Assassin's Creed III Review
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Assassin's Creed III builds strongly on the series but fails to take a giant leap of faith into any real new territory. A new plot, the Colonial America setting, and sheer volume of things to do outweigh the disappointing bugs and glitches.
- Great sense of place in Colonial America
- Compelling narrative
- Fun gameplay
- Bugs and graphic issues
- Lots to do, but loosely tied together
- Poor enemy A.I.
(continued from previous page) ...to your secondary weapon--like your pistol, for example. An indicator above an enemy's head let's you know he's about to attack so you properly time a block and counter. Hand-to-hand combat plays a lot like that in other brawlers, like Batman: Arkham City, but it's not nearly as enjoyable. That could be because A.I. for both enemies and allies, is off. Sometimes allies will run into walls and keep running, while enemies will crowd around Connor for a fight, but just stand there and watch. Other times enemies crowded around Connor will all fight at once, resulting in that crowd of baddies running into each other and making something of a mess.
Some of those allies and enemies include historic figures, including Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, William Prescott, Paul Revere, and Charles Lee. It's important to note that the game spans many years, and is set before, during, and after the Revolutionary War. This is obviously historical fiction, but Assassin's Creed III does include some real life events, like the Boston Tea Party. History buffs may get a kick out of the retelling of history, but the rest of us will just give a "hey, I know that!" smile when they meet someone they learned about in school and take part in events borrowed from text books.
Character models are generally fantastic. In fact, the game overall is gorgeous. That is, it's mostly gorgeous. There are times during cutscenes where the faces of characters look muddy, where lip syncing is painfully bad, and textures take too long to properly set in place. Those are the basic issues associated with the game's graphical shortcomings. The draw distance seems far too small considering the world is so wonderfully designed. The enormity of bugs is also upsetting (note that this is even after the patch). At one point a character I was talking to while on a carriage simply disappeared, yet Connor kept talking and looking in their general direction. At another time the screen flickered black and white, and another time a horse was standing on a wagon. Worse bugs caused issues with some quests. For example, one quest has you follow someone, and when the person says "hey, come follow me," he simply stands there with a dumb look on his face.
Long load screens and confusing menus also add to the overall frustration and lack of refinement in Assassin's Creed III. As an overall package, it's solid, but it's loosely held together and it's clear it needed another six months or so to work on these issues, both large and small.
Multiplayer offers yet more things to do in Assassin's Creed III. The new cooperative Wolfpack mode allows up to four players to fight as a team against increasingly difficult enemies in a set time frame. The more you kill, the more time you'll get. There's also the modes that allow you to compete in king of the hill, deathmatches, and capture-the-flag style play. As you earn points in multiplayer, you can unlock new abilities and stories.
Assassin's Creed III is deeper than I had time to cover here, and that's a good thing. There is simply so much to do and see that it's hard not to recommend this title, even to someone completely new to the assassins on-going battle against the Templars. However, it's also a game filled with problems that detract from the otherwise solid premise. Bugs, graphic glitches, lack of polish, and poor enemy A.I. all add up frustration, and just because a game has a lot to do, doesn't mean it's held together very well. However, if you want to step back in time and play a solid stealth action-adventure game, Assassins' Creed III is a great fit. There is simply so much content here that it would be a shame not to check this out.