The lights are on
I've been a huge AC fan for since i got my hands on AC1. I loved the concept of playing as ones ancestors, and I even more loved the switch over to a new character back in AC2. Now, after spending 3 games with Ezio, we're finally introduced to another new Assassin, in a new time in history: The American Revolution.
The graphics in AC3 wont immediately make your jaw drop, but attention to some of the smaller details will have you fairly impressed. The number one thing that i can't stop gawking over is the movement through trees. It looks amazing. Conor (our new assassin) seamlessly weaves through trees jumping from on to the other in a way that's effortless for the player. I have to admit at first, i had no clue if there was a tree in front of me for Conor to jump onto, but as you keep playing you start to see patterns in the trees. What's awesome though is that the tree and rock climbing areas, aren't so bold to the eye as the city climbing areas in previous games where you could immediately see the climbing path. You find your way into the tree, and you see the path as you go on it. It's hard to explain, just see for yourself!
The weather effects alone are enough to gawk at. Summer is lush and green, Spring is wet and rainy, and Winter will force you to stick to the trees as the snow below will really slow you down. it's great to explore the same area, and have it feel different each season.
The major cities of New York and Boston look fantastic, and thought they don't offer the same free running beauty of the trees, there's still a lot to marvel at. They're Huge! And the cities are magnificently rebuilt through history. In addition, famous historical battles from the Revolutionary war look great and are a lot of fun to experience.
Sound quality is good, but it's not as noticeable when compared with the graphics. there is one major sound issue i found that bugged me constantly, and that had to do with the water, which look great by the way. Whenever Conor would enter into a river, he'd wade in at about waist level, then he'd switch into a swim. But whenever you make that switch, a huge splash noise is created, as if i just jumped in from a cliff. It's a small bother, but the drastic noise was enough to break my attention constantly.
Furthermore, the voice acting is also excellent, especially in Conor who delivers several striking lines that Ezio would have never expressed at such an emotional level.
The story follows suit with the series. The story mainly follows Desmond in modern time as he goes back into the memories of his ancestors to make connections to the present and tip the odds in the Assassin's favor. As the story essentially all connects to Desmond, i think it makes sense we talk about his story first.
Desmond is far more developed this time around. He has a stronger sense of what he's doing, and actually playing as him the few times you do is actually entertaining. Still, the focus on his story is minimal, and throughout the game, if you think of the length of Desmond's journey, it's rather short. Also an important new character is introduced, but no one will understand his importance unless you've read the first series of comics (you can find these on youtube if needed). It also seems like Desmond's story was kind of rushed through. I'm keeping this spoiler free, so that's about all the detail i can get into.
This time around Desmond is going back to the memories of his ancestor Conor, a half English, half Native American who is thrust into the American Revolution. Ultimately, Desmond's goal is to find the location of of a key that should have been hidden during Conor's time. Conor's goal however is initially a hunt for revenge, then turns in to...well, I honestly don't even think Conor is so sure.
That becomes a serious problem though. I understand the troubles he goes through , but his motives seem to be constantly changing. I have to question if Conor even knows what he's doing. Top this off with his random mood swings where he suddenly goes angry on someone. Once again, the voice acting is great, but Conor comes off as a hot headed whiner.
Also some other key pieces seem to shed some light on the Templars, and for the first time the game has me thinking "are the templars really all bad?" and "are the assassin's really as noble and just as they make them self out to be?". This is excellent. This showing of both sides of the conflict has you form your own opinions, and really pushes the mental force behind the story.
Historically, AC3 will take you from major event to major event. But it doesn't exactly tell you how things got there. The only way time passing is shown is by them flashing a new date, and the seasons changing. It makes sense for the game, but it doesn't show much for the Revolution. Fortunately, to make up for this, whenever a historical character, location, or event is introduced, you can pause the game, and a brief history background is brought up to fully inform you of the history. No one likes to read history, but i highly suggest this. The Revolution is an interesting time in history, and it's interesting to see how Ubisoft has put in subtle changes to the "real" history to make room for their game.
