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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Two weeks of roaming in Assassin’s Creed 3.

Living the Creed isn’t as easy as it used to be. The Templars have made a huge push, the Brotherhood is close to extinction. The Templars believe them, our fellow Assassins finished. Their unchecked grab for power is becoming dangerous for more than just the long though dead Assassins. They have their sights set on a new land - America. They see in it the potential for a new base of ordered control. What better time for a new Assassin to come forth from the shadows, to protect not only his people but all free people?

Setting the stage for Assassin’s Creed 3 was certainly no easy feat after gamers flocked to Ezio Auditore da Firenze and his blood soaked quest for vengeance. Over the course of three games, he became the mascot for the franchise and a hard act to follow. Most of us were excited to see how Ubisoft could pull off not just a new protagonist but a Native American one at that. Rushing through the forest, hunting all manner of prey, all set against the backdrop of the American Revolution. We’ve had our hands on the game for couple weeks now and while this by no means a traditional review, it gives you geeks a great look at Assassin’s Creed 3.

Hit the break…

You may have heard a deal about the game’s slow starting pace, sadly this is true. The developers start players off in the shoes of Haythum Kenway. All of the hallmarks are there – climbing, evasion, eagle vision. The prodding pace might put some off but diligent gamers are rewarded with the great kick in the sack plot twist that’s rewarded with an achievement titled “How d’ya like them apples?” You geeks will appreciate it, that’s for sure.

As with the last four games, free running is a big part of the gameplay. Unlike the last few games, the free running is nowhere near as polished. Missions inside the cities of Boston and New York have that free-flow feel we’re used to but the frontier areas needed way more work. Climbing mountain cliffs in particular were not the easy task that scaling landmarks in Italy was. I’ve lost count of how many times Connor has done the “Invisible Wall” routine when he should clearly be able to scamper right up or over. Once up in trees though, the fun does indeed begin. There’s something viscerally satisfying about jumping from tree branch to tree branch, silently stalking some oblivious animal or redcoat. Dropping down and silently sliding the hidden blade into their weak spot. Oh so satisfying.

Hunting the various wildlife has been a quite the diversion. Each hunting region has a set of creatures to find, either by killing them or discovering evidence of them. How one disposes of them determines the condition of the pelt which in turn determines the worth. Selling pelts is the game’s major economy and while cash isn’t highly necessary, it does help to have some.

All in all, I’m not as into Assassin’s Creed 3 as I was the Ezio trilogy. Connor is a pretty big jerk at times, less brash and just more of an ass. Thankfully the story is a well crafted piece of narrative. There also just seems way too much to do that might not give as big a pay off. The naval missions have proven to be a fun diversion and not nearly as difficult as I was afraid they would be. Right now I’m sitting in Sequence 8 and am torn between hunting more or finishing the main missions. I will finish it but I may need a Borderlands 2 break.

Any geeks slicing through the redcoats as well? Let’s hear how you feel. I haven’t even touched the multiplayer aspect yet but I know I will. I enjoyed Brotherhood’s MP element and I hate playing MP. Then again it is Assassin’s Creed 3 and it is Xbox Live.

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