Assassin's Creed III Review
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
North American Release Date: October 30, 2012
European Release Date: October 31, 2012
Trophies: | 1 | 1 | 15 | 34 |
Trophy Guide: Assassin's Creed III Trophy Guide by DaveyHasselhoff
If the Assassin's Creed series has supplied us with anything over the past six years, it's been questions. With the series migrating its setting to the American Revolution for its conclusion, fans will finally find the answers they've been waiting for contained within a package bursting at the seams with content. Yet is it a package worth opening?
Assassin's Creed III is massive in scope and stature, but the game is filled to the brim with incredible amounts of content and things to do. There have been a number of additions that make Assassin's Creed III feel much more fresh than previous outings. The addition of the Frontier is easily the best thing Ubisoft has thought up, with a huge, sprawling forest open for you to hunt animals, check in at cities like Lexington and Concord, and much, much more. Other additions include captaining a ship through naval battles during side missions, which is exhilarating and graphically astonishing. With all of these new augmentations, Assassin's Creed III feels like a true sequel.
Gameplay has also been refined, with controls being streamlined and simplified to make free-running and combat feel much more smooth. The change, while it may take some time to get used to, is generally a big improvement and allows for you to nimbly climb and traverse trees out in the Frontier. Combat is still pretty similar to previous entries, as it's mainly comprised of waiting to counter and then chaining kills together. Thanks to this, the game is still incredibly easy and you'll rarely find yourself close to death, though enemy AI is generally more aggressive than they have been before. Despite this, combat can still be a thrill thanks to Connor's dual-wielding ways and exciting kill animations.
It wouldn't be Assassin's Creed without stealth, which has also seen small improvements. You can still hide within crowds and on benches, but now when walking into high grass or bushes, Connor automatically ducks down to hide within it, creating a stealth-zone. It's intuitive, but enemies are often rather stupid when it comes to stealth. There have been times where I've stayed hidden in a stealth-zone whilst a guard is literally standing right next to me. Amusing, perhaps, but it further hinders the difficulty issues when you can easily hide in a multitude of different places.
Taking down Redcoats, Scorpion style.
A lot of things still feel tacked on. You can still send assassins out on their own missions, leveling them up and then using them in combat to aid you (even though you will never need the help) and there's still some crafting and selling here. That said, the game rarely forces anything upon you, allowing you to spend as much or as little time with the little things. The in-game economy has seen a large overhaul. Whereas in previous entries it'd be easy to quickly be overwhelmed with money, it's now difficult to gain it. Missions no longer reward you with money, and you also don't see a constant cash flow from the Davenport Homestead (the equivalent to the Villa in Assassin's Creed II). Instead, the only way to make money is to sell items, such as skins and meat from your hunting expeditions.
Side missions are plentiful and offer a good amount of variety, especially when you see direct benefits from them. Completing certain side missions allows you to liberate cities, allowing you to gain more assassin recruits. Side missions that pop up on the Homestead can be completed to allow more people to set up shop in the area, which can be taken advantage of to increase revenue or get new items.
However, with so much to do here, not everything works perfectly. As previously mentioned, a lot of features feel worthless and unrefined. It seems Ubisoft focused so much on packing a ton of content into the game that they didn't have time to make everything work at high-quality.
Still, the bulk of the gameplay is impressive and treads perfectly on the line between new and familiar. When there's so much content, and when so much of it is fun to do, it's difficult to complain.
Assassin's Creed III puts you under the hood of Connor Kenway, a half Native-American, half European assassin and ancestor of Desmond Miles who lived during the American Revolution. From his childhood to his adulthood, we get to see and experience the Revolutionary War through the eyes of a man whose only intent is to see that his people are safe, and his thirst for revenge is quenched.
The game starts off agonizingly slow, with an incredible amount of buildup and character development very rarely seen in games. It's not until a good three hours in before you even take up the role of Connor, let alone the four more you'll have to spend before you can don the coveted assassin robes. The slow start may be a drag, but for those who love a good plot and enjoy character development done right, you'll grow to appreciate the time Ubisoft took to craft a good story.
Throughout the thirty years in which the game takes place, you'll find yourself traveling anywhere from New York to Boston, witnessing and taking part in key events of the revolution. The historical accuracy is wonderful, and Colonial America is a fantastic backdrop for a game that often toys with complicated themes such as freedom and order.
The recreation of colonial cities such as Boston is wicked cool, man!
Connor, while not as easily likable as the suave Ezio, is definitely a more emotional character, highlighted by his excellent development. Often naive, he is relatable while still feeling distant and hard-skinned. A lone optimist in a world in which he finds himself surrounded by realists, Connor is a great character and an even better hero.
