How Has Assassin’s Creed III Disappointed Me? Let Me Count The Ways

How Has Assassin’s Creed III Disappointed Me? Let Me Count The Ways

I thought I was going to love Assassin’s Creed III. From everything I’d seen, it seemed like Ubisoft was doing everything in their not-inconsiderable power to push their flagship series into brave new territory.

Except… well, they didn’t manage to pull it off.

Rather than taking the Assassin’s Creed series forward in some bold new direction, Ubisoft has resolutely kept the series at the same level as before, and actually have taken several rather large steps back. Not everyone feels this way: The game has garnered plenty of positive criticism, including a mixed but generally positive review from our own Stephen Totilo. But try though I may, I just can’t love Assassin’s Creed III.

Of course, that’s not to say I hate it — I don’t. But after about 10 or twelve hours with the game, I have to say, I think it could have been much, much better.

Coming up, there’ll be some minor spoilers, including descriptions of a few missions from around the start of the Revolutionary War. Nothing too major. Here we go.

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1. Nothing Really Works All That Well

That sounds pretty damning, huh? Let’s just start with this one, then. Nothing in Assassin’s Creed III works all that well. Good video games have a good feel to them. Think of it this way: it’s not necessarily that every toy, trick, and game mechanic feels intuitive and smooth. But in an action game, the core mechanics, the ones you use over and over again, should.

Think of a game where you do lots of shooting, like Gears of War. Gears‘ shooting feels good. The active reload feels good. Slamming into cover feels good. These are the core aspects of the game, the things you’ll be doing hundreds if not thousands of times as you play it.

It’s almost as though Assassin’s Creed III has no core game mechanics. It’s all ancillary stuff. Nothing feels “right,” nothing works that well. Running is weird at best, laggy, and often leads you charging up a wall or tearing off in the wrong direction. Swordfighting feels less like a kinetic dance and more like a drunken brawl. Fistfighting is laughably bad. Shooting a bow takes forever and feels light and unsatisfying. Shooting a musket is worse (Using the top face button, Y or Triangle, to shoot a gun feels like trying to screw in a lightbulb while standing on your tiptoes.) Targeting is a disaster (Really? The left trigger is dedicated to toggling a slow-moving reticle that highlights characters for auto-target? Whose idea was that?). It should not still be possible to climb up to one of the game’s iconic vantage points, synchronise, then press “jump,” and… leap to your death on the hard pavement next to the pile of hay. And yet it is. Even air-assassinations, the one thing that the series had gotten pretty good at, feel finicky and difficult to land in the new game.

It’s as though Assassin’s Creed III has no core gameplay; it’s so scattered that there’s nothing to hold on to. As a result, it’s rarely if ever satisfying to play.

2. It’s All Rough Edges

There is a sense throughout Assassin’s Creed III that the game’s eyes are just bigger than its stomach. It feels as though it was crammed onto an Xbox 360 disc, its developers sitting on top of the disc while they zipped up the sides, praying it would fit into the overhead compartment. I couldn’t go five minutes on the Xbox version without encountering some sort of rough edge or bug. Ubisoft have long been masters of the way too-good-to-be-true screenshot (you’ll see several of those in this very article), but the gulf between how those images look and how the game looks in action has never been wider.


Constant loading screens between interiors and exteriors, cutscenes and gameplay, and everywhere else. Strange, abrupt transitions from the end of combat to the end of a sequence, where music would be about to hit a crescendo and would suddenly be cut short, replaced by a silent animus loading screen. Terrible lip synching during in-game conversations. Long pauses between characters’ lines of dialogue in overheard conversations, as if my console was leaving them to ponder the most recent sentence while it desperately searched for the requisite sound file. And all of this is not to mention the many, many, many bugs in the game, most of which are cosmetic, some of which will doubtless be addressed by patches, and all of which conspire to make the game feel like less than it should have been.

Overheard dialogue, replayed ad nauseum, again, and again, and again. The “Mah-nee, mah-nee, mah-nee!” guy from AC II sounds refreshing compared with some of your cohorts’ battle cries and the freaky, played-on-a-loop clown laughs of the little children.

The rough edges leave the world feeling clownish and false, like a scary amalgamation of a video game version of the past. It’s not just unconvincing, it’s often weird. It’s strange that a game this high-profile, which has been in development this long, feels this rough and unfinished.

3. The Music Is A Drag

I just don’t like the music in Assassin’s Creed III. This is largely a matter of taste — when it comes down to it, I prefer Jesper Kyd’s soaring, melodramatic themes from ACII and Brotherhood to Lorne Balfe’s staid, dirge-like orchestrations and perfunctory ethnic wailing. It’s all so serious and frowny, both in tone and in instrumentation. For a game that’s ostensibly about freedom and flight, about leaping from rooftop to rooftop and tree to tree, the music feels lugubrious.

Put it another way: It’s not a coincidence that several fan-made tributes to Assassin’s Creed III have used music from Assassin’s Creed II. Kyd’s music is iconic, and nothing Balfe has created in the new game comes close.

4. The Intro? Also A Drag

The bait-and-switch opening chapters of ACIII have been a point of contention for many critics. I submit that it’s not so much the nature of the introduction that bugs me so much as its design. Yes, you play as a different dude for the first four to six hours of Assassin’s Creed III. (And yes, he is, oddly, a much more likable guy than the actual main character Connor.) I liked that; I liked the narrative twists and turns that this part of the story tossed out, and I enjoyed setting up the framework for the rest of the game.

What I didn’t like was the actual way the prelude was designed — it was, literally, a series of cutscenes separated by some walking. Almost every time. My guy would wake up, then walk to a room, and a cutscene would play. Then he’d walk to another room, where a cutscene would play. Then maybe (maybe) there’d be a swordfight. Then walk to a cutscene. Sometimes he’d walk across a vast, snowy forest to get to his next cutscene.

The last straw for me was when I finished a cutscene and was set loose on the deck of a ship, en route to America. Land, I was told, was visible. I was instructed to climb the tallest mast and see for myself. I began to climb, excited to crest the top sail and set my sights on Boston Harbor. The music began to build as I climbed and… suddenly the game took over, and awkwardly transitioned into a cutscene of my character looking out over the Boston Harbor. Man.

5. Basic Interface Fail

The interface in Assassin’s Creed III is far too sluggish. Everything moves slower than it should. Weapon selection is a disaster — like many games, you press RB to open up a menu that allows you to switch between your various tools. But instead of popping up an easy quick-select radial menu, the game pauses, zooms out to an entirely separate menu, then lets you move up and down a list of items, rather than around in a circle.

This is basic stuff to get wrong at this point — Red Dead Redemption nailed it four years ago, and Saints Row got it right even before that. There are too many tools in Assassin’s Creed III to use the D-pad shortcuts; I always need quick access to more than four things. The amount of time it takes to select a new tool, particularly while in the heat of combat, is a groove-killer.

