Assassin's Creed III Remastered Reviews

Official Site Review

By Kevin Tavore, 2 months ago
When Assassin's Creed III first released back in 2012, critic reviews were fairly positive on the whole. The game garnered a solid 84 on Metacritic and reviewers praised its gameplay innovations and the setting. On the other hand, the general public wasn’t so warm on it. Around the web you’d find criticisms of Connor, the game’s protagonist, complaints about the annualization of the series and distress surrounding supposed anti-British sentiment in the game. I wasn’t much of a gamer back in 2012 so I didn't have an opinion back then, but playing it for the first time in 2019, I can sincerely say these issues are not justified and that Assassins Creed III Remastered represents an excellent gaming experience even today.

Assassin's Creed III Remastered Achievements

Assassin’s Creed III is a tale of Templars versus Assassins set to the background of the American Revolution and it takes some interesting steps to keep things fresh that previous and subsequent games never did. Right from the start, you’ll watch as the Templar order digs its nails into pre-Revolution America and spend hours getting to know the villains. Then, you’ll meet the game’s hero, Connor, as he grows up and becomes the Assassin he’ll ultimately be. That sounds simple on paper, but in practice it enriches the story significantly by giving context and understanding that other games in the series tend to lack. For instance, the Templars are changed from faceless oppressors to a group with motivations that actually make sense to the point that there’s room for philosophical debate regarding who is right. It’s a positive step for the game’s storytelling, though it does admittedly leave the second half of the game feeling just a bit rushed as all the main plot points that are typically stretched across an entire game are blown through without any filler at all in the later half.

Connor himself benefits greatly from the chapters devoted to his upbringing. While many called him “boring” at launch, I strongly disagree and would rather say he is understandably stoic. His motivations for becoming an Assassin and opposing the Templars aren’t taken as a given as they are for many other Assassin heroes. Instead, we see Connor’s losses turn into personal motivations to take revenge on the individual Templars. We also see how the treatment of his people, Native Americans, spurs his desire to protect the idea of freedom and thus motivates him to be an Assassin. Connor may not be the sarcastic and witty character that Ezio was, but he is believable and has depth and those two components mix well to create an interesting story worth investing in.

Assassin's Creed III Remastered

In the present day storyline, however, Desmond continues to be completely unlikeable as he makes poor choices and generally complains about the responsibilities apparently only he can shoulder. Every time he entered the picture, I saw another example of him being a spoiled brat and I found him very hard to cheer for. This storyline sought to tie a bow on the Desmond “trilogy” and to shed some more light on the series’ First Civilization. It does this, but only in such a way that hardcore lore fanatics could appreciate. For everyone else, you’ll be left wondering exactly what happened and why you should even care. Luckily, subsequent games forgot about Desmond and the First Civilization almost entirely so the present day can be largely ignored with no real downside since there’s no ultimate payoff.

It’s somewhat amazing how far Assassin’s Creed has come since 2012 in the gameplay department. Nowadays we’re used to choices, inventories, loot, skill trees and the like that structure every element of how we experience the game. Assassin’s Creed III has none of that and the experience was undoubtedly refreshing. In fact, I wish modern Assassin's Creed would "downgrade" to match the progression structure of this game. It's liberating to have all your tools and tricks at your disposal right away without needing to worry about leveling up and unlocking skills so that you can perform a double assassination. Combat is the series’ tried-and-true counter system and it works just fine, with plenty of flashy counter attacks thrown in to make sure you feel like a warrior every time you take someone down. You can find new weapons to upgrade if you care to, but it’s not at all necessary (I never did) and that allows you to go through the game at the pace you want to without feeling obligated to complete the side content.

Speaking of side content, this is a Ubisoft game so there’s a ton of it and the quality reflects its age. The best part is likely the sailing, though subsequent games have done that much better to the point that Assassin’s Creed III’s sailing is passable at best. Otherwise, the side content mainly involves chasing collectibles and playing minigames. This is an area the game falters — never once did I actually want to spend time doing anything outside of the main story and the few times I did, I was itching to get back. Even the Desmond gameplay sections, which are highly similar to the main game thanks to Desmond finally becoming an Assassin, don't bring anything new or interesting to the table other than some platforming challenges to play through that are conspicuously absent from the main game. Assassin's Creed III is not a game for those that want to simply explore the world.

Assassin's Creed III Remastered

The stealth sections are tolerable, though time wasn't quite as kind to them either. Assassin's Creed never had a stealth button as other series have, but in time that's become a non-issue as the developers have become very good at having environmental triggers and the like to give you the impression of being stealthy. Here, you'll crouch in some bushes and push up against a wall, but otherwise you're better off simply running at enemies like a madman even when trying to be silent. It also doesn't help that the AI is brain dead and will miss you even when you are literally right in front of them.

The visuals have received a major upgrade thanks to the remaster and I came away very impressed. Cutscenes especially feel right at home in the current generation. They won't win any awards, but they certainly don't stand out and arguably they're still better than most. The world itself looks better as well, eschewing blocky foliage of the 360 era for more realistic trees and plants. There are a few artifacts left over that seem repugnant next to all the beautiful makeup, but overall the game dressed up quite nicely and you'd never know it's as old as it is.

The achievements are functionally the lists for Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed Liberation put together, including the former's DLC. This includes the long grind to 100% found in the title game and all of the DLC missions. That means the completion will be long and drawn out to the point you'll no doubt be hoping it's over long before you get that final point. But for those simply looking to maximize their time, the points are fairly generous in both games and you'll likely have a good time.

Check out our Best Xbox Stealth Games Available in 2018 article for a compilation of other great games in this genre.

Summary

Assassin's Creed III must have been a fantastic game in 2012, and it's still a wonderful experience today. Connor's story is interesting and well told and Connor himself is a hero I can fully buy into as realistic and believable. It comes together in a package with villains who are relatable and not always evil for the sake of evil and the game devotes a ton of time to the character development necessary to have a quality and compelling storyline. If you want to experience an alternate history American Revolution, this is the way to do it. The gameplay has stood the test of time as well, with combat still being enjoyable and the lack of RPG systems serving as a breath of fresh air. The only downsides are that the pacing is a little rushed near the end, the stealth isn't up to today's standards and the side content is dreadfully boring. Overall, this remaster puts a nice coat of paint on a great experience and I'd recommend everyone, especially those who weren't so hot on it at release, give it a try to see how it's held up.
4.5 / 5
Assassin's Creed III Remastered
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent approximately 12 hours assassinating targets, sailing a ship and being very surprised how good the story was. Along the way, he unlocked 19 achievements for 360 Gamerscore. The game was played on an Xbox One X. A review code was provided by the publisher.
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