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Old Assassin's Creed 3 review

Updated on July 10, 2013

Having just finished Assassin’s Creed III, I have a few friends who want to play it but do not actually have the money to purchase it. It’s a $60 game, I basically cried when I swiped my card at Target (now you know I have the Target edition). Anyways that being said, let’s see if this game was really worth the $60.

GAMEPLAY

First of all, I will mention the little nitpicks I have with the game. There is a lot of glitches and I mean a huge amount of them. Textures would just fall through at certain points, things won’t spawn, AI just goes dumb, and there would be character models that have no substance which you can walk through. However, even with all these glitches, the main part of the game is mostly unaffected. These glitches are also quite understandable because there are a lot of things going on at once at any given moment in this game and sometimes it does not even feel like the game itself is glitching but rather your own console doing it. Another little nitpick I have with this game is that not a lot is explained to you in terms of your actions, the game teaches you the basics but that is about s far as it goes. More on this later, but right now the main review.

First is the game play of this game. It is actually a vast improvement on the previous games in terms of controls. The fighting has also been improved where it is not all about waiting for the next counter to kill someone, you can actually take initiative and break defense before going in for the kill. Of course this game also follows the “no hp bar for the bad guys” template it has always been known for, so it usually still only takes about one or two strikes to kill them. That being said, there is still a challenge as some enemies require different tactics to kill them. One always winning tactic is to shoot them in the middle of battle. However, the projectiles in this game are not as powerful as previous games and do not always do the job completely. The bow and arrow which takes up a huge portion of Connor’s (the main character) outfit is actually a lot less useful than you would think. I found myself using the flintlock more but it only kills one enemy meaning you usually have two or three more to deal with. Since it is a flintlock, it also takes forever to reload unlike Ezio’s wrist cannon. This is a good thing since melee is almost practically required in this game. The melee weapons you can have aside from the extra large ones are the hidden blades, the tomahawk, the fists, and the sword if you so choose to purchase one. I used one of each of the large two handed weapons and they all pretty much act the same. So on to the light weapons. I honestly do not see too much point in the sword and hidden blades. The jobs of these weapons can be done pretty well with just the tomahawk and Connor looks pretty cool when doing it too. I guess the developers really were focusing on the tomahawk for Connor. The hidden blades kind of have a use for the few times you want to do a double kill but that rarely happens and Connor is even holding one of his hidden blades while using the tomahawk (it even counts as hidden blade damage when hunting animals), so it kind of seems redundant.

In talking about the weapons, there is also the hunting aspect of this game. At first I found myself really into it and it really is fun at certain points. However, there is only a select amount of animals in this game so try not to overload on the hunting. Eventually I just ran to my destinations and whatever ran in front of me, I just quickly pressed the square button. Then there is the trees that make up the other part of the woods in this game. The trees are well done because they are actually quite easy to navigate. I almost never found myself falling off and just losing a bunch of sync. The branches are laid out in a way that it is pretty easy to jump from one to another. But the trees also have a downside which is actually getting on to them. There are times where you would be lucky enough to find the ramp tree that takes you up or a branch next to a high cliff but most of the time, you’re going to be looking for the tree with a bunch of sharp things sticking out, and they are not easy to find. This is does not actually impact the game too much though since I found myself just going from the ground most of the time which is kind of tedious but the locations usually are not too big but rather big enough to be vast without being overkill.

In terms of jumping around and free running, this game is a very big improvement on the previous few, however, as said before, the game does not give you full instructions on how to execute certain actions. They also seem to have gotten rid of the option to hold the circle button so you can catch the nearest ledge while falling. Instead it is either automatic or you just completely fall. This becomes a problem when trying to get Full Synchronization completion on certain missions and I found that I had to look around quite a bit on the internet in order to figure out certain actions. Also even though the jumping from ledge to ledge has been improved from the previous games, you still do occasionally get those problems where Connor would just jump to certain spots that just do not make any sense. So in terms of running around, if there is a mission that requires you to execute something you are clueless on, do not be ashamed to look it up because I found that many of the things I looked up, a lot of other people were also in the same boat. You also have to watch out for civilians as there are certain missions where they will annoy you to no end.

