Assassin's Creed III Is A Bummer! No, It's Not! Let's Talk This Out

Last week, I wrote a lengthy article about Assassin's Creed III and the many ways it's disappointed me. My take on the game stands in contrast to Stephen's — he liked the game fine. Clearly, there's more to talk about here.

Here's Stephen:

It is one of the best video games of the year, one of the most daring developed by a major studio this generation, and one of the most beautiful to ever run on any machine. It stumbles from some awkward glitches and some game design over-reach, but it is superb in a surprising number of small ways. Refreshingly, it is a game about America that doesn't settle for simple fictions when the uncomfortable truths about the United States' history would be more interesting.

...

ACIII packs surprises big and small, veers away from habits of the older games, and looks a hell of a lot better than them, too, thanks to a new graphics engine. All things considered, it winds up perhaps not as refined as Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, but far more satisfying and well-crafted than the rough draft of Assassin's Creed 1. Connor may not have Ezio's flair, but he has a game that rivals the quality of the Italian's trilogy. Cautious consumers might want to wait for the inevitable subsequent patches, but those who don't mind a few cosmetic bugs should have no fear. This is a great game.

And here's me summing up my gripes:

It's just not very fun. And here we get to the crux of it, I guess. This one's more subjective than all the other ones, but it remains true: I just haven't been having much fun with Assassin's Creed III. When I started playing, I was also playing Need For Speed: Most Wanted for review. (That game? Very, very fun.) Considering how much I've enjoyed past Assassin's Creed games, I was honestly surprised to find myself saying, many a time, "Man, why am I playing this when I could be playing Need for Speed?" Then I figured out why: Need For Speed is fun, and Assassin's Creed III isn't.

It's interesting and often smart. The story is cool, and I'm one of the people who actually likes that twisty, silly Desmond meta-narrative. I love the sense of place, the meticulously researched history, and think that this time period is hugely underrepresented in video games. I like exploring. But the game, as it stands, just isn't fun. I'm not one to stand on a mountaintop and declare that all games must be "fun," whatever that even means. But surely this blockbuster action/adventure series is intended to be enjoyable to play. And yet, here we are.

After I published my gripes, Stephen and I debated on Twitter about the game, the things he liked, and the things he thought I was overlooking. I've re-arranged a few of the tweets so that our conversation makes more sense.

[View the story "Assassin's Creed Is A Disappointment! No, It Isn't!" on Storify]

That still feels like the tip of the iceberg, in terms of unpacking all that this game brings to the table. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it somewhere in between? Is it a disappointment, or do you feel it's lived up to its promise?

I'm curious to hear what you all think of the game, and whether you're enjoying it on the whole, or find it to be disappointing. Sound off in the comments, let's hash this thing out.


Comments

    I think it's just each to their own.

      Fence sitting - the key to interesting debate.

      Anyway, I've played it, and I was incredibly disappointed. I've completed AC1, AC2, ACB and ACR, and since AC2/ACB it's become clear that Ubisoft don't really understand what makes their own series enjoyable to play.

    I loved it

    Still am loving it

    I got sick of Ezio

    I got sick of the older setting

    I don't know what it is

    It isn't great to be fair, it does seem to be missing something, the last AC added bomb making and kept Ezio and I remember trading it in and not getting 10% through the game.

    So this is a massive step in revitalizing the series and a massive step in the right direction

    But running around and hunting, recruiting new assassins and causing unrest is all so much fun.

    I bought Halo 4, and I have played it, I didn't get very far, as much as I already love that I just keep coming back to AC3

    Maybe it is my love for games like Fallout, or GTA or hell, even Bioshock that just give you a glimpse of exploration and a taste of a fully realized and thought out world

    Over something like Modern Warfare which was about...ummm...I think bad guys attacked/blew up America *which was better done in Crysis 2)

    I apologise for waffling on, but I do hope this makes this past the Mods, and I do hope it gets read by the poster of this story

    Short version:

    Assassin's Creed II/Brotherhood was a great game.

    Revelations was a very good game, but lacking in crucial areas from its predecessor.

    AC3 is a bit better than Revelations in some ways, a bit worse in others. So let's call it a pretty good game.

    Problem is, people wanted a great game.

    Good to see you have shown both sides of how you feel about the game Kirk, now my dogs barking thanks!

    Books better.

      Actually, I have seriously been wondering about the books. Has anyone read them? Are they worth the effort?

        I have not myself

        If any of them dealth with Ezio I think I would avoid them

    From a narrative perspective, "Forrest Gump" effect aside - and you were spot-on there, Kirk - it's more satisfying IMHO. Connor is a very straightfoward decent character, and he looks less interesting by being contrasted against his more interesting father, but I did resent the fact that ACII came out, and Ubisoft went "Ooh! People seem to love Ezio! Let's artificially draw his story out for two more games."

