in my opinion: no, it's not.
- I miss the whole recruiting stuff. I did it once because it was part of the storyline, and I also did the assassins signal once because it was part of the storyline. never used it since.
- I am 100% disappointed for the vendors not making any sense. I did not upgrade my gear ONCE throughout the entire game. this was one part of the motivation for me with ac2, brotherhood and revelations. I ended up with over 100k and I may have bought that one dagger that was better than my tomahawk, but that's pretty much it.
- the controls were made easier. but I also miss them. I liked the active-blocking-and-then-counter stuff. now it's more ore less smashing one button and try to hit it in the right millisecond.
- I completely hate the fact that you can dress in whatever color you want, but in the cutscenes you have the default clothes on. bulls**t.
- since the area is more spread and not a big, clustered city like Rom or Istanbul were, the actual main part of AC - climbing the shit out of the city - is not as motivating as it used to be. and the eased fast traveling makes you just fast travel wherever you want to be instead of running over all the roofs.
- climbing on and through trees is fun. but you soon realize, it is only possible with a certain setup of trees. you often end up running in a half-circle through the trees and even though traveling by tree is faster than on the ground, it ends up taking longer anyways. it is not really a free running.
- towers and trees and thus "lifting the fog on the map" is shit. imagine the map as big as your screen, and by synchronizing with a tower or a tree you make a 2 inch circle around your position visible, along with two feathers and one challenge-stuff-thing. that is demotivating as its best. you can discover everything by simply running everything manually, but that is not fun either.
- and last but not least, compared to Rom and Istanbul, whereas you - theoretically - could discover everything after the first two hours of story, and could do all side quests, and do like everything the fuck you want to... you can't do that here. firstly, because the first like 10? hours or so you aren't even fully grown connor or even connor yourself, then you can't go to boston yet, then you can't go to NYC yet, you feel so limited at the start... and once you can go everywhere, seriously, the main story line is more fun than anything else by that point.
- the end of desmond's story. it's like you play the game for 30-40 hours to finally see the grand finale, and then you get smashed in the face and it is over. I sat in front of my monitor and I was like "that's it? dafuq?". I really was disappointed. still fighting with my inner turmoil whether this or Mass Effect 3 was the worst ending in a video game ever.
- I almost forgot: playing the mill game (it's really hard, your opponents always make their best move, regardless of what you do) and opening chests. that minigame to open chests is just retarded. after all, I found a way how to manage it, but it still is retarded. they could've done this with buttons (press the right combinations) or something, but no, they choose to do it via analogsticks and (even more retarded) for mouse/keyboard players with the mouse via x and y axis. and if you move the x axis by 1 mm after you locked it and you try the y axis, you have to start all over again. this is frustrating in any way imaginable.
that's about the bad part of AC3.
what is good then?
- graphics + atmosphere. you see it every now and then that it is not top of the hill graphics anymore, but it looks damn good and you really feel like you are back then in that country.
- size: the size of that one region-in-the-middle is HUGE. try to circle it by foot once, you'll take half an hour at least. and then there is boston, nyc, and your homeland, and all of them are really big as well. I'd say, AC3 has more area to discover, than brotherhood and revelations together. and both of them were immense.
- the story of connor: besides the fact, that it takes some time before it really gets the drive, the story is phenomenal. plots here, plots there, twists here, twists there, bad events here, good events here, it is just genius.
- the story of desmond: real good ending of the complete desmond story. you get ALOT of background information, you will do more than just run around in 10y distance of the animus. it could've been perfect. if it would not have been for the very end itself (see above). although I really liked these animus-part-story-thingy from revelations.
- all the characters within (connor's) the story. you feel with connor, with haythem, with that old dude (I forgot his name), even the guy I was collecting the relics for seems reasonable. all the guys on your homestead, you mostly rescue them first, then they live with you. you have a connection with them, and after all, a reason why they live there.
- sea fights. easily the best feature of AC3. if I could've decided, they could've make the game a sea fight simulator. They should sell the engine and make a pirates-of-the-carribean-game. it would be 100% plausible.
I played it for the story, and the story (except desmond's ending) is extremely motivating and fun. there are also some sidequests and -actions who are really fun. the graphics are (considered the age of the engine) superb, the atmosphere comes close to far cry 3 (each in its own setting of course). and because of this, AC3 is a really, really good game. but the downsides are too major to make it the best game of the series. I'd rate it revelations >= brotherhood > ac2 > ac3 > ac1. AC1 was sometimes just too hard. AC2 made a lot things better, and bro and rev both improved the things what AC2 made already well. AC3 made after all not THAT much major things wrong (the fight controls being the one major thing that comes to my mind), but a whole lot of minor things, which adds up at the end. it's like telling the devs, don't screw shit up that worked for 3 games, but they did nevertheless just for the sake of "changing stuff".
tl;dr of tl;dr:
I would've liked it more, if the game would've been the same as brotherhood and/or revelations (mechanics/gameplay wise), with the only change being some animations, the graphics, and the story ofc.