The Ninjabot

Assassin’s Creed III Review

Posted on November 7, 2012 at 5:55 pm by Stephen Janes

One of the most anticipated games hit stores last week and the overall buzz suggests that Assassin’s Creed III is worth the time. This game provides a lengthy history lesson with new features for the Assassin’s Creed franchise and some of the same elements that define the series. Overall, the game is a fun and beautiful experience that could be played without much knowledge of prior games, although some previous experience is recommended.

Assassin’s Creed III puts you in the shoes of Connor, a descendant of Desmond Miles that lived as an assassin during the American Revolution. Another departure from previous games is how the controls work and how you interact with the environment around you. In previous AC titles, you would have to hold two buttons in order to execute any free-running actions, where in AC3 you only need to press one. This and other changes in the controls are welcome additions but are puzzling when playing for the first time, although they are easy to adapt to.

Also new to combat is the musket, which can be fired then used as a melee weapon.

Combat has been smoothed out even more and allows for more cinematic kill-streaks and creative move sets. Again, in previous games you were required to lock onto an enemy with the shoulder button and each button was mapped to a specific function/body part of your assassin descendant. Here, each button is static and you have no lock button, but you can also counter and parry in the middle of your own combo’s. The tomahawk is a new weapon in your arsenal and replaces the useless knife in previous games, but is twice as much fun as any other weapon.

The free running is more acrobatic than ever before in addition to having a much bigger sandbox to play in. You can now jump through windows, enter homes and run across treetops in order to escape your Templar pursuers. The free running has also been made to allow Connor to travel smoother by not interrupting your momentum if you were to hit a tree, building or house. Where Ezio or Altair would simply stop if they ran into a tree, Connor will actually push off the obstacle to keep going. Another welcome addition is the ability to assassinate a target without having to tackle them simultaneously. Now, you are able to eliminate a target while running without stopping, allowing for a quick getaway or a new way to thin the crowd around you. Other smaller improvements have been made as well, but perhaps the most appreciated is being able to fast-travel to all major landmarks on your map at any time. You do not have to be in a specific location or near a landmark; you can just go and be done with it.

One of my friends coined the term, “Arbor Parkor”

For all the improvements mentioned here, there are a few elements that I can’t understand their rhyme or reason. For starters, jumping around can sometimes be inaccurate and flimsy. Many times I have been aiming for a tree branch just feet away only to find Connor leaping well away from the mark. This minor issue has been around since the original Assassin’s Creed and I can’t understand why it’s still here. I still have issues where I see a wall or building that looks like I can climb but proves me wrong. I also noticed a couple of glitches and rendering bugs, but nothing that forced me to restart the game (or console) and was easily fixed and reverted just by leaving the Animus in-game.

The graphics are beautiful, no matter what season your game is in. I have experienced fall, spring, summer and winter throughout various times of the game and have found that each provide their own style and changes just as you would expect. Spring and summer offer a lot of great cover and protection up in the trees with a lot of light, while winter makes it impossible to travel very far in the open due to the snowfall and actually slows down your character depending on the road taken. The seasons seem to be more dependent on in-game events and not actual progression, however.

The world of Assassin’s Creed III is more similar to the original title than the previous entries starring Ezio. You have the major American cities (Boston, New York and so on), which are connected by the frontier. I tend to look at the frontier as the overworld of AC3, branching all the available areas and your base of operations together with its own area. Here in the frontier, you can ambush British convoys, save settlers and travelers from wild animals, hunt for materials and look for treasure chests. Each area is larger than the last, which makes the fast-travel feature a time-saver.

You get to experience the most historic battles of the Revolution, such as Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill and more.

Assassin’s Creed III is a title worth your money, one hundred percent. The small issues that I outlined here are only a few examples of problems with an otherwise outstanding game and I would be very surprised if this game does not get nominated for ‘Game of the Year.’ You don’t necessarily need to have played the previous Assassin’s Creed games to really get into this, but it would help understanding the backstory and who the characters are. With all the other great titles coming out this season, Assassin’s Creed III will keep you occupied and will not disappoint. Now excuse me, I got some Lobster backs to kill in the name of America.

Review Rating: 4.5/5

Pros: Fantastic graphics, smoother combat and more user friendly controls
Cons: Various bugs slow down the experience a bit

You can follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenkjanes


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