The map is even worse. It’s become a given that Assassin’s Creed games have terrible maps, but that does not make it OK. If anything, it makes it less OK. It should’t “be a given” that a massive, multi-million dollar AAA franchise just has one very important element that sucks, forever. They’ve had five games to get the map right. Why can’t they just overhaul it? It takes forever for it to load, it’s difficult to read, and it makes it navigation more confusing, not less.

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6. The “Gump Factor”

I’m a little bit worried about Assassin’s Creed‘s fiction as it gets closer to modern times. In the earlier games, Altair and Ezio spent a lot of time tied up with the biggest political and social movements in their respective points in history. But, and this may be hugely ethnocentric of me, those conflicts, characters, and events felt far enough from our own time that it wasn’t too big of a deal to see my video game protagonist taking a small but vital role in them. Even meeting characters I knew, like Leonardo DaVinci in Assassin’s Creed II, felt a bit goofy, but fun.

Assassin’s Creed III takes place during the American Revolution, during historical events that most people, at least most Americans, are much more familiar with. As a result, the story starts to have a Forrest Gump-y quality that feels more distracting than cool. You say Paul Revere went on a famous ride? Well actually, Connor rode with him! You say the British won a bloody victory at Bunker Hill? Well actually, Connor was there, and snuck across the enemy lines! You say the Colonials held the British at the north bridge in Concord? Well actually, Connor commanded the troops and told them when to fire! Why did he do this? Because the Colonial commanding officer decided to trust this random guy with the task.

I loved this re-done version of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride” over at Crikey. A choice excerpt:

And so our riders went swiftly through the night

With Revere giving directions towards the good fight,

When suddenly, without sure prediction,

It seemed a bug emerged with strong affliction

Revere was stuck helplessly in a dialogue cycle;

“Yes! This is exactly where we need to be!”

“Yes! This is exactly where we need to be!”

“Yes! This is exactly where we need to be!”

“Yes! This is exactly where we need to be!”

It all feels contrived, and unnecessary. I’m not sure of the exact solution to this problem — it is cool to read about and see the real story of Paul Revere’s ride, and to see the events at Concord unfolding firsthand. But do I really have to ride on the horse with the guy? Must I command the troops, and if so, must Connor be the one to do it?

In order for a video game to occupy a place in history, it doesn’t necessarily have to place characters at the very centre of historical events. It would’ve been possible to put Connor into Paul Revere’s ride, or the Battle of Bunker Hill, without making him an integral part of each one. And I worry that as the series progresses into even more recent history, that the Gumpyness will only get worse. I want to live through history, but I don’t need to rewrite it.

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7. It’s Time For A Control Overhaul

In addition to the basic interface stuff, I think it’s time that Ubisoft reassess Assassin’s Creed‘s basic controls. Combat doesn’t feel good, targeting is a disaster, and free-running should probably just be labelled a failed experiment. On a fundamental level, the game does not feature a strong connection between the player, his or her controller, and the game. That’s a big problem.

Since the first Assassin’s Creed launched in 2007, the series has been so thoroughly outpaced by so many games that the people in charge would do well to pause, study, and go back to the drawing board.

For example: With each passing year, combat in Assassin’s Creed is further overshadowed by Batman: Arkham Asylum. While Rocksteady managed to raise their own bar in Arkham City, Ubisoft seems content to stick with a combat system that feels positively stodgy at this point. It’s unsatisfying, hectic, and despite all that far too easy. They can add all the canned kill-cam animations they want, it won’t change the fact that their basic combat is one tenth as enjoyable, challenging, and punchy as Arkham City on an off day.

Free-running, too, could learn some lessons from other games. Sleeping Dogs added an interesting trick where you hold down “A” to run, then press it in time to climb and jump over obstacles. Infamous forced players to actually press the jump button to climb walls, but managed to make navigation into a mostly-fun skate-park kind of thing. Dishonored added a teleporting mechanic to make rooftop navigation thrilling and empowering. I humbly submit that Assassin’s Creed‘s next developers rethink what can be fun about running and leaping over things. The basic idea is still strong. But the execution needs work.

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8. For A Stealth Game, The Stealth Sure Is Jank

And here, maybe my biggest problem with Assassin’s Creed III: The stealth. The Assassin’s Creed games are, ostensibly, stealth games. One of their oldest gameplay pillars involves your character blending into the crowd, striking, then vanishing into thin air.

And yet it never feels that way. Stealth in Assassin’s Creed III is broken, plain and simple. This is best evidenced by an early mission in which you must sneak into an enemy encampment and steal intel without being spotted. If you’re spotted, the mission ends, and you must restart it from the beginning. I failed this mission a good 20 times before finally succeeding, and I’d imagine I’m not the only one.

Here are the problems as I see them:

  • The camera positioning makes it difficult to see where everyone is, and despite the addition of an inconsistent corner-sticking ability, you mostly can’t “stick” to cover and make yourself unseen.
  • There’s no “stealth” button, not even a crouch button, which means that you can’t tell the game that you’d like your character to be stealthy. That means you’ll frequently just stand right up while moving through the underbrush, immediately tipping off every nearby enemy to your location. It’s maddening.
  • Enemies don’t appear to have a realistic line-of-sight, and can often see you from the strangest, most turned-around locations. I find myself playing more against the yellow arrows that have popped up at the side of my screen than against enemies I actually had any notion of when I started sneaking.
  • Crowd-sneaking feels inconsistent to the point that I never even attempt it. The stealth feedback is just fundamentally flawed. I never attempt to sneak using a crowd, because it’s almost impossible not to get spotted.
  • Assassin’s Creed III has also done away with the hireable helpers that made crowd-stealth more workable in past games. You can no longer hire courtesans and thieves to help you get past guards, giving you far less control over your work at street-level.
  • Sneaking in the woods is almost impossible, as well. Everything is so spread out that there are rarely good “stealth pathways” between you and your target, and there’s no good way to quickly traverse open areas without being spotted. Far more often, you’ll have to kill everyone who spots you before proceeding. I wanted to be a ghost in the underbrush, and instead I’m a thug with a tomahawk.

I’ve been playing a lot of stealth games recently. From Dishonored to Mark of the Ninja to Hitman: Absolution, which I’ll be reviewing next week. All of those games, with varying degrees of success, have built-in systems that dovetail with the level design to make sneaking empowering, interesting, difficult, and fun. By contrast, Assassin’s Creed feels like it has a stealth game’s punishments without any of its necessary tools. It feels so clumsy. Connor is a constantly-spotted rube, a guy standing on a rooftop being yelled at by a guard.

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9. I Avoid Doing Things

I find that in Assassin’s Creed III, I avoid doing just about everything. I want the path of least resistance. I don’t want to even try to use the rope-dart to hang a guy from a tree. I don’t want to try to sneak through a fort undetected. I don’t want to go hunting, I don’t want to try to use feed to summon animals and shoot them from a tree. I don’t want to try to dodge a firing-line and use a guy as a human shield. It’s all just so difficult to manage, so I don’t bother. And really, that’s because…

10. 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 and is very fun to explore. 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.

