Review by Al0ne72
"Would have been the best game ever... had they finished making it"
For credibility purposes, I have fully completed this game 4 times now, with 100% completion on one of the files. While this game was an incredible disappointment, I cannot say it was a bad game. For anyone to rate this low, they must never have played a bad game before. I rate based on the scaling of goods and bads, with no comparisons to other games. Since it is a sequel, I will touch up on the differences, but it has no affect on the ratings.
In Assassin's Creed III you play as a Native American Indian named Ratonhnhake:ton, who is later given an American name, Connor. The setting of the game is Northeastern America in the late 1700's. Connor seeks peace and freedom for everyone, but his main priority is to protect his own people. There is a war going on between the Red Coats and the Colonists, with Connor leaning towards the side of the Colonists, because the Red Coats have been influenced by the Templars; the enemy to the Assassin brotherhood.
Which brings me to my first good aspect of this game. Historical Accuracy. Most games need to place their setting in a remote environment, as to manipulate it however they wish, with no limits (another planet, future time period, parallel universe, etc) but with Assassin's Creed III along with the rest of the games in its series, Ubisoft does an outstanding job at maintaining historical accuracy. The order of events, famous quotes, important people, memorable battles, history-book events, this game will take you as close as you will ever come to reliving New England in the 1770's. What Ubisoft tends to do, they take history, and throw in their fictional twists for the sake of entertainment. They executed this very well in Assassin's Creed III, as their fictional twist, was merely an "addition" to history that did not interfere with historical accuracy. They did so in a way that it's possible to assume that there might have been Assassins amongst the Revolutionary War that played a role in what eventually became history. A conspiracy of course, but I'm merely speculating on how well this game accomplishes the element of realism, which leads me to my next feature.
Controls & Gameplay. If you are familiar with older Assassin's Creed games, then it will take some time to get used to the controls, as they have drastically changed. As a solo game itself, the controls are comfortable, but tricky to master. You will be called upon to react different ways for every situation, and it can get messy if you do not perform correctly. Basic controls for Assassin's Creed games, have two settings, low profile, and high profile. Holding down your top right button (R1 for PS3) enables High Profile, which unlocks new commands, such as turning walking into running, assassination into running attack, enables parrying, climbing, etc. As for one who's familiar with Assassin's Creed's traditional controls, I feel there has been a significant improvement. They switched Gentle Push with Pickpocket, so now you can Fast Walk easily through crowds without accidentally stealing from people. Pickpocketing is now the same as looting, and can be done while walking behind targets, and can be done more than once for additional items or money. Your top button (Triangle in PS3) is still your ranged weapon, and you can counter with it now. Combo attacks were introduced in AC: Brotherhood and remain here, but now with more likelihood of multiple kills due to Connor being a Dual-wielding specialist. There have been a lot of new features added to the combat system, as well as the movement system. You can now climb, hop, and swing from trees now. My favorite new feature to character movement, is the interpretation of surroundings. In previous Assassin's Creed games, it was difficult to maneuver through crowds, you would have to alternate from sprinting, to jogging while shoving, but in this game, Connor automatically adjusts to everything around him, slipping past people instead of falling to the ground - quite convenient. In high profile, Connor automatically sprints, there's no Sprint button, it's replaced with a Jump button. When approaching a fence or table, if you time your Jump correctly, Connor will leap over it, instead of climbing over it, just an example of how they've improved the controls for the game.
The Currency system. Without comparison to previous games, it's excellent, very realistic, and connects to the rest of your gameplay in many different ways. Aside from completing missions, money is no longer earned gradually by renovating places. Instead, you need to load up and send Convoys to trade money for your items. These items can be items that you obtained from looting, hunting, crafting, or bought. Through side missions, you can unlock more means of acquiring better items. Just like in Assassin's Creed 2, you reside at a mansion, this time it's buried in the woods. Throughout the story, you can invite special characters to live among your land, and eventually create a community in which everybody contributes. This unlocks the ability to craft items from materials and loot, and other crafted items. Some of these items can be weapons, pouches, more convoys, small upgrades here and there, ammunition, or just items to sell at high prices. Treasure Chests are still around, not as many, but they contain a lot, and half of them even require Lock-picking, which is a small and neat feature that's been added.
Naval Battles. Being a frequent traveler on the east coast, around the beginning of Connor's journey, he aids a friend in rebuilding a ship called the "Aquila" and eventually hires a crew to take to the seas. A great majority of these Naval missions are optional, but a grave mistake to avoid, as they are unbelievably thrilling. As the captain of the vessel, you can alternate between Full Sail, Half Sail, or Stop, with varying weather conditions that affect the way you sail, and random wind speed and directions. You can command your crew to fire Canons from either side of the ship, along with Swivel guns as a less powerful, but more accurate shot. You can upgrade your ship, reinforcing the hull for protection, piercing shot for your Swivel gun, replace your rudder for better mobility, and upgrade your Canons to fire different types of shots... load your canons with a bunch of small pellets to effectively take out the crew and vaporize smaller ships at close range with the Grape Shot upgrade, or tear apart your enemy ship's mast with Chain Shot and render them immobile, or buy the Heat Shot upgrade to shoot Fiery cannonballs to do major damage against larger ships. There's lots of naval missions, it could even become its own game, and it's only flaw is that it does not last forever!
Introduction to Checkpoints. When I played a game called Borderlands 2, I liked how you could stop what you were doing at any time, and come back to that exact spot whenever you wanted, while having that convenience everywhere else. I was so glad to see this in Assassin's Creed 3, checkpoints did exist in previous games, but you could not manually reload them, you would have to commit suicide or desynchronize or something. The best part about reloading a checkpoint in this game, your objectives aren't reset, and your Full Synchronization (optional objectives) also reset, no longer do you permanently fail and have to restart the entire memory/mission. To skip cutscenes/cinematics, simply hold down a certain button, no more going to the menu and then waiting for a loading screen that took longer than the cutscene itself.
