The Belated Assassins Creed III Review... JLoco Style!

The Belated Assassins Creed III Review... JLoco Style!

Postby jloco11 » Tue May 07, 2013 9:43 pm

Some background first...

I have played the 5 PS3 versions of the Assassins Creed franchise, so I've put in my fair share of time on the franchise to give a little opinion on the motherfucker. It's also hard to give a review of a game this far into the series, without making mention of the prior games, so unfortunately I do have to make references to prior games. I will keep it brief because this is not a review of the series, but a review of AC3.

After playing AC:R, my thoughts after finishing the third Ezio game was "I can't wait until I can play as someone other than Ezio". So the new time line certainly helped out on the boredom factor. The problem is that the game hasn't evolved an incredible amount since AC2, and it still feels the same.

The original AC game was a great idea, but horribly executed. So when Ubisoft rolled out AC2, it had all the improvements that AC1 needed. Everything that was wrong with the execution of AC1, was fixed in AC2. But since then, the game has not made drastic improvements to the series in terms of gameplay and certainly not side missions. And here's the breakdown by category of how AC3 stacks up.

2012 Storyline:

If you were to see the sequentials of AC1, AC2 and then AC3, with a new assassin and new time frame, you would assume the games plots stayed central with each other. Someone could in theory, play AC1, AC2 and AC3 and not miss a beat on anything. Unfortunately, the money grab of the Ezio trilogy makes the story a bit complicated. Anyone who skips the 2 Ezio trilogy games, would find some major plot developments occurred in current times with Desmond. Players would miss crucial scenes with Lucy, Desmonds's father, Juno and Minerva.

Which to me, will always be 1 gigantic fuckup by Ubisoft. If you're going to sequentially name games 1, 2 and 3, then the underlying plot line of the 2012 event should not miss major plot holes when you want to do a spin off. Spin offs are games meant to flesh out backstories to characters that weren't given enough time to develop. Spin offs are NOT meant to give crucial pieces of data to a main storyline, but alas, the 2 Ezio trilogy games do this.

So right off the bat, the Desmond plot has irrevocable holes that the developers should never have gone through with. Without playing those 2 games, a player will wonder what happened to Lucy, where did Desmond's dad come from, and what-the-motherfuck are Minerva and Juno talking about! Let alone, the plot is so convoluted and ridiculous to begin with. I mean, you go from a dude being thrown into a machine that searches his memories through DNA (a clever and novel idea), to "Gods", because there is a lack of a better term, speaking through Desmond and the Assassins to warn off a world destroying solar flare.

Yeah, that totally makes sense. Had they stopped at just the "templars want the apple to control the world", you have a decent plot. Instead, they go with a whole end of the world bullshit because some jackass thinks the Mayans predicted this. WHAT THE FUCK?!?!??!

You know when people say "well that escalated quickly" anytime an argument abruptly starts? I feel that it quite accurately describes the 2012 timeline... just look at the progression:

Templars: We want a magic apple
Assassins: You can't have my apple
Templars: Well Desmond is being mindfucked into giving us the apple
Desmond: You people are crazy
Prior Civilization: Hey Desmond, the world is going to end and you're the only one that can save it!!!!
Desmond: Um...... WHAT????
Prior Civilization: Never mind this petty Templar/Assassin feud, you need to bring this apple to all parts of the globe to magically stop the end of the world
Desmond: Well shit, that makes total fucking sense, now doesn't it!

See how shit escalates! Makes no sense... and what makes it even harder to fathom is that the 2 Ezio trilogy games added to this narrative parts that still make you scratch your head in amazement.

Revolutionary War Timeline

In order to avoid what Ubi did with Ezio, they tried to fit every famous Revolutionary War story into the game. From the Boston Massacre, to Tea Party, to battle on the Chesapeake, Bunker Hill, Charles Lee etc. I applaud them for trying to get every historical element possible into the game... but was it worth it?

First of all they had to build a backdrop for Connor, and they even went so far as to go back in time to Haytham his dad. Nice twist, actually use the dad as the opener instead of the main assassin. It shows they wanted to separate themselves from AC1 and AC2 right from the start.

Afterwards we get to see Connor grow into the games main assassin. He gets to witness the Boston Massacre as a boy, and culminates in the killing of Charles Lee. In between, he somehow manages to get involved in major historical events that shaped the revolutionary war.