The last thing to mention is the naval combat. Once again, there are things unexplained but other than that, it is pretty ridiculously fun. You can do several actions which is either fire all your cannons on either starboard or port-side depending on which way your camera is panned, use the swivel cannons which also use the camera and has some auto aim, and raise or lower speed (Oh there is also steering but I figured that was self explanatory). Sinking other ships really is satisfying especially when you do it with the cannon barrage. It even hits multiple ships depending on where you beam of influence hits as your ship moves so I always fire while at the same time changing my ship to full sails. You can also purchase upgrades for your ship making you PWN the seas even more.

Overall, the game play is a great improvement over previous titles which is a good thing but AC titles always had somewhat frustrating controls which is a bit toned down here but still frustrating nonetheless. They also seem to leave a lot for you to figure out for yourself which also leads to frustration. So frustrating but still understandable in a way.

FEATURES

First for features, I’m going to talk about the side missions. There is a sinful amount of side missions and some can even be done passively. It is a bit overwhelming but the thing is that it does not matter whether you do them or not. While tempting to clean up every map in the game, the main story is not really affected much if you do not do the side missions. That being said, the missions you should try not to ignore are the homestead missions. They basically have a story all their own and the characters are also quite interesting. The assassin’s missions also introduce a range of characters who have a bit of depth. These missions are quite varied as well. There is a problem though which is that when you get to New York, some markers do not show up making it very hard to do these missions. Other than that, most other missions require locating or killing things.

Next is the design of the whole game. Now as stated there are a lot of texture glitches as well as sound glitches. The sound glitches are things like dropped sounds or even overlaying sounds. There are times when the load screen just pops up completely cutting off something someone is saying but usually around the last word or two. I also had one incident where the load screen swooshing computer sounds continued even after a cut scene loaded. I’ve also had various incidents where there was low volume on dialogue causing the music to completely smother it. I advise you to turn on subtitles as soon as you start the game, it also helps in that it translates any native language dialogue. Other than the glitches, overall the design is quite good. The environments are extremely detailed. Both New York and Boston are pretty amazing in the way they are constructed. The frontier as well as the homestead really are complete opposites of those two great cities and the way they are rendered really shows it. The music composition is okay but nobody is in on this game for the music, they are in it for the dialogue. The voice acting in this game is done quite well except for one of the most important characters, Connor. He just sounds very flat and does not seem to really be good at sounding emotional on any level. Even Altair from the original AC is better and he was supposed to be a cold emotionless assassin. Connor’s dialogue certainly has room for emotional moments but the voice actor just makes him fall flat. In essence he is extremely inferior to the masterpiece that was Ezio Auditore’s voice acting. Even so, every character, even the side characters in this game did a pretty good job.

STORY

The first thing to talk about in terms of the story is the main characters. Every one of them is quite intriguing even a few of the bad guys. They have some interesting back stories and while I was playing, I can see why they chose the side of either the Assassin’s or Templars. I can also see the reasoning behind their reasoning. In the end everyone has a good reason for everything whether it is helping the citizens or just outright committing an atrocious act. You can also get out of the animus whenever you want and interact with the main characters of present day. Rebecca, Shaun, and William Miles will talk about their theories on what they are doing and what they are finding which tells you more about the game and their thoughts on certain events of the previous games. The most interesting bit however, is reading the emails they send to each other. Sometimes they talk about what is going on and sometimes they use email to harass each other, so it’s worth a look every time you get out of the animus. Finally on kind of a side note, it is worth mentioning that aside from the beginning, Altair and Ezio are almost never mentioned in this game.

Finally I will talk about the main missions. There are a total of twelve sequences with three short epilogue pieces at the end. Also after like every few missions or so, you are taken out of the animus for a chance to find certain artifacts that the present day assassins are looking for. The present day missions have you going to a bunch of different locales in the pursuit of these artifacts and give you a kind of no UI version of fighting so you have no idea how much health you have until you start flashing red (or if you accidentally jump off a really high ledge). However, these missions do answer a lot of questions which is all I can say about them without spoiling anything. The main focus of this game is the twelve missions.