There are no more potions or medicine, the health system now regenerates health when you are out of combat. The speed of regeneration, and delay for when it begins to, is determined by activity. If you are fighting, it will not regenerate, if you are in pursuit and not fighting, it will slowly regenerate after a time, if you are out of combat, the regeneration is quicker.
As you might already know, you are controlling an average guy named Desmond Miles, and reliving the lives of his ancestors through a device called an Animus. On occasion, you'll be called upon to play as Desmond, for whatever reasons. In Assassin's Creed 3, the time you spend playing as Desmond is far from boring like it was in other games. There's a whole lot more fighting and action, now that he feels like an Assassin himself. You'll enjoy a break from the 1700's and into the 21st century when you see how well they simulated the modern world.
The notoriety system is different, I feel it's better than previous games. Before, you would reek as much havoc as possible, then all of a sudden you became Notorious, but in this game, you have different levels of awareness. The first level, guards will spot you with a yellow arrow, no investigation, just curiosity. Then it escalates to level two, where guards investigate on sight, as if you were in a restricted area. Then the third and final level would be to attack on sight, no investigation. There's still the same three means of reducing Notoriety, bribing heralds, ripping down posters, but instead of killing officials you can go to a printing workshop where the posters came from, and bribe the printer there.
Glitches. They are hard to miss, and some of them will require you to restart your game, or at least reload checkpoints. Regardless of the detail in graphics, objects do not make contact with other objects, they simply go through them (there isn't a single cinematic where this doesn't happen). Sometimes, character models magically appear near you, sometimes they're invisible, and sometimes they briefly hop over invisible objects. Sounds don't sync well either, with sound effects or dialog. I could go on for hours but there's too many glitches in this game to even be considered an official game. In my books, this would be considered an "Incomplete Program" but now that consoles are connected to the internet, patching has become a thing and companies are becoming more lazy in their responsibilities to actually finish games before they're released.
Assassin Recruits, another feature added in AC: Brotherhood that was also included in this game. Unfortunately, they are not nearly as effective as they were in any previous games. In AC: Brotherhood, they were highly trained assassins that you would call upon to aid you in battle, or eliminate targets for you. In Revelations, they were even more deadly, with many new features to the system... However, in Assassin's Creed 3, they are just average citizens that you help out, and that's how they remain. Each recruit has their own unique story, none of them are 'generic' characters, nothing randomized, they are individuals that each do something special. The Assassin Recruit system still allows you to send your recruits on missions to gain experience, with XP distribution instead of splitting, however I did not see a point in leveling up Assassins, other than to increase their health. They have introduced a new feature, where your assassins now have different abilities, when before it was either "call them" or "Arrow Storm" they have done away with Arrow Storm but the more recruits you find (there's 6 in total) the more abilities you can unlock. For example, when you meet the Marksman, you can command a target to get sniped. You can now walk with your recruits and they can start riots, protect you, disguise themselves as soldiers and pretend to take you prisoner, distract guards, or simply fight. It's all very convenient, but again, they are not "assassins" they are just citizens with weapons, they never die, but they do fall easily, and it takes time for them to revive.
There are Optional Objectives in this game, as there were in previous ones. These optional objectives are known as Full Synchronization, for the purpose of reliving your ancestor's memories exactly the way they lived them. In previous games, there were a few missions in particular that were quite annoying to gain full synchronization, while at times they seemed to be unreasonable, most of the time they made sense. However, in Assassin's Creed 3, more times than not, the game will ask you to do things that are very illogical, like ramming boats or shooting their rarely exposed weak spots (gun powder barrels) instead of bringing them down with Canon fire. This wasn't the case for a few particular missions like it was in other games, the "Full Sync" requirements throughout the game were poorly created, asking you to do things that were unnecessary, and that Connor would not have done in his life, as to contradict the meaning behind "Synchronizing". The only upside to the Optional Objective system in this game, is that there are more rewards.
This isn't too bad, but I wish they had maintained the element of stealth. Assassinations are uncommon in this game, and usually follow up with open combat. Previous Assassin's Creed games were all about stealth, remaining undetected, silently eliminating guards, this still exists, but not nearly as much. Majority of all combat in this game is spent surrounded by guards, or running from hundreds.To escape a pursuit, it gets rather repetitive. It doesn't matter how many line-of-sights you break, unless you sprint a mile you will not escape guards via time, and 1 guard will always investigate your hiding spot. I do like how they run passed you when you hide, instead of just stopping like they did in other games, but after every pursuit I found myself saying "come on, where's the straggler? There he is, come here, aaaand die. Okay moving on." It got boring after the first thousand times, I would have liked to have seen a bigger variety in escape methods.
Some other things that I did not like, that existed in previous games as well... It's still punishable by death to be on a rooftop, guards still have an infinite amount of rocks to throw at you when you are trying to climb away, regardless of being in a street or field, and instead of beggars, there's children that like to run in front of you. You are still the only person not allowed in Restricted Areas, even if the restricted area is packed with citizens walking around.
Even with all of the glitches and flaws, it's still impossible to call this game a failure, considering what it brings to gaming. You are playing a major sandbox game with the most amount of character mobility of out any game in existence, adventuring through realistic environments, and reliving history from the eyes of a very skilled assassin. Ratings should not be determined by how excited you were, how high your hopes were, or how different it is to other games. If I were to compare this to other Assassin's Creed games, I might give it a 7 because of all the bads I mentioned, but as an individual game as whole, it's certainly an incredible video game.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/06/13
Game Release: Assassin's Creed III (US, 10/30/12)
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