- Release Date: 30 October 2012
- Developer: Ubisoft
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Wii U
Assassin's Creed III - 8 Years Late Review
Assassin’s Creed is a top-rated franchise but, when I first played Assassin’s Creed III, I had no idea of how big it was. For me, it was just another game to kill some time, and I was proved wrong in no time.
Within a few hours, I became a fan of the game. I could climb buildings, kill guards with my hidden blades(if I didn’t want to attract any attention), or just start a brawl to enjoy those smooth kill animations. All of this was a big surprise for me as I had never played an Assassin’s Creed game before.
The Assassin-Templar war was equally exciting as it wasn’t just a fight of two random groups, but a battle of two ideologies – Freedom and Control.
Why this review?
When I played this game, I wasn’t trying to compare it with the past Assassin’s Creed titles because I had never played those. I saw Assassin’s Creed III the way it was, and I immediately became a fan of its story, characters and gameplay.
I still play this game, and I have completed its campaign more than 10 times (Do tell me if you have played this game more than twice). So even though I am late, I want to write this review because this game is quite special for me.
This game still looks good
Assassin’s Creed series is known for realistic graphics, and Assassin’s Creed III is no exception. The game was released in 2012, but it still looks impressive. Character designs, facial expressions, beautiful looking cities, vegetation and wildlife, all look perfect.
The campaign of this game is spread over a few decades, and due to this, a few sequences of this game are set in snowy landscapes. So, basically, you get to see two versions of the same map. The seasons don’t change automatically, which is quite sad because the game map looks gorgeous while it’s covered with snow. But after completing the game, you can use Animus Hacks to change the seasons.
After playing this game I soon started playing the Ezio trilogy, and after completing Revelations I started respecting Assassin’s Creed III even more as it was released just a year after Revelations, but it looked completely different. Revelations was a good looking game, but you can’t ignore how much this series changed within a year.
Gameplay : Fun, but too easy!
Assassin’s Creed III is an enjoyable game, no doubt about that. Satisfying combat system, easy and responsive parkour and tons of side activities like liberating forts, starting a riot, recruiting Assassin’s, completing some challenges so that you can fight in an epic tournament, and many more, keep you busy even if you are done with the main campaign.
But for someone who has played this game for more than 7 years, there are a few complaints that I have with its gameplay.
Combat : Counter and what do you want to do with this mortal ?
If you have played Assassin’s Creed III, you know what I am talking about. Even if you get surrounded with more than 10 enemies, or maybe, even an army, counter and attack are all that you need. Now if you think, that the army part is an exaggeration, there’s a point in the game(in Boston) where the enemies keep spawning – my record is 396!
Maybe I made it sound way too simple. There are 4 weapon types – swords, small weapons.,heavy weapons and musket that you can steal from soldiers. And different weapon types have different kill animations and double kill animations. And those satisfying animations will force you to go on killing sprees so that you can see them all.
After you can counter an enemy, nothing complicated, you decide what you want to do with him, instant kill with the primary weapon or just throw him away(great for rooftops), shoot him in the most brutal way possible, or have mercy on the poor soul by only hurting him.
Some more combat details
The combat in this game looks simple, but surprisingly it’s more detailed than you might think. And most players won’t notice some of these details as there’s no in-game tutorial for them. There’s a small combat tutorial at the beginning of the game which teaches you basics of combat like attacking, parrying, counter attacks and disarming, but it’s not all.
Killstreaks is something that you will be using a lot, and it’s really helpful when you don’t want to waste any time while clearing the enemies. It’s nothing complicated, after killing one enemy press the attack button and Connor will quickly execute the next enemy, and you can continue doing this as long as you don’t take any damage. However, you will have to be careful while doing this as some enemies cannot be killed with killstreaks; instead, you will end up taking damage. As you see, it’s quite detailed.
Double kills are perhaps the most interesting part of the combat. They look cool and work on all enemy types, and they are effortless to perform. Press the counter button, when two enemies attack you at the same time and let Connor do the job.
Pressing attack after countering an incoming attack isn’t the only way to finish your enemies as you can also use an already equipped tool to get the job done. It will consume your ammunition, but it looks incredible and can be used on all enemies. I first discovered this while using a musket, and then I tried every tool in the game, even the bait, I don’t know what I was thinking.
There’s one more way to perform double kills, it took me some time to discover it, but now I use it a lot. During a kill streak, try pressing the shoot button or the one with which you use your tools, and Connor will execute two enemies at once. It’s quite complicated and takes some time to get used to, but once you get a hang of it, you will use it all the time.
