unhealthy serif;”>Darragh O’Connor takes one final plunge into the world of Desmond Miles

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher: Ubisoft

 After a long wait Assassin’s Creed 3 has arrived. In the wake of the stellar Assassin’s Creed 2, gamers were presented with two addenda to the plot of Ezio Auditore da Firenze in AC: Brotherhood and AC: Revelations. Most have mixed feelings about these, and negative reactions seems to be owing to a longing for a conclusion of the gripping story five years in the making of Desmond Miles. Other than Halo 4 or Mass Effect 3, I cannot think of a game with more pre-release baggage this year.

Assassin’s Creed 3 is an open world game, and, as the fifth in the series, fans should know what to expect. There are a few different plots that the game connects; the conclusion of Desmond Miles’ story as he tries to stop the coming doomsday of 21st 2012, the feud between Assassins and Templars and the main focus of the game (within the Animus) the story of Desmond’s ancestor, Ratonhnhaké:ton (adopted name “Connor”).

This portion of the game is set between 1753 and 1783, as we follow Connor against the backdrop of the American Revolution. This is very general, as the scope of this game is huge. You play as multiple characters during the 18th Century animus session, along with several side missions outside the Animus in 2012 as Desmond himself. Each of these locations are rendered amazingly and don’t fail to live up to the high standard set by it’s predecessors.

This is very important as a major part of this game is exploration; based around the Frontier, the cities of Boston and New York. The Frontier will be a welcome addition for fans of Skyrim. Ubisoft have taken the more enjoyable elements from that world, and exported them to 18th Century America to create a “live” environment in which one can hunt, and complete side missions. The absence of tall buildings via the landscapes of Rome, Florence or Constantinople did have me concerned that the free running aspect would be wasted, however the New World allows for the climbing of trees, cliffs, and other natural elements. In the cities themselves, Connor can jump through windows, onto trees, and rooftops – it is a new departure from the series’ norm, but it helps keep it fresh.

The combat too has a different feel than the others with thousands of new animations, and counter-attacks now more difficult to perform. Open combat is punished, with the player being rewarded for stealth kills instead. The counter system has been completely revamped, and in very much the same vain as the God of War series, buttons are pressed in a timed sequence during a cinematic. The tomahawk is the biggest learning curve in this game, replacing the hidden blade as the linchpin of the gamers arsenal.

The ending of the game may be somewhat of a disappointment to fans, but it is a thrilling conclusion to a great series. The later missions do tend to drag, and feel a little repetitive. The biggest problem with this game is Desmond as from a game play standpoint he is a nightmare. However the locations of his missions, and importance placed on your time when you play as him, make this acceptable.

This is a must for fans of the series and fans of plot heavy games. Ubisoft again have captured the magic of this series i.e. using history as a background for their pseudo-history, rooted within secret societies and the mysteries that surround 2012. Assassin’s Creed 3 delivers all that was hoped.