Graphics:
9.7
Gameplay:
9.3
Sound:
9.8
Control:
9.2
Replay Value:
9.6
Online Gameplay:
8.7
Overall Rating:
9.5
Publisher:
Ubisoft
Developer:
Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft Annecy
Number Of Players:
1-8
Genre:
Action/Adventure
Release Date:
October 30, 2012


Shooting for the stars is a noble yet humbling endeavor. From one perspective, you are attempting to generate a timeless, masterful experience, and you should receive respect and encouragement. From another, more cynical perspective, you are taking too many unnecessary risks and furthermore, you are railing against both mammoth expectations and what one expects to be daunting deadlines. The business world clashes with the artistic realm. Disappointment may be inevitable. However, when all is said and done, if one becomes immersed in the colossal vision, the failings become nigh-on insignificant.

…that’s an elaborate way of saying that Assassin’s Creed III may be a vastly more subjective adventure than any of us had anticipated. I will explain.

Oddly enough, perhaps it’s accurate to say the following— If you love the graphics, you’ll love the game. No, I’ve never been a graphic whore in my life. The point is relatively simple: The visual presentation is very much a mirror image of the entire ACIII experience. In many places, it’s beautiful and moving and effective. It’s extremely ambitious in terms of scope and concept. But looking close may reveal a grainy texture, an animation that isn’t properly executed, a particular design that seems oddly subpar. You only notice these shortcomings because they contrast so sharply with the quality of the production as a whole.

And that’s precisely the point. Quality can be surprisingly subjective when the determination of that quality relies so heavily upon immersion. The sound is in much the same boat, as it’s another example of the sum being greater than its parts. The voice acting is fantastic and some of the best you will ever hear in video games, and the soundtrack is absolutely stellar. The effects are great, too. That being said, as is curiously the case in such huge, sprawling games, the balance and execution can be wonky. Voices can cut out and ambient audio can drown out important dialogue. All in all, though, the sound allows this world to live and breathe…a very high compliment.

Assassin’s Creed III sees the return of Desmond, the protagonist throughout the entire series, although most will associate his ancestors with each installment: Altair in the original, Ezio in the next three, and Connor in the latest. However, you actually begin the new adventure with a different character, which immediately hints at the ridiculously huge sweep of this game. In fact, in the first hour you’ll perform a simple assassination at a fancy theater, cross the Atlantic, and explore the unbelievably well designed colonial city of Boston. Heck, you’ll even run into Benjamin Franklin early on, so that’s an indication of what to expect.

Essentially, saying this game features an historic scope serves two purposes: First and most obvious is the allusion to the historical time period; i.e., the Revolutionary War. Secondly and more importantly, however, is the fact that we have rarely – if ever – seen a single game attempt to encompass so many facets of interactive entertainment. The story involves everything from pure fact to liberal fiction (and even a reference to the so-called end of the world date, 12/21/12), the gameplay boasts a mix of fluid combat, platforming, exploration, and even strategy. Toss in naval battles and massive vistas that will capture and enrich the imagination, and you’ve got a prodigously powerful title.

I didn’t get into the general design of the game when discussing the graphics, and that’s because the construction of this hugely appealing world is a much bigger part of the gameplay analysis. It’s not about a hay stack that doesn’t look quite right or a weird civilian animation. This stretches well beyond the boundaries of the anal; in fact, if you’re busy being all anal and picky, if you’re wandering around trying to pick out each tiny flaw, you’re completely missing the point of the game. If it’s glaringly obvious or if it impacts the flow of the game, that’s another issue.

Speaking to the issues others have noted, there’s really only one correct way to address the situation. We should first acknowledge that a few surprising technical drawbacks to exist— Sound dropouts, graphical inconsistencies, and even a few control issues unfortunately keep me from awarding the high-9 I fully expected to hand out. That is indeed disappointing. But how can one be too disappointed when faced with this package? Seriously? I can’t imagine being that anal; I can’t comprehend voluntarily gimping my enjoyment because some dude didn’t react exactly correctly when I bumped into him.

Assassin’s Creed III has lofty aspirations and we should take that ride. We shouldn’t get bogged down by things that ultimately don’t matter. What does matter is an increased level of frustration due to the somewhat touchy control; your character may not do exactly what you want him to do. That being said, I think it’s also clear that fans of this series will see nothing amiss. Connor controls exactly the same way his capable ancestors did; he’s just more versatile and has more animations. The reason we notice more shortcomings is because there are more sections where the hero must move extremely quickly.

