Observations: Assassin’s Creed III

This isn’t so much a review, rather observations and feelings I have towards the newest installment of Assassin’s Creed.

WARNING!!! MASSIVE SPOILERS!!! WARNING!!!

Assassin’s Creed III takes place before and during the American Revolution and revolves around Connor, a half European half Native American Assassin stuck in the middle of the whole mess. During Connor’s travels he runs into historic figures from American history such as George Washington, Samuel Adams, Paul Revere and even kills a few along the way.

As an American and a man with a great interest in history, I found Assassin’s Creed III a little too off the wall with Connor’s direct involvement with the founding of America. If Connor was any more involved, his signature would have been on the Declaration of Independence. From the get go Samuel Adams was practically on his hands and knees begging Connor to help him in Boston with everything under the fucking sun. Paul Revere’s historic ride was done on the back of a horse being steered by Connor himself.  The Battle of Concord was won by…yup you guessed it…Connor. From having a seat next to Samuel Adams in the First Continental Congress to dumping tea in Boston, Connor has apparently done it all – Revolutionary War stuff that is.

What's up brah?

If Ubisoft’s goal was to put Connor at the forefront of every major Revolutionary event and make the player think it could have been possible for him to be so involved without ever being mentioned in our history books, then Ubisoft failed miserably. Obviously there was no Connor during the American Revolution and there were no Templar’s, but even if they were actually there, they would have been at least noted, along with the plethora of other Revolutionary War information that was recorded. The point I’m trying to make is, there is no way in hell someone as important as Connor would have gone through the whole war without someone writing down at least a few of his involvements, and for us to believe otherwise is a stretch… A pretty damn big one.

Along with historical stretches that make my head hurt, another thing that disappointed me was George Washington. I remember watching the cinematic trailer a few months before the game came out where Connor single-handedly turned the tide of a battle, and at the end it showed George Washington looking worried and possibly questioning himself – which to me said “He’s going to play a big role in this game and he will be an interesting character!”. Boy was I wrong. General Washington had really nothing to do with the story-line what so ever, other than the fact that the Templar’s wanted him dead or dishonored so Charles Lee could be in charge of the Continental Army. At one point in the game Connor went on to say that George Washington gave the Continental Army and Revolution hope and this was right after Connor had met him. Up until this point, he was never mentioned and the war had just begun, so for Connor to say that about our nation’s first President was kind of strange to me. That’s like if I met Bill Gate’s back in 1975 and two weeks later I told someone “He’s our only hope for personal computers in every home!”. Off the top of my head I think you have interactions with General Washington a grand total of 3 times and only one of them is important. I was hoping for George Washington to be a more important, developed character in the game, but was instead given a character I honestly didn’t give two shits about.

Napoleon wanna be

Connor’s character was also a headache for me because sometimes I really didn’t understand him and what he really wanted. He was a man with no clear direction and he flip-flopped between hating the Revolutionaries and wanting to help them. Sometimes he detested helping the Revolution and other times he was balls deep in wanting to lend a hand, even if it didn’t help meet his own goals. He was always clear about putting his village above all else which made sense, but after a while he seemed to care more about destroying the Templar’s than protecting his village, which may have been part of the reason his village was deserted when he returned to it after he finished off the Templar’s.

From the moment I put Assassin’s Creed III into my Xbox, all I wanted to do was kill Red Coats with a tomahawk and to my surprise I did not get to do that until about the 5th sequence! You start off playing as Nathan Kenway, Connor’s father and you follow his storyline which is the set up for the rest of the game. The biggest surprise is that you find out that Nathan is a Templar at the end of playing as him, which really caught me off guard. The problem I had with playing as Nathan for a few sequences is that I didn’t give a single fuck about him. I was completely focused on getting his story done and out of the way so I could get to Connor. Nathan’s sequence’s are boring and slow as hell and on top of that I didn’t care about him at all because I knew I wouldn’t be playing as him for long, so I felt like everything I did with Nathan was irrelevant.

At this point you’re probably thinking I did not enjoy Ubisoft’s new “Assassin” game, but you couldn’t be more wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed the game and thought it was a major improvement from Brotherhood and Revelations. The graphics were cleaner, the running mechanic had more movements giving you the feeling of actually running through a crowded street, the size of the four main areas are massive, the cities are practically alive, the frontier could suck you in for hours if you weren’t careful (I mean that in a good way), the new fast travel made life a whole lot easier, the naval battles are quite fun and Connor was much more of an interesting character than Ezio (Personal opinion).

If I had to choose the biggest issue I had with AC III, it would have to be the new combat system. I’m not talking about kill animations or being able to counter kill two guys at once or grabbing people and using them as a human shield, I’m talking about how they changed the controls for the combat. The past four Assassin’s Creed games had the same controls, X attacks, Right Trigger blocks, Right Trigger and X counter kills, Right Trigger and A disarms (If your unarmed) and so on. AC III had an entirely different control scheme and made the Right Trigger pointless, B would be the counter button, X would still be attack and A would break enemies defenses. The reason I am upset with this change is because I’m a proponent of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ and guess what?!? The old system was not broken and it actually worked quite well. It took about 7 sequences for me to adjust to the new counter system which is just plain stupid. The old Right Trigger X counter kill system made the combat faster and more fluid and this new counter with B bullshit made the combat slower and more difficult at some points. Time slows down if you counter someone correctly, giving you a second to think about what you want to do, the counter button felt like it was delayed by a second and I never seemed to get it down right. The old system did it automatically if you timed it correctly and by the end of the game you would be so good at it you able to just use your hidden blades. I did feel that the rest of the combat system was great and Ubisoft did a fantastic job of making enemies not shoot you in the face every two seconds while in the middle of a fight, kind of like what they would have done in real life.

So I see Connor has facial hair in this picture, but never had any in the game...I sense a DLC coming soon

Overall I enjoyed Assassin’s Creed III from start until 5 minutes before finish. The game was excellent, even with a few glitches and when I mean a few, I mean more than I like to see in an Assassin’s Creed game, but the ending left a sour taste in my mouth. I look forward to the end of every Assassin’s Creed game just to see how crazy the ending is going to be and I felt like this ending was going to be BANANAS! Nope. Desmond touches a pedestal which kills him in the process, but saves the world and I’m honestly not 100% sure how. It was a pretty lackluster ending to an exciting game, I would have rather had an ending where Desmond just eats a sandwich and says “Fuck it.” while the world is destroyed. Desmond is also given a choice by Minerva to let the world be destroyed, but shows him a vision of the future where he brings order and civilization back to the world, but in the end humanity just goes back to it’s controlling and abusive roots using his teachings as it’s power. The alternative being Desmond sacrifices himself to save the world, but Juno is released from her prison and would go on to try and take over the world. For a moment I thought I was going to be able to choose the ending, but low and behold Desmond makes the choice for us and kills himself to save the world. Even though player choices aren’t a big part of AC III, I felt like it would have been a nice change of pace and a good ending to the entire series, but of course Ubisoft enjoys large piles of money and the Assassin’s Creed franchise will live on as the ending shows.

Oh yeah! Three cheers for Desmond being killed off!!! I fucking hated him.

Like I said at the beginning of this, this is just my observations of Assassin’s Creed III and not a review. Feel free to post your feelings in the comment section below.

 

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