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My Assassin's Creed III Review
on November 16, 2012
Assassin's Creed III may be the third main title in the Assassin's Creed series, but it is the fifth over all, that of course is not including any of the handheld games. Ubisoft has done a good job of stripping away some of the unnecessary fat that was starting to thicken up the series in game play and mechanics, but also leave the game with some new stuff to try and make Assassin's Creed III a little different than what we have been playing the last few years. The downside of this comes with much more bugs and glitches in the game as a whole, more than any of the other games in the series have had altogether. Ubisoft said a small team was developing this title ever sense they finished up the second game while other teams worked on Brotherhood and Revelations and once those were done they all came together to finish three. I can not believe that at all with some of the problems this game has.
Assassin's Creed III, just like all the other games takes the story to a time in our history that no other games ever tread upon and it does a remarkable job of making it fun to play in and tells a relatively well crafted story. The ambition that Ubisoft puts forth in overcoming the challenges for game play and mechanics in this series is defiantly impressive to say the least. This time around the game takes players to the American Revolutionary War as you see some of America's earliest and most historical events through the eyes of the once again upstart assassin's guild.
The modern day world is the backdrop to the series, although everything that Desmond is learning within the animus from his ancestors is to save the world. A lot of the end game of the past Assassin's Creed games have done nothing but add more questions to the story as a whole in the modern day in the series. Finally after all this time there was a lot of closer to Desmond and the fight between the modern day assassins and Templars. In addition the whole saving the world aspect that was sprinkled in during modern day missions after the second game has also been tied up. All of this however feels like it was quickly slapped together and shoehorned into the game. Maybe it is because answers to long lasting mysteries, like those that this series creates are never as satisfying as one likes to hope.
The modern day story with Desmond still takes a backseat in Assassin's Creed III much like it was with all the others, however there is much more done with Desmond this time around more than any of the other games. Revelations tried bring more out of Desmond's story, but failed miserable with horrible first-person platform puzzle levels. In Assassin's Creed III, Desmond has full on missions he must complete, albeit the reasoning is limited, but the fact that you get to take control of Desmond on missions that almost rival those of the regular missions we have come to love from all the games. It is about time you really get the feeling that Desmond is a true assassin. As he hides in crowds, climbs buildings and fights his way out of trouble with guards.
Assassin's Creed III serves up some daddy issues between Desmond and his father, which at the start is quite annoying, but mixing that with everything going on for Desmond it starts to get its hooks into you as they learn to band together while facing their differences. It also makes there feel like more of a connection between Desmond and the real star of this game, Connor Kenway. He was born of an English man and a Native American woman. He and his tribe live in the Northeast of America during the Revolutionary War. Connor has been caught in the middle of a lot in his years as a young adult, between the assassins and Templars and that of his native people and the European colonists. Connor is quickly thrown in after his first taste of knowledge of the apple and he never looks back as he learns to become an assassin. His unwavering honor for justice and for protecting his people is what makes him such a great character has he has the Revolutionary War pushed upon him.
American history always glorified the founding fathers of our nation, but of course the Revolutionary War was like that of any war, which was full of compromises to bad situations at best. Assassin's Creed III lays some of that out for us, which humanizes some of the icons that we as Americans have looked up to our entire lives. It is an interesting way to look at how the war went at the same time really draws you into the game. Historical moments have always been a huge part of the Assassin's Creed games, but in Assassin's Creed III Connor's story is neatly tied into the actual war itself in ways that the series has rarely approached. Not only are you witnessing historical events like The Boston Tea Party, but Connor actually takes action in all of them. It works well for the most part, but then there are other times such as Connor riding the horse that Paul Revere rode to warn people that the British were coming, situations like that felt shoehorned in, as if Paul Revere was too incompetent to do it on his own. It would have been better to follow along behind him and have to take out any redcoats along the way.
The geography of Assassin's Creed III is very important to mention here. The series spent the majority of its time in eras and places with large buildings, but Assassin's Creed III look a large step back and that weighed on a lot of peoples mind leading up to the games release. Many people were unsure if climbing and rooftop running would be as fun in cities like Boston and New York in the mid 1700's with so many low standing buildings and they had the same fear about the tree top running in the open wilderness between cities. It has been a long time since the very first game, but there were some areas in that game that had no tall buildings and in the open areas of the first game between cities hardly had anything at all to climb and that worked out just fine. So it is no real surprise that free running through the towns in Assassin's Creed III works great and is still a lot of fun. Also the treetop running in the wild is a blast too. Going from tree branch to tree branch is very fluid and works without any hassle. It would have been nice to be able to use more trees in the cities as well while free running.
Over the past few games Ubisoft has added a lot of things to do on the side, some might say to the point of over stuffing the player with content, much like some of the issues with Revelations. However in Assassin's Creed III Ubisoft has take out some of the extra and streamline other content. There is still plenty to do on the side in the third game, although some of it doesn't feel as fulfilling. There are some liberation missions that you can start up and when you get into these situations they are usually very easy and quick to get through making them feel almost nonexistent. The game does offer some side missions you can do to buildup the homestead, which is the land Connor lives on. Doing these missions will have these people come stay on your land and you can use their goods for things you need or to be able to make things. It is a different approach to the whole banking thing and building up workshops in the last couple of Assassin's Creed games. It works well and makes the homestead feel cozy when running around hunting animals and being able to stop and talk to these people for more than just to get something out of them. Most of the disconnect from the side missions is brought on by the newer version of fast travel system. A lot of areas you can simply jump from where ever you are to the edge of the city and into the next area, were as the fast travel system of the last couple games you had to find tunnels which made the things available to do around the areas more accessible while running around.
This is the third straight Assassin's Creed game to offer a unique multiplayer and Ubisoft continues to build onto the multiplayer in each iteration. When the multiplayer was first brought to the players in Brotherhood I quickly fell in love with it. It was something completely different and refreshing from anything else out there. Now even though the main concept of the multiplayer has not changed, Ubisoft has added in many things to try to keep players playing online. Now I hardly touched the multiplayer in Revelations, so some of this might have been added in that game. You can customize your favorite characters in many different ways, such as clothing, colors and weapon type. There is even a new sound cues for when you have your target insight or when the person targeting you is closing in on you. There is also a new co-op structure to the multiplayer called "Wolf Pack". I have not yet played this mode, but it appears to be a wave based horde mode for you and your friends to assassinate bad guys.
Assassin's Creed III had big shoes to fill and it did a good job of it, ignoring many of the games glitches and bugs. They story was told very well, although it had a very slow start to it. The characters are well developed, the scenery is amazing and the idea of taking control of an assassin during the Revolutionary War was great. It may not be Assassin's Creed at its finest, Assassin's Creed III had some missteps throughout the game, but the characters, story and gameplay make it easy to turn a blind eye to a lot of it and the mechanics are successful enough for introducing some new game play elements.