I’m one of the few that enjoy Assassin’s Creed III. I consider it one of my favorite Assassin’s Creed titles sans Origins / Odyssey. For a frame of reference, I disliked II and Brotherhood. So it was quite a pleasant surprise when I heard that Ubisoft had announced the Assassin’s Creed III Remaster, but does it live up to my memories of seven years ago? Does it fix issues that plagued the game initially?
I guess the best place to begin is to cover the story in and of itself. You’re still following the exploits of the modern-day Assassins and a group led by Desmond Miles and his father. Straight off the heels of the story in the previous Assassin’s Creed games, you’re looking to open up a precursor site to learn how you may stop the world’s impending doom. To acquire this information, Desmond needs to hop back into the Animus and explore the world of a new half-Mohawk ancestor, Ratonhnhaké:ton, but he is giving the English name of Connor.
Assassin’s Creed III was a breath of fresh air seven years ago, for one it got away from the generic playboy that was Ezio Auditore and into what I felt a more authentic role. Something closer to that of Altaïr of the original Assassin’s Creed. Not a lot of people enjoyed the character and the acting of Connor, but to me, it connected. So did the period that the game takes place. I’ve grown up and lived in the Revolutionary War & Civil War hotbeds of America, so the Colonial Era Assassin’s Creed III takes place in hit very close to home. Previous Assassin’s Creed titles had tall buildings and monuments to climb, but there isn’t so much like that here on the Mid-Atlantic states of the US during this period. So instead, in the frontier region of the game, you’ll be out exploring through treetops and within the wilderness. It was a significant change of pace and brought some other aspects like hunting into the Assassin’s Creed world.
Of course, it’s not a perfect game. While fun and as much as I loved the colonial plot, the way the modern-day story begins to wrap up the Desmond line, is terrible. I’m also one of the few who prefer the Sci-Fi aspect of the AC titles and what is going on in the present. To have Ubisoft fumble it and the ending so severely in Assassin’s Creed III was a real let down.
So getting back to this remaster, does it work? Does it convey the game in a positive light over its release years ago? Does it fix things that were issues? Well yes, but also no. The most significant difference is the graphics. The environments look great; it’s as if the game looked this way initially or at least what I remember them being. If you were to go back and compare screenshots, you’d quickly see the difference in things like draw distance and lighting. In no way does it compare to modern day titles, it’s not like they threw the AC: Origins engine at this, but it looks very well done as a remaster.
Unfortunately, characters suffer from old tech. Faces are stiff, plastic-y, and near emotionless. Animations are rough and tend not to flow well. The biggest problem here is the eyes; they look soulless. Everyone tends to have an animation point where their eyes are just wide open, and they look creepy. It’s a testament to how far we’ve come as an industry in terms of facial tech.
Maneuvering Connor around the cities of Boston, New York, and the Frontier is as good as I remember it. I can point Connor in the direction I want, and he will hop, skip, and jump there. Through trees and rooftops, I never have issues with him going in the wrong direction causing me frustration or having to repeat a section. The original game had its critics over how Connor moved, and I can’t say whether or not it’s been fixed for them as things seem the same to me. The combat works as well as any Assassin’s Creed game, again sans Origins / Odyssey. It’s easy to pull off lots of reversals and survive outnumbering encounters, but it can also tear you up if you’re not careful.
The Remastered bundle also comes with the PlayStation Vita exclusive Assassin’s Creed: Liberation. When Liberation came out, it had a bundle with a slick-looking white Vita and was something I had my eyes on. Unfortunately, or fortunately based on how well the Vita did, I never splurged on that purchase. So It’s great to see that Ubisoft included Liberation for me to play finally. The remaster does its best taking a game designed for a much smaller screen and resolution and blowing it up to TV spec. But it’s noticeable that things were not meant to be played this way. It’s an enjoyable tale following Aveline and one that I believe I would have enjoyed back during its original release.
Also included in this package is the Tyranny of King Washington DLC that was released for Assassin’s Creed III, post-release. The DLC is interesting and one that doesn’t have much impact on the story as a whole but is a fun extra seven or so hours of the game.
I still love Assassin’s Creed III, and I’ve found myself trying to collect everything, reaching 100% on the Remaster. It’s a world I love to play in and one that is still so fun to play. I love sinking hours into this version of Colonial America, where things strangely feel like home, only they look better now.
A PlayStation 4 code was provided by the publisher for review purposes