Right up front – I’ve enjoyed playing Assassin’s Creed III, and have been a fan of the series since the
That said, expectations seem to have reached a critical mass of variance around this title, and while some reviews are suitably glowing, others are a touch less kind, to put it mildly.
There are a few things about the game which, for one reason or another, really annoy me, and I think I’ve nailed what that is.
For a game this large, this highly anticipated (by myself in particular as well as everyone else), I don’t
expect much to be rough around the edges. I could forgive it in Revelations since it wasn’t a true
sequel, but with so much hinging on the third numerical sequel in the franchise being a success,
Ubisoft shouldn’t be taking any chances.
Thus, I submit to you a shortlist of some of the things which I feel a game as prominent and massive as AC3 should’ve been able to handle better. Minor gripes though they may be, I feel it’s important to hold the greatest pinnacles of gaming at any given moment to the highest possible standard.
Absence of tree leaves brushing subtly away as you walk past
Considering the nuance and detail in almost every corner of an AC game, this little ‘pull-you-out-of-the-moment’ moment really should be a thing of the past.
Load, cut-scene, load
The cut-scenes are run using in-game assets (although likely bolstered in resolution as they load a slightly more detailed character model), so why are we still being treated to lengthy load screens both before AND after cut scenes? With games increasingly being able to do away with load screens after an initial prompt altogether, it seems that a pioneer like AC ought to be able to be on par…
AT THE LEAST the cut scenes it does happen to generate should be a little less arbitrary. The motivations of the lead characters is great, and the banter between Connor and his anti-hero partner-in-crime (I’m being deliberately vague to avoid spoilers here), but when a cut-scene is comprised of one or two lines of genuine drama which are then cut short in an unrealistically sudden fashion so the next ‘You need to do this’ command can be shoe-horned in, it just pulls you right out of the moment.
Lacklustre attention to detail in audio
Okay, so when I’m in the middle of a huge crowd who are all yelling and screaming in the middle of a severe downpour, call me old-fashioned, but I sometimes need to yell to make myself heard. Lines of dialogue being delivered with massive amounts of background noise shouldn’t still sound like they were recorded in a tiny room with just two people talking! This generation has many examples of this kind of thing being stamped out -- AC is meant to be leading the way in this department.
Dialogue during acrobatics
Again, speaking as though you’re sitting in a quiet chair in a small room is made even more silly when you’re in the middle of a sword-fight or leaping from rooftop to rooftop.
Mission completion having arbitrary checkpoints
In one stealth mission where I had to eavesdrop on a couple who were walking through an enemy camp in order to hear their secret plan, I messed it up by running into a guard and being spotted. Upon re-playing the mission, I found that, had I managed to move ONE STEP further, the cut-scene would commence where Connor breaks his silence and breaks into battle. From the moment the secret plan has been revealed, the mission fail-state should no longer include stealth. Needless repetition is a bugbear of many an open-world game.
The score is as always booming in AC3, but with Red Dead Redemption, Dishonored and many more this generation using restraint and silence to enhance a scene’s mood, it’s somewhat routine the way AC uniformly makes the music rise during action and fall during exploration. Repetition kills immersion, and the score for a game is no exception. Any time you know you’re under attack because the music tells you so and it doesn’t feel natural, the music ceases to add to the game’s aesthetic and becomes a gameplay device, robbing it of its impact.
Related: Check out our Assassin's Creed III Review
This list is presented with love. The series is one of the defining ones of this generation, and I wait with bated breath to see what Ubisoft Montreal do at the beginning of the next. I wouldn’t normally be so nit-picky and harsh with a game unless it was very close to greatness.
Assassin’s Creed is a landmark series in so many ways. It shouldn’t be mired by such pesky oversights.
By Leigh Harris