Being an assassin is tough, especially if you’re set the task of alternating between many different timelines, all-the-while trying to achieve the simple goal of preventing the worlds’ end. Assassin’s Creed 3 picks up straight after its predecessor, Revelations, and if you were wondering whether you’ve missed out – even though you owe it to yourself to play prior titles – the important stuff is explained in a short intro at the start of the game, so don’t worry about not being able to keep up.
Upon starting you will no doubt be eager to start air assassinating, backstabbing and hiding in hay until the cows come home, but instead you’re in for a little bit of a slower burn as you settle into your new digs. In a short summary you experience the life of an assassin in 1700s Boston, ending up impregnating a woman from a local tribe. The child she ends up having becomes the star of the game, as you train up through your childhood to become the ultimate assassin, only to revolt against your father and his Templar friends amidst the American Revolution.
Your main hub for the game is set during present day, giving you a fair amount of control over mission replays and interaction between your current companions. You can also hop out of the Animus at any time via the start menu. Gameplay-wise it all feels very familiar, yet somewhat refined, as you fluidly traverse around the conveniently structured buildings, newly added trees and take to sea to have your own adventures in the darkness of the ocean. Weapons this time around have also seen an upgrade, but I won’t spoil them all here. One that you should be made aware of, however, is the rope dart; hanging people just got that bit easier. Compared to other games, the animation in the game is respectable, although I found that the lip synching was a little off at times.
Given the scope of the game I did notice a little bit of slowdown, as the action on-screen became a little hectic, especially during scenes with large crowds of people. On the plus side, draw distances seem improved and nothing quite beats looking out across the Atlantic Ocean whilst the sun begins to set. Joining the usual story are also side-quests, such as hunting or helping important historical figures, alongside the popular multiplayer.
Anyone who has yet to play Assassin’s multiplayer sure are in for a treat, as Ubisoft has managed to nail the aspect of being a stealthy Assassin amongst your friends. It’s this pull that has you coming back for more, trying to hunt among the computer controlled characters, while looking for player-controlled counterpart. Check out my video review at the top for a short look at this mode in action.
- + Varied locations provide a real sense of scope
- + Taking control of a ship feels empowering
- + Graphics are beautiful, wrapped in a lovely weather system
- - Not a total reinvention of the formula