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Assassin's Creed III Review

With so many Assassin's Creed games coming out over the past few years it felt like you could not complete them faster than they were being released.  Our favourite renaissance assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze was certainly a popular figure, however we are now moving on from the era of Ezio's ancestral heritage, instead finding ourselves back in the real world with Desmond Miles who has located a vault that holds many secrets. 

When things kick off, newcomers to the series may be a little confused to what exactly is going on, thankfully there is a quick catch up covering the highlights of the never-ending war between the Assassin's Order and the power hungry Templars and before we know it Desmond is yet again strapped into the Animus, a machine that allows him to tap into memories infused in his DNA, tracking his ancestors moves and trying to find out what this vault has to do with the Precursors countdown to Armageddon.

I will say I was sad to the see the back of renaissance Italy; however the new location is well worth the change, an era of history rarely touched upon in computer games but apparently the perfect setting with plenty of violence, battles and a wealth of stories to be told. Though the tale is of the menacing looking white shrouded assassin that we see all over bus stops and TV adverts the game starts off with the crossing of the Atlantic by Haytham Kenway, an Englishman given a mission to locate a storehouse that possibly holds information on Those Who Came Before in the New World. Seen as a prologue and a very long winded tutorial, the next few hours will have the game holding your hand through every aspect of gameplay, bit by bit unravelling an exciting storyline; it is when the game starts to jump forward a few years, to Haythams offspring called Connor, a English/Native American that the game picks up and through your actions as an assassin you will then bump into many historical cameos, all playing their part in the larger picture of the American Revolution.

Though very similar in execution to the previous games plenty has been changed and tweaked, making this the best and most accessible Assassin's Creed game to date. One of the pulls of the other games was the freedom of movement, allowing multiple angles to try and attempt successful assassinations and with Assassin's Creed III this feels even more realistic, allowing you run freely through city streets and climb onto rooftops without too many failed jumps or bumping into walls; though in reality it amounts to a little more than a push of the control stick in one direction, with Connor's parkour skills kicking in automatically to deal with obstacles like holes in a fence or horse drawn carts, the user only really getting involved when looking to change direction or jumping to another set of hand holes for climbing. Where the cities of the New World do not offer the grand stone structures of Italy it manages to offer even more in the way of accessibility, with each area meticulously created to offer plenty of opportunities for wall jumps and high wire running. This comes into its own when away from the towns and cities and venturing through the wild frontier, with branches and rocks seamlessly placed into the world, granting you some thrilling free running experiences.

The ability to go pretty much anywhere allows for great stealth moments, but combat does become a necessity more often than not by botching an assassination attempt or getting spotted by eagle eyed guards. Connor has plenty of weapons to call upon when in danger including the classic wrist blades and sword play and the new fan favourite, the brutal tomahawk. Actual close quarters combat is not the easiest to pull off, relying on well-timed blocks, counters and attacks to help fell your foes, all of which is not helped by a wandering camera but you do get a red triangle appearing over whoever is about to attack, letting you prepare and find the natural rhythm, after a while pulling off brutal moves with the simplest of button presses.

Being set around the age of gunpowder there are also plenty of firearms available to use, with pistols and rifles always to hand for those long shots, just don't rely on the quick automatics of today as each bullet shot requires a lengthy reload. If noise is an issue Connor can also rely on the stealthy and deadly bow and arrow and even rope traps to hang wandering guards up in trees.

To deepen the experience of the already impressive single player story there are loads of side missions and time wasters to get into with board games spread through the many taverns, collecting quests like grabbing feathers and chasing pages of an Almanac, building your own Guild of Assassins, hunting and skinning the many beasts found lurking in the wilderness plus plenty of crafting plans to create clothing, food, medicines and even create ships to use on the new trade routes or you can keep it more local and trade with the many shops. The largest departure and also one of the most thrilling areas comes when Connor takes control of a ship to protect the coast from the English. Here the action is far away from the usual stealth and melee of Assassin's Creed but it works so well, with the ship heaving against the waves as you try and broadside an enemy ship, unleashing barrages of cannon fire all the while trying to stay afloat yourself.

With a strong and long main story, loads of side missions to enjoy and the ability to replay missions to gain 100% synchronisation you would think that was enough but Ubisoft has also included a decent multiplayer mode in here as well. If you just can't get enough of stalking your prey and closing in for the final kill then this is where to go, plugging you into an ABSTERGO Entertainment Animus where you can stalk and kill to your heart's content. Following a very helpful and crucial tutorial you are then granted free access to the many areas of this Animus, selecting your character, attribute loadouts like coin bombs and disguises and of course select what mode you would like to play in. 