Assassin's Creed III features similar gameplay to that of the rest of the series, but the options presented are much different. It's still the same concept, but it's been refreshed. This is good. You free run, but the way you do is different. You assassinate several, but the methods of assassination are different. Combat is still there when stealth fails, but the systems been reworked. This is great because it's everything we love from the series, but made new, while maintaining a familiarity gamers reach for. And Ubisoft balances this well.
I've already talked about the changes into free running in the "Presentation" section, but a handy note is that the controls are different. As in previous games, there was low profile actions, high profile, and a middle portion, this game drops the middle and does the switch from low to high. Essentially, as with before holding the shoulder button turned your walk into a jog, then combining the "feet" button would jump you into a sprint. Now, there is no jog. you have walking, then the pressing of the shoulder button automatically jumps you into high profile. So most high profile actions now will only require the one button. It takes some getting used to for long time fans, but the changes are definitely for the best.
For assassinations, due to the change of time periods, a new set of weapons is available to you. A "rope dart" which you can use to suspend enemies into trees, Conor's tomahawk and bow and arrow are welcome additions. Also new concepts likes running assassinations, where you kill guys then just keep running, are awesome. The problem is, being so used to the system, i kept forgetting to use these new forms of assassination!
Combat has been reworked. it's hard to explain, but the new combat allows for 2 people to attack you at once, which makes more sense. Another cool thing is that if a guy stops fighting to shoot you, you can grab another guy and use him as a meat shield. combat definitely looks a ton better.
Another notable thing to point out is that the hiding space aren't so obvious anymore. I actually had a hard time finding them sometimes. There more unique too such as simply hiding in tall grass.
This also leads to new gameplay mechanics, like hunting, trading, and crafting are all new features, but they're not forced. What is forced a couple times is naval combat. this actually works really nice. Not everyone will like it, but i found it to be a fun change of pace.
Bad news is, even though a multitude of side missions are still there, you have to go out and find them on you're own. And most people wont do this until after they've beaten the game. I didn't see much reason to stick around, and i found myself going directly from one story mission to the next. This makes for a very linear experience, and this being a sandbox style game, it seems odd to have so much wasted space until you beat the game and realize: "oh, so there are side missions..."
Another thing that brought down the experience a bit was the Synchronization concept. Each missions will have a set of optional objectives that you can do if you want to get 100% on a mission. It's great because it adds an extra challenge, but at times I felt like i had to pressure myself to play it according to get 100% synch, rather than just play it how i wanted to. If players can manage not to feel this way, then it'd be perfect because it adds a perfect challenge for a second playthrough, and it's not like you're being punished for failing them either. Its just too bad that it's not really rewarded either...
A lot is new here, and most of it works. I don't think fans will be disappointed.
Multiplayer is for the most part a clone of the last couple games. You get some new character skins, new maps, and even a couple new game modes, but besides that, it feels like the same experience. This isn't bad unless you were deliberately expecting something fresh.
For those of you knew to the multiplayer of Assassin's Creed, it's much different than what you'd expect from most online multiplayer games. It's actually very strategical and slow paced, and does take some skill. It can be a little confusing at first, and some may initially turn it down, but it works in the long run. The concept is you try to assassinate your target, which so happens to be another player. The world is filled with NPC that look just like your target, and you have to pick out which one is the real target, and picking the wrong one will end the contract. At the same time, another player is hunting you, and doing high profile actions will give you away, so you have to be careful. It's a perfect mixture. In the end, the person who did the most assassinations wins.
That's just the basic game mode. Other modes, such as a capture the flag style mode, and a couple team based modes, will change things up a bit to keep the game interesting.
Leveling up with grant you new weapons, moves, and special abilities, along with unlocking bits and pieces of the Templars side to the story.
It's a fun and engaging multiplayer, but definitely won't appeal to everyone due to it's unique gameplay.
Assassin's Creed III bring to American Revolution to life amazingly, and is a more than welcome edition to the series. However, long fans looking for something fresh may be slightly disappointed. It's a new character, a new setting, but it's still Assassin's Creed. This isn't a bad thing, and there are enough new things in store to keep this from feeling like a clone.
My advise, take the game slow. don't rush from mission to mission, and explore the world and what it has to offer. Assassin's Creed III should have something most gamers will find enjoyable.
No one has commented on this article.