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Assassin’s Creed 3 Wii U Review

Stealthily navigating your way through a group of people as nimble as a cat; waiting for the perfect time to strike.  You move with the speed of a cobra, sinking your blade into your victim in seconds, and then quickly blend back into the crowd.  It’s over as quickly as it started, but wait! You’ve been spotted! The enemy is giving chase, you’re running, leaping, swinging–you make like boss and dive from a cliff into the frigid river below. You’ve escaped. You try to come up for air, but then you realize you can’t move… because you’re stuck on the inside of a giant boulder.

With Assassin’s Creed 3, the team at Ubisoft seemed have had time to upgrade the technical aspects of their franchise, but the game is still plagued with the same bugs we’ve seen since 2007.

The series is finally coming to a close and the game sports a brand new “next gen” engine built from the ground up, but will Assassin’s Creed 3 have what it takes to blow away its predecessors and end on a high note?  Or will its beauty and complexity overshadow the series’ engaging storyline and be viewed more as a technical marvel than a proper sequel?

Singleplayer

Assassin’s Creed 3 is the fifth installment in the series, but the last in the trilogy. Set in North America during the 1700’s, the ongoing battle between the Assassins and the Templars has reached the Revolutionary War. Like the previous titles, Assassin’s Creed 3 jumps between playable characters with present day Desmond Miles and with the help of the Animus, an ancestor involved with the Assassin’s Order hundreds of years earlier. You take control of Connor Kenway -a half Native American, half English man that is pulled into the Assassin’s Order after his village was attacked by the Templars. You play as Connor through most of his life, although the game does take a while to get going before you finally become worthy enough to wear the assassin’s clothing.

Over the coarse of the game you will meet many historical figures and also travel to different cities such as New York and Boston.  The story missions are very similar to the previous titles, but there are loads of side quests and other miscellaneous things to do to that are just as fulfilling. Like Brotherhood and Revelations, you can recruit new assassins and train them through side missions.  Other side missions like trading, hunting, upgrading your homestead,  and battles aboard a ship at sea are optional, but they serve to create a more robust experience for the player.

Assassin’s Creed 3 offers a plethora of things to do aside form the main story; some of which complicate the gameplay with oddly placed missions that feel random and clumsy.  For instance, after engaging in some aggressive combat and escaping an army of soldiers by the skin of your teeth, you are forced to buy construction supplies in order to upgrade your homestead. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I like to do after cheating death in a harrowing escape is fix the shed.  Some may find most of the side quests unnecessary–which for the most part they are–but without them you would be left with a much shorter game play experience.

Gameplay/Graphics

Connor brings a tomahawk to a gunfight as well as a gun.

The Assassin’s Creed series has always been known for its incredibly vast and architecturally impressive cityscapes; from crucifix’s at the tops of a cathedrals to the cobblestone streets below, Ubisoft’s attention to detail is second to none.  Assassin’s Creed 3, from a technical standpoint, blows every other game in the series out of the water. It’s simply a gorgeous game. Straying away from the verticality as the previous Assassin’s Creed’s, prepare to be on ground level for most of this game. Scaling buildings is still a large part of the gameplay, but for one third of the story you’ll be traversing the massive frontier and substituting maple trees for cathedrals.

The games engine is brand new and is a major upgrade from the previous editions in the series. For example, as years progress in the story the seasons change as well.  Whole forests lay buried in snow, green grass blooms in the spring, trees shed their leaves in fall, and the dynamic weather patterns brings bouts of fog rolling in after a light rain. All of these elements combine to make Assassin’s Creed 3 one of the most beautiful games of this generation.

Combat has seen an upgrade as well, with the mechanics much more smoothly integrated and some new animations as well.  It’s still the same basic fight system–block, parry, dodge, and attack–but it feels much more polished and brutal.  Connor definitely doesn’t hold back when he is engaged in battle–with takedowns deadlier than ever and armed with a tomahawk–Ubisoft certainly pulled no punches when making their protagonist a force to be reckoned with.

Even though the game is pretty to look at, it is not without some annoyances.  The most serious problem with the game is the number of bugs and glitches. With texture pop-ins, floating townspeople, troublesome AI, and terrain glitches that could make you need to restart, frustration is sure to find you at one point or another. Even though the Wii U version of the game is a post, they can also be found on the PS3 and Xbox versions as well.  Suffice it to say that these issues are a part of the games engine and are not specific to the Wii U console itself.

