Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Overview and Review: Assassin’s Creed III US Limited Edition (Gamestop Edition for PS3) (w/ Pics)

Note: This is a review of the Limited Edition’s Content and not the game itself.

Controller for Scale

            Considering that I do not get paid or reimbursed in any way to write my blog, I have to choose my reviews carefully. These things, quite frankly, are usually overpriced. So, even though I am a gigantic fan of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, it was not without some serious consideration that I chose to take a chance on the ACIII LE. This is the most expensive single-game Limited Edition that I have chosen to review and the fear of being ripped off was a very legitimate one.
At 120 dollars plus tax, Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed III Limited Edition is a tough sell. Being twice the price of a brand new game, Ubisoft has to give fans enough content in this Limited Edition to justify not just going out and buying a second game from the crowded holiday release schedule. Did they succeed? Let’s find out. 

What’s Included:
1) Assassin’s Creed III Gamestop Edition)
2) Assassin’s Creed III Belt Buckle
3) George Washington’s Journal
4) Assassin’s Creed III Colonial Flag
5) Connor Statue
6) Mayan Temple and Sawtooth Sword DLC (Gamestop Exclusive)
7) Benedict Arnold Missions DLC (Exclusive to PS3 Edition) 

Box and Slipcover

            A package’s design needs to accomplish a variety of different jobs. The two most important jobs are to look attractive on the shelf and to protect the contents locked within. On both fronts, the ACIII Limited Edition’s box succeeds.
            If this box were on a shelf, I would definitely want to pick it up and get a closer look. The box is subtle yet striking. Unlike many recent editions, the box for ACIII is not particularly fancy or decorative. This is good news for the consumer. Decorative boxes are rarely well done and even when they are, the amount of money spent on the decoration is money that probably could have been better spent elsewhere or left out entirely to pass savings on to the buyer.  
            The ACIII box manages to be striking without being fancy by relying on the strength of the franchise’s artwork. Except for a plastic slipcover that contains content information and various logos, the box is a simple rectangular prism with the ACIII logo on two sides and images of Connor on the other two. It’s nothing special, but it doesn’t need to be when the promotional art is of such good quality.

Great Artwork

Great Artwork

            As for the ability to protect what’s inside, the box is made of a very rigid cardboard. Inside is a plastic blister to hold the statue and a small cardboard tray that folds closed like a book. The tray holds the game, the journal, the flag, and the buckle. Everything except the buckle feels nice and secure inside of the tray. The buckle is a bit too heavy and moves about the underside of the tray, but that’s okay because the buckle is in no danger of being damaged (it’s pretty sturdy).

Simple but Sturdy

Fold Open Tray
            Something, which I believe needs a bit of attention brought to it, is the box for the actual game. This box is the Gamestop Edition for the PS3. That means it has two extra logos printed onto the cover insert. One is the Gamestop logo and the other is a giant red circle with information about 4 exclusive missions. These are the kinds of logos that were smartly relegated to the plastic slipcover of the limited edition’s box. These logos might be important for shoppers, but are of no value to collectors. It would have been nice if Ubisoft had afforded us with a reversible insert that was without the ugly logos.

NOT a sticker?!!

Thanks Gamestop!

            That said, the box, as a whole, is attractive and functional; doing no more or no less than is asked of it.

DLC (Gamestop and PS3 Exclusives):

            I have never been a particularly big fan of DLC being a major part of a special edition. Such inclusions are usually just in the form of disc locked content (there are a few exceptions) and only serve to make the regular edition of a game worse instead of making the special edition better. It is with great joy that I inform you that none of the included DLC is actually part of the ACIII Limited Edition. The two download codes included are courtesy of Gamestop and Sony.

DLC Card for Gamestop Edition

            As suspected, the Gamestop Mayan Mission and Sword come in the form of a 100Kb file. This means that it is just an unlock code for content already on the disc. I have not yet played this mission but if it is anything like previous DLC missions for the franchise it will be a pleasant distraction that adds a very limited amount of extra gameplay. Should this not be the case, I will update this part of the review.

