Assassin’s Creed III: Real Life Review

8 Jun

assassin creed III emblem

Assassin’s Creed III:

Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, Microsoft Windows

Released: 2012

Age certificate: 12

Real Life Review GirlfriendGirlfriend test

(This tests how much freedom the game gives you to turn it off and to go and do the laundry. The test considers how much the game allows you to play for an indeterminable amount of time while your girlfriend does her make-up. It also rates how important sound is – will your girlfriend’s hairdryer or music be the matter of life and death for your character?)

Assassin’s Creed games in general do not perform badly in the girlfriend test. Assassin’s Creed III will steal you from your girlfriend for around 20-30 hours on average. I ended the game on around 24 hours but I spent a fair amount of time collecting some of those precious collectables.

You sometimes possess the ability to save and turn off at you girlfriend’s whim. The main missions can drag on for a long time, and sometimes relentlessly run one into another, but thankfully this is not a problem as you can turn off at any point and start again from one of the frequent autosave checkpoints. When you press pause the game actually pauses, which is always a bonus. Problems occur when you have to turn off when you are just about to reach a checkpoint of collectable in the middle of the Frontier. Fast travel points are frustratingly few and far between and you quickly grow bored of riding a disgruntled horse for the majority of the game just to get anywhere important. Sure, you can get more fast travels points in the irksome city tunnel minigame, but that felt like a bigger waste of time than running endlessly – and that’s a big statement. When dear old Connor is stood on a tree branch in the centre of the frontier, inches away from a collectable feather, you will ignore pleas for you to switch off.

If you are given a random amount of time to play while your girlfriend fools around with makeup you will be able to make some progress with your game. There are many activities that can take seconds or minutes to complete and hundreds of collectable’s to hunt down. If you have ten minutes you can complete a few things and happily switch off. As previously mentioned, the fast travel situation can be annoying, so later in the game you will need at leave five minutes just to get to the more isolated activities. If you have time to burn you can also just go on a rampage in one of cities, or you can ride around the countryside air assassinating deer off the back of your indifferent stead.

Sound is not an issue. If an enemy notices you the screen flashes red, so you wont lose out if the game is muted. I had subtitles on most of the time and I didn’t miss the monotonous drone of Connor’s voice. To be fair, the voice acting is not too bad and the background sound effects are subdued, so playing the game in a room with people is not going to cause offense most of the time, but the constant virtual sound of metal going through flesh may eventually cause your girlfriend to demand you mute the game.

Score: 7/10

Girlfriend: “Can you stop playing and come help me choose a dress?”

Me: “Wait, I am busy.”

Girlfriend: “Sure… I have just watched you assassinate rabbits for 20 minutes.”

Me: “Fair enough. Here I come.”

Aside from the problem of where you spawn and fast travel, the rest of the game caters for short stints and the ability to save, or to play with no sound.

Real Life Review GirlfriendMate test

(You are playing the game and your housemate walks in. Apart from Fifa they are pretty much uneducated in gaming. This test is a mix of the coolness rating, pick-up-and-play-ability and most importantly: same console multiplayer. Anything that could be called ‘gayyyyy’ loses points in this test.)

If they walk into your room midgame a mate who has not got Assassin’s Creed III will be entertained for a short period of time. If they are completely new to Assassin’s Creed altogether they will be impressed with your constant swashbuckling prowess and the graphic visuals. Unless of course they walk in at a frequent Desmond scene, in which case the game looks like a boring pile of steamy horse dump. If your friend is familiar with Assassins Creed they will be unimpressed with your combat skills, as they know how damn easy it is to play. If they have not progressed as far as you have they will instantly run out of the room to avoid spoilers and if they have completed it is likely they will tell you what the ending is.

Don’t get me wrong, Assassin’s Creed III is a cool game. The graphics are painfully good, (if you disagree you need to get the brightness right, or it looks washed out), but it’s not that fun to watch or to take it in turns on rampages, simply because it is so easy to play. The game is more about the storyline, and you will want to share this experience alone with Connor.

Multiplayer on the other hand can be great for playing with mates as a drinking game. Go ahead and take it in turns and see who gets the best score. You can go mental and sprint around like a mad man therefore ruining it for everyone, or you can play stealthily – both options are entertaining. Mates new to the game will murder everyone in sight; so if you care about your kill/death ratio play something else. You cannot play multiplayer on the same console so don’t buy it if playing with friends is that important to you, and if you do not have an Internet connection you may as well give up on playing with mates.

Score: 3/10

Me: “Kill the guy that is shown in that portrait, but only when the sound effects show he is near.”

