Assassin’s Creed 3 Review

While Assassin’s Creed 3 has been out since last November, I feel the need to notify you that this review does contain minor spoilers. You have been warned. Also keep in mind that I wasn’t able to play the multiplayer mode so it will not be a factor in my opinion of the game.

It’s very difficult to assess Assassin’s Creed 3 without comparing it to previous games, I suppose if that means anything it’s that while I enjoyed Assassin’s Creed 3 it failed to make an emotional impact nor did it leave a lasting impression. Well, other than its atrocious ending, but that’s a post for another time. In many ways, Assassin’s Creed 3 is a conclusion to a story that began in 2007. The first Assassin’s Creed took a lot of risks with its plot, albeit most of these choices weren’t too successful, however five years later Ubisoft Montreal has finally created a story that succeeds on multiple levels. The same, more or less, can be said for the rest of the game.

Assassin’s Creed 3 brings in a new assassin to the franchise, and plenty of new ways to assassinate.

Assassin’s Creed 3 takes place in a new time period (the American Revolution), stars a new protagonist (a Half-British, Half Native-American named Connor) and features a fancy new graphics engine. Being set in the eighteenth century versions of Boston and New York means that the days of scaling tall buildings  are gone. Instead the player has a vast frontier filled with trees to roam through and animals to be hunted. While there’s a slew of gameplay revisions, for better or for worse, this still plays like an Assassin’s Creed game. The combat is still dominated by chain kills and counter-kills although the enemies do put up a bit more of a fight than earlier games. The most notable and most impressive addition is the inclusion of naval battles. Early in the game Connor acquires a ship and is able to partake in naval missions. The naval battles that ensue during these missions are easily the best part of the entire game, and best news is that there are plenty of missions to be completed. It’s not only satisfying to blast wooden chunks off an enemy ship, it’s an experience that isn’t found anywhere else. It’s been so well received that the upcoming Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag will pretty much revolve around them.

The game begins, not with Connor, but instead his father Haytham Kenway. After commiting an assassination at a play, Haytham sails for America. Upon arriving he recruits several men to his cause. In a stunning twist, it is revealed that Haytham is not an Assassin, but in fact a Templar. Several years after Connor’s birth, his mother is killed and his village burned. He swears revenge on the Templars and trains to become an Assassin. One by one Connor kills members of the Templar order, all of which Haytham personally recruited. Along the way the player will take part in the more famous events of the American Revolution such as the Boston Tea Party, Revere’s Ride and the Battle of Bunker Hill. The story features the usual lineup of historical celebrities including Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington. The highlight of the plot however, is the inevitable confrontation between father and son. The relationship between Connor and Haytham,while taking way too long to show up is well worth slogging through the earlier parts of the game (which plays like an extended tutorial). The story takes a while to pick up speed, but it does save the best for last and the actual assassination missions are a lot of fun.

The naval missions of Assassin’s Creed 3 are an absolute blast (pun intended).

And while all of this is wonderful, the problem is that it fails to strike an emotional chord with me. Haytham Kenway may be the greatest antagonist in all the Assassin’s Creed games, but fails to change that nothing that happened throughout the entire game made me smile, laugh, or gasp in shock. It’s unfortunate because clearly a lot of effort has gone into this game. The attention to detail on the NPCs, the enemy guards and the language of the Native Americans tribes is outstanding. The animation on the characters in unbelievable, especially on Connor’s enemy executions, some of which are quite nasty. It’s true shame that a game that is an damn near groundbreaking technical achievement fails to elicit even the smallest of emotional responses. It’s something that has plagued the Assassins’ Creed franchise since the first game, and it’s ultimately the weakest part about Assassin’s Creed 3.

Like the franchise it’s part of, Assassin’s Creed 3 is a decent game, however it’s outdone by other games that simply do more. Take any sandbox game, like Red Dead Redemption or Skyrim, these are games that have all the technical successes of Assassin’s Creed 3 but also can get some sort of emotional reaction out of me. Assassin’s Creed 3 has all the bells and whistles, everything that it needs to be one of the best games of the year (or of 2012) yet it fails to include the very thing that matters most. I can’t fault it for being a good game, but I can fault it for not being an amazing one.

Final Score: 3/5

Version Played: Xbox 360.
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About Sam Hale

Autistic, young adult and lots on my mind.

Posted on July 25, 2013, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Man dude, i like your writing. I was exceptionally harsh on my review of the game. I’m glad you enjoyed it though. Just out of curiosity did you enjoy the Ezio saga?

    • The Ezio trilogy was decent. Ezio definitely ends up a different person than when we first see him. Brotherhood. (with it’s excellent multiplayer) was the best of the trilogy. It also had a consistent villain, something that the AC series has always struggled with. I didn’t mind Revelations, but didn’t care much for its gameplay. And as for AC2, it also had a weak ending (fist fighting the Pope), but it definitely improved upon the first game.

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