Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Assassin's Creed III Review

Box Art
     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing well.  As of recent times I have been reviewing alot of small studio games (excluding Skyrim) along with some indie platforms.  So today I'd thought I'd review a game I almost got around to reviewing last year but didn't.  Assassin's Creed III is perhaps my favorite of the series and with the 7th one coming around the corner I'd thought I...oh whats that? Your confused that I'm reviewing the 3rd one when the seventh one is coming out? Well the answer is quiet simple...kind of.  Also there are 12 other AC games I didn't know existed until recently and don't matter. The first game followed the adventures of Altair Ibn- La'Ahad (during the Third Crusade in what is now Turkey) on his quest for redemption because he killed some innocent, had his death faked then became awesome enough to replace the other 200 Assassins who he knew.  The next three games follow the life of Ezio Auditore da Firenze (during the Italian Renaissance during the 15th century into the 16th) on his quest for revenge at the death of his family, which then turn into building the Assassin brotherhood to its peak in Italy to battle the Templars (these guys that believe that humanity cannot be trusted with it's own freedom and must forced into submission, also these guys are sown into important roles in society to better manipulate it. It Ubisoft's Aluminati.) This takes him from Florence to Rome across the sea to Constantinople and back again.  So thats a quick recap of the last games, with AC4 following after this one which has pirates, YARR.  Now quick rundown on the story, read my version or watch this video, maybe both.  So the Templars (the bad guys) and the Assassins (the good guys) have been fighting for hundred of years over having a free world devoid of tyrannical control or one controlled behind the shadows treating people like puppets. I'll let you match the options with their right partners.  So the year is 2012 and the protagonist is Desmond Miles, a guy who is lucky enough to be a descendant of the most influential and important Assassins of all time.  Desmond was raised in a solitary life to be an Assassin but ran
Cast of characters, no idea of the guy on the far right and Aveline isn't necessary to the story
away, years later in his 20s he is kidnapped by the mega corporation Abstergo, which is actually led by the Templars.  They put Desmond in the Animus, a machine that allows one to relieve the life of their ancestors. After reliving a part of the life of Altair who redeems himself by killing nine high ranking Templars, he finds out theres a tenth Templar; his mentor. He fights his mentor and grabs this artifact that is really important, touching it and discovering the location of several Pieces of Eden, powerful artifacts left behind by the First Civilization like the one hes holding. These guys came before everyone else did, with a more powerful existing before the Sun wiped out all life on the Earth.  They created many artifacts to stop the end of the world but it didn't work. Desmond is yanked back out of the Animus and is told he is of no further use to the Templars and is returned to his room.  Certain rare people have this sixth sense called Eagle Vision that allows them to see things usually unseen.  Desmond sees that Subject Sixteen, the guy before Desmond, played finger art with his blood on the walls which is pretty fucking deranged. Though that guy did go crazy and kill himself because the Animus was becoming reality for him.  Thats right, the Animus will kill you if your over exposed, just like drugs. Although through long periods of time in the Animus Desmond can pick up on the bleeding effect, allowing him to learn the skills of his ancestors in a short time.  Desmond is then rescued by Lucy, a double agent working within the Templars, but is actually an Assassin.  She gets Desmond out of there and takes him to a safe house to meet Shawn, this British guy who you don't like, but then like and Rebecca this tech girl who you like and keep liking.  Desmond hops in the Animus and dives into Ezio's memories.  Some stuff happens, Ezio kills most the guys behind his family's murder, reunites the brotherhood and discovers a special vault beneath the Vatican which contains a message from Manirva, a First Civilization person, for Desmond in the future. WHHHAAAAA!!!
