Assassin’s Creed 3 is an action-adventure game from Ubisoft that is a continuation of the popular franchise of Assassin’s Creed games. This latest edition of the series takes gamers to the time of the Revolutionary War in America. In this open world experience, gamers take on the identity of Connor, who finds himself caught in the middle of the war only to play a pivotal role in its outcome. The story is rich with an interesting take on American history and Native American mysticism, sprinkled in with cameos of significant American figures of the time. The game proves to be a challenging and entertaining experience, making Assassin’s Creed 3 an extremely solid title.
One of the franchise’s most significant distinctions is that it has always delivered a solid story within the framework of the flashbacks used to theme the game. The overarching story line has historically been rather unspectacular compared to the one experienced and completed within the confines of the game. Assassin’s Creed 3 is no different with a rich, exciting and engrossing take on America’s formative years. The Templars and Assassins are once again at the heart of the game, fueling the protagonist/antagonist dynamic, which continues to work well in Assassin’s Creed 3.
Missions are largely story based starting with a few minutes of cinematic introducing the “why and what” of the mission. Typically players will be asked to sneak, steal, listen, learn, and kill with some missions heavily emphasizing the story line involving key figures vital to the Colonies and their attempt to break free as their own sovereign nation.
The story revolves around Connor, a somewhat stoic protagonist who may not be as charming as other heroes in past iterations of Assassin’s Creed. However, as the game evolves, the story takes on a greater importance with the war for independence, giving this game a potentially greater feeling of importance in its place in history than others. At the end of the day, the story is interesting and will bring in American gamers without much of a problem, while international audiences might not immediately latch onto this piece of history.
Assassin’s Creed does a great job thrusting its new gameplay dynamics and physics at the forefront from the outset. At an opera in London, gamers will experience the vibrant new graphics, impressive crowd animation and refreshing freedom of physics to get where the mission needs to go. Once further into the game, the gameplay gets all the more interesting with a wonderful open-world feeling, plenty of side missions to undertake that typically reward gamers with more story and loot, plus very impressive environments in New York, Boston, and the great outdoors.
Within the game, the controls using the keyboard and mouse are serviceable but unimpressive. After an hour or two, a typical PC gamer will have no problem getting around, sneaking and attacking when the time calls for it. However, playing with an Xbox 360 controller plugged in brings the best of both worlds (console and PC) together. With this setup, gamers get the comfort and natural control of the Xbox 360 controller while enjoying the best graphics possible thanks to the robust PC hardware. Playing this way simply maximizes the overall fun factor of the game and Assassin’s Creed 3 has been wisely tuned to this direction. Not playing with the Xbox 360 controller on a PC diminishes what would otherwise be an amazing PC gaming experience.
Combat in Assassin’s Creed 3 is very straightforward and offers little in the way of difficulty. Simply press the correct button, face the correct direction, attack with the right weapon and make sure you counter at the right time, and missions will be passed without fail. The good news is that the kill scenes when landing a critical blow or “fatality maneuver” are extremely rewarding and entertaining to those that love a good, gory death. The difficulty in the combat lies in the setup and stealth which can be extremely difficult at times. The overall gameplay experience is entertaining, moderately challenging and ultimately rewarding.
Assassin’s Creed 3 as played on a PC will sing if played on a decent rig with semi-recent hardware. A gaming PC with a Core i7 processor, a healthy amount of RAM and, of course, a killer video card (GeForce 670 for example) should be able to max out the settings at 2560×1440 resolution levels to enjoy some of the best graphics seen in 2012. The physics are much improved over past iterations of the franchise, most noticeable within large crowds. The fights are well done with physics looking just as real as the other impressive elements seen in the rest of the game. With the right hardware, Assassin’s Creed 3 on PC will be the type of game a hardcore PC buff will use to show off what great hardware can really do.
The voice acting is, as usual, right up to par with any other top level AAA game that has come out this year. The story is solid and the actors behind most of the characters, including historically significant figures such as Ben Franklin and George Washington, come off as authentic and believable. The “sound effects” involving various bone crunches, grunts and other fight sounds are also engrossing and genuine. The soundtrack is worthy of a AAA title, giving the sound score for Assassin’s Creed 3 high marks.
Assassin’s Creed 3 on PC is a excellent gaming experience, highlighted by impressive graphics for those with high-end PCs and solid gameplay for those that leverage an Xbox 360 controller. The storyline is a plus for those living in the United States but the impact might be lost on the rest of the world. Nevertheless, the story is a nice mechanism for the gameplay that also features decent voice acting. The combat continues to feel closer to an elementary level rather than something that feels as open-ended as the world Assassin’s Creed 3 creates. As played on Ubisoft’s new Uplay platform on a Windows 7 PC, Assassin’s Creed 3 does live up to the hype and then some.
Note: A copy of the game was provided to Gaming Illustrated by the publisher for the purpose of this review.