Assassin's Creed III is the final intended chapter for the character of Desmond Miles, the main protagonist of the series who has been reliving his ancestors memories through the animus. The Assassin's Creed series has become an annual tradition of sorts for gamers as it a game is released about every year, although each game has retained the quality of entertainment for the player, there has been no standout winner since Assassin's Creed II which provided the best level of satisfaction in the franchise till date. Assassin's Creed III was not able to take up that mantle although it still is an enjoyable game.
The story shifts away from the Italian setting which should have been highly familiar for series veterans and places the player as a new protagonist other than Ezio Auditore who was perhaps the most popular hero. This time the player controls Ratonhnhaké:ton or to simplify things Connor Kenway, a half British half mohawk man who never gives up on his hope for freedom. It was always going to be hard to best Ezio as the most beloved character of the series and though the game does its best to keep Connor interesting, the linear story line and scarce character developments don't allow him to shine. Connor isn't the only character that the player will be controlling, when the game starts it is his father Haytham who leads for about a quarter of the game. That is when the American Revolution setting seems to be of some interest and wherein the first plot twist presents itself. Sadly the story doesn't reach similar heights for the rest of the game where it evolves into a straightforward quest for freedom which will frustrate many who would only hope for more twists which never come.
There are some standout moments in the game such as the battlefield segments which are fun to play through and some disappointing ones as well such as the anticipated Paul Revere horse-riding sequence. The main theme of the story, from the beginning, is freedom. Connor grows up in his tribe vary that his people would be forced out of the home by British and he sets out to prevent this from happening. Helping him is his mentor Achilles, a former Assassin and Connor's confidant through the game. Unfortunately there are no permanent supporting characters for Connor, most of his scenes are with people he meets along through missions and don't stay for long. Famous characters include George Washington, Paul Revere and Benjamin Franklin. Connor's father presents an intriguing aspect of the game and though he isn't the most enjoyable he is an interesting one and unfortunately the game doesn't look as much into him as it should have. Aside from the American Revolution the other main story surround Desmond and his friends trying to save the world from s a second disaster to occur on 21 December, the game doesn't devote a lot into this which is a pity because Desmond sequences are surprisingly fun. The main focus of his missions surround sneaking around trying to find power sources but are well made and fun to play through. Fans may have some complaints from the ending which seems pretty anti-climatic instead of offering closure to the Desmond character.
Assassin's Creed III is definitely the smoothest game in the series, the formerly clunky free running and climbing mechanics are much improved. Game play is fluid and easier, Connor doesn't bump into pedestrians and fall down like other characters before, although this maybe due to there being less people int he streets. Although it is not the game's purpose it is obvious one of the fun parts was free running and messing around with random citizens. The game removes this feature and passer by's cannot be killed or hit unless they are focused upon which takes the fun out of it. Parkour segments are in the form of climbing or running on trees which is slightly confusing and a bit redundant. Areas to explore are Boston and New York and the wilderness where Connor is from, however the cities just aren't interesting to explore. There really isn't much to do there and making the environment bigger than before doesn't help. The frontier landscape is better where the player can hunt animals or fight off enemies. Enemies in cities are way too much, fighting them off becomes a tall task as each group of guards are located very close to one another and in case of a conflict they all tend to join in.
Like the first Assassin's Creed health rejuvenates itself which is a drawback as it increases extremely slowly while in conflict prompting the player to flee in certain situations. Stealth is also revamped, allowing players to use natural elements such as tall grass and trees to hide. Combat is simplified but a new system wouldn't hurt for future games as button smashing with still prevails here, most players will tend to counter attack the enemies offense as it is much easier than the standard method. There are many flashy moves on display which aren't need for the most part as they take up a lot of time. There are a number of side missions available which again aren't as good as Assassin's Creed II and may not persuade you to devote much time for them. Hunting is a new addition which is fun, to hunt animals stealth should be used for the most effective quality of meat skinned, larger animals tend to fight first and a button prompt sequence has to be completed to kill the creature. The skin or money can be sold off. One of the more entertaining game play missions are the naval based levels. This is a nice addition where the player has to learn to control his ship in order to avoid obstacles and defeat enemy convoys using cannons.
What Assassin's Creed III definitely does better than it's predecessors is its performance graphics wise. Environments are well up to detail and interaction with them is nicely done such as the player having difficult running through a thick blanket of snow. Graphics also provide fluid free running experience. Sound is good with naval and battlefield missions giving a sense of realism for the player to that extent. Voice acting is awkward in many cases, Connor is a good protagonist but his line delivery is not up to mark in some instances. Haytham Kenway could have done with a little more life in him as he seems to draw out occasionally when speaking. Character interactions are good in battle missions but casual encounters could have been better considering how few there were.
The main thing holding the game back from being one of the best this generation is the weight of previous installments on it. As a standalone game Assassin's Creed delivers pretty well but compared to the rest of the franchise falls short of the mark. It won't provide you with closure but to continue the series storyline Assassin's Creed III is the way to go.