Update (11/05/2012 at 4:032 p.m.): Assassin’s Creed III was developed by Ubisoft not Activision.
The eighth game in its series, Assassin’s Creed III, brings thrills in so many areas that it’s no surprise that it took three years for Activision to create such a fluid experience.
It’s a tale that spans seasons, lifetimes and so many jumps across rooftops that even Spider-Man would feel jealous.
Assassin’s Creed III even has a scene that takes place on a New York skyscraper, which will give even the most jaded players a new fear of heights.
The one to traverse such a building is named Desmond Miles, the main protagonist of the game and series.
Miles enters a machine known as the Animus, which lets him relieve the lives of his ancestors in an attempt to unlock secrets that may just save the world from total destruction.
From the get-go, Activision has been dedicated to the premise, so it’s very easy to feel involved.
The menus and many of the loading screens feature the visual machinations of the Animus, providing a sense of meta for games who indeed are plugging themselves into their own alternate lives every time they switch on their consoles.
Further setting the atmosphere is one of the most stirring soundtracks to come out in video games this year alongside Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Mass Effect 3.
Composer Lorne Balfe is indeed no Masashi Hamauzu or Clint Mansell, but he still brings one of the best theme songs that make it difficult to press away from the title screen.
Another excellent human along for a ride in the Animus is Nolan North, who voices Miles.
North is the most famous video game voice actor working today for a reason. He’s the rare actor of his kind that can be so recognizable but still completely blend into every role at the same time.
Speaking of blending in, it’s a treat to completely dive into the American Revolutionary War setting and meet characters such as Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.
At the same time, it’s satisfying to fight against Redcoats as they attempt to quash an inevitable rebellion.
Furthermore, it’s a historian’s wet dream to witness and even participate in events such as the Boston Massacre, adding a delicious way to learn about our nation’s history for couch potatoes and nerds alike.
Of course, this would mean little if the gameplay wasn’t up to snuff.
Fear not, because it is. Controls are simple on paper and only require the practice of good timing. Rarely does it feel unlucky when things go astray as swords clash.
Even when things do go wrong, the health meter is forgiving and even replenishes between battles and in short time.
Death is also not a torturous affair, as there are frequent autosaves.
This leaves gamers free to leap from rooftop to another so that even when they fall, it’s all in fair fun.
And what joy it is to leap up walls and dive like an eagle from many stories up as the wind blows through the ears of Miles’ avatar.
The visual quality never seems to suffer either, except for a rare glitch that can mess with missions at times.
It’s no deal breaker. Especially when considering how ambitious this project must have been for Activision.
There are numerous modes and layers to gameplay involving ship sailing, hunting, parkour and countless trinkets as well as mini-missions to undertake.
There is so much to take in during the journey that it can be intimidating. Instead of seeing it that way, it’s best to sit back and dig in for the long and breathless haul. After all, that’s a recipe for money well spent.
It all adds up for Activision, validating their years of hard work and making other, much shorter games look more flushed with inferiority than even the most diehard Redcoat.