Assassin's Creed III
My playing of Assassin's Creed III mirrored the range of emotions I've experienced through the last few games in the series, though with higher highs and lower lows than what I experienced last year with Revelations. There's still fun to be had here, especially if you've enjoyed a nice long break since playing the series, but there is so much glut and messiness that it's easy to think this series' best days are truly behind it.
At its core, Assassin's Creed III is still fun because being an assassin is still fun. Free-running, hatchet-fighting and assassinating is enjoyable, and I dare say it's relaxing and cathartic in its flow. (Jeez, what does that say about me?) These core mechanics also feel improved from the previous games, with an improved fluidity to the combat and (slightly) less instances of the character doing something unwanted and crazy while free-running.
My favorite thing about this latest game is the long overdue change in setting. The world and sense of place the game creates is impressive, whether you be in a London opera house, Revolutionary-era Boston or in the Caribbean doing battle at sea. The game is also frequently gorgeous, which makes the abundance graphical glitches and hiccups all the more painful.
This game is
littered overcrowded disgustingly obese with side missions, side quests, side hunting, side trading, side chatting, etc. etc. It's all way too much, and I barely touched any of it. The few attempts I made to dig in either overwhelmed me (trading system) or seemed completely pointless (fighting for Templar territory, treasure hunting). Even monetary awards seemed futile, as I was easily able to hack my way through any enemy in the game with the default (and awesome) hatchet. This is the first Assassin's Creed I didn't even bother to reach all viewpoints, because who gives a shit? The one thing that did intrigue me was being able to build up your homestead, but the first side mission I attempted in this vein bugged out on me, leaving me unable to complete it. That made my decision to abandon those ambitions that much easier.
This is nothing new to this series, but I could not have cared less about Connor and, eventually, Desmond's story. I was admittedly excited and intrigued by the opening of the game and the potential to see Connor develop while witnessing his sure-to-be silly role in America's Revolutionary War, but it quickly faded into dumb missions, unclear motivations and generic character work. This leads to a few moments near the end of the game that should have had substantial emotional impact but instead fell completely flat. And honestly, I don't even know what to say about Desmond's story. I don't understand most of it, and where it leaves Desmond and his team of people (whose names I can't remember) is incredibly weak.