It seems I'm the only person who actually liked AC3

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#51 Posted by Nezza (334 posts) -

I'm playing this at the moment and am about 10-11 hours in, and I'm about ready to give up on it.

ACIII is a huge, massively ambitious, at times beautiful, poorly-paced buggy game.

There seems to be little coherence to it. For example, despite how many hours I'm into the game it is still tutorialising. If I'm running from the guards and I hide in a hay-cart the game pops up with a tutorial regarding the notoriety indicator. It doesn't matter how many times I've hidden from guards, it is still telling about the indicator. Yet as I walk through Boston I see a prompts to 'press A to start riot'. Why do I want to start a riot? What does starting a riot result in? How can you be giving me info about a core mechanic 100 times, but never giving me info about another mechanic even once? Either give tutorials for everything, or give them for nothing; don't half-arse it. I have a new button on screen - press L to assassinate. When this appeared the first time I went was immediately taken into a totally out of place tutorial for sending my new buddy on a mission. Sure, I see why you need to tell me about that - but it was so unrelated to what was happening in the games mission at that point that it was just odd. It seemed even odder five seconds later when back in world, I was told to highlight a guard and press L to assassinate - which of course I could not do as that tutorial has just sent my guy away for 12 minutes! I keep getting new e-mail notifications. They are constant. I can't read them in the Animus so what is the point in having so many? I didn't know I couldn't read them at first, after all I can access the encyclopaedia at will, so not a stretch of the imagination to think I could also view the e-mails. So I went through all the menus looking for the option before remembering in previous games there would be a terminal in the 'real' world. Instead of the ton of notifications, why not have a simple piece of dialogue when you are climbing out of the Animus saying 'hey Desmond, you've got some e-mails'? Quick, to the point and not battering you with useless info.

The slow pacing is annoying but totally forgivable. Admittedly the pace has now started to accelerate, but it took around 8 hours for the game to stop feeling like its on rails. Half of that time seemed to be spent walking/riding huge distances to trigger a 10 second cutscene. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that the first 5 hours could easily have been cut in half.

Then there is the glitching, and man there is a lot of it.

Walking down some of the Boston roads is like walking through a nightmare. Buildings flicker in an out of existence on a regular basis. Shadows become undefined and I find myself walking along with a solid back rectangle instead of a human shaped body. Enemies suddenly appear from thin air and trigger alerts, or posses the ability to suddenly see through a solid wall - ie their awareness indicator isn't even activated then it will suddenly go red (even if I'm incognito)- I haven't moved in seconds, they haven't moved and there is a big building between us. Missions don't trigger meaning its time for a reload. I'm playing this on the Wii U, its been out for ages so why hasn't this kind of thing been patched? I really hate that I walk up to a guy, trigger a mission and then the cutscene always starts with me nowhere near the person and walking up to them. Totally petty, but again its a little thing that keeps telling my brain that I'm playing a game and not immersed in that universe.

I think my biggest issue with the entire game is the controls & related interface. Ignoring the PSP versions this is the 5th instalment of the series. In that time they've had a very established control scheme. You could pick up any of them and they will control pretty much the same way. But now in the fifth game of the series - and note that is series, not a reboot, not a remake but a continuation - they remap some, but not all of the buttons. I can't tell you the amount of times I fell to my death from a viewpoint because my muscle memory pressed the old button to do the eagle dive after synchronising and not the new button. That may sound trivial, but it destroys engagement, because instead of immersing myself into the game I'm constantly second-guessing myself with the controls. We're talking what, say 20 hours a game previously so 80+ hours of of using the same controls and then switching them? Button presses often decide to do the total opposite to the onscreen prompts - like when hanging on a ledge and the prompt is 'A - drop'. But a quick press of A finds Connor climbing back up instead of dropping to the ground. Other unnecessary tweaks include the map which is now a total annoyance to use. The weapon wheel is terrible, pretty much a game breaker for me. Previously a tap of the shoulder button and you have the wheel overlaid instantly, select your item by pushing in a direction and letting go - took a second, maybe two in total. Now you press the button and wait for a screen to load, then select the weapon by scrolling, then wait for the world to load back in. It may only be 5 or six seconds total, but again we're at the 5th game in the series and introducing things that are both slower and more immersion breaking then the established way. Oh, and of course someone decided to introduce quicktime events when fighting wolves etc.... great.

