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Assassin’s Creed III: Give me liberty or death

Franchise brings open world play and historical detail to the War of Independence

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I cannot tell a lie: I assassinated George Washington.

It wasn’t intentional; he was just another chap in a British Army uniform, guarding a cannon I had to disable.

“The game starts, as with its predecessors, with Desmond Miles, the modern-day descendant of the Assassins, searching now for the Key which will open an ancient temple.”Tweet this

But what everyone who hasn’t already grabbed their copy of Assassin’s Creed III want to know is whether the game’s a worthy successor to Assassin’s Creed II and its spin-offs.

The simple answer is yes, it is. If you enjoyed playing Ezio in Rennaissance Italy, do not hesitate. If you haven’t dipped into Assassin’s Creed until now, take the plunge.

The fact that George Washington was there, in a British Army camp outside Concord, right where history has him in 1753, is one of the aspects of this game I take secret pleasure in: Ubisoft Montreal as passionate about their history as they are about their gaming.

I’d already encountered a host of historical characters, from the famous to the hardly known, by the time I slipped a blade into Washington. Benjamin Franklin hired me to find missing pages of Poor Richard’s Almanack, for example. And assassinating the future General Washington was classed as a mission failure; I was sent back to the last checkpoint and another 40 minutes sneaking around a British Army camp to get back to the cannons.

Ubisoft have created a new game engine for this release, which leads to much smoother climbing, scrambling and running, though combat can still be a little jerky.

And the scope and scale of the game is truly impressive: 30 years of pivotal American history, played across the 13 colonies and up and down the Eastern Seaboard, all framed in the age-old battle between the Assassins and the Templars.

There are bound to be comparisons with Red Dead Redemption, but Assassin’s Creed III’s American is that of Last of the Mohicans, rather than Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Nevertheless, all those factors which made Red Dead such a hit are present: beautiful landscapes to explore (and they are truly beautiful), game to hunt, missions to fulfill.

The game starts, as with its predecessors, with Desmond Miles, the modern-day descendant of the Assassins, searching now for the Key which will open an ancient temple. Before long, he heads into his ancestral memories to find it.

The first historical character you play is Haytham Kenway, a suave English Assassin with a stiff upper lip and a plum in his mouth. Kenway will travel from London to Boston in a series of vignettes intended to introduce new players to the controls, then seek to create allies among the native Americans.

Eventually, the actions shifts to Haytham’s son, Connor, the iconic half-English, half-Mohawk Assassin you see on the cover of the game.

Playing the game is only half the pleasure in Assassin’s Creed III. Taking advantage of the open world and head out to explore the untamed wilderness is just as much fun – rather like it was with Red Dead.

The Assassin’s Creed series has earned an impressive reputation; this final installment seems ready to justify the passion with which gamers regard the series.

And in answer to Patrick Henry’s oft-quoted line, “Give me liberty or give me death,” all I’ll say is that Assassins don’t deal in liberty.


Quick Score

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher: Ubisoft

Genre: Historical third-person sneaker

Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360 (PC and Wii U versions to follow)

Version tested: Xbox 360

Age rating: 18

Star rating: 5/5