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GAME REVIEW: 'Assassin's Creed III'
Title: “Assassin’s Creed III”
Format: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
The Grade: B-
What is it?
An action adventure game set in colonial America, complete with tri-corner hats. Don’t let the name fool you, “Assassin’s Creed III” is the fifth game in the series so longtime fans can expect all the experiences they’ve come to appreciate from this franchise: an open world, lots of stealth and a complex story. This iteration includes a new protagonist named Connor, new weapons and the most detailed version of 18th-century America that you’ll find in a video game.
Attention to detail. When it comes to accuracy in "Assassin's Creed III," developer Ubisoft left no stone unturned. Whether it’s historical figures, buildings, battles or important events, there’s a breadth of knowledge dropped on gamers that is absolutely stunning. Granted, this game isn’t 100 percent factual. It’s a work of fiction, an alternate history as it were. But the focus on detail shows through, particularly in the care Ubisoft took to craft half-English, half-Mohawk hero Connor. The company worked closely with historian Maxime Durand and consultant Thomas Deer to make sure the depictions of the period and the Mohawk tribe were as authentic as possible. And they brilliantly blended in our nation’s history with the fiction of the story.
Colonial America is your playground. The world of “Assassin’s Creed III” is massive. From Boston to New York to the colonial frontier, there’s always a new place to explore. The main story, whenever you choose to follow it, lasts a robust 15-20 hours. Side missions, if you do them all, will add another 10-12 hours. Considering the single player campaign of most popular shooters only lasts 8-10 hours, that’s a lot of bang for you buck.
"Creed" greatest hits? While not reaching the excellence of the first two games in the series, in a number of ways this is my favorite “Assassin’s Creed” title. The fighting controls are the best ever, the new naval battles are fun and the setting (which oozes patriotism) breathes new life into the franchise.
Wonky camera. Far too many times in combat (particularly in narrow areas) the camera would place me at such a bad angle that I could barely see who I was fighting. Constantly having to manually adjust the camera while under attack was a chore. This problem even came up during conversations with NPCs. Several times I was facing away from the person I was talking to.
A laundry list of errors. For a game that’s been in development for several years, I was surprised by all the problems I encountered with this game. Enemy AI would sometimes get stuck against a wall or stairs; wolves would get stuck in trees; and friendly NPCs follow directions about as well as four-year-old. The stealth element in the series has practically vanished. And a number of times the sound went out, forcing me to restart my console. Also, troublesome is the amount of busy work gamers are offered. Delivering letters? Catching Ben Franklin’s almanac pages? Pointless diversions. Thankfully many of the useless activities are side missions and are not required, but why they’re even in the game at all -- since they have no impact on the narrative -- is baffling.
“Assassin’s Creed III” is like that lovable but annoying friend we all keep around for reasons we can’t explain – enjoyable, despite some serious flaws. Even with some disappointing issues, I had so much fun in Connor’s new world I found myself frequently coming back for more.
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.