Latest Assassin‚Äôs Creed proves flawed but exciting
Posted November 27, 2012 at 9:44 pm in Lifestyle
The level of ambition through the Assassin‚Äôs Creed series is commendable ‚ÄĒ not only in the incredible amount of detail in rebuilding past civilizations, like Jerusalem during the Crusades or Rome in the midst of the Renaissance, but also in its dedication to history. In the games, these past events not only become exciting and intense but also suggest that the series is knowledgeable of its respective era. Compelling storytelling, a fun combat engine¬† and a wealth of genre elements have also become hallmarks of the series.
Ubisoft continues the blockbuster stealth-action franchise with Assassin‚Äôs Creed III. The game takes place against the backdrop of the American Revolution, starting at the beginning of the French & Indian War and lasting until the end of the Revolutionary War.
It‚Äôs an era that‚Äôs criminally unexplored in video games, and the studio does an admirable job of expanding the landscape and core gameplay. In certain cases it tries to do too much, feeling at times unrefined and repetitive. Yet the moments of brilliance and the rebuilt combat still makes the game one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences of the year.
Players inhabit the role of Connor Kenway (or Ratohnhak√©:ton in his native tongue), a half-British, half-Mohawk warrior who seeks to revive the Assassins and protect his tribe against the latest iteration of the Templars. He ends up fighting alongside the Patriots in their war for independence; however, Connor soon discovers enemies on both sides and must do what he can in his pursuit for justice.
Connor has a clear motivation for his actions, and his dual-ancestry provides for a natural moral conflict, but it‚Äôs not easy warming up to him. The series‚Äô previous main character, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, was charming, suave and a bit of a scoundrel, but Connor is often overly serious; players never really get a chance to experience his lighter side.
The character who does get more fleshed out is Desmond Miles ‚ÄĒ the present-day descendant of Connor, Ezio and the first installment‚Äôs Altair ‚ÄĒ who uses the Animus to access the DNA-based memories of his ancestors. With an impending end-of-the-world scenario, Desmond has more playable missions than in any of the previous games, and players finally get a conclusion to his story, even if it occurs a bit abruptly.
The presentation of historical figures and events in Assassin‚Äôs Creed III is very balanced yet ambiguous; it presents legendary icons like George Washington and Samuel Adams as complex individuals with at times contradictory motivations. The game provides an objective way of looking at American history and sheds light on an era that hasn‚Äôt truly been explored in video games or in movies. It says something that Ubisoft, a French-based studio, has made the most compelling story about the American Revolution in years.
The gameplay has been rebuilt and streamlined. Rather than having to hold two buttons to sprint, players only need to press one. Counter attacks and combat in general have been sped up, allowing you to dual-wield your weapons and eliminate soldiers at break-neck speed. And though the game doesn‚Äôt offer complex architecture for players to scale, climbing through the trees is a breeze.
The graphical and technological aspects of the game are quite an achievement; Ubisoft brings its trademark dedication to historical detail to 18th century colonial America, bringing cities like New York and Boston to life. Connecting all the major cities is a vast frontier packed with side-missions, secret items, trading posts and plenty of animals to hunt. Weirdly long loading times don‚Äôt diminish the scale and massive amount of content.
Assassin‚Äôs Creed III, however, locks users into the story for the first part of the game and most of the missions seem more strict and rigid than the previous entries of the franchise, making it harder to get full synchronization due to some really arbitrary guidelines. There‚Äôs still plenty to do and explore, with nearly 40 to 50 hours worth of gameplay, but it takes several hours to really explore the wilderness.
Multiplayer remains an addictive and inventive mode; the thrill of patiently waiting and plotting for the right moment to assassinate another player is a great change of pace from the insanity of a first-person shooter. The game introduces a new experience with Wolf Pack, a co-operative mode where players join forces to eliminate as many NPCs as you can. There‚Äôs even a dedicated story within the multiplayer mode.
The game is available for the Xbox 360, the Playstation 3, and is one of the launch titles for the Nintendo Wii U and PC. The Wii U version has slightly weaker graphics but uses the Gamepad for an enlarged mini-map and a quick means of accessing your inventory.
Assassin‚Äôs Creed III is perhaps the most ambitious entry of the franchise to date; and yet, just as it presents the Revolution as a war of odd occurrences and a great deal of luck, it too is a game that achieves a great many things while also making a few mistakes along the way. The potential of the series remains intact, and though Desmond‚Äôs story has ‚Äúended,‚ÄĚ Ubisoft literally has the whole of human history to continue the franchise and expand even further.