Despite all the disappointments I just listed, I still don’t hate Assassin’s Creed III. It’s a game worth playing, and its basic setup, setting, and story are strong enough to overcome even that laundry list of complaints. And hey, the naval combat really is as cool as everyone says. I’m going to wait to play it to completion until it comes out on PC, largely in the hopes that my more powerful computer can remedy some of the rough edges that so turned me off of the Xbox version.

But on the whole, I just gotta say it: Assassin’s Creed III, one of the biggest, most ambitious, and most hyped games of 2012, is a disappointment.

Comments

  • I’ve started playing it, and although I’m not yet as disappointed as this writer, I didn’t find a single thing in the article I disagreed with.

    • Yeah, this. I wouldn’t be quite so critical, but these issues are very disappointing – even a step backwards from what they did with AC2/Bro/Revs.

      • I am glad you mentioned that, I didn’t notice the first time. Someone should make a custom cover using that image so we can replace the boring one that came with the game.

  • I am loving AC3 however the free running really annoys me, in the other games I felt like I had more control, one button to run and hold another to “free run”

    but now its just one for all and I find myself runnning and leaping around when I dont want to be

    • It’s funny but that’s exactly how I felt about the previous games. They make you hold down several buttons when you just want to free run over stuff and inevitably you run into leap of faiths that you didn’t want to make. For me, that’s been remedied by this game as holding one button allows you to traverse reachable gaps and stops you from making jumps you can’t land, or using leap of faiths you didn’t intend to make.

      • To be honest, the new free-running system is more realistic. Sure, they removed the toggle controls like in the previous games, but I’m talking about the fluidity of Connor’s motion. He can quickly change directions, and interact with almost every obstacle with absolute excellence (i.e. jumping over fences and stuff). And now there are trees. When I first saw Connor free-running over the tree branches in the launch trailer, I was stunned.

        So all in all, I think the free-running system is better than the previous games, but when it comes to the variety of controls (especially in combat), that was a huge disappointment in AC3.

  • Not another ‘ How Ass Creed 3 disappointing me’ article!

    Yes, the game is disappointing, but so are a lot of games. That doesn’t forgive the flaws, but YOU FOLKS are the fools for eating up all the hype for the last 6+ months!
    The Ass Creed series has always been an average action experience. It’s a time waster where you don’t have to think. What where you expecting?
    It’s not the end of the world. Accept you wasted $60+ on this and move on. Enough with the constant articles. Jesus Christ!

    • I find it refreshing. We’re in a time where most sites and magazines absolutely rave about very average games (remember COD: Black Ops? So average, 9/10s across the board).

      So I like actually having the articles match up with my perspective. It’s not that I’m hard to please, it’s that most games just aren’t that good.

    • Feel free not to click on the article next time. The title told you what you were in for if you decided to read it. Some people would be feeling quite validated that their experience of the game isn’t quite measuring up to the reviews that they’ve read. Especially those folks who want to know if ‘it gets better later on’ or not.

      PS: Two articles is not ‘constant’, especially when they were written by different people, and act as a counterpoint to a positive review.

    • “YOU FOLKS are the fools for eating up all the hype for the last 6+ months!”

      Please don’t generalise. I was well and truly ‘over the hump’ with Assassin’s Creed II after Brotherhood. I only forced myself to finish Revelations so I could move on to ACIII this weekend just past, and I’m finding it very difficult to disagree with anything in this article.

      I heard nothing but glowing praise from everyone I know who has played it. This game is a disappointment, and not because I was hyped, but because I was looking forward to something new.

      As Kirk wrote; it’s exactly the same. I don’t know what I was expecting, but a watered down step backwards of the high point ACII was not it.

    • You sound like everybody is sending these disappointing letters to you. When you pay for a product you expect it to not be so flawed. People have a right go voice their opinions I think you should get over it. P.S. where and were are to different words. Learn how to use them properly. 😉

  • The last time I played (two days ago) the game shat itself transitioning from a cut scene to the mission. White screen and looping Animus music, unresponsive buttons and I couldn’t even quit to the PS3 home. Haven’t picket it up since.

    Earlier in the game I experienced an awful glitch that caused a blue screen and loud, screeching sound that made me yank off my headphones. This happened 3-4 times (restarting from the same checkpoint) but was fine after restarting the console.

    There’s a special place in my heart for the franchise but this installment has been a letdown across the board.

    • This happened to me as well… I had to restart console and guess what was missing?

      My save game with 30hours of playtime. As much as I wanted to keep playing and actually liked the game there is no way I am sitting through that again.

  • I haven’t played it yet, as I am waiting for it on the Wii U.

    I am a long time fan of the Assassin’s Creed series and I most certainly hope that it is not as bad as you say 🙁

  • I cannot deny any of this at all. This is exactly how I’ve been feeling about AC3. Especially that last point. With Revelations, it started off slow for around two hours, but once I got the hook blade? Shit was *on*! It was great. Constantinople opened up and I was Ezio at this best again! It was lots of fun! Brotherhood was a *blast* It was AC2 truly on steroids. AC2 was the true game AC should have been in the first place as I always felt AC was more a tech demo than anything else?

    But AC3? It feels like a giant step backwards. Connor, is clunky and awkward, a poor fighter, not charismatic at all, I could honestly not give two craps about him. Altair I always thought had the ‘cool factor’ about him, Ezio had the true character depth (granted across 3 games but even by the beginning of 2 when his family was executed you cared about him) When we got to Connors youth at the indian camp? 5 minutes gameplay, village destroyed, MOVE ON TO ADULT CONNOR! Then some half arsed missions til I found his mentor.

    It’s not all terrible for me, I think it does have some redeeming features. Hunting is fun, the rope dart is a great weapon and I’m loving the ship combat.

    That’s about it though… I hope the next AC3 spinoff game (yeah we all know they will release one next year…) does an ACBR and ramps things up majorly. A trip to England maybe?

      • I think thats part of it, we’ve had Altair, I just felt like Connor was never really given his own true identity. I wasnt wanting Ezio mk2 but I was hoping for a little more personality?

        • BUT and I will accept this wholely, that could also be down to the piss poor voice acting of Connor and not the written dialogue which wasn’t too bad.

          • I think that might have been intentional…his speech has that slow kind of “native american” thing

          • Possibly, but I have heard much better in that area too. I wasn’t expecting Christopher Nolan level performances, just wasn’t moved by Connor.

            I mean being honest? When compared to other games out there AC3 stands head and shoulders above a lot of other games. It’s just when I compare it to what came before it. That’s where my problem lays. I know people can say ‘Just compare it to itself or to two’ but I can’t. There’s a 4 game history now, there’s a lot of baggage that comes with being an AC game. But, that being said, lets see what the next iteration of AC brings. We all know there will undoubtedly be one next year anyhow 😉

  • Yeah I totally agree actually the last good AC game was brotherhood, I think the blocking needs to come back it made the combat more fun I don’t think people want it to be deliberately hard to take down 10 or so chumps and now that you can get shot whilst in a melee fight the blocking really is the least they could do,

    Connor is no Ezio and if they manage to do a spinoff / un-numbered Connor sequel like they did with ACB and ACR I don’t think I’ll buy it

    Also the ending left things far too meh for my liking,

      • You can still pull people over ledges. I know this because I’ve done it a couple of times, however I’ve tried to do it a dozen times!! Just another half-assed mechanic in the game that doesn’t work properly.