     The message is a second solar flare is coming thats going to kill everyone, and they must find the answer the First Civilization left behind to save the world the second time around. Desmond hops out of the Animus, fights some Templars attacking the safe house, then fleeing to the Villa Auditore, Ezio's old villa, he hops back in to the Animus and back into Ezio's life.  Ezio's villa is destroyed, the brotherhood is shattered and Ezio goes to Rome to reunite the Assassins and defeat the new threat.  Some stuff happens, he kills the big baddie, and hides an Apple of Eden inside the Colosseum.  Desmond and Co. heads there and finds the Apple which freezes everyone, Juno, another First Civilization person tells Desmond that Lucy was working for the Templars the whole time.  WHHHHAAAAA!!!!!!  The Apple possesses Desmond and makes him
Connor fighting some Redcoats
stab Lucy, she dies and Desmond goes into a coma from overexposure to the Animus.  He wakes up in a virtual world and meets a version of Subject 16 he injected into the Animus before he offed himself.  He tells Desmond that he was put into the Animus to save his life and that he must revisit the unseen years of Altair and Ezio to separate the two in his mind so he can wake up.  Revelations happens and isn't really important other than at the end Ezio somehow sees Desmond and gives him everything he learned from the Apple of Eden also establishing a link back to reality.  Also when Altair died he sealed himself inside this library with another Apple of Eden, which is for some reason glossed over.  Desmond wakes up to find his dad standing over him telling him they found the place with the promise of saving the world. So they walk in, unlocking a door thats open with Ezios Apple. Finding ancient ruins with a wall of energy separating them from Earth's salvation. The ruins are putting out an Animus signal, which the gang acts upon and sends Desmond into the Animus.  He takes on Haytham Kenway, an Assassin sent across the sea in 1754 with the artifact are heroes need to open up the "prevent apocalypse" door. He gets on the ship and arrives in America, bumping into Benjamin Franklin along the way.  He meets Charles Lee and sets off to recruit and reunite members to his cause.  While doing so, he disguises as a Redcoat to get into a camp of British soldiers led by a former friend, now enemy.  In the act they take a slave caravan full of Native Americans.  Upon arriving they set the natives free and Haytham sneaks his way through the camp to find the man there looking for isn't there.
Haytham and Kaniehti:io
 Haytham asks Kaniehti:io, the leader of the Mohawk prisoners, if she recognizes the strange amulet he has.  She says she will take Haythem to its source if he kills General Braddock, a man whos been killing the Natives in his quest for expansion.  Also hes a former member of the order. He finds Braddock, chases him and Kaniehti:io tackles George Washington off his horse who is right next to Braddock.  Haytham kills Braddock and takes his ring.  Kaniehti:io takes Haytham  to the source of the amulet, he finds out the amulet is not associated with this cave.  Haytham goes back to Boston with his friends and decides Charles Lee has proven himself and puts the ring on his finger. Also through creative writing that avoided the subject until now, it turns out that Haytham and his friend are Templars.  WHHAAAA!!!  Years pass by and the player is now playing as Ratonhnhake:ton, the son of Haytham and Kaniehti:io.  He is a young child living in his village and is playing games in the forest with his friends when he is attacked by Charles Lee.  The two exchange words and Lee knocks out Ratonhnhake:ton.
     He wakes to find his village burning and his mother trapped beneath a beam in a burning hut.  He tries to save her, but cannot and she dies.  Years later Ratonhnhake:ton is talking to the Elder of the Village about his mother, she reveals Lee was looking for an artifact and the village is there to protect that artifact.  Ratonhnhake:ton picks up the sphere and is given a vision by the Juno that he must seek the Assassins in order to save his village. He sets out and finds Achilles, a retired assassin living at a homestead in the countryside.  After some stubborn negotiating Achilles reluctantly agrees to train Ratonhnhake:ton.  So they set to work and Achilles decides to call Ratonhnhake:ton Connor to make the settlers friendlier towards him. So the stage is set and Connor (Ratonhnhake:ton) will set out on his epic quest to save his people and fight a revolution to form a nation while witnessing many historical events.  Like Assassin's Creed II, the game has three open world maps that you can rotate to at any time; Boston, New York and the Frontier. Several new features have been added to the game and some have been improved on.
