December 4, 2012

Assassin’s Creed 3 (Part 3)

The mark and work of an assassin is generally known as silent and unseen. Assassins do not barge into a room full of people and challenge the target to an honorable duel. No! They sneak up into the rafters and shove a concealed blade down their target’s throat when the witnesses are distracted. The assassin walks away from the scene of the crime unopposed and unperturbed. An assassin is baited into open conflict only when the last traces of cover are blown and must silence all witnesses. Unfortunately, I feel like Assassin’s Creed 3 seems to be getting away from that somewhat. Missions seem to be unconditional slaughter rather than the careful planning of silent assassinations. It’s no less fun of course. Running through the middle of a heavily guarded fort with sharp objects strapped to every square inch of your body can be just as fun as stealthily making your way over to your target until you punch him in the gut with a knife.

The only difference is the feel it gives. Connor seems to be more like a bloodthirsty mercenary than a silent assassin. The option of stealth is not forced upon the player at certain points in the story like it used to be in the previous games. Rather, in Assassin’s Creed 3, you are given an objective that you may complete in whatever way you want. You are also given optional objectives that you can choose to complete at your discretion. So you can rush into a room and paint the walls with everyone’s blood, or you can sneak in and poison your target for the sake of the optional objective. How you go about your mission is entirely up to you.

Another new implement in Assassin’s Creed 3 is the addition of naval combat. Nothing says silent and stealthy like fifty cannon shots from the side of a massive ship. Whatever, I like this new addition. It’s different from the norm and can be pretty intense at times. At first I was wary about how naval combat would be. I didn’t think it would have any reason nor did I think it could stand up to the already stellar gameplay. But regardless of my concerns over it, I have found that I enjoy the seafaring moments of Assassin’s Creed 3. From maneuvering through a storm to hijacking pirate ships to slaughter, naval combat is a nice touch to Assassin’s Creed 3.

On a completely different note, my Internet connection has been sufficiently stable enough to allow me a chance to give the multiplayer aspect of Assassin’s Creed 3 a thorough playing. Multiplayer in Assassin’s Creed 3 is an entirely different beast from the single player campaign, which can be both good and bad depending on perspective. What I love so much about Assassin’s Creed 3’s multiplayer is that it is so different from the majority of multiplayer games on consoles. Most first person shooters where multiplayer functions that aren’t campaign co-ops are pretty much limited to killing everything displaying a different color than you. Sure there are many game-modes like capture the flag and whatnot, but the underlying basis of many multiplayer modes is to just mash the attack button until either you or your enemy stops twitching. In Assassin’s Creed 3’s multiplayer, your general goal (I say “general” because there are many other modes that require different objectives) is to assassinate assigned targets (other players in the match with you) while attempting to avoid being assassinated by other people in the match who have you as their target. Sounds simple enough, but things can quickly get tricky.

The whole premise of Assassin’s Creed 3’s multiplayer is a sort of hunter-hunted kind of cycle. Everyone has a target they are assigned to kill, but everyone is being hunted at the same time. The higher you are in the match’s ranks (i.e. if you are in first place), the more people will be out hunting your head. You can either evade your pursuers or attempt to “stun” them, which would cause them to lose you as a contract (you can’t kill players who you don’t have as a contract). At the same time, you must hunt your own target who will be trying to evade or stun you. Aside from the basic rules though, what I love most about Assassin’s Creed 3’s multiplayer is how the game is played. Much of the game is spent trying to get into your target or enemy’s head so that you can anticipate their moves and fake them out. There’s something great about pretending to be one of the many NPCs wandering throughout the map to lure your target into a false sense of security, until you finally pick a time to break off from the crowd and bid greetings with a friendly skull stab.

Image Credit: Ubisoft

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