        You know what’s more frustrating? the roofs that Connor refuses to climb up. There’s a few in Boston, and they look like plenty of other buildings and roofs that you can scale, but for whatever reason, he’ll cling to the edge of these roofs and refuses to climb up.

        • It’s crazy that stuff like that doesn’t work when it worked fine in the previous games. It’s almost like they threw away everything they’d made before and started over from scratch.

        • Agreed!! It happens to me all the time.. Connor just decides he’ll stop climbing whenever he feels like it.. I also get him not wanting to jump off stuff.. it’s usualy fences which i end up having to drop/hang to get off.
          The free run mechanic is definately broken in this game, there’s also alot of other bugs in the game.
          Another that happens to me a fair bit is in New York where i can just be walking/running along while incognito, and then just randomly a bunch of guards will become alerted and start chasing me. Also the damn lumberers in the homestead.. I can’t finish the stupid ‘Common-man Encyclopedia’ because they’ve bugged up and just stand around smoking or fishing all day..

          AC3 in the end is a major step backwards from AC2..

  • Pathetic reasons, doesn’t highlight what’s wrong. The only real issues was the polish. Everything is is just personal bs except some stealth issues which is fair enough. This really is a sideways article because its not true, the combat is fantastic, just too easy. It doesn’t need to change, and the navigation is fantastic, it has changed a little but taking ideas from a more clunky sleeping dogs? That’s very one minded. Its the most fluid and quick navigation to climb. Take the running through trees, no game has come close to mastering that or evening trying. And yet it works so well, why on earth would you change that. And you do realise their is a hotkey for weapons, that other thing is just setting for setting up that hotkey even if it takes a little long… and the last “I avoid things” means nothing because they are all fantastic mechanics that make the game that much more interesting. Because its SO fun, and plenty would agree – especially the hunting. It seems as if your one minded and just ” i just want simple thing”. And breeze over the fact that this is a SANDBOX game.
    You didn’t like the music? I thought it was great.
    I am not being a fanboy, because there are issues with the game that don’t seem to be highlighted, bar a few. But this is just mostly a personal issue and nothing of the game because quite frankly, when a game does so much, its not really fair to criticize everything when other games do one thing only a little bit better. What Assassins Creed 3 does well it does fantastically, and it has many issues because it was rushed to release and was probably one of the biggest games of this year. I just find this article sad when I know your missing out on what is wonderful game.
    But darn it Ubisoft, fix those damn glitches!

    • Yeah you’re being a fanboy, you contradict yourself in the article, rage at the author and blindly ignore glaring *valid* flaws in the game. You said there’s nothing wrong except the polish? Care to be more specific? They can polish the bugs, the gameplay, the combat, the missions (excise out the crap ones, retool them or add new ones to make it better).

      What assassins creed 3 does best, is underwhelm, at that, it’s a master.

    • Missing out? The game is unfinished at best. It’s a rushed mess, and a terribly dull game to boot. While I’m not a fan of the series, I’ve finished 1,2 and brotherhood. This is easily the worst in the ass creed yet (oh wait, there is the even more boring and shittier version on the vita).

    • Save for a few points, I agree with you. I feel like a lot of the author’s complaints stem from a matter of personal taste. The only ones I agreed with were the loading stuff, the menu stuff, and the stealth stuff. The combat and Free Running are exceptionally improved. No more holding several buttons to cross simple gaps, no more accidental leaps of faiths — which btw, the author claimed that he shouldn’t be able to synchronise and jump to his death… well, he should actually look where he’s jumping next time.

      I do think this game has a huge problem with bugs, and they clearly didn’t have time to polish the game. And the hunting — I’m not into it. It’s too easy and too QTEy. Fighting bears and cougars should feel dangerous and incredibly risky (at close range anyway). That’s why cougars are such a blast to hunt down in Red Dead. They came out of nowhere and often catch you unaware. Not so in AC3.

  • Couldn’t agree more. It’s bloated, archaic and punishing. Awful native voice acting, repetitive, uninspired score, dumb yet crazily intelligent AI, a simplistic, one-button combat system, PS1 era inventory management with separate screens that yank you out of the game, a map that is just a series of samey-colored icons on a graphic with non-existent topography — it’s a mess, and it is not fun at all. I played 15 hours with a perma-frown before saying, “Why am I doing this to myself?” and trading forever. Woeful.

  • I had a particular annoyance/ glitch where the animus database updated after about the 3rd Conner mission with a spoiler which ruined an enormous chunk of the story!

    I was reading the database entry for one of the main characters and where normally they update with ‘***’ to denote additional content it updated two at once and ruined a major twist which didn’t occur in the narritive for another 6 hours or so.
    Half way through reading it I suddenly realised that it seemed I’d read a major spoiler but by then it was too late. Fucking infuriating.

  • I will wait on the WiiU review (as I’ve mentioned before). Maybe they fixed some of the controls and bugs (probably not). If not, I’ll wait for the next iteration where they’ll hopefully fix a lot of these issues. No loss to me, plenty of other games to play.

  • Sure there are glitches and issues but they don’t ruin the game, so Kirk I honestly think you are being a bit of a bitch get over everything and just enjoy how different and unique the game is! Shit just climb rocks or hunt do what ever that’s why it has a massive open world, maybe that’s why you think it’s like or hasn’t changed from the other assassins creed’ games because you are playing ac3 like the other ac games!

  • It’s funny – all of this stuff you are complaining about comes across as if ACIII isn’t up to par; as if previous games had it better, or at the very least had similar issues that weren’t resolved. I hadn’t played any Assassins Creed until about 2 weeks ago. About 10 minutes into the game I was sick of it. Non-stop talking – cutscene – take a step forward – cut scene -switch characters – cut scene – more talking – walk for a bit – cutscene. Finally get to control Altair … he starts jumping all over the place – I’m not being so naive as to suggest I had no control over my character, I guess what I mean is that I would want to run and then he’d get caught on something, a fence, a seat, a barrel or a box, and then scale it, and before I could stop him he’d be jumping up onto a wall and I’d have guards after me. Galloping a horse is apparantly the tell-tale sign of a god damned asssassin – all of whom choose to hide their secret order in a giant castle at the top of a hill in plain sight with their banners draped all over it. Combat was pretty boring and I’d find myself spamming attack or counter. Throwing knives would always get thrown instead of him pulling out his sword (and they’d all miss). Some buildings wouldn’t be climbable (or be half climbable) even though they were 6 ft tall and the roof was right there which really impacted the only fun (albeit entirely overused) aspect – the free running.

    It was annoying. I barely did any of the 3 or 4 ad nauseam side missions. Much like you I did the absolute minimum required to finish the game.

    Finally finished it and moved on to ACII to see what was fixed. Bit more exciting at the start (at least I get to play the first 20 minutes!) and then more of the same old stuff. Unresponsive controls. Ezio starts climbing all over **** because I asked him to run. Apparantly doing anything that isn’t walking slowly is cause for concern. I give up. No idea why such a shoddy repetitive, cookie-cutter of a series got such praise let alone 4 sequels.

