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on November 25, 2012
It's safe to say that Assassin's Creed 2 set the bar very high for this series - a great mix of creative storytelling, good writing and excellent parkour and combat mechanics made it a real knockout of a game. Unfortunately, Assassin's Creed 3 falls short in pretty much every department. It's not a bad game, and there are a few improvements and new features that really stand out as amazing additions - but the flaws are so significant that it's hard to actually recommend this game to anyone other than enthusiastic series fans.

The biggest flaw is definitely that the game feels woefully untested. AC3 on the PC has a ridiculous number of bugs, from epileptic horses to menu freezes that make it impossible to proceed, and I've been encountering them in virtually every mission and quite often while just running around. There are also a lot of bewildering things that somehow made it past playtesting; I was killing bears with a hidden blade that was apparently coming out of my bare arm for quite a while before the plot got around to letting me have it, and at one point I was wandering around and completely by accident captured a British Templar fort, which replaced the flag and all the troops there with American revolutionaries... in 1770. In-game tooltips display at very weird moments, like a prompt telling you how to lower your notoriety at a time in the game when none of the methods described are available to you, and every cinematic has a prompt saying "PRESS E TO SKIP" plastered across the corner for the duration. You're also given no explanation or instructions for huge swaths of key game concepts. It's not just software bugs, basically - this game feels like the PC port was never tested at all, and that the testing they did do was mostly from people who already knew the game really well.

That extends to the writing, too. The story improves considerably around the halfway point of the game, but the early levels are plagued with scenes that drag on way longer than necessary, a weird fixation on narration and having characters describe things instead of showing them to us, and extremely bad pacing. Skilled voice actors do their best with lines like "what's true and what is aren't always the same," but there's just no saving a lot of these scenes, and the characters are mostly unlikable and uninteresting. We're given no reason to care about any of the characters until several missions into the game, and when we do finally meet our protagonist, our introduction to him is watching several scenes of mediocre voice actors monotone their way through extremely lengthy speeches in Mohawk. (I can't express how bad the Mohawk acting is, it's literally like hearing someone reading a technical manual.) The game is in serious need of an editor - things just move way too slowly, especially in dialogue and cinematics.

Gameplay itself isn't nearly so problematic, but still suffers badly from a lack of thorough testing. The developers made a big deal about the ability to pick up weapons on the fly, but I had trouble picking them up even standing completely still with no enemies around. The new lockpicking minigame is a perfect storm of unnecessary, no fun and unreasonably picky about precise mouse movement. I had problems constantly with getting stuck on the end of beams unable to move forward, having to realign to the precise right angle to climb certain objects, and attempting to climb impassable barriers that are completely indistinguishable from climbable surfaces. Combat is flashy (and extremely attractive), but is also reduced almost completely to a rock-paper-scissors game where each enemy requires one (and, barring exceptional circumstances, ONLY one) particular key combination to defeat. Several of the optional mission objectives are almost impossible to understand unless you've already played the level once. It's just rough, basically. The difficulty is a huge mess - I had no trouble taking on entire forts simultaneously from the very beginning of the game, but failed other missions constantly thanks to pointlessly capricious layouts for stealth sequences and unpredictable cutoff points for achieving secondary objectives. Even the historical hooks are almost completely ignored - aside from a few memorable (let's be fair, excellent) scenes like storming Bunker Hill, the actual history feels much more like a gimmick than an actual setting. One entire component of the game (the economic/crafting system) is only usable with an XBox controller and will freeze if you so much as move the mouse. A lot of the major components of the game feel like a rough draft, basically.

It's not all bad news, of course. The new naval sequences are outstanding, and the special dungeons (featuring several shipwreck levels and some cool Caribbean areas) are finely polished. The the antagonist finally starts directly interacting with the protagonist, their character interplay is by far the strongest part of the story, and both fun and engaging (although don't be surprised if you find yourself liking the antagonist considerably more than our hero). Graphically the game looks pretty great, and the new weather system is attractive (especially localized effects like fog). The nature areas look particularly good (and are massive!), which was a wise decision - colonial America was perhaps not the best choice for this series, considering its lack of gorgeous, huge landmark buildings to climb on, but the game seems to be making up for that by going for knockout natural environments instead. Although a lot of the previous installments' RPG elements are gone, the new hunting system is pretty engaging. Aside from lipsyncing and occasional clipping problems, animation is extremely high-quality across the board, especially in combat. The world is enormous, there's a ton of stuff to play around with and climb on. And I actually did find a couple (non-mandatory) minigames that were surprisingly fun, where you play old-timey board games in taverns. Some of the other details, like set decorations that only appear once or twice in the entire game, are clearly labors of love. There is some highly polished work in this game.

