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So this is the 5th (not the 3rd) Assassin’s Creed game, and the 4th in as many years. Are Ubisoft killing off their own series with the yearly iteration model?

Posted by Staff on Dec 11, 2012 13:56 (Dec 11, 2012 13:56)

Written by: Ian
Killing the series?
So this is the 5th (not the 3rd) Assassin’s Creed game, and the 4th in as many years. Are Ubisoft killing off their own series with the yearly iteration model?
After three games, Ezio is no more. Instead, the timeline has moved on some 200 years, and shifted continents to colonial America, at the time of the American Revolution. Like in Revelations, you’ll actually play as two characters, beginning the story as Englishman Haytham Kenway, before moving onto his son, Connor as the game progresses along in the timeline.
Connor isn’t as likeable as Ezio, appearing rather arrogant, but in a petulant way. You actually feel more pathos for Haytham throughout the game, especially considering the big ‘surprise’ at the end of the third memory sequence. The overall plot is largely forgettable really, although it was great to finally find out about Desmond after all these games and get to the end of that plot-line. That effectively became the main reason for me playing, with most of the American scenes playing out like one vast tutorial. 
If for some reason you’ve waited until now to come into Assassin’s Creed, I probably couldn’t recommend it, as despite the vast 5-6 hour tutorial, you’ll probably find the story totally incomprehensible. So I won’t go over everything for a second time. But you’ll be glad to know the mix of puzzle-solving, free-running and combat remains, and you can now run over even more stuff, thanks to the frontier sections, which include a variety of nicely designed trees and foliage which can be sprinted up. There are even some new weapons, such as the rope hook, which allow you to kill people in even more inventive ways. There’s also more firearms, and combat techniques to be used. But generally, there haven’t been many tweaks to the core gameplay.
Assassins Creed III screenshot #1
The one exception to that are the naval battles. When I saw these at Gamescom I was worried that they looked too arcade-like, but when playing them, my opinion totally changed. These little levels involve quite a lot of strategy and thought, and whilst they are franticly paced, and pretty unrealistic, it’s all to create a game which is actually fun to play. It’s actually probably the best naval game I’ve played in years.
If that was it, then all would be good. However, Ubisoft Montreal have found it necessary to play about with many of the secondary mechanics and the UI. All of these changes are pretty much universally terrible. To assign a mission to an assassin, for example, you need to hold down LB, then press X, but after the menu has arrived. You can then finally let go of LB, and bash A about 10 times to go through the options, but only after pressing Y to assign your guys.
Assassins Creed III screenshot #2
Fast travel is equally laboured, and there’s also unnecessary tinkering with the economy system, health and armour, which now move to a much more basic approach. Health is the worst of these, being regenerating, but very slowly. This makes the difficulty level much higher than previous games, and coupled with far too many missions that involve failing if you miss the objective just slightly, leads to the most frustrating entry in the series yet, despite the simplification and dumbing down of many of the mechanics. Despite these issues, the game remains fun at heart, and still provides a pretty generous chunk of content to play through.
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Assassins Creed III
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