I think a lot of the problems come from requiring very specific mechanics as optional objectives. The mission where you go to Principe in Africa, for example. It’s a whole little “town” of its own, just used for that mission. The optional objectives are to free two groups of slaves, and avoid conflict for most of the mission. It’s fun! Just leave it at that! I methodically assassinated that whole island, like 70 guards. Carefully planned encounters, mixing up my approach, it was beautiful. When I got to the final area it added “double assassinate the targets” (I forget their names) as the final optional objective. Okay, that could be tricky, but I wasn’t worried. I had another 30+ guards to take out silently first, then I cleared out the whole ship, I’d killed literally everyone else in Principe except for the two main targets, and two guards standing with them.
And they just stood there. On the dock, next to the boat, not moving, not following any route, and just far enough apart that there was no perch on their empty boat (did I mention I killed everyone?) where I could take them out with a double assassination.
What the hell?
So I google up a walkthrough. Turns out these guys do one predetermined loop through the shanty town as soon as you enter the final section of the level, and then permanently stop at their ship where I found them.
Total bullshit. No indication that I was missing a single chance for that final objective by being an excellent fucking assassin.
Now I’m on Black Bart’s Gambit, final section. I’ve got to move through two camps, eliminating two guards in towers, then swing onto an enemy ship and kill the captain while swinging from a rope.
The sure fire way of getting up to that rope is a tedious, 15 minute affair of berserk darts from hiding places, slowly whittling down the island population. The faster routes of just taking out who I need to along the way and mostly stealthing it keep getting blown by inconsistent detection or the fun quirks of Edward occasionally blowing a jump, jumping when he shouldn’t, or the usual not-quite-precise-enough controls. And then every 3rd attempt or so is me getting frustrated and impatient because the game “cheated” me on the previous attempt so then I just blatantly blow it.
But the kicker is that even when I resign to just doing the tedious, thorough, methodical elimination via berserk darts—the only method that’s actually gotten me to the ship so far—all three times the rope swing kill has failed. So I’ve spent an hour on just this third part of this mission, because even if I play it safe, I get spend 15 minutes just to fail my Tarzan move and have to start again.
This is not great. It’s a big part of why I’m mad, because both of these missions would be easily fixed by just leaving the optional objectives at avoiding combat. Instead it keeps adding precise, specific demands in a game that doesn’t handle well enough for that to be a satisfying goal.