By now, you’re probably aware of the story behind Assassin’s Creed III with the setting of revolutionary times in America. That bit alone has had gamers highly anticipating the next in the Assassin’s Creed game line. So is the story enough? Is there more than a narrowly focused storyline? Does this Assassin’s Creed take the series to new heights?
Unlike many RPGs where a setting has to be nurtured and built up for players to engage in, Assassin’s Creed III requires no such background explanation. The setting is based on history – a revolutionary time actually happened in America. As such, we expected much of the scenery presented as well as character run-ins with Ben Franklin and George Washington.
From the start, with the Animus interface, we were drawn in. The opening Sequence delivered the kind of immediate gratification gamers look for. Later, as America becomes the main setting, the environment explodes in size with an immense area to explore and navigate. The detail is superb and Boston comes to life as seen from rooftops, keeping with the vertical view nature of the series.
Players start as Haytham Kenway, a confident, matter-of-fact type of character. Though he doesn’t don a hood and have that special mysteriousness about him, the character is right for the story.
Which brings us to the storytelling itself. It is well written, easy to follow and does a fine job of illustrating the events and happenings within the game. There was clearly a good deal of thought put into the storytelling. Unfortunately, the gameplay left us feeling a bit underwhelmed.
While dramatic kill scenes are a plus, the fighting is basic parry/counter with little room for creativity. We found using firearms especially tiresome and found ourselves constantly dropping the weapon instead of firing it or looting downed enemies.
We’re not fond of companions in general in gaming for the same reasons seen in Assassin’s Creed III. It’s easy to wander too far from them, they always need protecting and undoubtedly get discovered when trying to sneak around. Expect more of the same here.
We’re not going to nitpick every little detail, but ultimately we want our assassin to be stealthy, take care of business and watch the effects from deeds. The stealth part of the game has been somewhat sacrificed in favor of combat. That’s not to say stealth is entirely missing, but for a good portion of the game players will find that combat is more prevalent than sneaking about.
Cut scenes are plentiful so be prepared to stop and watch often. Cinematics will also interrupt gameplay if a mission has been completed regardless of whether you were discovered at completion. The cut scenes disrupt the flow of the game to the point where we never felt completely comfortable and immersed in the game.
Side Missions and Extras
We went with the Target version for some extra skins which are cool and a nice little extra to have right from the beginning, though they serve no functional value.
Side missions and sub-quests are your choice to pursue and plentiful throughout the game. Though it’s an appealing idea to help Ben Franklin, we just weren’t interested. That in a nutshell sums up the interactions in Assassin’s Creed III. It’s hard to feel compelled to help others nor is there reason to be drawn into character’s plights. If you’re a fan of completing everything, then Assassin’s Creed III will keep you busy. If you’re not, then this game will feel a bit narrow.
The Final Word
Assassin’s Creed III left us feeling a bit odd. The game looks great, feels great, even plays great, but is it great? Yes and no.
Yes, Assassin’s Creed III is a fascinating history tale that graphically amazes and adds a quality chapter to the Assassin’s Creed series. It gets high marks for looking exceptional and delivering a story worth following.
No, the game is too linear with little reason to stray beyond the main storyline and engage with surroundings. The story takes too long to get going and sputters for a good portion of the beginning. The combat nature versus stealth could have been a good thing, but in this scenario is unbalanced.
If we used a rating system, we’d be inclined to give Assassin’s Creed III an 8 out of 10. An above average game that has elements of greatness, though falls short of being a must have game.
Pick up a copy of Assassin’s Creed III and decide for yourself!
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