Reviews// Assassin's Creed III

Posted 30 Oct 2012 16:01 by
Games: Assassin's Creed III
The irony is that as you discover more of the underground, you'll also have improved your skills and armoury, and so be more capable of surface transit. But it's still a useful way of getting round the really pretty large cities quickly.

The initial expositional episodes have their own little twist in their group tale (sic), which I won't reveal here. The tale centres, as you might expect, on the ongoing rivalry between the Assassins and the Templars.

But the formerly Dark Black vs Light White viewpoint is pleasantly blurred here as aspects of perspective and moral ambiguity are finally introduced into the story. This is mirrored in the game's presentation of the whole American Revolutionary War - a thorny subject, since most Americans seem to think that the Americans ('Us') beat the Great British ('Them') in a righteous revolt over liberty and taxation.

Of course, in reality, some of Us got angry when their King asked Us to stump up for the war against the French that was being fought in the perceived interest of ALL British citizens and subjects. Then a group of Boston businessmen became upset when the UK started dumping cheap British Empire tea on their market, and so engineered a revolt. Many of these aspects are examined in the game, which could so easily have toed the US line on the whole affair.

Of course, as with all Assassin's Creed titles, ACIII has the series' usual melange of the ?Historish?: real people and events are woven into a tapestry that is both constructed and confusing. Many situations and conversations are scripted to weave the events of history into the events of the game. As always this is nicely done, but represents a challenge for any real scholar of history to pluck the facts from the fabrications.

The previous game (AC II: Revelations) introduced playable sections featuring Desmond, the modern world analog of our Hero (then Ezio Auditore and now Connor Kenway). These sections were fun, in a platform puzzle sort of a way vaguely reminiscent of Portal.

AC III has taken the Desmond sections a step further, so that instead of being set in some strange science function cyber-reality, they are set in the actual modern world, using visuals and style of play similar to those of the game proper.

These sections are all the more challenging, because they lack the visual and audio clues that the player is so used to from the Animus Head-Up Display.

An entirely new aspect in AC III is naval conflict. Early parts of the story introduce a maritime aspect to the game, as Connor's father crosses the Atlantic to reach the American Colonies. The naval nature of the game is reiterated soon afterwards when Connor secures command of a ship and equips her with cannon to make her capable of naval warfare.

Once you graduate to the open-world sections of the game, you can hop on board and patrol the seaboard at your will. But even if this aspect of the game does not take your fancy, certain missions will require you to take to the seas.

Naval battles are among the most action packed sections of the game, as you control speed and heading of your ship, trying to simultaneously sight and destroy enemy vessels whole avoiding navigational obstacles. The whole thing plays fluidly and is immense fun. It's inevitable that for some players, this will become a favourite part of the game. It really does represent one of the few big steps forward for the series.

In AC II, Ezio's home base was the Villa Auditore. It was where he would return time after time to move the story forward. It was also where he could spend his hard earned cash, buying paintings and throwing cushions to spruce up the villa itself. He could also renovate nearby merchants' stores to bring wealth to the villa that he could then use on further extending his art collection and more renovation work throughout the game.

AC III offers similar opportunities, though like almost everything else in the game, they appear to require much harder work. In AC III there is a homestead. You can meet and attract settlers to move to your homestead. Obviously, like any landowner seeking an immigrant workforce you try and avoid the welfare cases, and attract instead only artisans, craftsmen and productive labourers.

You can then buy their wares at the homestead, and convoy them to the cities to sell at a profit. But in the early stages of the game, the profits are so meagre ($33 on an entire convoy) that you can make more money from looting the bodies of two or three fallen enemies.

It's possible that the whole trading aspect of the game may turn out to be just as much fun as the renovating or Assassin missions were in previous instalments. But during this play-through, it was impossible to devote enough time to them to discover their true potential. Part of that is because they simply were not profitable enough to begin with to make them appealing.
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Games: Assassin's Creed III

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Matthew O'Donnell 30 Oct 2012 16:35
A strangely contradicting review and somewhat problematic conclusion giving the points made (let alone in the Con section).
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