Overall, though, I'd only really recommend this game to people who are already in love with the series. I think it could have set new standards in a lot of ways, with some of the extraordinary detail work poured into the game - but with such major flaws, especially in such key parts of the game, a lot of the excellence in AC3 is totally overshadowed by the mediocrity. If you do buy it, though, stick with it - the game's flaws become much less glaring once you get through the opening third (around the time you get to visit the third game region, the enemies become significantly more varied, you have access to a much larger arsenal, the levels become less railroady, and the plot picks up considerably).

Pros:
-Excellent and exhilirating naval combat, action-cinematic levels and special dungeons
-Very attractive, if not revolutionary
-Pretty much anything you do out in the woods is great
-Combat is fun to watch
-The engine can support huge numbers of NPCs simultaneously (crowds are, well, crowded)
-It is still pretty fun, once you get past the slog of a first act

Cons:
-Mediocre story editing and script and very poor story pacing, especially in the first third of the game
-Mostly uninteresting characters
-Zero effort PC port
-Absolutely overrun with software bugs and continuity errors
-Combat is highly repetitive and often turns into infinite loops with guards spawning faster than you can kill or escape them
-Possibly the worst mandatory lockpicking minigame ever made (it's not nearly as bad with a controller, but it's maddening with a mouse, and purposeless either way)
-The setting is not well-suited to the more appealing gameplay elements
-There's a well-documented bug that completely prevents you from progressing past a certain point without an XBox controller, which wasn't fixed in the recent patches
-Way too much tedious waiting
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on December 2, 2012
Pros:

* Combat system was fun to use, although I did run into difficulty using enemies as human shields. It would not always work as it should which was incredibly frustrating.
* Town graphics / rendering were upgraded from previous versions
* It's Assassin's Creed
* Connor is a bada$$ when the combat system is working properly and that is fun to see and do.
* Desmond's missions. Awesome. Finally got to see him in live action on missions which was great.
* Weather. The added rain affects were awesome. Wish these could've existed in Italy with some of those scenes -- would've looked great.
* Climbing animation was significantly upgraded which was great!
* They developed the game in DX11 for the PC. Very happy to see them utilize the vastly superior PC hardware instead of just direct-porting the inferior console version to PC as they have in the past. I have played the game on XBOX as well, and it is no comparison. To use a common car comparison -- playing this game on the XBOX compared to the PC is like driving a Ford Taurus (XBOX) compared to a Corvette (PC).
* "Tomb Missions". These are now replaced with what are called "Captain Kidd" missions. It is basically a mystery you are trying to solve which is actually pretty cool. You get some great visuals in these missions that look AWESOME on the PC in DX11.
* Naval Missions. As part of your Assassin career, you also Captain "The Aquila", a warship you revive during the game and go out and perform various tasks (rescues, escorts, attacks, etc.). These missions are pretty fun.

Cons:

* Music. The Music is a significant downgrade from games like AC2 / ACB. The magic the music created in those games is non-existent in this one.
* Story. Very scattered and inconsistent story plot. Also the story overall was way too....sad. At every turn you're being betrayed, having family members / friends killed or being forced to kill them yourself. Bad ending both for Connor and for Desmond. Very anti-climactic. I hate the direction they are going with the series as far as the storyline. Also the way the start of each sequence forces you into a cutscene absolutely kills the chronology of the side missions and when they should be completed. Need a far better tie-in. Should have had the primary sequences just be placed on the map so you could start the next sequence when ready as far as the main storyline and have a chance to complete side missions before seeing an urgent cut scene that made you feel like you had to rush off to finish the primary story.
* Connor's personality. They made him into a robot. He has very little emotional development throughout the game. Some people say he seems "dumb". I don't want to say that, but he definitely has no personality, making it tough to get attached to him the way we did with Ezio.
* Hunting / Frontier: Waste of development time. Added nothing in my opinion.
* Mission Design. There were a number of missions that were just AWFUL as far as how they were designed. You had to perform certain tasks in a very precise manner or you would desynchronize. The other AC games provided freedom in how you wanted to complete a mission, and that's something this game missed in many instances.
* Side Quests. I miss the Courtesan, Thief, and Assassination contracts from previous games. This game had pathetic Assassination contracts (I mean really, there is literally zero backstory to them to tie in to the game), and the Liberation missions were only mediocre at best.
* Limited relationships. Connor is 27 by the time the game ends and has no female counterpart. This sort of ties in to the "robot" reference I made before. No guy is 27 and has zero romantic interest. Another part of the Ezio storyline that was badly missed here.
* The ending. Both Desmond & Connor's endings are so anticlimactic. As a Desmond fan, I *hate* how they have chosen to "close" his storyline. I don't want to give away the specifics, so I'll leave it at that. Connor's ending is also very open-ended, and so far, I'm just not attached to him at all as a character -- I am really hoping they can do a better job of developing his personality in future games, because he doesn't have one currently.