It feels like there is a great game that is being smothered by its interface and that is a shame, because I know from the previous games that they have a perfectly good one. How many of these changes are a result of making changes for changes sake I don't know. I've a feeling many of them came about because they were a quick way of making a distinction between the ACII trilogy and this title in an attempt to say - 'hey look, we have made changes' in response to the criticism that they'd effectively made the same game three times. I feel that is unnecessary as the movement from Italy to America with an entire new cast was enough. In fact you could lift these exact critisisms and apply them wholesale to the Vita version, which tells me that it is an interface problem not a game problem. That the footage they've released of ACIV, and the return of things like the health metre etc, would seem to indicate that they've realised this.

One last little thing. At this point in the game I'm being asked to perform 'Liberation' missions in Boston. Liberated from what exactly? At this point in history America was a colony and at again at this point in the games timeline we are seeing the start of the turn of events that saw America break away from the Empire. The only territory that has been occupied is that of the native people, and we're not returning the land to them in the game. In fact by looking to overthrow the established authority, Connor is acting as the aggressor at this time, so the naming of these acts as 'Liberation mission' is just wrong. Revolution missions, yes. Liberation missions, no. A small thing perhaps, but coming from a place that was occupied by an invader during WWII and then liberated that particular misuse of the language bugs me.

If ACIII does one thing exceptionally well it is this - it really makes me want to play AC: Brotherhood again.

TL:DR - a potentially great game buried under a mound of suffocating shit.

#52 Posted by Baillie (4039 posts) -

I found Connor and most of the characters pretty bland, but the gameplay itself was really satisfying. I found that it took a while to stop holding my hand and let me actually play the game how I wanted. But when it did, it was great.

#53 Posted by Tennmuerti (8005 posts) -

Not at all.

I've enjoyed playing AC3 more them most. Especially on PC with the game looking quite good it helped bring in a lot of the minor elements together. The ship stuff was simply fantastic. I liked Connor as a character (he starts flawed like all AC protagonists). His mannerisms, movement, combat style, garb. Building up your town and the little stories of it's inhabitants as a sort of reward.

I also really didn't care about the overall sci-fi story at this point, as it started to devolve into nonsense since AC2 making me care abut it less and less with each installment. The individual past characters and setting is what brought me into it and kept me interested. So the admittedly half assed ending didn't phase me one bit, as i had no higher expectations for it.

Plus the multiplayer was a much needed improvement over Revelations, it basically came back to form and was enjoyable again.

#54 Edited by fetchfox (1221 posts) -

Connor felt hollow to me, and I'd much rather keep playing as his father. But I liked some aspects of the game, and I did have fun with it. Cool new moves, gorgeous woods and cities, animals, hunting, tree climbing and naval battles. It introduced a lot of new and cool features that seem more realized in Black Flag. But the story had some shitty moments. The world was built to feel open, but the story was linear. And the final "boss" battle with the insanely long chase sequence just killed it for me... that and the ending with Desmond dying a senseless death (ending spoiler). It really soured the experience and tainted what was good about the game. A great wine becomes shit when you're left with a bad taste in your mouth.

#55 Edited by xyzygy (9893 posts) -

@ahgunsillyo: Wow, now that you mention the economy, I'd say I have to agree. But at the same time, that's such a minor thing to me. I really didn't use the economy much and you didn't really need it much to get all the single player achievements either. I had a ton of stuff saved up from the main game and really only used the economy to sell maybe all my bear pelts and buy a few small items that didn't cost much. I guess I can't really complain about it because I didn't use it really.

