Review: Assassin’s Creed III

assassins-creed-3

The Assassin’s Creed franchise is a bit like The Bold and The Beautiful. While the latter was a soap opera that had everyone sleeping around with everyone else, the former has a story that’s convoluted enough to make the events of Ocean’s Twelve seem understandable in just one viewing. Both of them have something in common, you end up wondering, “what the hell is going on?”.

And you’d think that after four games in the series and a ton of spin-offs that Assassin’s Creed would be done and dusted with. But much like The Bold and The Beautiful it’s got enough going on to keep you interested.

As you’ve come to expect, Desmond Miles has found himself reliving the glory days of one of his many ancient assassin relations. Instead of franchise mascot, the suave Italian hitman Ezio and the lovely European vistas we’ve come to love you have to make do with Connor Kenway, a killer of Native American and English lineage and pre-Independence America.

Compared to Ezio, Connor is a bit of a damp squib without anything quite endearing about him. As for the setting, it’s marvelous. Be it bustling towns or deep forests, the America concocted by Ubisoft has a certain Red Dead Redemption charm going for it. It’s soaked in atmosphere and nuance. From meeting history’s finest minds such as Benjamin Franklin or playing your own little role in events such as the Boston Tea Party, there’s a lot to keep you enthralled.

assassins_creed_3_naval_combat

Naval Battles are a new addition to Assassin’s Creed III and do a good job in keeping you involved.

This extends to the game’s many activities such as battling pirates in ship to ship combat and hunting wild animals. There’s so much to keep you busy that you’ll find yourself perennially distracted from the storyline. Which isn’t such a bad thing since some questionable narrative choices leave you more confused than you first started.

Nonetheless the controls are pretty slick, mimicking the Batman series’ attempts at combat rather well, nearly everything doesn’t need more than the press of a single button to execute.   Traversal is unchanged, series veterans will feel right at home while newbies will quickly come to terms with the responsiveness of jumping from one roof to the next with ease. All said and done, there’s very little to take away from the unbridled joy and satisfaction of a perfect kill in a very public space.

In the looks department, Assassin’s Creed 3 does quite well for most of it. The Anvil Engine shows off how long this generation has lasted in creaky fashion when the game hits a busier, crowded, hectic tempo. Needless to say if you have access to a cutting edge PC you rather play the game on that over the PS3 or Xbox 360. The difference is immense. Furthermore the camera takes a leave of absence during key moments such as sword fights. These issues take away from what is one of the more detailed and atmospheric titles we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing in a long while.

When you’re done saving the world you can stab your friends in multiplayer. This series staple since Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has evolved by leaps and bounds. Usually you’d be tasked with murdering other players with the emphasis of not being caught as that would alert them to your presence and allow them to retaliate which is fun in itself. Aside from thisT are two new modes. Domination, which allows you to hold areas of the map and Wolf-pack wherein your friends and you sync your mayhem across multiple events. Peppered with a healthy number of unlocks a la COD and you have a heady multiplayer stealth fix that is unique and well worth the price of admission.

City design in ACIII is excellent. One of the best we've seen.

City design in ACIII is excellent. One of the best we’ve seen.

Assassin’s Creed 3 is a superlative attempt all things considered. With Ubisoft having the series on a tight yearly schedule we’re surprised to see that they’ve managed to keep things consistent. It’s a fun pre-America adventure that has enough to keep you going. We just hope that the confusing plot pays off at the end of it all. Worth a purchase and definitely worth your time.

WHAT’S ILL

  • Slick controls
  • Awesome environments
  • Fantastic multiplayer

WHAT’S NOT

  • Glitchy camera
  • You need a high-end PC to really see what it’s capable of
  • “WTF is going on?!” narrative

RATING

Gameplay Progression:  8/10
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 8/10
Unique Selling Proposition: 8/10
illFactor: 9/10

Final Score: 8.7/10 

This review represents the PC Version of the game.

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