On the flipside, Desmond, the series' constant protagonist in the present day, also gets his share of screen-time with his own missions. Seeking to open a door that will lead to the remedy of the prophesied end of the world, Desmond is thrust back into the Animus to find the key through Connor. Once in a while, as his accompanying allies Shaun, Rebecca, and William (his father) reveal power cells located around the world, imperative to their allowance of exploring the temple, you finally get the chance to fight, hide, and traverse as Desmond. While brief, these missions still hold excitement, and the time out of the Animus can be spent uncovering Desmond's tarnished relationship with his father.
The conclusion, without giving anything away, is nothing other than unsatisfying, adding even more questions rather than giving us the answers we've wanted. For a game labeled as a conclusion to the series, it's difficult not to be disappointed.
However, it's more about the journey than the destination, and Connor's plot is wonderfully woven. His story, while slow to get rolling, later becomes an incredible tale of honor, pride, freedom, and overcoming adversity.
The acclaimed multiplayer originally introduced in Brotherhood makes another return here, and while mostly similar to its other versions, Assassin's Creed III's multiplayer offers a decent amount of refinements and additions. The idea of being the hunter whilst simultaneously being hunted still keeps tensions high, and pulling off an assassination or narrowly escaping a pursuer is incredibly satisfying.
Modes range from the classic Deathmatch and Domination to the new cooperative Wolfpack, which allows 2-4 players to run around maps to kill AI targets together before time runs out. Although the overall objective of each will differ, the essence is still either hiding from or assassinating others. The new maps generally have the same overall feel as previous ones, with areas being confined, but vertical, effectively turning into a playground for the many different customizable assassins. There are sixteen different characters to choose from, all with their different aesthetics and unlocks, though customization is limited to your current level and how much XP you have. Expect to grind quite a bit if you're wanting to make your character look especially badass.
I will look for you. I will find you. And I will kill you.
To keep in line with the narrative, the multiplayer is explained as a way to train Abstergo agents to become exceptional killers through the use of the Animus. Making it so that the multiplayer fits into the plot is a strong point that makes it feel much less tacked on than it otherwise would.
Overall, despite it being practically the same as its predecessors, the multiplayer is exhilarating and thoroughly impresses. It's likely that I'll find myself throwing many hours into it, and coming back to the game months later just to assassinate some peers. What more could you ask of a multiplayer, especially when it's as unique as this?
Assassin's Creed III is aesthetically breathtaking. While perhaps not as colorful as the Italian Renaissance, Colonial America benefits from incredible weather effects and lively cities. On top of this, the game hosts great looking characters, all complimented by their wonderful animations. Cities are very well done, creating a historical atmosphere that holds true to what Boston and New York were like back nearly 250 years ago. It should also be noted that the water effects during naval battles are impressive, and quite possibly the best ever created. Assassin's Creed III puts to use a new graphics engine, and it shows. It's easily the best looking game Ubisoft has pushed out to date.
I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.
The accompanying musical score also impresses, giving texture and emotion to such a violent, story-driven game. In addition, most voice actors are great. Colonial America played host to a wide variety of cultures with varying accents, and it's great to see all characters getting their own small touches in that department.
In spite of all this, I have many major gripes within the technical department. Unlike its predecessors, Assassin's Creed III is unfortunately riddled with bugs. There's a lot of texture pop in, with some enemies not even showing up until you're standing next to them. Assassination targets can get clipped into moving carts and objects, halting progression and forcing a restart. The worst of all is the constant freezes in dialogue during cutscenes. Lips will keep moving, but no sound will come out until someone else speaks up. However, this results in the first dialogue track starting up again over the second. Perhaps if this happened once or twice, it would be forgivable, but when the bug triggers between one and five times every cutscene, it is incredibly annoying and breaks the otherwise flawless sense of immersion.
A near mimic of previous titles, the trophy list can be viewed as rather boring, save for a few fun ones such as having to perform a double assassination with a musket. Otherwise you get your average story-related, side mission, and collectibles trophies that won't do much to please trophy hunters, but will give the extra incentive for people to experience all there is to this massive game.
Assassin's Creed III is the definitive Assassin's Creed experience. The gameplay is as tight as it's ever been, the story and setting are wonderful, emotional, and easily come to life, and there's much fun to be had in playing the multiplayer and admiring the game's beauty. If you can get past the small nuances, you'll find that Assassin's Creed III is a game easily enjoyed, and one that is rich in content.
The combat, stealth, and traversal have all been refined, with numerous worthwhile additions added to the mix in order to enrich the experience. A few things still feel tacked on, but because the game never forces you to take part in them, there's nothing to complain about.
Connor's story is well-developed and emotional, touching on numerous themes that tie in beautifully to the outstanding setting. Desmond feels like a much more important character, despite the ending being as unsatisfying as it is.
Unique and fun, the multiplayer is a joy in spite of the fact that it's nearly identical to its predecessors.
The game looks beautiful, and the accompanying soundtrack is masterfully done. Voice acting is also top notch, but the sheer amount of technical bugs and glitches hinders the game in this department.
Overall: 9/10 Brilliant