The twelve missions all have three parts each and you just complete one part after the next. That is the format, now for the actual story itself. I may have a bias for this game because I have loved the story for every main Assassin’s Creed game so far (Corey May is basically my hero). This one is no different, the story in this is equally, if not more amazing. So many things go on in Connors quest and nothing is ever as it seems. Add on the complexity of the birth of one of the mightiest countries that ever existed and it is one amazing ride. Another thing is that for those people who look at this game and think, “Yeah go America! Kick those Templar siding British asses out of our country!,” you should know that is entirely not the case with this game. First of all, very people in this game talk with any kind of American accent and a lot of people speak with a British accent. Also this game made it so you cannot target civilians and can really only target enemies. When looking at the minimap, patriot forces are also red dots which are considered enemies. This sometimes leads to very weird glitchy moments where the patriots are after you for killing redcoats (guess they had too much to deal with when making this game so I’ll let that go). Anyways back on subject, this game shows the founding fathers are also not as amazing as the romanticized notions of them are, they have have quite a few flaws, some being extremely deep. The only kind of minor spoiler I am going to give is that there is no good or bad side in this game and it is all about each side of the debate, so do not think this is a game which is glorifying the birth of this country or you will be seriously disappointed.

CONCLUSION

Overall I really enjoyed my time with this game, it took me around 30 hours to finish so in a way, it was a 30 hour movie or book. I think it is well worth $60 and do not regret buying it. But this is me, I love this series to death, so if you are not willing to shell out the $60 it is understandable, I would still tell you to try it in some way. Although I highly recommend buying it and this is actually just a review of the single player too, I have not even touched the multiplayer yet. To sum it up, I highly recommend playing this game, for all its flaws, it rewards you with a great story.

Now since this is my first time with a public review since high school, I would like to explain my rating system before I score this. It’s a 6 point rating system with a bonus 7th point which I do not know if I ever will give or keep in my system. To get a 7, the game would have to be the holy grail of all video games that is so freakishly amazing that I will never ever want to play another game after it, so it really only can be used for one game. As for the rest they go as follows:

1 - Holy crap! What did I just play?! ::Readies weapons to massacre offending game studio:: = Totally Bad

2 - Ah! This is total suck! Well least they had one mildly entertaining part….. Think I’ll probably just kill one guy = Neutral Bad

3 - This game is pretty freaking bad, but it could have had some potential. I’ll probably just kick someone in the face = Positive Bad

4 - This can be a pretty good game in a few ways I guess but it’s not something I would want to spend too much money on, maybe get it down the line when it is worth like nothing and I get bored. Would flip someone off if I bought this for full price = Negative Good

5 - This is a good game, period. I had fun playing it and I might have a small gripe if I spent full price but I’ll get over it. Even better if I got it on a sale. Although I can see that there are some things wrong with it that cannot be recovered with something else. ::Salute:: Good job making a game… Like a Sir! = Neutral Good

6 - This is a great game, there might be flaws or not but they are minor making this game about close to perfect. I am glad I spent full price on it and if I were financially stable enough, I would not have a problem spending more for the special edition. I would like to shake the hand of the developer for making such a great game….. Like a Boss! = Positive Good/Great

There are no decimals in my rating system as that is just unnecessary, indecisive, and just overall a wimpy move, every score is going to have a side it will lean towards, it would be better to have a rating system with just four points, but I put the neutrals in there to tell people where the game stands completely. So basically if something has 2, then just straight up do not buy it with a 3 being only for super hardcore fans. A 5 actually means to definitely buy it, but some people are too broke so just buy it whenever there’s a chance. The 4 would mean to buy with caution and you are not missing too much if you don’t. 1 and 6 are extreme sides of their respective negative and positive zones with 1 meaning EYES STAHP! While 6 means ERHMEHGRD get it NAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Anyways with that said, I give Assassin’s Creed III a score of 6

EDIT: You know, now that I think about this game in hindsight, it wasn't too great technically, and I might have just given this game the high score just because I bought the thing at full price. Some of my friends wanted it too, and I figured I should encourage their gaming habits, but actually I really think with all the glitches and the not very likable main character, this game is really more of a 4/6 and that's just barely. I do still like the story very much, but I think I just liked some of the few OMG moments, so as of today on 10 July 2013, I say this game is a 4/6, You can be all crazy and say how I'm such a flip flopper, but hey, sometimes people just make mistakes, also this was my first review that I posted in a very long time, so I wanted to start off big, yeah amateur mistake.

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