The recently released Assassin’s Creed III marks a pivotal point in the award-winning series. For the last three games we have been following the adventures of Ezio Auditore as he battles the Templars and unravels the mystery of Those That Came Before.
To mark Altair – from the first game – passing the baton to Ezio, Ubisoft released special editions of Assassin’s Creed II, the black and white editions. These special editions contained a hand-painted statue of Ezio Auditore either in his white or his black garb. I published an unboxing article at the time for Game Console, which I’ve recently republished here.
Assassin’s Creed Revelations bought Ezio’s journey to a close. And to mark the occasion Ubisoft published another special version of the game, the Assassin’s Creed Revelations Animus Edition. This version of the game included a hardback encyclopedia covering all the first four games. I published an unboxing of this special version on this website, which you can find here.
For Assassin’s Creed III we are introduced to a new protagonist, Ratonhnhaké:ton (pronounced Ra-doon-ha-gay-doon) but better known as Connor Kenway. It is only fitting that Ubisoft celebrate the event with another statue-laden special edition.
The Assassin’s Creed III Freedom Edition is one of six premium versions of the game and comes complete with a host of goodies. As is fast becoming tradition on State of Play I bring to you, for your enjoyment, the Assassin’s Creed III Freedom Edition unboxing.
The Assassin’s Creed III Freedom Edition comes in a big box, not as big as last years Skyrim Collector’s Edition but it’s big, nevertheless.
The back of the box displays all the goodies enclosed within. The Assassin’s Creed III Freedom Edition comes complete with a 24cm statue of Conner Kenway standing atop and snow-covered rock outcrop, poised ready to strike, with the American flag of the time behind him. Also in the pack is an artbook/George Washington’s notebook, two lithographs and an exclusive Alex Ross illustrated steelbook. As well as the Assassin’s Creed game itself, the Freedom Edition also contains the “Ghost of War” and “Lost Mayan Ruins” singleplayer missions as well as the “Sharpshooter” multiplayer character.
The slipcase sleeve comes off to reveal a rather interesting faux-wood collectors box adorned with the emblem of the assassins.
Slipping the lid off reveals the well protected figurine and the other goodies.
The small compartment holds the exclusive steelbook, the envelope containing the two lithographs, George Washington’s notebook and the game itself.
Even in its packaging the Connor statue looks good.
The cover of Washington’s notebook is emblazoned with the symbol of the assassins’ order. Which is interesting as Washington was really a Freemason – the self-styled descendants of the Templar Knights. As well as Washington’s note and pictures, some of which are gate-fold images, there are also some hidden pages that need to a cut open to view. The geek in me can’t bring myself to cut the book, so I’ve no idea what the notebook’s secrets are.
If I did want to cut open the book and reveal Washington’s secrets I could used the bookmark/letter opener included.
The notebook is full of rather lovely painted images, which are obviously production art pieces. Nevertheless, they highlight the amount of effort that Ubisoft has put into creating the game.
More of that beautiful battlefield art.
Whilst not in the same class as last year’s Assassin’s Creed Encyclopedia, this little soft-bound notebook does hold a treasure-trove of gorgeous artwork along with some text that should appeal to anyone wishing to take the historical context of the game further.
The package contained an intriguing envelope containing two lithographs. To be honest, I was a little disappointed. As nice as these production images are, they do not depict what I’d call iconic scenes from the game. I didn’t go ‘wow, I must frame them and put them on the lounge wall’. Still, they’re not bad.
I’m a great fan of comic-book artist Alex Ross. I’ve followed his work all the way back since The Terminator: The Burning Earth. I consider his work on Marvels and Kingdom Gone to be some of the best comic-book art ever. I can’t say that this images is a great bit of Ross’s work, in any case, I’m not a fan of steelbooks, I just don’t see the point of them. Saying that I’d prefer a steelbook than having a special edition with the game disc stuffed into a cardboard sleeve, like they did with the Uncharted 3 Explorer Edition.
The big draw for the Freedom Edition is, of course the 24cm high Conner figurine. Straight out of the protective packaging, the figurine is in three pieces; the main statuette, the flag and a carbon-fibre flag pole.
The flag pushed into the pole really easily and the pole fit in the base nice and snug. What I didn’t notice right away was the little rotating blade on Conner’s left wrist which still had the band securing it place when I took these photos. Don’t worry I remove it later.
The figurine’s level of detail is astonishing although, like all these collector’s pieces, they are let down by the eyes. Why can’t anyone paint eyes properly? To be fair, they aren’t as bad as this photo makes them look, but they are still scary. Thankfully, as with the Ezio figurine, the cowl obscures his eyes with shadow.
Ignoring those eyes, more of that great detailing. Note the real bowstring and the intricate detail on the snake-skin armband.
The detail on Conner’s the bow and his quiver is pretty special. Also, check out the blood in the snow.
The figurine is extremely well painted, the best I’ve seen on a gaming collectible; only the Ezio figurine from the Assassin’s Creed II Black Edition has come close. You can see the tiny bits of the detail on the quiver really well in the image above.
In this photo you can see Conner’s twin flintlock pistols and his leather pouches. Check out the wood-effect on the bow.
Here you can see one of Conner’s pistols. They are so finely detailed it is difficult to tell if they are cast in the same lump of plastic as the rest of the figurine or if they are a separate part glued on.
Conner’s rotating blade, that I didn’t realise was still wrapped with a band when I first took the photos, is a delicate part that I can see easily getting lost.
So there you go. The Assassin’s Creed III Freedom Edition Conner figurine is bay far the most impressive collectible piece I’ve received as part of a premium game pack. The level of detail is exquisite and I could stare at in for hours. The eyes are a bit odd, but you don’t see them unless you pretty much turn the figure over.
As with all these special editions the best bit is, of course, the game itself. If we weren’t interested in the game, the special edition would be wasted on us. Assassin’s Creed III for the Xbox 360 comes on two discs; one disc for the campaign and the other for the multiplayer. Included in every new copy of the game is a special Ubisoft Uplay Pass code to unlock the game’s multiplayer mode.The Freedom Edition also comes with two lots of bundled DLC. The first, the Special Edition DLC content, entitled A Dangerous Secret, features a single player sea-based mission “Sinking a Secret” which unlocks the Pirate Flintlock Musket weapon for Conner to use. The Freedom Edition DLC features two single player missions and some multiplayer content. The fist mission “Lost Mayan Ruins” takes Conner to the northern tip of South America in search of Captain Kidd’s sawtooth cutlass; this mission is very similar to the platform levels in previous Assassin’s Creed titles. “Ghost of War” is another 20 minutes of extra gameplay which will reward players with Obwandiyag’s war club. The Multiplayer Sharpshooter Pack includes a new character, the Sharpshooter as well as a new relic, emblem, picture and title.
The Assassin’ Creed III Freedom Edition offers pretty good value for money. You are paying about AU$50 over the cost of just the game alone, which is worth it just for the Conner figurine. George Washington’s notebook is an interesting addition; even if you are not going to read Washington’s handwritten notes, the book does feature some nice production images. The lithographs I could take or leave, as I could the steelbook. The DLC will give you an extra hours worth of gameplay.
Conner plays well with Ezio from the Assassin’s Creed Black Edition, as both figurines share the same scale and quality of detail.
I’m currently playing though Assassin’s Creed III and will be reviewing the game for New Zealand’s Techday.com. If you want to find out what my thoughts are on the game so far, check out last week’s Vic B’Stard’s week in review, here.