    • “No idea why such a shoddy repetitive, cookie-cutter of a series got such praise let alone 4 sequels.”

      Because it has ‘Assassins’ in it?

      I’ve never played the AC series myself, so I wouldn’t know, but people generally like the word ‘Assassin’

  • I agree with some points in this, not all though.

    I cant stand the fact Connor plays such an integral role in the Revolution, Ezio and Altair were involved in big events in the past, but always on the periphery and only once or twice would they get themselves involved directly in events.

    What really killed it for me though was the final mission and the story payoff….I don’t want to spoil it, but that last mission before you go back to the present just show cased nearly everything that was unpolished, from the running to the idiotic optional objectives to the unpolished nature of it. Its like this team didn’t pay any attention to the refinements made in Brotherhood and Revelations and just made their own game which is 2 – 3 years behind what we have now….

    I still like the game, I like the flow of combat and feel more comfortable running into a group of Lobsters than I did in previous games, the hunting is pretty fun and the Homestead missions give more of an emotional payoff than the main story ever did.

    Its a good game, just fails to live up to the Ezio trilogy that came before it.

  • Anyone else notice that some of the Animus loading screens that pop after you kill a templar, and have seen the cut scene, you can take damage while your screen is blank? I almost died this way, and came very close to ragequit… Such a very rushed/broken game. Still, someone raised an interesting point on some forums that all of the glitches, poor controls and bad lip sync aren’t AC3, it’s the Animus just being sucky haha.

  • Oh no, this is what I feared. I haven’t been able to get into any of the AC’s as the boredom sets in, and controls begin to frustrate me. I hate dev’s that make a big world and just give you the same side quests over and over again. I’d rather a smaller world that has more in it. I’m waiting for the PC version, but I just don’t know.

  • Apparently you’re not the only one. I’ve read a few reviews that think it’s a real step back from 2.

    I ADORED the first 2, but it looks like I’ll skip this one, at least till I can get my hands on it some other way to try it out first.

  • Haha laughable article, the game is the best in the series so far. Personally they shouldn’t have made brotherhood or revelations now they were bloated wastes of time

  • Ubisoft obviously haven’t learned from Eidos.

    AC3 is Tomb Raider Underworld. Same shit different disc.

    The only problem is, Ubisoft don’t have the option of “rehashing” the series, not from my perspective anyhow. I’d be surprised if AC4 was announced and if it is, it doesn’t matter how good they make the game, this cash cow is dead. Move on.

  • most of this sounds like a platform issue… rather than a game issue. i wonder if you would have the same problems on a PC?

    • He does mention serious design flaws that make the game hard to enjoy regardless of the platform – things like the changed controls, stealth mechanics or really frustrating and linear mission design. Even without the bugs, it’s just not as fun and rewarding as its predecessors, in my opinion.

  • Couldn’t agree more. So many times I’ve found myself thinking, “How did this get through the testing phase?”
    Right now I’m only playing it because I’ve invested too much time and money into the franchise that I can’t NOT finish the main story line. Forts? Collectibles? More settlers for my little town? Forget it. I’m heading straight for that big “!” on the map.

  • I have one problem with a point made – the game isn’t a stealth game.

    I agree that it should be, and sort of agree that it’s supposed to be… I mean, Assassin’s are suppose to be about finesse, right?

    But it’s giving too much credit to say it’s a stealth game. There are, like, 2 mechanics, tops, that bolster any sort of stealth gameplay; and they’re all incidental and built into the environment.

    Connor, himself, has no stealth abilities. A stealth game is all about movement – how I get from point A to point B without being detected, using a combination of my characters abilities in conjunction with the environment.

    The fact that there’s no crouch button irks me no end. At least include it, even if it has no bearing on visibility… Let me feel sneaky damnit!

    You can’t even peek around corners without relying on the games ‘intelligent corner detection’ system – on one ‘tailing’ mission I failed several times because the target would stop down an alley, and turn around.

    The closest and most suitable wall for peeking had a cart parked almost all way along the last section of wall. However there was enough space between that, an the edge, to peek… JUST enough room. Trying to get the game to understand what I wanted, in that tight space, lead to many frustrating moments where I walked out in plain sight and failed.

    The gameplay in this game would better suit a pirate game. Sure, the protagonist would be a dexterous pirate, but the swashbuckling, brawling, treasure hunting (and now ship sailing) would work much better in a game not trying to be an assassin game.

    At every corner you’re made to fight bands of enemies. Assassin’s don’t do that. Good Assassin’s make it so they were never there.

    I feel the game’s design would fare better if each mission didn’t have such a hard fail outcome and instead had some dynamic qualities where objectives would shift if you fail a certain approach… Rather than animus resetting and forcing me to walk a tightrope. Then award full synch for perfect execution but still let progression happen for sloppy outcomes to preserve game flow.

    Also design the game so you can complete it without killing anyone – just that alone usually means problem solving will have to be implemented and a good stealth game will emerge from that one requirement.

    Anyway – good article; thoroughly enjoyed!

  • I pretty much agree with everything in that article. I finished the game last night and I was just so disappointed not only because the whole thing feels like its missing whatever awesome spark the first 3 games had but also it was the biggest meh ending to a game I have ever had to witness. It made Mass Effect 3 look good.

    I got to a point I didn’t care if I finished anything, because of shitty gameplay and stupid bugs. So I don’t have all my assassins, don’t have all the collectables, Conner is short sighted so I couldn’t be bothered trying to complete maps on foot, every mission I did turned into a shitstorm and I didn’t care. I think I will go back and play Brotherhood to recall the good old days with AC was a great series.

  • As a footnote – this series has always disappointed me from the point of being an assassin.

    In these games I play a parkour ballerina with a penchant for fencing.

  • I haven’t even been able to play AC3 on my PS3 because it always freezes on the load screen, I’ve gotten up to the frontier part where it asks you if you want to enter the frontier or whatever and then it goes to the load screen and freezes!

    I’ve tried so may things as suggested by online searches, rebuilt the PS3 file system, deleted AC3 data and installed, etc. Still doesn’t work! SO FRUSTRATING! I might actually go an d/l a torrent of the game on PC just so I can actually play a game I already paid for!

    Other things that annoyed me was the fact that you use the same button to perform so many actions, eg:

    Press “O” to stop a character following you
    this is the same button as the dismount, so I couldn’t dismount from the horse because everytime I pressed “O” it would tell the AI to stop following me.
    I eventually figured that if I got the horse to run the “O” button would momentarily change to dismount so it was a bit of trial and error.

    This is something that should’ve come in QA testing, there are so many buttons on the PS3, why not use the others.

    Also, firing guns, I was on a mission where I was on the roof with the rifle, aiming but I couldn’t ‘signal’ the attack because every button I pressed wouldn’t fire, looking at the manual didn’t help.

