Toss this version into a hay pile.
The Nintendo Switch version of Assassin’s Creed III Remastered is the version I most wanted to play after hearing the initial announcement. The idea of taking a last-gen console Assassin’s Creed game and putting it on Switch sounded totally within the realm of possibility. And having played through the PC and console versions of Assassin’s Creed III Remastered for review, I was excited to have that same experience. Unfortunately, it turns out to be an ugly mess that barely looks better than it did on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and yet somehow runs worse.
Much like the recent Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package, Assassin’s Creed III Remastered runs terribly in docked mode whenever anything happens. It’s incredibly noticeable in the opening scene, as the camera pans over the full opera house. The framerate drops way below 30fps, and at times looks like it’s struggling to hit 10fps. Outside of the detailed and busy opera house, it doesn’t fare much better. Animations, which already look dated, are made even worse by the lousy framerate.
The 720p screen is small enough I barely noticed the loss of detail.
But, also like Saints Row: The Third, there’s a caveat here: in handheld mode, Assassin’s Creed III looks decent and runs acceptably. The 720p screen is small enough I barely noticed the loss of detail relative to the PS4 or ultra-high-definition PC versions on things like the buildings and character models. Some of the cutscenes are missing details, which I’d anticipated after seeing the Switch version of Mortal Kombat 11. It’s not as egregious, but the opening cutscene which takes place in the van makes it look like the characters are driving through the thickest fog this side of Silent Hill.
It’s also extremely dark, no matter what mode it’s in. In handheld mode, I ended up having to adjust the brightness on my Switch to near its peak after getting lost in the inky black abyss of the cave leading into the temple because it was impossibly dark. I didn’t experience that issue on PS4 or PC.
When docked, I had to turn up the brightness in the menu, which created a washed-out effect, like it was overexposed, and then made darker to compensate. I could have adjusted my television, sure, but then everything else would have been out of whack when I went to watch TV.
Sound is also a disaster. Switching between scenes, entering and exiting buildings, and even pausing or bringing up the menu wheel causes the audio to turn briefly into a rough recreation of a 28.8k modem making its initial connection to an AOL server.
The rest of the improvements over the original version are here, like better menus and map icons. I liked playing Assassin’s Creed III Remastered when I reviewed it for PC and PS4, but even with the improvements carried over, the technical issues make the Switch the least of all the versions. I wouldn’t quite go so far as to say that you’d be better off revisiting it in last-gen, but it’s a really close call.