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Assassin's Creed 3 Wii U review

AT A GLANCE
  • Convinient use of GamePad screen
  • Remote Play support for TV-less gameplay
  • Complete version of the game
  • Sometimes muddy textures and shadows
  • Even more glitches than the other versions
  • Multiplayer servers are empty

Despite being deeply flawed, 2007’s Assassin’s Creed was a damn fine example of the current console generation’s potential, one that was achieved in the subsequent Ezio trilogy. But unlike its predecessors, Assassin's Creed III was a game that had few flaws to fix, no big problems to correct, and no gameplay mechanics to reinvent. Despite being bigger and, in many ways, better, ACIII is a flawed experience, held up by its incredible gameplay, and weighed down by a new infestation of bugs and poor design choices--and the Wii U version is the messiest of the bunch. 

Desmond Miles' fight against Abstergo gets its fair share of screen time, moving the modern day narrative forward to its inevitable conclusion, but a majority of ACIII is focused on Connor Kenway battling the Templar Order during the American Revolution. It's impressive to see how the series handles a more modern setting, telling an interesting tale that adapts well to abundant firearms, but this leap forward in time brings with it a muddled story that never really finds its ground. Whereas past games have flourished in their historical fiction, ACIII sometimes chokes on it, struggling to place Conner in a world so many gamers are well versed in. 

Though its narrative is somewhat of a letdown, Assassin’s Creed’s gameplay is better than ever, with impressive parkour and incredible combat that favors more aggressive battles. Connor has a physical presence that Altair and Ezio don't, and his bulk makes combat brutal and exciting. You’ll love bashing in the teeth of waves of soldiers, or smashing your tomahawk (shaped like the Assassin’s Creed logo) into the backs of your foes.

And despite being a bulkier character, Ubisoft still managed to make Conner extremely nimble, giving him the ability to climb both buildings and trees alike. This is most important in the new wilderness areas, which are full of animals to hunt, trap, and skin. It’s also here that the new animations and visuals are at their strongest, and you’ll be amazed at how lifelike Connor looks as he treads through the snow to chase down a target in the woods.

If you read our Assassin's Creed III review last month, you know that the game wasn't all we wanted it to be. There was plenty to like--from the beautiful vistas to the stellar combat--but it was far from the game most expected. Besides the problematic story, there’s also the matter of a totally broken and uninteresting economy and a disappointing number of technical issues, including visual hiccups and AI problems that made completing some of the game's missions more difficult. 

The Wii U version in particular includes some problems all its own, like muddy visuals and weird looking textures. Sometimes it looks identical to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version, and other times it looks like Connor’s textures haven’t fully popped in. Multiplayer is included, and it's a good time if you can get in a game, but that's a pretty big "if." The servers were almost entirely empty when we searched for people to play with, and unless something changes you'll likely experience the same frustration.

Helping negate some of the Wii U-exclusive faults are some Wii U-exclusive benefits. The map on the GamePad makes hunting down missions and collectibles easier, and switching between items, which was relatively clumsy in the other versions, is improved with the touch screen. This screen is also helpful during the surprisingly entertaining sailing segments, thanks to the increased size of the radar, making it easier to see where your ship’s guns are aiming. 

Assassin's Creed III is a technical marvel, and well worth playing, even if it doesn’t live up to the lofty expectations established by the Ezio trilogy’s success. Combat is incredible, and the cities of Boston and New York deliver some of the strongest open-world gameplay you’ll experience this generation. And yet, it’s still an extremely uneven experience, even if the strong gameplay outlives the issues to make for a solid package. The Wii U version has some interesting features, including nice GamePad usage, 3D TV support, and the ability to play exclusively on the GamePad with Remote Play, but additional technical problems keep this port from being a clean kill.

More Info

Release date: Nov 18 2012 - Wii U (US)
Available Platforms: Wii U
Genre: Action
Published by: Ubisoft
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language

17 comments

  • winner2 - December 5, 2012 9:58 a.m.

