Assassin’s Creed III (2012)


The Future of Our Land Depends on Those Who Are Truly Free.

Assassin's Creed 3 (2012)I was incredibly excited to get to play this game and, truth be told, I beat the game about two months ago but was so back-logged with other reviews that it’s taken me this long to get here.  Some of you may have already seen a quickie review of this game in my end of the year recap because it took me so long to review it.  But I’ve been a big fan of the series since its inception, so the game was certainly deserving of a full review.  Plus, there’s a chance that this game is the final game in the saga, so I feel that I need to send it off properly.  This game is Assassin’s Creed 3, developed by Ubisoft Montreal, published by Ubisoft, and including the voices of Noah Watts, Nolan North, Adrian Hough, Kaniehtiio Horn, Roger Aaron Brown, John de Lancie, Neil Napier, Allen Leech, Robert Lawrenson, Robin Atkin Downes, Danny Wallace, Eliza Jane Schneider, Margaret Easley, and Nadia Verrucci.

Desmond (Nolan North) and crew – William (John de Lancie), Rebecca (Eliza Jane Schneider), and Shaun (Danny Wallace) – are still trying to access a temple with the Apple of Eden, and use it to stop the end of the world.  …I don’t get it either.  To do so, Desmond gets into a machine that sends him back into his ancestor’s memories.  First, he becomes Haytham Kenway (Adrian Hough), who then fathers Ratonhnhaké:ton (Noah Watts) – who thankfully gets called Connor – with Connor’s mother, Kaniehti:io (Kaniehtiio Horn) – who I will call Unpronounceahontas.  Connor must stop the Templars in their plots in the American Colonies while simultaneously helping the Americas gain their independence.

I really liked this game (as you may have guessed from the quickie review in the Games of 2012 review), but it was not without its share of problems, most of which will not be found in this paragraph.  The story of the game was pretty good.  I’ve always kind of taken issue with the Desmond side of the Assassin’s Creed games.  They tend to be a little on the strange side.  The guy gets into a machine to allow him to access memories stored in his DNA while talking to ancient but super-advanced aliens and save the world with an apple.  But that’s a fairly minor section of the game, and that’s how I like it.  I don’t give a shit about Desmond.  But Altaïr, Ezio, and now Connor?  Yeah, that’s the stuff.  And Connor’s part of the story holds up as well as Altaïr’s and Ezio’s, but it does take its sweet time to get started.  I wanted to get into the Connor part of the story quicker because I didn’t see much point in getting attached to Haytham when I realized that he wasn’t my guy.  There wasn’t anything wrong with it, but I was in this to be Connor.  I even really liked the scenes of Haytham and Unpronounceahontas and their burgeoning relationship, but this guy isn’t going to participate in the Boston Tea Party, witness the Boston Massacre, chauffer Paul Revere on his Midnight Ride, and watch the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Connor was!  And it was pretty cool to take part in all of those things, so I enjoyed it thoroughly when it got going.  There were a couple of minor qualms to be had with the rest of the story.  First off, the names of things.  The Mohawks seem like they had absolutely no interest in making their names easy on me while writing these reviews, and I think that’s very inconsiderate of them.  There was our main character, Ratonhnhaké:ton, his mother, Kaniehti:io, and the place they were from, Kanien’keh(‘a):ka.  Come on!  That can’t be real!  What possible use for colons, semicolons, and parenthesis would the Mohawk have?!  I guess, much like their philosophies in hunting, they felt like they must use all parts of the keyboard as they use all parts of the buffalo.  The endings were a little weak as well.  The defeat of Connor’s mortal enemy was a little anticlimactic, and I wasn’t that pleased with what happened with Desmond either.  I was happy they didn’t go with the typical ending with making the audience make a choice.  I just want to see YOUR story, not make my own.  Or, more accurately, I don’t want to have to look up the other ending on YouTube.

