While actually the fifth in the series, “Assassin’s Creed 3” puts an end to the tale of men running around historical settings in white bed sheets. In this final chapter of bed sheet men, we take on the role of Connor, a half-Mohawk, half-Brit caught in his personal struggle amidst the American Revolution.
However, I am not joking when I tell you it takes four hours to play. The intro sequence of the game considerably drags on and the payoff is just one plot twist. A significant twist, mind you, but not worth postponing the core of the gameplay for such a long time. From there the story continues to be a little less stellar than I think most people were anticipating it to be. It’s not that the writing is bad, it’s that everything is just too thinly spread out. For those who aren’t familiar with the “Assassin’s Creed” series, it’s about a modern assassin named Desmond Miles who uses a machine powered by suspension of disbelief to allow him to relive the memories of his lethal ancestors. He does this to find valuable information related to an advanced civilization of people that preceded humanity. So AC3 tries to tie up Desmond’s character arc, tie up the first civilization arc, and then introduce and tie up the arc of Connor during the Revolution all in one game. As a result, all three seem a little unrefined and two-dimensional, paling them in comparison to the rich amount of depth put into Ezio and renaissance Italy from “Assassin’s Creed 2.”
It’s also worth noting that often the story missions can get tedious. Each one comes with a handful of strict secondary objectives that are easy to fail with a slight misstep, which seems to give the impression that designers wanted players to do things in a very specific way. Now it’s not terrible to want players to follow a specific path, but it really does seem to clash with AC3’s open world and variety of techniques. However, if you really fancy American history, you will definitely get a kick out of a lot of these missions. You will witness the Boston Massacre, take part in the Boston Tea Party, ride with Paul Revere, and even command troops at Lexington and Concord. It’s like an interactive 11th grade textbook.
But while the actual story and main missions can be bothersome, the gameplay itself is just tremendous fun. The sadistic glee of carefully stalking your prey and delivering a surgical strike is still very much present. It’s also nice that the combat has been overhauled to be much more quick and visceral. It takes awhile to get out of the previous AC tactic of mashing counter attack and instantly winning, but once you do, you will find chopping up redcoats with your tomahawk to be much more engaging and requiring of skill. Although sometimes the speed of enemy attacks and wacky camera angles will make you want to scream. The movement has been cleaned up too. No longer must you constantly switch between walking, running and sprinting modes to get around. Now you just hold down a button and move the analog stick to make Connor smoothly run and leap through trees, cliff sides and buildings.
The game world is also much larger than before, giving you oodles of options and side quests to fill your time. You can parkour through the frontier and hunt a variety of wildlife. You can take down enemy forts and pick fights with British troops in order to give Boston and New York over to the patriots. You can find and train fellow assassins to aid you in battle. There is even an added naval warfare aspect where you navigate your ship and bombard your enemies with broadside cannons, which was actually some of the most fun I had in the entire game. Take my advice and really enjoy and immerse yourself into the game world, even if a lot of it can seem just optional and pointless. Because if you just try to rush through the story, you might end up a little unsatisfied.
If you have been sticking with “Assassin’s Creed” because of its riveting story and were hoping this would be the stellar climax, I’m sorry to say that you will probably be a bit disappointed. But if you are just craving a bit of acrobatics and violence, “Assassin’s Creed 3” has you covered.