Assassin’s Creed has been around for a very long time, the first game releasing all the way back in 2007, it became such a pillar among gaming that we eventually got 1 release a year. However, with declining ideas and designs apparently, it was time to make like the Animus and look into the past, with a remaster of Assassin’s Creed 3 which originally released in 2012. With updated graphics and gameplay, is this remaster worth a purchase or should it just have been left in our past?
AC3 follows the story of Haytham Kenway and Connor, the father-son intertwining story of assassins and Templars. Starting off with Haytham we see a bit of the past, until jumping forward into Connor’s early 20s as he chases after his father. Alongside trying to patch up the family, Connor has to work with the invading armies as people take over his native land, working alongside the colonies as the war between England and France rages on.
Following the story of the modern time Desmond, AC3 is the climax of the strange trilogy as he works alongside assassins to prevent the end of the world. Going in and out of the Animus has become a staple part of AC gameplay, though with AC3 we see a bit more action with Desmond as the bleeding effect has allowed him to train as an assassin in a very short amount of time. Working to stop Templars both in the present time and in the past to uncover plots, mysteries, and locations that the First Civilisation left behind.
Playing through the main story of AC3 will take you around 15 hours, with a complete run garnering times of over 50 hours long. There is plenty to obtain throughout the game, from equipment and collectables to several side-quests. The remaster also comes packaged with the DLC: The Tyranny of King Washington, Benedict Arnold missions, and Hidden Secrets Pack. Besides the DLC, the remaster also includes the Liberation game which is also remastered.
Playing through Liberation will net you another 8 or so hours for the pure story and up to 20 or so hours for a complete run.
If you have only played the newer AC games then 3 could be quite a jump for you, as it was a much different time back then for assassins. There are no levels or people who cannot be assassinated, instead, if you are in stealth you can pretty much kill everyone as long as you are not in a forced encounter. Focusing more on stealth than gear, AC3 rewarded careful planning as well as slow movement to take out areas without anyone noticing.
You will have 4 pieces of gear equipped at a time, generally your hidden blade, a ranged weapon, a long-blade and another piece of gear. These can be changed out for different pieces of equipment, which are bought at shops or gained through missions. With the earlier AC games, you didn’t need high-end gear though, as most lower tier enemies can be parried and once you get a kill you can get a chain going if you move towards another foe after killing to then attack into another finisher.
Connor and Haytham can stealth kill from hay bales, from the corners of buildings or atop the roofs, killing foes who have not spotted them. The double-assassination is also easier to pull off than in the original, which kills 2 foes if they are in close proximity. The double-assassination still fails to occur at points, but far less than in the original.
After making headway into the game you will travel across several locations known as the Frontier, Boston and New York City. You will also come under the command of a ship called the Aquila with one of the first forays into sea travel in the series. Combined with the new travel system the weather system also got an improvement, adding in rain, fog and snow, changing both the environment and gameplay with snow slowing you down in deeper patches.
Later on, you will also be forming your own base and brotherhood, increasing the amount of crafting, money and help you can acquire. The brotherhood systems have improved since the game of the same name and could possibly be a new mechanic for those who have only played Odyssey, while the crafting and trading can be found in later entries, but for this game, it is mostly for money.
The improvements made to AC3 are very hit and miss, basically applying a filter to a lot of textures, increasing texture size, adding in more fog and changing up the lighting settings. While buildings, mostly roofs, see a big improvement the changes made to character faces is arguably worse. Plenty of wrinkles are gone, details are lost, almost turning to play-dough and the lighting even affects their skin colour. There are bigger crowds but in exchange, it seems some foliage has gone missing. Being such a give and take update to graphics it will be up in the air if you approve of them.
While the game saw a graphical “upgrade” alongside tweaks to stealth gameplay, the bugs and glitches seemingly saw no such upkeep. Characters still fall through the world, move through walls, run in circles due to AI bugs, NPCs will talk to dead ones and even complete game crashes. Long fans of the series may have become accustomed to the way AC plays, but if you’re coming to this fresh you may be surprised by the sheer amount of glitches that occur around each corner.
AC3 Liberation saw a similar update, with textures being updated as well as the lighting seeing a changeup. Sadly it does suffer from the same issues as AC3, but it is nice that it was included into the purchase of AC3.
Then we have the launch of the game on the Nintendo Switch, where you get to play the game anywhere at any time. The in-game graphics and FPS are nowhere near as good as you would get on the PS4, Xbox One or on PC, but the core gameplay, voice acting, and all the content are here. It is also the first Assassins Creed game to launch outside of Japan on the Nintendo Switch, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was a cloud version. The game played well, looked ok and to be honest, switch gamers just wanted an Assassins Creed on their platform and Ubisoft delivered, here’s hoping for Black Flag and all the rest to make there way to the platform at some point.
Overall, Assassin’s Creed 3 remastered gets a 7/10, while the gameplay and graphics are still way outdated it will appeal to those who originally played it. The countless bugs pull it back constantly alongside gameplay that can break at any point due to them. As one of the last games that allowed true stealth action, this could be a much-needed purchase, but if outdated design puts you off you may find the newer releases better suited to your tastes.