Assassins Creed 3 (PS3) A Casual Review

When I started playing this game last week Wednesday, I was amped up and super excited.  I bought the freedom edition which came with an awesome figurine of Connor with the old American flag behind him, a George Washington diary, a metal case with art work by Alex Ross, and something else.  The George Washington diary looked awesome but unfortunately somebody at the printing company screwed up.  Some of the pages were bound in on each other which I found rather disappointing.  But luckily this is a review of the game not the journal but I suppose I should have taken that as a warning sign.

The game continues directly from where Revelations ended.  Desmond, Rebecca, Shaun and Desmond’s father, William Miles arrive at the grand temple where they are supposed to unlock the secrets to saving the world from a big ass solar flare, an event that would take place December 21, 2012.  You relive another of Desmond’s ancestor’s life, Ratonhnhaké:ton, pronounced “Ra-doon-ha-kay-doon” or his western name, Connor Kenway.  The time period is set from 1753 to 1783 way after the revolutionary war ended.  I’m not going to delve into the plot at all with regards to Connor’s or Desmond’s story but just how the game plays and what the experience over all was.

First off, the game is stunningly beautiful, especially in winter.  When you’re running around the frontier, jumping through trees and watching patrols amble their way in the snow, you can’t help but admire the beauty of it all.  The level of detail with regards to the frontier is breath taking but Boston and New York not so much, mostly because there really wasn’t much to see in these towns.  They were still new towns developing so it felt kind of bland.  If they could’ve used the anvil next engine in say France it would be freaking beautiful.  It would have been absolutely stunning if they had this engine for the previous instalments.  A nice new addition to the weather is rain and storms. I could almost smell the petrichor in the air (that’s the scent you smell right before it rains). The character animations are a big step up when compared to the older games and the fluidity of the movements make it that much better.  The best thing about this game is the naval battles.  Commanding your own ship on stormy seas and blasting the shit out of enemies was the biggest high point of this game.  It looks beautiful, believable, the controls are easy to grasp and it’s generally just a shit load of fun.  You can also hunt animals but it becomes a bit tedious and very time consuming.  The quick travel returns but kind of defeats the purpose of quick travel because you actually explore the tunnel and have to find a way out.

But more importantly one of the greatest things about Assassins Creed is the story.  Right from the beginning when every one of us fan boys was trying to decipher the symbols that were painted on the lab walls and floors, we were trying to figure out just what the hell was going on.  Then Assassins Creed 2 wet our appetite even more with the glyph locations and the video titled the truth showing Adam and Eve.  Brotherhood was just as good and Ubisoft kept the modern story arc going and always left you wanting more and googling to your hearts content, desperate to solve the mystery.  When Revelations came out I thought that the Ezio saga was getting stale but it did still have some pull and I thoroughly enjoyed the final chapter of Ezio’s adventure and was anxiously awaiting how Desmond fits into this web of conspiracy and it’s here that Ubisoft lost the plot.

Visually and if you only play the naval battle missions and spend all your time in the frontier, this game is a freaking master piece but unfortunately I feel that Ubisoft has put a lot of effort into places that isn’t relevant to the Assassins Creed experience and has missed the bar completely on this one.

Assassins Creed 3 is the buggiest triple-A game I have ever played and that’s with the day one patch.  Connor got stuck in walls at times, I saw a chest move by itself, guards that stop patrolling, a ladies dress that defied gravity and so much more that I was actually tempted to send hate mail to Ubisoft.  There were no tombs to discover, not a hell of a lot of platforming and nothing worth discovering either.  Side missions have lost all meaning to the story and present little to no challenge at all.  Synchronizing one hundred percent no longer adds to the enjoyment of replaying a level because your optional objectives are not always challenging, instead they become excruciatingly painful.  The combat system has been dumbed down to the point that you might as well not even get into a fight because all you have to do is wait for a guard to attack and then either disarm them or counter attack them.  While I am aware that this is roughly the same as the previous games the combat in here specifically lacks any excitement. Also when a line of guards is about to fire at you, you have a chance to grab a nearby enemy and use them as a human shield but there are times where you can’t see the warning indicator and you will get shot to hell and loose a substantial amount of health in the process.  Speaking of health, it regenerates after a combat sequence and it is almost impossible to die unless you deliberately run off a cliff or miss the warning indicator and get shot at twice by rows of guards.

The biggest problem I have with this game is the story.  The main story arc of saving the world ended way too easily and it left me with a, Is that it?, kind of feeling.  I was sorely disappointed at how Ubisoft spent all this time building up this awesome story and then just ending it with hardly any drama or emotion.  None of the characters had a sense of impending doom upon them.  They expressed concern sure, but not one of them showed fear or even panicked.  It’s like they didn’t really care or understand the ramifications of this thing.   They were all completely emotionless except for maybe a few small scenes. Ubisoft tied up a few loose ends but everything was just so easy.  It almost feels like they got bored with their own story and personally, after investing five years worth into this series, the ending and the answers that we get leaves me with a horrible taste in my mouth.   Connor’s story was also exceptionally boring and he had no character development at all.  He was either, whiney, neutral, frustrated or angry and he was just doing as he was told.  Granted he was driven by revenge after his village burned down but you would think that after years of training to be an assassin that he would have some form of enlightenment or understanding and start realizing that there are bigger things happening in his world besides his needless lust for vengeance.