With that said, none of these issues are game breaking, but it does pull away from the immersion quite a bit, especially for a game that focuses mostly on the narrative. Call me crazy, but it’s difficult for me to feel any emotion toward a character when they are pulling a Harry Houdini and are disappearing and reappearing on screen like a phantom every 3 seconds. Also, stealth elements seemed to have been less of a focus in the gameplay. Prepare to be spotted quite often even while doing your best to sneak about the world.  And forget about rooftops, it’s as if the Redcoats were avid bird watchers and posted themselves on top of every other building you see.

Multiplayer

One thing that the Assassin’s Creed series has done consistently well, it’s the multiplayer.  It’s much the same as the multiplayer in the past two editions with a few new game modes. The highlight of Assassin’s Creed 3 multiplayer in the new Wolfpack mode, where players are forced to work together to defeat their enemies.  The co-op element is a breath of fresh air as players no longer have to contend with skilled real players in deathmatch type modes and can simply jump into a game and just have fun. You will, however, be hard pressed to find a good match because the Wii U online community isn’t very populated.

There is still the ugly online pass that goes with multiplayer, but it seems everyone is doing that these days. Regardless, the game allows you to play the multiplyer up to a certain level before having to activate anything.

Assassin’s Creed on the Gamepad

The experience of playing Assassin’s Creed 3 on the Gamepad was underwhelming to say the least.  While it’s great to be able to play the entire game from the Gamepad, you give up some resolution as the picture quality is slightly blurry – a  big difference from the other Wii U ports like Black ops 2 or Arkham City, which maintain a relatively sharp picture overall.  On the other end, the entire screen can be used as your map; this can prove helpful because the size of the map is much larger and you can see objectives and enemies more clearly.  Other than being able to call your horse via the touchscreen, the Gamepad offers little difference to the PS3 or Xbox 360 versions.  The Wii U’s Gamepad functionality was clearly an afterthought for Ubisoft, which is strange considering Assassin’s Creed 3 was a highly anticipated launch title for the system.

Conclusion

Assassin’s Creed 3 is the biggest game of the series yet and it sure is pretty to look at.  The team at Ubisoft’s have outdone themselves and have crafted a beautiful and massive open world for us to play in.  Sure, gameplay may have a few technical issues and the story does get a bit convoluted and messy at times, but the overall delivery is better than it is worse. While fans of the series may feel as if the game is overstuffed and too big of a departure from the previous titles, it is jammed packed with a plethora of extra content. If you can get past the long introduction, Assassin’s Creed 3 is a tough one to pass up.

The Good

  • The game looks gorgeous
  • Massive open-world with lots of things to do
  • Combat is smooth and more brutal than ever

The Bad

  • Graphic and performance issues are abundant
  • The Gamepad adds little to the experience
  • Multiplayer servers are empty

Final Score: 8/10

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  • AJ Ariyathas

    I Love Assassins Creed 3! Off Topic But Sign this petition for GTA V
    http://www.change(dot)org/petitions/grand-theft-auto-v-for-wii-u

    • Nintendofreak

      still with dat

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/4J45XVICUKOYXRVUXIJXDSHJFQ AceJ

      its not going to work.

      • Gearchin

         It doesnt hurt to try, why are we so down, in the gamer side of things? We as gamers should have our voice heard, but do we have to be entitled to everything?, nope but it doesnt hurt to try.

    • Arthur Jarret

       Highly unlikely a petition with a text like:

      There was a Grand Theft Auto-Chinatown Wars Game for the DS. The DS
      Graphic Quality was not good for GTA and ruined it. it would of sold
      better on the 3DS

      is going to be taken seriously.

      Who wrote this? Extremely poor grammar and stating they should have released a previous game on a platform that was not on the market yet at that time…

      I’d rather sign a petition that comes across as lucid and makes a valid point. This one seems to make the point: “We refused to buy Chinatown wars for invalid reasons, but we will buy this one… we promise…!”

      Epic fail.

  • Marco Hrnjez

    The Wii U has a sufficient enough number of people playing, the problem lies with the actual servers. 

  • uPadWatcher

    Excellent review, Kori.  I’m thinking about getting Assassin’s Creed III for the U one of these days.  I believe there will be more games to come in the next two seasons.  Keep it up!

    • Mario

      Good idea

  • Nintedward

    I Enjoyed AC3 for my Wiiu. And thought it looked great on the gamepad! The gamepad is not HD. But that’s the sacrifice you make for playing away from TV. It does have a high PPI though and looks sharp and awesome.

    I would also give the game an 8/10. It’s a technically amazing , masive game that falls at a few key hurdles.

    • Mario

      I’m pretty sure the gamepad is HD becuase, compared with my TV, the graphics are better.

