Sunday, November 4, 2012

Assassin's Creed III Review

Assassin's Creed III is definitely one of the most anticipated games of the year, and sometimes it proves difficult to live up to that hype. While Brotherhood and Revelations were good games, they didn't really possess that Wow Factor and felt more like expansions for Assassin's Creed II than anything. Assassin's Creed III has been in development for about 2 and a half years, and it definitely shows. This game is amazing.

Instead of focusing on Italy in the 15th and 16th century, Assassin's Creed III gets revolutionary, and leads us to the American Revolution. The past portion of the game follows a new assassin, Connor, as the world around him crumbles as he is part Native American during the revolution. You will passively take part in many of the most famous events in American history such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and more. Connor honestly really never takes sides in the revolution, but definitely kills more Redcoats than Patriots. His main goal is freedom, and takes the oath of an assassin to provide this to everyone, including his tribe. Throughout the game, you not only play as Connor, but another character introduced in this game. As to not spoil anything, he will remain unnamed, but there are many twists and turns revolving around his character. As always with the Assassin's Creed games as well, you play as Desmond trying to prevent the end of the world and fighting the Templars affiliated with Abstergo. There is a decent mix of past and present play and a great variety in the missions that keeps the action fluid with a great story. The references to actual events in history are amazing, and really enjoyable since its much easier to relate to the American Revolution than Italian Renaissance.

The gameplay mechanics in general have been completely reworked, going along with the all new engine running the game, Anvil 2. What this engine allows Ubisoft to do is astounding. Over 1000 NPCs can be rendered and appear onscreen at the same time. This makes Boston and New York, the two major cities that you'll play through, appear the most lively and realistic in any open world game yet. Random events happen left and right, someone drops a box of oranges and a thief runs over to steal them, Redcoats patrol the streets looking for people disobeying the crown. To go along with that new engine, all of Connor's animations have been redone, and even the controls changed a bit to make the gameplay more fluid. Instead of having a dedicated jump button, to freerun, you just hold one button, making it less likely for you to jump at the wrong time or in the wrong direction. Picking up weapons is more fluid, and leads to some of the best looking kills and most fluid chain kills ever. Speaking of kills, Connor employs many different weapons throughout the game, with his most defining and useful being the Tomahawk. It proves to be rather effective at taking down Redcoats with their muskets in hand. One would wonder how an assassin would take out people using guns though, which the game doesn't really struggle with as it allows you to use a human shield of sorts, grabbing a guy to take the shots for you.

Aside from the story missions in Assassin's Creed 3, there's a multitude of side quests to do. Along with the cities of Boston and New York, you have the homestead, which serves as your home area (think Monteriggioni), and the Frontier. The map of the frontier is around 1.5 times the size of all of Brotherhood. As with all Assassin's Creed games, you have things to find and side quests to go on, but with this game, you're able to hunt. This ends up being a fun mechanic, but also very useful as well, allowing you to sell whatever goods can be taken from the animal, but don't forget to skin every animal that you kill, or else the game gets mad! There are liberation missions which free the area from Templar control, and there are Forts to retake from British control as well. The amount of stuff to do once finishing, or to get away from the story, is amazing. There are even naval battles that you can take part in, which pit you as the commander of your own ship, allowing you to sail whenever you want! And while you're playing through all of this extra stuff, its amazing to just stop for a second and admire the beautiful attention to detail that the game possesses. Graphically, this is by far the best looking Assassin's Creed game yet, and really shows what consoles are capable of.

Overall, the hype for this game was well worth it. Take the Assassin's Creed formula, ramp it up by 10x, and add a huge map to explore along with a lot to do and you're going to have a chance at game of the year. The Assassin's Creed games have always had a warm place in my heart, but with the "last" entry into this "trilogy," the series has cemented its place as one of my favorites of all time.

Story - 10
The game revolves around the American Revolution... 'nuff said.
Gameplay - 9.5
The missions are varied, and the controls make for a much more fluid game. Minor glitches.
Graphics – 9.5
The game looks beautiful and the new engine provides an extremely lifelike city experience.
Sound – 9.5
Utilizing actual Native American voice actors adds that extra bit of realism.
Replayability - 10
The game provides numerous hours of extra gameplay, and challenges you to sync 100%.

Overall - 9.5


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