But what you're saying about the building traversal, I'd have to agree with 100%. EXCEPT.... for the trees. So, while buildings definitely weren't as large or fun to climb (while I do think they improved and hastened climbing mechanics a wee bit in ACIII), the addition of huge wooded and natural areas made up for that. In fact I'd say the Frontier is my favorite location in any AC game because of the sheer fun I had in hunting, climbing, stalking, and basically being a bad ass in the trops. But yes, Boston and New York, while still very cool, had small buildings spread too far apart. I still did enjoy it, but not as much as Venice for example.

And honestly, I have no idea who Daniel Cross is haha. Is he Subject 16? I thought his story ended in Revelations? I don't remember hearing any mention of his name at all. I guess as someone who didn't read the graphic novels I wasn't really looking for him.

I do have a question for you though: what did you think of Connor?

#56 Edited by ahgunsillyo (443 posts) -

@xyzygy: *For starters, there are spoilers in this response. If you care about the story of Assassin's Creed III and haven't played it yet, please go ahead and skip this lengthy bit of rambling*

*Also, I apologize if any or all of what I wrote down here is inaccurate; it's been a while since I played through the game, and I'm just trying to recall a bunch of stuff about the game from memory. Feel free to tell me if I remembered something wrong if you really want to. Thanks in advance*

Daniel Cross is the blonde Templar agent who hounds Desmond throughout the game on his missions to retrieve the power sources for the temple. At the end of the game, he goes crazy and starts speaking Russian; this is a result of the Bleeding Effect from his extended periods in the Animus reliving the life of Nikolai Orelov, Cross's ancestor who serves as the other main character in the graphic novels. Subject 16 is a man by the name of Clay Kaczmarek, and yes, his story did end in Revelations.

I have to say that I did not really end up liking Connor very much. He didn't have much of a personality to speak of; he was basically just trusting of most of his allies until they weren't really allies with him anymore, and then he just hated them. For good reason, I guess; I kind of ended up hating everybody by the end of the game. George Washington was just kind of a milquetoast and an ineffective leader (who had the voice of Travis Touchdown, which really took me out of it) and Haytham just ended up annoying me with all his "witty" insults to his son. By the end of the game, Connor didn't really have any allies, and he basically just told everyone on both sides to "Get out of my way or I'll kill you." The only characters I really liked were Achilles and the other residents of the Homestead, but again, those are as separate and completely skippable from the main storyline as the trading and economy, which is a real shame.

I think one of the main problems that I had with the story is that Connor's story just wasn't much of an "Assassins vs. Templars" story. Yes, Connor was technically an "Assassin," but he didn't really abide by the code (or "Creed," I guess, if you will) that was established by the previous games. Now, you could say that that detachment from the previous Assassin Brotherhood was because of the difference in time and location, but regardless, Connor was the only real Assassin running around. Whenever you recruited a new person into your Brotherhood, they'd say something along the lines of "Huh? Templa-what? I don't know what you're babblin' about, mister, but you saved my life, so I'll help you out!" and further interactions with them really didn't give off that they knew much more, if any, about the Assassins or Templars than they did initially. Moreover, it didn't really seem like the Templars in ACIII really had much of a game-plan, either (at least when compared to the previous games' Templars). They weren't racing to get a First Civilization artifact like the Apple of Eden or anything. They kind of just wanted to gain power, and that's it. You could say that that's what the aim of the Templars always was, but at the same time, there was no quest for a mythical artifact or any supernatural element to it, so what makes them different from just another power-hungry gang?

And it's funny, because Connor's quest for vengeance is pretty much a completely misguided one from the start. He thinks that Charles Lee is the one who burns down his village, and goes through most of the game swearing vengeance on him for what he did. However, Connor learns late in the game that the person who burned down his village wasn't actually Charles Lee, but in fact George Washington! If you read the codex entries, though, Shaun tells you that it was Washington RIGHT AFTER HIS VILLAGE IS BURNED DOWN (which made me go through the game feeling like Connor's quest for vengeance was immensely flawed). Though he knows this, he still vows to end Charles Lee and the rest of the Templars, his reasons pretty much being because "they're bad people." It kind of just made the story feel really broken for me.