Mate: “I’m dead.”

Me: “Try again.”

Mate: “He’s dead. I’m dead”

Mate: “Let’s just go outside.”

Assassin’s Creed III is made for the story mode. Just give up on local multiplayer. Online mode is fun, but I have had issues connecting with mates.

Real life review Parent TestParent test

(Imagine you have parents that are easily offended – especially by sexual themes and swearing; and at random intervals they invade your room.)

Assassin’s Creed III is inoffensive to most, if you ignore the constant emotionless murder. I like the way the game tries to be ethical and it does not let you kill too many civilians, but I feel a small pang of guilt when I stand in a pile of redcoats. I look at the those poor English men dying in a foreign land and I imagine them looking forward to going home for a steak and ale pie with their mother, and I think about they only signed up because the local linen mill up north wasn’t hiring that summer.

Did I mention I am from England? The game pricked a nerve when I received help from a Frenchman in killing redcoats, I would have stabbed that dude in the face, but I am rather patriotic. Since my family has a military background I would not like to let my Dad walk in and see me slaughtering our own men for my own entertainment. I was fine with it as the game assured me they were evil Templars, and you find out the American’s are just as bad, but it would not look good at a glance.

If a parent walked in at a random moment it would most likely feature you running around aimlessly or riding a horse. As usual, swearing is pretty held back and there is thankfully no awkward virtual nudity or virtual shags. The game is very pretty and quiet so you could play most of it sat in the middle of the lounge without offending anyone. If you have any animal lovers in the family don’t let them see you play the game for the first few hours as you are forced to massacre the entire cast of Bambi, but after that you don’t generally have to bother with the unfortunate local animals.

The game also has the added bonus that it teaches you history, or at least, the history of a parallel universe. You do require knowledge of the American Civil War for most of the story to not go over your head, but you can claim to parents you are being ‘educated.’

Score: 7/10

Parent: “I said dinner’s ready… why are you stabbing all those raccoons?”

Me: “So I can sell their hides in Boston so I can buy more weapons.”

Parent: “Oh OK. How much would we get for your stinky hamster?”

If your parents like to invade your room they will not be likely to be offended if they are OK with violence. Otherwise they will probably ban you from this game, in which case you should pause it if you are stood on a mound of corpses.

Real life review inner rageThe Inner Rage Test

(You have had a bad day and you want to feel a sense of achievement. This section talks about how frustrating them game is.)

Assassin’s Creed III is easy as long as you master the simple combat system, so you should be able to get through most of the gameplay without being halted. There are one or two missions that are notable exceptions, such as when you are chasing a certain Templar at the end of the game. You will either love or hate the ship missions; I for one saw them as an annoying obstacle, but I completed them easily enough. I also did not want to kill animals, at all. I wanted to climb tall buildings and gaze across the game world, but the tallest thing I found was a tree. A tree. I fell out the tree a died. Connor was a nice enough chap to play as but he was a bit dim at times; Connor’s befriending of the main enemy was predictable and cringe worthy.

I had to restart one or two missions due to bugs and glitches, sometimes you would get to the checkpoint and nothing would happen, and people would spawn several metres away. Sometimes just as you assassinate a target a group of guards spawn in your exit, which seems implausible with colonial technology. As funny as it was when a NPC got stuck in the scenery and started spasming it would kind of ruin the atmosphere of the supposedly ultra advanced simulation.

Obviously the Desmond scenes were annoying, as you found yourself being ripped out of colonial America and thrown into a depressing modern day, but they were the most enthralling Desmond moments of the series. At least when you completed the game you feel Abstergo deserved everything that happened to you.

Score: 6/10

As you can see I had a few things to moan about but in general the game is very satisfying as you easily outsmart the enemy hordes and you pay very little for a series of mistake leading to death. There were some serious bugs that upset the game in parts.

real life review overallOverall

(I briefly rate games on a number of factors such as graphics, storyline, entertainment and longevity irrespective of the other tests.)

Assassins Creed III is a great game and I recommend it. It will keep you occupied for hours, but only the most OCD of you will persevere to get all the collectables. The storyline is the easiest to follow in the series but you have to keep concentrating. It is just as entertaining as the other installments but I can confess I ignored most of the introduced weapons such as rope darts, as a sword and pistol suffices in nearly every single situation. I also rejected many of the new features of the game such as ship battles and animal slaughter. It was still my second favorite Assassins Creed after good old number II.

Score: 8/10

Please. No more ship battles, no more massive environments that require hours of traveling and more tall buildings and more swashbuckling. What’s this? Assassins Creed Black Flag? I guess that means more ships!


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