* Prices may differ from that shown
Assassin's Creed III is really the 5th game in what has become Ubisoft's flagship game series. The first Assassin's Creed game took place during the Crusades, where you played as the ancestor of Desmond Miles, Altair. It was a game full of original concepts, but also a very empty world that left the player to repeat the same dull tasks time and time again. The second installment, Assassin's Creed II showed great improvement over this, creating a much more colorful world with a much more dynamic protagonist, Ezio Auditore, who became a huge hit among fans of the series. Overall, Assassin's Creed II was miles ahead of the previous title, but still showed room for improvement. Unfortunately, Ubisoft then decided it would prefer to drag out the time of Ezio, pushing his story into two more games- Assassin's Creed Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed Revelations. While both were fantastic games in their own right, they showed little to no leaps forward, and served as transitions more so then progressions, almost like two rehashed versions of "Assassin's Creed 2.5".
With the next installment in the series then, Ubisoft stated there would be an entirely new protagonist and setting/time period, there would be high expectations for big improvements over previous games in the series. So does Assassin's Creed III earn it's title by leapfrogging the games forward in the same way that ACII did? The short answer is yes.
On paper, it's clear that Assassin's Creed III is the best game in the series. The developer has created an entirely new setting, brought in entirely new characters (while still retaining the modern day storyline of Desmond Miles from previous games), given the player so much more to do than ever before, and shoving it all together into a beautifully crafted, eye-pleasing world that pushes the graphic capabilities of the Xbox 360 to their limits.
I'm a firm believer that graphics should not be something that makes or breaks a game. However, with some games, such as Assassin's Creed III, when they are done so well, it becomes impossible to ignore them. The ports of Boston and the colonial America frontier may not be as colorful and bright as the streets of Florence and Venice were, but they are stunning nonetheless. This is all because of the new game engine which makes the world around you flourish so much more than it ever has before. As odd as it may seem, animals are a major part of this. When I first heard the news about there being animals in this game, and that hunting in the frontier would be important for multiple aspects of the game, I didn't think much of it. I thought it would be a feature that was always there, but nobody really used, much like the tower defense system thrown into Assassin's Creed Revelations. This is not the case however, mostly because of the sheer amount of time you'll be spending in the frontier, so whether you like it or not, and whether you choose to hunt or not, the elk, wolves, bears, and hares will all still be there. And in the strangest way, it makes the game much more filling. There's just more there.
The storyline is another major part of the Assassin's Creed series, and it has not been abandoned in the slightest for ACIII. In fact, at parts it can feel like you spend more time watching cutscenes unfold then actually playing the game. For some, this could be a major turn off. If you've been playing through each of the AC game so far though, you're probably pretty engaged and will want to see what's happening, whether it's through the present Desmond Miles attempting to save the world, or the new protagonist Connor. Connor is the perfect character for the setting of colonial America sparking the revolution. He has interests in both sides, he is open minded and does not stubbornly follow one side blindly, even when the general George Washington wants him to.
There have also been some major gameplay redesigns in Assassin's Creed III, the major thing that lacked in Brotherhood and Revelations. The combat system is new, and will take some getting used to. Not as many buttons are used as in previous games, so in a way it is more simple, with controls limited mainly to the "B" and "X" buttons. However, you can't just mash them like you did in previous games. Every combat situation is a bit different, and enemies are harder to defeat than they ever were, with different enemies having very different tactics. With some enemies you will have to disarm them before you can attack, with some you will have to use your hidden blades instead of your tomahawk, and with others you can only kill them by using a countering move after they try and attack you. Until you get used to it, it will be far more challenging and you will die more often. This is a good thing to see, as previous Assassin's Creed games, as good as they were, never really provided a challenge. Don't get me wrong, this is still a relatively easy game, and it is pretty unlikely there is any spot where you will die more than one or two times before finding a strategy to move on. However, it also isn't like Assassin's Creed II where I don't recall ever having to go through a mission more than once, it was just that easy.