      • DemonRoach

        the gamepad is enhanced definition (standard definition in widescreen).

        • Mario

          That’s Hd right?

          • DemonRoach

            No, its 480p in widescreen.  

  • Carlos Rodríguez Núñez

    a little late but it’s a fine review

  • fireheartis1

    Dude for real every time I try to get online for a match I have to wait 30 min to finally find one.  More people need to get this amazing game to play online so others don’t have to wait so long.  Plus the graphic and technical issuse are across the board on every platform.  It’s something Ubisoft needed to fix way before they released the game for sure, however, this is one of my favorite games and I play it all the time.

    • Mario

      You’re right

  • Mario

    I think it’s a great game! And as for the online community, we just need to convince people that the WiiU version of AC3 is the best! Better than the one on PS3 and Xbox360!

  • RattleGore

    Same same as other versions.. graphic glitches and all.. These games coming to Wii U now, i think don’t help with sales as per say but they help shed the light that software is being ported over.. Same will happen to other system come launch.. PORTS galore

  • Mario

    Also I heard commentaries about a possible sequel for the AC trilogy. Think about it, Desmond’s father William is also a descendant of Connor and other assassins. So why can’t he hop on the Animus as well? Also, some people said that the sequel would take place in Brazil. So what do you guys think?

  • dimmer77

    Yup, there do seem to be a lot of games available but it just won’t connect to them. Seems to be a server/matchmaking issue. Single player mode is great, multiplayer is great when it will connect but the matchmaking issues have been a huge disappointment.

  • azac13

    Wait what online pass I got mine new it did not come with a pass

    • azac13

      I have been playing multiplayer fine since launch just looked it up apparently no launch games on Wii U required an online pass.

  • Arthur Jarret

    Wii U gamepad makes this the best version ever, but the reason for it is not even mentioned in this article: Go to options, go to HUD options, turn ON gamepad-enhanced.

    All the ugly HUD items cluttering the screen? Gone! Much more immersive. Need to know how much bullets you have left? A quick look at the gamepad and you can keep enjoying your cinematic game (with some pop-up and bugs – which strangely, do not occur at all during any naval battles – which seem to have a larger field of vision as well…)

  • john madsen

    see the issue with assassins creed is this if they created a multi online universe where games on ps3 and xbox 360 and wii u could all play together people would be playing this online i found that i have to agree the game pad really didn’t add jack to this title and worse even if you can find a server and someone to play against have fun staying connected to the server when the server goes down for maintenance so its not doing well at all this also had to do with the fact that ubi soft has now created enemy’s out of it’s customers buy not releasing titles that where suppose to be for the wii u and i am not just talking rayman ubi soft just wants money they really dont care about you and there lack of importance of releasing dlc on the wii u shows that 3 months to release dlc talk about lazy 

  • MattyFat

    Hi guys and gals, quick question off topic. could anyone explain to me why this site no longer allows me to view the text of the articles, only the comment and adverts? I use a iPhone 4 and as far as I can remember I’ve never had a problem. Only recently signed up.

  • MattyFat

    Hi guys and gals, I think I solved my problem but I don’t understand why it worked. I simply signed out. I must automatically sign in.
    So far AC3 has got the least play time of any of my games on the Wii U. Going to give it one more shot and see if it improves or else I’ll trade it in. I know it’s meant to be epic in scope but, I don’t know what it is about this one. Nothings gabbed me. Maybe I’m all AC’d out.

  • InterTreble

    Assassin’s Creed on Wii U is the best version available. Even if not perfectly exploited, the GamePad ALWAYS offers something more than other consoles. It’s a matter of fact. The user experience and the entertainment is however unique. If you claim for maximum performance or graphics, PC will always be the best choice. But talking about consoles, Wii U has and will always have this plus. With AC3 (great game) and with any other.

  • ElladanCZ

    If nintendo would bother to make available nintendo network in my country perhaps the servers wouldnt be so empty.

  • Michael Jurado

    american revolution … wow so basically you have no ideas for a video game >.> yeah ummm i’ll just read a book thank you very much

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VXZFE27PTNDUAGWKIWYNAKZMAA yahoo-VXZFE27PTNDUAGWKIWYNAKZMAA

    i love AC3 on the wii u the game is awesome .. even my 11 year old kid already finished the game  .. i like a lot playing on lin e.. i dont know if anybody else is having the same problem to connect ono line . that the game searches for sessions but does not find anything .. it is so FRUSTRATING to spend 20 mins searching and not been able to play .. if anybody has a sugestion to coorect this i will love to hear it