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Assassin's Creed 3
Assassin's Creed 3

Nintendo Wii U | PC | PlayStation 3 | Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Developer: Ubisoft Official Site:
Publisher: Ubisoft Classification: MA15+
Release Date:
31st October 2012
Assassin's Creed 3 Review
Review By @ 08:37am 31/10/12
If you’ve been following the upcoming Assassin’s Creed III release, with all of its trailers, first looks, previews and last looks, then you’ll no doubt have a decent idea of what’s in store. If you haven’t, no matter. Even with all of this as well as the hands-on previews I’ve been through, none of it came anywhere close to preparing me for the magnitude of this installment. This is an epic, well crafted masterpiece. Any shortfallings from previous releases have been approached, environments are bigger and more varied than ever and the narrative is full of intricate twists and turns.

The game spans some 30 years, which, with the Assassin’s Creed team at the narrative reins, lends itself to the epic story that ensues. Ubisoft has not only packed in the expected yet awesome fictional and historical stories and crossovers, they’ve redesigned the protagonist’s movement and combat mechanics as well as adding brand new environments through which emerges new game modes and mini games in each.

The first thing to leap into, or off, depending where you are in the world, is definitely the environments. If you’ve been saving yourself for the game and have resisted seeing any trailers and reading any previews, then stop reading here. If not, you’re already aware of the game’s setting and what that explores: Boston and New York, the Frontier and the Eastern Seaboard. All entirely unique, with the city settings the most familiar but still very different from the previous games.

Ubisoft’s living cities bring back all the alleys, streets, walls, roofs, crates and poles to be scaled, launched off or fled through (and on). Add to this climbable trees, the auto controlled house run-throughs, moving carts and a few stalk zones and you’ve got more ways than ever to evade a chase, beit in rain, snow or sunny weather.

The city folk go about their business in the usual manner and an updated blend system has been brought in where Connor can stand, sit or walk between any two people concealing him somewhat from the many patrols. Throw this in with the moving wagons and there’s not only more options to stay incognito but also the stealth travel option.

The frontier is where the team has grown one of the new environments. This has to be the most exciting addition to the game, of which there are many, with trees, rocks, cliffs, rivers and natural pools all there to be discovered in Connor’s forest homeland. Drop in the mentioned weather systems and moving through it looks, and feels, great. On powder days, heading off the trodden path into the deep snow slows any walking and running, just as is expected. Whiteout weather will also add other stealth possibilities where needed.

With the introduction of this new hero in Connor, primarily of Native American heritage, comes the complete new camera-oriented movement mechanics. In the city this means no more fumbling to climb the right wall or jump to a roof or ledge. No more sticky and lagging control reactions which previously lead to falling off a roof (sometimes to your demise), jumping the wrong way or stopping to climb a wall mid escape from enemies. The new controls make for a much more responsive and intuitive system for almost seamless running, climbing, jumping and diving where naturally possible.

In the forests of the frontier this movement becomes so immersive it’s addictive. Connor is inherently connected to the land he’s grown up on. The new frontier terrain is so intuitive to navigate it’s easy to get lost rock climbing, scaling trees and branches and diving off all these into leaf piles or the lakes scattered around. The only times I died as a result of my environment was when I became so hypnotised running through branches and across rocks that I was caught in a kind of dazed trance and had jumped straight off cliffs assuming the scenic bounding would go on forever.

One of my big fears watching reveals of this installment was that the tree running would be cumbersome and frustrating like navigating some of the rooftops of previous games. Not once was this the case with the combination of the intricately designed maps and Connor’s responsive movement.

The frontier is not only Connor’s home but is also home to many wild animals which naturally makes up the hunting portion (another new addition) that could be classed as a game in itself. The fruits of this tie in with trade and the currency system. New weapons and equipment, tracking clues and various objectives combined with Connor’s respect and gratitude for the land and animals made this a much more appealing part of the game than anticipated. With wolves and bears among the inhabitants and ready to attack you at the drop of a peace pipe, sometimes it’s a matter of using the trees to make the hunter become the hunted.

Connor’s range of weapons make predator and combat situations the most rewarding yet from this series. At the top are the hatchet and the rope hook both bringing new elements to the combat but also extremely useful in hunting. When eliminating a group of enemies these combined with the double hidden blades throw up many options for disposing of hostiles complete with different finishing sequences. Grabbing a rifle opens up the combat even more and shoots a few more objectives at the player.

The naval section hikes the sails to full mast as another important yet underestimated part of the game and story. Another piece of the overall narrative that compliments and ties in extremely well, it could have been another game all of its own like so many other components of this product. With a variety of main story missions as well as additional objectives on offer, all of which add such a unique element to the game, my only disappointments here were not seeing more objectives around the development of this section.