To make sure that you don’t feel like an absolute God, the game throws different enemy types at you. But it doesn’t work very well because the only thing that you need to remember is what to do with a specific enemy type after you counter them.
So, you can’t use the counter and kill on all the enemies, and when you are surrounded by a bunch of them, you need to make sure that you do the right thing after countering the incoming attack. And this keeps you on your guard every time you are in a fight.
Damage: Connor eats bullets for breakfast
The amount of damage Connor receives is the only problem I have with this game’s combat system. The damage you receive after being shot is so insignificant that I stopped worrying about it. And some times, to look more badass, I intentionally stood in front of the firing soldiers as there was no way Connor was going to die from just 6 bullets.
I accept that it’s a game and it doesn’t have to be totally realistic. In fact, in most of the games, your characters don’t die easily. But here, I am considering the entire combat system of Assassin’s Creed III. And it can’t be denied that it’s too easy.
The game allows you to take control of a trained Assassin, who can fight an entire army on his own. It’s great, I don’t want to complain about this, but the problem is that the game doesn’t punish you for getting hurt. After playing the game for a while, it will take you no time to realise that no one can be considered a threat to you.
Now, as I said before, this isn’t a big problem if it’s your first playthrough but, you are definitely looking for a challenge if you are playing this game again and again.
Weapons: This one looks good
At the beginning of the game, when Haytham arrives in Boston, you get a mission to go and buy a sword. The amount of money that you have is enough to buy a normal sword and a gun. At first look, it seems a basic aspect of the gameplay, different weapons have a different speed, combo, and damage. And this motivates you to earn more money so that you can get your hands on that shiny sword.
But if you have played this game, you know that this system is flawed. It’s not that it doesn’t work or it’s buggy, there’s just no use for it. No matter which sword you take, you will hardly notice any difference except the combo part. And this system seems even more useless when you realise that you can swap your primary weapon with guards on duty. ( I have killed many guards for a sword, I wonder if I am a bad person.)
By the end of the game, you will either stop caring at all or just stick with the one that looks cool. When I progressed in the game many powerful(according to the game stats) small weapons started appearing in the game shops, but I couldn’t care any less because none of them looked as good as the Assassin Tomahawk.
Stealth: Only when it's necessary
Stealth is an integral part of any Assassin’s Creed game, and Assassin’s Creed III is no exception. It won’t be wrong to say that the game wants you to do most of the work without attracting much attention. A number times during the game campaign, you will have to do things like infiltrating an area, tale or eavesdrop someone, without getting detected.
Connor is equipped with few tools, and some cool moves to help you in completing the objectives in the stealthiest ways possible. Hidden blades, bow&arrow and poison darts prove to be quite useful when you are trying to clear an area without getting detected.
Hidden blades can be used to perform two types of assassinations. Low profile, if you don’t want to compromise with stealth, or high profile ones if you want to look cool while killing someone. And not only hidden blades, but almost all weapons can perform two types of assassinations.
Using various tactics and tools becomes quite necessary if you want to stay hidden because the game AI is pretty good at spotting you. And I must admit, this often becomes quite challenging, and you will have to replay the missions to get the 100% synchronisation.
It all looks fun, but I can’t ignore that stealth, in this game, is being forced on the player. Allow me to explain. First, the game offers you a fluid combat system which basically makes you unbeatable, and then it wants you to use stealth and try not to engage in combat. It doesn’t make any sense. And here the freedom is taken away from you. Even if you want to fight your way through the game, you can’t, because there are many missions where stealth is a necessity.
Storyline and characters are the core of Assassin’s Creed series and let’s be honest here, players hated both of these in Assassin’s Creed III. Connor’s character and campaign were viewed as boring and bland by most of the players. But it doesn’t mean everyone hated the plot of Assassin’s Creed III, I loved it, and I know that I am not alone.
After Ezio trilogy players had high expectations from Assassin’s Creed III. And this is the biggest reason behind the hate that Connor’s character received. He wasn’t as charismatic and charming as Ezio and, even after being an Assassin’s Creed III fan, I agree. So, why did I love Assassin’s Creed III? Maybe, it’s because it was my first Assassin’s Creed game. While playing this game, I wasn’t trying to compare it to any past Assassin’s Creed title, like I said before, I saw Assassin’s Creed III the way it was.
