Sunday, 11 November 2012

Assassin's Creed 3 Review: A Revolution In The Series

Now before I get into this review, I'd like to recount to you my history with Assassin's Creed games. When Assassin's Creed 1 came out, I was psyched. The game seemed like it had everything; assassination, free-running, free-roam, and an interesting plot. Whilst it did have all of that, it didn't use them to the best of their ability. Assassination's were stale and boring, free-running felt quite stiff, free-roam was only good for getting feathers, and the plot was hindered by an extremely boring Desmond section. Then came Assassin's Creed 2, and it improved on absolutely everything. There were more things to do, more people to kill, and more of a reason to pay attention to the plot. After that came Assassin's Creed Brotherhood. I held off buying that game straight away, because I had hoped for a new character. Still, I bought it eventually, and it was a great game. I didn't even think about buying Assassin's Creed Revelations. I had grown tired of the same old game-play with the same old (literally in Revelations) character. So I wasn't going to buy another Assassin's Creed until a new character was integrated in. When Assassin's Creed 3 was announced, I felt the same joy I had when I heard about Assassin's Creed 1, except this time, I knew it would be great, and it was. So great. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, this is the best Assassin's Creed game to date. Here's why.

The premise of Assassin's Creed 3 is much like the others in the series. You are Desmond Miles. You are from a long line of Assassin's. By using a machine called the Animus, you can relive your ancestor's lives. First you relived the life of Altair Ibn-La'Ahad, then the life of Ezio Auditore, and now you can relive the life of Ratohnhaké ton. He's also known as Connor. We'll call him that. Now when I say you can relive the life of Connor, I mean it. You play as Connor from when he is five, all the way up to his adulthood. Except, and this is where things get really interesting, you don't play as Connor until about 5 hours in. What precedes that, is a lengthy introduction where you play as his father, Haytham Kenway. This was one of the game's biggest surprises, and Ubisoft did a good job of hiding it. Apart from being a good tutorial, playing as Haytham adds massively to the plot. It is the greatest story-telling technique of any Assassin's Creed game to date. There's a huge and unexpected twist during that introduction, so I wont spoil it. Instead I'll go on to the story of the main chunk of Assassin's Creed 3.

