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Assassin's Creed 3 review: The birth of a nation, the end of a trilogy

America's angsty teenage years provide the backdrop for the biggest Assassin's Creed yet

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Some people are bad actors. You'll see them sprinting or climbing an object, which NPCs never do, immediately exposing themselves. Sometimes they'll quickly switch direction, or stop suddenly. But while you're studying the area for your target, other people are looking for you, meaning you have to make sure you're acting like an NPC and not an assassin yourself.

You also have to make sure you're moving around the level in unpredictable patterns, as when your assassin has you in their line of sight, your portrait on their screen will light up. This makes matches with skilled players a nerve-wracking game of cat and mouse.

If your stalker is near you, you'll hear whispering. This is when things get really tense. Either they'll creep up on you and stab you in the back, or you'll be able to detect them before they strike, stun them, and flee. It's also advisable to look up as well as behind you, as a player could be perched on a rooftop tracking you from above.

The tension is unbearable at times, and you'll become incredibly paranoid when the whispering starts. So paranoid that you'll often sink your blade into an innocent as your hunter watches from afar, then they'll swoop in and take you out.

Zoom

If you've played the multiplayer in Brotherhood or Revelations you'll recognise much of this. But Assassin's Creed 3 comes with some new modes, namely Domination and Wolfpack. Domination is like Battlefield's classic Conquest mode with two teams fighting to take control of points on the map. The twist is, when you're taking the point you become the target (you can be killed, but can only stun), and when you're defending you're the hunter (you can kill, but can be stunned).

Gadgets come into play in this mode, including trip mines, smoke bombs, and the ability to change your appearance briefly. This is where the Erudito Point system might cause problems, as some of the more elaborate tools are only unlocked at higher levels.

Wolfpack is less traditional. It's a co-op mode that sees you and up to four pals working together to take out marked NPCs in a set amount of time. If you coordinate your movements and pull off synchronised kills, you get more points. As well as these new modes, Manhunt, Wanted, and Artifact Assault also make a return, as well as expanded customisation for your characters and profile, and an ever-fashionable persistent XP system.

It's pretty much what you'd expect from a big budget game's multiplayer, but the tense hide-and-seek gameplay is a welcome alternative to running around shooting people. There's also some intriguing lore you can unlock by completing challenges and reaching level milestones.

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The verdict

A gargantuan, lavish historical epic, let down by shoddy mission design. Great, but not the revolution we were hoping for.

  • Big, beautifully realised world
  • Hours of side missions
  • Improved climbing and combat
  • Too many scripted missions
  • Connor is a bore
  • Distracting visual bugs
8
Format
Xbox 360
Developer
Ubisoft
Publisher
Ubisoft
Genre
Action, Adventure

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