These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Connor, both in-universe and by players. While those closest to him consider him a kind, soft spoken man, the Templars and his mentor call him out on his naivety and short fuse. Likewise, players are divided on opinions about the guy: either he's the nicest and most badass protagonist yet (being something of a mix between Batman and movieverse Cap) or an immature haughty youth who thinks he's right about everything and has a bad attitude towards those who disagree with him. There's also those who argue that he's simply innocent, for all it implies.
A number of his fans argue that Connor is a flawed and human character and is being held to a Double Standard when critics say that the character is bland and then cite many character flaws which indicate complexity. There's also the Unfortunate Implications suggested by social justice warriors of a non-white Player Character being attacked by mostly white gaming critics who they argue is a Vocal Minority when the game itself was the highest selling in the franchise industry.
Haytham gets this a lot too. Everyone agrees he's awesome but there's a divide between those who think he's more of a hero than Connor is and his views are much more sensible, and those who think he's just another self-serving Templar making a power grab, even if he is good at it.
Author's Saving Throw: Following some lackluster novelisations of AC 2, Brotherhood, Revelations and the first game, Assassin's Creed: Forsaken is a novel that blows expectations out of the water (It helps that the novel isn't a direct novelization of the game and focuses on Haytham over Connor.
Author Tract: Shaun just will not shut up about American historical revisionism. All right, Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped, but it seems like a disproportionate amount of his dialogue and database entries touch on the subject. Some would say it goes so far as to be parody.
Connor (see Alternative Character Interpretation for elaboration). It doesn't help that some are unhappy that he supplanted Haytham as the playable character, or that he's such a dramatic change in personality from the previous Ancestor.
The setting has also split the fans between those who love it, those who think there were more interesting conflicts going on (the idea of setting it in the Napoleonic Wars crops up a lot from them), and those who think that the American setting is great but would have preferred it to be later down the line (such as in the Civil War era) so that there would be more buildings to run around on, ala AC 2.
Best Level Ever: Consensus seems to be that the 2 missions involving the Battle of Bunker Hill are some of the most exciting in the game.
The naval missions on the whole, small wonder that it eventually became its own game with Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. The Battle of Chesapeake Bay is especially awesome.
With the nature of the setting's timeframe, set during the Revolutionary War, the British and American sides of the community are divided - this was largely the fault of marketing, which was rather jingoistic, than the actual game itself. Similarly, AC3 had the third biggest launch of any game in the UK (behind FIFA 13 and the inevitable Call of Duty release) - so Vocal Minority is very much in play here.
Kotaku Australia: "The marketing always suggested that ACIIIís igniting of the Revolution would be a game of interactive jingoism; its developers always said it was not. The developers were the ones being accurate."
In a less nationalistic example, some fans are annoyed that III will be abandoning the series' classic "Puppeteer" control scheme.
There's also the setting itself. No one can deny that the era is historically interesting, but it does unfortunately de-emphasize the sprawling baroque architecture present in the previous games, which are arguably a bigger part of the series's identity than stabby murder.
The ending. No spoilers, but Ubisoft did say in interviews that this would be the last game with Desmond as the main character. Thus, fans are starting to pick sides as to whether it was underwhelming or lived up to the expectations. Thankfully the controversy has yet to reach the immeasurable wrath that, say, Mass Effect 3's original endings had to endure, mostly because players expect crazy out of left field unexplained (until the sequel) endings from this series by now and it's more a question of if it ended with a bang or a whimper.
Critical Dissonance: The game did well on Metacritic (averaging scores of 84% and 86% on the 360 and PS3 versions, respectively), but series fan reactions were more mixed, ranging from So Cool It's Awesome to So Okay, It's Average. Some users, especially on IGN and Gamespot, felt that the game was bad because their hype was too high. You can see how easily this could affect Black Flag's reception.
Many seem to enjoy the Tyranny of King Washington DLC.
The game is the franchise's best selling title, outselling the Ezio games and it won awards and is popular among new fans of the series but generally dismissed or maligned by people who didn't like the Contrasting Sequel Main Character or the fact that the game was far more Darker and Edgier with a real Downer Ending for the hero, whereas Altair and Ezio had clear victories.
A more confusing level of dissonance is added with Black Flag's release, with many critics citing words along the lines of "alright, the game's not that good, but still not as bad as AC 3". See the metacritic score above.
