I have always admired the Assassin’s Creed series for its accomplishments. The story is intriguing, and the series revolutionized stealth game play in many ways. After Brotherhood, I became somewhat bored, especially with Ezio. Now that Assassin’s Creed III is here with an all new main character and a new time period, I can jump back into the series with a fresh perspective.
Desmond Miles and his small band of assassins are using the Aminus once again to find a key that may be the only thing that can stop the apocalypse from happening. Desmond now travels to the 1700s in the British colonies in North America on the brink of a revolution. Assuming the role of one of his ancestors named Connor, he relives the young man’s life to see exactly where this key may be.
When most people hear the name Assassin’s Creed, they think of climbing, free-running, assassination kills and historical locations and people. AC3 has all of what you would come to expect in an Assassin’s Creed game. Set during the American Revolution, you will run into the likes of George Washington, Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin. Since Connor is a half Native American, growing up with his tribe has allowed him to hone his hunting skills that he takes into battle with him. Traversing the environment is handled a little differently in AC3. Since this is the early days of the North American settlements, there aren’t too many high standing buildings around, but there are a lot of trees and wooded areas. Connor can swing, jump and climb trees with ease, giving him the high ground without compromising speed.
The combat has had some improvements as well. It seems the developers took some notes when they sat down and played Rocksteady’s latest Batman title. Connor can automatically counter attacks with the quick press of a button. Follow a counter with an attack, and you can string combos together. After making a kill, you can string together quick kills if an enemy is in range. Some enemies are smarter than others, and you must disarm them before going in for the kill. When surrounded by a large group of enemies, it feels almost like a puzzle game when trying to figure out the best way to approach a skirmish.
The new frontier has its own additions to the game play. You obtain a homestead that you can upgrade with workers and buildings. Here you can create items to sell to traders for coin or create new things for your inventory. Hunting game in the wild is another addition. You can trap, track and kill animals in the wild that you can then skin. Hides can be sold or used as parts for crafting. The homestead and hunting are almost a full game by themselves.
Yet another new addition to the game is the naval battles you can participate in. They are introduced rather early and will have you adjusting speeds and managing wind currents in order to navigate properly. You can upgrade your ship with better equipment to survive the deadly attacks on your vessel. The naval combat is fun and simple to understand.
That is one thing for which I have to give this game credit. They seem to explain everything in nicely without ever overcomplicating things. I never came to a mission in which I didn’t know what to do, and with the combat as simplistic as it is, getting into a fight wasn’t a chore at all. The fluid animations and free running feel just right, and with only a few hiccups here and there, make getting around a cinch.
The game features a pretty robust multiplayer as well. The always-fun Assassinate mode is back, pitting you against others on a quest for the best kills while opponents hide in a crowd of similar-looking NPCs. The new Wolf Pack mode is a co-op affair that scales to how many players are available. Taking out targets with your friends is always a fun time, and it all plays out in good Assassin’s Creed fashion.
The game looks amazing on the PC, and the frame rate problems are pretty much nonexistent in this version of the game. Granted, that is if your PC is pretty beefed up. The draw distance is fantastic, and the overall look and presentation of the characters and menus is top notch.
Now, the game isn’t perfect. The PC version may be the best looking version out there, but glitches will happen. Sometimes they are funny, small glitches, while some are game breaking. I had an NPC following me to a destination, and he decided to get stuck in the floor forcing me to restart the mission. The game may be simple to understand, but it’s difficult to master. There are many missions in which if you are spotted, you will fail automatically. These can become a frustrating chore. While the free running is improved, there are still times I was trying to run and ended up accidentally hitting a wall, which in turn started a climbing animation. While there are some nice mission structures, you will still run into the same general types often. I just wish it were more varied.
The options for the PC players are nice, and there is controller support for the players that prefer to play that way. The 360 controller is fully supported and even has the buttons mapped out for the game play.
Assassin’s Creed III rekindled my love for the series. The new setting and characters were a great welcome for me, and the story was well told through some great writing and voice acting. There are some complications here and there that can bog the player down, but for the most part, the amount of content you get in this game is a steal for the price. The PC version is by far the best way to go if you have the rig for it, and the options for the PC players are satisfying.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.