Assassin's Creed 3 review
With Assassins’ Creed 3, Ubisoft is back. After several years of minor sequels with Brotherhood and Revelations, all centred around smooth Italian operator Ezio Auditore, we’ve finally leapt forward to a new historical era once more. This time you’re Connor, a half English, half Native American (long story), caught up in the American War of Independence of the 1770s and 1780s. The stealth gameplay boasts refined controls and a whole new world to creep and stab through. But the last two outings on consoles suffered from diminishing returns – is it any good?
If the last two Assassin’s games started to feel more and more claustrophobic, Assassin’s Creed 3’s vast cities, plains and forests are a breath of fresh air. Literally. You’ll spend as much time up in the trees (and even at sea as) you will on rooftops of Boston and New York), on the hunt for Georgian Templars.
At its core, the gameplay remains the same: silently hunt your prey and escape, and it remains as satisfying as ever. But this time round, the scope is vast: you’ll be playing for three or four hours before the main character is even introduced (though be sure to pay attention, as this climaxes in a huge plot twist, setting the scene for the main act).
And when you’re done with the single player campaign, the new co-op mode keeps you coming back for more. Wolf Pack is hugely fun, letting you team up to take down AI characters.
It’s also worth mentioning that Assassins Creed 3 will be available on the Nintendo Wii U at launch, instantly giving Nintendo a title to satisfy hardcore gamers for the first time years.
Ubisoft’s New World is a lot more open than the towering cities of Renaissance Italy and Constantinople, so there’s lots more travelling horizontally this time than vertically. That’s not a problem in itself, but the new mechanics have a nasty habit of adding in needless complications.
The controls have been streamlined to make combat simpler, but it in Ubisoft’s haste to make things more seamless, it’s actually made moving when you really need to a chore. You can be sprinting away from guards trying to make your exit, only to find yourself gluing yourself to a wall to peer round, as if in you’re in stealth mode, because you ran too near to it.
It shouldn’t be too hard for a game to tell when it is you’re unlikely to want to take cover and just leg it, and yet it is here for some reason.
There’s also the issue of Ubisoft’s labyrinthine plot. At this point, and with the vast number of spin off videos, stories and games on handhelds, it can feel hard to know what’s going on, even if you’ve played every game since the first. Animus this, Abstergo that: don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking up all the lore online.
The bottom line
Assassin’s Creed 3 is a worthy, true sequel that’s been worth the three year wait. While flawed, it changes the gameplay and what we should expect from it enough to feel brand new, and its vast scope is something many complete-in-five-hour action games can match these days. If you’re a fan of the series, you really shouldn’t miss out on this new installment.