Other Thoughts:

Overall, I'm pretty disappointed with the game. Given how much it was super-hyped leading up to its release, it's been pretty mixed in terms of overall reception from the fanbase. AC is an absolutely epic game series. In 30 years of gaming, it is probably #1 or #2 on my list of best game-series. I really hope the crew that did AC2 and ACB are recalled to work on future games because those guys and gals just "got it" and knew how to make a magical game. Really hoping we head to France next for the French Revolution. The backstory has been created with Lafayette meeting Connor.

You might be wondering why I gave it 2/5 eggs since I still had a good list of pros. The ending of the game is so epically bad (Desmond specifically) along with how bad the storyline flows that it's just not a good game. There are also numerous bugs in the game that should have easily been fixed before release. My hope is that the next game (the DLC is on its way, maybe it will help also) will reinvigorate the series without destroying everything that it has been able to stand for thus far because this series is frickin awesome overall.

Performance -- I've read that ATI / AMD video cards are having performance problems with the game currently. Given that I'm running a GTX 680 and NVidia released a beta driver a few days before AC3's release, I have had flawless game performance, so for you ATI guys, I'm hopeful they will release a hotfix / beta driver for you shortly so you can play the game. Performance for me was great though -- 1920x1200 with every setting maxed out with the exception of antialiasing, which I dialed down a bit.

Gaming Rig:
Vista 64-bit
ASRock 990FX Extreme4
16GB DDR3
Phenom II 955
NVidia GTX 680 (310.54 Beta Driver)
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on February 28, 2013
First some disclaimers. I'm strictly a PC gamer, no consoles (well, other than the ancient Atari and a Sega Genesis). Secondly, brand new to the AC line of games. With that in mind, there were some awesome things and some terrible things about this game on the PC. The graphics are gorgeous! And it runs at max on my rig built over a year ago. The history is interesting, and they give lots of detail about the characters and places. The combat looks amazing, and the main jumps and runs and climbs like a madman.

The downsides are that this game is a no-thought port to the PC. AFAICT, Ubisoft made zero effort to port this to a PC, and the lack of control suffers greatly compared to other games. For example, your character will climb anything he gets near, which is a pain when you are trying to run away from somebody then you have to figure out HTF to jump off that thing. There is no climb key like one might expect on a PC. Many reviewers have said "Chuck your keyboard, you need a gamepad for this game" and they are spot on.

The second main issue I have is that you have to complete the missions just as the developers want. There's not a lot of room for different approaches, pretty much only one way works. Ubisoft frequently ties down the areas you can venture into on a given mission, further restricting your options. Enemies spawn at amazing rates, faster than you can kill them in many cases. Sure, you can argue "That's why 'Assassin' is in the name, it's a stealth game!" and you would be correct. Fine, in that case make the mass murder approach unfeasible by having plenty of troops or some other realistic way - don't have people teleport in like there's a giant Enterprise above, watching the events and beaming people down. There's no save game feature, which makes one reluctant to try many new things, you might end up further down the path than you wish and be unable to go back.

There are many reasons some of us play games on PCs: We can get more control, we can save and load games and we can try lots of stuff. This port allows none of this.

