Assassin’s Creed finally debuts on Switch with its 2012 entry, Assassin’s Creed III. Introducing a variety of new mechanics to the series like naval combat, Assassin’s Creed III introduced a lot after two, which was probably the most beloved entry in the series at the time. Assassin’s Creed III: Remastered lets you play a slightly updated Assassin’s Creed III, its DLC, plus Assassins’ Creed III Liberation. So is this game the complete package, or should this particular parcel be left to sink in the harbor? Let’s find out.
Assassin’s Creed III Remastered will tell you the story of a number of characters – Haytham Kenway is the character that players will get to know for the first little while of the game. Later, you will play as Connor, Haytham’s son, as well as occasionally control Desmond, the descendant of the previous characters who operates in the ‘current day.’ Assassin’s Creed should be known at this point for having a dichotomy in its stories- in the past, you have the story of Connor fighting against usurpation of the shadow organization known as the Templars during the American revolution, alongside the present day story of Desmond and the intrigue of the current day events between the Assassins and Templars. The story isn’t exactly amazing nor revolutionary, but it does a pretty good job, overall, of explaining character motivations. In Assassin’s Creed III Liberation, you’ll play as Aveline during events that unfold during the same time as the events of ACIII as more of a side story, but it’s still fairly fun to play.
So, how does an Assassin’s Creed game play, you may ask? Well, if you’ve been among the few people to never experience one before, they’re stealth action games with a limited parkour system for climbing and leaping over objects, as well as somewhat janky combat (context sensitive buttons have always been an issue for early games in this series). You can sneak around in crowded locations, hide in hay, leap from the top of buildings, etc., in order to assassinate your targets and complete your missions.
Missions are broken up into different groups, as you’ll have main missions to complete, naval missions, homestead missions, even various club missions like the brawler’s club, and more. Ship combat, while not as refined as in Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, is still a great way to pass the time and collect various rewards. Homestead missions let you seek out people who can fix your home base: Completing homestead missions tend to be a great way to earn money, as well as providing you with the ability to craft more items. Of course, the first rule about brawler club is that you don’t talk about brawler club, but you can kind of get the idea of what kind of missions they are by context. There’s simply a ton to do in Assassin’s Creed, even outside of the standard assassination missions.
Sneaking around to assassinate targets is all well and good, but if you get found, it’s time to either run away or fight multiple enemies at once. You can attack enemies with your sword, fire a pistol, use traps or use plenty of other tools in order to gain an upper hand in combat. Combat largely focuses on quick counter-attacks and combos, though it’s nothing like the Batman Arkham games or Shadows of Mordor’s flow- combat in Assassin’s Creed III is substantially more stiff and unrefined, and that’s if you don’t accidentally get stuck on a fence or something while four men are trying to perforate your hide with bayonets.
There’s a huge world to explore, tons of things to find, and lots of missions to partake in Assassin’s Creed III Remastered, so it should be incredible that you can take this kind of game with you on the go! While that is extremely interesting, it is worth noting that the port to Switch has some issues. Notably, Assassin’s Creed III Remastered on Switch appears to be less of a remaster and more of a port. A lot of the bells and whistles of the remaster as it exists on other platforms, such as the changed lighting systems, reflections in water, even the improved texture quality, seems to be missing from this version (which makes sense- revamping a dynamic lighting system takes a lot of resources). However, the Switch version of the game seems to be much more in line with Assassin’s Creed III from the Wii U than it does anything else. In fact, bugs and glitches present in the Wii U version of ACIII are present in the Switch port; meanwhile those glitches were fixed in every other release of the remaster. This game seems to be much less of a remaster, and more of a port of the Wii U version with some slight quality of life improvements and a slightly higher resolution while docked, which would be great if the system could maintain a consistent frame rate with that resolution bump.
There are also some odd issues with the audio quality- sounding overly compressed, almost like an old VHS tape at times. Outside of the audio quality the sound design works, and the music is reasonable and fits the environments though you may not find yourself humming tracks from the game after you’ve shut it off. As for graphical quality, this is the worst looking version of Assassin’s Creed III Remastered. It looks slightly better than the Wii U port in places, and there are fairly constant frame rate dips. Portable mode seems to be where this game plays best, as the frame rate is more stable and doesn’t drop 5+ frames at a time unlike playing docked. In docked mode, the frame rate isn’t locked so it can go from 40 to 20 in seconds. Portable mode it sticks around 26-30 while in the streets which offers a better experience if you’re sensitive to sudden frame rate drops. The visuals themselves also appear much better on a small screen, so low resolution textures on doors, etc., will be much less apparent, though that’s not exactly something to praise.
Overall, Assassin’s Creed III Remastered is probably the best portable Assassin’s Creed game, with some caveats. Those who have been dying to play an Assassin’s Creed game on the Switch will probably like this version- it runs better in portable mode and the game is passable, otherwise, if you can look past its graphical and audio issues. Assassin’s Creed Liberation is part of the deal, which can be a drawing point for those who didn’t have a Vita, and the included DLC can keep you pretty busy if you haven’t previously played it as well. Those who actually want their remasters to be, you know, remastered may want to stay away from this particular version of Assassin’s Creed III Remastered, as it’s essentially a Wii U port with the word, “Remastered” erroneously thrown into its title.