Now granted, this is a video game, historical accuracy is not going to be 100%. But seriously????? George Washington won this war because Connor was a fucking badass? Yes, let's run through a barrage of redcoat shots and survive. Yes, let's survive the battle of Monmouth, survive the bombardment of Boston and the Chesapeake Bay war. Dude is a fucking badass Mohawk!

Basically the colonists were morons who won because 1 native american managed to kill everyone without being noticed. Yes, thank you Connor for setting America free, and now your people must migrate because they supported England!

AC games are pretty loose with historical facts such as the Borgia's with Ezio and Prince Suleiman along with Robert de Sable, but those historical events aren't NEARLY as documented as what happened in the revolutionary war. Not to mention they alluded to parts of Washington not trusting the native Americans who were siding with the British.

(On a historical side note, GW ordered the murder and slaughter of all Iroquois and Algonquin nations that supported England, long before Connor started helping him... by the time GW was Commander in Chief, most Native American tribes had been pushed west in NY. So if Connor's motivation was revenge against Charles Lee for the murder of his mother, that's a pretty flimsy plot point compared to George Washington ordering the murder of all tribes out of fear they would join the british... even if they hadn't yet).

What WOULD have made more sense, is the Templars fighting along side Washington and Connor fighting along side England. But I'm sure some executive over at Ubisoft thought of sales and how badly the game would have been received had he flipped the script and created a historical accurate plot point. The game would have been better left off with a colonist being the assassin, leaving Native Americans out of the picture. Instead, the account of this story is so implausible that it makes you wonder why a company would just blatantly ignore history. Shit, you might as well have let England win! You might as well have let Charles Lee kill Washington, or Samuel Adams become the first president or Ben Franklin show up for more than 2 seconds in the game.

The concept of a new theater of war is fine. The concept of the Revolutionary War is fine. But the fact that Connor practically won a war for a side no Native American would have fought for is astoundingly absurd. All the negative feedback regarding the plot line is more than warranted, this was an utter embarrassment to American history.

Battle System

Simplicity works... and although some might argue that AC games are a 2 button win game, the reality is the system is fine. Yes, countering every attack will generally allow you to win. Yes, you have no incentive to upgrade weapons because your base weapons are more than enough to win the game. But the execution of the battle system is beautiful.

I will admit, hitting the counter/attack pattern makes some of the other attacks useless in the game, but that's only if you choose to play the game without being adventurous. You have guns, bows and arrows, poison darts, rope darts (which are fucking hilarious btw). And most importantly, the controls were a bit different from Ezio's Creed. While AC2 through AC:R kept the same controls, slight tweaks to a simple system was fine with me. Took me a while to adjust, but still gave us a beautiful choreographed battles.

1 critique I do have is the awkwardness of the aimed weapons. Bow and arrow & gun were a pain in the ass because this is not a first person shooter, and certainly doesn't behave like one. That was incredibly fucking irritating.

1 additional minor critique is the stupidity of enemies at times. Seriously, you have a fucking gun!!!! Why are you trying to stab me with a bayonet? Load your gun, point, aim shoot, rinse repeat!!! I can understand if we're in a 1 on 1, fine, your bayonet is the only thing saving you from a crazy assassin. But in fighting 15 enemies at a time, use a damn gun!

Presentation

The 2 cities of Boston and New York were fine, along with Davenport homestead. I even like how they added the Great Fire of New York into the game by burning down the West Village.

The Frontier was also well done, and reminded me of Tuscany in AC2, running through endless fields as your sandbox.

But 1 main issue that AC is probably never going to address is the scripted nature of each mission for 100% sync. Back in AC1, there really was no penalty for acting like an asshole. You could be the most obviously awkward and bumbling assassin, but if you killed 1 of your targets, the mission was completed.

The addition of 100% sync now put you in a position to actually play the mission in a way the game intended. Stealthy at times, balls to the wall violent at times or a combination of both. And should you fail you could either lose 100% sync or desync from the mission forcing you to try again.

The problem is that these missions have become SOOOOOO scripted, that it's almost eliminated elements of sandbox games. Yes, we should have an objective, but in some cases, we're only given 1 way to complete them. For example, the mission where you had to swim out to see to assassinate a captain. There was only 1 way to him along the boat exterior. There was only 1 path you could take to get 100%. Any deviation from it, and you would surely lose 100% or worse, desync.