    Overall, I haven’t been able to play AC3 properly because it freezes, what a pitiful experience after playing the previous AC’s without glaring issues stated above!!!

    • To shoot a rifle you need to aim at your target. Don’t know what the button is on the PS# but on the 360 it’s the Left Trigger, put the circle indicator on your target then hold Y (on 360) to fire.

  • The famous people/events complaint is a bit of a stretch. If you buy in to the premise of these games, and who and what the Assassins and Templars are then they *must* be involved with these people and events in history. It’s the entire thrust of the back story of these games. I probably won’t buy AC3 for a while, I got bored in the middle of Revelations and I think it dampened my enthusiasm for the whole series. Too much Ezio. They should have stuck with the implied series outline they showed at the end of AC1, and had a completely new Assassin and era for every game, which is the only thing keeping me keen to play this sequel at some point.

  • “Then award full synch for perfect execution but still let progression happen for sloppy outcomes to preserve game flow.”

    Some missions do this. For example you’ll get full sync if you don’t get detected but still complete the mission if you do.
    Other times though it doesn’t work, it’s do-or-die. One thing I’ve found annoying about the optional objectives is that if I’m focused on the mission at hand I don’t notice them until I fail one.
    I recall in Revelations you’d get a mission brief type screen before you start that had the main objectives and conditions for full-sync and you had to accept or decline the mission.

  • I am sorry to say it but I think you’re just not very good at the game. I know the mission where you get the intel, you have to go in and disable the cannons too, it’s easy. And it took me two goes, as I accidentally used lethal attacks when you needed to not kill anyone for full sync. As for complaining about the swordplay, anyone that can play the game well can easily dispatch a dozen enemies in the blink of an eye, honestly you have trouble pressing triangle in a fight? After hearing your praise of Arkham City Maybe you’d be better suited to a game with a single attack button…. Oh but wait Arkham City uses the Triangle button to counter, which you press more often then shooting your gun in AC, but apparently that’s easier….

    Oh and by the way, you can hire vigilantes to help you with guards, they are on the map, if you knew how to read it. Not to mention all the other types of assistance using the L2 button.. As for having trouble free-running, try actually guiding your movements and showing the game where you’re trying to go. This seems more of a rant then an article, pointing out every little problem with the game without offering any ways of fixing or improving it. Seriously, dishonored moves better then AC3, yeah right.

  • I am enjoying the game, despite noticing some of the things mentioned in the article.

    The one thing that I will agree with is the change to the UI. It is now completely horrible. Moving around the map with the R-Stick is just ridiculously backward. Practically every game out there with a large map uses the L-Stick to navigate and the R-Stick to zoom in and out. This is second nature.

    I’m forever moving to another option other than the map because I touch the L-Stick.

    The Quick is another, the previous AC games also did it better and it didn’t have to load either.

    Those were completely backward steps in this game.

  • the most upsetting thing for me was when you’re standing out the front of the Homestead, you go to the map and click on “Fast Travel” to The Frontier. But rather than literally going to the Frontier, you go to the little path entrance to the Frontier. That made me sigh loudly. If I want to go somewhere I want to literally go there, not go to somewhere then run a little bit then go there. SIGH.

    • I found this incredibly frustrating too till i realised if you zoom out of homestead and zoom in on frontier you can fast travel straigth to the interior locations on there 😀

      WE’VE BEEN DOING IT ALL WRONG!

  • I do agree with this article. I love to death AC2 brotherhood and revelations. A friend of mine and I would discuss the plot and me mechanics for hours but with 3, well. For starters it throws away good game play that got refined for broken new stuff. Stealth especially is broken which is the point of being an Assassin in this series.
    I like the story but Ezio was a better character and so is Latham. Connor is lame. Lastly Tue amount of invisible characters in cutscenes and falling through rocks while free running has made this game a chore.
    Lastly for the ending to apparently be terrible after development of the plot for 6 years is insulting but I’ll wait till I see it.

  • LOL I agreed with a few small points from the author but he is being extremely cynical of the game because he finds it “difficult to manage”.

    Many of the factors he doesnt like are not an issue if you know what youre doing. And if you dont feel theyre explained very well they were pretty easy to figure out simply by playing and thinking.

    Honestly terrible review based on the fact he wasnt good at the game.

    It would be like me saying a very good racing game is shit because im shit at racing games

    “the controls are too hard, the cars dont drift properly” when truth is, im just shit at it and cant do it so its not fun to me.

    • The point that is being made however is that things that should be second nature to do in any other game that has a similar premise are frustrating and cumbersome to perform in AC3. The comparison to Arkham Asylum is rather apt in the way you start the game and are told “this is your attack button and this is how you move in combat and if you press this button, you counter”. You start off being not great but still feeling somewhat accomplished as a fighter and about 2/3 of the way into the game you are a martial arts master able to shift between gadgets and take on 10 guys at once without taking a single hit.
      The combat and movement in AC3 feels like you are steering a pregnant whale and fencing with a foam tube and this continues until you master every aspect about the control scheme, then and only then does this particular part of the game garner any repeated enjoyment. That is a poor design choice.
      If a key element of the game that you are expected to do often during the course of play is not fun nor fluid to do, then people will become frustrated with the game (case in point, 80% of the people in this thread). If an unessential element of the game is difficult to perform but something that can be perfected with practice then it becomes rewarding (a la your racing game reference, drifting is not something you “have” to do to complete the game but if you “can” do it, then races will become easier, generating points will become easier and so on. If you said that accelerating was too hard then there would be a valid problem)

  • I love the AC series, like seriously love it and while I agree with all of the above, the worst and best part about this game is the story.

    !!SPOILER ALERT!!

    The story is interesting, it twists and turns (Ubisoft are masters of suspense and cliff hangers) but at the end of the day do any of us really know what the story is going on about? I’ve played all the AC games but I feel as if they never flesh the story out or really make it sensical until the last few chapters.

    Desmonds story is actually interesting, after all, it’s the reason we’re even going in and out of the animus, but sometimes I felt I was just going from ! to ! to be given a small dose of story.

    Why am I killing all of these people? I’m not sneaking around, I’m slaughtering bad guys and everyone knows it! They can see my face because my hood is off and I’m apparently the only Native American allowed in Boston, and why are all these buildings on fire? Can Connor not walk out of a building without it burning down? There are three chase/escape scenes where a building is on fire.

    I liked the story between Connor and his father, it mirrored the relationship with Desmond and his father, but this was never fleshed out. If I could see that connection, then shouldn’t the characters?

    Ramble over.

  • Comprehensive coverage of a sole persons disappointment. I too also pick at non game breaking bugs of games/series i do not enjoy.

    To me, this is by far the best Assassins Creed in the series. I enjoyed EVERY aspect of the game and would recommend it to ANYBODY having a hard time deciding if they should get it or not.

    I played on Xbox360, I had no interface lag, I had no trouble with the combat system, I thoroughly enjoyed naval combat and i thought the voice acting was great. I’m not sure what ticked you off so much but perhaps this is better put in an email addressed to Ubisoft.

