Review: Assassin’s Creed III – a new beginning

December 24, 2012

Review: Assassin’s Creed III – to new beginnings The Assassin’s Creed franchise is back with its next major iteration in the cannon with a brand new protagonist. While Assassin’s Creed II, Brotherhood and Revelations chronicled Ezio’s epic journey, Assassin’s Creed III focuses on Connor, a half British and half Native American Assassin recruit in the war against the Templars.

Story

While this iteration continues to follow Desmond Mile’s overarching story, the new chain of memories in the Animus focuses on Ratonhnhaké:ton, also known as “Connor,“ and takes place around 1754 leading up to the American Revolution. Notable historical figures such as George Washington, Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson play pivotal roles in the story.

This change of scenery from 15th century Renaissance to the pre-American Revolution is definitely welcomed as the series has started to become stale prior to Assassin’s Creed III (AC3). The way the story unfolds is actually unique and is something Ubisoft has never done before.

Assassin’s Creed III starts out in England, putting you in control of Haytham Kenway, who later fathers Connor in North America. You actually play as Haytham for a decent amount of time near the beginning of the game before moving onto Connor as a child.

You will play as Connor during different stages of his life before getting into the meat of the game – first as a young child, then as a young adult and finally as a mature adult. The game does start out slow for the first three hours as Connor as you really can’t do much as a child.

ac3_child

While this is one way of providing a tutorial around the plethora of new gameplay mechanics introduced in Assassin’s Creed III, this is also another way to build up the main character’s background history.

Out in the real world Desmond is dealing with his father and their dysfunctional relationship while pecking away at the Templars. The game does throw some mandatory missions out in the real world giving Desmond the chance to test out his Assassin skills. While Desmond’s story does have a much larger role in Assassin’s Creed III, getting pulled out of Connor’s story after a long period can be a bit jarring and leaves you wanting to get right back into the Animus.

Design/Gameplay

Assassin’s Creed III is by far the most impressive looking title in the franchise to date. The game was built on the new AnvilNext engine, which can generate impressive real-time weather effects such as snow, rain and fog. Gamers will be able to tell immediately the difference in graphics and improvement with the fluid animation movements not seen in any of the previous games.

The world of Assassin’s Creed III is also populated with wild life, such as wolves, bears, deer and rabbit which can be hunted and pelted tying back to the game’s economy.

In-game economy makes a return in AC III in the form of Homestead, which is Connor’s base of operation throughout the game. As in the previous games, Homestead can be grown but is now done so through interactions with various NPCs such as carpenters and tailors that may wander into the area. By helping out these NPCs, Connor will be able to convince them to settle down in Homestead.

ac3_hunt

Pelting and crafting all contribute to the Homestead economy allowing you to also utilize caravans to trade and sell to other cities. The in-game economy is fairly straight forward but fails to live up to how integral it was in Assassin’s Creed II and Brotherhood. I recall hustling the in-game economy in Assassin’s Creed II, just to work towards purchasing the rather expensive Sword of Altiar or armor.

After spending some time with Homestead it never really feels like there is a need to continue with this side game as I was able to easily complete the story with the tools provided initially. Reducing the number of rare weapons and armors is a misstep as it contributed to the addictive loot aspect of the game.

The majority of the game takes place in Boston, New York and a good part of it in the wilderness, which covers most of the map. While I had some reservations going into AC3 without the tall castles of the Renaissance period, the colonies and the forest provides a new set of challenges.

With Connor, players will be able to run and jump from tree to tree with ease. The controls do take some getting used to, but ultimately provides a sense of exhilaration that is rarely provided in the urban setting.

Ubisoft has improved the combat mechanics, making for a more fluid and natural combat system. The whole lock-on mechanic is not needed as players will be able to counter and parry with ease when an indicator pops up on top of the enemies’ head.

ac3_battle

While there is still some fluff in the game such as Samuel Adam’s side mission to collect pages from his Almanac or the whole meta game to build Homestead, broken mini-games such as the Tower Defense missions are not present in Assassin’s Creed III.

