Assassin’s Creed 3 (Story Mode)
Back in August of last year, I wrote one of my most detailed reviews ever on Assassin’s Creed 2. The second installment of the series set during the Renaissance turned out to be a resounding improvement from its original and should have been a 2011 Game of the Year candidate. Now 18 months in real time result in Desmond Miles once again entering the Animus to gather information left behind about 200 years after the Renaissance and about 5000 miles West to the heart of the American Revolution. Interestingly enough, for the first time ever in the Assassin’s Creed series, you are able to play as two different characters (technically 3 if you count Desmond whenever you’re outside the Animus.) For about the first 15% of the game, you play as Haytham Kenway, an idealistic British colonist who is easily corruptible despite his best efforts. After his story, for the remainder of the game you play as Connor Kenway; Haytham’s son. Connor is half Native American Indian and you begin to play as him when he is about six years old. The game takes place over a span of about 25 years. Connor is forced to flee his village when the British overtake his people’s land and he must zigzag across the East Coast for years to protect what’s left of his people and fight the rebels against the Redcoats.
When it comes to presentation, this game is far beyond anything I could have imagined. Like Assassin’s Creed 2, this game is about so much more than the primary objectives. Every, and I do mean EVERY new person, animal, terrain, artifact, historical event, etc. is explained. If only my American History classes were conducted and written like the way it’s shown here. Each description is hilariously but accurately explained most of the time with great detail. Like AC2, the optional side missions or quests for the extra Achievement points are worth it and they give off an even deeper element to the game and the characters within. My only gripe with this game is that I sometimes feel that there’s TOO MUCH that I can do and I get lost and forget about what my primary objective was in the first place. You search for the lost pages of Benjamin Franklin’s almanac, start city riots, search for treasure, have epic battles using cannon fire navigating the Atlantic, find eagle feathers, play checkers, even hunt Bigfoot!! And that’s just scratching the surface!!
The combat system has also been reinvented in AC3 offering the ability to engage simultaneous attackers and if you time it just right, you can perform a mini cut scene of your enemy’s brutal and graphic demise. Thankfully each enemy AI has a range of skills and difficulty settings so constantly if you’re someone who is constantly pressing the attack button hoping to get past certain enemies, it’ll never work. You need strategy more than ever in combat in AC3.
Every primary objective in the game has a synchronization bonus that suggests that you complete the objective a certain way, such as assassinating a target without being seen. It’s not mandatory per-say but I often found myself reloading my last checkpoint dozens of times trying to do everything flawlessly. Yes, extra achievement points are awarded if you do it that way.
Not only is this game amazing, but it’s a game that’ll give you the biggest bang for your buck out of probably any other video game this year. Not to mention that there’s an online multiplayer game that I haven’t even put into my 360 yet because I’m trying to get through the story first.
The visuals are breathtaking, the story is multi-layered and brilliantly told, the voice actors are just the right side of impressive, and the game offers constant twists and turns that keeps you guessing. A must-own for the Action/Adventure gamer.