  • Its a pity about what you have said but meh I’m sure a lot of these will be ironed out by the time of the PC release even if it is with a day 1 patch, also why is this labeled as a article on PC? this isn’t even out for PC yet and some of the complaints, like the loading screen stuff wont have much of an effect on PC users.

  • Man…that arrow cracked me up!

    I ran through the whole story. Now going back to clean up the side quests. Combat and Free running is fine as long as you’re good at it. It’s not a counter spam fest like the other games.

  • There isn’t much I can disagree with in this article. Though I can’t deny I did have fun, there were far too many visual incosnsencies and unpolished gameplay mechanics for what is supposed to a blockbuster title. Disappointed I might be, I did enjoy it for the most part. Ending was the shambles though.

  • I loved AC1 and AC2, but for some strange reason I never really bought into the hype of AC3. And now, after having read all the negative comments, I’m actually glad I didn’t.

    Maybe it’s because of the setting. It really doesn’t do it for me. They should’ve set this in Edo, Japan (like some of the earlier rumors suggested), improving on stealth, free-running and weapon play. Imagine that. Then I would be cracking a boner!

    I think I’ll wait till this is $20 on ozgameshop.

  • The section entitled The Gump Factor sounded completely ripped from the Giant Bombcast, including the comparison to Paul Revere and Forrest Gump. Hmmmm

  • Haven’t played any of the previous AC games and will be receiving this later in the week, hopefully ignorance of the previous entries won’t sully my experience…

  • While the game has many bugs and a lot of it is less than perfected. I don’t think is suffers any more or less that than any Assassins Creed game to date. They were all flawed one way or the other. AC3 is trying to do something different while retaining the core game mechanics. A lot of the annoying stuff has gone, such as the inability to climb certain buildings until the game told you so, and the locked out area’s of cities until you syncronized it. AC3 is much better in that regard. You can do whatever you want once a city is opened. Sure exploring is much more work as it’s not just climbing a couple of towers around the place to fill the map in, but physically going to those areas yourself is more fun I feel.

    I don’t see the problem with the free running or the combat. It’s always been like that. To steal systems from other games such as Arkham City and shoe horn it into AC3 would feel wrong and would just confuse players who have stuck with the series till now. Free running is also fine as long as you can actually play the game. I’ve never once climbed on something I didn’t want to. The tree running is also fantastic which is one place this game excels.

    Stealth is also fine. Don’t understand how people have a hard time hiding. Just stay out of line of site. You don’t have to wall hug, hide in bushes or hay, or in crowds. It’s really very simple.

    This article just feels like a rant with someone with no patience or desire to actually play and enjoy this game. Many are tired of Assassins Creed and that is fair. The game hasn’t really changed all that much in so many years. I think AC3 is not really the problem here, but the sour taste of AC Revelations is still strong in peoples memories.

  • This guy…. This guy can NOT play video games! (or maybe he can, but just shouldn’t review it) Just by what he said here, I have figured out that he can’t handle games that don’t ‘explode’, he doesn’t look before doing something, and he can’t follow the base story line with out getting angry and confused. Most of the things he pointed out as bad were pointless to point out at all.
    -Glitches… The game has been out for less than 3 weeks. It’s gonna have a few bugs. At least they weren’t game destroying glitches.
    -The map… I have no idea whats wrong with his system, but I don’t have his problem.
    -The story/History change… So instead of commanding a historical battle, you want Connor to do… nothing? Sorry that just doesn’t feel right to me.
    -“There’s no “stealth” button”… There hasn’t been a “stealth” button for the last four games. Why are you still angry about this?
    -Crowd-sneaking… The only way you could mess this up is if you try to sneak with the rioters (The equivalent of the “Vigilantes” from the first game.)
    -Sneaking in the woods… YOU CAN OUT-RUN THEM!
    Anything else? … Yeah probably, but I don’t have all day to complain about this review… This is just a few thing I could type out in a small amount of time.

  • I’ve enjoyed AC’s 1 and 2, I had only decided to buy BH & R because of the main Desmond storyline was continued. After doing all the puzzles and truth business, working with the apple and the involvement of these Goddesses, I had become super excited for AC 3 and I expected an amazing finale to the series and because of this I completely overlooked anything to do with Connor and whatever happened during his little story. Instead I was very disappointed, there was no plot twist at the end like there was for AC and AC2. AC had the whole Al Mualim betrayal and finding out that there was more than one Apple! AC2 had this message to Desmond about the Earth and how it was going to die if it was not saved. AC3 instead had Desmond making a stupid mistake and ultimately forcing the world into slavery. I only hope that they make an AC4 and somewhat salvage the series but then there’s always the problem that they could make another flop and ruin it for good.

  • Is it possible to climb any tree with a map icon? I am about to set the game on fire for its lack of control compliance

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you. I was worried that I was the only person to find AC3 to be a boring, bug-fille slogfest. I’ve decided to just trade the game in – I’m not even going to finish it. And after readin the story’s end on Wikipedia, I’m glad I didn’t spend 25+ hours on te game.

  • And i find it disturbing that apparently the Declaration of Independence was signed on June 15th 1775, the least they could have done is got the HISTORICALLY KNOWN DATES correct….

  • I have to tell you, both as a writer and a game, that this is a terrible article. I don’t say that because you’re saying “hating on the game,” I’m saying it because it lacks evidence with any of the points you made. “This feels wrong, this is -insert derogatory adjective-.” Could you explain why it feels like that? Can you give a clear example of when it happened in game? Can you not use your own incompetence as a evidence? I’ll admit that you make some valid points and explain them, but I just find the amount of those occurrences to be few, too little to take this article seriously.

  • I have been playing the game quite a bit and even though i am having “somewhat” fun doing hunting in the new scenery of colonial america when i have to do the mission the Stealth play is maddening. I cant seem to get in a fort without being noticed and at every angle. It seems the only way to go in the forts is to go in kill everyone and then do the mission objectives. Atleast in AC Rev i could do some stealth kills on Captains without being noticed no they are surrounded by everyone and no way getting to alone spots.

  • I can’t even finish the game. I got the game for Christmas and just ugh. First of all, the damn key wouldn’t work. So there I am on Christmas night, about 11 o’clock at night, already had a couple’a beers in me, sitting down to play the game. I must’ve tried it seven hundred different ways. Then, about five beers and three hours later, finally I come across a post from UbiSoft technical support that says, “You’ve gotta put the dashes in. And, if you type it in incorrectly more than three times within 15 minutes, we’ll block your access for the next 15 minutes.” I’m not sure, as I’ve lost the link, but I believe that it said that it was case sensitive too. So, I tried it, and boom, it worked.

    Who wants to start a game at 2 am with seven beers in you? Not me. But I stupidly fired the game up. I was bored to tears almost immediately.

    Right now, I’m sitting with Conner at 22% complete? For a game that I got a month ago? I’m sorry, but I thought that UbiSoft could have or would have put some time or effort into making this period of time interesting, instead of the jingoistic piece of shit that it is.

    The American Revolution was started, and won, by a bunch of rum runners and slave owners that didn’t want to pay any taxes. Not by some idealized grand cadre of of people who were forging forth to make a great nation. But nice try UbiSoft.

