A remaster that not many were crying out for, one of the more divisive Assassin’s Creed games comes to the current generation of consoles with all its DLC in tow. It is worth noting that the original version of Assassin’s Creed III Remastered is available on the Xbox One as part of the backwards compatibility scheme.
Remasters in this day and age fall into two categories. The first is the Crash Bandicoot style, which takes a game that is old enough and adds a new look that will suit it, or something like The Last of Us Remastered, which touched up what was wrong and just fine-tuned it for the new generation. The other category is the Batman Return to Arkham treatment. This took the unique aesthetic of the original games and completely changed what made them so good.
Assassin’s Creed III Remastered kind of falls somewhere in between the above two categories. The recreation of revolutionary America does look improved from the original,and the weather looks particularly impressive. The glaring misstep is how bad the characters look, especially their faces. It looks like they put cartoon faces on photorealistic bodies, so now they look absolutely terrible. This does detract from the experience as when the characters are trying to say something poignant in the story, the faces just make you laugh quite hard.
The very long section of the game where you play as Haytham Kenway still feels just as tedious as it was back in 2012. It still feels very slow and takes an absolute age to complete. Then playing as Connor is pretty dull as he is the personification of the colour grey. It was bad enough that he had to follow the excellent Ezio Auditore da Firenze, but even when you take into account all the protagonists we have had in the series since then, Connor is by far the worst one of the lot. The story itself is quite weak as it really does try and shoehorn the character of Connor to appear at various points in the Revolutionary War.
Now that i have gone through the negatives of this remaster, it is time talk about the positives. The best part is the gameplay. The weapons feel superb, and the headline weapon of the game, the tomahawk, is the best weapon this series has ever seen. It feels so good to cleave a foe in twain and see the brutality of the kill unfold in slow motion. The use of a bayonet and musket does take some getting used to as they reload at such slow speeds, but it does feel so satisfying when taking out Redcoat guards. The traversal is also the game’s biggest positive. In comparison to other games that have massive structures to climb, Assassin’s Creed III has more low buildings in the major cities, but in the forest areas, climbing through the trees and greenery is so amazing.
The homestead is also a great feature that should be seen to be believed. This feature has not been reproduced in the series since, which is a shame as this can add so many different outcomes in your quest. Some players may never meet certain homestead characters due to the fact that they will disappear after progressing far enough through the story. There is also Pegleg’s treasure, which always provides a little bit of humour in all the seriousness.
The other talking point is the ship combat. This is something that was perfected in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, but you can see where they started building this magnificent feature. It is not as fun here as it is in the sequel, but it is still a blast even after playing through Black Flag.
All in all, Assassin’s Creed III Remastered should only be picked up if you’ve either not played it back in 2012 or if you are a series veteran and want to see how much progress they have made in the last seven years. It is fun to go back and play, but the facial animations are a little jarring to look at and can take away from this experience, but the meaty combat does make up for this quite well.
If you do pick this up, do not let the tedious opening hours playing as Haytham put you off plugging through to see Connor. It is great to be involved with the best part of American history, but they should have made it less in your face that they try and put him in every single big moment.The only big problem is that it still has all the old Creed issues, namely boring escort missions and tedious fetch quests. Overall, grab it if you miss the glory days of Assassin’s Creed.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 29th March 2019