Assassin's Creed 3 Review

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[TLDR] -Link to bottom of page


Initial Response: The second I heard about a new Assassin's Creed, I was excited. I had just barely finished Assassin's Creed Revelations and, as always, the game had left me with more questions and an eagerness to get my stab on to find some answers. As more and more things were released about Assassin's Creed III, I grew more and more worried.

Worry #1: The game was being released October 31, 2012. Assassin's Creed Revelations had just been released November 29th, 2011. A year was in no way adequate enough time to allow a deep, thoughtful plot.

Worry #2: Assassin's Creed III would take place during the American Revolutionary War (that's 1775–1783 people). Our previous games had taken place much, much, much earlier. Assassin's Creed had taken place in the year 1191 with Altaïr in Syria. Assassin's Creed II, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed Revelations taking place in the 1500's in Italy (mostly) as Ezio Auditore da Firenze.

Worry #3: What would happen to history? Was it about to get drop-kicked in the face? Would it be followed delicately and faithfully?

Worry #4: Our new main character would be Connor. The son of a wealthy British man and a Native American woman. Although interesting, how successful would it feel moving from Italy to America from a charming silver-tongued Assassin to a tragic character born out of wedlock between two raging parties? How would they incorporate Connor's heritage and mingle it with the Assassin's?

Several months after the game came out, I hesitated and I hesitated. Working at a game retail store I saw my far share of ACIII copies returned weeks and even days after being purchased. Most customers reason for return? "I was bored, I couldn't get past the first sequence". Not promising. A fellow co-worker ranted at me for not giving the game a chance. The price dropped twenty bucks. I swallowed my insecurities and bought the game.


The Results: Failure. Failure everywhere.

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Mild Spoilers to follow

Starting with:

Gameplay: You start with exactly the same skills at the beginning of the game that you end with at the very end of the game. There is no new knowledge you come across, no interestingly and more deadly techniques. Different weapons from previous games include a tomahawk and a bow and arrow which, I guess, were Ubisofts half-assed attempts at making Connor's heritage more pronounced.

Chases. It felt like 9/10 times the big climatic moment was having to chase after some jackoff that appeared to tease you by slowing down just long enough to let you catch up before sprinting off on a tiresome 3-4 minute chase ending with an automatic cutoff which led to a very tiring and tedious death speech that you had seemed to already hear from the last ten guys you had just assassinated.

Wildlife was hugely boasted from Ubisoft. It can be interesting to sit in a tree observing a pack of wolves take down a deer, or laughing at two moose seemingly caught in a never ending head joust. Wild animal attacks consisted of the same "a", "x", "y", "b" button smashing to override the attack and put the creature out of its misery. First time it was startling indeed. After about six dozen of these attacks you begin to feel badly for the stupid AI Timberwolves that won’t stop attacking you.

Gameplay overall: 6/10


Graphics: They are terrible at best. Something about the entire look of this game made me feel like a group of tenth graders could have conjured up a nicer game. Everything from the way shadows fall (looking like MS paint had a strong hand in its development) to the way mouths seemed to keep on flapping when no words were being spoken. Snow was a nice touch but the movement across it looked equivalent to someone pushing a tractor. There are no individual footprints or characteristics typical of snow. It felt lazy.

The amount of glitches I had in this game were indescribable. Horses falling through the ground, guards that would not die, items that could not be picked up, guards that could see (apparently) through walls, legs that wouldn't move but instead hover (yes, hover, I was hovering with gimpy legs that dragged sadly across the ground as I moved boxes around like a bobbing ghost pirate, er assassin)... [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_bm8VzTSyg | list goes on.]

Graphics overall: 6/10


Sound/Voice Acting: Assassin's Creed hasn't really been known for epic orchestras or soundtracks, but the voice acting has always been anywhere from good to great. Even when our characters obviously spoke another language, but for our benefit, spoke in English they had an accent that was appropriate to their region. Ezio would occasionally rattle off in Italian with a few cuss words or, more often, lay his assassinated target down with a few gentle words in Italian. These little moments helped the story, not hindered it. If subtitles were on you would be given the translation, feel a little heart flutter and move on.

In Assassin's Creed III there are entire scenes (5+ minutes) where Connor speaks in Iroquois. Like, a lot.

Anyone that has watched foreign films and has had to read subtitles will tell you: it is hard to watch the action on the screen while reading the subtitles. The translations are lost with their emotion when it is hard to pinpoint what exactly they're emphasizing and what they're really not. These entire scenes were confusing and, in all honesty, annoying.

In these games even the side-characters had decent voice acting. In this game, almost half of the characters are unconvincing. It was almost like even the side characters didn't even want to be there. Glitches in audio were also common. At one point you ride along with Paul Revere (the famous 'the British are coming') and this insane babbling moron is pointing to his right while screaming "GO LEFT, GO LEFT!" Consistently.

The only real convincing character was Hathway. He is somewhat an evil genius and also Connor's father. His allegiance is often confusing and misleading, but it works. You can't decide if you want to hate him or like him. The calm, collective smooth tones of his voice acting made his character compelling, real.

