Published on November 8th, 2012 | by Mitch Concannon
Stealth Hath No Fury | Assassin’s Creed 3 Review
Summary: AC3 is exactly what you are looking for if you are a fan of the series. Just don't jump into it with high expectations. As good as the game is, it's not reinventing the wheel. It's still all about the story of Desmond and finding the apple with the animus.
The wait has been long and hard for this anticipated Ubisoft game. A lot of hype surrounding it since its first image released months ago. Since then we have seen a slew of gameplay trailers, images, story settings and some of the best looking CGI trailers we have ever seen. So what’s the verdict? Well I can safely say that it is an Assassins Creed game, so that alone is going to be enough to make it enjoyable, but if you were expecting more from this title you might be a little disappointed. So let me just get on with it and explain what you will love and what you will easily forget.
Assassin’s Creed 3 stands out from the rest of the series because of its setting. The game takes place mostly during the American Revolution with small parts of Europe and the Atlantic ocean. All of the areas portray a great sense of the times that the game is dealing with.
The game has you take on the roles of a few character’s, but the one person you will know well is Connor -also known as Ratonhnhaké:ton- who has been the main focus of all the images and trailers we have watched over the past few weeks. He is an Assassin of Mohawk and British descent. During the game you will be visiting areas such as Boston and New York in search of Templar Grand Master Haytham Kenway and his followers, whom you have been set out to assassinate due to the influence of power and control over your land.
The story does grab you at times, but doesn’t keep you hooked from start to finish. I found at sequence 6, when I realized I can run off in any direction and do all the side missions, I was having too much fun collecting feather’s and pelts for a while before getting back into the rest of the story. When I did return to the story, I did enjoy it from the point I left off. I should’t be more excited about collecting things half way through the game, but it is addicting.
I’d be remiss if I did not remind everyone that this game still continue’s the Desmond story. These parts only ever come in at the end of sequences. It’s cool this time round that you actually get to control Desmond in an open area field and do short missions with him that makes you more interested in the story behind him. However, his story is still all about finding the apple before the end of the world comes around. Encase you needed reminding.
AC3 takes what other Assassin’s Creed games have done before, and made them better and more awesome. The gameplay in AC is fun, but suffers from being very broken at times. There will be a lot of times in the game where you will want to throw your controller due to the fact your character didn’t react in time or he end up doing something you didn’t want him to do in the first place. However, double counter kills are a welcomed -and brutal looking- addition that always gives you a great feeling of accomplishment.
The AI in the game are no different and no smarter than previous AI. I don’t understand how in a mission when I poison dart an enemy and his friend beside him freaks out and then returns to continue doing what he was doing while his friend is dead right at his feet. I understand that it being an open world game that it is hard to manage A.I. like this, but I feel they are well needed for the franchise to prosper into something better and bigger. Perhaps in the next-gen of consoles they can address this.
When you hear the word Assassin you think stealth approach. AC is more about running up to stab a guy in the face and watch his friends freak out in fear before trying to take you down. Also the free running ability has had a major upgrade. You notice your character scales buildings a lot faster in this game. The ability to free run through tree’s is a welcomed change but find it only works best when your starting missions due to the fact the tree lines may usually not line up in the direction when you wish to go free roaming in the game.
You can’t fault AC3 in this area of the review. The game looks incredible. From the slick looking counter kill animations to the wide open area’s field areas. AC3 never fails to disappoint with its visuals. Even going right down to the effects of the sun shinning through the trees, everything in the game has a close to realistic look to it. Everything comes into effect, whether you take them from the ground or you jump to the trees to take targets down with an aerial attack. It is still going to look stunning when you land that final deathblow.
With a game this big it’s no surprise that you will have bugs in it, especially some annoying ones, but I found myself being very forgiving of this. Soldiers and NPC’s disappearing in and out of thin air is something that you will roll your eyes at every time it happens, but it doesn’t ruin the game in any form. When you understand how much is going on in the background and how hard it is to run something of this size you can understand how everything no matter all the pre-alpha testing how things can go wrong.
A big impact on the experience of AC3 is the weather system. When you find yourself running through snowy fields in stalk of your prey, it feels like the weather affects the hunt.
Whether you are walking through the vibrant city of Boston or the open lands of your homestead, the people and the environment are alive and loud. All the people’s dialog are unique. Listening to an angry wife shouting abuse at her husband for cheating makes you reconsider walking in that direction, perhaps you might take the long way around to avoid that confrontation. Or perhaps this fills your deviant person inside us and you watch the magic happen. Either way this adds great depth to the game.
The citie come to life in the game and does make you feel in a way how things were back in that time. Even down to the sounds of you running over roof tops, down to the sounds of rifles being shot; the sound design is perfect and doesn’t stagger.
The combat sounds also have been greatly upgraded. The sound of your hidden blade being forced into an enemy or the sound’s of your arrow leaving your bow for the kill never fall short of realistic. Even the counter kill systems in the game sounds brutally satisfying. It is one the parts that make the game what it is. From CGI sequences to the gameplay, the sound never fails to impress you.
Another thing that is unique in AC3 is the all new score in the game. The setting in a way is totally different to past games, so of course they would have to vamp up and change the games music. They take what they had used before and bumped it up and turn it into what you would expect to hear from that era of America.
Now we come to the final part of AC3, and I think it deserved it’s own section of the review, mainly due to the fact it’s going to be one of the main reason’s why I will hold onto my copy AC3 and will continue to invest many hours of gameplay. AC multiplayer was introduced back in Brotherhood days. While it was an interesting part of the game, but it never gained too much of a hardcore following. Revelations continued the trend by adding new elements and better game mechanics, but again failed to grab too much attention for an audience.
Now Ac3 roles around and adds in more fuel to the fire and perhaps this is what the series’ multiplayer has been looking for. The game adds in more modes, characters, and perks that will allow players to spec there ideal character. One of the new modes is a Co-op mode known as Wolf-Pack. This has you and other players running against the clock trying to find and kill your targets in sync to gain the most points. The more of you who go on in the level, the harder it becomes to find your intended targets.
Another interesting mode is domination. In this mode you work together in teams. One team is tasked with protecting an area from the enemy and the other is tasked with infiltrating and killing the team defending that area. The longer you protect your area the more points you gain. These modes are fun to play and add in more Co-op elements that won’t just have players running in solo. If you want to succeed in these modes Co-Operative play is essential.
To sum up Ac3, it is a fun open world adventure game. It’s not without its flaws and won’t be the game that fans were expecting it to be. It does go out of its way to improve on past game’s mechanics and for the most part this works well. It does push the limits of the consoles it’s running on, but perhaps when the next gen roles around, it can perhaps fix the flaws it leaves behind. If you enjoyed past games in the series you won’t be disappointed.