21-12-12. Merely weeks until the end of the Earth. The only soul that could possibly bring salvation is assassin Desmond Miles. This game. Just by the title screen and menus, you know this is going to be a epic conclusion. This game blows my mind in every way possible....almost. Now don't let my "almost" fool you, this game is FANTASTIC! I will get to my only complaint later.
Graphics Now I know the story and gameplay are way more important, but I have to share my experiences with the graphics first because you notice the difference IMMEDIATELY. If you can still believe it, the game is still ran with Flash, but a new engine by the name of AnvilNext. I didn't use the 3D feature because it is a stupid gimmick, and because I don't own a compatible television.However, even without it the game still looks better than ever before. The Setting of colonial America was perfect. The people and environments look accurate and amazing as hell. Graphics aren't everything, but here the effects just add to game's universe without distracting from the gameplay, just beautiful.
Story I was going to refresh the series and briefly explain it to newcomers, but it would take to long. Plan on the rest of the series to be reviewed at a later date. Anyways, the story picks up where Revelations left off, with Desmond getting his mind together again and waking up to Rebecca, Shaun, and his father William "Bill." Desmond tells them what they need to do and they leave for the United States. They find a room hidden away in a cave near Boston on the Mohawk tribe frontier left behind by the First Civilization. Here they set up shop and Desmond gets knocked unconscious after connection with the First Civ'.(civilization). Not wanting to break the connection, Rebecca and the others put Desmond back into the animus. There Desmond undergoes some training with the new software update (the game references the change in graphics and control), until he connects with a new ancestor. This new ancestor is a British man by the name of Haytham Kenway in 1754 London. He attends the theater to find a "precursor" artifact and must assassinate the patron there would had it. After killing his target and taking the artifact he escapes to his co-conspirators and is assigned to go to Boston to find a suspected First Civ' storehouse, then being tasked with finding new members for their order in the New World.After a long charter, he gets to Boston within seventy-two days of his departure. He meets his assistant and first recruit, Charles Lee. Charles gives him a tour and at the end of it, they arrive at a pub known as the Green Dragon Tavern where he meets fellow order member William Johnson. After some quests to track down the other recruits that were on his list he gets entangled in a mess with redcoats. During this he encounters former member of the order--now a redcoat general--Edward Braddock, along with his lackey Silas Thatcher. Kenway learned that Thatcher was in charge of a fort where they held Native American slaves. He decided it was best to free them because he needed someone who could identify the native artifact from London. They succeed in freeing the slaves and killing Thatcher. Six months after Thatcher's death, Kenway and his new recruits find a Mohawk woman they had saved that six months before. They find her and Kenway asks her assistance with the artifact. She doesn't trust him and tells him that to earn her trust and to get her help that he must first help her stop General Braddock from driving her people out of their homes so he can expand the colonies westward. He agrees and after some events, including a chase, Kenway kills Braddock and takes a ring from his finger. The woman he saved, by the name of Kaniehti:io (Zio), fulfills her end by showing Kenway the cave (Where Desmond and Co. are currently). It turns out that Kenway had the wrong type of artifact, the one needed obviously being an apple. Days later Kenway makes his recruits full fledged members of the order. After a scene with Desmond and the others (I won't spoil it), Desmond re-enters the animus as he is connected with Haytham Kenway and Kaniehti:io's son, Ratonhnhake:ton (Later known as Connor Kenway). During a hide and seek game with the other Mohawk children, Connor gets discovered by a strange white man. The man asks Connor to show him the location of his settlement but he doesn't answer. Instead Connor tells him that he will find and hunt him down. A second man knocks him out. Connor wakes up and returns to his camp to find it ablaze. He tries to frantically find his mother Zio and eventually does, but she is trapped under some debris. He tries to help but is not strong enough yet to lift it out of the way. She tells him to leave her and that she will always be watching him. He is then dragged off by another of his tribe to safety. Nine years pass after the incident. Connor goes hunting with a friend and when they get back he sees the elder. The elder shows him an apple "Piece of Eden" and tells him to leave the tribe to seek out the people who bear the mark of an assassin (she doesn't say assassin and mark being their logo). Connor then departs and finally finds a Manor (Homestead) in the woods far from his camp. There he meets an African-american man by the name of Achilles. Achilles denies to train him at first. Connor hesitant to seek answers, stays outside the house for days until finally after helping Achilles defend his home, he reluctantly agrees to train the boy. Achilles shares with him the story of the Templars and assassins, their goal, and the long war that has ensued between the two factions. He trains Connor and the boy becomes a full-fledged assassin. The game progresses as Connor fights to get revenge on the Templars that invaded and almost demolished his tribe's encampment. (I apologize for the story being so long, there was a lot to say and set up as the game finally gets to the main ancestor and his goal.)