And even though George Washington was actually the man who burned down his village, and even though Connor swore that they were done with each other, he was apparently still okay enough with him to play a nice game of bocce together.

I liked the trees as well. A lot of my fun in the game consisted of just running around and collecting things and doing side stuff in the Frontier. Traversing the natural environments was a huge improvement in this game, and it felt really fluid and natural. However, considering that majority of the missions and storyline takes place in the cities, that kind of lessens its awesomeness, as you don't have a lot of natural environments to climb and be awesome in in those locations.

I also have to say that I personally had problems with the controls and how they changed them in ACIII as well. I personally came to really like the idea of each face button representing a different body part (Y/Triangle for head, X and B/Square and Circle for arms, A/X for legs) and how the controls worked. This may seem really silly, but one of my favorite things to do in the previous Assassin's Creed games was to jump off rooftops with reckless abandon and then just hold down the B/Circle button and hold the left stick in various directions, which gave you 360-degree control of your grabbing arm, in hopes I would be close enough to grab the side of the nearest building. With the way they revamped the controls and made it a lot "safer" and less likely to accidentally jump off buildings, I don't recall it being possible to do that anymore. The lack of that particular bit of random fun is a bit irrelevant, though, since the architecture in the cities weren't really conducive to that kind of activity anyway. Which is not fun.

Also, I just remembered how overly complex and utterly skippable the Fast Travel system is. Like the trading, navigating the Underground to unlock the Fast Travel points is WAY too complicated and time-consuming for its rewards. Now, I found some parts of the underground kind of fun and creative, but after you traverse the Underground once during the lengthy, lengthy tutorial portion of the game, there is no mention of it ever again and I completely forgot about it until after I was done with the main campaign.

So yeah. There's another really long rant about what else really bugged me about Assassin's Creed III. Thanks for reading.

#57 Edited by xyzygy (9893 posts) -

@ahgunsillyo: What you say about the face buttons actually kind of bothered me too. I'm all for cleaner interfaces, but ACIII felt a little too clean. I also kind of like the extremely clunky controls from past games, where you'd have to hold down RT + A and move, as opposed to just RT. Sometimes I was jumping over things I didn't want to jump over. I was also very disappointed that you couldn't "grab" while falling. It really could have saved me a few times, and I felt like it was an advanced control trick that not a lot of people used. It was so fun to use though, I agree.

BUT AC4 looks to have brought back the whole body part thing! ABXY are displayed on screen like past games :)

Overall though, it seems that AC4 is taking some very amazing things from ACIII, like more natural environments, the ship (which looks so seamless and amazing) and the new climbing techniques. While also taking things from previous entries.

I still stand by AC3 being my favorite, but your replies did open my eyes to some things it didn't do all too well.

#58 Edited by ahgunsillyo (443 posts) -

@xyzygy: I agree about jumping over things that you didn't want to jump over. It took me a stupid amount of time to figure out how to hop down to a lower platform as opposed to doing a full jump outward off of the ledge. You used to be able to run off the edge by just holding RT/R1 and not holding down A/X when you went off the ledge, but they simplified it so you don't need to hold A/X while running at all unless you want to vault over a small ledge or you really want to make that unsafe jump off of a high platform. Unless I'm dumb and completely mistaken, it doesn't explain to you anywhere in the game (or, at least in the lengthy, LENGTHY tutorial) that you can do a small hop down to a lower platform by holding RT/R1 and B/Circle while running off the edge.

I'm glad they seem to be improving things with Black Flag. I agree that the ship parts look pretty cool, especially the seamless transition between controlling Edward and captaining the ship, as well as the fact that it's basically a vehicle in an open-world game now as opposed to an isolated gameplay sequence. I also like that the cannons can be aimed manually instead of having to turn the ship and line up the boat. I know that the latter is how it actually works, but it also felt a little clunkier than it perhaps needed to be in ACIII.