And finally, AC3 has an astonishing number of busywork missions to chase down, gathering feathers, running letters around town, going shopping for people, etc. It feels a lot like they did this busywork to add a lot of depth, but they ended up making a game that feels a lot like most missions are "travel to location X and press a button."
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on December 25, 2012
I downloaded the game with no problem and it played very well. The game itself had both a new world that was new and exciting to explore as well a new weapons and new advances in fighting both alone and with your other assassins. The story was also very interesting adding new plot twists and and interesting developments along the way. There was one time that Ubisoft, not the game, glitched and it took one call and it was fixed. I was impressed with both the game and the company.
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on December 22, 2013
While the story can be entertaining, as is following it through the main missions, this may be one of the least rewarding "Assassin's Creed" experiences overall.

Once you step outside the main storyline (and a couple of times while still inside), you'll run into some of the most forgettable experiences in the whole franchise. Seriously, Ubisoft: fast travel is a step in the right direction, but all of the horse riding in AC3 STILL managed to bore me into tears. And who thought HERDING PIGS was going to be fun, of all things? Even the hunting part of the game, which showed promise in the previews, turns out to be a trivial and repetitive exercise.

And then, as if trying to even things out (in a hurry), come the random near-unattainable requirements for 'perfect synchronization' (especially on the last mission, which is pretty tough from pure artificial difficulty even without them). Many times, I simply shrugged them off and kept on playing. This is playtime, after all; if somebody wants me to try and do the same thing over and over and over so badly, I normally expect a real-life skill or money to come out of it.
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on October 3, 2015
Great game with an interesting take on historical events during the American Revolution.... pretty much what I expected from Ubisoft and those involved in making the game. Great game, but there is an undertone which anyone who is a study of the time period.... well, lets just say the creators and developers are jaded regarding the founding fathers. I would love to see what Ubisoft would do making a game about the French Revolution... lets see if they get that one right regarding how that all worked out... or better said, lets see who still had their head attached.
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on May 17, 2016
Love AC and played all of them until this game. This game made me quit. Boring beginning and once you get into the real story the game crashed and wouldn't let me restart the saved game. So I had to start again from the beginning and the thought of redoing the beginning made me quit
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on January 14, 2014
Maybe it's just me... Maybe it's just me that is not satisfied with the "New Features." The control itself is okay, but I was not satisfied with the gameplay. I found it rather overly complicated compared to the previous series, which made the game feel much harder compared to the previous series. Maybe in my opinion, they should have considered ending the story at Revelation.
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on January 10, 2013
The storyline simply doesn't make any sense or even slightly enjoyable to me. I feel zero connection or understanding of the character(s).

Being a long time Assassin fan i couldn't wrap myself around this even from the beginning roll out of the game.But ended up purchasing to see if Ubisoft would deliver a better storyline then that of the original one. Failed tremendously, but i was wowed by the level of Detail and the full use of the latest graphics capabilities. Other than that this game is quiet unplayable to me. The first couple of missions i dragged myself through are beyond weak, it may be the fact that this game is heavily revolved around guns and explosives rather than hand to hand fighting makes this freaking boring. even the hand to hand fighting is just rather difficult to understand as the mechanics often don't work as the creators intended. I see the style they tried to implement but its just no where near as good as the mechanics of the first Creed.

Major problem with Ubisoft, is that they fully implemented online game interaction foro single player gaming. Not to fun to me, another reason why gaming is starting to become burdensome. But i'll save that rant for a forum or something.

Pros
-Best Graphics I've seen next to Battlefield 3
-Smooth game play(synchronized transitioning)
-Lots of Features

Cons
-Boring
-Boring
-Boring
-Weak and under developed Storyline
-Extremely downgraded Fighting Mechanics
-Boring
-Modern weapons are annoying to use
-Heavily revolved around Modern weapon combat
-Stupid AI
-Annoying AI
-Multi-player is boring
-ONLINE ACCESS ONLY!

