on January 3, 2013
I come at this from the perspective of a pretty big fan of the AC series. Following the buildup and hype surrounding the development of AC3, I was excited and preordered at the first opportunity. The encyclopedia is just what I was expecting. Lengthy, well made and full of the interesting fluff that makes the AC universe fun. The graphic novel was good as well. I'm glad I got this over the limited edition trinkets. Onto the game, the review of which I posted also on the AC3 product page:
Having recently completed the single player story, I came away with a definite sense of disappointment, for a number of reasons that I shall attempt to outline.
First though, credit to the developers for creating another living, breathing world - this time revolutionary America. One of the great joys of the AC series is being able to lose yourself in another place and time, and both Boston and New York give you the sense of watching the US develop. I particularly liked the addition of seasons and dynamic weather, which both add to the sense of immersion. The addition of the homestead and homestead missions were also a nice touch. The voice acting is movie quality. The soundtrack is good, though I wish there was more music playing throughout the game. The naval battles are more arcade-y than simulation but still good fun and a highlight of the game. I reserve judgement on the story as I imagine it works for some people and not others.
To my areas of disappointment:
Connor - Ultimately I have to say I was not a big fan of Connor. Throughout the series the fictional characters have been pretty relatable and sympathetic figures, who capture the imagination of the player. Even with his reasons, I found Connor to be dry and pretty unlikeable. Plowing through his enemies with little humor and rarely more than a sour expression, I got the sense more than anything that I was playing as an 18th century version of the T-1000 from Terminator 2. Perhaps this was intended as one of Connor's flaws, but I think in the end when you can't get behind the character you're playing it's hard to really buy into the story, whatever it is. Frankly, I preferred Haytham.
Combat - Less of an issue for newcomers to the series, as a veteran however I found the new control scheme and combat system took quite some time to get used to. There was a certain amount of muscle memory from previous games that I needed to unlearn, particularly related to free running and targeting (or not) enemies in combat. Also I found the switch away from the quasi-hit point/health potion system to be an overall negative. I liked improving armor and monitoring its state of repair. I also don't really like the trend of the series towards making the assassins unstoppable juggernauts. With competent use of the almighty Counter button, it's really pretty difficult to die in combat, and you can easily plow through a dozen or more enemies on a killing streak. Conditions rarely, if ever, call for anything more than your pistol and your preferred melee weapon. Calling in brotherhood assassins is also fairly unnecessary. You could easily get through the entire game (and I did) without using any of the special functions that become available to you by recruiting assassins.
Frontier - Perhaps this was just me, but for at least half the game I had a total misconception of the Frontier. At first I thought it was simply relatively small, finite areas surrounding the Homestead, Boston and New York. Instead I now believe it is supposed to be representative of the entire northeastern US with no interruptions. If that is so, I have a hard time reconciling the scale that is supposed to represent and Connor's ability to move through it.
Economy - In what seems to be a tradition with Assassins Creed games, there always seems to be one element that seems utterly tacked on and clumsy. In AC3 the honor goes to the economy and the entire crafting mechanic. It's like Ubisoft assigned it to their interns and didn't take another look at it until it was time to compile it into the game. The system is not even internally consistent, as for example there is a different sequence of button presses required to set up land convoys as compared to naval convoys. The whole thing is clunky, unintuitive and really has no bearing on the game proper. I imagine most people skip it after figuring out bear skins are plenty lucrative. I also much preferred the specialized shops of AC2 to the general store approach of AC3.
Bugs - With an open-world game of this size I think the presence of some bugs is to be expected and is generally forgivable. Strangely though, most of the glitches I encountered were during scripted events and missions - areas that really should have been scrutinized in testing and ironed out. On at least two occasions during major assassination events I encountered critical bugs that required restarting from the last checkpoint. That really ruins the sense of flow and left a bad taste in my mouth. I didn't get to playing until after the first major patch either.
Miscellaneous - By the nature of the setting - a nascent set of colonies with really only a few decades of development - there are none of the kind of architectural masterpieces present in renaissance Italy. Other than the opening sequence there really aren't a whole lot of "oh, wow" moments as far as that goes. Perhaps relatedly there also aren't many climbing puzzles, which I found I missed. The notoriety system is not better, and throughout the cities you may find yourself unwittingly setting off alarms without any advance warning. I also would have appreciated something that made the optional objectives a bit easier to pick up on. Often they flash in the corner of the screen in the middle of a chase or a fight and before you know it you've failed them.
In the end this is definitely a game worth playing, and overall it's fun. It's far from perfect however and does not rank as highly as some of the previous AC games. With the success of the series, here's hoping there's some better efforts in the future.
on December 1, 2012
its slightly different from the ubisoft workshop edition since it doesn't have the artworks cards that are in the envelope which was bummer cause they are both the same price and i didnt know about the ubiworkshop site,so if u want it i suggest u get the workshop edition from there instead of the encyclopedia edition from here plus there u get the stuff in a box i got this with other items and amazon just placed the stuff (encyclopedia/comic/game) in the box not wrapped not anything so it wasn't a gd thing from amazon :/,but the encyclopedia has amazing details and is really worth it and ofcourse it will never hurt to know about other assassins through an amazing high detailed comic
on June 12, 2013
Excellent value for money , not only do you get game but bonus of encyclopaedia and Assassins creed subject 4 edition too .Bought as a present for brother who is an assassin creed collector, he loved it, states games keeps you occupied for hours, fast shipping also to Scotland which was another bonus, I would recommend to any other international buyers who would like to purchase this to go ahead .