Three steps forward, four steps back.

The latest in the Assassin’s Creed franchise brings you to the time period of the journey to America’s Independence. Merely a backstory, events like the Signing of the Declaration of Independence are fillers to the story. The plot is overly confusing to start with, since there are British, Loyalists, Colonists, various wars and other factions that is a challenge to understand in its entirety. The father-son relationship could have been elaborated further and add more depth to the characters.

In the end, it doesn’t matter, since this game has one of the worst writing in the series. The Desmond ending is atrocious. As with all previous games, I still have problems grasping “The Ones that Came Before” storyline, even after 3 games.

You play as a Native American turned Assassin who’s on a path to revenge and protecting his village. Throw in Templars in his way and you get a protagonist that doesn’t really live by the creed of an Assassin.

You are basically the only one to be recruited, when the brotherhood is a shadow of their former self. I felt very disconnected from the character and the world overall. Having George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and other famous characters didn’t provide much life as characters in previous games. They appear devoid of life and the entire game seems to be depressing with no humour at all. Connor is probably one of the least likable characters in the series, and having him act all depressed, misunderstood and a complete asshole at times doesn’t play out as fun as Ezio.

Finishing the game, it felt that the game was supposed to be more ambitious than it currently is, but wasn’t able to unfortunately. Early previews were showing some promise, but ultimately some features were removed from the game.

Imagine the potential of being much more involved in the wars.
Imagine the potential of being much more involved in the wars.

The graphics are decent, and certain areas in the game looked impressive on my PC. Unfortunately, the colors and visuals couldn’t match up to the vivid and colorful settings in the past games. There were optimization issues that did get in the way, like the much complained Boston frame rate drops and the Tomahawk totally disappearing from my inventory.
There were so many missed opportunities with this game, the hunting provides nothing else except to sell your hunts off for income, and you don’t get to mini-manage cities nor upgrade buildings to further your income. They could have done so much more. See that epic skirmish in the official trailer release? You don’t get that, rather something on a much smaller scale.
Tree running is a complete waste, since you probably won’t spend much time climbing them to reach your destinations. Not all trees are climbable to start with. I didn’t see much difference in the fluidity of the combat, except a change in the system and animations. But the combat animations are brutally satisfying, and Ubisoft finally removes the grossly imbalanced block and counter move that makes quick work of fights in previous games. Now, you have to mash buttons and balance enemy focus at the right time, and avoid getting shot at by grabbing a human shield. Unfortunately there isn’t a health indicator of the enemy, and it left me frustrated as you weren’t sure if the enemy is fully taken care of. Desmond’s segments aren’t that bad, only thing I dislike was the maze like huge Portal room where you have to fit the cubes in the power sources. It was frustrating as I got lost too often.

Ambushing a convoy sounds exciting, but it’s not worth the effort or reward.
Ambushing a convoy sounds exciting, but it’s not worth the effort or reward.

Now the game isn’t entirely bad nor devoid of the spirit of previous AC games.  Encouraging the players more to try and fulfill optional objectives for full synchronization, ups the challenge and satisfaction of a mission. Free-running no longer requires you to fumble with the jump button, which makes it easier on the fingers. You can run through buildings as a shortcut or to avoid detection. There is also more stealth focus in this game, including eavesdropping and having the choice to assassinate a target in a straight-on fight, or sneaking through the camp and surprise from atop. The naval battles are exciting, and you’d probably be surprised at how well they pulled it off. It could be a mini-game by itself. It’s very, very intense. Side-missions have you trying to eradicate smallpox, taking over forts and protecting farmers.

Assassin’s Creed 3 is an enjoyable game that is filled with missed opportunities and bad gameplay decisions. There’s nothing much to be said about the story missions since it’s like any other game in the AC series and doesn’t deviate much from the formula. Unfortunately, it looks like Ubisoft took a risky gamble to improvise the series.

Simply put, this game isn’t a must get, but if you have the money to grab this game along with others in your wishlist, it’s still worth the cash.
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