Assassin’s Creed 3 features a Native American protagonist, and unfortunately, he is not even comparable to Ezio from Assassin’s Creed 2 and its subsequent games.
When the entire basis for doing what he does in the game is simply revenge and “protecting my people” as he says, you can’t help but feel Ubisoft didn’t really pay much attention to his characterisation. That, and he has a very poor personality with a one track mind.
Without divulging much story-wise because there are some major twists here, Connor’s terrible characterisation really messes up your motivation to play as him and fight as him to help him succeed. The game takes place in the United States this time, and you will visit Boston, New York and a vast area known as the Frontier, where Connor aka Ratonhnhake:ton’s village is also situated. The game doesn’t begin the way you would expect and three entire sequences are dedicated to the prologue.
The series mostly showcases the battle between the Assassins and Templars. The former wants to preserve peace and the latter wants to control. Solid motivation on both sides allow them to keep doing what they do, and in Assassin’s Creed 3, I personally loved the way the Templars were projected.
The core gameplay mechanics are quite similar to the previous games. There are collectibles; you can tear away posters from walls to lose notoriety; the combat is a bit tweaked and worse this time around; and some new additions to the game don’t really add much to actually enhance your gameplay experience.
However, Assassin’s Creed 3 is a damn good game. Here’s why. Ubisoft really knows how to immerse the player in believable worlds and it’s no different here. Boston and New York are recreated very nicely and while they’re not as good as the renaissance Italy setting mainly due to cultural differences, the American colonies in the 70s was quite a fascinating place.
There’s not much history here so in a way it is understandable, but the way it’s created really makes you want to live there. I guess Ubisoft really does this better than anyone else. Everything else is similar to the previous Assassin’s Creed games though. There are a lot of reused assets which means you will find a lot of similar buildings and other things, but in a way considering the console limitations that was a bit necessary. Still, it looks fantastic overall.
The frontier is a place where there is a lot of greenery, lush forests, and other things and it just seems so peaceful. It’s hard not to drool at the in-game graphics even on the PS3, and this is one of the reasons why I love the series so much. The settings are magnificent.
However, Assassin’s Creed 3 as a game falters in the gameplay department with the combat being less fluid than the previous games. It’s very hard to take down larger enemies with a tomahawk, which is something you will be using for a long time unless you earn enough money to buy better weapons at general stores.
The game has a massive advantage in naval battles. This is something quite exhilarating and to pull it off in such a manner on consoles is a phenomenal achievement. You can steer your own ship and play tactically here as there will be heavy waves and rocks that will crush your ship if you go near them. You can also upgrade your ship which comes in handy while taking on the tougher missions–yes there are missions–and each one of them are quite unique.
When I encountered a Man-o-War, it was a surreal experience, let alone taking it down single-handedly as Connor. There will be British frigates and it is just like you saw in the movies and cartoons. It’s one of the things that redeems the game in a big way.
As you chop down a bunch of high level Templars as Connor eventually reaching the end and seeing the twist, it will be a bit satisfying, but new things pop up that will keep you excited for the next game in the series, which will be probably next year. The game took me approx. 20 hours to finish and I didn’t do a lot of side things.
The sound track, except from the main theme was a bit disappointing overall, and it doesn’t really reach the greatness of Assassin’s Creed 2 which had a lot of amazing tracks. This, in a way, also ensures that Assassin’s Creed 2 remains as the best game in the series, with this game coming close. There are some performance issues on the PS3, but overall, considering what the old console is outputting on the screen with this game just blows my mind.
Assassin’s Creed 3 has a lot of great things about it, but it also goes backward in a lot of ways. It’s a complete value for money with tons of things to do in-game, and while it doesn’t match Assassin’s Creed 2 in overall quality, it does some things a lot better than it.