However, I'm actually pretty burnt out on Assassin's Creed for a little bit, which is something I really wish I would never have to say. I think I'll wait until it's a little cheaper and get it for the new consoles. Hopefully, the frame rate will be be better on the PS4 and the XONE/XBONE/XB1/whatever the abbreviation is. Considering how much the frame rate in ACIII liked to chug and all the advancements they're making toward a more seamless gameplay experience in Black Flag, there's a good chance it might run like garbage on the current systems.

#60 Posted by Video_Game_King (36012 posts) -

I liked it in terms of the gameplay; I didn't like it in terms of the story. That's all I really have to say on the matter.

#61 Posted by onyxghost (301 posts) -

The game was fine. It told more of the Assassin's Creed story if you're into that story and was mostly competent. It's worth a play through if your a fan which I am. It just wasn't mind blowing which is what people built up in their heads

#63 Edited by Rorie (2697 posts) -

I dug it, even if Connor did occasionally vary a bit too close to Anakin Skywalker in temperament from time to time. Also I wrote the walkthrough for this over at GameSpot if you want to check it out!

Staff
#64 Posted by Boiglenoight (529 posts) -

I just finished the game. Tons of problems with it but overall time well spent if you're a fan of Assassin's Creed. I certainly wouldn't skip it.

#65 Posted by Deadmanforking (570 posts) -

I didn't really dislike AC3, I was just super disappointed in it. Also, I like Haythan way more that Connor, just wish the game revolved around him.

#66 Edited by Zirilius (579 posts) -

I really enjoyed it. Brotherhood is still my favorite with this as a close second. The only thing I didn't was the ending and the majority of Desmond's crap. I really liked the idea of the Assassin's role in the Revolutionary War the majority of the characters. Like the first AC it had a really great foundation that they built off of for the next iterations and while I haven't finished Black Flag yet I can see that 3's design heavily influenced it.

I honestly think the ending overshadows a great game. I guess Conner is a pretty polarizing character but I liked him and felt extremely gratified when he retrieved his hatchet from the porch pillar. I didn't get that sense of satisfaction from Ezio's or Altair's story.

#67 Posted by Irvandus (2826 posts) -

I liked it till sequence 7 or so. I'd give it a 3/5 stars.

#68 Posted by HistoryInRust (6274 posts) -

I really disliked the first ten hours, really liked the last five or six. Found the father-son relationship between Connor and Haytham to be one of the highlights of the series.

The Desmond narrative did nothing for me, however. And I mostly barreled through the main story while ignoring basically all of the superfluous Homestead busywork.

#69 Posted by Lina_Inverse (2 posts) -

I really liked AC3.

The gameplay was great and i liked Connor. Long haired Connor was really hot. Rawr!

#70 Posted by Shadow (4977 posts) -

Assassin's Creed 3 was awesome. I don't get why people are so against it. Yeah the combat was simplified, but it was already super easy so I never liked AC for the challenging gameplay. This series isn't exactly DMC

#71 Edited by Solidsnak (123 posts) -

I thought AC3 was good, but after playing it I no longer have any interest in the series.

#72 Posted by SongWriter1987 (123 posts) -

There was so much anticipation for this game. I was tired of Ezio's plot line half way through brotherhood, so I was ready for a new character and setting. I kind of feel like the game took a shit on my face. It just never got fun for me. I didn't like the characters, and the facial animation was horrendous. I just kept asking myself, when is this supposed to get fun and after 12 hours I gave up.

#73 Edited by NoelVeiga (1071 posts) -

I think AC3 is a perfectly acceptable AC game.

I find it interesting that a lot of people seem to dislike the game (or claim to) but each seem to have different, sometimes opposite, reasons for it. I, for instance, found Haytham much more compelling than Connor. Others say that he was a waste of time and bemoan the pacing it creates when the switch is made.

I do believe it shows the herd mentality and the tendency to simplistic, black-and-white stances you get from gamers and games journalists sometimes. AC3 is probably not the worst game in the series, it just had enough pet peeves to create this critical mass of vaguely defined dislike. The superfluous economy, the bugs, the empty-ish open world, the protagonist change, the design on some missions... none of that was terrible, but if you hear that AC3 is "bad" and you dislike one of those things, you naturally tend to overplay that thing to jump in the bandwagon. It's human nature.

