Assassin’s Creed 3 PC Review: A Prettier Experience

Back on the single-player side, the game really is beautiful. I found myself a lot more interested in the story with graphics that were really able to help the characters emote during cutscenes. Connor was a little less irritating and bland and Haytham was a little more human; the same was true for Desmond and his father. By and large, AC3 on PC is more engaging, because those important interactions between people feel more subtle and more important.

But as for other meaningful upticks in the experience: sadly, there are none. Little things, like the menus, handle a touch more easily. The user interface coupled with the keyboard is shades better, but it would have been nice for Ubisoft to do away with the console-specific weapon wheel in favor of giving us full control of all of Connor’s assets on number keys. The whole thing does work better than it did on a console — I find myself pulling out what I need and utilizing it under pressure much more quickly than I did with the clunky console UI. But it could have been better.

That’s the story of the whole game, though. The things that AC3 does well are still there and they still work. Tree-running continues to be the highlight of the game, especially at specific points where it’s highly useful. The naval battles are still fun, though eventually a bit repetitive. Combat is still really fun almost all the time, even if enemies do tend to queue up for their eventual neck-stabbings. And stealth is still not really very functional despite AC3 being a stealth game.

Not much has changed from my last review to this one. If you’re a big-time Assassin’s Creed fan and you’re hell-bent on playing the title, I’d say that the PC version is the one you should do so with, especially if you have the hardware to give the game a lot of room to run. It really does look pretty remarkably great a whole lot of the time, and some of the game’s best scenes are a lot better when the motion capture acting is on full display. That alone makes the PC version superior and the ideal way to experience the game.

But graphics aren’t everything, and while Ubisoft has shown more love for this PC port than it has with others in the past, that doesn’t mean the game isn’t still primarily a port, or that it isn’t still suffering from a parade of minor problems that stack up into a few major ones. Yet, despite its weak story, its tendency to corral you into very linear play through a number of missions, and its minor bugginess, the game remains huge. There’s a least a lot to do (though some have complained of some serious feature bloat — I prefer to say that at least there’s a lot to do for your money).

So if you’ve got a toss-up between Assassin’s Creed 3 on console and AC3 on PC, I’d suggest the PC version, all things being equal. I found it the better of the two. But all the problems of Assassin’s Creed 3 remain in their original state, so be prepared to deal with those issues — even if you get prettier versions of those issues.

Pros:

  • PC version is definitely more beautiful than on consoles
  • Graphics really capture some of the more subtle performances in cutscenes and story
  • Multiplayer functions very well on PC
  • Graphical controls allow for greater freedom in the presentation, which is nice
  • Mostly avoids being a straight (read: bad) console port

Cons:

  • Still stuck with a few console control hold-overs that don’t feel right on PC, like the weapons wheel
  • Despite a month-long delay, a lot of the same bugs are still present, and still irritating
  • Weaknesses of story and character in terms of Connor
  • For a stealth game, it struggles to make stealth work

Final Score: 75/100


Read more of Phil Hornshaw’s work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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