While the game’s main story never truly gets off the rails like some other assassin and frontier games of yesteryear, there is room for side and Liberation missions and at a certain point the game definitely opens up for free roaming in the cities and forests to indulge in exploration and hunting. That said, I found the game’s story, missions and cut scenes all worked incredibly well and were paced perfectly. Everything introduced piqued my interest and had me wanting to delve further and further into the game.

Additional objectives in missions offer more of a “how to” style than a list of things to achieve. This proved a much more rewarding experience when all objectives were executed and had me striving for full synchronisation, to complete all objectives, when not achieved the first time round. These add-ons could dictate how stealth or gung-ho you are in your approach as well as set-up techniques within missions and plans for escape or a number of other additional tasks.

Initially the overall story and setting could have been seen as confining and narrow to those outside the US or not interested in the American Revolution. It’s never been an area of interest for me until playing this game that’s for sure. A deep story is not only woven throughout the fiction of it though, but also in the rich historical content delivered. If my history classes in high school were ever as interesting as this or even the written notes in the game, with Ubi’s humour peppered amongst it, I would have studied and remembered so much more.

While the world is completely open for exploration from a certain point, the main narrative definitely stays linear throughout. It works and keeps it true to what it really is, considering the story and historical content and how well it’s put together and revealed throughout, this overall delivery is ideal. When it can be done this well it becomes this perfect representation and visceral experience. Those games with numerous variable options for sequence and completion of objectives have their place and offer that freedom, this game offers its own unique experience.

The multiplayer I’ve experienced with Wolf Pack and Domination modes brings back the unique team experience that require the patience and stealth blending to assassinate targets or protect an area from another team. These really add a unique revolutionary dimension to multiplayer gaming, tying in all the overall important elements of the game.

I never used to get chills playing a videogame, not the way I would watching some epic movie scenes or reading an incredibly engaging book. That has changed in the last few months and this game has set the benchmark. If you only play two assassin games this year (because let's face it, you've probably already played that other one), make this one of them. I’d be very surprised if this doesn’t make Game of the Year for most.
What we liked
  • Movement and combat issues are fixed and flow intuitively
  • New environments are so immersive
  • The story is both vast and extremely visceral
  • The naval section is a unique game in itself
What we didn't like
  • The underestimated Naval section and its gap in story development
  • AI does not detect obvious sounds
We gave it:
Latest Comments
Posted 10:30am 31/10/12
I stopped reading at "Stop reading here". I've already bought the game in my mind anyway. A review can summarise my feelings for the game after i've had a playthrough of the product :)
Posted 11:06am 31/10/12
I deliberately didn't go into any details of the story and Connor but more on how it plays and is put together.
Posted 01:17pm 31/10/12
Playing through Revelations while I wait for the PC version of AC3.

Pffft, ludicrously high numbers on reviews. I liked that review a lot more until I saw that.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 02:00pm 31/10/12
Yeah eski, maybe we should just have a smiley face at the end of a positive review about a big game instead of a reflective score that accompanies said positivity. Or are smiley faces to positive for positive words too?
Posted 02:02pm 31/10/12
^ that but unironically. Maybe without the smiley face.
Posted 02:06pm 31/10/12
When you're given this much in a game and it's done this well that score is a good reflection.
Posted 02:14pm 31/10/12
Steve, that idea is balls out and awesome :P

Seriously though, I reckon less granularity in the scale would be good. Drop the decimal points at least. It just gets too hard to justify the difference between a 9.6 and a 9.7, and too confusing for the reader. I would be more comfortable calling this a 5 star game than a 9.7. At least then youre putting it into one of 5 brackets, rather than one of 100.

Naren, can you actually explain to me the process by which you arrived at the 9.7, and why you didnt choose 9.6 or 9.8?
Posted 02:46pm 31/10/12
Going into the game having recently brushed up on ACII and having previewed a few sections of this game already I had what I thought was a decent idea of the general way the game was heading. This obviously brings in a preconceived score range, which I had at a fair bit less than the final score.

Jumping into the game and the lengthy intro, which I've seen some other reviews post as a negative, was an extremely engaging and important part of the story as well as being a great continuation and progression of the mechanics and perhaps training wheels for newcomers. My score jumped up high after the first five hours of place. I also feel Connor's heritage and hence his persona, another main criticism from other reviews, fit perfectly for the setting and story.

From there it was a matter of seeing if the story maintained interest and all the mechanics and systems actually worked consistently, which they did, as well as creating the immersive and visceral feel mentioned. There were a few things which I would have liked to see explored more in the story with some objectives, this brought the score down slightly.

After that I looked at any downfalls the game had, which to me were minimal, but still had to bring it back down that tiny bit more. Lastly it was compared to other games that were similar in any ways. That brought the defining difference towards the end of the review, which for me was this games strong points, defying some gamers completely open free-roam world preference and comparisons.