PS3 Exclusive DLC Card

            The PS3 missions promise an hour’s worth of gameplay revolving around Benedict Arnold. This content came in the form of a 108Mb download and promises to be more involving than the Gamestop content. If it is anything like Brotherhood’s Copernicus missions, it will be a fun addition that is more than worth while without being absolutely necessary. Again, if this turns out not to be the case, I will update this part of the review.
            Before I move on, I’d like to remind everyone that, to the best of my knowledge, all of the DLC for previous games eventually made its way to the PSN and Xbox Live. All of it, that is, except for the PS3 exclusive Copernicus missions. Though DLC is nice, it is, at least here, not a make or break part of this Limited Edition as it is not even technically part of the Limited Edition. Those who want the Benedict Arnold should make sure they buy ACIII new for the PS3. Those wanting the Gamestop content will likely be able to get it sometime down the line.

Belt Buckle:

There’s no better feeling than taking out the plastic bag that the belt buckle is housed in and finding a shiny little “made in China” sticker placed upon it. This is the same high quality sticker that we find on cheap toys and trinkets and it does not instill much confidence in what will soon be taken out of the packaging.

Made in China!

The belt buckle turns out to be of much better quality than the products that usually have the shiny “made in China” stickers on them. The buckle is well sculpted. It has a brushed and glossy look with a black wash used to accent the details. It feels lighter than it probably should when compared with most store bought belt buckles. It’s not light enough to feel cheap, but it’s not heavy enough to feel like it’s not cheap either. At the very least, it feels like it will work well as a legitimate belt buckle.

Fully Functional Buckle

Nice Looking Logo

Which is good news, because the buckle looks really good. It has the Assassin’s Creed III logo on it. Though there is little chance of using the buckle for cosplay purposes because Connor is likely unaware that he is in Assassin’s Creed part III, wearing the buckle will let all the cool kids out there know that you too are a fan of Assassin’s Creed.

George Washington’s Journal:

            When the US Limited Edition was first announced, the George Washington Journal was not listed as one of the included pieces of content. Later, Ubisoft decided to include it without raising the originally quoted price of the edition. Now that I’ve gotten my hands on this odd inclusion, I’m quite glad that Ubisoft found a way to offer it to US customers.
            The journal is about the size of a PS3 controller (appox. 7.5x5 inches). It is a soft cover affair with 68 pages worth of content. The journal’s cover has a texturing on it that makes it look like it’s made out of worn leather. The pages are made of a thick paper stock with a matte finish. The pages have coloring that makes them look old and worn. The effect is a successful one. The Journal looks great.

Paper pretending to be Leather

I have heard people describe the journal as being a method for delivering concept art and those people are at least half right. There is a good deal of high quality concept art held within the journal, but there is also a fair amount of fiction and exploration put into it as well. The journal chronicles George Washington’s experiences during the game’s timeline. It mostly sounds accurate and believable even though it gets admittedly goofy whenever Washington brings up Connor.

Concept Art

Plus Story

Lots of Story!

The standout part of the journal is from the way it is seemingly bound incorrectly. The journal contains a few pages that have been folded. At first, the thought is that the pages are fold-outs (as there are a few fold outs included), but when one tries to unfold these folded pages, it becomes evident that both ends are glued into the binding of the book. The pages are inaccessible. I thought that this might have been a manufacturing error, but decided to just call it a wash and cut the pages open instead of trying to return the set. The first cut open section of the book included information about how to hide secrets in text and also a few random secretive symbols. It was at that point that I figured that these pages must have been purposefully bound together in order to force buyers to cut them open.

Regular Fold-Out Pages

Some WON'T Fold Out!

Time to CUT IT OPEN!


After checking threads on Gamefaqs, I was directed to this FAQ that confirms my belief about the journal being purposefully created with hidden content. The FAQ mentions a bookmark that was not included in the US edition, but my x-acto knife was more than up to the task. I have never come across something so undeniably cool in my experiences with video game special editions. The George Washington Journal is full of win.

