Assassin’s Creed III isn’t half bad, but then it’s not very good either. It’s mediocre really, as a stand-alone game it’s great fun an promises to have you busy for hours on end, but as part of the AC franchise it falls by the side of the road, far behind its predecessors. Well perhaps I could go more in depth than that. I’m 26 hours in currently and nearing the end and the only time I felt like I was playing an assassin game were the first few hours, in fact up until then the game was great.
The logo appeared, the music started and gingerly I pressed star. After the opening sequence had played out, you find yourself playing as Haytham Kenway, a rather striking British man with an accent that had me grinning from ear to ear. The setting is the Royal Opera House in London, you mission is to assassinate some elderly gent in a private box. As I find myself climbing and jumping around the opera house I couldn’t help but be impressed. Yet as I finally reached my target and plunged my hidden blade into him I was enjoying myself. You flee the scene quickly and head for the docks, your destination? The colonies.
I’m introduced to combat in the very first mission and I must say it’s fun. Gone are the days of dancing around slow-witted guards as you did with Ezio, it seems you need to dodge, counter and skip around just to escape with your life. With the implementation of muskets combat has turned over to a new page, gone are the days of killing every guard to avoid detection. More than one time I found myself fleeing for my life, chased by half a dozen well-armed redcoats.
I digress though, the missions are at first dull but what do you expect, you need to get used to the controls and new aspects first. As I delve deeper into the game I find myself leaving Boston and heading out into the wilderness or the “Frontier” and this is where Ubisoft really do themselves justice. It’s winter and there’s snow everywhere, as I run through the trees I notice two things, Haytham is actually using the trees to push himself forward as he runs…well no he doesn’t run but trudges through the snow, as a normal human would in heavy snowfall. I find myself running uphill as well and notice that I’ve actually slowed down. It’s the little things like this that makes me applaud Ubisoft, they’ve thought of everything.
I won’t bore you with more details on missions, but rather skip forward to where it all went downhill. I’d just completed another mission in aiding the natives against the British, and I’m just about ready to confirm one of my recruits as an Assassin. Haytham removes a ring from his pocket; I guess we’ve gone pass burning the little finger then. Then suddenly he’s praising the all-seeing father and introducing the recruit as a Templar. Hold up, what? I laughed at first, well played Ubisoft, well played. It seems Desmond was as shocked as I was at having discovered one of his ancestors was a Templar. I felt a tad hollow that I’d helped out the Templars but paid it no mind and carried on with the game. If only I hadn’t…
Years later you start out as a young…hang on I need to Google his name… Ratonhnhakéton..how he pronounces it boggles my mind but I carry on regardless. You learn that your father is Haytham and had left his mother, a native, before he was born. You spend the next hour or so learning all about hunting, climbing trees and moving through the wilderness. It’s new, it’s fun, but it’s not really Assassins Creed, still we all start somewhere.
After an attack on his village and his mother’s death, Steve decides it’s time he sets out and is told by his village elder to seek out some chap who will train him after going through a piece of Eden induced vision. Steve packs up and heads out, finding a manor inhabited by old assassins who at first refuses to train him. Then, after a night attack by bandits, in which Steve dances around them with his dagger and tomahawk, his training begins, under the name Connor. It turns out that the assassins were a large presence in the colonies until they were wiped out by the Templar scourge years before, leaving just the old man. After a few months of training St–no Connor is ready to head out. it is here that you’re introduced to the homestead and the Aquila. Gone are the days of earning money through missions and buying everything in the various shops, you must now trade and craft goods from your homestead as well as hunt the various animals across the rather large open world. By completing various missions throughout the game you gain artisans such as farmers, lumberjacks and tailors who help craft various items that you can sell. You can also stalk and hunt various animals in the frontier, catching them with snares, bait and various weapons in your inventory. The Aquila also introduces sea warfare, placing at your disposal a fast and heavily gunned navy vessel. There are quite a few missions available for you to enjoy this new aspect of the game, allowing you to protect merchant vessels, attack enemy forts and engage British man-o-wars in heavy storms.
The main issues I found though, is that even with all these added parts of the game, i still didn’t feel like I was playing an Assassin’s Creed game. With Altair, I felt like I was a real assassins stalking Templars through the Holy Land. AC2 and its subsequent sequels showed me how Ezio grew from a cocky young teenager into a master assassin. AC3 however was different, when I was playing as Haytham I felt like an assassin, I felt like I was playing an Assassin’s Creed game, even if I was a dirty stinking Templar. With Connor though, things seem to be different. I seem to be playing an American War of Independence game with ship, hunting and farming simulator add-ons. Even Connor himself doesn’t feel like an assassin, but more an annoying teenager who hates the world, despises his father for leaving him and merely wants to protect his village rather than fight the Templars. At one point in the game you’re even fighting with the Templars against the British. In fact for the majority of the game you’re fighting the British rather than the Templars, who seem to be on the same side as you, with the patriots.
In conclusion, AC3 was a rather fun game, the combat is new and fun, the new aspects of the game intriguing and enjoyable, but it’s let itself down by calling itself an Assassin’s Creed game. I won’t mention the ending so that I won’t completely ruin the game for you, but Ubisoft have let me down here. Close to every major game review company have given it high scores, but these are the same people who said Dragon Age 2 was an amazing sequel, Diablo 3 one of the greatest games of 2012 and Mass Effect 3 with one of the best endings for any game trilogy, so you can take their opinions with a pinc–well no, a bucket of salt. If you’ve never played an AC game before than I heartily recommend AC3, the plot maybe somewhat mediocre but the game play is fun and I’ve logged close to 26 hours on it alone, with only 10 of those being for the storyline. If however you’re looking for a sequel to AC:R and want to know what Desmond experiences in his next ancestor’s memory, then veer away from this game as it’s got a disappointing story.
Solid gameplay mechanics are a shock to the system at first but ultimately turn into something interesting but a vaguely bland story subtracts from the game. By no means bad, I strongly recommend you buy this.