With solo and team games to choose from the general idea of each multiplayer match is the same, kill or avoid bring killed. The main Deathmatch mode will have up to eight players stalking around a busy street. Your targets portrait will appear on the top right, using your skills to track down the mark like listening out for a heartbeat and then try and kill them without being spotted, all the while being stalked by another assassin, who when close by you will hear whispers, prompting you to try and blend into the crowds or just leg it. The team modes offer more chances for teamwork to beat the opposition with Manhunt having each side take it in turns to pursue or Wolfpack, where you all need to work together to get a kill, earning as many bonus team points as possible. With a steady flow of experience points to rank up and earn even more abilities the multiplayer mode is just as deep as the single player experience.

With so many short solo campaigns being released of late Assassins Creed III is a breath of fresh air, packed full of content that never ends up being a chore. Newcomers to the series may want to try out a couple of the earlier titles first as this is just full of spoilers, but for fans this is the triumphant final part of a long running story that I am sure will somehow reappear in the next generation.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version tested: PS3)


- Loads to do
- A huge and enjoyable story
- Deep multiplayer
- Naval battles


- The main character Connor is not as likable as Ezio
- Using a horse in the frontier is awkward, stick to the trees

Edited On 04 Nov, 2012

( 16 )
Kettle11's avatar
Kettle11 4 years ago
Most reviews seem to be pointing towards one basic sentence: "Everything looks new, but nothing feels new."
sackdemajick's avatar
sackdemajick 4 years ago
such a good game, well worth the money!!..... game of the year for sure!!!
Anonymous user's avatar
Lisa 4 years ago
I have so much love for the AC series and they are definitely some of my absolute favourite games. This looks like another worthy addition to the collection. I have to admit, I fell in love with AC II and Brotherhood and to say I'm going to miss Italy and Ezio is an understatement. However, having a love of history also, I feel like I'm going to thoroughly enjoy AC III too. The setting looks really beautiful and it seems as though you'd get to explore more of it which is good. To sum up I just think it looks epic. I hope so...
Robichoico's avatar
If you're a fan of history you'll love all the inaccuracies Ubisoft have went to to essentially make the Loyalists pure evil compared to the Patriots who are saints.
Robichoico 4 years ago
Dead's avatar
Dead 4 years ago
I'll probably give it a go at some point, not really a fan of the series, but if there's been enough improvements I may find it bearable
adwan's avatar
adwan 4 years ago
Great review. Assassins Creed has proved to be a great series despite the first game being not great a definitely the worst game of the 5 so far. I agree, leaving Ezio and Italy will be hard, but a change is needed and a new character and location is the right thing to do.
Anonymous user's avatar
I totally agree with you on all of that.
Lisa 4 years ago
no47's avatar
no47 4 years ago
This game sounds great, i can't wait to play as Connor to see what he brings to the franchise. I'm hoping this game is as good as AC2 as i thought Brotherhood and Revelations were abit of a let down.
Anonymous user's avatar
I also thought Revelations was a bit of a let down. I really liked Brotherhood though.
Lisa 4 years ago
Anonymous user's avatar
But yes I think my fave one so far is AC 2 too.
Lisa 4 years ago
creed95's avatar
creed95 4 years ago
i think its a good game but i felt like it was a bit of a drag at the start of the game when you weren't able to much exploring. the multiplayer is pretty much the same but that isnt the part i looked forward to anyways
iMerle iDixon's avatar
iMerle iDixon 4 years ago
If you going to get this be careful as it is chuck full of glitches and bugs, even with the day one patch.
Robichoico's avatar
Robichoico 4 years ago
Each to their own I suppose. I'm not a huge fan of Connor but I like him a whole lot more than I did Ezio (maybe because I was kinda sick of him at the end of 2 and then we got two more games after) although I feel that none of them are as interesting as the British Man you play as at the start of the game or the protagonist of Liberation.
Anonymous user's avatar
Rachael 4 years ago
Great review, has made me want this game even more now! Just finishing up on Revelations as we speak because want to get up to date with all of the story. This game sounds great though and I really can't wait to get my mitts on it.
Anonymous user's avatar
Holly 4 years ago
AC3 looks awesome. It looks a bit like the previous AC games had a love child with the Red Dead Redemption world. I will be pleased to play another AC game though. I find myself trying to absent mindedly call my horse in other open world games so that I don't have to walk everywhere! I look forward to doing a stealth kill from a tree. That sounds fun and... primal. I wish I had the money to buy these games on release, but these days I wait until games get to about £25 before I can let myself buy them. I'm yearning to play this, Dishonored and Borderlands 2, so will keep my eye on Shopto...
LFC Bywater's avatar
LFC Bywater 4 years ago
Its gunna be really weird leaving Altair/Ezio and Italy, but a friend of mine has this and says its great, and obviously this review says alot of good things about it. Think it was about time that they moved to a different timescale as there is only so much that can be done over a specific period of time. Really looking forward to getting a chance to play this,

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