Assassin's Creed 3 review – will Ubisoft ever top it?

T3 reviews Ubisoft's blockbuster for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC

T3 Platinum Award
Reasons to buy
  • +

    Epic battles are breathtaking

  • +

    Combat is huge improvement

  • +

    Naval warfare

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Connor takes warming to

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Assassin's Creed 3 is the single largest AC game. It's been three years in the making and now finally the next Assassin has arrived. Here's our verdict

Assassin's Creed 3 is the third and by far the largest instalment in the hugely popular franchise from Ubisoft. Continuing the story of Desmond, players will delve back n time to the American Revolution where they'll take control of Connor, a half Native Indian, half British Assassin who demands answers and seeks to protect his people.

Well to start lets just say that Assassin's Creed 3 is big, and we mean really big. It's so gargantuan in size in fact that it makes your average Call of Duty campaign look like a side mission. However with scale comes the need to find perspective, and with Assassin's Creed 3 reaching a verdict has been very much about seeing the perspective.

Assassins's Creed 3 plot:

Don't worry we won't make your eyes bleed with spoilers, instead here are the basics: Assassin's Creed 3 essentially follows the same principles set down by AC2: in order to tell a truly engaging story you need to know as much as possible about the main character and their past. Without spoiling the plot, they do this fantastically well.

In the present the Templars are closing fast, Desmond and co. are still on the run and are still looking to prevent the end of the world, so business as usual.

In the past things are a little more volatile. Set during the American Revolution the game is constantly overshadowed with the fact that just around the corner there is some huge battle raging on as the Templar-controlled British forces close in on the Patriots.

Let us be clear right now, this is not Templar vs Assassin, this is Templar vs Colonists. The Assassin's have their own agenda and that is your focus. That's not to say Ubisoft haven't done their utmost to blur every line of allegiance there is.

In continuing the tradition of using famous faces to blur the line between reality and fiction you'll find George Washington and Samuel Adams both making appearances in your quest.

Assassin's Creed 3 gameplay:

Connor is the accumulation of all of Ubisoft's experience with Altair, Ezio and Desmond in creating a character which both feels challenging to control but also retains the fluidity for which the series has become so well known.

Combat has also been given a serious work-around, and it may end up becoming a decision which divides people. Conner is noticeably harder to use in combat, the requirements to create combo moves and special kills have increased with speed and responsiveness being key.

Personally we see this as an invigorating change. Ezio had reached the point where we never truly felt we deserved the eye-wateringly impressive kill combos.

Weapons have also changed, don't worry, the hidden blades are still there. Connor's main weapon of choice is a Native Indian Tomahawk. Elsewhere there's the bow and arrow, perfect for long-distance silent kills. The most inventive however has to be the rope dart. Stand atop a tree, fire the rope dart down and then leap off effectively hanging your poor target.

Finally, there's venturing into the forests. This is the first Assassin's Creed in which the main character can run through the trees. It's an inventive way of moving around the massive expanses of the Frontier and Ubisoft have gone for the safer option of letting the game do most of the hard work.

Assassin's Creed 3 features:

To aid you in your campaign you're given a homestead, some land and the opportunity to recruit, workers, carpenters and artisans to help improve your homestead and begin turning it into a business.

Thanks again to the scale and the power of the new AnvilNext engine you're not just given a house you're essentially given your own special part of the frontier, port included.

The maps are as big as Ubisoft have claimed with Boston and New York both veritable playgrounds. Be warned however, the rooftops are no longer the safety net as troops are stationed on platforms with muskets ready to catch you unaware.

Initially we found this an irritating addition but on reflection it certainly forces you to think of alternatives to simply climbing up a building.

One of the most important changes to the game is the new addition of naval warfare. Connor can now take control of a ship and take on his enemies on the high-seas. The simple verdict on this is that it's brilliant. The controls are simple enough leaving you to focus on wind direction, attacking and then avoiding the inevitable barrage of hot lead that follows.

Assassin's Creed 3 Multiplayer:

Multiplayer for Assassin's Creed has always been a favourite in the office, its inventive use of the game mechanics in creating multiplayer has worked brilliantly.

AC3 is no different, a notable addition that has been made is the surprisingly useful tutorial system in place to help you get started and then improve on the areas where you're weakest.

Assassin's Creed 3 Verdict:

At the beginning we pointed out that perspective was needed, and from reading thus far you're probably wondering why, it all looks great. Well the one negative we do have is sadly Connor himself.

To a certain degree we can't blame Ubisoft entirely, Ezio is probably one of the best game creations we've seen in the last 10 years becoming iconic to the point that he's as recognisable as Master Chief.

Trying to top that is virtually impossible and Connor is unfortunately a victim of his predecessor's success. He's just not a person you aspire to emulate. Sure you'll side with him, and start rooting for his cause but he's missing the key USP that makes him different.

Luckily however the damage is actually pretty minimal because the game is so big, and the storyline is so immersive that in fact, you end up placing your own print on Connor, letting his actions do the talking instead.

With this in mind it's hard to fault Assassin's Creed 3 overall, in fact after just 5-10 hours of gameplay you'll start wondering how Ubisoft will ever be able to top it. Yes it is that good.

Thomas Tamblyn

Thomas Tamblyn studied journalism at the University of Westminster, where he was a contributing presenter at the award-winning Smoke Radio station. He then moved to as a Staff Writer where he proceeded to write news, reviews and features on topics such as phones, electric vehicles, laptops, gaming, streaming services, headphones, tablets future tech and wearables.