Ubisoft have taken a very different approach to the third edition of the popular Assassin’s Creed franchise. With the new era, story, characters and gameplay – is it still a game that requires you to purchase it without hesitation?
Unless you have been underneath a rock for the last 12 months you should already know about the change in story. Even if the only engagement you have had is seeing the cover art, the new setting for the game would be apparent. AC3 is set in 18th century America in the middle of the revolution.
The story is solid and provides a much needed refresh for the series with new characters and environments that help make Ac3 feel like a brand new game. You get to meet quite a few historical figures throughout the story which helps pull you deeper into the era. The writing is fantastic, the story long and complex which provides a great backbone for the game. Unlike previous installments where gameplay has been paramount, Assassin’s Creed 3 sees the story take the front seat.
Assassin’s Creed 3 looks really good, as you would expect given the previous games. The city of Boston for example feels full of life with people bustling around and the morning sunlight glinting off the snow. You can’t help but be impressed with the detailed textures and lighting throughout the game. The cut scenes give life to the well written script providing an enticing piece of entertainment.
One major issue that I had with the games presentation is the very long and frequent loading screens. It seems that every interaction you have within the world triggers the white screen of wait. It does hamper the flow of the game quite dramatically. The menu system is also very tricky providing a complicated structure of option that can be quite difficult to navigate at times. However, given the massive size of AC3 and the beautifully rendered environments, you do have to cut Ubisoft a bit of slack in this department.
Along with the story, the gameplay is a section of the game that has seen a major overhaul, not all of this is good news though. The free run system has been simplified slightly with just one button needed to sprint, jump and climb up walls and leap from roof to roof. Not a major change and one that you won’t notice straight away as it just feels right. The introduction of forests provides a splash of novelty to the heart of the winning AC gameplay.
One of the problems that AC3 faces is the steep learning curve which makes it a difficult game for a newcomer to pick up. The first missions rely purely on stealth and will frustrate you to no end. It’s no longer as simple as throwing a stone and blending into a group of NPC’s in order to sneak past guards, making combat a very regular occurrence. I like a fight as much as the next guy, however the combat system has been simplified considerably and to be honest feels very easy. The timing of counter attacks is quick to learn (like 10 minutes) and takes a lot of the challenge away.
A big issue for me was the shooting. Maybe this was just 10 minutes of stupidity on my part, but I couldn’t get the gun to shoot when I wanted it to and kept having to resort to my melee weapons. After battling like this for 10 minutes I decided to Google it and found a lot of similar problems – the trick is that you have to be locked onto an enemy before you even aim your gun and can shoot. I’m not sure why they didn’t follow the shooting system from the previous games, but this definitely takes some getting used to.
In the past Ubisoft have tried out various gameplay breakaways, which were mostly unsuccessful. However with the introduction of the naval warfare in AC3 they have hit a winner. I found it to be a huge amount of fun and have heard the same from a lot of other people. I wouldn’t be surprised if they create a spin-off game or at least some specific naval warfare DLC missions.
Assassin’s Creed 3 is very ambitious, attempting to tackle a huge amount of improvements and new features within one game. It struggles with a few but succeeds with more, providing a very good game to cap off the Assassin’s Creed franchise.
Assassin’s Creed 3 was developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published Ubisoft. Our review is based on the Xbox 360 version. It is also available for the PC & PlayStation 3.