The controls of the game were what gave me the most trouble.  Not all of the time as it controls very similar to every other Assassin’s Creed, but I had never had so many problems with glitches in the other games.  There were times when the controls wouldn’t respond, I would run into invisible walls, icons wouldn’t show up when they were supposed to.  The worst one was when I was trying to climb a wall and I was inexplicably fired up into the air, only to come crashing down to the Earth and die.  It didn’t happen all the time, but even just a few times in such a big name title is extremely frustrating.  Otherwise, the game is exactly as you’d expect an Assassin’s Creed game to be.  And by that, I mean it’s awesome.  It’s like Dishonored if it didn’t punish you for killing bad people.  And the parkour is great, and improved for this game a little.  It’s mostly what we’ve done in the other games, but this game takes us out into the wilderness a lot more than the other games does.  And that means free-running through the trees.  It works very well most of the time, though it’s occasionally difficult to see your path clearly when trying to figure out which way to jump.  The side missions in the game were fun, but some were extremely tedious and others I just did not play the way they wanted me to.  Like the hunting stuff.  Connor was an effective, but very impatient hunter with me at the helm.  It would’ve been a fairly common sight to see Connor running through the frontier, trying to bum rush a raccoon in the brush.  And the board games were a constant annoyance for me.  I realize that the only reason I was even bothering with them was because I wanted achievements, but I found them really annoying.  One problem with playing a board game against a computer is that the computer knows how to play and what is going to happen way better than we do.  Another problem is that I don’t really want to play these things.  I don’t need the money, so I’m just forced to play the stupid things for the achievements.  And Six Man Morris is a horrible piece of shit of a game.  I want it to die.  I resent this game for making me play it.  I don’t know anyone named Morris, but I will befriend one just so I can hate him.  I had a couple minor issues with the logic of the game as well.  Like why do guards attack me because 3 orphans are pestering me?  I would understand if they were already looking for me, or if I just killed them like I always wanted to, but just because they see a guy being bothered by kids?  They should attack the kids!  Or let me!  As much as I loved the regular gameplay of Assassin’s Creed, this game kind of overshadowed it for me with the new nautical battles.  I really dug these.  It made me wish Ubisoft would take over a really cool Pirates of the Caribbean game.

The look of the game is fantastic, with next to no complaints.  The landscapes are beautiful, and the seafaring levels are brilliant.  The only thing I took issue with was minor, but annoying.  The game gives you the ability to change the color of Connor’s outfit, but does not have the ability to change his costume color in the cinematics.  I’ll be wearing some badass black and red getup just to suddenly, and jarringly, be wearing classic white because I’m chatting with Sam Adams now.  Come on, Ubisoft.  We all know this technology exists.

I never was all that interested in the multiplayer of the Assassin’s Creed games.  That lack of interest, as well as the structure of the multiplayer, has not changed much.  It’s an interesting idea, and it’s nice that it’s different from the typical first person shooter multiplayer, but it also doesn’t really keep my attention very long.  The first problem is that they take so long to explain it in the overlong tutorials for it.  They actually show you how to free run!  Does anyone buy Assassin’s Creed for the multiplayer?  In which case, how would they not already know how to free run, and probably have played the entire story mode before even bothering to give multiplayer a shot.  Then, when you get into the multiplayer, it’s not usually the game of hiding and surprising that the tutorials make it out to be.  It’s mostly just people running around in circles trying to stab each other.

The achievements in this game weren’t insurmountable, but there were still some that I was not going to bother with.  Namely, the multiplayer ones.  But I did get the rest of them.  The only ones that I found very annoying were the ones involving the board games and the damned Encyclopedia of the Common Man stuff.  That was extremely tedious.  You basically have to take a look at everyone in your homestead doing three different versions of their jobs.  They may choose not to do their jobs for about 4 or 5 days because they’d rather be fishing, and you may not be able to kill them in punishment for their inefficiency, but you will have to stand around waiting for them to do it anyway.

Assassin’s Creed 3 was a great game that was hindered by a few minor problems that just should not have been there from a company that makes such polished games usually.  But they were only temporary hindrances in a beautiful game with highly enjoyable gameplay and completely forgettable multiplayer.  I recommend buying this game.  I bought it for $35, which it is totally worth.  I’d still probably get it for $60 though.  Assassin’s Creed 3 gets “My enemy is a notion, not a nation” out of “Better the world burns, than SHE is unleashed upon it!”

