Assassin’s Creed 3 Remastered Review
It’s been over a decade since Assassin’s Creed 3 first landed on consoles around the world, and it was disappointing day for everyone involved, yes even for Ubisoft. While the concept of taking the Assassin’s v. Templar battle to the American Revolution seemed like a fantastic idea – and in reality, it was – the execution was short of deplorable, with glitches beyond counting, graphical inconsistencies, and complete breakdowns. It had all the makings of a good Assassin’s Creed title, but lacked the end-game execution. In 2019, can Ubisoft rectify all those problems and make us care about a 10+ year old title? Let’s dive in.
Here is what we said in our original review of the game on Xbox 360 (reviewing this one on Xbox One X):
The game begins with an introduction and brief overview of the entirety of the saga before it. This cinematic spans from the meeting of Altair to the end of the line with Ezio. This is mainly in place to help those who haven’t played the rest of the series. However, Assassin’s Creed 3, has somehow managed to partially separate itself from its predecessor’s. The odd little mention of Ezio is seen early own, but it would have been nice to have seen something other than a name, perhaps a relic left behind or passed on by one of the previous assassins would have shown critics and gamers that the bond the assassins have still burns bright. The main thing that struck me about Assassin’s Creed 3 however, is its beauty. The game is unremarkable pretty. The Assassin’s Creed series has always been renowned for its constant pushing of its graphical content and the latest installation is no exception. Trees are more defined; people are more noticeable not because of their involvement in the story, but because of their features. The landscapes are awe-inspiring, and the warfare is bloody!
Ultimately, you will need to be a hardcore Assassin’s Creed fan to journey back many games ago and jump into an older Assassin’s Creed experience. While I fondly remember playing Assassin’s Creed 2 (and the numerous additions to that experience), it didn’t hold up as well as I remember when replaying it in the Ezio Collection. Was it good? Sure, but without so many quality of life improvements in more recent games, it just wasn’t quite the same.
Over time, Ubisoft has perfected the Assassin’s Creed formula, and in fact, has turned it on its head when creating Origins and Odyssey. So much has changed – and for the better – over the last number of years, so going back, understandably, is really hard.
Thankfully, Ubisoft put in the work to bring Assassin’s Creed 3 as close to 2019 standards as possible. The buildings and stationary objects in the game look phenomenal, just a pinch short of what you might see in Origins and Odyssey. Lots of lighting work has been done, and shadows are more pronounced than ever, making the various cities and forts you wander feel much more realized than they were before.
The ‘living’ objects, however, did not seem to get the same coat of polish. Improved over the original, yes, but not to 2019 standards. There are still odd texture choices on many of the animals, and often times the faces of NPC characters just don’t look quite right. It is a minor grief, to be sure, but one to mention none-the-less.
But it’s not so much about the graphics for me with this re-launch of the game, but rather how well it plays. And for the most part, Ubisoft has cleaned up many of the issues that so badly plagued the original title. Major glitches are almost non-existent, and many of the hiccups have been addressed. While not everything is perfect – as you will quickly notice a slight audio to mouth movement inconsistency throughout – the game has definitely been improved.
And a few quality of life improvements have also been added. Can you believe that whistling at guards wasn’t an option in the original title? That is now included, as is more stealth focused mechanics not previously available in the game, but introduced in future titles like Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag. It’s great to see these quality of life improvements made, and really shows that Ubisoft worked hard on bringing this game back, in a positive way.
Of all the Assassin’s Creed titles announced, 3 was definitely the one I was looking forward to the most. And it was outstandingly disappointing. With a second lease on life, I’m enjoying it a lot more. Does it supplant my previous top 3 – Odyssey, Origins, and Black Flag? No, but it is fitting into my top 5 after Assassin’s Creed 2. And I think that is a pretty good testament to what Ubisoft has done; prior to this remaster, Assassin’s Creed 3 was my least favorite in the series.