Gameplay Finally we get to the gameplay aspect! So how are the controls? What's new to this installment? Well first off you will see that the H.U.D. is different from previous games. Your synchronization meter is at the bottom left of the screen next to the mini-map. Yes, it is a meter this time, not bars. Your synch meter also fills back up like in the first game. Only this time, it does not refill when in battle. However when it is extremely low and you are on caution to being desynched, it will fill back up a bit to the white if you can avoid being hit for a few seconds. Also at the bottom left, it displays your currency (this time it being in British pounds sterling). At the bottom right side your weapons and tools are displayed. Like Revelations, you can equip one weapon and tool simultaneously, using X or square to use weapons and using Y or triangle to use your equipped tool. At the top left of the screen you see your current objective and optional objectives. The top right of the screen displays notifications like when you pick up a collectible. Now the controls. From the beginning when you were training when you first got in the animus, you will notice that free-running has been simplified by just holding RT/R2, instead of holding both that button and A/X at the same time. This makes running feel so much easier both in game and on your fingers. If your running all the time though and pass different objects you will climb them. So instead of the little boost of speed you got in the previous games by just holding RT/R2, its either walking or running, nothing in between except for the fast walk, which doesn't help much. Also while running, tapping either left or right on the control stick makes Connor juke a little bit and while in combat, you can dodge things like enemy fire doing this. Speaking of which, the control scheme has been updated for combat as well. You can now use B/circle to counter enemy attacks and if timed correctly and initiate a combo. You can use the A/X button to break enemy defenses. However you cannot throw enemies unless already super close to a ledge or railing. Also to make combat work correctly and to sometimes use certain weapons and tools at all, you have to manually aim at them when pushing the aim button. THERE IS NO MORE AUTO-AIM/TARGETING! You have to do everything yourself this time around. It wouldn't be so bad except that the enemy can also dodge and it is especially difficult to target enemies you are chasing. Also if you piss off a civilian, or if one just decides to attack you, just run. You cannot attack them back unless you aim at them. Even then, you can only kill them, you cannot melee attack them. Guards you can, but innocents...nope. As far as weapons go, Connor has hidden blades and his bow. You can also buy swords, hammers, and axes--and smail weapons like Connor's assassin tomahawk. Instead of a hidden pistol, you can buy actual full size pistols from the store. You can also pick up guard's rifles, but from what I'm aware of, you cannot keep them. Pistols count as in the tools section. Different tools include those pistols, bait and traps for hunting animals, rope darts that let you strangle enemies or pull them flat on their face during combat, and a horse whistle that allows you to call upon a horse wherever you are (sort of like calling Epona with your ocarina in Zelda). besides of my targeting complaint, the gameplay is pretty solid, and that one thing isn't enough to ruin the game (you get used to it).In the game there are things to collect like Ben Frankin's Almanacs that you can trade in for useful inventions during the story, like Leonardo Da Vinci with the codex pages in Assassin's Creed II. You recruit assassin's by saving the people and finding them jobs and places to stay within the homestead. In return you can recruit some of them and sell and trade for their services. Again in this installment are optional objectives to 100% synch sequences. The only problem is that there can be more than one at a time to complete, making it more difficult than ever to get that 100% synch. For a completionist like me, this can be quite the nightmare. Again this doesn't ruin the game, it just can be a little stressful.
So what do I think, what score do I think this game earns. You can easily get to the new controls and the game looks and plays beautifully. I think that they ended the story on a fantastic high note and you should definitely get this one if your a fan of the series. If your new I highly recommend the entire series and that you play from the first one in order. If you like action adventure and a bit of platforming and a great story, you will love this series. I'm going to start reviewing more on brutal honesty and less nostalgia starting with this game. Because of the lack of a targeting system and the optional objectives not being something to do rather than things like don't lose so much health, or don't be detected, I have to give this game a 4 out of 5. This means a rating of "Great" and "Finish it." You should go play this game and until next time, know that Nothing is true, and Everything is permitted! EAGLE!
Note: I have though about scoring and have come up with a new system. It is as follows... 1-Poor 2-Playable 3-Average 4-Great 5-Absolutely Fantastic
I will also recommend how you should play it...by that i mean how good it is to keep. It as follows... "Play it": Rent the game or play it with someone you know who has it "Finish it": Buy/Rent the game and at least finish the story and all main objectives "Complete it": Buy the game and finish the story and main objectives, along with all the optional objectives AND with claiming all the achievements/trophies.