Assassin’s Creed Flag:

            The Assassin flag’s design is almost exactly like the design of the original flag used by American Colonists. The only difference is the Assassin logo inside of the circle of stars. Even though, or maybe because, there is only that one major difference, the flag looks great.
            The flag is huge. It measures 28x48 inches. It is made out of 100% polyester. The fabric has that polyester sheen to it and that makes it look a little cheap. It would have been nice if Ubisoft had decided to make the flag out of cotton, but polyester was probably done for purely financial reasons so there’s not much use in criticizing the choice.

Controller for Scale

            The flag is made of many different pieces of fabric sewed together instead of just being one giant dyed piece of fabric. For those that might have been worried, this is NOT just a giant wallscroll. It’s an actual flag that even comes with metal rings with which to be hung from. The stars and the logo are embroidered onto the flag and look mostly good. I’m not sure if quality control is a large issue with the flag, but I do know that on mine, a small part of the logo and one of the stars was already coming undone when I took it out of the package. For fear of having the embroidery continue to unravel, I decided to put a few drops of super glue on the parts that were coming undone and then painting them so that they didn’t look clear (the way crazy glue makes things look clear). The end result is that my flag has a few extra white looking parts. It’s not the end of the world, but it does put a damper on what should have been a perfect inclusion. As it stands, however, it’s still a very original and clever inclusion.

Stitched Together

Metal Rings for Hanging

Embroidered Stars are Cool 

Unless they're falling apart

Fixed using Sharpie White Paint Pen and Crazy Glue

The Statue:

Controller for Scale

            Why waste time making you wonder. The statue is incredible. It is simply incredible. The statue stands at 9 inches tall. Connor is permanently attached to the base. The statue is made of various strengths of plastics. The paint application is well done without much slop to speak of. The statue is THE stand out piece in this Limited Edition.

Red Paint is Shiny

Base has spongey tabs

Great detailing

More Great Details

More Details

            The statue is based on concept art for Assassin’s Creed III. It’s the same concept art that was later altered by Alex Ross for the cover of the pre-order steelbook. It is a great piece of artwork and the statue perfectly transfers that design to the third dimension. The statue is almost all one large piece but there are a few parts that come off. The two guns can be removed from the holsters. The flag is made of a pole and flag portion that must be attached to the base. The hidden blade is a knife that can be spun around and removed. The tomahawk can be removed from Connor’s hand and can even be replaced with one of the aforementioned guns. Lastly, even though it’s not really a piece you should remove, I am happy to say that the bow’s string is an actual piece of string.

Blade? What Blade?


That Blade

You can Replace Tomahawk with Gun

Pieces that come off
Bow string is real String

            As I already said, the statue is incredible. There is nothing that I dislike about this amazing Limited Edition inclusion.

Simply Amazing


            Time for the final question. Is this set worth twice the asking price of the regular edition of the game? Are the extras included worth 60 dollars? If we itemize the value of the set, yes. The belt buckle feels like it would probably be 15 bucks out in the real world. The journal would probably be 7 bucks. The flag would probably go for about 20 dollars. The statue, is very easy to figure the value for because Ubisoft has actually released a comparable statue for 60 dollars. All of that content is obviously worth 60 dollars to Ubisoft. Is it worth 60 dollars to the fan? Even though the content can be valued at more than the mark-up, a fan has to ask if all that content is something that one would actually want to purchase outside of the Limited Edition.
            For me, I can safely say, yes. I would very much want to purchase all of the included memorabilia. All of the inclusions are winners and that itself helps to sell this Limited Edition. If you are a fan of Assassin’s Creed and can spare the extra cash, this is a worthwhile addition to your collection.
            The Assassin’s Creed III Limited Edition comes highly recommended. 120 bucks well spent.

Go out and Buy it!




WViking said...

Thanks for the review.

enesis said...

your blog will be a place for me to consider buying

Looking for another review / unboxing