Assassin’s Creed 3

Nell Greaney

Photo Courtesy of Ubisoft

Rating: 4 stars

Assassin’s Creed 3(AC3) may hold a special place in the hearts of those who enjoy games based on historic events. Velvet Assassin a World War II game gave insight to a much darker, less glorified view of espionage against the Nazi Regime and even the sci-fi shooter Darkest of Days threw players on a roller-coaster through times ranging from the fall of Rome to the American Civil War. For fans of the conspiracy/adventure genre, Assassin’s Creed is almost everything a gamer could want in a historical fiction game as it covers the roads less studied in history for a conspiracy/adventure genre.

Let’s start with the bad first, so players can come away from this article on a high note. While Assassin’s Creed is an historical adventure, it still has a science fiction element. History is revealed through the genetic memories of Desmond Miles through the use of a device known as the Animus. While the story told by the Animus is compelling, the “real time” tie-in story is lackluster and confusing. On the bright side video game publisher and developer, Ubisoft, finally managed to give up following Ezio’s story and has moved on to Connor, another ancestor of Desmond whose memories are locked away in his DNA.

One gripe in particular was the game’s reference to the Boston Tea Party, the well-known non-violent act of defiance against the tea taxes, a great historic moment morphed into a ship battle scene more akin to the ending of every Pirates of the Caribbean movie. The story aspect can be excused though since the game provides a recap of previous events anyway, and even historical inaccuracies tend to outweigh the game’s fun factor. AC3 is inarguably looking like the best out of all of the games in this department.

Combat has been drastically changed from the one-at-a-time formula for engaging combatants. Enemies can attack all at once, which, while sounding perilous is actually easy to work around. With the addition of more than 2,000 animations, attacks are more fluid and every tap of the attack button, no matter how fast you’re jamming it, will yield its own separate strike. This doesn’t mean gamers can simply button mash their way through. There are still those complicated-to-kill enemies who can block everything but a defense-breaking kick to the shin.

Firearms also mixed up combat for the better, which is hard to believe after they introduced muskets and pistols to enemies in Revelations and Brotherhood. Now, the game actually warns a player when someone is about to fire, and then some. If one can identify the “shoot warning” marker in time, they can grab hold of a nearby enemy and use him as a shield.

AC3 also features new mini-game modes. In place of the tedious, rage-inducing tower defense game from Revelation, Connor can actually captain a ship and engage the Royal Navy in some rather intense ship to ship combat. Multiplayer features some more customization options, but on the other hand, it’s generally the same as before. This is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact it does a good job of improving one’s people-watching skills, since everyone and everything could be an enemy, which also leads to a small case of paranoia.

AC3 is a legitimate sequel, not another $40 expansion pack. The mediocre story is overlapped by enjoyable delivery and the gameplay mechanics and environments have been polished into something beautiful. Even with the animations and especially the lip synch a little far off base, AC3 still comes out ahead. If this game isn’t a masterpiece then it’s something just short of it.