So I’ve now played through five Assassin’s Creed games. I remember playing the first one around the time the second game came out. I thought it was a pretty interesting game, mixing real historical events with fictional elements of an assassin’s order fighting for power against the legendary Knights Templar. Assassin’s Creed II really amped up the gameplay and introduced us to Ezio Auditoire da Firenze, one of the coolest video game characters ever.
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood was pretty much just a full-priced expansion pack to Assassin’s Creed II, but it was still a good game, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Assassin’s Creed Revelations finished up Ezio’s story, and honestly, just didn’t improve enough on the last two games to make it feel like a fresh enough experience to really grab me. Tying all these games together is the overarching plot of a modern day Templar front, Abstergo Industries, using Desmond Miles to search for ancient powerful artifacts that his ancestors had come into contact with by plugging him into the Animus, a machine that gives the user the ability to relive his predecessors’ experiences.
Assassin’s Creed III finishes up Desmond’s story and introduces a new ancestor assassin, Ratonhnhaké:ton, who goes by the name Connor. Desmond and his team are searching for a key that will help save the Earth from the impending December 21, 2012 apocalypse. To achieve this, Desmond uses the memories of his ancestor, Connor, who had come into contact with this key. Connor is a Native American who lives in New England during the Revolutionary War in the late eighteenth century. You get to experience a lot of key events leading up to and during the war, such as the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s midnight ride, the Battle of Yorktown, and others. Connor meets and works with plenty of notable figures such as Sam Adams and George Washington during his mission to take revenge on the people who killed his mother and endanger the future of his people. The story elements are very interesting and entertaining to follow. The voice acting is very good and really helps make you care about these characters, particularly Connor. The Native Americans are all voiced by actual Native American actors who speak the Mohawk language, and it’s a really cool and authentic experience.
The graphics in Assassin’s Creed III are good for a late last gen game. Character faces do look a bit greasy in some cases, but generally look pretty realistic. Further, the character animations do look a bit stiff in some spots, especially when you’re seeing Desmond in a conversation scene. He’s in his “ready to go” stance when he’s just having a normal conversation. It’s a bit odd to see, but stuff like this doesn’t distract from the overall experience.
The cities do look pretty similar, and you can’t really tell which city you’re in just by glancing at the architecture, but that may be a historical choice, so I didn’t pay it any mind. The rural and frontier areas are beautiful and really make you want to go trekking through the woods in real life. The weather effects are pretty cool as well, with your characters struggling to run through the deep snow or looking wet when standing in the rain.
The music is okay, in my opinion. It’s mostly atmospheric, so you don’t notice it a lot of the time, but when the melody does shine through, it’s pretty rad. I don’t really have much else to say about it. Modern game music just isn’t as fun or catchy as it used to be, but it would feel out of place if it were. Whatever. Lindsey Stirling did an excellent cover, so check that out.
The game falls flat in the gameplay department. The short explanation is that it feels like an Assassin’s Creed game with a few new features tacked on. The long explanation is that ACIII just doesn’t feel any different from past games, other than the ability to free run through trees, do a bit of hunting, and sail a ship. It still has clunky controls that will leave you cursing. Running through the streets to get rid of the guards on your tail? How about just randomly latching onto a door frame so they can shoot you easier. Trying to chase down a target? Hey Connor, why not take a completely unplanned dip in the harbor. Any minor deviation on your control stick can completely screw up your intended course. There were so many times when something like this happened that I started to get fed up with the game near the end. That’s not to say the game doesn’t have its bright spots. Killing guards can still be fun when you’re in the groove of things, and sailing your ship and taking out British frigates is pretty entertaining as well. All said, by the time I was finished playing the game, I told myself that I was done with Assassin’s Creed games. Now, I may end up playing more in the future, but it won’t be for quite awhile.
Not quite like this, but it’s still funny.
The side quests don’t seem to add too much to the story, but can be interesting if you really want to experience them. The problem is that you’ll just end up doing the same types of quests that you’d be doing in the main missions. I skipped most of them, because I kind of knew what I’d get out of the effort due to my past Assassin’s Creed exploits and the reward isn’t really worth the work, in my opinion. If you like collection quests and following around NPCs and making sure they’re safe, by all means, play through the side quests. Just know that it doesn’t seem to add too much to the overall experience.
Do I suggest you play Assassin’s Creed III? Sure! I can’t say that it’s a bad experience at all. The story and setting alone make for a decent experience. Playing as a Native American is pretty cool, and you don’t really get to do that much in video games. If you’ve played Assassin’s Creed games in the past, you’ll know what you’re getting in the gameplay, and it may seem a bit tired, like it did for me. If you’re new to Assassin’s Creed games, this may feel a bit fresh. The story with Desmond that stretches back to the first Assassin’s Creed game isn’t really a deterrent to new players. In all Assassin’s Creed games, I feel the story of the historical assassin you mainly play as has a much more engrossing and important story. Also, the game gives you a backstory on what Desmond has been up to until this point, so you won’t feel too in the dark. Just be advised that the gameplay isn’t exceptional. It’s mediocre at best, and if the story doesn’t really grab you, there won’t be much point in finishing the game.