The naval battles are truly epic and intense as you steer these massive wooden ships in order to fire the cannons off the starboard. There is a bit of strategy involved in each of the naval combat situations, as turning too fast may make you lose your shot against the enemy ship while turning too slowly makes you a sitting duck. This is one feature I would definitely look forward to in the next iteration of the franchise.

In the multiplayer arena, Ubisoft continues to refine the formula with Manhunt (player vs player) and Artifact Assault (capture the flag), without making too many changes. With Assassin’s Creed III, a new mode called Wolfpack is introduced which is a co-op multiplayer affair. In Wolfpack, the main objective is to communicate with your teammates to perform a coordinated attack against each of your target objectives.

While, Ubisoft’s attempt at trying to bring mission based co-op to franchise is commendable, it unfortunately falls short of replicating that feeling of being in a guild with other Assassins as the matches can feel anti-climactic.

ac3_naval_3

Wrap-Up

In a franchise that has become annualized like the Call of Duty series, Ubisoft has somehow found a way to keep things fresh as Connor’s tale immediately draws you into the world of Assassin’s Creed III. Ezio started out in Assassin’s Creed II as a rebellious young adult whose family is struck down by tragedy. Connor’s story mirrors that of Ezio’s in many ways, but having to follow in his footsteps since his childhood definitely helps build the character up in ways it wasn’t possible previously.

There are concepts in Assassin’s Creed III that seem promising such as Homestead that need a little more work and standouts like the naval combat missions. While new ideas such as the Lantern puzzles seem tacked on and boring in contrast to the amazing puzzles found in Assassin’s Creed II.

ac3_naval_2

Ultimately Ubisoft has created a fresh and solid platform that the next iteration of Assassin’s Creed could definitely improve upon in the same way Assassin’s Creed II greatly built upon the first game.

Newcomers and fans of the series should definitely give Assassin’s Creed III a try as the brand new story of Connor is a perfect entry point if you haven’t played the previous four games.

Score

4/5

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58 Responses to “Review: Assassin’s Creed III – a new beginning”

  1. MAK:

    @Mike

    Your score is pretty reasonable. The game wasn’t perfect like people like to think. I bet the next game will be way better because they can work on the flaws that this game had. This was a new frontier for the developers.
    But I’m surprised you mentioned none of the glitches this game has. Because I, for one, had to deal with them alot.

    There were missing textures I’m the game. Not a lot, but I still noticed, especially in the underground Boston/new York. If the texture was missing, it showed a spasm of CMYK color static.

    Another one that stood out was the grey screen of death.
    It happened to me twice. I was trying to blow up the reservoir of one of the forts, so I pick up the powder keg….then my screen instantly goes grey and I start getting raped in my ears. I was wearing my headsets, so it was bad. It had the loudest screeching sounds along with some buzzing bees and dogs squealing. It was so loud, it scared the shit out of me and I threw my tritons across the room.

    There were a bunch of other misc bugs with gameplay, as well as dlc. I’m trying to get platinum, and I’ve had enough with the game because of how buggy it is.. I’m so glad I’m done with the single player portion.

  2. MAK:

    And another thing. The ending of this game was just god awful.
    My friend who is a huge fan of the assassins creed series even said so.

    And Connor is such a terrible character.

    @Mike

    And the combat was not fluent. One big reason was the fact that they had enemies that would block all your moves like they were some sort of god. I understand that they are tougher, but still. It totally ruins the fluidness of killing people. I wish you could do one big chain instead of playing cat and mouse.
    Ezio was better because he massacre every enemy. They make Connor seem like a little weak kid.

  3. oldschool1987:

    “And another thing. The ending of this game was just god awful.”