To me, 9.8 didn't take into consideration enough of the parts of the game that I wasn't happy with and 9.6 was too low for such an engaging, well written and well paced game.
Posted 02:57pm 31/10/12
Pft, 9.7, this game is clearly 9.745
Posted 02:59pm 31/10/12
Thanks for the response Naren
Posted 03:12pm 31/10/12
No worries :)
Posted 03:29pm 31/10/12
Didn't read the review as I've already bought it, but glad to see a high score. I'm yet to hear a negative opinion of this game.
Posted 01:00pm 01/11/12
Only got a chance to play a little bit last night, just the starting bit up to where you're on the boat. But it had Jorah Mormont in it! Hope he comes back, seems like a waste of a good actor to do a voice that only shows up in the intro bit.
Posted 01:26pm 01/11/12
Here's a negative, apparently mentioned by other people, but the intro is far too long

I don't get much game time. When I do I want to play the game. I feel like I've been playing for hours and I'm still on the boat and haven't made it to America. It's very much on rails and there's no way to skip through it.

How much longer until I get to actually play the game?
Posted 01:37pm 01/11/12
apparently it takes about 3 hrs to get to connor.
Posted 02:35pm 01/11/12
Are you guys doing a AC:Liberation review?
Posted 02:39pm 01/11/12
I like the intro bit, but then, I like story stuff. Might have been nice to give people who don't care so much about the story/setup the option to jump straight into the action with some kind of quick cutscene that just fills in the important information
Posted 09:27pm 02/11/12
cant wait for pc, looks so s*** and jagged on xbox/ps3.
Posted 09:29pm 02/11/12
yeah i didnt mind ac on pc. looked so much prettier than on the ps3.

Duno why so many people had problems with binding etc
Posted 10:14pm 02/11/12
what the hell, cant buy this on pc yet ?
Posted 10:21pm 02/11/12
pc release is the 22nd/23rd of this month.
Posted 04:53am 04/11/12
cant wait for pc, looks so s*** and jagged on xbox/ps3.

Really? I was actually pretty impressed with how good it looks, been playing the 360 version and it looks amazing. Pretty impressive that they can keep getting more and more out of the same hardware, after its already been out for so long.
Posted 01:33pm 04/11/12
I've made it to the mainland and I've been hitting bugs all the way (PS3).

It is so frustrating it makes me not want to play

I climbed the crowsnest twice. First time I didn't do it the right way SOMEHOW?? It didn't recognise that I was up there. Just locked the camera view even though I could still glimpse land and move around. It was like a glass ceiling had kicked in and I was up against a hard corner of it. Had to climb back down and then do it again to be rewarded with that bit of FMV and the next part of the game.

While still on the boat, after I ran and rescued the guy that was having difficulty on the mast, and we'd dealt with the issues of the day and I went to sleep, then woke up the next day and the game told me I had 30 seconds to save him, so I'm running around like crazy trying to find someone who's in danger who isn't actually in danger because I saved him yesterday when he was actually in danger.

On the boat it was always telling me I could press X to move faster, but this rarely worked.

On the land at the first fort, I'm now stuck at a scene where I need to 'zoom in' and shoot some barrels, except I don't have the rifle in my hands, since it was dropped during the fight, and i can't use the musket I bought in the town. All i can do is turn in circles on the spot, zoom, and draw my sword.
Posted 03:56pm 09/11/12
I'm really interested in this game (which is the first time since AC1 demo), but do I need to play through the other games beforehand? If so, are there titles which I could skip on and still understand what's going on in AC3?
Posted 04:16pm 09/11/12
Theres a video at the beginning that briefly explains the story. You don't really need to follow the story to enjoy the gameplay and know where to go, but its got great fiction. You could hit up youtube if you didnt want to miss it.
Posted 04:40pm 09/11/12
Yeah, I had played AC2 but not Brotherhood or Revelations, so I just hit up youtube and watched the endings to those, I'm sure you could do the same thing for AC2 if you haven't played it, probably some video on youtube somewhere to joins all the important story cutscenes together.
Posted 05:15pm 09/11/12
ac3 is up for preorder on steam but once again we get butt f***ed with australian pricing.

ryan: i suggest playing ac1,2, brotherhood and just read up on revelations.

last edited by ravn0s at 17:15:06 09/Nov/12
Posted 05:41pm 09/11/12
seems like a waste of a good actor to do a voice that only shows up in the intro bit

What like Patrick Stewart in TES:Oblivion?
Posted 10:02pm 10/11/12
So I restated my memory and got back to the same scene and still couldn't shoot, this time rifle at my feet but it wouldn't let me pick up the rifle or use my musket

This on rails stuff is bulls***!
Posted 12:52am 13/11/12
ravn0s you are right its up on steam, I would consider it fairly pricy, its 49.99 euros and 79 euros for the deluxe version :/ probably will just get the regular, not sure if 1 hour extra gameplay is worth 30 euros
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