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Verhille: Assassin's Creed 3 from the eyes of a seasoned fan

BY DAN VERHILLE | NOVEMBER 01, 2012 6:30 AM

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Among the many changes made from the past game to Assassin’s Creed 3, perhaps the most entertaining is the ability to pet the domestic wildlife wandering through the American Colonies.

I’m not sure why, but when gamers are given a sword and placed in a city littered with pigs and goats, the natural impulse is to give an annoying swine a swipe or two with your steel. It’s not a sadistic impulse, it’s closer to, “I wonder if I could eat this this oinking road block.”

Where the stab button used to be, Ubisoft instead added a humorously gentle action which allows players to bend over and pet or feed whatever friendly critter you intended slice up.

This means that as long as you don’t kill civilians or livestock, you’re free to massacre guards and pick their pockets as you please. It’s an odd distinction to make, but if you find yourself wanting to go hunting Oregon Trail style, don’t worry — you have to make your way out of the city first.

The frontier area of the American Colonies allows players to hunt deer, rabbits, raccoons, bears, wolves, bobcats, cougars, and more. In this aspect, it plays very similar to Red Dead Redemption, but Assassin’s Creed 3 allows you to take down the beasts however you choose, with bare hands, bow and arrows, guns, snares, tomahawks, or swords.

There’s no kill quite as satisfying as sneaking through the trees and crushing Bambi’s dad simply by jumping on his back. It seems a little unnecessary, but traders pay loads more for a bear hide that’s only been damaged by a knife rather than made porous with musket shot.

Personally, I felt a responsibility to go after all of the biggest game animals before I started my assassination missions. I wanted to feel like I lost some of my greenness out in the frontier battling bears, cougars, and wolves before I took the life of one of those Templar Redcoats.

It’s too soon since the release to talk about resolution, but if you haven’t gotten your hands on a copy of Ubisoft’s masterpiece, for better or for worse, here’s what to expect.

Beautiful Graphics

From your storm-ridden voyage across the Atlantic to scaling churches for a panoramic view of Boston to your Mohawk village on the frontier, Assassin’s Creed 3 is visually stunning. Often times it looks like a movie, especially when out on the realistically textured water of the open sea.

To Do Lists

Compared with past games, the diversity of available missions is greatly expanded. Go hunting, gather materials, recruit craftsmen for your town, sail your ship, and go toe-to-toe with the greatest naval force in the world, and how could I forget, build your Assassin’s guild. You’re only going to get bored if you try to finish one type at a time.

Rewarding Game-Play Engine

As they always have, the engines of Assassin’s Creed games take some time to get accustomed to, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be taking down hordes of redcoats with kill animations that will amaze and astound you. Any chunkiness experienced in combat is due to player error, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t start off killing two redcoats with one bayonet.

A Slow Start

The pacing of the game at the beginning is abysmal. You’re forced to walk beside your allies as you have a conversation with them that you can’t control. You also can’t skip some of these segments, which literally only allow you to walk. You’ll also spend your first few hours of the game improving a character you won’t play for long, so be patient — I can’t stress this enough.

The White Flash

Between even the smallest cut scenes and actions, Ubisoft chose to use a blinding white flash as a connector. If it only happened once an hour, that would be one thing, but you’re pretty much being constantly flashed (and not the good kind), which forces me to wonder if Ubisoft was trying to send me into epileptic shock.


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