    The ending was brilliant. Some people didn’t get the irony of the ending. Desmond, an Assassin made a choice that would benefit the Templars and is exactly what the Templars have been working toward for thousands if years and the ending also sets up the next trilogy perfectly. The remaining Assassins fighting Juno and her Templar worshippers. I guarentee they’ll be Animas missions during the first civilisation as well, it was hinted at sending a memory back to the original Assassins in the 3rd game.

    I was going to plat AC3, I had 5 games lined up for platting, including Resi 6 but my PS3 formatted for some reason and wiped all my saves but some good came of that, my cloud saving finally works again. It hasn’t saved any saves for over a year :( my ps3 must have been pretty corrupted.

    I barely came across any bugs in the game. I’m surprised by how bug free it was for such a huge game.

    AC3 10/10 imo

  4. ncaissie:

    Merry Christmas Everyone!

  5. dans:

    Merry Christmas

    Life gives and takes, but the important thing is to cherish the good moments.

    Have a good one, everybody.

  6. oldschool1987:

    You too Caissie.

  7. oldschool1987:

    More take atm with me Dans lol.

    Merry Xmas everyone.

  8. dans:

    “More take atm with me Dans”

    Me too, mate.

    “If you are going through hell, keep going.” – Sir Winston Churchill

  9. oldschool1987:

    Sorry to hear that pal. Hope things get better for you.

  10. dans:

    Same to you. :)

  11. twilight:

    Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

  12. MAK:

    Merry Christmas to all of you Blorgers!

    Couldn’t have asked for a better group of readers that I can debate with. :)

  13. phranctoast:

    Was watching trailers on psn store and saw the teaser for man of steel.

    Anyone else a bit annoyed at Warner brothers?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wArmHSPIvlQ

  14. Roca.:

    ^ No, why?

  15. phranctoast:

    Did you watch the linked teaser trailer?

  16. Roca.:

    I did not. I will watch it later today

  17. CarlB:

    Are you talking about the Star Trek link phranc?
    OT… great sub (+iOS compatible, probably android as well): http://marvel.com/digital_comics/unlimited

  18. phranctoast:

    Nah. The Man of Steel link just above.

    Speaking of Star Trek related news. JJ Abrams will not be directing The new Star Wars due to prior obligations with the Star Trek movies he’s directing.

  19. CarlB:

    What’s got you annoyed about it?

  20. phranctoast:

    Watch the trailer.

  21. Roca.:

    I can’t believe the Dark Knight Rises didn’t receive a single nomination for any Golden Globe awards.

    I’m excited at the list of blockbuster movies coming out in 2013:

    -After Earth
    -Oblivion
    -300: Rise of An Empire
    -Elysium
    -Iron Man 3
    -Gangster Squad
    -Now You See Me
    -Star Trek Into Darkness
    -Man of Steel
    -Pacific Rim
    -Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
    -Oz: The Great and Powerful
    -World War Z
    -Fast & Furious 6
    -A Good Day to Die Hard
    -J.I. Joe: Retaliation
    -The Lone Ranger
    -The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

  22. phranctoast:

    If you can’t tell why I’m annoyed at Warner bros. you may not be the best person to have this discussion with me as you will simply not be able to relate.

  23. CarlB:

    I watched the trailer and have seen Superman in most of his various iterations over the past 34+ years in various media, just wanted to hear your perspective on it and what exactly has you annoyed about it.

  24. CarlB:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KVu3gS7iJu4

  25. phranctoast:

    The music is from the Fellowship of the ring score. More notably, the music is from right after Gandalf falls which directly ties all those emotions with Warner’s bid to sell you on the next Superman. Poor taste Warner bros. they couldn’t get something from John Williams instead?

