Assassin’s Creed III lets you take up the fight for the liberation of the Colonies during the American War of Independence. The Animus plants you firmly into the life of Connor, the half-English, half-Native American assassin. Much like Ezio, the story follows Connor for a large chunk of his life.
Much of the main story focuses on the war between the loyalists (English), and the colonials (American settlers). Connor is for independence! More importantly he continues the age-old fight between the Assassins and the Templar Order. Without giving too much away, the lines between the two sides are more blurred than ever before.
Assassin’s Creed III lets you explore the frontier lands, including New York and Boston as the American’s fight for their freedom. There is a lot to see, do and collect.
While the game is massively ambitious, and a lot of fun to play it does have problems: there are some issues with its physics engine, muskets hover in the air, people get stuck in the floor/ground and often vanish from sight.
While these glitches by no means ruin the game, they do detract from the sense of world-immersion.
Much of the fun to be had in Assassin’s Creed III comes from the side missions and activities that you can carry out away from the main plot. You can and probably will spend hours on these side missions.
The main story line is also great fun; there are some brilliant moments to be found in the main missions, including many great historic events in America’s history. I would imagine anyone with an interest in the War of Independence would get a special kick out of it.
Combat and free-running have both been simplified for ACIII, combat has now become a parry-counter affair, and free-running is much more automatic than before. It makes for a streamlined experience but does take away some of the flair that was present in Ezio’s outings.
Flintlock pistols and a bow and arrow have been included into the arsenal. This marks something of a departure, as they are much less subtle than the old weapons. (I include the hidden gun attachment and the crossbow in that statement). It makes sense as Connor is fighting a war; it’s not a very subtle business.
One of the best features added to Assassin’s Creed III is the naval warfare missions. Ubisoft made a bold, ballsey move adding this element. Connor takes the helm as Captain of the privateer vessel ‘Aquila’, rather aptly named (two-headed eagle).
There is something massively entertaining about sliding up on the broadside of a British frigate and firing a volley that sends them down into the depths. The naval missions including some of my favourite highlights of the entire game: including crippling a ship then boarding it. Connor’s captain outfit is pretty badass too.
The cat and mouse style multiplayer puts in an appearance again. It is very similar to what we got in the previous Assassin’s Creed games. It is quite fun, stalking your target while avoiding your own pursuer. It takes the stealth aspects and applies them to the online world. It is rather slow at times but it is a challenging, unique multiplayer experience.
When the original Assassin’s Creed was released, I remember reading a review that summed up the game as “flawed genius”. Well I would say that as the series has progressed, it has improved drastically. Assassin’s Creed III is genius, and game-changing on an epic scale, but it is still flawed.
That said, not since the days (and weeks) spent on Skyrim have I found a game so addictive and enjoyable.
Many of the missions, both side and main, feature bonus objectives, things like using a certain weapon to assassinate a foe, or completing an objective within a set time limit. You need to complete all the bonus objectives to achieve full synchronization.
I found these to be rather hit and miss. Occasionally they introduced a challenging, cinematic element to a mission. Making the action more dramatic or satisfying. But the majority of the time it created a frustrating restriction on game-play, forcing you into a course of action that you would not normally use. An example of this is being prompted to ram an enemy boat during the naval missions, when you have a perfectly good set of cannons.
Connor manages to step from under the shadow of Ezio, and carve out an enthralling and action-packed story. The game-play is very similar to previous incarnations. However the timely inclusion of naval warfare and hunting elements have prevented the series from growing stale. Assassin’s Creed III is an absolute must. It is bold, blood soaked and completely addictive.