Connor hunting an Elk
The freerunning is smoother and looks nicer, also allowing natural things to be climbed like cliffs and jump between trees, something previously unseen in the series.  In the scenario of being chased the player can side under a fence or even run through part of a structure to gain some distance.  The counter system has improved allowing for failure instead of making you a one man army, making you have to press a counter button before than executing a counter attack that range from firing the pistol at the target to stick a bomb to them while throwing them at a group of enemies.  During gun fire sequences enemies can be used as a body shield and finishing moves pack a satisfying punch  as you duck and dodge your way through enemies.  Guns appear in the form of muskets, the player can carry two pistol, firing up to four shots with the double barrel pistols. These weapons prove to be useful yet take long to reload, therefore not seeming to overpowered.  A new stealth weapon is Connor's longbow which can be used to kill enemies silently.  Another new feature added in AC3 is hunting, allowing another use for the bow.  Through hunting, the player can acquire things that people want and sell pelts for money. Hunting can be direct with bow and musket or can happen when the player is not even present with the introduction of snares mixed with bait. A new crafting-trading system is added in which Connor can send pelts or make weapons, furniture, saddles and such things to sell.  Doing this you load the goods up on a ship or wagon and sent it to a certain store or trading post, depending of the good to the certain trading post, you will be paid according to what that post wants.  A religious convent will pay more for pelts than cannons and so forth.  This will be the players primary source of income so they can purchase new weapons and ship upgrades, which are the most expensive things in the game.
Connor's Tomahawk, awesome
The crafting also allows the player to craft personal objects like swords and guns.  This is quite useful as the best pistol is acquired through this system.  The only flaw with this system is while naval missions are fun, there not necessary to the gameplay like in AC4 where being a pirate and owning a ship go hand in hand.  Also the money you make mainly goes towards this, so once you've crafted all the upgrades, there is no motivation to make money, which is hard mind you.  In my experience the easiest way to make money is to go to this little corner of the map and kill bears while waiting for more bears to show up.  So after killing twenty bears, each which are killed which are killed through a three step quicktime event, you start to grow weary. The stuff that's hardest to make requires a craftsman of that skill to a certain degree.  Certain characters throughout the world can be invited to stay at your homestead to make a life for themselves.  You will come to bond with the inhabitants of your little piece of property and come to treat them as family.   The gear you are given has no armor tacked on to it, forcing you to rely and your reflexes otherwise be scraped off a redcoat's boot.  The weapons you are given follow a similar trend, in the sense there's no reason to buy new equipment because despite the stats applied to weapons they all stab things with equal force.  Connor's arsenal consisted of his two hidden blades, a bad ass looking tomahawk that you will never get rid of because its bad ass.
Achilles explaining the ropedart to Connor 
He also had a sword, two pistols, poison and a new weapon: the rope dart which allows Connor to hang enemies from trees and pull them down in the heat of battle.  The assassin recruitment is back, although sadly with little use.  Although the assassins can now use tactics such as sniping enemies from a distance, planting bombs and pretending to be the enemy.  Forts are now added, the player can take Templar forts to further their influence so they can recruit assassins and be able to walk around without being tackled every twenty feet.  The wanted system returns, if the player has committed crime, posters will be put up and heralds will yell about stuff you did, Connor can also visit a printing press to wipe the slate clean.  In between trying to save the free world, Connor can play games like checkers, Bowls, Morris, and Fanorona.  If you don't know what those are, look them up.  The new dialogue system is interesting, allowing you to have conversations with people throughout the world.  One that really blew my mind is that you have a drink with an assassin you recruited and find out Haytham killed his uncle before his eyes to get the magic amulet thing you're fighting for the whole game.  Despite AC3 being my favorite of the games, even as the AC4 came out and was fun, the one thing that bothered me most was Connor.  Despite being a major all around bad ass who has good moral premise and will always do the right thing, he is humorless.  Its such a dramatic change to go from Ezio, smiley happy lady's man to Connor.  He has his moments which make them special because of this.  Overall as a game I'd give AC3 a solid 9 of 10.  I hope you have enjoyed this post and I will be back next week.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.
Trailer recommend HD viewing

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