Don’t get me wrong, I’m still enjoying Assassin’s Creed 3. The assassin vs templar underground war has always been intriguing and the historic American Revolution backdrop is galvanising.
But after Ubisoft leaked numerous trailers that whetted my appetite for hidden blades, it falls short on being that classic game that really pushed boundaries. Here are my 6 issues with AC III.
1. The beginning drags
The whole concept of playing as Connar’s dad, finding his path in the new land and showing the origins of Connar’s duel heritage, is inspiring.
It’s just a shame they had to drag it out so long.
Was there any point to the finding various men to help his cause once he reached America, other than to fill the story out?
The bombshell at the end of sequence three was great, but the saga took its sweet time to get there.
2. There are countless cutscenes
They may look great, but I don’t want to run from A to B, watch something I have no involvement in, then rinse and repeat.
It almost feels like a hybrid video game – film, because there’s not enough input from you, the gamer.
The immersion is lost and most of the time, I found myself skipping optional cutscenes because they added no value to the subsequent mission and rarely strayed away from random bits of dialogue.
I wholeheartedly agree with Don Reisingern on video game cutscenes. They aren’t what a game is about – just let me play!
3. Underused Hunting
So now we have a brand-new feature that requires a little patience, skill and thought. Great!
Except it’s easier to charge in on horseback, kill anything on site and forget all meaning of a stealthy approach.
The way they underused the concept is criminal and should have employed a system where a subtle approach rewarded the user with higher prices for whatever they hunted. Somehow.
4. Dull side quests are everywhere
Maybe apart from the Homestead, Naval missions and Liberation (and that was only because I like assassin recruiting), it really is a chore to play through the side missions.
Does anyone actually want to deliver letters, aka the numb-boring Courier missions? If they are on the way to a certain destination, sure, I might check the map and get a few funds for the savings.
But I’m certainly not going to make any additional time for it, and they just seem implanted to pad out the content without any reason for doing them.
5. It is crowded with bugs
Thankfully Ubisoft are bringing out a huge patch next week to fix things up a little.
It seems a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted however.
Why a game of this magnitude, with hundreds of staff working on it, has become so riddled with bugs is beyond comprehension.
The millions of people who pre-ordered the game or bought it early on the consoles will most likely be finishing the single player game, where many of the bugs occur.
At least the delayed PC release will contain fewer bugs, which should provide a more polished game. Still, for console gamers, it’s too little too late.
6. Connar’s Dad is a better character
It’s a sad state of affairs when your own dad overshadows you.
Connar, whilst being an unstoppable juggernaut, just doesn’t have the personality to appeal to many.
In comparison to Ezio, the cheeky-chappy, Haytham Kenway the arrogant, but likeable brute and Altair the proficient assassin, Connar just seems plain bland.
Ho seems completely focused on revenge with no thought as to why he’s actually doing it.
“Charles Lee must die. My dad must die. My village must be protected.” Even though siding with the British would actually have been better for the natives at the time…
He is a very confused chap. Sadly, his conflict of interests, which could potentially have been used brilliantly, falls by the wayside in a garbled mess of vengeance.
7. A change in objective, please?
Being an assassin is meant to be about stealth. Blending. Using that brain of yours to figure out how best to kill those that need to be killed.
It’s been the same for most of the series and a mix up to spice things up was needed.
The Bunker Hill mission was really well designed objective, with tactical hiding and a stealthy approach required for the assassination.
Unfortunately, we mainly got the same, trail X, pickpocket Y, charge in on Z.
One of my favourite parts of the whole series was the Marco Barbarigo assassination in ACII.
You had to remain undetected in an enclosed area whilst at high notoriety, then proceed to kill a target who was some distance away.
There were many ways of doing this, but the more subtle methods required expert cunningness to pull off.
ACIII just doesn’t have the variety or quality of missions to really make you think.
And let’s not even start on Desmond’s story or fiddly menus.
A Potential Great Wasted
Despite the criticisms, it’s still a worthy game that most AC players will still enjoy. You just get that feeling of what could have been. And that’s a missed opportunity.