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Assassin's Creed III Review

Assassin's Creed III Review

Almost five years ago Ubisoft launched a brand new franchise, it was called Assassin's Creed. It came with a huge weight of expectation due to the massive hype train that had been generated and upon launch, opinion was split. There were those who marvelled at Ubisoft Montreal's accomplishments, but there were others that criticised fundamental flaws with the game's design. Since then, we've had three major Assassin's Creed titles, each offering something new, but not always in a good way. And with Assassin's Creed III, Ubisoft are surely hoping that their franchise can once again reach the heights they know it's capable of reaching.

As is tradition for the franchise, every new numbered iteration sees the arrival of a new protagonist. First it was Altair, then Ezio and now Ratonhnhaké:ton, or Connor Kenway as he's more commonly known.

While Altair perhaps wasn't the most thrilling of characters to play as, Ezio was the exact opposite - quite the leading man to live up to. In many ways, Connor manages to do this, but in a very different way. He's a strong, honest individual, who isn't afraid to stand-up for what he believes in. It's something that shines through as he develops throughout the game's single player campaign under the watchful gaze of Achilles Davenport.

As is customary for the franchise, there are a few twists and turns throughout the story, even right at the start of the game. And due to the nature of the story and the time period that its set in, the narrative is very strong throughout. You'll get to meet some famous faces, such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, but also Charles Lee and John Pitcairn.

The Templars also play a much more active role in the entire experience and this is perhaps the first game where you get to see the conflict between the Templars and the Assassins for what it truly is. It's always been a running theme throughout the games, but the way its handled in Assassin's Creed III is by far the best.

Fans of Desmond will also be pleased, as Ubisoft has been able to deliver more gameplay in the "real" world. Desmond is now a full-fledged assassin, and his father is more than happy to utilise his talents as they search for artifacts around the world. These segments in the game make you appreciate the Animus for what it is, as when you're controlling Desmond, there is no HUD at all and no helpful hints - it's quite surreal.

In short, the story is one of the best seen in the franchise so far from both Desmond and Connor's perspective. You'll receive answers to some pertinent questions, such as the roles of Juno and Minerva, but also reasons for Lucy's death at the end of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.

Assassin's Creed III uses many of the new gameplay elements introduced with the previous two Assassin's Creed titles. Climbing is now much more refined, to the point where Connor will do most of the free running by himself and it makes the whole system much more fluid. With the introduction of the Frontier, this becomes much more beneficial, as things aren't as clear-cut as before. Trees don't have nice vertical walls to scale, so a quicker system was needed and it works well.

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