The Fifth Game Finally Turns Three
It’s mindboggling to think that we’re in the twilight of the current generation and one non-sports franchise has managed to crank out its FIFTH game, while at the same time only debuting this generation. Assassin’s Creed has managed this crazy feat, releasing in 2007 and somehow sticking to a yearly release schedule that would kill all but the richest studios. Fortunately for Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft just so happens to be one of the richest, and with Assassin’s Creed III we finally—FINALLY—get a resolution to the Desmond Miles story. It ultimately fails but the story of Connor doesn’t.
Birth Of A Nation
The overarching story of the AC series is Byzantine in scope. A deadly solar flare that wiped out an advanced civilization eons ago is now about to do the same thing to humanity on December 21 2012. With the help of a bartender named Desmond Miles, an order of Assassins struggles to find a solution by using a machine known as the “Animus” to explore his ancestral memories. If that sounds overwrought and ungainly, that’s because it is. The story of Connor, on the other hand is a classic, well told tale in the tradition of the Joseph Campell’s hero’s journey.
Life Is Rough On The Frontier
This is the biggest, most ambitious incarnation of the AC series yet, and it shows in both its scope and unevenness. AC3 is a vast game, with huge, open areas of wilderness and dense urban sprawls. Both environments have a wealth of things to do. As to be expected from an annual franchise, Ubisoft has retained certain core mechanics of the seriesand made some tweaks or new additions to the series, such as the new naval battles. It has the effect of making AC3 feel like a coral reef; pre-existing layers have been buried under new growths and while everything hangs together, it doesn’t do so neatly. The AC series started off as primarily a free-running, assassinating and item hunting game. It gradually ballooned into a recruitment game, a base building game, a territory control game, a crafting game and finally, a tower defense game. With the exception of tower defense, all those elements carry over and they make AC3 feel slightly cumbersome as a result. The recommended way to play the first time through is take on the story missions about 70% of the time with a few added optional activities here and there. There’s a massive amount of side-quest related material from the obligatory item hunts to recruitment's, assassination contracts, “fight clubs,” hunting, naval warfare and even building up Connor’s base of operations with new homesteaders.
Unlike games like Grand Theft Auto or Just Cause where half—or even most—of the fun comes from ignoring the campaign and striking out on your own, AC3’s real star in terms of pacing, variety and execution lies in its story missions.
To read Wayne Santo's full review of Assassin's Creed 3 check out the latest issue of Comics and Gaming Magazine on sale now online on the Zinio Marketplace and in print through our online store.