When playing the prototypical assassin, nothing has really changed. It’s just a little better in a variety of ways and those who are familiar with past installments will be good to go. Besides, ham-handed gamers really aren’t welcome in the world of Assassin’s Creed . They never have been. It requires more of a deft touch and a certain amount of patience. Jamming on buttons never works and anticipating future movements is a must. The process of moving Connor, Ezio and Altair is akin to a dance; it has a definite rhythm and cadence, especially when it comes to combat and free-running. It’s different than most any mechanic you’ve seen before outside this series. That's important to consider.

It’s my belief that some of the people who are complaining and criticizing have never quite understood that rhythm, nor do they want to. It works beautifully if you get it. If not, you’ll constantly be fighting it. And when you’re forced to fight something, all the other flaws, minor though they may be, are immediately amplified. Hence, your overall opinion of the experience drops precipitously. My advice is simple— Don’t let it happen. If you grasp this, as many AC fanatics already have, you will be in for a memorable ride, one that has no equal in the world of gaming. And of course, that’s the key I referenced earlier. This adventure has to get you, and you have to get it .

The combat doesn’t seem to have changed as much as the developers claimed, but I don’t care in the slightest. I didn’t see much wrong with it in the first place. It discourages the button-mashing hacking-and-slashing style that does not fit this franchise, and it causes gamers to become more adept at timing and strategy. The AI isn’t too fantastic but it never has been. One could argue that it should get increasingly better with each new entry (and that’s a valid point), but it has never hampered the entertainment value. It didn’t then and it doesn’t now.

After playing and playing, I have determined two critical points. The first is that fans of the series will be plenty satisfied; they may be a trifle vexed that Ubisoft didn’t take the opportunity to fix a few lingering issues, but there don’t appear to be any new significant drawbacks. This is Assassin’s Creed . It even has plenty of upgrades that offset the flaws and I can’t imagine why this is being glossed over. The combat remains as tight and responsive as ever, and with the added moves, animations and general depth, it has become an extremely reliable and rewarding mechanic.

For the second point, I reference the introduction above. The sheer expansiveness of this epic title dwarfs the slight issues (and they are slight if you understand how to properly play the game). If you get lost in this world, you’ll never want to come out. There’s a little of everything from each of the past series entries, the story really is quite involving, the dialogue and writing is excellent, and above all else, this interactive world is just ridiculously impressive. The attention paid to every tiny detail, from petting a passing dog to the kids running in the street to the farmer tossing hay; this is a vibrant, intoxicating environment.

Assassin’s Creed III is unavoidably, inescapably epic. Lingering technical issues that have affected the franchise since the beginning are clear, and the multiplayer really isn’t anything too special. Beyond that, if you step back and see this game for what it is, if you cast a wandering eye on an unparalleled landscape (in terms of sheer detail and historical accuracy), if you walk down the colonial streets, fly through the snow-laden branches of trees, or fend off a horde of foes, you will feel the thrill of what is correctly labeled a masterpiece. Not all masterpieces are technically perfect. Some simply thrive on a extraordinary vision.

The Good: Extreme level of detail and a huge expansive scope. Some of the best voice performances ever. Plenty of gameplay variety. General freedom and immersion is top-notch. Fluid, engaging combat. Great story. An unparalleled atmosphere.

The Bad: Lingering technical issues. Some expected repetition in the missions.

The Ugly: “‘Ugly’ is simply too harsh a word for any of the minor miscues found here.”

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TheAgingHipster
TheAgingHipster
9 years ago

You know, I can get behind most of this. But damned if I don't have a game-breaking bug in mine. The game stops recognizing controller inputs on the ledger screen, forcing me to reboot my system and preventing me from proceeding with the damned story.

Yes, it's been a GREAT game so far in terms of setting, story, and gameplay (if a bit slow). And I can forgive minor bugs and graphical hitches here and there. But this is just unacceptable for a game that was, supposedly, in development for three years.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

That sucks, dude. I'd honestly go back to get a fresh copy; that ain't normal.

TheAgingHipster
TheAgingHipster
9 years ago

I don't know if EB Games will take it back, will they? I passed on the issue to Ubisoft, so I'll likely just have to wait for a patch or something. Looks like its not entirely uncommon, so maybe it will be fixed quickly. In the meantime, think I'll busy myself with more Dishonored or XCOM.

___________
___________
9 years ago

of course they will dude if the games not working properly the retailer has to offer you a new copy.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

TheAgingHipster,

EB/GameStop has either a 7 or 14 day period(can't remember which) that you can bring back your game.

