Assassin’s Creed appeared early on in the Playstation 3/Xbox 360 generation of gaming. And as we draw to a close of this extended generation we’re receiving our fifth game in the series to hit the home consoles. And as there’s a brand new number on the end of the title there is a brand new character and setting to play with.
We play as an assassin known as Connor, set in late 1700 British Colonial America. As usual, Assassin’s Creed 3 tells a compelling tale of alternate history with our protagonist acting behind the scenes of actual historical events. Any history buff should enjoy the AC3’s story telling of how America became the United States. Also, anyone wondering if this story would only appeal to American audiences because of its subject matter shouldn’t be put off either, Connor’s tale is of a young man trying to protect his native American tribe’s freedom while dealing with the centuries conflict between the Templars and the Assassins.
Connor’s world is open for you to explore and freerun around, it looks and feels as impressive as ever. This being 1700 American Connor gets to make his way through built up urban areas full the people going about their everyday business and then into the untamed Frontier where you will be tasked with the new option of hunting wildlife and defending yourself against aggressive beasts. Ever wanted to take down a bear with your hidden blades?
Connor’s ability to freerun has been extended beyond rooftops and dungeons this time round and now takes to the forests of the Frontier. This feels great for the most part, in regular AC style if you can see a hand hold Connor will happily climb and swing at speed through the wilderness. Sometimes this can fall on its face a little, like in instances where you will climb high trees and use them as synchronization points to see your surroundings and fill your map, great the first time but when every high tree is exactly the same climb the novelty wears thin.
In addition to forest exploration Connor can take to the seas and participate in naval battles cannons blazing. These battles feel fun if not slightly out of place, but the AC series is no stranger to supplementing its gameplay. Speaking of added gameplay, there are almanac pages and feathers to collect which replace the flags previous games and assassin recruit missions return. Connor can also build up his base of operations by getting tradesmen to start working there and then start trading supplies. There is even fast travel in AC3 to selected points on the map.
Visually Assassins Creed 3 impresses, the art style allows for the details of the vast landscapes to be taken in as well as the small details when get up close and personal to the characters. The camera works well most of the time but will misbehave and obstruct your view mid fight or pull in bizarrely close behind Connors back at times.
The pacing in AC story and game play feel disjointed. There’s lots of time spend a seeing a cut scene, traveling for 10 to 30 seconds, another see another cuts scene then slightly unclear objectives appear on screen for a too brief amount of time without any elegant way to review these objectives and side objectives. Also be prepared to spend a large amount of time in the loading screen.
Connors backstory takes a good 3 to 4 hours to get going with new elements being introduced and not really referred back to after. AC has a ton of game play features but it’s hard to overlook the fact that these features are in place because the core gameplay of Assassins Creed while being massive in scale is still fun but quite light weight; scout target, stealthily stalk target, assassinate target.
The bottom line is there are other games that are shorter in length which have a much stronger focus on gameplay which you’d likely have a better time playing. Assassins Creed 3 is still the same gameplay love it or hate it that we’ve been giving since AC2. This is not a bad thing if you’re a fan of the series, you’d be treated to a great story and slicker combat than ever before but if you haven’t been drawn into the gameplay of this series before this game isn’t going to do anything for you now.