The American Colonies, 1775. It's a time of civil unrest and political upheaval in the Americas. As a Native American fights to protect his land and his people, he will ignite the flames of ... Read allThe American Colonies, 1775. It's a time of civil unrest and political upheaval in the Americas. As a Native American fights to protect his land and his people, he will ignite the flames of a young nation's revolution.The American Colonies, 1775. It's a time of civil unrest and political upheaval in the Americas. As a Native American fights to protect his land and his people, he will ignite the flames of a young nation's revolution.
On the other hand, it feels like yet another opportunity to revolutionize the gaming industry just went down the drain. As a gamer, I wanna see developers raising the stakes, coming up with new and groundbreaking things, even if they're not perfect. I don't want to keep playing the same stuff with new skins and new dialogue. This was it! After such a long time, finally... the third one! Yet, no surprise. Nothing awesome going on.
Some improvements are there. A smoother and better-looking combat system, the simplification of certain movement and interaction controls, even a better narrative (not story). Mission and sequences design is also pretty good. The problem is that for every one improvement you get, you also get a couple of broken things.
Right out of the box, the combination of Ubisoft's own launcher/community client, DRM and autopatching is a Russian roulette in itself. You might be one of the fortunate people that can install and go. A lot of us weren't as lucky and ended up having to tweak stuff, block internet access, revert drivers and so on. Is it too much to ask that game companies properly test their beta before releasing?
The graphics engine is also broken. Some people will outright tell you that they can't run the game, even if their PC specs are fine. Others will have terrible performance. For me, I had to turn down anti-aliasing to medium because every texture would go bananas in the most ridiculous way I've ever seen a game glitch. Also, I had to lower the world detail because I'd drop to 30fps in exteriors and even then it was still iffy. So I basically ended up playing a not-so-good-looking game at a not-great fps range. The sad part is that there are no major improvements in terms of visuals over Revelations so it's not like the game calls for a super pimped rig. It's just a poor port of a poor engine that doesn't work at all. A huge step down from the previous games in the series.
Should you be fortunate enough that you can get past both of these major issues, you still have the icing on the cake. There's a bunch of small details throughout this title that, to me, are unforgivable for a product that's already the fifth in a huge franchise, backed by one of the biggest game studios today. From NPCs getting stuck or just outright disappearing and typos in the subtitles, to an insultingly bad console-based user interface and texture clipping, you'll encounter an array of instances where the game just oozes terrible, terrible quality.
It's hard to say what the lowest point is. The graphics thing is pretty sad. The original Assassin's Creed was amazing in terms of quality and performance. How is it that five years later, this one looks and performs worse?. Going for 100% in missions is extremely aggravating as well. It seems that most secondary objectives are deliberately placed in such a way that they force you to replay the entire mission (including some unskippable cutscenes to boot!) if you fail to nail them. It's not that they're hard, it's just poor design and gratuitous frustration.
My personal favorite, though, is the lockpicking minigame. You know how analog sticks have a dead-zone and how some features in games are designed so that if you let go of the stick something gets 'centered' on the screen as well? The lockpicking thing is like that. Now, instead of coming up with some way this would work on a PC, they just left it as it was for consoles. Here's a newsflash for you, Ubisoft: mice don't have a f***ing dead-zone, you f***ing dummies! How can design and testing be so negligent that no one realized that the controls for these sequences just flat out don't work? Granted, it's not that big of a deal, but it's representative of how little they thought of the PC version. Just port and go.
There's a lot of filler and fluff as well, like naval warfare and trading, which is okay but it feels so separate from the general theme of the game that it's almost as if they crammed tons of secondary content you could fall back on when you realized everything else kind of sucked.
Regardless of all that's wrong with it, it still is a high value game. Between the improvements in combat, the new story, the welcome change of scenery from the beaten-to-the-ground Renaissance era and some interesting missions, you can still get at least one solid playthrough out of it. It's not fair to score this a 6, because it's a very lazy game from a very lazy company that just keeps recycling the same old stuff, but, regrettably, it's still a good time-waster.
Overall, Assassin's Creed 3 doesn't bring anything new or creative to the series: it's pretty much more of the same. The sheer amount of technical issues and imperfections, big and small, make it feel like a carelessly rushed product. After the lack of ideas Ubisoft has shown on Brotherhood and Revelations, this should've been much, much better.
As a bonus, the ending is bad. Really bad. Mass Effect 3 bad. If you were expecting to at least get some closure on the story, tough break.
For extra karmic points, rent it and don't feed Ubisoft.
- Dec 5, 2012