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The Games of 2012


It’s hard for me to decide how long this review is going to be before I get started on it. I feel like I didn’t play as many of the new games that came out this year just because of financial restraints. On the other hand, I also started using my Gamefly subscription more to fill in the gaps that I wasn’t willing to pay full price for. I’m also a little bit worried that I won’t have enough games to complete a bottom three, just because my precious time and money could not be wasted on untested, shitty games this year. Hopefully I’ll have plenty to talk about, but there’s only one way to find out…

JANUARY

FINAL FANTASY XIII-2

I fully intended to play this game; so much so that I actually purchased it and everything. The reason I never got started was because I still haven’t beaten FF13 yet. I started playing it when it originally came out, and then started from scratch again when this game came out, determined to finish a review of it and move onto the next game in the series. I have lost interest both times before actually finishing. One day, FF13-2… One day…

FEBRUARY

THE DARKNESS 2

I actually purchased this too … and still haven’t started playing it. I’VE BEEN BUSY!!

KINGDOMS OF AMALUR: RECKONING

AHA! A game I actually beat! And it was … thoroughly mediocre. There’re a whole lot of side missions, and a whole lot of dialogue to sit through, and all of that is written by some guy that nerdier people than myself know. I, however, don’t know him and don’t care to listen through novels worth of dialogue that is not that interesting in the first place. It’s a decent enough game, but certainly not worth a full purchase … unless you find it for $10 bucks like I did.

UNCHARTED: GOLDEN ABYSS

I was very excited about this game (as I am with all the Uncharted games), but I was not nearly as excited about the Playstation Vita at first. Eventually, I bought a Vita in the Assassin’s Creed Limited Edition bundle, and this game was the only game I was really concerned about getting. How was it? …I’ll let you know. I haven’t finished Assassin’s Creed yet. I’ve been told by my roommate that it’s really good though.

MARCH

MASS EFFECT 3

I am apparently a liar. I looked briefly at the 2011 reviews and saw that I said I would definitely be playing this game. Eh… not so much. Not because of the game, but because I seemingly completely forgot it existed.

APRIL

DISGAEA 3: ABSENCE OF DETENTION

I haven’t gotten this game yet, but I desperately want it. I have an unnatural obsession with this game series.

PROTOTYPE 2

A decent enough game. It’s a little repetitive, and I never was really able to muster more than an hour at a time, but it was solid fun. It also looked pretty good, and it was pretty easy achievements. It’s worth checking out if you can find a cheap enough copy.

MAY

SNIPER ELITE V2

I was pleasantly surprised by this game. I assume my friend Phil let me borrow the game because he expected such a thing, and he was right for once in his life. The story is simplistic and the graphics aren’t always what we’ve come to expect in this generation of gaming, but the satisfaction I gained from watching one of my shots go through someone’s skull in slow motion never dulled, even when it happened over and over again.

JUNE

LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPER HEROES

It’s another Lego game! …Take that for what it is. It’s good, and definitely right up a kid’s alley, but it’s not dissimilar from every other Lego game I’ve played in the past. Just this time, it’s Batman and other DC superheroes. Basic gameplay and basic story – and I was a little bummed that they made the characters talk when they’ve been so successful making the other games tell a story in an amusing way without it thus far – but there is some stupid, silly fun to be had in this game. And easy achievements! I’m sure it will be super cheap soon enough. You can give it a go when that happens.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

My strange desire to play this game nagged at me for a long time. I had the strange desire because I’ve really liked some of the Spider-Man games in the past. It nagged at me because I wouldn’t buy it because it’s been a very long time since they’ve made one of the good ones. What did they do this time? They made another mediocre one, but one that had the free-roaming gameplay style that I wanted. Overall, I enjoyed playing the game enough because of the gameplay, but the story was really plain, and was also basically the not groundbreaking movie with more cross breeds. It’s okay, and probably worth a rental, but not much more.

SEPTEMBER

Quite a break here, right? It’s almost enough to make you think I had a life during this period. (Psst. I didn’t)

OCTOBER

JUST DANCE 4 and DANCE CENTRAL 3

If I had ever reviewed one of these games before, I would suggest that you take that review and change the music on it. Then add one to the number in the title.

