So what's it about? In short, you play as Connor. A Brittish/Native American assassin who's "mission" is to free his people from harm and the risk of being sold as slaves to the "white" people.
The game begins with an intro to what's really going on and how Connor came to the world, and also how he came to become the man he is later on in the game. You start off as Haytham. A Brittish man who travels to America to find a certain cave, which was supposed to hold the answers to his questions. During the first few sequences as Haytham you discover the reason behind the plot of the game and also the one's behind it all. You recruit more people to your cause and your part as Haytham ends when Connor is born.
Connor's story however begins with him being a child playing around with his friends, until a man interrupts the fun and tells Connor to lead him to his village. Connor refuses and "shit's going down", so to speak. Shortly after, Connor's mother dies in a fire and he's building a grudge against the man he met when he was a kid. 9 Years, to be exact, after his mother dies his training starts thanks to a vision, and a man by the name of Achilles, and the game goes on from there.
During this, you also play as Desmond, of course. His mission in this game, however, differs from the earlier ones. Sure he's the "animus-boy" but he's also supposed to find the answer to the end of the world. Can they prevent it? If so how? Is there a reason? Who are all these golden women Ezio met in earlier titles? All will be answered, once you find a key of sorts. And that's where Connor and Haytham comes in..
What I Like
I'm a huge AC fan and has always been since I first played the very first one, where Altaïr was the protagonist. So all in all there's a lot to like, since they haven't really removed anything from the first game. However, they have added a HUGE amount of new content and mechanics to this game. First of.. Naval battle. Come on, who can possibly dislike this?? And another mechanic I know I've been missing since day one; Dual-wield. Hack and slash through groups of enemies while you shoot the ones standing in line to die by your hidden blades or swords. Or why not grab one of the enemies muskets, stab someone and shoot the guy behind him. OR even better, grab your tomahawk, plant it in someone's chest, pull him towards you and kick him onto someone else while also using your dagger/knife to cut someone's throat. So many combinations.. much to like! They also improved, but at the same time kind-of ruined the combat. We all know, AC has always been this one man army kind of deal, but this time around it's no joke. If you're eye-sight is good enough to see the huge red, or yellow, marker above your enemies heads you know it's time to press the dodge-key. Yes, they tell you when to press it this time.. Not a fan of that, but it's easier to see when they attack since it sometimes comes naturally to them, which is amazing in itself.
Another thing I like about this game, except for most parts of the story, the combat and the new mechanics is also the amount of time and effort they put into the content. I did buy the Join or Die Collector's Edition to get some extra in-game stuff. But hey, even without the collector's stuff I still would have enough to do since the game without DLCs is PACKED with side-missions and other extra content for you such as unlockables, hidden secrets, crafting and a new improved economy-system (which is completely useless, but still great fun).
I can't leave this out either.. Hunting. Who would've though that you would hunt not only human beings but animals a like in an assassin's creed game? I for sure did not expect that, at all. But hey, they implemented it and I love it. It was more fun to just go out on hunting sprees looking for clues and tracks to find your prey than I though it would be. They also have some kind of damage system to it. If you shoot your prey, the hide is more likely to get damaged. However, if you kill it with your hidden blades or your tomahawk, the hide is more likely to be perfect. And you can use your loot from these animals to either craft items or sell it to vendors. And also, the amount of animals in the areas you can play in is just great. Where ever you go, you see some kind of life form, whether it's a human or an animal, it still adds life to the environment. And that's a huge plus!
What I didn't Like
Unfortunately this will be a rather long list.. And that's because I am very picky when it comes to games that are being ported from consoles. (I'm not a fan of ports).
So, first of.. The controls. Why on earth is there no way of just running like a regular person without having to free-run. In older titles you could run AND free-run. Now it's either Walk, fast walk or free-running. And everyone who has every played AC knows that free-running = climbing, jumping and that stuff, while running = move very fast, no climbing, no jumping etc. So, the issue in this game is rather big, for me at least. I want to run on ledges, wires and fences fast without risking to jump off. I can't.. nope.. and why is that? Well because of the free-running of course. Free run on a ledge and one miss-click and you're off the ledge, jumping towards god knows what. Super extremely annoying at times. And completely unavoidable.. Also, why this;
Sure, it's a "fun" quest but on the PC it's a pain. Why? BEcause you can't see the damn bars you're supposed to move thanks to the "WASD" and "UP, DOWN, LEFt, RIGHT [Arrow-keys]" icons. And W, S, UP and DOWN doesn't even do anything, and yet they're there.. Why!? It's only making the whole thing worse by not only covering the damn thing, but also confusing the player. I don't think you're able to "lose" this quest in any way, but you sure as hell can't finish it if you can't see the bars you're supposed to push, and when..