And since it's a defective game & you're only going to swap it out for another of the same title, then no worries.

So as Larry The Cable Guy always says….
"Get 'er done"

La_Bete12
La_Bete12
9 years ago

Amazing review! and I totally agree, I finally got the chance to start the game, and sure it has it's bugs here or there, but my mouth just continually drops as to how amazing this game is and to how expansive and beautiful it is. It is definitely a masterpiece 🙂

Norrin Radd
Norrin Radd
9 years ago

Nice review, Ben. What I've played so far has been excellentl. I think your review is spot on. Yeah, there are some glitches. Do they really detract from the game overall? Nope.

The attention to detail in the setting is spectacular. The voice acting superb! The story terrific. Gameplay – excellent. Defintely worthy of your score, IMO.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

Nice. I'm tempted to pick this up for PS3 because I don't want to wait anymore!

Patience…

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

..if you wait 6 months you can have it for $20, or less 😉

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

..if you wait 6 months you can have it for $20, or less 😉

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
9 years ago

Usually a lot faster.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

I'll hold out for $15 or less from like Steam or someone.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

… And the most fantastic thing is that the game is the *exact* same – or better – also after the price drop. Can you believe it? 🙂

Caanimal
Caanimal
9 years ago

This is a numbered series edition of the franchise, I doubt there will be a price drop THAT quickly… At least based on what I've seen from other franchises in similar situations…

Mr_Sterg
Mr_Sterg
9 years ago

Gonna pick it up when its $20. Ubisoft and EA slash their game prices very quickly. Its a trend I noticed. I would not bother picking it up unless you are desperate or a super duper fan.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

*raises hand* Super duper fan, right here! Can't help myself. >.<

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

Sorry to hear that the combat hasn't really changed or AI gotten better as those were important to me but thems the breaks. Definitely a higher score than I was expecting; dead even with Dishonored. Where will PSXE's GOTY award land I wonder?

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
9 years ago

Journey.

mehrab2603
mehrab2603
9 years ago

Assassin's Creed 3

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Dead or Alive 5

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

Could be Journey as this site has an artistic bent.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

I put my money on AC3 will be the psxe GOTY. Ben just loves the franchise too much. not that it is a bad candidate of course.

Mind you I've not played either yet, but I'm pretty sure Dishonored will be my personal GOTY this year. New IP, interesting gameplay, lovely setting… Yup. Teh win.

Corvo
Corvo
9 years ago

I ran into this glitch where i was running from guards and stole a horse but i knocked into another horse as i rode off and that horse somehow ended up on top of the fence and was having an epic seizure. I can't believe how well implemented the guns are and even the naval battles are fun. In all honesty this review was much better than i expected.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

When I run into stuff like that in games I make it a point to take a cell phone vid or pic. I'd love to see that epic seizure.

Check out my inFamous 2 elastic man/Stretch Armstrong glitch:


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 11/1/2012 1:31:59 AM

Corvo
Corvo
9 years ago

Just looked at it and whoa xD I had this one glitch in infamous 2 where the giant was sliding along the ground instead of walking.

Reaper_505
Reaper_505
9 years ago

I had a wolf get stuck in a bush. It kept running at me, but it couldn't get out of the bush and I couldn't interact with it. My phone was charging, so I didn't take a video.

Also, I got stuck on a log by the water whilst exploring on my way to see Achilles. I actually had to log out of the Animus and log back in to get away from it. Nothing was hurt though, and it actually put me much closer to my next objective.

Shams
Shams
9 years ago

I am amazed when a franchise like this, despite being multiplatform, and despite being open world, approaches the level of excellence only seen in Uncharted. I have as yet to play Brotherhood and Revelations, but this title, and this review, just gave me the motivation to do so.

Akuma_
Akuma_
9 years ago

Haha, yeah go play AC:B and AC:R. BUT! Do NOT play those games, and then think "hmmm i might give AC3 a miss" if you don't end up liking them. AC3 is completely new compared to those 2 previous games.

They are both awesome games, and I loved them both, but AC3 is a completely new beast, I wish I didn't have to work because I seriously would not put this game down.

FatherSun
FatherSun
9 years ago

I am blacking out AC3/L news, reviews and discussions due to the blackout in Hurricane Sandy's aftermath!