  • Another thing you haven’t put: the game is really bad at explaining things. There’s no manual with the game explaining controls, and as far as I know there isn’t even an in-game manual any more (even those were shoddy to begin with). A fair amount of the time, I will be told to do something and I will have NO idea how to do it because the game won’t have told me. For example, the optional objectives “perform 3 corner assassinations” and “throw 3 guards overboard”. The game never taught me how to do either of these things – I had to google them, and often found that I was halfway through typing before google suggested the right search – obviously I’m not the only one having problems.

    But yeah, the warped line of sight, the new notoriety settings and the complete inability to crouch make stealth way harder and less rewarding that it should be. I don’t mind the fighting in AC, but it’s really nothing to write home about, so stealth really should be encouraged and catered for cause in the end I often give up trying to be stealthy and just run through and kill everyone simply because it’s way easier and less time consuming and downright FRUSTRATING than trying to sneak when guards can somehow see you around bushes.
    /angrywalloftext

  • I’ve been a hardcore gamer for over 20 years and I know it has its flaws (doesn’t every game?) but AC3 is a great game with a pretty decent story. Much better than Revelations and brotherhood…..

  • I have just started playing AC3 (I’m on Sequence 3) and already, I wanted to punch the people who designed the stealth system (*cough*figuratively speaking, of course). I have never liked the “you can’t be detected” missions since they were first introduced in one of the earlier games and it seems that Ubisoft has been pushing that angle more and more as the series continues.

    Which would be fine, as this article points out, *if the game actually supported stealth gameplay* – but it really doesn’t. Not well enough anyway. And so much time is put into combat techniques for allowing you to take on hordes of enemies at a time that it’s downright mind-boggling how strongly they’re pushing this “don’t be detected” bullshit.

    It’s like the devs who designed the combat system are on another plane of existence from the devs who designed the stealth missions. Hello, useless combat mechanics that I only get to use when the game tells me I can in specific missions. I mean, my character can kill upwards of 10-20 people without breaking a sweat (and pretty much did in one of the early missions as part of a mass-fighting sequence) yet I’m then supposed to sneak around and not let anyone see me, or I fail the mission. Wait, what?

    Games are supposed to train you to be good at what they throw at you – that’s how you (designers) solve the impossible balancing of difficulty levels; even people who would normally suck at your game can be good if you teach them how to be good and give them the tools to be good. Games are also supposed to be forgiving and this is imperative to retaining players in any capacity! Seriously, if I could say only one thing on the subject, it would be that games are supposed to be forgiving.

    And even as early as Sequence 3 in AC3, I already want to smash my monitor – and this is coming from a person who has a lot of patience. Revelations was at least a little forgiving in some of its stealth missions by having CHECKPOINTS. Where are the checkpoints in AC3? I’ve yet to see one during a stealth mission. This is the height of absurdity. I can execute 3 out of 4 stealth maneuvers perfectly, only to lose all of my progress because I mess up the fourth! This makes no sense at all.

    I’d like to know what kind of nonsense metrics they used for playtesting this game because they missed the mark by a landslide. Don’t even get me started on the wolves that jump you and give you 0.5 seconds to hit the correct keys that the game chooses for you to avoid dying to their attacks – who is the assassin in this game?

    I play AC mainly for the story, but I’m also an experienced gamer and I’d like to think that with how frequently I play video games – and with the standards I set for myself – that I would have no issues playing through a game like AC3. Sure, I might run into some challenges, but nothing I can’t retry with increased fervor. Instead, I’m only a few hours into the game and I’ve already had to shut it down twice from losing my shit over 2 different stealth missions.

    You might think that as a player, you would be able to choose how you play, considering the variety of mechanics that AC throws into the mix with each new game like it’s a melting pot of games, but if you think that, then you’re grossly mistaken. My experience with AC3 so far is that you can’t choose how you play – most of the time, the game spoon-feeds you the ways that you’re supposed to complete a mission and gives you a swift kick to the nuts if you try to go outside the parameters the game has specified.

    Yeah, AC3 still has the “optional objectives” mechanic from other games, but sometimes it feels like an optional objective slipped into the required objective pile out of nowhere. But we don’t want “easy mode,” right? Of course not. We just want the game to get its fucking head on straight about what the hell exactly it’s trying to be. And then, once it’s certain about what it’s trying to be – then, and only then, should it tell us how we’re supposed to play.

    AC3 is a shining example of the reality that money doesn’t equal good gameplay. It’s a wonderfully written story, I’m sure, and a solid interactive movie, but if you were to strip away the money-powered cinematics and leave only the gameplay, I think the reviews for this game would be downright cruel. It’s an insult to the true talent and work of the game industry that gameplay like this gets the number of sales it does on pure fan devotion and superior marketing.

  • Although I agree with much of what he says, I disagree vastly with his criticism of the running and jumping. I am replaying AC 1 right now and find myself often longing for the ease with which Connor runs, climbs or any of his movements. He climbs/runs better than Altair and Ezio put together. Altair couldn’t even swim, and Ezio, despite being able to climb towers with the barest finger holds, couldn’t climb a tree to save his life….literally.

    One thing I was indeed surprised he didn’t comment on was the absolutely terrible voice acting in this game! It’s awful! The guy who voices Connor sounds like Hayden Christiansen. Yeah…. Monotone, no inflection, very little anger at all – like listening to (episode 5) Anakin Skywalker tell one of the most beautiful women I. The world – the stunning Natalie Portman – he loves her, except it is very plain that he doesn’t know how to play an emotionally torn character. This guy is a Native American who’s been mistreated all his life, watched his mother die, etc., so where’s the rage, the passion? The only time he was ever emotionally convincing was on the Dead Man’s Chest mission where he says, “What you carry is MINE!!!” The old man wasn’t much better, if any, and the only decent voice acting we get is from Haytham and a few of the supporting characters. Which made the story much less enjoyable or as important as this author seemed to think.

    Also, it’s a game, people. With that in mind, there is nothing wrong at all with putting the world’s greatest Assassin in the middle of things. Take it a step further, maybe there WERE some badasses who were the real warriors in those battles (think, The Patriot) and they preferred to keep their names out of the history books for whatever reason. (Disclaimer: I do not necessarily believe that is the case, but it makes suspension of disbelief much easier.)

  • Oh, and one more thing…. I can hang out in The Packanack region for hours hunting bears, look down at my watch and it’s four in the am. In other words, I dig the hunting element and hope they have it in AC4, which I haven’t gotten yet because you cannot yet buy it used at Game Stop, haha.

  • hey if you all still use this for ps3 or xbox 360 assassins creed ezios trilogy is it just the same three games as they would be if they weren’t on the same disc

  • What about the fact that Connor is just a horribly dislikeable character? He spends the entire game whining and basically just does anything he’s told without any serious consideration or critical thought about what he’s doing. He never exhibits any real character. He’s a boring angry loser, despite the fact that he takes part in what ought to be character-building events, and he fails to protect his people despite the fact that he completes every mission he’s given.

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