    But the stealth aspects are hilariously inept. And the Penny Arcade strip about Connor's horse is extremely true.

    I really enjoyed it, as I have the previous games. There was no way i was going to miss this one as I love the story line, however the buggy core mechanics have made me not want to play much past that.

    They had something really special going when your just running through the trees but I would have liked for the direction you are heading to be more your choice, not just the one line through a forest.

    *Spoiler ahead*
    Also it was an enjoyable story seeing a character develop, but they often jumped forward through parts I would have liked to play. I can see they didnt want to take too long to play as a developed assassin, however maybe they should have taken away from playing his father so much and more on Connors progression. Also jumping between 15 second cutscenes just to walk down a hallway for 10 seconds to go to another short cutscene got very tedious quickly.

    All in all, I agree with both authors for the most part, the story line was great, and looked amazing. However the faults and bugs (including being invisible in the cutscene where Connor first sees his father, ruining a lot of the emotion to be portayed) have stopped me from wanting to play and explore beyond that.
    - Burgies.

    Can't wait for my PC version(Freedom Ed!). I know it has a fair few problems, but I am gonna enjoy it a lot anyway!

    All previous AC games have been outstanding in parkour, history, story, stealth and portraying life as an assassin, while AC3 has all of theese it does lack in a few. 1: In colonial America the biuldings are really small, going from Constantinople straight to the colonies is a big difference and it leaves us feeling limeted in parkour wich in an AC game should be unheard of. Parkhour is a-mazing still but its changed alot Connor does not go the way you wont him to this is very frustrating during missions indeed but when you get used to it its more fliud then the other games no major issues. 2: The history does appeal to alot of people but not me personally, it is set in the new world so unfortiently you only work with one assassin it feels like you are not part of the brotherhood just a vigalanty its too distant, during the end it doesn't feel like you are fighting for the A.R. anymore it is not a nice feeling, of course amazingly accurate. 3: Connors story is beutiful it pulls you in and plays with your emotions it makes you feel like Connor was real the way you get initertwinrd with the characters is outstanding, but the plot grows short of AC2 it seems too fixed and coppied. We play to much time as Haythem it makes the game feel really short, the story between Connor and Haythem is superb. unlike other games it feels like Connor is only killing the Templars to protect his people not for the brotherhood. We expected alot more from the freemasons and underground crime. 4: Of course it is up to you weither you wish to play stealthy or not but in some missions it doesn't give you choice, its almost impossible to use stealth with the forts this adds to you not feeling like an assassin but still a great stealth game. The graphics are great and the combat is fantastic, biulding the homestead can seem boring but definetly pays off and the side missions are really cool. Have i missed something big yep thats right the end to Desmonds story is the most terrible thing in AC history and drops my score to a 9.0/10, i could wright alot more but well ...you know.

    I think they lost their way with this game, assassins creed is about wide open "cities" boston and new york just felt like large towns, with too wide spacing between them to make rooftop free running interesting, which is a core component of previous titles. Not only that i felt more like a mercenary than an assassin due to the whole combat system which encouraged fights (i thought they were going to make it difficult to fight but it is only slightly more difficult than previous titles) case and point, ASSASSINS ARE SNEAKY NOT SUPER COMBAT SPECIALISTS. The combat features are good but they don't fit the theme/genre of the series. The biggest gripe with controls i had was that due to running/climbing being mapped to the same button i found myself climbing when i didn't want to during a chase sequence.
    What i think was wrong about the american history theme is that we know too much about these people to fit a narrative in, unlike Rodrigo Borgia and the AC1 villans who had little information about them that a narrative could be put in to it. Not only that but assassins and templars still picked sides to the revolution.
    As for characters Connor was hit and miss sometimes, but the templars who were so well developed in the beginning, had their characters butchered after sequence 6 into evil villans, instead of going the route of we have differences in ideology, the game decided to demonise the templars. Case and point Charles Lee who was a good character in Haytham's story suddenly went full on evil.
    As for the Desmond sequences those were great. but the flaws with it were in the social stealth, for example when i was in the brazil mission i didn't know if i was blending with the crowds because the was no "physical indication" in the animus Connor would be tractor beamed to crowds and hide spots, Desmond was not.

    I realised something was wrong when I noticed running on roof tops was just annoying and more difficult than running in the streets.. this game lacks the some of the cooler assassin stuff from previous games

    Perhaps i am to much of a hardcore fan to give it anything under a 9 but it was a dissapointment, So we are all still waiting for that right AC game to deliver the popularity that this series SO MUCH DESERVES like what Skyrim did to the Elder Scrolls, come on AC4.

    I would like to
    - be allowed to bash any civilian that I want
    - Kill my horse for being retarded
    - kill domestic animals
    - hunt birds and fish
    - reload faster
    - fight animals without the quicktime sequence
    .........

    still a good game but

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