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Sunday, 11 November 2012

Assassin's Creed III Review

The only verdict you need on the climax to one of video gaming's biggest trilogies...
Five years in the making, the conclusive storyline of Assassin's Creed III certainly had a lot riding on it to perform in taking the strands of Desmond's story from 2007's Assassin's Creed up until last year's Revelations and building them into a cohesive finale. This is Ubisoft Montreal we're talking about, though, so naturally the developers bring us an almighty crescendo to this half-decade spanning saga, pulling out all the stops to ensure that we truly are left with more answers than questions this time around.

You might think this would mean we'd be spending a lot more time with our modern-day Assassin Desmond Miles, and you'd be right, but only to a certain extent. There are indeed entire missions and adventures dedicated to humanity's best hope of survival, and of course we do see a fitting resolution to the character's story arc here, yet the majority of your gameplay time will undoubtedly be spent in the past. Playing as half-Native, half-British hero Connor Kenway, you'll set out on a course of discovery and nationhood after a dazzling prologue that covers your inception as part of a tribe, with the Templar menace a key part of your journey through the American Revolution. Mercifully, Ubisoft do not let Revolutionary sentimentality get the better of the storyline, instead only depicting key figures like Washington and Franklin when it's necessary to the core narrative of the single-player campaign. Connor's arc is most certainly impressive, standalone in its own right and yet brimming with potential for future instalments.

Onto the game-play, then. For anyone who's played an AC game before, there'll be a major sense of reinvention and refinement present here the likes of which we haven't seen proper since Assassin's Creed II introduced us to Ezio Auditore. It's hugely refreshing to see such a variety of new mechanics such as ship battles, visceral combat sequences and fort battles thrown into the mix that don't tamper with the foundations, since this really gives a sense that the developers have hit their stride and know exactly how to revolutionise things every now and then. Each assassination feels suitably grand with a large degree of scale, ramping up the tension to the point that by the time Connor reaches his final target you won't be able to hang on to the edge of your seat any longer!

The beautiful narrative and hugely refined gameplay engine are representative of the overhaul to the visuals, the multiplayer and countless other elements the Montreal branch of Ubisoft have landed Assassin's Creed with this time around. Truly, Assassin's Creed III returns to the franchise back to its roots, crafting a near-perfect blend of stealth, combat and historic nostalgia to provide one of the defining video gaming experiences of 2012, a definitive Game Of The Year contender without question. No matter what qualms you've had with the series so far, this is a must-have purchase. New to the franchise? There's never been a better point in the saga to jump on and ready yourself for further masterful adventures...

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