Disappointing Last Level: While not the worst example in the medium, the Cosmic Deadline of the game's impending release date (which had to be in 2012 for plot reasons) did result in the final levels being noticeably less polished than the early ones. The transition between those levels is more abrupt than in the earlier game, and the gameplay is not as well playtested and iterated as in the early levels.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Some people argue that Haytham should have stayed the main character throughout, both because he's a fascinating character in his own right and for viewing him as more likeable than Connor.
King Washington in the DLC is a lot of fun to watch, though nobody would ever want to live in the shadow of his Pyramid.
Game Breaker: Rope darts can turn into this if you know how to use them. They can silently kill mooks that are ten feet away, hang soldiers from trees, and instantly trip any opponent (even the higher ranking ones) allowing for a quick kill. They're also cheap and attained early in the game. This is most likely why they are introduced very late in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.
A real gamebreaker is a specially modified gun you can collect in the General Store called the Duck Footed Pistol which is an ugly flintlock with three-barrels strapped side by side, that fires three shots at once, working essentially as a 18th Century sawed-off shotgun. This is deadly in short range, killing multiple enemies in a One-Hit Kill. When mixed with the crafted multiple holsters, you can carry upto four pistols and murder say eight in a single round. That final chase mission with Charles Lee on full synchronization is easy if you run and fire to incoming guards, with nothing left to stand in your way.
In the Tyranny of King Washington, Wolf Cloak lets Connor turn invisible for a short stretch, at the cost that it drains his life and prevents him from sprinting or free-running. But his life regenerates quickly in cover, and he can pull off stealth assassinations while under cloak. Gets a little more balanced when guard dogs are introduced.
Wouldn't be Assassin's Creed without some group of annoying citizens to swarm and impede you and this time, it's a group of children. Unlike the beggars and bards, you can't kill them.
Even worse is the way they laugh. It will make you hate the sound of orphans laughing.
Wolves can cross over into this territory at times. They aren't especially hard to kill, but they attack in packs of up to four, and can easily take off 3/4 of your health if they manage to pounce you.
Especially the wolves that attack you during the final Captain Kidd mission, which for unexplained reasons require much faster button reflexes than normal wolves to counter-kill. You could just shoot them, but the optional objectives for 100% synch include a ban on ranged weapons, as well a limit to how many times you can fail the counter-kill inputs. Have fun with that.
Harsher in Hindsight: The in-game representation of the Great New York Fire's aftermath feels all the more awkward given how Hurricane Sandy, right around the game's release, caused electrical fires that destroyed over eighty homes in Queens.
It would have been harsher in What Could Have Been the original idea discussed by game director Alex Hutchinson which was to have Connor be there and try and save people during the fire itself.
He's Just Hiding: Despite the end of the game, there were some who assumed that maybe Desmond wasn't really dead after his Heroic Sacrifice. The next game confirms that, yes, he is indeed dead. And Abstergo has possession of his corpse.
Consider that this game came out one week before 2012 election, some of Shaun's comments with US history and politics might be either this or Harsher in Hindsight.
One way to interpret the game's Gainax Ending is that while saving the world from disaster, Desmond chooses to unleash a larger evil upon the world in the hopes that humanity will stop their squabbling and unite against a common foe.Sound familiar?note and yes, that's the FILM. †The comparison fits much better with the Dr. Manhattan ending than the giant squid.
Connor being told that his English name's "a fine name for a Welshman" becomes hilarious when it's revealed in Black Flag that his grandfather Edward had a Welsh mother and identifies himself as Welsh.
Also, Lucy's status as a Templar mole, which many people believed since the first game, were definitively confirmed here after being spelled out in the Lost Archives DLC for Revelations that not everyone was privy to.
Moral Event Horizon: Charles Lee going from a good person to a racist who hates the native people he helped save during the French and Indian War, even threatening a child Connor with death.
Haytham's Moral Event Horizon is attacking and trying to murder his own son out of loyalty to Charles Lee who is politically incompetent and has no skills to take the cause, in other words pure Templar fanaticism. Connor kills him in Self Defense and in the White Void Room, he offers an unrepentant speech where he states that while he's proud of Connor in a Worthy Opponent sort of way, he should have killed him long ago.
In Charles Lee's eyes, Connor crossed this when he committed Patricide.
"Man o' War broadside!", followed by the deep bass rumble of a cannon volley from these giant ships, is something that strikes fear in the hearts of all but the bravest captains.
That incredibly irritating chortle the orphans make. Not helped by the fact that they only exist to get in your way, and, unlike the beggars and minstrels of earlier games, they are both immortal and do not run away when you draw a weapon.
