Customer Reviews: Assassin's Creed III [Online Game Code]
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Platform: PC Download|Edition: Standard - Steam DRM|Change
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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 handful of positive additions... but it's a little pathetic to see it fail to meet the standards set even by AC2's expansion games.

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. It's not just software bugs, basically - this game feels like it was never tested.

That extends to the writing, too. I'm not far in enough to make a definitive statement about the plot, but it looks like the story level is still reasonably in line with the series' quality so far... but the script is just horrific. Scenes just drag on, especially in the very beginning, with voice actors doing their best with lines like "what's true and what is aren't always the same." And it's not just dialog that's a problem, either; the story structure and pacing are badly out of whack. 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.)

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. Lip syncing frequently turned into muppet-style flapping with no connection whatsoever to the sound (sometimes not even opening their mouths during dialog at all). Elites deflect attacks and counterattacks pretty much 100% of the time, which makes combat pretty repetitive (counterattack grunts, disarm then attack elites... every time). 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 pretty lackluster, and none of the characters are particularly interesting. And it's been painfully obvious for a few installments that they didn't plan for Kristen Bell's leaving the series, and they've made no effort whatsoever to fill the gap in the narrative left by her character. 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. Almost everything about the game feels like a rough draft, basically.

It's not all bad news, of course. The new naval sequences are outstanding. 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. Animation's enjoyed some high-quality additions too, especially the run cycle and a whole slew of fancy new combat flash. 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.

Overall, though, I'd only really recommend this game to people who are already in love with the series. It does a reasonable job of bringing us more of the free-running madness that made the first several games so much fun, so it's a good buy just to give you more stuff to climb around on once Italy starts feeling a little too familiar... but it really doesn't stand up well on its own.

-Excellent and exhilirating naval combat
-Very attractive, albeit not (ahem) revolutionary
-Pretty much anything you do out in the woods is great
-Highly cinematic combat
-The engine can support huge numbers of NPCs simultaneously (crowds are, well, crowded)
-It is still pretty fun, when everything's working

-Mediocre story editing and script, very poor story pacing
-Absolutely overrun with software bugs and continuity errors
-Combat, while beautifully choreographed, is essentially a combination of a reflex test and rock-paper-scissors
-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.
-Very, very slow first few hours
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on December 2, 2012

* 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.


* 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
Phenom II 955
NVidia GTX 680 (310.54 Beta Driver)
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on July 31, 2014
Game play was smooth and engaging. Graphics quality was outstanding, in my opinion, but I'm not that picky about that sort of thing. The manor missions were a little gimmicky to me. I just ignored them. There was more time spent on the story progression in the present, which I really appreciated. I can't imagine where they're going to take it from there. Looking forward to Black Flag. The missions at sea were hard to get used to, but were a nice break from the old grind. I understand Black Flag will be primarily at sea. Should be a real challenge.
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on September 8, 2014
I feel like AC is dumbing down the controls and Conor is such an ass of a character it's hard to like him. Whenever you are out of the Animus it's so confusing on what to do next or go if you leave the game for a while and come back, not to mention being useless against Abstergo agents it's so frustrating. I like the story but so far it's the second worst one I've played (AC 1-3, Brotherhood, Revelations, Liberation, and Black Flag). Side note, from the looks of it Unity will be worse than this...
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on January 2, 2015
Amazing game!

Great game in the Assassin's creed franchise. Honestly one of my favorites up there with assassin's creed 2.
Only bad part about this game is the poor mob and city construction. Most of the world seems too similar in many different
areas and more often than not it feels like you're in the same area over and over again.
Not really a problem if you play the campaign because of all of the story-specific places, however it can be somewhat dreary
for free-roaming.
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on July 31, 2014
This is still fun, but it is by far the weakest game in the series. I would normally give a long description of why but it has been beat to death already. Get it if it is on sale really cheap and expect to have fun. If it isn't on sale really cheap, just skip it and get black flag instead.
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on June 28, 2014
I'm fresh off of finishing the Ezio trilogy, and I've started this game. I can't say I hate the game, because so far its turned out to be alright. However, compared to Brotherhood and Revelations the game has left something more to desire. The combat system has been a bit reworked to accommodate the use of guns and countering (if you're playing with a controller especially) is no longer hold a modifier button (a trigger button) and then action (x). Instead they've mapped counter to b, which is just plain different from what we've been used to in the earlier games. Free-running has been made more seamless but even so as you might notice during the early and short tutorial stage of the game, can prove problematic where you can simple hurdle over an edge you'd like to first climb up and jump off of (as you'd normally do in Revelations.)

All that being said, the setting is fresh and a nice change of pace. I'm looking forward to the rest of the game. Maybe its not the pinnacle of the series, but I'm sure if you had played it without knowing it was an Assassin's Creed game, you'd be just fine.
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on March 17, 2015
Amazing addition to the Assassins Creed franchise. Dynamic and compelling story as well as gameplay. This is the latest one I've played, but the combat dynmic is 1000 times better than the games before it. The time period and history are just as interesting.
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on July 17, 2013
I hated the character development, I found myself hating the character because of his naivity - borderline stupidity, and the plot holes that were dug just to try and cover up poor writing with "cultural differences". I felt it was insulting.

There's about 21 hours of actual game content, probably another 20 hours of filler if you want to get all the little challenges.

Ending was disappointing.

I still enjoyed it but sometimes I was :|
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on August 28, 2013
It was really interesting at first because you feel like it's going to be an epic build up, but the story is pretty fragmented. There are missing parts.

I stopped playing after killing a few bears and I haven't really looked back.
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