Assassin’s Creed 3 is remembered with mixed feelings. Whilst there are plenty who remember Connor’s adventure with fondness thanks to improved combat, pretty vistas and lots of involved side content, others found the slow pace of the story, the dreadful dullness of Connor himself as a character and some bugginess underwhelming. Despite a more interesting main character, the same can be said for Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation, which is also included in the package. Whichever way you lean on either game, Assassin’s Creed 3 Remastered is unlikely to change your mind.
It certainly looks better. At times it almost looks like a game from early in this current generation minus a few post processing effects, but within that it’s still inconsistent. Environments tend to look sharp and detailed, but there are a few areas where textures seem blurry. Outside of AC3 Liberation, which thanks to its PS Vita origins is visually the lesser of the two, these blurry areas are usually found in the frontier, AC3’s wilderness that connects its cities and homestead together. The frontier is also home to lots of visual glitches, such as snow flickering between its fresh and walked on states, which I experienced for hours at a time whilst exploring this area of the large map. Similar glitches also show up in cities, but less frequently, with the worst being the rare sight of damage in stonework flickering on walls as two textures overlapping or doubled NPC spawns. This last issue seems to have been remedied by a large day one patch, but the flickering snow remains.
Most of these bugs don’t stop you from playing – you can still bribe away your notoriety when there are two town criers almost inside each other and you can still climb mountains whilst the snow glitches underneath your feet. These are not the only bugs that return from the previous release, though. Your horse might get stuck on a rock whilst you’re riding it, or get stuck in a bush when you’re not, which doesn’t help when it’s required for the current mission. Other times it’s fiddliness with controls, usually due to the awkward movement that more often than not has you running up door frames instead of walking through them, or the notorious frustration of trying to climb trees in this game.
Sometimes in combat, the icons that alert you to an incoming attack don’t display for some reason without warning, often resulting in a sword to a body part, and some missions failed to explain mechanics that are almost completely unique to them adequately, result in trial and error desynchronisations. Again, the day one patch might have remedied some of these, but it’s hard to tell for the more infrequent issues.
Despite the bugs, there is a lot to enjoy here. The opening three sequences featuring Haytham Kenway is still an excellent twist, soured slightly by Haytham being a far more interesting and charismatic character than Connor himself. Haytham’s gaggle of evildoers are pretty fun to watch, all firmly in the moustache-twirling category of villainy after the opening of the game is done, but pleasingly certain that they are the good guys in all of this. It’s also still great that you get to pal around with George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, and awkwardly participate in things like the Boston Tea Party or the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Combat is fun too, featuring the classic counter-to-brutally-murder system which, whilst absurd, a little too easy, and still subject to awkwardness, certainly makes your character feel like an assassin. Then there is your homestead, which can be upgraded to access crafting and other upgrades by completing homestead missions for characters found in the area. AC3 was also the series first foray into naval warfare as well and, whilst it’s not quite as well rounded as in Black Flag, there’s still plenty of fun to be had on board a ship.
On top of all this, this particular installment was the last proper outing in the modern day, featuring Desmond Miles as he is occasionally pulled out of the Animus to go sneak around stealing precursor power sources from Abstergo agents. He even gets to stab people!
Basically, Assassin’s Creed 3 Remastered is better looking, but that’s about it. It’s the same game for better or worse, complete with all the bugs and awkwardness that were disliked the first time around, but also with the stuff that people enjoyed. The bugs are too numerous for me to really recommend it, but they were there last time round as well. If you could ignore them then, you can probably ignore them now and enjoy the game’s positives, but it’s still a shame that Ubisoft couldn’t have rounded off more of the rough edges in this remaster.