|Assassin's Creed 3|
PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC
Assassin's Creed 3 brings the Assassin's Creed Scooby gang to New England(America I think) to keep following the cryptic breadcrumb trail left by the first people to save the world from the 2012 apocalypse everyone is cashing in on. Desmond is now getting driven even crazier by all the cryptic nonsense and needs to find a key in a new ancestors life to open a door. As for the ancestor to quantum leap into, we join Connor Kenway who is assisting the Patriots in their struggle for Independence from the crown. Yes, we fight redcoats for America! And I don't care... I just want to stab Templar's in the throat!
What has changed since last year? Well polish for one! As many of you have noticed, this game glitches a lot and has a lot of problems that make it feel more like a AU$90 beta testing opportunity than a proper game(Although if you patch it, it has less problems). I could bitch about these problems for a long time but it'll go from a review to a rant.
Gameplay is SO MUCH BETTER now then ever, except now you're less like an assassin and more like a vigilante... or Batman. Combat has been refined further to not need to lock on to an enemy and countering has been stolen from Batman: Arkham City. Free running has also been made easier now that it only uses one button unless you want to risk death, but at the same time it feels restricting because you can find dead ends and scripted paths.
The game has a lengthy tutorial too. The first five sequences of the game are designed to teach you the majority of the gameplay features if you're new to the series and if you are new, you chose the right place for gameplay but not story. Everything is streamlined and easy to pick up.
The game features a large amount of mission, both main and side missions... unfortunately "Assassinate Target" style missions that allow you to assassinate someone are far and few between and don't give you real opportunities to be the stealthy assassin you're suppose to be... like I said vigilante, not assassins. To top it off you get a few naval mission too that have you pilot a ship. I'll go into each type of mission in depth so you know what you're getting into.
Ok, main story missions don't have many assassination missions and focuses more on just helping America fight England through key historic events. As mentioned the first few sequences are designed as tutorials and after you eventually become an "assassin" your opportunity to assassinate are mainly left to chance while you faff about Boston, New York and The Frontier.
The navel missions happen both as part of the story and as some side missions. These are mainly you sailing through rocks and sinking enemy boats. These are some of the more interesting missions in the game since they're new to the franchise. I love these missions because it just feels so good and I never played naval combat in a game before.
There are a lot of side missions to do in this game to distract you and pad the game out so you spend more then 20 hours on the story. These vary from fetch quests to assassinations, to even busting urban legends like Bigfoot. No , I don't know if any are missable because I always clear them out before I touch any story missions.
There game has some clubs again to give you mini goals to complete for an achievement. I never cared for these myself. It's more padding to stretch out the life of the game. If you like arbitrary, mindless goals for an achievement then have at it.
The economy system has been revamped...or should I say castrated! No longer do you invest in businesses or restore landmarks, instead you convince people to move into your homestead Davenport and sell what they produce for profit along with whatever you find or harvest while hunting the local wildlife. What do you use this money for you may ask? Upgrading your boat, buying weapons and maps... nothing else really. Assassin's Creed 2 done it better in my opinion.
As part of making money, you can hunt animals in the frontier. I could have lived without this to be honest but it does fit the theme and character of the game. You go out and piss PETA off by trapping animals in snares and chasing them down to kill on the ground or from the trees. Predator animals like wolves will attack you on sight and you'll have to do a quick time event to kill them. The game does kinda punish you for killing animals with heavy damage weapons by reducing the spoils to just a damaged pelt so you're encouraged to bow hunt or kill with the hidden blade.
Your homestead does actually serve a purpose other then making money... crafting weapons and pouch upgrades as well as junk for more money! As you gather more residents through side missions, you'll find craftsman who can make items from the recipes you find in chests around the games world. After you craft the items, you sell it, rinse and repeat until you have enough dosh(money). You can also store your spare weapons and costumes(or at least the ones you earn without bullshit preorder codes) in the homestead too but that comes under the heading of "Duh!".
Once again the guild is back... not the show, the assassin's guild and recruits. This time you get less recruits and they are scripted as specific people instead of randoms so no all female assassin's guild like I had in Brotherhood and Revelations. Like before you can send them on missions across the country to earn more cash and level them up, plus you can call them to do your dirty work since you don't get many chances to assassinate anyway. Calling assassins to help you has expanded a little bit though. You can call them to cause riots to sneak past guards or as an entourage to look like a badarse down the street among other things.
Guess What? Desmond actually gets to do something other then lie down on his back... and I still don't care! At a couple of points in the game, you can play as him in some short sections that are similar to the main game but not as satisfying as when you play as Connor. Also we don't spend THAT much time with him so that's a good thing. This is the portables games advantage... NO Desmond!
As for the multiplayer... I didn't play it. I'm not too big on multiplayer myself and I wasn't much of a fan of the other Assassin's Creed games multiplayer. Also to paraphrase fellow Australian Ben "Yahtzee" Crowshaw "A great man once said a game should be able to stand on single player alone!". If you bought Assassin's Creed for the multiplayer, then you're an idiot and are helping ruin modern games by encouraging tacked on multiplayer that the time spent making it could have made the single player better!
When it comes to Assassin's Creed 3, the "assassin" part is a bit lacking. I love the series so much that I'll forgive it for forcing me to not assassinate for America's founding fathers to shoot stuff, because America! Assassin's Creed 3 is a great game lacking polish(I blame the time wasted on multiplayer!). The combat and the parkour have been refined to such a great degree and is fun to engage in. When it comes down to it, it's probably one of the best games of the year and I highly recommend it to everyone but Assassin's Creed 2 is still my favourite(wish they'd re-release AC2 with AC3's combat!) along with Assassin's Creed Brotherhood. Sure we can't assassinate as many people in Assassin's Creed 3 as we could in games past, but a tomahawk to the face kinda makes up for it.