ASSASSIN’S CREED III: LIBERATION

I’ve always loved Assassin’s Creed. But every handheld game (of course, I’m referring to the one other handheld one that I played) has been an utter disappointment. I have not completed this game, but it has blown my expectations for the handheld Assassin’s Creed games out of the water, while simultaneously not really being as good as any of the console games. It handles a lot like the Assassin’s Creed with the addition of the Vita’s second analog stick, but there’s not a whole lot going on in the story, and most of the missions involve changing Aveline’s costume and going to kill something. At least from what I’ve played so far, it’s not the greatest game, but it is a good game, and it’s the best Vita game I’ve played so far. It’s also the only one I’ve played so far.

NOVEMBER

CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS II

I’ve made it no secret that I’ve decided to boycott the Call of Duty games. They typically have next to nothing interesting going on in their single player campaign because they know that no one is really that interested in playing it. They tend to do a lot of good with their multiplayer, but that has bit me in the ass too. I bought the last two CoD games, and never really played Black Ops online. And I didn’t even open my copy of Modern Warfare 3. That caused me to decide to completely boycott this game. …That being said, I received the game as a Christmas present, and so I played it. The story is fairly solid, though not at all groundbreaking. They did make a few changes to the gameplay, and they all work well in favor of the game. It’s fun, though I’d say it’s a little easy for its own good. It’s also fun that they take it a bit into the future while also taking us back into the past, so we get to use some tried and true weapons and also use some futuristic weapons, some of which seem far fetched and others that seem realistic. I have not ventured into multiplayer yet, but I would say that what I’ve played of the game so far has made me not disappointed to own the game.

LEGO THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE VIDEO GAME

I haven’t played this game, but I assume you can take my review for Lego Batman 2 and exchange the word “Batman” with the word “Aragorn”.

HITMAN: ABSOLUTION

I look forward to playing this game … when I can find it for about $30.

THE WORST GAMES OF 2012

FIFTH WORST

Medal of Honor: Warfighter (2012)MEDAL OF HONOR: WARFIGHTER

When I rented this game, I wasn’t expecting much. With a name as bland as “Warfighter”, what should I expect? A mediocre game! DELIVERED! The story of the game was too long, it offered no appreciable innovations to the first person shooter genre, and the graphics were occasionally subpar. I’m sure they invested a good amount of their time into the multiplayer, but I invested none of mine into it. I just rented it to see if it was any good, then I beat it in a couple of days and sent it back, relatively unsatisfied. It’s not awful, but it’s probably only worth picking up if you can find it for about $10.

FOURTH WORST

Dishonored (2012)DISHONORED

This game disappointed me, but it also helped prove me right. People need to stop using hyperbole when talking about things with me. If you’re going to set this game up to me as mind-blowing – so much so that I’ll actually invest my monies into it – then it had damned well better be. It had better not be okay, and then just devolve into repetitively cutting throats. And the goddamned game better not try so hard to make me feel shitty for doing cutting those throats. You put it into the game! Maybe YOU’RE the bad person! Not me for realizing that the least frustrating way through a stealth game is to take the bad people out of the equation. Bad people can’t be bad anymore when their blood is no longer in their body.

THIRD WORST

TWISTED METAL

A pretty disappointing game that I probably shouldn’t have bothered expecting anything out of in the first place. This game was my own mistake because I put it on a Twisted Metal (2012)list for my birthday and it was gifted to me by my sister. I should have probably known better. My sister doesn’t game, so she wouldn’t know better. The game did remind me of a simpler time when all a game really needed was some goofy cars and explosions, but the problems of the game became more and more annoying over time. There were some frustratingly difficult parts in the game, and the game has no interest in telling you how to play it. And, to top that all off, you can probably knock it out in a few hours and then have no reason to play it. It has multiplayer, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. It had Twisted Metal Black to download along with the game, but that only really served to remind me that lots of games don’t age well. I can see some potential for this game to be entertaining when split-screened with your friends, but that does not justify its price.

RUNNER UP

Kinect Star Wars (2012)KINECT STAR WARS

I never got around to finishing this game, but I did play a good deal of it. I only bought the game because there was no other way to purchase the special edition R2D2 Xbox 360 without getting this game to come along with it. I even tried to trade in the game after I purchased the console, but the game wasn’t in Best Buy’s systems yet. So I decided to play it instead. The regular gameplay was fine enough, but a little repetitive. I did feel like I actually had full access to all of my midichlorians though. So what was the problem? This game shit all over my childhood! You seriously gonna have Han Solo dance in the carbonite chamber before he gets frozen? To a poorly parodied version of “I’m Riding Solo?” Fuck that shit! Those were not good times for old Han.

