Review by taw2000

"Assassins Creed 3 - good by itself, not so great with the series"

I've spent the past month playing through every major Assassins Creed game to date, and I have to say that my overall experience has been great. AC 1 was a fantastic branch into the series, it had unique control scheme, and breathtaking locations, I couldn't have imagined a better game if I try. Brotherhood and Revelations were great extensions to the continuing storyline, they added some nice features, and added a new aspect of challenges to the Ezio trilogy. Training your onw assassins made for a new aspect that was overall a great continuation of the series. I'll be reviewing both the game as a series, and as a game by itself, that is why my opinions of the previous games is displayed, so you know my opinions of the former games as compared to this one

Assassins Creed 3 as a continuation of the series is in all honesty a disappointment. Gamers had just got done playing as Altair, the crusader era assassin, who blindly followed his orders until he realized the true purpose behind his assassinations,, and ended up becoming the grand master of his order. Then we had the honor of playing as Ezio Auditore de Firenze, the rennaisiance assassin who had a loveable personality, an awesome backstory, amazing fighting skills, and charisma to spare. These were amazing characters to have played, and I was honestly sad at the end of Revelations, knowing that Ezio's story was over and done with, it honestly made me a little sad, but happy knowing that I was able to play three whole games with him. Then we come to AC3, where we start out playing as Haytham Kenway, the stalwart colonial British assassin, while lacking personality, makes up for this with fluid combat, and an overall sense of bad-a ness,. Then we get stuck with Connor, the little Native American boy with the personality roughly equivalent to a barn owl, and a tragic backstory that is as generic as wal-mart brand toilet paper.While the tree jumping mechanic, fighting mechanics, and graphics are breath taking, playing as Connor you never feel like you're playing as a true assassin. The story from then on is enjoyable, if not a little stagnant, NPCs develop more personality than Connor doesn, and near the end you reallly find yourself wanting to play as Ezio or Altair with the controls that we had grown accustomed to., This is why as a series, this game is a black mark on an otherwise pearly bright series,. It was enjoyable, but desynchronized in the overall of the Assassins Creed series, and thats why I gave it a 6/10 overall in comparison to the series.

Now as a standalone game, it was actually quite good. I will review Gameplay, Graphics, Sound, and Plot of Assassins Creed 3.

Graphics 10/10
What can I say, this game looks beautiful. The wilds of colonial America look absolutely stunning, more often than not I found myself looking out over the horizon and marveling over the stunning display that Ubisoft provided us. It was such a stark contrast to the other games in the series, and honestly I loved trekking through the massive woods, hopping from tree to tree, taking in the atmospehere, and really getting lost in the stunning display before me. I can't overstate how impressed I was with this game, and am so glad I have a computer where I could max out everything, and enjoy it from beginning to end.

Sound 8/0
The music and sound effects were pleasant, and there were the familiar sounds such as the Leap of Faith eagle cry, and swords clashing. It was nice, and constantly reminded me that I was indeed actually playing an Assassins Creed game, but in the end the music was forgettable, and not anything special. Although those quiet moments in the forest, and the selective silence definitely helped with the atmosphere.

Gameplay 6/10
Here we go, the meat and potatoes of the game, the gameplay. What else does a gamer desire than a fluid gameplay mechanic that you can learn one minute, and be comfortable with the next? I'll answer that question for myself, nothing. A game can have 16 bit graphics, and crummy 80's techno music for all I care, as long as the game is fun to play, and I can lose myself in the gameplay, I'm a happy camper. Thats where I was sorely disappointed in the core gameplay mechanics of AC 3. I had just spent 4 games learning a certain style of gameplay, oh sure there were minor tweaks in between games, but they contributed to an ever changing Animus software, which is understandable and even contributes to the overall feel of the series. But from minute one of AC3 I felt uncomfortable with the control scheme. For example: I was playing on a pc with an xbox 360 controller, and generally I played with the pre-mapped buttons, that means that the high profile button (right trigger) would make you run normally, and combining that with the free run button (a) would allow you to free run. In AC3 they eliminated this and made the run/free run button the same button, that means that you can no longer differentiate between wanting to run normally, and wanting to run up buildings and leap over bodies of water. I can't tell you how many times I just wanted to run down the street, and wasn't able to because Connor decided that the building with the red brick looked more inviing and decided to run up it, or jump somewhereI didn't want him to jump, or completely went the wrong way into the welcome arms of the redcoats.This was nearly gamebreaking for me. The subtraction of a complete mapping of actions at the topright corner was sorely missed as well, I was so used to seeing the word assassinate next to that letter x, that it was a difficult transition to only seeing your weapon being highlighted to indicate that assassinations were possible. Now on the positive, being able to walk and backstab at the same time was very welcome in my opinion, and the hunting and skinning dynamic definitely made it feel like I was in colonial America. There was some good and some bad, but overall I found myself missing the control scheme of Revelations. As a side note not contributing to the overall of the score, but the full sync challenges were often unfair and undoable. I remember early on you had to invade a fort to get a map. Simple enough on its own, but the sync challenges were straight up frustrating, and often they did not make sense in the overall of the story segment. Why would it matter if Haytham tinkered with the cannons or not? I never got fired at by cannons, and never saw the benefit of doing such. Now I'm usually up to a good challenge in a video game, but I felt that the sync challenges were a bit much, especially when it tallies up your score and essentially tells you that you failed. Overall my feels were hurt.

Story 7/10
I really wanted to like and hate the story at the same time, it was a very conflicting feeling. I felt obligated to like it because it was adding to desmonds story and further explained exactly what was going on, and surprisingly it did surprise me once or twice, like that doozy at the end of sequence 3, honestly caught me off guard. There were a couple of moments like that, but in the end that was the only redeemable quality of the story, the shock value. I mean come on, the characters were forgettable and stoic, and Connor himself had no conflict as a protagonist, and seemed to accept things a little too easily. The best part was the beginning while playing as Haytham, he had that cool mystery that made him exciting. The story, as stated before, was boring. Half the time it didn't feel like an Assassins Creed game at all, it felt like a game of the same genre and style, but not AC itself. Maybe I will feel differently in a few years when I've forgotten the bulk of the story and come back to AC3. But seeing as how many who play the AC games are devout fans, this game is an unavoidable speed bump in the smooth road of the Assassins Creed Universe.

Overall score: 8/0

As a series score: 6/10

Final Remarks: Play it, unfortunately we all know that you can't play the other four games in a series, and many of the spin-off series, and not finish it off. It's like going to the cheesecake factory, and not having a slice of cheesecake after your meal, sure it's stale, tasteless, and looks sort of green, but you will eat that cheesecake because you are at the cheesecake factory gosh darnit! Hopefully the DLC with salvage AC3 and make it a tad bit more playable, and fix some of the bugs that I didn't bother mentioning. This game will not tarnish my overall opinion of the masterpiece that is Assassins Creed series, and I look forward to see what Ubisoft may hold in the future for us, much like Da Vinci's reaction to seeing a new codex page, "How exciting", is what I think of the future prospects!

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 01/28/13

Game Release: Assassin's Creed III (US, 11/20/12)

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