This is an empty shell of an Assassins Creed game and it honestly hurts to say such bad things about it.  For a game that has had a three year development process, it felt rushed, unpolished and had a general lack of care and effort put into it.  If this is how they treat their top IP franchises I don’t want to imagine how they treat their lowest IP and this review is coming from a dedicated Assassins Creed fan boy who owns all the original games for PC and PS3.

If you’re a fan you will probably appreciate the finer things this game has to offer but if you’re new to this IP rather play the first four and give this a miss and watch the ending on You Tube.

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Assassins Creed 3 Game Play Premier

I know its a been a while since i blogged about anything Assassins Creed lately but i was waiting for this video.  It’s all good and well to speak about the weapons that Connor will use to bash Templar’s heads in, and even more good and well to hear about the location  yet again.  I don’t have much to add to this except…

HOLY CRAP, THIS FOOTAGE IS FREAKING AWESOME!!

I am so excited now after seeing this footage.  The game play mechanics looks fantastic.  The textures are thick and rich.  The motion is fluid and the scenery is absolutely beautiful.  Did I mention that you could hunt wildlife as well.  In the trailer you see Connor reaching over a dead solider and right behind him is a big ass bear.  Also when you’re running away from guards you see Connor jumping through an open window, over a desk and out another window.

I don’t have much to add.  The trailer speaks for itself

Enjoy

Assassins Creed 3

A lot of rumors and speculation were circulating around the location of the next Assassins Creed title but earlier this week Game Informer put all of that to rest by leaking art work of the upcoming game.  Assassins Creed 3 WILL BE set during the American Revolution and the main protagonist will be a guy named Connor who had an English father and a Native American mother.  According to Game Informer the opening sequence will see you play as Connor during his childhood on the American frontier as he’s raised by a Native American tribe called The Mohawk.  The whites eventually clash with the tribe and burn down Connors village and it’s in that experience of our new hero that he dedicates himself to fighting injustice, tyranny and the templar order.  (How he finds out about the Templars is yet to be revealed.)   The game will be set between 1753 and 1783 and will have Connor running around the cities of Boston and New York.

A few people who have been confirmed to be in the game play a huge roll during this historical event with characters such as Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and a guy named Charles Lee, (I’ve done a bit of research and I can’t figure out who Charles Lee is???) (Where is Thomas Jefferson?  Wasn’t he a main player during the American Revolution?)

Ubisoft is definitely pulling out the stops as they have completely revamped the Anvil game engine to support a much broader spectrum of level designs.  You will be able to see a thousand man bloody battle during certain levels of the game (the previous assassins creed games could only handle up to 100 men) AND taking a note out of Naughty Dog’s instruction manual, their scenes in the game are completely acted out and recorded while the actors wear those skin tight suit’s with the motion capture devices attached in order to achieve a more realistic angle.  The combat system has also been upgraded with a brand spanking new arsenal to go with our new assassin.  There will be nothing familiar from the previous games except maybe the hidden blade (which I’m still waiting to see a picture of) and of course kill streaks.

The game play is slightly different from the previous games.  Connor will be able to climb trees, cliffs, hunt for resources, jump over wagons and slide under obstacles.  (A very interesting change to the formula) and you can use human shields.  Seasons will also change from summer to winter in which the lakes will freeze over and, snow will be falling etc, etc and all this will test your skills as an assassin as you hunt your prey.   There will be no more tower defense (YAY!!!) and an upgraded notoriety system.

There will also be more of the first person perspective block levels but Ubisoft is yet to release any more details regarding it.

This game has been three years in the making and has double the production capacity and budget when compared to revelations.

Although a new time period is obviously welcome I can’t help but wonder if we are ever going to be able to play as Desmond as a full fledged assassin.  It seems like everything is going into his ancestors, which is awesome, but still, four games in the making and we’ve only ever officially played as skilled Desmond twice in the series.

The other thing that does concern me though is the release date.  The game is set to come out on October 30 2012.  Two months from the “end of the world” story line.  If Ubisoft is focusing on yet another of Desmond’s ancestors, will there be time to play as Desmond to save the world or will be just a few quick levels and “oh, I just saved the world”.  If they are going to incorporate more levels for Desmond will it perhaps come down as a DLC after the games release in order to push up sales for a new DLC download which might tie in perfectly before 24 December 2012?  It would be a great way for Ubisoft to milk the franchise especially for the hard core Assassin fans (like myself) that will be waiting up late in order to download the DLC before we all meet our end.

Only time will tell I guess but until then, a new Assassin is emerging out of history and a new era is dawning on the horizon.

And just to wet your appetite even more, I present to you the official Assassins Creed 3 trailer…. enjoy fellow Assassins