Honestly, I like that the 100% sync was added to make sure you don't just run up and be an asshole, but the scripted nature of these missions needs to be a bit more lenient. I have no issue with the variety they provide in the game (trail someone, infiltrate an area, assassinate a general, save a citizen etc), but the missions have to provide some additional ways of completion so that you're not pigeon holed completely in a sandbox game.

Side Missions

I've said this before, and I will say this again. No game, EVER, should have longer side missions than a campaign. If a game has more side missions than actual missions, then something went wrong in the development of the game. Period, end of discussion.

AC games are hitting that borderline of absurdity when it comes to side missions. Side missions are supposed to BRIEFLY take you away from the main adventure. They provide entertainment, distraction, learning experiences and rank up opportunities.... but this has been taken to another extreme, holy shit! Just look at the list:

District liberations
Animal hunting
Clubs, fighting and hunting
Citizen missions
Feather collecting
Homestead missions
Naval battles
Peg leg collections
Privateer contracts
Forts
mini games for entertainment
Underground tunnel locations

JUST LOOK AT THAT LIST!!!!!! This is a case of "we have good ideas, and we don't want to eliminate them so we're throwing them all in the game... fuck it". I could go through these 1 by 1, but I won't, because it's just too much! Some of the shit were nice additions like hunting (although RDR fans will argue that it's been done before), some additions were absurdly annoying (Underground and Naval missions). Some were just reskinned ideas from the past that haven't really evolved like liberation missions to gain more assassins, fight clubs, thief clubs, collecting fucking items around a map that offer very little in return.

In other words, WAY too much shit. When your side missions take over more time than your campaign, there is an issue. Trying to get people to max their trophy/gamerscore with irrelevant shit is not a form of re playability. It's more like indentured service.

Seriously, if Peg Leg missions were gone, would anyone care? How about the underground or building up the homestead? Not a single fuck would be given if you eliminated that garbage.

Conclusion

When Assassins Creed was announced, I was excited and wanted to play a cool concept game. But the original disappointed.
When AC2 was announced, I was hesitant to play, but ended up being profoundly entertained by the improvements.
When AC:B was announced, I was curious as to what they could add and the little touches were nice.
When AC:R was announced, I was annoyed that Ubisoft was still suckling from the same teet.

When AC3 was announced with a new setting, new character and new narrative, I felt relieved. But after playing the game, I can't help but think that something just didn't go as planned with this game. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed my 20+ hours... but I refused to do all side missions, refused to go back and get 100% sync on every mission and at some points just wanted my team of assassins to do all the work for me.

By definition, this is complacency. And I think that's what this series has run into. The COD treatment of the game is driving it into the ground because small innovations are just not enough right now. Small changes to battle, different main characters and a different time period have not yielded amazing results. The series is feeling stale, and outdated since not much has changed since AC2. Sure a new coat of paint helps, but the structure remains untouched.

I will say though that if the Desmond storyline is truly over, then they can breathe some life into the series. But overall, as a conclusion to the Desmond story, it was an above average experience... mainly because the experience has felt the same for 4 years now. Any Call of Duty fan will tell you what that feels like.
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Re: The Belated Assassins Creed III Review... JLoco Style!

Postby GlennBacca » Wed May 08, 2013 12:12 am

I'm not gonna get into comparing or history because I never played Brotherhood or Revelations, and I don't know too much about american history.

But on the side missions and the 100% syncing I completely agree. I went for the platinum trophy, and doing all of that bullshit was driving me crazy! Not because it's difficult but because it feels so unnecessary. Especially those naval missions. Holy crap they were boring. I would seriously rather collet stuff than do those.
Oh, and the encyclopedia of the common man... Completely unnecessary and extremely boring. Also, it's kind of based on luck considering you have to "scan" all these people while they're doing 3 different actions. And getting the last one was really frustrating! I was stuck on 2/3 on several of them for ages....

Anyway....

I still enjoyed the game though. But I still think AC 2 is the best one out of the 3 I've played, with this in 2nd.
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Re: The Belated Assassins Creed III Review... JLoco Style!

Postby GoD_GraveDancer » Wed May 08, 2013 4:03 am

Somebody did some thinking with this review.

Good shit, manj.

If I wasnt having issues with the home page, I'd post it up front.

