Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: Playstation 3, Xbox360, PC
Release Date: Out Now
Opening in an opera house watching a rendition of ‘The Beggars Opera’, Assassins Creed 3 allows players to drink in the full scope and clarity of this, the finale of the series. Ubisoft really want to finish the series with a graceful bow, and with a lengthy prologue covering the opera house to an expedition to colonial America, players can’t argue with the epic scope of the project.
Sheer size doesn’t make the game. What does, however, is the finely tuned continent crafted to not only suit the traditional gameplay of the franchise, but to open up and explore why this gameplay is so fun and engaging with a variety of new ideas, from sea battles to the magnificent battle of Bunker Hill. Assuming the role of a Native American descendent, Connor Kenway, players follow his entire life span, which consequently allows hours and hours of interaction with the open world frontier crafted by the new ‘Anvil Engine’. In terms of the actual story, the franchise’s unique blend of fiction fused with historical events are entertaining, mixing some superb voice acting with well-paced scripting, Connor’s fable doing justice to his predecessors. Coupled with the mercifully short Desmond scenes and the overblown finale, these emerge as the weakest fragments of the package.
The series’ bread and butter, free running and combat, is as entertaining as it was back in 2007, the two button parry system made more entertaining with some brutal and bloodthirsty kill animations. Free running through the American wilderness is also a highlight, with the changing scenery and seasons making for some breathtaking expanses. The former outweighs the latter however in terms of playability, as open combat takes centre stage for the first time in the series. Frustration, however comes from the pace and predictability of the main story. The start stop, start stop style of expanding the story is not only irritating, but also limits the promise of the ‘open world’ system.
This ‘open world’ is just that, an entire continent full with a variety of options on how to spend your time, yet the main distraction comes in the form of captaining your own ship. An incredibly cinematic experience, it’s mildly puzzling just how quickly Connor has picked up naval tactics and the general running of a full blown ship.
With so many things going on within the game, a lack of structure is prevalent, and it becomes quite clear that ideas were not fully thought out to their potential. Despite these shortcomings, it’s a fitting end to one of the most important action series of the last decade.
By Jack Walsh