Overall i don't recommend this game unless you just want to look at the good graphics. Which for me is like once every 2 weeks. which means its extremely under valued in comparison to other games on the market. This game should drop to about 25 bucks for its to be of any value.
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on December 24, 2012
To start, I am a big fan of the AC (Assassin's Creed) series. I have loved everything about the games through AC 1 through Revelations. However, this one did drop down on my list as great after I played it. It wasn't that the creators weren't creative and great in the making of the game. The most disappointing things, to me, were the eagle vision change and the combat system change.
The eagle vision change was that it became so dark that if you were standing in the forest and you had your horse next to you, you couldn't see it. It was pitch black. You could see some things sure, that were colored a certain color by your eagle vision, and maybe if the game allowed you to see, but beyond that, not much. It was annoying.
Also, the combat system change was that you could counter, probably easier than you could before, but you could only counter when an icon came up. I enjoyed it better when you could use your eyes to just watch for an attack, like AC 1 or 2. Seriously, I would sometimes just have eagle vision running and see my enemies in red and watch who would attack next and counter then chain. With this new system of attacking you can only counter when the icon comes up, which isn't always when someone's attacking, which proves to be a pain because you can't get out of the way fast enough so you take a hit.
I honestly wouldn't mind the "no magic potions" policy if the combat system was good enough so I could take out enemies as easy as I could in the past games.
Also, the combat system doesn't react like it did in the past. In the past, enemies would usually die after a certain amount of hits, not in this game. Thus, the game loses some realism from that. It annoyed me also. You'd literally have to go all the way through the combo or counter or chain of a kill in order to kill someone. To anyone who's played and is reading this, you've probably experienced this annoyance at one point or another.
You'll probably be most annoyed with this when you've died a couple of times because the ease of killing isn't as simple as in the past games.
Also, whilst you gain a bow and arrow, and can do a huge amount of stuff, your back to a similar weapon set in AC Brotherhood, without the ease of killing enemies as quickly and easily. For anyone who's played AC Brotherhood you should know I considered Brotherhood a lot better than this game.
The way Connor is in the game really hasn't excited me near as much as the scenes outside the game. Sorry Connor, but the game doesn't show you off well, thus you take a back-seat to Altair and Ezio.
I am amazed at Altair and Ezio, but I'm afraid, thanks to in-game play, I can't put Connor in the same category as those two. Sure, Connor is a great fighter and person, but I just imagine Ezio or Altair fighting in this time, with their combat system, slashing through enemies in half the time or less and being able to control and aid the people in a way that would cut the work time that Connor does in half or less. If Connor was as good in-game, at least to me, as he was outside the game I would equivelate him to Ezio and Altair, but the game really doesn't cut it with Connor.
In full honesty, I do find the real Connor, who is best shown by his scenes outside the game, as a Master Assassin along with Ezio and Altair.
Moving on, you don't have your quickness with firing off bullets anymore, due to the "new and improved" muskets and hand-guns. Also, the newer bombs from AC Revelations are gone. The only real upside to me, in weapons, was the hook-blade, which is an awesome thing to have. The bow, really, just takes the place of the crossbow, to me. Honestly, though, I think I like the crossbow more.
Moving on to the positives now, the game is awesome on the storyline side. The storyline was very creative and well done. I can actually understand why some things are different and why the story doesn't accommodate some weapons and gaining of money like before. Both Desmond's Story and the main Animus story are awesome. I was very impressed with Desmond's story. Although, the combat system is the same for Desmond's Story, so no go for easier kills in the real world either. Remembering something from the beginning of the game, I thought Connor was supposed to help Desmond out with his skills. Besides climbing, I think the fighting methodology, from in-game, really doesn't help Desmond at all. He should've stuck with the fighting skills of Ezio and Altair, those two should cover it.
The naval battles of this game are awesome also. These things are, sadly, some of the only things that probably gave me a rush playing this game. I didn't really gain much rush at many points throughout the game besides the naval battles. Possibly the experience from dying a couple times in a row due to a poor combat system might have set me on the major negative for this game.
Anyways, the naval battles are definitely great to play through. Although, I don't know if you can play them through again once you finish they are awesome missions. Being able to gun down enemy ships and such is always awesome, at least to me. The experience of being able to maneuver your ship through the sea is a great feeling.
The only thing that can be a bit annoying is gaining money. Whilst I'll admit I enjoy hunting, gaining money specifically from crafting and such can be very annoying as you can't just go over and buy a weapon, a naval thing, etc. Whilst I'll admit this adds to the realism, this may get annoying for you along the way. You're probably going to wonder how long it is going to take to save up for this one item that's 10,000+. I would probably tell you "a while."
Anyways, this is still a good game. However, you might find the past games more exciting.
I give this four stars due to the combat system, eagle vision, and other negatives you can find throughout the game. I'm not going to cut it down further than that as this does not qualify to be an average game. The AC series has never been that.
However, I am more looking forward to a better game next time around in the next new AC game.
Alright, thanks for reading, hope this tells you a bit about the game.
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