8)
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Re: The Belated Assassins Creed III Review... JLoco Style!

Postby Sugarsugar » Wed May 08, 2013 11:49 am

That’s a fantastic review. I’m just going to chip in with a few of my thoughts on the game.

Firstly, having owned and played all the previous Assassin’s Creed games, AC3 is simply average at best. I thought that a new character, story, setting and graphics engine would spark my interest in the series again but alias it was not to be.

The game start off extremely well, introducing key characters like Hatham Kenway and Kaniehti:io (two very likable personalities) but soon descents fairly quickly. I believe that Connor is easily the worst character in the Assassin’s Creed universe, second only to Desmond. He’s a cold and boring character and the only reason why I bothered to complete the game was because of his revenge against Hatham Kenway and Charles Lee. At least with Altair, we are shown that his arrogant personality can be destructive, which perfectly complements the story and events that unfold in the game. Conner is definitely no Ezio Auditore da Firenze that’s for sure.

Regarding the 100% synchronisation missions, ever since they were introduced in ACB, I’ve always despise them. In my opinion, what made AC2 (and arguable the first Assassin’s Creed) so good was the fact that I had the freedom to choose how approach my missions and assassinate my targets. AC3 is a very linear game, made even more linear with all these synchronisation missions. I think that Ubisoft should’ve given players multiple ways to solve missions and this would have improved the game substantially.
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Re: The Belated Assassins Creed III Review... JLoco Style!

Postby Musashi1596 » Wed May 08, 2013 12:11 pm

Glad I didn't bother with this.
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Re: The Belated Assassins Creed III Review... JLoco Style!

Postby Ricco » Wed May 08, 2013 1:28 pm

GlennBacca wrote:I'm not gonna get into comparing or history because I never played Brotherhood or Revelations, and I don't know too much about american history.

But on the side missions and the 100% syncing I completely agree. I went for the platinum trophy, and doing all of that bullshit was driving me crazy! Not because it's difficult but because it feels so unnecessary. Especially those naval missions. Holy crap they were boring. I would seriously rather collet stuff than do those.
Oh, and the encyclopedia of the common man... Completely unnecessary and extremely boring. Also, it's kind of based on luck considering you have to "scan" all these people while they're doing 3 different actions. And getting the last one was really frustrating! I was stuck on 2/3 on several of them for ages....

Anyway....

I still enjoyed the game though. But I still think AC 2 is the best one out of the 3 I've played, with this in 2nd.

I went for all the achievments....and I only have one left.(its the one to complete the game 100%)I eventually gave up because of two naval missions wich were literally FUCKING impossible to get 100% synch.Jesus Christ I dont even know how many tries i had on those 2 missions.I also agree 100% on the side missions because there was so much shit to do...im an achievment hunter, and it frustrates me that I couldnt get the last one.
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Re: The Belated Assassins Creed III Review... JLoco Style!

Postby GlennBacca » Wed May 08, 2013 2:20 pm

Ricco wrote:
GlennBacca wrote:I'm not gonna get into comparing or history because I never played Brotherhood or Revelations, and I don't know too much about american history.

But on the side missions and the 100% syncing I completely agree. I went for the platinum trophy, and doing all of that bullshit was driving me crazy! Not because it's difficult but because it feels so unnecessary. Especially those naval missions. Holy crap they were boring. I would seriously rather collet stuff than do those.
Oh, and the encyclopedia of the common man... Completely unnecessary and extremely boring. Also, it's kind of based on luck considering you have to "scan" all these people while they're doing 3 different actions. And getting the last one was really frustrating! I was stuck on 2/3 on several of them for ages....

Anyway....

I still enjoyed the game though. But I still think AC 2 is the best one out of the 3 I've played, with this in 2nd.

I went for all the achievments....and I only have one left.(its the one to complete the game 100%)I eventually gave up because of two naval missions wich were literally FUCKING impossible to get 100% synch.Jesus Christ I dont even know how many tries i had on those 2 missions.I also agree 100% on the side missions because there was so much shit to do...im an achievment hunter, and it frustrates me that I couldnt get the last one.


I tried to do all of the missions 100% myself, but I have to admit that I used youtube for 2-3 of them...
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Re: The Belated Assassins Creed III Review... JLoco Style!

