Assassin's Creed III
AMD Phenom II X4 940
AMD Radeon HD 6850
After yet another to-be-continued ending from Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Assassin’s Creed 3 has finally arrived! This time we head back through Desmond’s ancestry to colonial America. With a proper number in its title, one would expect Assassin’s Creed 3 to bring drastic new features to the franchise. So here we are today, to find out if this sequel manages to assassinate review scores yet again or if it desynchronises.
Opening right where Revelations ended, we, as usual, find ourselves in the shoes of Desmond Miles in the year 2012. Following the discoveries made in the previous games, Desmond must once again step into the Animus to uncover the location of a precursor artifact that one or more of his ancestors have come into contact with and hidden away. While there is a short summary at the start that tells players what has previously occurred, it is extremely brief and presumes that the players already know quite a bit about the series’ story. As such, it is highly recommendable to play all previous Assassin’s Creed titles before stepping into this sequel, at least if you want to be able to understand anything of what is going on in the story.
The year is 1754 and you find yourself in the shoes of a man called Haytham Kenway, a fine British nobleman who also happens to assassinate people at operas and pet every single animal one can find on the streets. Kenway is sent to the city of Boston, which is a British colony at that time.
Assassin's Creed 3, the ultimate pet simulator!
Once players become attached to the badass that is Kenway, the narrative switches over to a different character, Ratonhnhaké:ton, in 1760. Ratonhnhaké:ton, is a Mohawk of whom we first get to experience short pieces of his childhood before moving on to his teenage years where he is given the name Connor and begins training as an Assassin. This training and storyline then is what we follow for the rest of the game, all the way from his teenage years to adulthood. This too marks the most significant change in the way the narrative is told in the entire Assassin’s Creed series. For the first time in the franchise, players experience the narrative and stories of two different characters and they also experience more pieces of the main character’s life (Connor). This really worked out well as they managed to draw a parallel with the events happening inside the animus storyline, to what is happening in Desmond’s life; thus providing in effect two simultaneously running narratives that have stark similarities between each other. This trend of both scope and depth is mirrored throughout the game, not just in its story but also in its gameplay. The only issue with the story being of such magnitude is that some players might feel it lacks the focus that the previous titles have had.
As already mentioned, the gameplay has a large scope to it as well. In Assassin’s Creed 3 it is clear that the developers went all out when designing the different gameplay sequences and mechanics that would be in the game. Surprisingly, there is definitely no lack of focus, as each new gameplay element that has been added to the game is completely polished and up to the same quality as the rest of the series. The biggest addition here is the naval sequences, played from the same perspective as the rest of the game. It is also clear that the developers really put a lot of effort into designing and developing the naval mechanics, as everything in it just feels polished. The ocean movements in combination to the ship physics is nothing short of epic and leaves the player wishing that every battle were in a storm. The impact of the cannons can be felt into the player’s seat and ramming... well... let us just say that it will have our staff member Bis18marck70 yelling RAM RAM RAM all day long. The thing that is most surprising here is, that no sacrifices were made to any aspect of the naval combat. The ships are highly detailed and the crew animations are perfect, while at the same time, the mechanics strike a perfect balance between fun and realism. As a final topping to a delicious cake, the boat movements and water physics feel very lifelike. Ubisoft could easily make a stand-alone game out of what is in Assassin’s Creed 3’s naval combat.
That's what SHE said.
Despite all these new additions to the gameplay, the developers went about completely reworking many of the existing gameplay mechanics; everything from the stealth mechanics to the running mechanics. As a result, players who have played all previous titles might take some time to re-adjust to the new control scheme and new running/parkour mechanics. While some might argue that it has just been simplified to appeal to a larger audience, this could not be further from the truth. It is clear that with the vast variety of landscapes, if the free running and parkour mechanics from Revelations were used in Assassin’s Creed 3, it would only lead to frustration. In the end, the new control and parkour design are a welcome change and in fact give the players increased control over their character’s movements. The game’s locations are spread across multiple cities, the two major ones being Boston and New York, as well as the American Frontier. It is in the frontier where many other new features are introduced, such as hunting and tree climbing. Due to the settings in which the game’s missions take place the player is always given a lot of freedom in terms of how each mission is achieved. While the full synchronisation bonuses once again tell the player how Connor ‘really’ did that mission, these are optional and, except an achievement, provide no bonuses for achieving all of them. Thanks to the replay functionality in the game, players do not even have to worry about these bonus objectives on their first playthrough and can always come back later to achieve them.
