Assassin’s Creed III – Review (PS3)


I felt the opening few hours of Assassin’s Creed III were great. As set up for the main story it does a great job and working through these closed, more linear parts showed that Assassin’s Creed doesn’t always have to be about the size of the open world area.

Unfortunately once you get to the main crux of the game Assassin’s Creed III struggles under the weight of being a fully fledged ‘numbered’ Creed title.

Discounting the story, which seems to increase in insanity with each installment  the Assassin’s Creed games have gotten better with each title. This hit a plateau between Brotherhood and Revelations, with the latter feeling a little tired. Unfortunately Assassin’s Creed III, despite the new setting, also suffers this fate.


It’s not all doom and gloom though – firstly the character animation (which also featured in the Vita spin off Liberation) is superb. The movement through trees and the forest is wonderfully natural, especially in the snow.

Movement looks fluid and believable for the most part, although I did hit an issue that seemed to affect a few people – namely in some of the cutscenes no characters mouths were moving. So conversations would be happening between two characters gesturing to each other but with mouths tightly clamped shut. It looked weird and, of course, dragged you out of the game for the moment.

The naval combat, while fairly limited, was also fantastic and great fun. It looks like lots of people agreed with me, seeing as the recently announced Assassin’s Creed IV will be a pirate game.


I also enjoyed the hunting missions and some of the Homestead/side missions. Although everything is still very much map led – all of the stuff you can do is indicated with a marker. Which I don’t have a problem with for main missions but it would be nice if more games adopted a more Red Dead Redemption style of side stuff that you can pick up by interacting with characters that aren’t highlighted etc.

Sadly the story stuff is the weak link here, a lot of the missions felt like too much of a slog and some of them just weren’t very interesting. There were a few highlights and for some of the time it was great to be in control of Connor.

However another issue is that Connor as a character was almost totally devoid of empathy or emotion. He was a selfish brat with no redeeming features. I’m all for playing as characters that are a bit of a fool and go through a decent character arc but I didn’t feel Connor changed much at all over the course of the game.


As the Assassin’s Creed games have got more and more successful they have moved away from the actual assassinations of the original game. There isn’t the planning and scheming to take out a target anymore – simply head to a marker and kill everyone.

It was something I mentioned in my recent Hitman Absolution review but one part stuck out for me when playing Assassin’s Creed III: tasked with taking out a target I headed to the map marker, sneaked up on him and activated what I thought would be an instant kill and instead was greeted by a health bar which triggered an alert in all the guards I’d just sneaked by. And that to me is disappointing.

So the campaign starts well but ends up fairly average. What of the multiplayer?


Ubisoft have been tweaking the online of Assassin’s Creed ever since they introduced it and here it’s at its refined best. With a whole host of modes and a much improved stun mechanic. I had great fun dipping in and found the multiplayer to be tight, responsive and very competitive… even when just starting out.

So it’s a mixed bag really – while the game makes some good forward steps (character animation/naval combat/improvements in online play) it is let down by a plodding story that has one of the most disappointing characters in the series. Assassin’s Creed III is a good game, it just doesn’t compare to the adventures of Ezio Auditore.

Rating: 7/10

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Assassin’s Creed: Revelations – Review (PS3)

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations was met with a slightly mixed response when it was announced. Mainly because it was only a year since Brotherhood had hit shelves and people were concerned the series might end up stuck in a Call Of Duty style yearly release cycle.

The game continues Ezio Auditore da Firenze’s tale while linking in Altair from the original game, meaning that Revelations rounds the story out nicely in anticipation of Assassin’s Creed III, which is released in November.

Ezio now finds himself in Constantinople and is on the trail of a set of keys that unlock a hidden fortress, in which Altair hid a weapon so powerful it could finally end the war between the Templars and the Assassins.

The gameplay is fairly similar to the last few games with the new addition of a tower defence style mini game. I only played it once in the mandatory main mission as it wasn’t of any interest to me. I don’t really feel it was needed but thankfully if you’re not bothered you’ll only need to do it once.

One of the few additions to make a difference is the Hookblade which, as well as aiding in combat, can also be used to climb up buildings quicker and, in certain locations, be used as a zipline between buildings. It genuinely increases the speed at which you can traverse the environment and is a welcome new accessory.

You can still buy shops and banks etc and build up your portfolio of property, which increases the money you’ll earn. You’ll be spending time capturing districts and running all over town, as well as completing the main story missions. There is a lot to do and plenty to keep you entertained but you can’t escape the feeling you’ve seen it all before.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is the third Assassin’s Creed title in as many years and the burn is beginning to show. Thankfully Assassin’s Creed III (with a new game engine, character and setting) is just around the corner and looks set to revitalise the series.