Another thing dislike, and greatly so to be honest, are the options. Why the hell did they do this;
Why oh why are there only 5 options, and why can't you choose to turn either of them off!? Perhaps I'm playing on a less than decent computer (which Ubisoft said should work just fine) but you can't turn off what's making the game lag like hell at times; Shadows. I can see why you can't turn off Environment Quality or Resolution, but seriously.. Shadows and Anti-Aliasing should have the OFF or at least "VERY LOW" options. Not high or normal.. when I first saw these options it ticked me off, badly. I also took the liberty of looking the the controls before-hand. I noticed something very strange. Why do you have a completely different control-setup on Multiplayer?? Target if not on F, it's of another button!? And why is attack button the same as stun? What if I accidently attacked a civilian when I ment to stun my opponent? In the previous game you had at least a different key for it so you could "spam" it whenever it was necessary. But now.. Noooooo. Yes, the keys are re-bindable, but this is by default, that's why I'm not liking it.
Yet another thing I did take not of that I very much disliked was the very extremely bad navigation in the PC-port. I wanted to change some weapons and my armour. I went to the weapons rack and when I came to the point where I had to click my way to my weapon, it didn't work. Well, it did.. when I found out that the arrow-keys do not work here, but only the WASD does. So I used WASD instead, and it took AGES before the game even reacted slightly, and when it did, it skipped some spots. This might be an issue I'm alone to have but it's still very annoying. And in the armour-rack it didn't even move. Had to restart the game to be able to even change the suit. Wall done!
Oh, and before I forget about this one.. And this is a good one. My character is a magician. A World of Warcraft Mage to be exact. You see, he can blink.. on Command. I press W and RIGHT MOUSE BUTTON to free run, which he does, but if I let go, wait for like 1 - 2 seconds and go at it again, he blinks forward like 2 - 3 meters, makes the markers go all haywire all over the screen also makes the "stay close to your allies" text show up, even though I'm right beside them. Yeah, I love it.. not. It's also super irritating when this happens mid-combat. "Hey red-coat, ima cut yo' throat!" *blink* "the hell did he go..!?" *damaged* "oh.. damn it, not again." - happens every time, on command too.
I have also noticed quite a few environmental bugs and glitches which I find funny at first but then I just start to get annoyed by them. For example, I wanted to grab a horse and ride.. This was the first look;
The horse is NOT supposed to stand in the food, but oh well.
This next spoiler contains a video of what happened when I tried to ride the horse standing in their food..
Not only does the horse glitch out completely, but I can't move. I tried to dismount and mount back on to see if that would work.. It didn't. It made things worse actually.
Anyway, the horses are not the only issue for me.. I've fallen through the ground a couple of times as well. Not like falling into oblivion, but Connor has used the grass as snow. So when *I was running you only saw half of his body and he was REALLY slow. Exactly like he is during winter.
Now, this is not a glitch nor "not working as intended" but it's the most stupid thing you can implement in a franchise like this, EVER.. guessed it yet? It's Erudito Credits. Basically, that's the currency you use to buy stuff for multiplayer in AC3. However, the only difference bwteen this and Abstergo Credits is; Abstergo Credits are free, and earned. Erudito Credits cost real money and with this, you can buy and unlock things you wouldn't unlock until higher levels. In short, they introduced pay-to-win to AC3. Not a fan.. not at all..
Multiplayer [8/10]; The MP is rock-solid, loving every second of it, even if I die. It's smooth and fast paced. A lot of fun modes to play, competitive gameplay with friends, a lot of unlockable content and so much more. However the Erudito crap brings it down.
Single Player [9/10]; I like the story all in all. The fact that it has got a few twists here and there just makes it better. However the end is.. well.. see for yourself, when you get there. I have my point of view on it, others have theirs.
Gameplay [7/10]; Not a fan of the mechanics what so ever. Sure it has got some cool combat upgrades and functions added to certain things, but in general it's too buggy and not really "working as intended" to be enjoyable to a higher degree. You can buy a lot of weapons, craft a lot of items, explore a lot of areas but in the end none of it is necessary. I would like to see at least a "need to craft" system to continue the game, instead of just having it there.. for no reason really.
Graphics [8/10]; It looks good, it really does, and it WORKS very well with the graphics it has got for being an AC game (known for having graphical issues). But I still think it lacks an update, especially since it's running on DirectX 11 (which you can't even notice..). Perhaps some PhysX adds, or why not modelled/sculpted hiding spots instead of planes with an alpha-texture on them. Ya ya..
Menus, Settings and Options, HUD [4/10]; Do I even have to explain this? The menus are okay and they work, unlike a lot of other things in this game, and the HUD looks rather nice indeed. But the options menu and the stuff you can change just.. no.. 5 things where 2 which should have ON/OFF options doesn't have it just.. so bad. I like my options menues with at least 7 - 8 settings AND ON/OFF settings to them, or at least LOW (Off), MEDIUM and HIGH.
All in all I give the PC-port of this game a total of 6.5/10. The reason is simple, I love the franchise too much to give this game a lower grade, and I have faith in Ubisoft so I think they will patch it enough to fix most of this, but till then it remains a 6.5 game for me.
Now, your opinions may differ and that's okay. this is just my first-impression kind of review thing and this is how I feel about it right now. Some things might change later on, other may not. The future will tell.
Until then, peace out and enjoy the game!