Beyond the ability to pet a scary number of different animals in the cities there are no new major features that stand out. However, in the Frontier the game really shows its uniqueness within the franchise. The developers really took advantage of the setting by creating unique side quests that are both fun and interesting to play through. For example, there are a group of frontiersman telling stories, Connor can then investigate each of these stories to determine if it is true or not. These stories range from UFOs to ghosts and all have a historical back-story to them. In addition to this, unique to the Frontier are the new weather mechanics, rain, snow and fog all make their appearances having an impact on the gameplay. Not to mention that graphically the snow animations are simply stunning, Connor even has different running speeds and animations depending on how deep the snow is. Well worth noting here is that Assassin’s Creed 3 has the most Desmond sequences of the entire franchise. For the first time in the entire series, players finally get to experience some really great current day sequences, it is just feels like there could easily be room for one or two more fully fledged version of these sequences.
Boy, I told you to gtfo.
As featured in the previous installment of the series, the Multiplayer has also seen various improvements in Assassin’s Creed 3. The combat and mechanics feel a lot tighter than they were in previous titles, the matchmaking works better and the peer-to-peer netcode has been streamlined – meaning players will experience better reaction speeds and less lag. There is also customisation of characters, albeit fairly limited. All the old modes make their return to the multiplayer along with a new co-op mode in which players must work together to take out as many targets as efficiently fast as possible. Depending on the mode, the maps will be big or small. It is nice to see a return to bigger multiplayer maps again, a feature that was lacking in Revelations’ multiplayer. Yet, despite the minor additions and changes in the multiplayer, it still feels like there is room for improvement and new features and as a result it will most likely only remain a short-lived experience.
With all these new features, graphics, storylines and bigger game environments, one would fear that there would be a lack of polish. This could not be further from the truth. Players who have the regular edition on PC should be able to play through every part of the game without encountering a single issue. However, those who own either the Steam versions, Deluxe Edition, Collector’s Edition, or the Season Pass will sadly encounter issues unique to the DLCs included with those editions. Fortunately, these issues should be fixed with the v1.02 update.
While one could joke and call this game “Pet Creed 3: Furlations” it is in fact nothing short of the epic that Assassin’s Creed fans were waiting for. It is impressive to see how much effort was put into refining the game, while yet still adding so many new features to the game. Perhaps the biggest element of which is the Naval Combat. All in all, Assassin’s Creed 3 hits that spot in gaming where you finish it and still want more, as it is just that fun.
- Scale: Truly a game of epic scale and proportions, no shortage of content here.
- Gameplay: Refined combat making assassinations and intense swordfights feel all the more better, the addition of muskets is well handled as well.
- Sailing Indians?!?: The addition of Naval combat is arguably one of the best things to happen to the franchise since it first came out.
- Graphics: Glad to see that the PC still gets some graphical attention from Ubisoft, cheers devs!
- Lack of focus: Some players might feel that due to the scope of the story there is a lack of focus on any one character in the game.
- Likeability: Connor is perhaps the least likable main character in the entire franchise and some will like him, others might hate him.
- DLCs: More and more a common trend in gaming, Assassin’s Creed 3 ‘features’ a season pass for DLC, meaning no free DLC for this title.
- Controls: The new controls take some time getting used to, some players might also be bothered by the reduction in controls as they prefer it to be more complex.
- Multiplayer: It is there to enjoy but will be a short-lived experience for most who purchase this game.
After the yearly releases of big Assassin’s Creed games, there was a good reason to worry about the series leaving its glory days behind and becoming a low quality cash cow. Thankfully, the latest numbered instalment is a result of longer development bringing us a very good game. While the basic gameplay remains similar to previous titles, there are a lot of little changes and details that make it better and more varied. Simplicity of controls may feel like a step back, but they help to avoid frustration when navigating complex environments. The story deserves special mention, as it integrates different elements together well and constantly plays with player’s expectations. The setting works well, but unlike Ezio’s saga, there are only few buildings in Assassin’s Creed 3 that are well known and still standing today. Maybe there are more recognisable landmarks for US gamers.
Graphically, the game looks gorgeous with detailed character models, dynamic weather and large environments. The multiplayer part has improvements over Assassin’s Creed: Revelations with more customisation and the gameplay is still interesting. However, there still are problems, especially in team/co-op modes, where lack of in-game communication destroys any fun in public games. Fortunately, it is small problem overall as Assassin’s Creed 3 at its core is an epic single-player experience, while multiplayer is just a nice addition for those who enjoy cat-and-mouse games. All in all, the enjoyable gameplay, an interesting story and beautiful environments give us a game worth playing for any action fan.