Review of Assassin’s Creed 3 (PS3)

by Wournos

Assassin’s Creed 3, the 5th game in the series, is back with a new hero – a Native American called Connor.

AC3 takes place during the years of 1753-1783 in Colonial America. A part-British, part-Mohawk boy called Ratonhnhaké:ton (Ra-doon-ha-gay-doon) gets his first taste of the outside world when Colonists set fire to the village he lives in.

Years later Ratonhnhaké:ton is shown his true path in life by the village elder, and leaves the village to find Achilles Davenport – an old assassin unknown to him. After years of training he’s finally ready to donned the assassin’s outfit.
His American name is Connor.

AC3 has many new features – both big and small

There are several new features in AC3 compared to previous titles. One of the most notable (after playing a while) is the seasonal change. It is now possible to tread through knee-deep snow in the Frontier and leave a trail for enemies to pick up. Summer has fantastic foliage and rainstorms with thunder and lightening.

The Frontier also offers two other features – animals and free running through trees. The animal interaction is just amazing! I once caught myself watching a raccoon eating for several minutes. Sometimes large elks fight each other with their antlers. Wildlife also has the ability to attack enemy soldiers.

Free running on tree branches is fun for a while but there is very little use for it during missions. It feels as if it was added more for fun than a means to get close to targets for assassinations.

Speaking of animals. AC3 has “pets” – stray cats and dogs within New York and Boston. Cows, goats, chickens and turkeys can be found in various places, and they can all be interacted with.

Combat is different in that it is much more fluent than in previous titles. The R1 button on the PS3 controller no longer puts the character in a defensive stance. Instead, the new Counter button (O) serves the option of combo attacks. Hitting it at the right time and then pressing either square (attack), X (kick) or O (grab/release) triggers different counter attacks.

The other notable part of combat is that Connor is much more brutal compared to Altaïr (AC1) and Ezio (AC2 series). He also has the ability to assassinate enemies with other weapons than the hidden blade. Sneaking up on an enemy from behind can now trigger a leap attack and smashing a tomahawk into the back of the enemy. It is so very wrong to find this amusing, but I do.

Restoring a city to get a steady passive income from banks is no longer an option. Instead, there’s a crafting system that allows you to make items and food to sell in general stores. However, to be able to craft items artisans need to be located during the game. After assisting them they will be able to create higher-level items.

I would argue that the moneymaking system is much more realistic and balanced now. It is not as easy to build up wealth as it has been.

Many crafting items require killing animals for material. I am personally not fond of killing animals for sport and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the game is built to make Connor value each kill. There is a possibility the game will de-synch if not all spoils are collected. A full inventory is not an excuse.

The last, but certainly not least, new feature is sailing. The run-down ship Aquila becomes available about halfway into the game and serves as a means of completing naval missions, opening up new trade routes and quick travel point between Boston, New York and Homestead Davenport.

Sailing is easy to learn and offers a great challenge at the same time. Imagine sailing through rough waters in pouring rain, switching between half speed and full speed while choosing the right type of attack for the different vessels. I don’t think sailing could have been done any better.

Linear missions and insane secondary requirements flushes out the ‘trophy whores’

My PS3 controller had a date with the wall. It’s not something I’m proud of, mind you.

Several of the missions available made me feel completely incompetent. It wasn’t that I couldn’t figure out the best strategy to complete them, because the missions of Assassin’s Creed 3 are very linear and doesn’t offer much choice in execution. What made some of them utterly frustrating were the secondary requirements and their insane difficulty level. Coupled with failing game play mechanics at crucial times, my controller met the wall in relatively high speed.

Completing all the requirements in one go is the ultimate requirement of getting the Perfectionist trophy.

The missions have an increased amount of cinematics, and in some instances they ruin the mission ending by not allowing the player to make the final kill.

There is also a severe lack of sneak kills and assassinations available throughout the game. Going head on was much easier than being stealthy, despite the consequences of attracting more enemies.

PS3 & Xbox controllers
PlayStation 3 Dualshock 3 Wireless Controller (Black)

PS3 DualShock 3 Wireless Controller - Black

View on Amazon

Xbox Controller S- Green

Features include: easy-to-reach secondary buttons for better response time, revised D-pad surface improves directional movement, and roomier thumb-sticks.

View on Amazon

AC3 bugs and glitches

I will not lie. This game had an obscene amount of bugs and glitches when it was released, despite a patch being ready to be installed immediately on start-up.  The bugs and glitches ranged from minor annoyances to downright game breaking if you were unlucky.

One of the 50+ bugs that I encountered was related to the smith’s Homestead mission in the Frontier. The game went into loading mode and displayed a white screen whenever I (or rather, Connor) entered the area of the mission. Examining a clue on the ground worked as an escape from the white screen once but all the NPCs were all invisible after that.

Many players reported faulty information throughout the game. One of these was related to The Common Man trophy. Inspecting locals in Homestead didn’t always update the activity count, which caused much worry that the trophy would never be completed. In my case I got the trophy even though one of the counters said 2/3.

AC3 bug patches

The very first patch of AC3 was ready to be installed right away after inserting the disc. It fixed a few instances where the character would get stuck, game crashes and several mission related issues where they wouldn’t be completed or saved properly. For more information on the exact bugs: read this article.

The Thanksgiving Patch was released on 15th November 2012 and fixed 21 Multi-Player issues and nearly 90 Single player issues. One of the issues was an entry in the DNA database where Kaniehtí:io’s (Connor's mother) fate was given away too early in the game. Another made players fall through the ground (and the map) and get stuck in a loop unable to restart the game from a previous location.

For more information about these fixes: read this post on the Ubisoft forums.

What’s the deal with the ending of Assassin’s Creed 3?

Without spoiling anything I would say that the ending was not what I expected. It left the same “WTF?!” feeling I had after Assassin’s Creed 2, but for very different reasons. Desmond Miles, the hero of our time, has been around pushing the story forward and I have been expecting a full game with him as the protagonist. Let’s just say that might not happen. The future is wide open and the possibilities are almost endless.

I feel it is high time for a female assassin to take the reins of the story. Throughout the series there have been female assassins in form of recruits for the assassins order. It would only be fair to have a female assassin as the main character after playing five men.

My final vote is…

I give this game a 6/10 prior to the Thanksgiving patch. The reason for the low number is the initial amount of bugs as well as the difficulty in missions. The story is interesting but it feels as if there’s more emphasis on the survival of Native Americans and killing colonists loyal to King George than fighting Templars.

Assassin’s Creed 3 looks good, feels good (for the most part) and I do recommend it to fans – with the suggestion to wait until the price has dropped a smidge before buying it.

Other Assassin's Creed articles

Prepare for an adventure on the seas as a pirate, pillaging and sinking ships just for fun.
Updated: 08/07/2014, Wournos
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Wournos on 09/19/2013

The gaming experience will probably be better now than when I played it. I haven't played AC3 after I finished it so I can't comment on any bug fixes and stuff. Hopefully next AC game will be better. I heard something about a pirate theme.

sandyspider on 06/28/2013

I don't have a PS3. But this looks like a cool game/

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