The Haytham Kenway Plot Twist
You can hate Assassin’s Creed III if you want, but you can’t hate Haytham Kenway. He was like Ezio, a type of character that everyone was looking for. And most importantly, he seemed like ‘a good guy’, an Assassin.
But he turned out to be a templar and this made Assassin’s Creed III very special. It was the first game in the series where you saw things from the Templars’ perspective. So for more than 5 hours, you play as a Templar without even realising it. And this made me question if Templars were really that evil.
Assassin’s Creed III established something big in the Assassin’s Creed series. It showed us that the line between good and evil isn’t entirely clear if you want to compare Templars and Assassins. The previous Assassin’s Creed titles were simple, Templars were evil, and you had to stop them. But Assassin’s Creed III was different, and Haytam Kenway’s character proved that this franchise was something bigger than good vs evil.
Connor Joins The Brotherhood
“It’s better to have faith in something than none at all”
After playing as Haytham and getting an idea of what Templars sought in this game, I wanted to see things from the Assassins’ perspective, I wanted to know what was wrong with Templar motives. And to be specific, I wanted to see Templars doing something terrible, something evil, and I didn’t have to wait for too long.
Charles Lee turned out to be the bad guy I was so desperately trying to find in the game. While searching for Kanatahséton(Connor’s Village), he encountered Connor, who was playing with his friends. Charles and his men bullied and threatened Connor to know about his village’s whereabouts. But Connor, courageously asked Charles Lee his name so that he could find him and after telling his name Charles ordered one of his men(William Johnson) to take care of young Connor.
When Connor regained consciousness, his village was on fire. The fire took his mother’s life, and Connor knew who was to be blamed. Soon, with Juno’s guidance, Connor became an Assassin so he could protect his people and most importantly, find the man responsible for his mother’s death.
Father and Son
‘Father and Son’, a mission in Assassin’s Creed III gave me what I wanted the most, an interaction between Haytham and Connor, a chat between a Templar and an Assassin and the fact, Connor blamed Haytham for his mother’s death, made things more interesting. And I must say, it was better than my expectations.
A simple conversation which revealed the differences between Templar and Assassin ideologies. But as you see, they aren’t so different, the goal is the same – peace, only the methods are different. Assassins seek peace through freedom, and Templars believe in control and order.
A Failed Attempt to Unite Assassins and Templars
Connor tried to hide the little love he had for his father, but this forced him into believing that Templars and Assassins could work united. Same was true, for Haytham, with every conversation that he had with Connor, he tried to show him the errors in his ways. And both of them failed miserably.
Connor’s hopes to see Templars and Assassins united were shattered when he finally found the truth behind his mother’s death. George Washington was the one who ordered the burning of Connor’s village. The man, Connor wanted to protect was the one behind his biggest loss. Another attack on Connor’s village was on its way, and Haytham revealed this information only when it seemed comfortable and appropriate for Templars. Connor saw through his father’s plans, and with this, he left the idea of seeing Templars and Assassins working together.
After this, things escalated quickly. Connor did not want to kill Haytham, but he protected and favoured Lee. Connor forged a plan to assassinate Lee, but he escaped, and Connor was confronted by Haytham. And for one last time, Connor tried to save Haytham from his inevitable death, but nothing moved Haytham, and in the end, Connor was left with no other choice than to take his father’s life.
I believe Haytham allowed Connor to kill him. When Connor was pinned down, Haytham released one of his hands and gave Connor a chance to kill him. I came to this conclusion after reading Assassin’s Creed: Forsaken where, in an alternate version of this fight, Haytham chose not to kill Connor. Do tell me what you think about this detail.
Did Connor fail?
Connor joined the Assassin brotherhood hoping to protect his people. His goal was simple, but little did he know that soon he would have to sacrifice everything to serve the brotherhood, even the village that he sought to protect. After killing Lee, when Connor returned to his village, his people were gone.
So, does this mean Connor failed? Yes, he failed his people, but he succeeded the Assassins Brotherhood. He was successful in keeping Templars away from his land and the precursor site, holding the key to save the future.
Assassin’s Creed III made me a fan of franchise. Enjoyable gameplay and a world worth exploring forced me to play this game again and again. The complex narrative and characters of this game made this game an unforgettable expereince.
This was my late review of Assassin’s Creed III and I will love to hear your views about this game and Connor as I believe that his character got more hate than he deserves. So, do tell me what you think.
Thanks, for reading.