Revelations is a good, solid game that does build a little on what went (recently) before. It closes out Ezio’s story in an interesting way but does little to really advance Desmond’s story. If you’re a fan and not burnt out on Assassin’s Creed then you’ll love this. I enjoyed it but I am definitely ready for a change of scenery.

Rating: 7/10

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Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood – Review (PS3)

Coming so soon after Assassin’s Creed II, and with the accompanying marketing campaign focused on the multiplayer aspect of the game, a lot of people dismissed Brotherhood as a glorified add on pack before a surprisingly deep single player component also emerged.

This is Assassin’s Creed III in all but name.

The single player campaign is as long if not longer than Assassin’s Creed II, clocking in at around 15 hours for me – including a fair bit of side mission stuff.

The story continues with Ezio Auditore in 1499 and Desmond Miles in 2012, picking up exactly where the second game left off. There is also a helpful recap of the first two games events – although I still didn’t fully understand it all 😆 – for peeps who need a refresher or for people new to the series.

The changes Ubisoft have made to the game feel subtle but really they have honed this title so much it really doesn’t do much wrong.

Firstly there is now a very welcome fast travel system around the city. This was definitely needed as there are times you just don’t fancy having to trek all the way across the map to your next objective. In game they are via underground tunnels and you have to unlock each location by ‘renovating’ the entrance.

Renovation is a big part of the game now and you can spend cash to renovate shops within an area (netting yourself a few decent discounts along the way) and even buy up property to restore.

The more stuff you renovate the more cash you get back per cycle (20 mins in real time). This is one part of the game that is entirely optional but it’s fun and pretty helpful as you go through the game.

There are lots more side mission types and your map will be chock full of things to do if you fancy a change of pace away from the main missions.

The climbing system seems to have been tightened up and I found myself doing a lot less random jumping off buildings than in Assassin’s Creed II.

My favourite two additions though are the Borgia Towers and the Assassin’s Guild.

The Borgia Towers allow you to liberate areas of the city from your enemy’s control. Essentially you have to get into a restricted area, kill the Borgia Captain and then set fire to the tower. Once that is done you’re free to renovate shops within that tower’s area.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed these missions to be honest and I found myself doing them wherever possible.

The Assassin’s Guild sees Ezio building his own army of Assassins. 😎 You can recruit citizens by helping those who are being harrassed by Borgia soldiers. Once recruited you can send the assassins out on missions (you don’t see/control the missions, they are just to increase each Assassins stats) or, and this is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a game for a while, you can call them into action to help you.

Yep that’s right. Your own army at your disposal. You can either select a victim and press L2, which will see a recruit emerge from the shadows/a haystack/a roof and perform a stealth kill, or you can hold L2 to have a stream of arrows rain down from the rooftops to take down any enemy soldiers in the area. It truly is an awesome sight and a brilliant inclusion.

Another new feature is the execution streak, in which once you counter kill one enemy you just need to hold the left stick in the direction of your next victim and press square to kill them with one blow. You can chain this together endlessly (at least until another enemy attacks you mid flow) and while some may feel it lowers the difficulty of the game I enjoyed the sense of empowerment I got from it.

The story is more of the same which wasn’t a problem for me although I personally would’ve liked to have seen a few more parts with Desmond in 2012 throughout the game.

But what of the much publicised multiplayer. When they announced Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood would have multiplayer I was not keen, deathmatch and team deathmatch as an assassin? Capture the flag? Surely not I thought.

And thankfully Ubisoft delivered one of the most unique multiplayer experiences around today. Playing completely to the main game’s strengths multiplayer sees you stalking opponents whilst also being hunted yourself.

The main mode, ‘Wanted,’ sees you given a picture of your target and a small radar indicating their rough position. While you track them down there could potentially be up to three other players also chasing that target.

In the meantime you could have up to four people chasing you! So essentially the idea is to act as normal as possible and blend in, while also tracking your prey and looking for the right moment to take them down.

Despite a sometimes questionable stun mechanic (as in it can be difficult to stun your pursuer even if you know who they are) the balance is pretty much perfect, with all the perks and unlocks cancelling each other out (if you happen to have the corresponding one equipped that is).

It is a wonderful game of cat and mouse and I genuinely think every gamer should at least rent this and give the multiplayer a shot. You won’t have played anything else like it and it is great to see a developer bringing something fresh to the table.

There are also team versions of Wanted and some other variations to keep you interested but I find myself drifting towards ‘Wanted’ almost every time.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is not without it’s flaws (the stun mechanic in multiplayer needs tweaking and the pacing of the main story missions could’ve been better) but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s an improvement on the previous game in almost every way and features a great, original multiplayer mode. I have no problem giving it the GREGHORRORSHOW PLATINUM SEAL OF APPROVAL™

Rating 10/10

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Assassin’s Creed II – Review (PS3)

A lot of people complained (me included) when they saw that Assassin’s Creed II was nominated for a Game Of The Year Award (among others) at the VGA’s as it has only been out a few weeks.