So yeah, AC1 and 3 weren't that bad, AC2 and 4 aren't that great, AC Liberation is still painfully underrated... AC as a series is a bit too design-by-committee to generate very strong reactions out of me, but I generally think every game in the franchise is at least competent.

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#74 Posted by Trilogy (2645 posts) -

I liked AC3 more than most it seems, but I had my fair share of issues. Both endings (Desmond and Connor) were fucking TERRIBLE. It honestly rivaled ME3 for me in terms of disappointing endings. I also thought the game started too slowly. Actually, I enjoyed the VERY beginning of the intro and the VERY end of the intro. It was the few hours in between that really dragged on.

Outside of that, the rest of the game was pretty good. I loved the era and the ship combat. I think people are too hard on AC3. They're too hard on AC1 as well, but for different reasons. Seems like nobody can talk about how much they like 4 without first exclaiming how much they hated 3. Turns into hyperbole after a while. There are perfectly legitimate things to hate about 3, but if you think it's an overall terrible game, you haven't played many games.

#75 Edited by Zirilius (579 posts) -

@trilogy said:

I liked AC3 more than most it seems, but I had my fair share of issues. Both endings (Desmond and Connor) were fucking TERRIBLE. It honestly rivaled ME3 for me in terms of disappointing endings. I also thought the game started too slowly. Actually, I enjoyed the VERY beginning of the intro and the VERY end of the intro. It was the few hours in between that really dragged on.

Outside of that, the rest of the game was pretty good. I loved the era and the ship combat. I think people are too hard on AC3. They're too hard on AC1 as well, but for different reasons. Seems like nobody can talk about how much they like 4 without first exclaiming how much they hated 3. Turns into hyperbole after a while. There are perfectly legitimate things to hate about 3, but if you think it's an overall terrible game, you haven't played many games.

I think people tend to forget that AC1 is the basis of this great franchise. Yes it could have had more variety of things to do in the world but it was probably one of the greatest games in terms of showing what these new consoles were capable of. Never before had I climbed to the top of a tower only to this huge city spread out before me. Not only was it a city it was alive with people and you could virtually go anywhere (except inside of the buildings). I still to this day find every Sync point before I do anything in the city.

AC1's biggest downfall was lack of variety of missions, believe there was only 3, and stupid angry homeless douchebags. The best part was that Ubi listened to the feedback and made some pretty great changes for 2 and Brotherhood but still those games were built on the foundation of the first game. Revelations was a side-step as it did nothing to innovate the series but 3 took all the parkour to a new level with all the tree climbing and branch foliage. As someone who is has a computer science degree I can't imagine the difficulty that went into programming all of that and making it work the way it did.

Yes 3 had some pretty nasty bugs (infinite spawning bad guys was the biggest I saw) but overall was pretty stellar ending aside.

#76 Posted by flippyandnod (369 posts) -

Well, there's plenty to dislike. While I already disliked it after going through hours of tutorial, what really cemented it was when the minigame was just broken. It made it hard for me to care about a game when the devs couldn't care enough to even make it work right.

#77 Posted by Addfwyn (1917 posts) -

I really don't understand the hate for this game, GB themselves gave it a 4/5, yet a year later you would believe they gave it a 1-star review with how much they shit on it. Granted, the original reviewer isn't with us to defend his review, but I can't imagine the discrepancy could be that huge. To be fair, none of the other staff actually reviewed the game so they may just be amplifying each others dislike.

It just strikes me as really odd that ACIV gets the same exact score as AC3, yet somehow the latter is made to sound like the worst thing to ever happen to gaming. I guess if IV is that much better, you have to say something.

#78 Edited by Doom616 (4 posts) -

I was a bit disapointed when I first started AC3 and even stopped playing finished revelations then came back to 3. I have to say after coming back to it it was great, I really got into the doomed native american plight, no matter what Connor did it was going to go bad for his people. I found it much more interesting than the templar stuff. Connor finding some peace with his new "family" was great too.

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