One of the biggest problems that has plagued the Assassin's Creed series since its inception has been the post-story gameplay. In every single game, after you have beaten the single player storyline, the game consistently has sucked. Although in more recent installments they have tried, it always seems sloppily thrown together. I am here to say in Assassin's Creed III... colonial America is not all that interesting of a place to be after you complete all of the main quests, but it is still more interesting than post-victory Italy and Constantinople (Assassin's Creed II, Brotherhood, and Revelations.) After you beat the game, there are still some quests to complete on the Davenport Homestead, but unfortunately they suffer the same problems as previous post-game missions- they are not boring. What made the main missions of ACIII so great was that you get into the storyline- you WANT to hunt down and kill the Templars after what they have done. Then after you've finally killed them all off, you are left doing quests like breaking up drunk tavern fistfights. They just have not gotten the drop in scale right yet. I would not have a problem breaking up a fistfight if it meant something important, but it isn't. I've just got from influencing the history of the American Revolution, and now I'm trying to convince a farmer to come grow corn and wheat on my homestead village? That's something so meaningless I would be bored under any game circumstances. Coming from a victory at Bunker Hill though, it's so boring it almost hurts. Now fortunately there are one or two interesting side quests, which is the saving grace and what ultimately keeps this game as something that shows improvement. They just need to make these interesting side quests a little more consistent and Ubisoft would truly have a masterpiece of a game on their hands.
Ubisoft is so close to making gaming history with the Assassin's Creed series. With slight improvements in a couple of areas, they would have created one of the best games ever made. Unfortunately though, it looks like that history making will have to wait until the next generation of consoles. Perhaps it really is just the old hardware of the 360 and PS3 that's holding everything back, or maybe it's just lazy development towards the end of production. Regardless, it would be ridiculous to ignore the fact that the game we do have, Assassin's Creed III, rather than the one we dream about, is still a great achievement and highlight for the series. Colonial America is an engaging, beautiful, and interesting world with more to do than ever before, and right now the only thing we as gamers can do is appreciate what we've got... and that's not much to complain about.
The latest addition to Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed franchise, delve further into Desmond's fight against the mysterious Templar as you control new Assassins, explore new areas and meet some familiar people.
A lot of hype has been built up for this game but can it achieve it's expectations?
Short answer, no.
This game is full of surprises whether they be good or bad; the biggest surprise is possibly the range of new characters you get to play including Connor (who is the game's main protagonist) as he skins animals, chases around pieces of paper and pets animals like the ultimate assassin he is.
Seriously, it's like this guy wants to do anything but kill people; a lot of the game is either made up of cutscenes or endlessly walking around with allies planning about how you're going to "defeat the Templars" then sets you an objective along the lines of 'Retrieve some wood to fix the house'. It's like you spend all day about how you're going to cook the best meal ever only to order a take-out instead; i made up that metaphor because it's what I do all of the time...
"MORE CUTSCENES" shouted Ubisoft's Lead Designer as he drinks his budget bottle of whiskey. One of my pet peeves about this game is the fact that the game can spend up to a few minutes loading a cutscene only to have the player walk a few inches after it finishes which starts another cutscene; WHY NOT JUST HAVE IT AS ONE BIG CUTSCENE!?
Also, whatever character you play as must have some sort of climbing addiction because they just love to bugger up your escapes by wanting to climb anything that looks climbable. For instance, i was running away from some guards and I came over to a bale of hay, instead of jumping into the hay, Connor decided he'd love to jump around it and on to a fence thus causing me to get into a fight with the guards WHICH I COULD OF AVOIDED IF CONNOR DID THE STUFF I WANTED HIM TO.
The fight sequences have also been seriously watered down, all you need to do is mash X and B (Xbox), that's it.
Maybe i'm being a little harsh... but maybe I wouldn't be if this game wasn't so annoyingly hard to play, not hard in terms of difficulty but the way that everything is a problem.
However I have to give credit to some parts of the game where things are actually alright, such as the in-game animation, it makes fight scenes and assassinations (when you get around to actually doing one) look so great and it just makes you want to pull off the craziest moves! Also, the environments look so great because of the shaders the game uses and i'm not forgetting about the character models, they are designed pretty well too!
Also, if you do want to take a break from the town's bustling streets, you can take up a spot of hunting or ride the seas in a ship and fight with other ships!
I admit the story is rather compelling, though it can trail off-topic sometimes. For example, you've grown from a simple tribe-boy into a full-grown man and fully-fledged assassin, now you need to help build a ship and a restore a house; so yeah, it can be a little crazy sometimes.
Even though there's no cut-scene to help you "catch-up" from Assassin's Creed II, you don't really need to as you only need to know that there are modern-day Templars, you are holding a sacred artifact and that the professor who held you hostage is your dad.
The story is left to a slight disappointment due to the repetitiveness of the gameplay and the total off-topic missions that it leads to.
Overall, this game ticked me off so much. It was a huge disappointment for me.
(Text taken from my review on Squidoo)