But anyone who has played Assassin’s Creed II will be able to tell you why it was nominated – it is indeed that good.

The first Assassin’s Creed was a good game with some nice ideas and lovely graphics but it suffered from repetitive missions and the fact you had to synchronise viewpoints to access the next section.

No such problems with the sequel as Ubisoft have taken on the feedback from the critics and fans. For example you’re a lot more free to approach missions as you want to and the viewpoints are now optional – they reveal more helpful locations on the map but they aren’t obligatory.

The story picks up with Desmond Miles after the conclusion of the first game as he escapes with Lucy Stillman from the Abstergo Industries building and finds himself in a safe house with a new Animus, delving into another set of ancestral memories.

This time you’ll be playing as Ezio Auditore da Firenze in Italy in the 1400’s. This is a glorious setting as you move between Tuscany, Florence, Venice and more. The difference in areas is apparent and they have gone to a lot of trouble to make each feel individual.

As well as the main plot missions there are a wealth of side missions and collectibles – the ones that hooked me were the Assassin’s Seals. These are objects hidden in tombs and churches that are basically climbing and exploring sections – once you get all six you can unlock Altair’s armour that is locked away in your Villa.

You can do races, collect feathers, find glynphs, beat people up and take on side assassinations among other things.

This freedom of choice means you never feel railroaded into anything and delivers a wonderful gaming experience.

It’s not without it’s problems though.

On occasions the combat and climbing mechanics are clunky and don’t respond in the way you need it to – annoying if you’ve almost climbed a huge building only to inadvertently dive down into the water instead of jumping up further.

My main complaint was the codex pages – collectables you could find and convert into extra health, weapon upgrades etc. But they are also integral to the game and you’ll need all 30 to do the final mission.

If I’d known they were that important I’d have picked them up as I went along – instead it meant before the last mission I had to go and find the last 14! Totally broke the pacing of the game/story.

But they are small problems within a hugely enjoyable gaming experience. Assassin’s Creed II is the game the first wanted to be – finally the ideas have been realised and I can’t wait for the next instalment.

Rating: 9/10

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Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines – Review (PSP)

As someone who quite enjoyed the first Assassin’s Creed game, despite it’s somewhat repetitive nature, I was really looking forward to stepping back into Altair’s shoes.

Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines picks up after the end of the previous game, with Altair travelling to Cyprus to seek out and destroy the last of the Templars.

Having been playing Assassin’s Creed 2 alongside it the button set up felt natural but it might seem a little confusing at first, with three sets of controls attributed to the face buttons depending on what else you’re pressing.

So on their own they perform low level feats such as blending into a crowd etc, with the left shoulder button held they control the camera angle and with the right shoulder button held they perform high risk feats such as climbing/assassinations etc. It sounds more complicated than it is! 😉

Unfortunately, as is the case for the two PS3 games (though less so for Assassin’s Creed 2, which is a lot more intuitive), this means you’ll often be trying to flee by climbing and the game won’t recognize your button press in time. It doesn’t happen too much thankfully and when the system works it is thrilling.

Obviously being a handheld title the AI doesn’t challenge too much and it was a little easy to just blend into a crowd after murdering someone but once the alert is raised they will persue you fairly relentlessly – which is great.

They come in numbers as well, although you’ll probably not have more than 4 or 5 around you at one time. Believe me that is more than enough – on a few occasions I found myself ducking out of fight situations and making a run for it 😆

The storyline was fairly interesting and concerned the Templar archive that Altair was trying to track down.

On the downside the audio was pretty poor, not only in terms of voice acting but also the spoken word parts skipped and jumped in places (switch the subtitles on!).

The gameplay itself is a touch repetitive and overall the experience reminded me much of the first game rather than the improved sequel.

The graphics are superb and Altair has some great assassination animations. There was no slowdown or anything like that, even with numerous enemies and civilians on screen. It’s nice to see people pushing the PSP.

One thing that is cool is the connectivity between the PSP game and Assassin’s Creed 2 on the PS3. Depending on your progress you can unlock new things in both – to be honest it’s better going from the PSP to PS3 as you get 6 new weapons (sweet :cool:) whereas on the PSP you get a few bits, like being able to block with the hidden blade etc. Would love to see more games do this.

Overall then Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines reminds me a lot of the Syphon Filter PSP games – good fun to play but a touch repetitive and without major challenge. Definitely worth a play though.

This gets an 8 rather than a 7 for the very cool connectivity idea.

Rating: 8/10

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