Postby Ricco » Wed May 08, 2013 7:28 pm

GlennBacca wrote:
Ricco wrote:
GlennBacca wrote:I'm not gonna get into comparing or history because I never played Brotherhood or Revelations, and I don't know too much about american history.

But on the side missions and the 100% syncing I completely agree. I went for the platinum trophy, and doing all of that bullshit was driving me crazy! Not because it's difficult but because it feels so unnecessary. Especially those naval missions. Holy crap they were boring. I would seriously rather collet stuff than do those.
Oh, and the encyclopedia of the common man... Completely unnecessary and extremely boring. Also, it's kind of based on luck considering you have to "scan" all these people while they're doing 3 different actions. And getting the last one was really frustrating! I was stuck on 2/3 on several of them for ages....

Anyway....

I still enjoyed the game though. But I still think AC 2 is the best one out of the 3 I've played, with this in 2nd.

I went for all the achievments....and I only have one left.(its the one to complete the game 100%)I eventually gave up because of two naval missions wich were literally FUCKING impossible to get 100% synch.Jesus Christ I dont even know how many tries i had on those 2 missions.I also agree 100% on the side missions because there was so much shit to do...im an achievment hunter, and it frustrates me that I couldnt get the last one.


I tried to do all of the missions 100% myself, but I have to admit that I used youtube for 2-3 of them...


I tried to use youtube for those 2 naval missions...stil couldnt do them lol
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Re: The Belated Assassins Creed III Review... JLoco Style!

Postby jloco11 » Mon May 13, 2013 9:53 pm

I remember at one point playing AC:B, when I spent a whole week doing side missions. Then when I played AC:R, I spent another week on side missions.

So going into AC3, I immediately knew I wasn't going to do side missions to the fullest extent. I did 1 Encyclopedia man. I did 2 naval missions and I think I found maybe 12 peg leg trinkets. I believe I found only the storyline Underground exits in Boston, and not a single one in New York. So I avoided side missions.



On a storyline side note, the other issue I have with the plot was the dynamic with Laytham and Connor. The untrusting nature between them was understandable, but what was understandable was what the fuck were the Templars really after????

Laytham was the only connection to the Templar motives, and obviously they were after that cave that he had a medallion for (how that medallion ended up in England, who knows). But how does Charles Lee help him find that cave? How does Charles Lee's side of the colonist uprising help him get to the cave. How does playing both sides of the war help the Templars, or vice versa.

None of that was fully fleshed out with his conversations with Connor. The only true information we got was that he never trusted Washington, and he tried to show Connor that Washington was going to kill native tribes and turn Connor to the Templars. I have a feeling the writers didn't know how to navigate the Templar/Assassin motives in context with the war without painting the colonists in such a negative light. In the end, we get a story and plotline regarding Templar motives that was about as thin as an anorexic runway model with bulimia.
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Re: The Belated Assassins Creed III Review... JLoco Style!

Postby Ricco » Thu May 16, 2013 9:39 am

jloco11 wrote:I remember at one point playing AC:B, when I spent a whole week doing side missions. Then when I played AC:R, I spent another week on side missions.

So going into AC3, I immediately knew I wasn't going to do side missions to the fullest extent. I did 1 Encyclopedia man. I did 2 naval missions and I think I found maybe 12 peg leg trinkets. I believe I found only the storyline Underground exits in Boston, and not a single one in New York. So I avoided side missions.



On a storyline side note, the other issue I have with the plot was the dynamic with Laytham and Connor. The untrusting nature between them was understandable, but what was understandable was what the fuck were the Templars really after????

Laytham was the only connection to the Templar motives, and obviously they were after that cave that he had a medallion for (how that medallion ended up in England, who knows). But how does Charles Lee help him find that cave? How does Charles Lee's side of the colonist uprising help him get to the cave. How does playing both sides of the war help the Templars, or vice versa.

None of that was fully fleshed out with his conversations with Connor. The only true information we got was that he never trusted Washington, and he tried to show Connor that Washington was going to kill native tribes and turn Connor to the Templars. I have a feeling the writers didn't know how to navigate the Templar/Assassin motives in context with the war without painting the colonists in such a negative light. In the end, we get a story and plotline regarding Templar motives that was about as thin as an anorexic runway model with bulimia.

Connor's dad was Haytham...not Laytham :-D just pointing it out
Btw, have you seen the trailer for The Tyranny of King Washington?
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