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Assassin’s Creed 3 | Gaming reviews, news & interviews

Assassin’s Creed 3

You’ll need to be a brave to take on this mammoth of a game

Assassin's Creed 3: stalking deer with a bow and arrow in the vastness of the Appalachian wilderness

Something very bad is going to happen on 21 December 2012. The end of the world is nigh, and the only way to stop it is to find the key to the site of an ancient civilisation before the evil Knights Templar get there first. A key whose whereabouts can only be located in the genetic memory of one Desmond Miles, who finds himself once again strapped into the magical dentist's chair that is the Animus.

Reliving the lives of Desmond’s ancient ancestors, we begin (in what can only be described as a MASSIVE prologue sequence) by following gentleman/killer Haytham Kenway on his journey from 18th-century London to a New World in the grips of revolution and war. The story is then taken over by Haytham’s half Mohawk Indian son Ratonhnhake:ton (aka Connor) and his journey for revenge.

It’s easy to forget that the entire American Revolution is unfolding around you

And so begins the third (arguably the fifth) chapter in the Assassin’s Creed story. Like a living history lesson of the American revolution, the depth and breadth of this game is a phenomenal achievement. From rubbing shoulders with characters like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson on the streets of pre-Tea Party Boston and New York, to assassinating generals on the battlefields of Bunker Hill and Monmouth, you even get to explore the entire Eastern seaboard and wage full on naval warfare in your own battleship (pictured below right).

In the midst of all this excitement then we have to spare a thought for poor old Desmond, whose interruptions really curdle the Tea Party milk. It’s here where the series’ sci-fi framing device starts to feel like an anachronism. A novel and exciting idea in the early games, we now groan in protest as we’re sporadically wrenched out of the immersive Animus world to acknowledge a convoluted science-fiction story arc which even the writers appear to have lost interest in.

This isn’t the only flaw in this mostly magnificent game. The music is nowhere near as present or atmospheric as in previous titles. Nor are the characters as charismatic - Connor is no Ezio Auditore. The plot is also a little fuzzy; many’s the time I found myself in the middle of a mission with no clear idea what I was doing or why. With the number of glitches and bugs in the game, it really needed another week to brew before being served, but to be fair to the developers, there is so much going on in this world, it’s easy to lose sight of things.

It’s easy to forget, for example, when you’re stalking deer with a bow and arrow in the vastness of the Appalachian wilderness, that the entire American Revolution is unfolding around you. But while you’re hopping through the trees and hiding in the bushes waiting to kill and skin a cougar with your tomahawk, the revolution can wait.

  • Assassin’s Creed 3 developed and published by Ubisoft. Platform: PS3, XBOX
The depth and breadth of this game is a phenomenal achievement

rating

4

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