AC3 was a bit of a hit and miss judging by some of the reviews I have already read but rubbish it is not!
I am a big fan of the Assassin’s Creed games and tend to get as much as I possibly can in terms of finding all the collectables and the extra sub quests and side missions. I was however skeptical about the story and time setting however it does give the series a different angle to previous games.
There seems to be a lot of hate for the main character Connor who you don’t get to play as until you are at least 2-3 hours in and then you are forced to play as a child for a while. I actually liked the way the game started and felt it set up the story base quite well even if it was slow burning. I have no issues with Conner as a character at all, ok he does comes across a tad boring at times and lacks some of the personality that previous assassins had but because he was half Native it allowed the introduction of climbing and jumping through tress and hunting and skinning animals into the AC world which I felt kept the series fresh and new. I think having to play Connors father from the start didn’t help with most people’s perception of Connor as he is a more powerful, interesting and likable character I think that some gamers felt a bit let down with what they were left with.
At the end of the day you only have to put up with him any time you have to chat to people and story breaks, once he has his Assassin’s garments on he’s just like any other Assassin and you can’t really see his face if that’s what bothers you. The combat feels more fluid to previous games with some added moves and interaction with the background which sets the game apart however once mastered there is no real challenge and I can find myself being surrounded by loads of enemies and still come away unharmed. This said I still really enjoy a good in game fight and could do it over and over again……….In fact I did throughout the game without getting bored.
The graphics are yet again and unsurprisingly stunning, I love the way the day progresses into night and vice versa, also the seasons changing from summer to winter through the game gives the landscape a fresh welcome look and feel.
As well as the two main Cities Connor has two locations set out in the American Frontier surrounded by animals both harmless and deadly which you can hunt, kill and skin for money, unfortunately unless you take the more deadly animals by surprise you will enter into a lame quick time event which really provides very little challenge. The areas are vast and at first fun to travel through but with a lack of fast travel locations can become overwhelming to travel to story and side mission destinations.
Aside from the main missions the game is full of side quests. Most are repeated throughout the game and some even from previous games. Animal hunts and Brawling Clubs are a welcome addition but what really stood out for me where the Naval missions. These involve you taking control of your own ship which you were able to upgrade into deadly waters to attack the British fleets. The feel and control of the ship felt right and the Navel missions where my favorite side quests especially the missions where they added a storm element that added an extra challenge. The Navel missions really give me a lot of hope for the 4th AC game which I feel will be more of the same and no bad thing.
Connor also can build up his homestead as part of further side missions, moving people from the city into the Frontier, those with a trade can give you extra missions, most of which are short and easy to finish but again it’s a nice touch and adds more depth to Connor’s character which was lacking in the main story.
Ubisoft really have packed in the side missions as once you have those with a trade settled at your homestead you can get them to build you supplies and even trade with stores via a convoy. Other Assassins are also back to control and help out in battles and you can again upgrade them and send them out on jobs like before however this time you can do this from the menu system but this quickly becomes boring.
I feel there really is almost too many extras now in these games and everything can become a little overwhelming especially if you are after Trophies/Achievements.
The worst thing for me is the fact it feels rushed, it’s packed with so much that there are other area’s which have been neglected and are glaringly obvious. Some of the characters lips won’t move when they speak to you, not just side quests but those in the main story taking me back to Tomb Raider 1 on the PS1 when I had to see Lara chat without moving her lips it just looks wrong in today’s games. While the towns look amazing when busy and the hustle and bustle of everyone going about their daily business I did find people randomly disappearing right in front of me or some even stuck within some of the background so I could only see arms coming out of a floor or building.
Once but only once a wolf attacked and killed me during a cut scene I was watching which forced me to repeat the quest, I was not happy!
These little issues really stand out in today’s games and so late into the console’s lives we shouldn’t be seeing this anymore especially from big release titles such as this.
In summary I really enjoyed AC3, I managed to do everything the game offered apart from Multiplayer and 100% Sync for all missions. The improvement in combat to make things more fluid is a welcome addition as well as the change in scenery and navel missions however the fact the game feels rushed and issues with glitches can sometimes ruin the experience.
The Desmond missions were also fun to play and I found myself gripped to the story outside the Animus. Graphics are stunning and the soundtrack again compliments the game well.
Bring on Assassin’s Creed 4