  26. CarlB:

    Good ear… (4:50 on in the link)…

    h**p://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUIZvAe3RBg

    Considering the quality of Howard Shore’s music though… it could go on to be like that of Carl Orff’s… “Oh Fortuna” (Carmina Burana) has been used in a lot (Excalibur was the first I came across it and the best imo) since it was first composed… I can understand how a LotR film fan would be upset though, even though it has been 11 years since the TFotR… but that’s pop culture for you… at least it’s not on Glee… yet.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Orff%27s_O_Fortuna_in_popular_culture

  27. phranctoast:

    Lol. At least not yet.

    LOTR was not without it’s own too (thanks WB :( . The Two Towers teaser used the main theme song to requiem for a dream. And to think. The score was likely finished by then considering how the movies were shot and released.

  28. phranctoast:

    Oh fortuna always makes me think of the Omen.

  29. CarlB:

    Lux Aeterna definitely lends itself to Tolkien’s vision… though I have yet to see Requiem for a Dream. I think music can be powerful enough to make an imprint though, and how we experience it first colors our expectations for when we come across it next…

  30. CarlB:

    “A version of the track was re-orchestrated with a choir and full orchestra for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers trailer[1] and was renamed “Requiem for a Tower”. It was arranged by Simone Benyacar, Daniel Nielsen, and Veigar Margeirsson. Although never intended for release, after considerable demand by fans this piece was made available as part of the Requiem for a Tower album release from Corner Stone Cues.[2] The Requiem for a Tower version served as the theme for Sky Sports’ Gillette Soccer Saturday during 2008 and 2009.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lux_Aeterna_(song)

  31. phranctoast:

    “Lux Aeterna definitely lends itself to Tolkien’s vision… though I have yet to see Requiem for a Dream. ”

    Great movie if not a little on the fucked up disturbing side in which the part that really illustrates the song being a great combination of the former two adjectives. It’s worth your time.

    “I think music can be powerful enough to make an imprint though, and how we experience it first colors our expectations for when we come across it next…”.

    I couldn’t agree more.

  32. CarlB:

    “Oh fortuna always makes me think of the Omen.”

    Why is that? Unless I’m mistaken, it’s not part of the soundtrack… did you use to watch Only Fools and Horses… or perhaps get it confused with Ave Satani?

  33. phranctoast:

    Idk. Maybe it was in a trailer…?

    Maybe it’s the sinister feel the song gives off.

  34. CarlB:

    different imprints indeed… I think it to be more honorable and celebratory than sinister… it would be interesting to hear how you first came across it.

  35. ncaissie:

    “Anyone else a bit annoyed at Warner brothers?”
    He’ll yes. He ain’t no batman for Christ sake.

  36. CarlB:

    *looks at lyrics*
    …then again…

    “I can’t believe the Dark Knight Rises didn’t receive a single nomination for any Golden Globe awards.”

    I could maybe see a nomination for score… nothing else seems to fit:

    Best Motion Picture – Drama
    Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
    Best Director
    Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
    Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
    Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
    Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
    Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
    Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
    Best Screenplay
    Best Original Score
    Best Original Song

    Maybe if they had a best comic book movie award… the last 2 minutes seemed to be the best… everything else was like something out of a Rocky movie, but with special effects and costumes. It was fun to watch, but hard to take seriously as a real drama.

  37. twilight:

    Unfortunetely, when it comes to movie awards, it’s to be expected that a movie like The Dark Knight Rises would get shafted it seems. Why? These awards are really just for the few movie elitists who have the power to vote on movies and celebrate films that they think should be praised by the masses even though the masses could care less in general about these films.

  38. phranctoast:

    “…then again…”

    I know..

    Recently saw DKR, and was not at all impressed. Maybe I had high expectations.

    Banes voice drove me nuts. Like a cross between Simon (Jeremy Irons) from Die Hard 3, and Klaus (Seth McFarlane) from American Dad..

  39. twilight:

    Lol @ Phranctoast. Even though I loved Bane’s character and really enjoyed the Dark Knight Rises, I feel that The Dark Knight is best movie of the trilogy.

  40. phranctoast:

    @twilight.

