Assassin’s Creed 3 Review

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Genre: Action   Players: 1 (online multiplayer)   Online: Yes    Off-TV Play: Yes

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Assassin’s Creed 3 Review: One of the first major third party game releases to get a Wii U release. How does it fare?

Assassin's Creed 3 Review

I have previously played a fair amount of Assassin’s Creed 2, got familiar with climbing buidings and pulling off gruesome assassinations. So how does this entry into the franchise fair?

The story of Assassin’s Creed 3 centers around two protagonists: Connor, a Native American and his role in the American revolution and Desmond, the 2012 protagonist, set just before the end of the Mayan calendar. The story has themes around freedom and control: Americans revolting against British control, Native Americans trying to keep their homeland and the current story around Desmond and the battle between the Assassins and Templars and the potential end of the earth, linked with the Mayan calendar.

The theme of Templars vs Assassins has been present throughout all the Creed games. Usually with the assassin interwoven with historical events. In this installment, Connor is involved with the throwing of crates of tea into the Boston River and is present at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. If Dan Brown was to write a video game, you might expect similar themes; with historical events given hidden meaning and conspiracy elements. Assassins Creed 2 was a bit more clever and subtle in its execution of this, rather than conveniently throwing the protagonist straight into big major historical events.

Assassin's Creed 3 Review

The game essentially controls very much like the previous games. For those unaware, you essentially can climb up any building, explore the city on roof top, execute various assassinations. The controls do take a bit of getting used to initially, but veteran players should have little difficulty.

The ability to climb and explore forests and trees is a new addition and when it works well, its a great mechanic. Climbing to the top of a massive tree to unlock a “view” is stunning the first few times. Unfortunately, there is a number of occasions where it simply does not work so smoothly and can feel very limited.

Despite the trailers showing some amazing combat, it really does not feel to have progressed so much from previous games. You get the odd occasion where attacking multiple enemies line up and you get a well placed animation, but this is exceptionally rare.

Assassin's Creed 3 Review

Another new gameplay mechanic are the ship battles you encounter while out at sea. Which involves lining your ship up with the wind, putting the sails to a speed you’re happy with, and then either ramming other ships, or shooting cannons at them from the side. Initially these scenes look stunning and are good fun, but the novelty does wear off to some extent, when you have too keep focusing on wind direction.

The game does also have an online mode. Going through the training, it is not as straight forward as it could have been. However, despite many, many attempts, I was never able engage in an online match, which appeared more down to lack of other players rather than any technical limitations.

Assassin's Creed 3 Review

Unfortunately, there are also a number of glitches which taint this game. There were many occasions where people were walking through property like fences or horses standing on top of fences, in very weird and unnatural way. There is also the odd problem that completely ruins the the flow of the game. For example, as a child version of Connor while in Boston, you are asked to follow another man so he can lead you to the entrance of the tunnels running below the city. After he asks you to follow him, he just stands there and follows you instead and you only get a vague reference to where you need to go. On this instance I had to look up online what to do in order to progress the story. Considering how big a team was working on this game, oversights like this are incredibly annoying.

Assassin's Creed 3 Review

Also, while the game world is huge, it doesn’t feel like it has a lot of variety to its appearance. It’s either cities like Boston or New York without any especially large structures to climb, forestry, small settlements or castle like forts to break into. It does feel like they have aimed high with this game, but not quite got it right.

Story wise, the game is a mixed fare. Historically, there is a lot of detail and it is interesting to explore Connor’s story from a young boy, however it had potential to have been more interesting. The characters are not that strong; Connor can sometimes come across like a wet blanket or spoiled child rather than a hardened assassin and at points he seems to have a chip on his shoulder towards the wrong people, making him quite unlikeable. Then the story is cut up at various intersections with Desmond’s character, who is even less appealing. His story goes from dull to bizarre. This side of the game treads into sci-fi / supernatural elements, which feel out of place having just played as Connor in a stricter, realistic, historical setting. This is a big difference compared to Ezio in Assassin’s Creed 2, who came across as a more likeable and stronger willed protagonist.

Assassin's Creed 3 Review

This game is fun in many ways, it carries forward the exploration and assassin abilities which have made the previous games so popular. However, the large production values seem to have lost the personality on route, with a story you end up caring little about and characters you don’t feel particularly endeared to. The intersections with Desmond’s story also do little to help and the culmination in a sci-fi, almost stargate style ending only serve to make it a confusing experience – had the story started in that vein in might have been different, but it makes it feel like a game caught between genres.

Head Heart
Some glitches
Unlikeable characters
Complex controls
Cold storyline
No online activity Fun climbing
 Big Open World  
  Good 75%

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David Lee
David is the founder of Heart Gaming. Regular writer, reviewer and editor. Has a strong passion for gaming; particularly the Legend of Zelda series.