Ubisoft gave audiences such high hopes for Assassins Creed 3. They promised they would take the series in a new direction with all new characters, story arcs, settings, and side missions and in my opinion, they certainly delivered. It’s refreshing to see a different story in a different location. For the last three it seemed like the series was stuck in Limbo while Ubisoft kept releasing new games that were essentially content cut from previous installments. This time though, we have a fresh face and fresh take on the Assassin/Templar legend alongside new side quests that are large enough that they could each be their own game. The game is set during the American Revolution, where a half English/half Mohawk named Conner is thrown into the middle of the Assassin/Templar war. Wonderful improvements, but is it better?
To begin with, the story is much more comprehensible than the previous three installments. As a history teacher the games that I most enjoy playing are those that involve historical fiction. Even though it takes some time to get off the ground, by and large I’m pretty invested in the game. Hell for the first part of the story you’re not even playing as the main character. I’m six hours in and the Revolution isn’t close to starting yet. Nice to see that plot was actually thought about and the well populated with strong, interesting characters.
On the other hand, it just feels like it drags a bit. Certain points during the first few hours were a bit silly. SPOILER: The owl flying across the screen. Come on, REALLY? Now we’re playing as owls? END SPOILER. Assassins Creed 2 is still my favorite and as a stand-alone story it was top notch. It was the first game on the PS3 where I really felt the impact of an open world type game with an amazing assortment of side quests. Plus, being a fanatic about all things Italy, the time period that the game was set in really spoke to me.
The mission layout is exactly like the previous installments. Complete the mission but follow a strict set of guidelines to get 100% credit for the missionwhich means nothing to the actual story. I can see if there were trophies involved but there aren’t, so what’s the point aside from a completionist perspective? It seems solely like a specific way that the developers want you to play the game. Not necessarily a bad thing, but provide us with some kind of incentive to do so. If most of the world surrounding Conner is free roam why aren’t the missions? I love trying to follow the guidelines that are established before the mission begins, but make it worth our while. The same can be said about the weapons system. Whats the point of acquiring new weapons if it does not change the outcome of anything other than the animation. This was perhaps my only gripe with Assassins Creed 2. How about some kind of leveling system or a type of point system that rewards you for using different weapons? But maybe I’m contradicting myself since I’m focusing on the “Is Bigger Better” theme here. DAMN IT NOW I’M CONFUSED!
To me, Assassins Creed games are comparable to the Matrix movies. The Matrix and Assassins Creed 2 were Bad Ass. (I’m leaving out AC1 one because EVERYONE knew that it was shit and not polished yet). The Matrix Reloaded and Assassins Creed: Brotherhood were both good with some excellent scenes but in all likelihood unnecessary. The Matrix Revolutions and Assassins Creed: Revelations were completely unnecessary cash grabs. I cant even being to tell you what the hell went on the third Matrix film and as for AC:R, the city of Constantinople really didn’t do it for me.
Back to one of the aspects of the game that I am really enjoying, and that’s the side quests. It’s very similar to Red Dead Revolver in terms of open world side missions. Naval warfare, hunting, picking fights with the British and challenging fort defenses. I’m sure most gamers out there have said to themselves while playing a game “How cool would it be if you could go hunting? How awesome would it be if you could free roam in the woods and trade?” Well, it turns out that it’s much better in theory than in practice. So, careful what you wish (or quasi-hope) for!
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for another, more in-depth review once I’ve sank some serious hours into the game in addition to my multiplayer review. With most of the games that I play I like to knock out the single player campaign before I dive into the MP aspect. Since I was the first person in Blockbuster to rent the game post Hurricane Sandy I got the Online Pass for free. Yay me. Remember to add me to your friends list (our gamer-tags are in the right hand column) Ill be seeing you online…but you won’t be seeing me. Get it? ‘ cause I’m, like, an assassin and you cant see me….NEVERMIND.