Assassin’s Creed 3 Reviewed

12 Dec
Is the fourth time the charm?

Is the fourth time the charm?

With Assassin’s Creed 3, the folks have Ubisoft have moved on from Renaissance Europe to Revolutionary America. Does the game sufficiently adapt to this new world order? Find out what we think below.

North America in the 1700’s. Flintlocks and Founding Fathers. Tea Parties and Powdered Wigs. A far cry from the bustling cities of Renaissance Europe, to be sure, but it’s where you find yourself for this fourth (and final?) installment of the Assassin’s Creed franchise.

You continue to play modern-day Desmond Miles, who has spent the series playing other characters. It’s all very meta. This time Desmond reaches into the less distant past and relives the memories of Connor, a Native American trained to be an assassin after Templars burn his village.  Connor’s memories hold the key, literally, to uncovering the possible salvation of mankind.

Game-play is mostly what you’d expect from an Assassin’s Creed game at this point. You run around a bunch, climb things and kill anything that shows up as a red dot on your mini-map – then hide when other guards come looking for you. With the inclusion of a large wilderness area, you can now climb trees as well as buildings, and hide in tall grass or bushes in addition to random hay bales. Combat is on par with previous efforts – counter attacks are your friend. Enemies do try to shoot you from time to time, but you now have the ability to shield yourself with their comrades. All in all, it’s still fun to play.

One major addition to the game is the naval mission type. Let me just say this – naval warfare in this game is fantastic. The graphics are mesmerizing, the combat is fun – I’d play an entire game using this engine. Can we combine this with Sid Meier’s Pirates? Please?

Unfortunately, there are also modern-day missions to play through – as Desmond. While the conceit of the game – that you’re really in modern times reliving memories though a machine – is a novel one, the present-day story-line  just isn’t that compelling. Desmond comes off as a slightly whiny slacker forced into this Templar/Assassin war, and since you mainly interact with his ancestors, you never really care about his character. The missions play out in a similar way – the modern missions just lack the character of the past ones.

This is a problem, since the finale of the game, and the series, takes place in modern day and revolves around him. To put it mildly, the ending will probably come as a disappointment to most fans of the series. If it weren’t for the pre-DLC ending to Mass Effect 3, this would easily top the “worst ending” list for recent games. I don’t mind less than happy endings, but after four games I was looking for a better sense of closure. Movies with dark endings can be great. Movie trilogies, not so much. Game companies need to realize that making an ending for a one-off game that players will have spent 20-40 hours on is much different than ending a series that players have interacted with over the course of years. The expectations are much greater. And in that, Assassin’s Creed fails.

That said, the 1700’s story-line is very solid. There’s a twist at the beginning of the game that you don’t see coming (at least I didn’t). Homestead missions throughout the game introduce you to a host of minor characters that really help flesh out Connor’s world. And his relationships with the father figures in his life are extremely well done.

Overall, Assassin’s Creed 3 is not the strongest game of the series. But it’s not that bad, either. It’s unfortunate that the modern plot-lines and game-play fall flat, but Connor’s story is compelling and the world of 1700’s America is alive and engaging. If you’re a fan of the series, you’ll want to finish out the story – weak as the ending is. If you’re new to Assassin’s Creed, you might want to wait on this and try the earlier games.

7 underwhelming endings out of 10

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One Response to “Assassin’s Creed 3 Reviewed”

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  1. A Tale of Two Games: Assassin’s Creed 4 Reviewed | Two Geeks, One Blog - January 25, 2014

    […] I wrote my review for Assassin’s Creed 3, I mentioned that the single best aspect of the game was the naval combat, and stated that I’d […]

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