Connor on the other hand is a very boring, drab, emotionless character. They appeared to try and give him a mysterious, noble air common to Native American chieftains. Often when you read quotes from these mighty leaders or see their startling stoic picture in history books, you get this feeling that this person possessed indescribable amounts of wisdom, spoke carefully and knew a lot more than you ever would. Ubisoft seemed to have attempted this with Connor, but failed miserably. There is no inflection in his voice. Nothing that makes me care, even a little, about what happens to him.

Sound Overall: 6/10


MASSIVE SPOILERS ALERT

Storyline: Assassin's Creed III begins in England--you are not Connor, but instead, Hathway. Hathway is searching for the location of an ancient tomb that holds the fate of humanity within this vault. You journey as Hathway across the Atlantic, to Boston and begin your journey asking locals about this secret location--eventually finding it--but being unable to open it. Hathway gets the hots for a Native American woman, she gets pregnant and he skips town. A bit later Connor (Ratonhnhaké:ton) is born, you dick around as child Connor for a bit, his Mama dies in a fire, Connor gets mad and blames the British invasion, Connor gets a bit older, you dick around some more, and then SUDDENLY the old lady in Connor's village offers Connor what appears to be the Apple of Eden. Which was, you know, locked in a vault in Italy by Ezio a couple hundred years ago.

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The Apple talks to Connor, tells him he is from a long line of Assassin's and that it is his job to help a "future descendant" (Desmond) save humanity.

The game continues to get more confusing as it goes on. More than half the time you have no idea how Connor happens to stumble across knowledge or why in the hell he seems to have his fingers in every single main battle and event occurring during the American Revolutionary War. I would have been absolutely fine with Connor being a participant or even an observer of this war, but instead, Connor appears to be the REASON it happened and also the reason why the Colonist were even winning. Remember the Battle of Lexington and Concord? Well, thanks to Connor the Colonist's survived and/or pushed back the British. Without Connor (your) tedious help of pressing "a" for fifteen minutes to send cannons or collective fire upon British troops, apparently, history would have been a lot different.

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Connor, for some reason, witnesses the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Almost like Ubisoft was like, "Oh, yeah, that was important right? Let's make Connor walk in at the very end of it and have Ben Franklin loudly announce exactly what it is they're signing for no real apparent reason."

The game continues to be ridiculous. At one point you're even a part of the Boston Tea Party, throwing crates of tea into the harbor like some pre-pubescent boy trying to piss off Daddy (Hathway).

Eventually more crap ensues and you are given all the elements to open the tomb, awaken this powerful force and stop the end of the world on December 21, 2012 (yes, December 21, 2012).

The ending, however, gets more confusing and infuriating.

Here Desmond is confronted by two ancient beings who (from my gathering of this confusing plot) were a race of god-like humans that at one point had kept humans as their little play things/slaves. Having destroyed themselves with their own power and greed they eventually set off a series of events that would lead to the destruction of earth. The order of Assassin's were created to keep the Apple of Eden safe and allow time for others to figure out how to fix this mess. The Templars on the other hand, had been searching for the Apple of Eden to use it and control mankind--for them, control is equal to order, and order creates peace. Assassin's believe in free will. Got all of that?

We are then told by Minerva (a spirit of these people that has been helping Desmond) that he cannot release Juno (another spirit of these people, apparently) because if he does Juno will take control and rule over them like a God. She will stop the destruction of earth, yes, but they will be controlled slaves for the rest of humanities existence. Just as they were before this ancient race destroyed themselves.

And then the other option is to not release Juno--allow the world to fall into chaos, solar flares will kill millions--but humans will rise from the ashes, civilize themselves again. You will be remembered as a hero, then a legend, and finally a God. Humans will eventually learn to love one another and then war with one another and eventually end (as Minerva predicts) with a war large enough to destroy them all.

These are the two fates that Minerva offers you. I, for one, was ready to button mash "Option B", be remembered as a God and leave the fate of humanity up to, well, humanity.

But, "Oh, no no!" Ubisoft cries while laughing. "You don't get to have a choice!

Instead Desmond automatically refuses the second option and agrees to sacrifice his own life to release Juno so that she may rule over humanity with an iron fist. This wouldn't be entirely appalling if not for this one simple fact: You have been playing as an Assassin this entire series, reinforced at every turn that humans deserve their own free will and the chance to guide their own actions. Desmond, instead, completely disregards this entire foundation of this game and simultaneously gives you a big middle finger.

This is our end. Desmond is dead, Juno is in power, and humanity is nothing more than slaves now.

Plotline Overall: 2/10


Overall Rating: 5/10.

Save your money. Don't bother with this game. It ruins the entire franchise by not giving the game the tender care it deserves.

Additional Comments:

The Multiplayer is an improvement from Revelations. It can be fun if everyone is playing the game properly, but loses its appeal the second you get a lobby full of morons that would rather sprint around (forcing everyone else to follow suit to assassinate them for points) and ruining the entire point of a "stealth game".

The naval part of this game was actually amazingly fun. Being the captain of your own ship, steering through reefs and sinking other ships proved to be the most exciting and well-thought out part of this game.




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