THE LOSER

SSX (2012)SSX

Oh that’s right, I DID want to kick a game in the nuts this year. That game was SSX. I only played this game because I remembered playing it when I was younger and really liking the simple fun of the series. I played this game and found that fun did not hold up anymore. There was no story and I got extremely bored of the gameplay in about a half hour since it was the same thing over and over, and that one thing was not even very fun. The game looks okay, but really has nothing else going for it.

THE BEST GAMES OF 2012

HONORABLE MENTION

The only game that almost made my top five for this year was Sniper Elite V2. It was a pretty fun game and surpassed any expectations I could’ve had for a game that I had never heard of that came out completely under my radar.

FIFTH BEST

Max Payne 3 (2012)MAX PAYNE 3

I had been a fan of the Max Payne series since its beginning, and I still enjoyed Max Payne 3, but it was a bit of a trudge in more than one part. Mainly, Max himself. Such a whiny bitch for someone that is killing hordes of his enemies like he was the Armageddon the Mayans were talking about. The story was good, but the dialogue suffered from Max Payne’s inescapable moroseness. So morose was he that it actually took away from my enjoyment of the extremely quality gameplay. I knew I would love that much, with all the jumping through windows and firing in slow motion. I just could’ve enjoyed it much more if Max would just shut the fuck up.

FOURTH BEST

Halo 4 (2012)HALO 4

I give this game extra credit for blowing my expectations for it out of the water. This was the first time the fate of Master Chief had been left in non-Bungie hands, and 343 tore it up. I’ve only played the campaign thus far, but I thought the story was really good, and even had a surprising bit of emotion to it near the end. Before that, it’s not much more than going from computer terminal to computer terminal, and I could resent that because it’s a version of my life with more guns and aliens. But the game looks GORGEOUS. Best looking Halo game so far by leaps and bounds. I bet the multiplayer is even good. Maybe I’ll give it a go.

THIRD BEST

Assassin's Creed 3 (2012)ASSASSIN’S CREED III

I’ve always loved Assassin’s Creed. Every console game thus far has been right up my alley. This one was as well … with a few notations. I loved the story and felt that it came a lot closer to home (as it physically came closer to home) by actually happening during a time period I would actually have any knowledge of. And I’ve always liked the way the Assassin’s Creed games play. Running over rooftops and stabbing necks with wrist blades is always good times. It’s like Dishonored if Dishonored didn’t punish you for playing the game the way it was designed. What did kind of punish me was how many glitches I encountered in the game. I ran into invisible walls, jumped onto walls instead of running in the direction I was trying to tell Connor to go, and on one occasion something in the game fired me up into the air, sending me crashing to my death. Still, the game was awesome when these things were not hindering my enjoyment.

RUNNER UP

Far Cry 3 (2012)FAR CRY 3

This was probably my most anticipated game of the holiday season, and it did not disappoint. All the Far Cry games are graphically fantastic, and this one held up its end of that. And you can also expect the landscapes in Far Cry to be huge, lush, colorful landscapes with tons of things to explore. The stories of the Far Cry games are typically unimpressive, but I actually liked the story of this game … mainly because there was one. And it was good too. I especially liked any parts of the story involving Vaas. My roommate did good by getting this game for me for Christmas.

THE WINNER

Borderlands 2 (2012)BORDERLANDS 2

When it came to the best game of this year, there were a few games it could be, but only one game it’s gots to be. I have already beaten this game as well as all the available DLC for it so far, and I’ve also played a good amount of time with all 5 character types available to me, but I still haven’t produced a review for the game because it’s so good that I have not yet decided that I’m over it. It is so good! The story is as fun as I’ve come to expect from my time with the first game, but they also actually put a few surprises and a few emotionally impactful moments. And on top of that, it’s an excellent first person shooter with RPG elements, and that is pretty much my two favorite game genres. This game is awesome. You need to buy it.

These are my opinions, but I would love to hear yours. Just like with the movies of 2012, I would love for you guys to leave me a comment telling me what your top and bottom 5 video games of 2012 were.

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people. Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense. Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated. You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter. Don’t forget to leave me some comments. Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.