Will the real sequel to Assassin’s Creed II please stand up?
As much as I enjoyed Brotherhood (and despised Revelations), they are essentially Champion Edition and Turbo sequels. Their innovations were minimal and their overall impact to the bigger story was inconsequential. Case in point, the start of Assassin’s Creed III make virtually zero reference to Ezio’s later adventures.
Now that ACIII is here, is it the leap forward we’ve been hoping for all along?
Having logged in about 6 hours, I can at least say that the game definitely doesn’t start out the way I expected it to. Without spoiling anything, I think that their approach to establishing itself is very interesting, if slow at times. By the time it finally comes around to being the game you were expecting it to be, you’ve already 5 hours deep. Some people will scoff at how the game takes its sweet time to get to the point, but I recommend sticking with it. At the very least, series veterans will receive a major payoff around 2 hours in.
Speaking of the story, the tale its weaved so far is great. As much as I loved Ezio and Europe, starting anew in the new world was the best thing to happen for the series. Grounding this tale around the era of the American Revolution – a period in history that I’m a bit more familiar with than The Renaissance – helps me appreciate how the game intertwines its tale with real historical events. Though the tale could be told a bit faster, the tale itself is the most engaging so far since ACII. I’m really excited to see where things go from the point I’m currently at.
One other initial note I wanted to throw out there was that the game is extremely ambitious. From choosing a setting that video games almost never visit, to all of the little details in place to further immerse yourself into its world, it’s hard to not applaud it for pushing the boundaries of what video games can be. With that said, it’s clear that the game is pushing the XBOX 360 beyond its limits. Parts of this game look great, while others look kind of sloppy. More problematic is the bonehead AI, where its ‘game-like’ behaviour can really take you out of the moment. For instance, when you’re randomly fighting a group of guards and you kill them all, oftentimes you’re free to carry on your way like nothing happened. No one is going to call for more additional guards after I killed a dozen of them and am currently in the process of looting their corpses? There are all sorts of weird instances where no one in real life would act like they do, but because the logic isn’t there, the expected behaviour isn’t there. The fundamental disconnect here is that there are so many things that the game does to strive for realism, that it inherently amplifies everything that isn’t.
With that said, as an Assassin’s Creed experience, I’m really liking it so far. Though it starts slow, the story is really interesting and these early parts were fun enough. I hoping that now I’m in the thick of it, it’ll only get better from here. Come back later on for my full review!