ASSASSIN’S CREED III REVIEW
If you saw my AC2 review you will know I am a real fan of this series, but that passion died a bit when I played the third installment. Also by Ubisoft Montreal (Yeah Canada!), which is one of my favourite producers, this game just failed to live up to the name its predecessors gained it. The story isn’t bad, but holy moly the main character Connor is just so darn boring. I like American history so I did get some enjoyment out of it, but its pretty subpar compared to AC2 and AC4. I’m thinking Assassins’ creed games are only good in even numbers since the 2nd and 4th are so fantastic – so I guess this game didn’t stand a chance.
This game is once again about our modern hero Desmond Miles and his attempt to save the world from a catastrophic event destined for 2012 (we’ve heard that one before). Once again he uses a machine called the “animus” to travel into his ancestor’s past and learn their abilities, and also the location of a hidden key that could help stop the oncoming disaster. This time, he will live as a young, half-English, half-Mohawk man named Ratonhnhaké’ton, also known as Connor, who lived during the American Revolution near Boston. He will aid an order of Assassins after his village is attacked by a group of Knights Templars; usually good guys in pop-culture, but in this game they are the definite baddies – quite a transition from National Treasure eh? Playing as Connor you get to explore Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and the wilderness between as you fight the Templars and the British army.
Things You’ll Like
I dig the setting in this game. As a Canadian who grew up near Toronto, New York and Boston are close to my heart as great travel destinations from when I was younger. It’s very interesting to see these depicted during the Revolution, as they are more like fields with a lot of houses in them compared to the massive cosmopolitan cities they have become. I’m also a history buff so in my opinion you can’t really go wrong with a historical fiction based game.
Stealth combat is similar to AC2, but has improved immensely with an enhanced ability to disguise your character in bushes and peek around corners. This game had quite a jump in the one-on-one combat, as it is much more fluid than the previous two games. It has better ranged weapons and its much less “button-mash for victory”. In addition, when you mark a location on your map in this game it will show you exactly how many meters away it is, which is great for scale. In the other games you would pinpoint a location and just sort of run towards it – hoping it didn’t take too long (which sometimes it sure did). I have some serious issues with this game, but in terms of combat it gets props from me.
Now of course I have to talk about music – its so important to me for gaming. I quite like the music in this game; I even bought a few of the songs off ITunes. The whole AC series has good music in general, which is a good thing because if the music sucked in this game I probably would have quit it halfway through (and believe me I was tempted).
Things You Won’t Like
Hunting. I mean, I’m certainly not a vegetarian – but I’m not a big fan of the hunting component Ubisoft often includes in their games (it’s a big part of the FarCry series as well). Plus the animals are so freaking hard to actually catch, and after about five minutes I’m so bored with it I just give up on it, or suffer through it if its part of a main mission. There is a large forest outside Boston that you have to travel through to get to Connor’s “Homestead”, and it gets old real quick. Traversing it, especially when there is snow, can be a pain in the butt, and the Tarzan “tree-surfing” thing is cool for a second until it just becomes tedious. There are fast travel options in the game – but you do get stuck going through this area a lot, which includes a lot of side missions and building up your homestead – something I never even bothered to do. I much preferred staying in the cities in this game, and perhaps that’s just me but I just found this area frustrating and somewhat boring. Harsh I know, sorry Ubisoft.
In case I didn’t make myself clear; the main character Connor drives me nuts in this game. He has a pretty cool story – being the son of a Mohawk woman and a British soldier – but they just made him emotionless and flat. He could have been a really unique contribution to this series, but I found the beginning of the game when you play as his British father to be far more interesting. He does have a significant evolution from the beginning to the end of the game, which is good, but compared to the large personalities of Ezio Auditore from AC2 and Edward Kenway from AC4 he just doesn’t quite make the cut.
This game is hard for me because it has a few good attributes – interesting plot, good music, and an improved combat system, but there are so many things that irritate me. I have played most of the AC games more than once, with the exception of this one – which tells you something. Main character is flat, and there are many repetitive missions – mostly in the forested area outside the main cities, which I just can’t get over. Thank goodness AC4 was an improvement or I might have to cry myself to sleep over this series.