Assassin's Creed III Review
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Assassin's Creed III builds strongly on the series but fails to take a giant leap of faith into any real new territory. A new plot, the Colonial America setting, and sheer volume of things to do outweigh the disappointing bugs and glitches.
- Great sense of place in Colonial America
- Compelling narrative
- Fun gameplay
- Bugs and graphic issues
- Lots to do, but loosely tied together
- Poor enemy A.I.
(continued from previous page) ...for anyone, especially someone that could come across as a native--although he's often described as some European colonist, maybe Spanish, for example. The buildings are not quite as grand as those in other Assassin's Creed games, and I still believe Rome and Florence are the best cities in the series, but that's not to say Colonial cities are lame. Venturing outside cities to places like Lexington and Concord provides the game with an interesting mix of forts, cities, frontier land, and smaller towns.
There is a lot to do outside the main campaign, and the side story surrounding Connor rebuilding the Assassin's homestead is pretty massive. You'll go through several quests and work with characters to purchase and sell items to build up your homestead. This is a fairly simplistic system that allows you to make money, but it's also pretty deep and worth your time--but not a lot of it. You can also create a band of merry assassins by recruiting people in cities and turning them against the English. You can also unlock tunnels in the cities that allow you to fast travel much easier than in past games. Cities are also home to nearly endless side quests and random fun objectives. The more you play these side quests, though, the more you may realize they generally fill the purpose of something-to-do, as opposed to providing the player some great reward. The obligatory go-find-this is alive and well in Assassin's Creed III as you look for feathers, pages of Benjamin Franklin's almanac, and chests. You can also play games with random characters, which helps add to the sense of place for the era.
One of the largely touted additions in Assassin's Creed III is naval battles. You'll take the helm of ship and call out orders to fire cannons or a smaller gun, and tell your crew to duck and cover when attacked. The ship handles surprisingly well, considering it's a boat. You can use your boat to travel long distances, but when a battle breaks out you enter a sort of cat and mouse game. Look to make deliberate maneuvers as you protect your crew and deal the deadly blow to your enemy's vessel.
Back on land, Connor is equipped with an assortment of weapons and tools used to hunt animals and enemies. Yes, hunting has its place in Assassin's Creed III, but it's used much in the same way as hunting in Red Dead Redemption. You can trap bunnies with snares, shoot dear and foxes with your bow and arrow, or wrestle and cleave bears and elk with your hands and a tomahawk. There are even more weapons that come in handy when fighting humans, including dual hidden assassin blades, guns, a rope-dart, and swords. They all have their place in different settings. For example, when tracking a group or Red Coats, Connor can perch in a tree, quietly throw a rope-dart at a soldier to hang him from a tree, leap down with his hidden blades onto two startled enemies, do a few twirls to slice up more baddies, then finally shoot your main target with your pistol.
Connor is as nimble as his predecessors as he free runs through city streets, on roofs, leaping across tree limbs, and climbing cliffs. In fact, free running is more refined than past games and rarely will you get tripped up trying to run around a building instead of up it. The system of free running in the woods is also a blast. Lines are loosely drawn to give the player some direction when navigating the tree line, and you'll have more than one option, too.
Combat in Assassin's Creed III is smooth and offers several options for the player. The system has some tweaks, but it's very much in line with other Assassin's Creed games. One button is your primary attack, another serves as a block and counter, while another is tied to your secondary ... (continued on next page)