    I agree. TDK takes everything that was great about the first movie and makes it even better. DKR felt like a Spiderman 3 to me.

  41. CarlB:

    “Banes voice drove me nuts.”

    Batman’s seemed even more laughable when he started interrogating Bane and slurring his speech… “WHAR’S THA TRIGGAARH?!” …heheh.

  42. Roca.:

    Agreed with Carl, Batman’s voice was annoying.

    “DKR felt like a Spiderman 3 to me”

    how dare you!!?

  43. oldschool1987:

    DKR best in the trilogy for me.

    Tom Hardy was excellent, his voice was brilliant as well.

    Don’t understand the hate for DKR. People fell in love with TDK and instantly became stuck in their ways and refuse to believe that and sequel could beat it.

    “Banes voice drove me nuts. Like a cross between Simon (Jeremy Irons) from Die Hard 3, and Klaus (Seth McFarlane) from American Dad..”

    More like Sean Connery in a Darth Vadar mask. He was brilliant, people just wanted another Joker. I thought Bane was as good, not better but definitely as good as Joker.

    “DKR felt like a Spiderman 3 to me”

    Obviously a joke, right?

  44. dans:

    I agree with phranc.

    —–

    http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6849597/batman-cant-stop-thinking-about-sex

  45. Roca.:

    IMO Batman Begins was the shittiest one.

    TDK was great and DKR was just as good.

    The only thing that I didn’t like about DKR was the way Bane was killed…

  46. oldschool1987:

    I don’t think Bane was killed. It’s speculated anyway. Batman villians never die. He was blasted in his Kevlar B.O from what I seen. He was probably thrown in Arkham. I could be wrong but it was never clear if he died to me.

  47. oldschool1987:

    “IMO Batman Begins was the shittiest one”

    None of them are shitty! 2nd best trilogy ever imo. After LotR of course lol.

  48. CarlB:

    Speaking of voice acting and LotR… hearing Wormtongue in Dishonored was effective… especially alongside the rest of the voice cast:

    http://www.joystiq.com/2012/08/03/dishonoreds-voice-cast-full-of-honored-hollywood-talent/

  49. ncaissie:

    I loved DKR. Best of the 3. I think it is tied with the avengers for me. I didn’t like how they didn’t use venom though. Pain killer? Come on! I wanted to see him bulk up.

  50. oldschool1987:

    Oh man I’m so glad there was no venom or Bane hulking out! Leave the OTT stuff to Marvel. Always loved how Nolan put a realistic twist on his characters.

  51. Roca.:

    This one is just as good as DKR

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJ5l5ls0hP4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  52. CaptBirdman:

    “Oh man I’m so glad there was no venom or Bane hulking out!”

    See that’s kind of the only problem I had with Bane in the film.

    I’m sorry if you don’t like that idea, but Venom is what makes Bane who he his. He’s supposed to be a wimp who became a beast due to the Venom. In fact, that plot point is the only reason Batman was eventually able to beat Bane, by severing his supply. In the film, there is literally no plausible reason why Batman should get his arse handed to him in one scene, and then be able to beat him in another. He should have gotten broken again, as Bane is smarter, stronger and faster than Bruce.

    Doesn’t ruin the movie for me (I thought it was the best one).

  53. phranctoast:

    “Obviously a joke, right?”

    Unfortunately not. DKR did nothing for me.

    “He was brilliant, people just wanted another Joker. I thought Bane was as good, not better but definitely as good as Joker.”

    Obviously a joke, right? ;)

  54. CarlB:

    “Everything wrong with Batman in 3 minutes or less”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=j2tE-BCwZtw

  55. dans:

    I laughed really hard at “Bane does Adam Sandler impression”. hahaha

  56. phranctoast:

    Lol. They’d have a field day with Prometheus.

  57. CarlB:

    They had to take an extra minute for it…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BWnTW4rL0U

  58. CarlB:

    (and go over their time limit for both)

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