Assassin's Creed III builds on the strong foundation of its predecessors while boldly exploring new frontiers. This is a massive, beautiful, visceral game worth experiencing. The revolution beckons you.
If there's one thing that defines the Assassin's Creed franchise above all else, one essential factor that oozes atmosphere and holds the experience together, it's the world you find your hooded protagonist bound to. The history sprawled out beneath you as you traverse from rooftop to rooftop. The sense that this is an actual place from an actual time; this is where the series has excelled, the binding force that brings all the constituent parts together to form an immensely playable, believable whole. As faithfully recreated architecture looms above and below on all sides, whether you stalk the streets below or glide from building to building above, the sense of scale and reality is cohesive and tightly-knit.
And yet, for all the beauty of these brilliantly realized locales, there's always been a sense of detachment. The third main game in the series has, in this regard and many others, broken free from these inherent restraints with varying degrees of success. Assassin's Creed III maintains the core experience of the series while simultaneously innovating and expanding, taking familiar gameplay and coupling all the predefined qualities with an exciting (and addictive) amount of freedom.
Before addressing the game itself, it's worth mentioning that this is no mere console port. The game is beautifully optimized for PC, despite sub-par controls with the default keyboard and mouse. Plugging in a controller is optimal for playability. That aside, visuals and performance truly shine (with higher-end PCs especially), easily surpassing graphics, frame-rate, and load times found on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions.
While primary missions adhere to the strong foundation established in previous games (gathering information, stealth, stalking your target, and, obviously, a plethora of assassination techniques), the game world itself has opened up entirely. Offering an immense sandbox filled to the brim with possibilities, Assassin's Creed III thrusts you right into revolutionary America and gives you ample room to experience history for yourself. From liberating Boston, to sailing the seas and blazing a trail in the American frontier, there's a staggering amount of content scattered across the game world. Understandably, however, this freedom brings with it a certain level of inconsistency.
The ambition of Assassin's Creed III can, in some instances, undermine the series' previously established layer of polish. The main plot sometimes feels too rigid or linear in dictating the player's choices compared to the copious amount of freedom found within the game space. And while the story itself is filled with some fantastic moments, the characterization of the game's cast isn't quite on par with past titles, despite the mostly excellent writing. While by no means is the game's narrative a failure, it doesn't quite live up previous titles, opting instead for scope over intimacy.
Assassin's Creed III builds on the strong foundation of its predecessors while boldly exploring new frontiers. This is a massive, beautiful, visceral game worth experiencing. The revolution beckons you. Do you have what it takes to answer the call?