Who can forget, "Yes Connor! We are going the right way" with Paul Revere.
Narm: The Abstergo guards use the same animation for firing modern semi-auto handguns as the Revolutionary soldiers use for flintlocks; drawing, firing, holstering, melee. By contrast, Desmond can hand out caps like he just won a lifetime supply from a hat factory.
The Paul Revere Midnight Ride levels feels this way to some, since it made the series Gump Factor ridiculous with Connor and Paul sharing the same horse, which is silly to look at, and moreover as a mission it doesn't gel with the gameplay and feels like an interactive cutscene that's there just for the Been There, Shaped History appeal, which was better handled in Assassin's Creed II. Also Paul Revere's annoying directions are a bit much to handle.
Some of Connor's alternative outfits, especially the Captain Kidd Pirate Outfit looks pretty ridiculous and over-the-top.
Player Punch: More than a few. The biggest ones are the death of Connor's mother, the death of Conner's friend Kanen, who Connor kills himself in self-defense., and the death of Haytham, despite being the Big Bad.
The Frontier is a reworked version of the Kingdom (with the Homestead serving as a replacement for the Masyaf fortress), a huge map with exits serving as "warps" to the game's various cities. Thankfully, traversing the Frontier is much less tedious thanks to the new fast travel system (below).
The fast travel system from theEziotrilogy has been reworked. You can now fast travel from anywhere on the map to any of the Mason tunnels you have unlocked, as well as warping to city entrances on the Frontier provided your next mission is there. On the other hand, fans are split as to whether the replacement for renovating sewer tunnels (instead having to go underground and search for them in a sewer version of The Maze) is a ReplacementScrappy Mechanic.
Eavesdropping is back, and has now been worked into the stalking missions. Furthermore, instead of sitting on a bench and watching a cutscene, there are now "mobile" and "static" varieties of eavesdropping missions where you need to stay within a small range of the eavesdroppers so you can hear what they're saying, thus ensuring that plot and gameplay are seamlessly integrated.
FullSynchronization has been reworked into an "Optional Objectives" system. Completing a mission gives you a certain amount of points towards synchronization and each optional objective adds smaller amounts of points. There's also an extra point bonus for accomplishing all the optional objectives in one go, which is required for full synchronization.
Also, if you fail at an objective, you just have to reload to the last checkpoint instead of the whole sequence to redo it. Unless you hit the next checkpoint.
Assasssinrecruits no longer suffer a Final Death, but are instead knocked out of commission for a decent chunk of time. Additionally, the Assassin's Guild now gets XP each time they are successfully summoned in combat in addition to simply going on missions, encouraging players to call them more often. It doesn't hurt that the first recruit you pick up, Stephane Chapheau, plays a notable role in the story and is a total Badass.
Also, each Assassin you recruit unlocks a unique skill which can come in really handy for getting full sync on some missions, getting guarded treasures, or infiltrating the Templar forts. These include luring guards away from a post, setting up an ambush, sniping them from a distance, or disguising themselves as soldiers and pretending that Connor is a prisoner.
Cutscene prompts return, albeit sparingly. Most of these are used as a form of Player Punch, such as having to mash B/Circle to desperately try to move burning logs off of your dying mother so she can escape the Doomed Hometown, to no avail, or having to press X/Square to Mercy Kill Kanen'tů:kon after he tries to kill you, and most importantly it appears that you can't fail them unless Connor's life bar pops up on screen and slowly deteriorates to signify there's a time limit such as during Connor's execution or having to kill Haytham.
Rooting for the Empire: While the modern-day, Crusade and Renaissance Templars are Jerkasses at best and Bond villains at worst, the Revolutionary era Templars make a case for their motives and intentions far better than any other time frame. This, combined with Connor being something of a divisive protagonist, results in quite a few players wishing they could have played as the Templars for once (and Haytham in particular).
"The Giant and the Storm", a mission in which the Aquila must engage and sink the Orpheus (a Man o'War) and its pair of frigate escorts in stormy waters. A respectable challenge on the face of it, certainly not insurmountable. However, full synch requires that each capital ship be destroyed by precision shots into their powder magazines, which requires blowing holes into their fore to expose the powder for the swivel guns to destroy. Unfortunately, getting precisely enough damage done to open this is wall bangingly difficult. Too little damage at once and the damage will simply accumulate rather than blowing through, too much damage and it will sink outright. That this must be done perfectly on each ship and that the extremely chaotic winds and waves can throw off targeting at the last moment means this becomes something that requires many, many attempts, and each time you fail, you have to replay the first part of the mission sinking five smaller ships before you can have another shot. There is a trick to doing it * take out their masts with chain shot, then ram them at half sail (frigates)/half sail then no sail, and coast in for the last few meters (frigates with Naval Ram installed)/full sail (Orpheus) from the front which mitigates some of the randomness, but it becomes much more difficult if the player has already purchased and installed the naval ram on the Aquila.
