Assassin’s Creed 3 Review – Failed Revolution
The American Revolution is an inspiring tale; thirteen colonies in North America joined forces to overthrow the British Empire, breaking free from the shackles of the motherland in order to become the great nation it is today. You would think such an important moment in world history would make for one hell of an inspiring video game.
Assassin’s Creed 3 not only fails to be inspiring, it delivers the most disappointing AAA title of 2012. There is no dancing around the fact that it is undoubtably the weakest entry in the series since the original, with lacking AI, terrible mission structure and pacing that is utterly unbearable.
“It serves up a helping of yesterday’s meal, right after your older brother picked all the good stuff from the plate and left you with the dregs.”
Lengthy tutorials yet again plague Assassin’s Creed 3. Not only does it take three sequences (approximately two hours of gameplay) before you take control of protagonist Connor for the first time, the shackles of linearity aren’t truly removed until half-way through the adventure. There’s a difference between building a backstory and dragging out the hours for the sake of it. The harsh reality is that Assassin’s Creed 3 takes too long to become fun in any sense of the word.
That’s the worst part, the story offered by AC3 is the most meaningful in the series. Players fill the shoes of Connor Kenward, a Native American with a vested interest in the outcome of the American uprising. Without any spoilers, this is a tale fuelled by revenge, blood lust and all the good stuff that the Assassin’s Creed series has become known for. The slow pacing never quite recovers from the opening sequences, which ultimately frustrates the player.
The mechanics of Assassin’s Creed 3 remain all too familiar. What was fresh and exciting a few years ago feels aged and tired as you simply hold the free-run button and jump from building to building or tree to tree. The speed and ferocity of combat has sped up significantly, and the addition of pistols and muskets are a novelty at first, but in the end it always culminates with a group of enemies circling you, waiting to be counter-attacked and slaughtered.
The mission design takes a giant leap back, with far too much emphasis placed on eavesdropping, avoiding detection and tailing targets. AC3‘s predecessors made you feel like a super badass assassin, sneaking in after key targets and performing a kill that was truly a spectacle. Unfortunately these moments are few and far between in this outing, leaving the whole experience feeling stale, and quite frankly, a little boring.
While the missions may be a little drab, the other activities you can partake in are one of the redeeming qualities for Assassin’s Creed 3. Previous editions set these up as side-quests that required to be instigated and completed from start to finish. This time the game allows you to stumble upon situations, such as tax collectors ripping off citizens, allowing you to help or ignore at your own leisure. This goes a long way towards making the game world feel real, and considering this is the biggest world we’ve had to explore in an Assassin’s Creed game, that is certainly a good thing.
Keeping away from spoilers, there are a number of sections that allow you to take control of your own boat which are simply stunning. These missions play out as spectacular battles which are possibly the most memorable sections of the game.
The entire Assassin’s Creed series has been rooted in history, and Assassin’s Creed 3 is no different. During your quest you will meet George Washington, take part in the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Bunker Hill, and witness the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Yet your role during these pivotal moments in history become terribly inconsistent; one minute you feel as if your role actually had an impact on the outcome, and the next you simply tell some soldiers who to shoot and you are commended for your efforts. It’s a little disappointing, leaving the player to question what their true purpose is.
This review may seem negative, almost a little harsh at this point. Assassin's Creed 3 isn't a terrible game, it just isn't a very good game either. It serves up a helping of yesterday's meal, right after your older brother picked all the good stuff from the plate and left you with the dregs. It lacks innovation, the pacing is unbearably slow and the mission design takes a giant step backwards. If you're a fan of the series you will still love the game, yet if you haven't taken to it in the past, then Assassin's Creed 3 certainly won't change your mind.