Just had to check out the PSX score! A site where I actually trust without hesitation. 9.5 sounds like a halfway decent score. 😉

tes37
tes37
9 years ago

Nice review. Although I plan to get ACIII right after finishing Liberation, I'm wanting to play it now. It may help if I stop reading about it, but I couldn't pass on reading Ben's assessment of the game.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Parkour. I'm glad Ben didn't join the parkour spouting gang of critics. Not kidding. I never knew of the word until AC3 reviews hit. Gamespot can't stop saying it, and at least a handful of other sites use the word "parkour" to describe AC3 is some way or another. Weird.

AC3 is on my hit list. The list that still has AC:Revelations in the queue… ugh,
I've got to do something about this pile of games that keeps growing larger and larger that don't get played… or played enough.

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
9 years ago

Same here, Ive had Revelations since like a month or 2 after it released, I bought it for $25 on amazon. I have about 25-30 unplayed games/not played enough.

I plan on tackleing some of my games before I get to buying AC3, but definetly AC:Liberations and Revelations. By the time im done, maybe AC3 will have a GOTY edition.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

Really? I thought inFamous informed everybody about parkour.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

The bane of all progress in my gaming library are fighting games. I get stuck on those for a long time. But that's okay, theyre 10x more enjoyable than other games. Everyone should be envious of just how much joy Temjin has when playing them games because people would all be like "whoa, no fair" =p

Parkour and infamous? Yah don't know. Never stuck I guess, world.

Sunni_Boi
Sunni_Boi
9 years ago

Hey, do you have Tekken Tag Tourney 2?

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

Temjin001,
Never complain about having too many games left to play, LOL.

Take it from me who lost his job being out of work for more than 16 months now & can't afford them any more, you'd be super happy you still had that big backlog.

I've been whittling my own huge backlog down bit by bit over the last year, but luckily I've still got enough games to last me the rest of my life.

Sigh, only 900+ to go…..

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Sorry Sunni, I don't. TTT2 got pinched inbetween VF5 FS and DOA5 =(
…maybe eventually

True that, BikerSaint!
mmmh Binary Domain. I really do want to play you.

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
9 years ago

This is a pretty high score. I didn't read this one though, didn't want to spoil anything, just read the good, bad and ugly.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Hey, that's why the good bad and ugly is there cuz not everyone wants to read a novel 😉


Last edited by Temjin001 on 11/1/2012 1:23:19 AM

LowKey
LowKey
9 years ago

They should do one about the War of 1812. General Issac Brock FTW!! Eat your heart out George Washington.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

He certainly had monstrous success, but he spent his entire career narrowly evading mutinies and uprisings. Somehow he kept it all together, though. lol

Gamer46
Gamer46
9 years ago

Best review I've seen for the game so far and I completely agree with it. So far this is probably my Game of the Year but I don't want to say that for sure yet since I'm not finished with it. What I have played so far though has been excellent, not sure if I like it as much as I did AC 2 back in 2009 but it's still leagues ahead of many other games out there and is a nice break from the mindless shooters.

___________
___________
9 years ago

its good, but its not THAT good!
the story is by far the worst in the series which is really disappointing, after all AC IS ALL about the story!
and this is the final chapter to close everything off.
sigh its ME3 all over again!
awesome gameplay, awesome production values, awesome cut scenes, but the story is a bit lacking to say the least!
the start is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO boring too!
the opera is awesome, but the boat level, and the 4 or so levels after that, oh my god never has a game put me to sleep so fast!

so far its exactly what i was expecting.
a great game, but not the evolution and leap forward we were expecting.
and the transfer to the american revolution, how interesting, and historical it may be, just does not suit the series and the gameplay!

JoshBall
JoshBall
9 years ago

Brilliant review Ben thank you. Now one choice remains, AC3 or Dishonoured?!

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
9 years ago

A one choice to get em both!

Lotusflow3r
Lotusflow3r
9 years ago

Done about 10hrs so far and hopped between Okami and this, so i don't have enough to form an opinion, but i will say that the boat battles are absolutely AMAZING.

Hand_of_Sorrow
Hand_of_Sorrow
9 years ago

can a person just jump into AC III without playing other
AC games first?

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

Absolutely.

La_Bete12
La_Bete12
9 years ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rnfg1rDmNIw

Watch this video first, believe me it will help. It does a wonderful job of catching you up on the plot of the series in under 10 minutes.

Reaper_505
Reaper_505
9 years ago

Great review Ben. I fully agree. There have been minor glitches, but nothing that really had any major effect on anything (Wolf stuck in a bush, me stuck on a log).

One of my favorite parts so far has been Benjamin Franklin's treatise on women.