Thankfully, there is a simpler way to do this: One full barrage of Heat Shot can easily smash open the powder magazines on all three ships.
The last chase mission with Charles Lee is also frustrating, especially if you want full sync. The dock you chase him on is cluttered with people and rows of guards who shove you on your ass if you graze past them most likely making you fail your mission. Full synchronization requires you navigate it staying within 50 m of him, not touching anybody, and not being damaged during the second part (inside the ship). Made worse by the fact that he starts out almost 40 m ahead of you automatically making it so if you're still for more than 2 seconds, you'll probably have to repeat the mission. It gets even worse shortly after that, on the burning ship- you have to navigate throughout the decks with absolutely no directions whatsoever. Oh, and if you're after full sync, watch out, everything is on fire.
And there's no checkpoint when you enter the ship, so if you get damaged on the burning ship, you have to do it all over again. Fun.
You can just dive jump towards the guards to save time instead of evading them, but the not pushing anybody part and the clunky controls note going down the stairs on the turn to avoid the guards might make Connor think it's a ledge, making you lose half a second at best make it for a really annoying experience.
Whilst the mission itself could count for this, achieving full sync when first chasing Thomas Hickey requires you to not shove anybody out of the way. Not only are you chasing him through very narrow streets, but Thomas regularly throws coins behind him to draw a crowd straight into your path. Furthermore, due to all the twists and turns in the street, it doesn't take much for the player to lose him and have to restart.
You're supposed to cut him off, since he repeats the pattern. Also, if you're quick enough at the very start of the chase sequence, you can knock him down right after you regain control.
Achieving full sync when Connor escapes from his execution. It's very hard to kill two enemies and then get to your target in the short amount of time available. The best thing to do is run to the target but not kill him, just knock him over, and more enemies will come to you.
That One Sidequest: The Encyclopedia of the Common Man can get really annoying and tedious. To start with, it's a Luck-Based Mission where you have to record the homsteaders as they do various activities. You can't just follow them around waiting for them to do a recordable activity, because there seems to be a proximity sensor that will not let them do it while you're watching. This means you have to leave the area and come back again, hoping they're doing something useful this time. If you've finished every other sidequest and you're looking for 100% Completion, expect to reload the Homestead area a LOT. The lumberers in particular tend to wander around doing anything but working most of the time.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Some of the critics who liked the setting and character feel this, that it had the best plot of the series and richest characterization but was hankered down by poor mission design, and weak integration of different gameplay mechanics as well as several bugs which came because of its Obvious Beta new Anvil Next engine.
Critics regretted the fact that very little of Native American culture and life was actually seen, with one village representing the plight of the Mohawk during the entire frontier with very little attention to multiple tribes and subtleties, with Connor spending most of his time in Colonial Society and for some, becoming a Satellite Character to his father's Protagonist Journey To Villain, which they feel was a betrayal to his own great potential.
The same complaints came with the DLC whose first episode was well recieved for its concept but the final two episodes were regarded as being flat and while the conclusion was well recieved, people felt that it ought to have been more epic and diverse than it should have been, with very little information on Connor's post-game life.
Unfortunate Implications : While ACIII has recieved a lot of praise for portraying a Native American Player Character and highlighting their plight during the revolution, it has also been criticized for downplaying it in the game proper outside of a few missions, and making Connor subject to Designated Protagonist Syndrome at times. Some historians have also cited the idea of a Mohawk fighting for the Patriots as absurd in itself, noting that the devs could have used other tribes instead, though the game does address thisnote after the revelation about Washington prior to Monmouth, Connor only interacts with the Patriots when it suits his self-assigned mission to kill Charles Lee. Despite this, Connor seems to have been well recieved by communities in Reservation.
Vocal Minority: British people moaning about the setting - the game's UK sales figures suggest that most of the UK doesn't care.
The game's Critical Dissonance is this to some, it's high sales and early critical acclaim obscured by vociferous fans who claim the post-Ezio turn taken in this game has made the series Ruined Forever.