    I know you have to take current standards into account, but I just think it's funny how y'all generally say AC1 was deeply flawed now but at the time you reviewed it you gave it a 10/10.
  • BottleBank - December 5, 2012 10:33 a.m.

    Most people could see that the original AC was flawed from the get-go. It definitely wasn't one of GR's better reviews. That game was an 8 at best.
  • StrongPillow - December 4, 2012 9:33 p.m.

    Yet another reason not to bother with the WiiU. They will get ports of more polished versions. The PS3 felt this for years and it hurt them because of it. Oh well..I heard Mario plays well on it. lol....They are going to have to pull an Activision on Mario if they want to have a chance come next fall.
  • Mijoho - December 4, 2012 10:58 p.m.

    We'll see about next fall. Nintendo may not offer the best graphics but at least they TRY to be inovative and they try to have SOMETHING ANYTHING better than FPS games.
  • obviouslyadouche - December 4, 2012 7:03 p.m.

    Ac3 was pretty disappointing for me. Also was it just me or did George Washington get a awful portrayal in AC3, everyone calls constantly debases him, he acts like a total jerk when Connor's around, all around not a very good.
  • bass88 - December 5, 2012 2:54 a.m.

    I believe there is historical evidence suggesting that Washington wasn't the nicest of people (I mean, he signed a document that all men are equal and free and went back to his slave camp) and was not admired by his troops. Like everything else in history, Washington is a pretty ambigious individual (despite owing slaves and signing the Fugitive Law, he did express support for the abolition of slavery).
  • wampastompa - December 4, 2012 5:35 p.m.

    I don't understand how Nintendo can release a new console that still manages to have inferior graphics to the current-gen PS3 and 360. It sucks, because I love Nintendo, but I feel like Sony and Microsoft are going to blow them out of the water with their true next-gen consoles next year
  • Cyberninja - December 4, 2012 5:54 p.m.

    dude he says sometimes the visuals are muddy and others they are identical I say this is a matter of Ubisoft not knowing wiiu as well is the cause of the problem.
  • CUFCfan616 - December 4, 2012 7:54 p.m.

    not to mention that it's a port of a game so they're not likely to add a great amount of graphics to it. And anyway, it's taken the PS3 and 360 6 years to reach where it is now and developers can get that out of the Wii U straight away. That's impressive. When the next gen consoles come along though, it will depend on how many developers will be able to develop AAA games with top of the line graphics as it will surely be expensive to start squeezing every bit of juice out of them. Maybe we'll see a return to developers concentrating on gameplay instead of going for the heights of realism with little actual game
  • bass88 - December 5, 2012 2:47 a.m.

    It's early days yet for the WiiU. Developers are still trying to iron out all the kinks. Another year and third party developers will have it covered.
  • Cape-of-Steel - December 29, 2012 2:20 a.m.

    Tear downs have shown that the WiiU is more powerful than both consoles, it's brand new and these games were ported. Also, Microsoft can't even get their graphics card right so they've delayed to at least 2014. Sony seems to be having similar issues.
  • Redeater - December 4, 2012 5:13 p.m.

    More bugs?! How is that even possible?
  • Redeater - December 4, 2012 5:37 p.m.

    I think I read a tweet of Cooper's today where he said AC went from being his favorite series to one he (I forget the exact feeling used but it wasn't favorite). I feel the exact same way after AC3 was released. Pretty funny how this was the game that was supposed to reinvent the series and for many people it felt scaled back and not as great as everyone had hoped.
  • nokeisoka - December 4, 2012 9:46 p.m.

    In most of the games I've played the first is fun but flawed. The second normally has refined gameplay with a few new features. Then the third is usually less focused on refining and more focused on let's try new stuff.
  • winner2 - December 5, 2012 9:55 a.m.

    Agreed. I was hoping for AC3 to be awesome like most were, but I feel like it was a let down overall. It did certain things well but it didn't pull everything together smoothly like 2 or brotherhood.

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