Connor is an assassin, at the time before, during and after the American Revolution. Although he is a Mohawk, he is also half British, meaning he is not generally subjected to the racism that was aimed at Native Americans in those times. Connor, as a character, is not as likable as Ezio. Ezio was, to put it bluntly, a bad-ass. He would kill for retribution, and would not let anything get in his way. Connor, on the other hand, just can't make his mind up how to be moral. Whilst this does provide an interesting view of the American Revolution, with Connor frequently commenting that the Patriots fight for freedom even though many own slaves, it isn't a likable trait. He is too pessimistic. Throughout the main story, you will meet many key historical figures, such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Adams. This isn't the pro-American propaganda that the Youtube comment section furiously argued. You will find enemies on both sides of the fight, and the key figures are portrayed as historically accurate as possible, such as George Washington's knack for loosing battles. If you know your American Revolution history, the story will be perfect for you, discovering historical figures down the backs of alleys asking you to find the missing pages of their book, or finding famous adventurers with stories to tell. This brings me on to another vastly improved area; game-play.
Connor meets George Washington.
If there is one word that can perfectly sum up Assassin's Creed 3, it is FUN. The combat is born from trial and error through the Assassin's Creed series. Assassin's Creed 2 provided us with brutal cinematic kills, but it was still just a matter of pressing B at the right time. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood added chaining kills, which provided a more engaging combat system. Assassin's Creed 3 combines these two, and gives us a brilliantly well thought out mechanic. You still have to press B when an enemy attacks you, but now that isn't the end of it. By parrying, the game enters slow motion. You haven't killed the enemy, you have just knocked his weapon away. Where you go from there is up to you. Press B again to throw him in a desired direction, press A to disarm him, press Y to use an equipped tool on him, or press X to see a cinematic kill that can make even the most mild-mannered of us have a nerdgasm. Some enemies require different techniques to kill, and can break your kill chain by parrying you. This simple yet deep addition to the game makes combat fun yet challenging. It is reminiscent of Batman Arkham City, and that is far from a bad thing. Exploration also plays a big role in Assassin's Creed 3.
Case in point: Nerdgasm.
The map is split up into 4 areas; Boston, New York, The Frontier and The Davenport Homestead. Boston and New York are architecturally similar, which is unfortunate, but the Developers are just being historically accurate  After all, the Colonists didn't really have a lot of money to be adventurous with their homes. The Frontier provides the most amount of variation. It is a large expanse of wilderness, filled with animals (both harmful and harmless), villages, warring soldiers, and so much more. Free-running works well in the forests, and climbing through the canopy feels natural, helped by the stunning animation. You can't help but feel a sense of glee as you see the start of a free-running line through the trees. The Davenport Homestead works in much the same way as the Monteriggioni Villa in Assassin's Creed 2, except it's a lot more interactive. As you complete optional Homestead missions, you will encourage more and more people to set up shop around the Homestead, each providing bonuses. The main bonus you gain is new materials, which can be traded with merchants, or used for crafting new items. When trading across seas, you have to take the risk of the caravan getting there into account. The only way to reduce risk is by completing naval missions. Ahh the naval missions.
The Frontier is stunning.
It is fair to assume that the naval missions are just going to be like the not-so-great invention missions from Brotherhood. That assumption though, is wrong. You have free-reign over where you want the ship to go, and you even have to take into account the wind direction, choosing sail deployment accordingly. Sinking another ship feels great, and you can really see the impact your cannon fire is having on their hulls. Your ship, the Aquilla, can be upgraded in many different ways including different ammunition types, or how good the steering is. The crew on the ship aren't static either. If you decide to take your eyes of the seas (provided there are no rocks about),  you can watch as your crew-members perform their various tasks, loading up cannons, climbing the mast or tightening the ropes. They really add to the awe of the game, and help to bring it to life. Assassin's Creed 3 does come with quite a few issues though, mainly in the technical department.
Naval combat is fun and rewarding.
Bugs and glitches are common in Assassin's Creed 3. Too common. Within the first few minutes of the game, I was provided with humorous glitches, as women's dresses would suddenly lift, or a man would be talking to a wall. Either he has friendship issues, or his friend has unfortunately glitched behind the wall. In my play through, I found no game-breaking glitches, but texture-popping is extremely common, and it takes away from the beauty of the game. The Frontier is filled with beautiful scenery, but it's not quite so good when the scenery takes its time to fully appear. Still, the game is graphically stunning, and I loved the facial animations in particular. They really captured the emotions of each character; something that cannot be achieved with script-writing alone.

Multiplayer is back, and it's better than ever. I have to admit, I wasn't a big fan of multiplayer in the previous Assassin's Creed games, but Ubisoft have hit the nail on the head in Assassin's Creed 3. There are now 5 modes, each with its own flavour. My Favorite has to be Domination. There are various capture points scattered around the area, some in your territory  some in the enemy's, and you goal is to hold on to as many as you can until the game ends. If you enter the enemy territory, you become a target. Obviously, the same can be said if an enemy enters your territory. Also, if you are in the enemy territory, you can only stun the enemy, but they can kill you. It provides tense game-play as you are trying to stay hidden whilst capturing a point, knowing that the enemy is probably on your screen. Another unique addition is Wolfpack mode. This is co-operative team play against an AI enemy. It is a lot like Gears of War's horde mode, except every wave provides new targets that your team must eliminate. Sometimes there will be a synchronization mode, where you must all assassinate a target at the same time for maximum points. Customization also plays a big part, being able to pick your abilities, and how you character looks. I cannot see the multiplayer as being long lasting as other multiplayer games, but it is still a great success.

Assassin's Creed 3 is a brilliant game. The historical side of the story is superb, the graphics are beautiful, if a bit glitchy, and the combat is extremely fun and satisfying. In previous Assassin's Creed games, "open-world" seemed to be something tacked on to the definition to draw in a larger audience. However, Assassin's Creed 3 truly is an open world game. There is so much to do and see, and I am nowhere near finished. I believe I was on around 49% completion of the game after finishing the story. Ubisoft are heading in the right direction with Assassin's Creed, and though the ending may leave some people with a bitter taste in their mouth, it leaves a sweet one in mine, knowing that the potential for the series hasn't even been reached yet, even though Assassin's Creed 3 is such an amazing game.

Story: 4/5
Graphics: 4/5
Gameplay: 5/5

OVERALL: 4.5/5

1 comment:

  1. Cosas locas que he recibido un código de Xbox Live y que era de fiar! Haga clic