kierkegaard's Assassin's Creed III (PlayStation 3) review

We Should Be Proud (spoilers)

Asssassin's Creed is the bravest goddamn game series in a long, long time. You play as a Muslim dude killing knights in the holy land, an Italian dude killing corrupt Catholics (and chilling with people of all cultures in Istanbul), and a conflicted Kanien'kehaka (or something close to that) dude figuring out how to protect himself, his people, and his ideals when all the white mother fuckers just want his land and his killing arm. Desmond goes from a slacker bartender to a creepy killer/ enslaver of the world.

Does it have crappy moments? Yeah. Does it waste some potential? Yeah. But what is there is storytelling that deals directly with race, religion, murder, colonialism, sexism and more heady, important issues in often the most mature fashion seen in any media. There's a completely small but great mission where you talk to Miriam, a hard ass hunter lady, about how she won't become a useless, powerless housewife after marriage. It's a great goddamn series purely for this bravery and willingness to confront players about history and what it could mean.

None of that would mean shit if the game were bad, but it is not. The stealth is still fun. The naval missions, frontier, homestead creation, and revolutionary war fighting (load those muskets) at times approach real wonder. Desmond's treks into the world are disturbing and difficult without the animus cheats (both of awareness and morality), as they should be.

Assassin's Creed 3 is edutainment of the highest order. Even if it didn't manage to look at contradictions in moralism from all sides in its storytelling, its game world tells the story of America better than any book. Here are two cities, still relatively small, still filled with fields and farmers and accents of all sorts. There is no collective America. And, just outside these cities, is wilderness. Animals roam. Trees flourish. On the seas, ships play elaborate and exploding stratego with each other across gorgeous expanses. Early America was conflicted, complicated, an odd mixture of ideals and practicalities, and simply running through the world (even if you don't read the well-written historical accounts that include primary source newspaper writing) reveals the nature of my young country.

Game players often lambast boring games or expected games, but when something truly revolutionary in its storytelling and possessing utter respect for the player's intelligence comes around, we look for holes. There are holes. They don't matter. Assassin's Creed 3 is a great game.

1 Comments
Edited by PrimeFiveByFive

Reading this is making me want to play through the game again. This was my favourite AC game since the first. (I'm one of about two people who thinks the first is still the best AC game) loved the opening, the very fact that Ubi kept secret who you play as in the beginning, in this world where every E3 announcement is leaked before E3 even starts, was mind-blowing. I'm a sucker for game level that take place in a theatres, so I was hooked from the start. All the details put into that scene alone. The fact that the play that is going on is a real play from the area, and the actors on stage are people that actually existed. I had turned off all hud elements before starting the game, and played that way until I came across the hunting/hide and seek missions. Certain elements in the game just seemed impossible to get through with the hud gone. Maybe in my next play-through I can do without it.

I also loved Connor as a character. He's much more relatable for me than Ezio or Altier. The scene after you bribe the printing press, where Connor says that he doesn't feel comfortable with spreading lies, and that telling the truth should be enough to set things straight, shows exactly what kind of person he is. The means to an end being as important as the result, is a philosophy I can agree with.

Add to that the little scene in the end, where, after Connor has fought in the name of freedom, he sees slaves being sold, in the same "free" world he fought for. The look on his face when he sees that is chilling. It's very subtle, but has so much meaning. I guess that's the thing I love so much about this game. It's all the little subtleties that add up.

Other reviews for Assassin's Creed III (PlayStation 3)

    Hardly a Revolution 0

    As someone who would consider themselves something of an Assassins Creed fan, I looked forward to Assassins Creed 3 more than any other game this year, and while I have enjoyed my time with it, it’s overwhelming similarities to previous entries in the series and the inclusion of some issues that have plagued the series for a number of games now without change has left it feeling underwhelming and a little by the numbers.The biggest change this game is the setting and characters, after a trilogy ...

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