three of these? Cuz you had to!

It was a waste of time, and that’s bad. But what’s even worse is that it had a chance, a real chance, to be a Weighty Choice. See, if you could bail after learning the facts from one of the branches, learn the name, where they are, and just say “Ok! Off to get ’em!” then that would have had life or death consequences. You could’ve opted not to rescue the farmer, or opted not to get involved with the theater people, or not have (potentially) been followed to the slaves at Eretria. Or you could have done two or all three. How you found the info about the Dagger could have MATTERED. Instead, it turned into busy work where your choices didn’t matter cuz you had no choices.

A waste of time AND a missed opportunity.

And that’s too bad! The theater people quest was good! Harrowing! The fort the dude was rescued from (in A SEPARATE QUEST why’d they do that?) was well designed! There was a lot of good here, but by making it all so necessary it undermined it.

Sigh.

Feminina:

It’s true–the fact that you’re presented with three ways to get the same information is fine, but the fact that you have to follow through with all three of them, and without learning anything different, is bothersome from a narrative standpoint. I figured, well, maybe the first quest told me one thing about the Kingfisher, but the second one will say something different, and I’ll have to sort out which is right by also gathering evidence in the third? But no.

I also got the theater people killed. I mean, I didn’t. The Dagger killed them. This wasn’t on me! Unlike most of the deaths that happen in my vicinity.

But I was unable to save them. Did you try just attacking as soon as you got into the conversation? Because when you first showed up in the theater, there was a crossed swords/violence dialogue option and a regular conversational one, and I picked the regular one, and then later I thought “maybe if I just went on the offensive immediately it would prevent the dude from going on his whole gloating hostage spiel and they’d have a chance to escape.”

But by the time I thought of it, I had already moved on.

We shall never know. Unless you tried that! In which case, we shall know it didn’t work and there was nothing we could do to save them.

Butch:

Narrative and gameplay. It’s the game admitting it’s wasting your time. Don’t do that, game.

To be charitable, it sorta read like a quest line that was intended, in some prior draft of the game, to have Weighty Important Choices and then the writers said “oops.” Like, maybe the Dagger was supposed to be a big assed thing and they thought “Well, we already have a lot of big assed things….” I dunno. Maybe it is! I’m not finished yet. But I doubt it.

And nah, I tried that. And she was all “YOU’LL be the one that dies” and he was all “If you try, we’ll slit both their throats before you get to me,” which seemed reasonable.

Can’t be helped.

Though it could have been! Right after the fight began, the quest changed to “Protect [insert name here],” and then, when I failed miserably, it changed to “Defeat the Baddies.” So it WAS possible to protect the survivor. Don’t ask me how. They were right there between five baddies and me!

It was doomed…unless, somehow, someway, you could actually “protect” them like the quest said! I tried! I did! Even reloaded a couple of times! But the baddies went right after her, and there’s no way to kill five of them that fast. Maybe there was some ability trick or something, but fuck it. I’ve moved on. Sorry, theater people.

Feminina:

Sorry, theater people. You were destined to die together, and wow Hades in the underworld with your magnificent dramatic productions.

Except Kassandra doesn’t really believe in that, but…uh…maybe you do, and the thought will give you a moment’s comfort in the seconds before your brutal deaths.

I did feel bad about them.

Butch:

I feel terrible. Especially as they had all those orphans, who are now re-orphaned.

That was a low blow, game. Especially as they died for very little.

Kassandra was all “I’ll make sure your last words weren’t in vain” or something, and I was thinking “Considering we already KNEW all of that, they likely were. But hey, hope springs eternal.”

Feminina:

Yeah, I felt extra bad about the orphans. And there wasn’t even an option to toss them some money as you left, or anything!

Like “hey, orphans, here’s a few drachmae to feed yourselves for the next couple of weeks while you look for new theater jobs or whatever and then probably eventually end up at the slave auctions.”

If those kids form a group of tiny assassins and come after us with vengeance on their minds, I won’t blame them. I mean, it’s not really my fault for once! The Dagger was hassling them before I ever showed up! But I certainly didn’t help matters.

Butch:

Hey, yeah! There should’ve been such an option. Maybe they just didn’t REALLY want to go into the whole “You really messed up the lives of kids” thing.

