Give me liberty or give me death.
To say Assassin's Creed III isn't good is an unfair assessment. Truth be told, the game is amazing give or take its flaws. Veterans will want to dominate the game by building up trading posts, exploring underground tunnels and liberating cities and forts. Newbies might speed run through it.
Whatever you do, Assassin's Creed III ensures a satisfying experience. Though Desmond seems to have an ape-face in this new installment, the improved graphics make Assassin's Creed the paragon of what next gen is all about. The sun glistens off of the water, Connor's robes billow gracefully behind him as he runs and the blood of his adversaries stains his robes.
How can you go wrong with such a beautiful game?
Even the star assassin Connor Kenway seems like a promising addition. The only problem is that I've heard cinderblocks with more emotion than his voice actor. My friend tells me that Native Americans aren't that expressive, and that's too bad -- everyone else in the game is. Sometimes Connor's amateur voice acting will make cutscenes feel like rehearsals.
Still, the story is riveting if you've followed the game or take an interest in colonial history. You'll get to be a part of the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere's night ride and even the infamous Boston Massacre. The historically accurate depictions of each character are hardly marred by the annoying self-righteousness of Connor's character.
The entries featured in the last game also make their return. Yes, the ones you probably didn't read. If you ever do read them, they can effectively bore you to sleep, and some of them are laden with typos and have little to do with Connor's adventures. They will occasionally tell you about the viewpoints you're climbing, despite the fact that viewpoints have lost at least 20% of their purpose.
Now there are blank parts of the map that you run around to "discover." A slew of confused gamers have taken to forums with questions like 'wtf where is the next liberation mission' because AC never bothered to clearly tell you that there were parts of the map you had to explore manually to unlock.
Which is stupid.
Part of the problem with AC 3 is that it never bothers to tell you much of anything. All of the side missions are interchangeable as you move through sequences, so if you wanted to focus on getting Connor's robes by exclusively running story missions then you probably missed a thing or two. I personally didn't feel that Connor was ready to dismantle an entire fort at the age of 12...
But it lingered on my map annoyingly enough, so Connor might as well have thrown a hatchet out of his mother's womb and scored his first kill on the doctor because his sudden ability to take out droves of British soldiers at this point seemed almost innate.
However annoying at times, fort and liberation missions were a great thing to bring back to the game. With liberation missions in particular, you will find yourself slaughtering British guards to protect the oppressed American people in different ways. These missions will earn you set Assassin recruits (you don't recruit random citizens you save anymore), some of whom tie into the story from earlier in the game.
The problem is that some of the liberation icons hover on the map and the player mindlessly runs through them trying to find out what Connor has to do. The animus must need maintenance or something because there is nothing there...and sometimes it just stays that way. Other times people say it's just an interactive conversation that appears later in the game, but either way it's annoying when a blank icon hovers without any clear purpose.
Forts are glitchy as well. For whatever reason, the guards are suddenly hyper-vigilant and manage to detect you if you so much as flash by their peripheral. There is a glitch where if you get spotted and hide then you'll never be fully hidden, so every time you leave your hiding spot guards automatically know exactly where you are again.
Other times you'll be out of view and they'll be firing their muskets exactly where you are...but somehow still not see you. Wow.
This glitch is one that pervades through various levels in different forms. Sometimes alerting a guard provokes them to act in a manner that is completely illogical. One time I began scaling a ship and a guard saw me, so naturally I ditched it by dropping into the water. The game told me I was safe so I proceeded to re-climb the ship. Surprise surprise, the guard's I'm-alert-but-I-have-no-id ea-where-you-are icon never went away and he balanced himself perfectly on the edge of the ship.
It's good to know that I'm not the only assassin in the game.
Still, when the game plays as its supposed to things run rather smoothly. Combat can be exhilarating but hard, as the game has changed countering to the circle button so it can be combined with another face button to disarm guards, use another weapon besides the one equipped, throw guards and execute them to start chain kills. Sometimes mashing will draw out combat sequences more than it should -- another thing the game doesn't tell you.
And I don't think that knowing there's a glitch in the combat system will surprise you either. Sometimes the game will trap the player in a loop of involuntarily attacking and being countered, and the only way to break out of this glitch is to run away. Even if you do get a head start, unanswered attacks have enough reach to make it feel like you're running from Monkey D. Luffy, so don't even think about cheesing it, buddy.
Still, in spite of its flaws the game does have a lot to offer. Exploring tunnels underground, for instance, can be entertaining. Aside from the occasional frustration of feeling like a rat in a maze, it's really not that bad of an experience. The combination of opening more of the map via viewpoints and trailing through the tunnel networks makes the game immersive. You do the "research" like in the first installment and really become an assassin.
Of course it gets a little repetitive after a while, but when you make progress its actually fun to clear each tunnel. Trading posts are the same way; however, a glitch unsurprisingly spoils this feature too. Well, a rumored glitch, anyway. It's going around on forums that if you miss some side missions in sequence 5 then you don't level up your traders until the 9th sequence.
People, there are like 12 sequences in the game. You spend from 5 up doing pointless side missions that should be leveling your workers.
The money-making venture should be one where players buy ingredients and utilize recipes to mass produce different items for sale. Liberating forts and doing naval missions (yes, with your own ship) should be relevant in creating and reducing the risk of trade routes so you can make money and feel like Rockerfeller doing it, not so you can simply clear the missions.
Instead, you're an expert barrel maker who occasionally delves into lucrative side ventures like bricks, buckets and salt (which glitches get you well acquainted with). Sounds lame, right? Well, get used to it. Unless you do those apparent side missions in sequence 5, you may end up waiting until sequence 9 to start building Benjamin Franklin's wood stoves.
Hunting is another way that the player can make money. You go into the forest, hide, and either kill things with arrows (which you get back by skinning them), bullets, poison darts, hidden blades or whatever else your imagination can conjure up. This wasn't all that entertaining to me because I'm not much of a hunting guy, but I did feel like some kind of predator of the woods when descended upon deers from tree branches like the phantom of Jack Link. Take that, PETA.
When you sell all of your gains from hunting at general stores, you'll find that this can make you around 5000 pounds in a single sitting. It's a lot better than the 1000 pound trades that you make off of alcohol and barrels. Barrels do, however, make a great ingredient for producing goods that actually matter. Your hunting stock can also be used to manufacture more things to be sold off to general stores.
Naval missions are rewarding as well. You control the Aquila, which is basically one of the fastest ships on the sea. Once you get the hang of using your swivels and firing off the massive armament of cannons at the side of your ship, mastering combat on the water is like second nature.
In conclusion, Assassin's Creed 3 is a game that is going to test your patience. You will scream at your TV and chuck your controller so hard that it'll fly through an old lady's window and lodge itself in her pacemaker. This will probably happen because you try to assassinate a guy on a horse but the game is so glitchy that Connor lands on the horse and then stabs him afterward so you fail to 100% the mission you busted your ass for...
But when that doesn't happen, you'll play until the blood vessels in your eyes explode. Happy hunting assassins.
(P.S. Remember that crap about the game siding with Americans and Connor mostly killing Brits? Yeah, it's true.)