After all, based on my very limited knowledge of the series, AC is many things. Weird. Action packed fun. Violent. At times, gory. But one thing it generally isn’t is upsetting. Its “sad” bits are kinda like when a superhero dies in a summer blockbuster: melodrama. “Sad” in quotes. The deaths of parents who have voluntarily raised orphans and the aftermath of same is not the type of thing one expects from AC, so maybe they wanted to pull their punches some.

Was still upsetting.

Feminina:

Yeah! I would totally have funded an orphanage! After all, Kassandra was effectively an orphan herself. You’d think she might have some empathy for what these kids have been through, and are likely to go through now that their protective parent-figures are dead.

But it’s true, Assassin’s Creed is not really about tugging at the heartstrings as a general rule. Drama, excitement, action, intrigue, aliens, occasional philosophical musings, yes. Pathos, no. So yeah, they probably just didn’t want to get into it because it would harsh the mood.

Still.

Butch:

It’s not about tugging heartstrings, no. But then, it’s trying to evolve.

Begs a question, though: if you want to make a game that isn’t really like other AC games, why make an AC game at all? It’s hardly because we’re delving deep into the story of Assassins and Templars and Abstergo and hipsters. We haven’t heard a damn thing about any of that since the start of the game. They seem to have made this an AC game cuz they like stealth and assassinating things. Also, if I’m going to be cynical, they made this an AC game cuz “Assassin’t Creed” on the box sells games.

But that decision, marketing or otherwise (mostly marketing), seems to have had the unintended consequence of holding back the game that they really wanted to make, that is, a true RPG. This COULD have been a very good RPG quest. I sorta feel that if this hadn’t been an AC game, that if they could have gone full RPG, it would have been. But, if you’re gonna put “Assassin’s Creed” on the box, you can’t pull a full 180 right away.

Maybe two or three AC games from now it really will be like an RPG. Maybe. But even if it is, it’ll still be beholden to all the games that came before and the lore and the nonsense.

It’s too bad, really. Ubisoft should go with a whole new IP if they want to make a whole new type of game.

But that marketing…..

Feminina:

Marketing! How can you turn your back on a franchise like AC? There’s no way! Especially when everything else you try is not as big a hit as AC. I mean, they’ve done OK with other things, but Watch Dogs is no Assassin’s Creed.

Though as for the hipsters…hang in there. They do actually come back in! I’m intrigued by what this means for the larger alien-history mythology. We’ll talk later.

And, as you say, maybe they’re just kind of taking small steps towards something different, like a full-fledged RPG. Testing things out. People seem to like the RPG elements in this one, so maybe the next one will have more. We can dream!

Butch:

Hey man, there’s always Just Dance. Mints money.

AC needs more DANCING!!!!!

Ooo! Femmy had a hipster encounter! ‘Bout time. Am I close?

Not just people like RPGs! This person! You, too, it seems! Shit, my gripe is that this isn’t a full bore RPG. These last few quests would’ve been better if they had been, and they would’ve fit just fine.

Buuuuuut…..

That means the best bits are the bits that aren’t really very “Assassin’s Creedy.”

This is a problem when “Assassin’s Creed” is on the box.

Feminina:

Oh well, Just Dance is a kingdom unto itself. Although a crossover might be interesting. Dancing in AC is a good thought, and also imagine if we could Just Assassinate!

On second thought, people would probably be killing themselves doing dramatic Leaps of Faith. Never mind.

The hipsters come back right after the big major quest thing we were heading towards when we stopped to do this taxes interlude. So as soon as you’re done with the Dagger and this island, you can continue on your way and…yeah. We’ll talk.

Butch:

Hey, man, I think it would sell millions!

“Just Assassinate!” The Ultimate Party Game when you’re at parties with people you don’t like!

We’ve all been there, right? It’s a huge, yet unfilled, niche.

Ah, ok. We’ll talk about the modern day. ‘Bout time.

Though, on literary terms…

We established at the end of RDR2 that epilogues can be WAAAAY the fuck too long. Is there a similar limit on interludes? Should there be?

Cuz this shit here has been taking quite some time.

Feminina:

There could be such a limitation, indeed. But really, by AC standards, this is not particularly egregious. The in-Animus portions of the game always outweigh the ‘real-world’ portions by leaps and bounds. You never spend more than, I don’t know, MAYBE 5% of your time caring about what’s going on in the real world.

It’s always THERE, but it’s never what you spend the vast bulk of your playing time on.

Because it’s not usually about assassinating people and climbing towers, so it’s boring! Back to the Animus!

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