Review: Assassin’s Creed III (PC)
STORY PT. 2 – GENERAL DISCUSSION (SOME SPOILERS)
For new players, and I expect there may be a few, the game begins with a concise and well delivered summary of "the story so far", retelling key events from the previous games. Since the sections of the story involving Desmond are quite difficult to simply pick up along the way (as well as the general concept of the Animus and how the future and past are linked together), it's absolutely necessary to include a summary like this. The rest of the game however, makes every assumption that you know what's going on, and doesn't hold your hand or recap past events. As long as you listened during the summary, you'll have all the information you need, and for experienced players, it's nice not being told about basic plot elements obvious to the player and in-game characters alike.
The story is delivered, just as in previous games, with a well written script and cinematic cut-scenes before, during and after missions. In the meantime, you're free to explore the world around you and engage in side missions. The story is told in somewhat of a parallel to Assassin's Creed II; it focuses on a young man who experiences tragedy during his upbringing, and is driven to take his first steps into a larger world, before finding his destiny and pursuing it. Much like Ezio's tale, ACIII tells a personal, sometimes touching tale of heroics on a grand scale; quite simply, it is an epic (as in the genre, not the adjective).
Connor's parents. She doesn't look happy, and I'm not surprised; Hatham is a jerk.
Connor, as a protagonist, is a sympathetic character and the inclusion of his childhood in the game helps us associate better with him and empathize with the experiences he has. Something similar was done with Ezio Auditore in Assassin's Creed II, but while we first encounter Ezio in his teens, we grow a connection with Connor when he is a child as well. Another important difference between Ezio and Connor; one that is relevant to the player, is that Connor had a sheltered upbringing. He never ventured beyond the valley in which his village is located until he began his adventure. This is very important because it connects him intimately with the player: When he ventures into the world for the first time, it is also within the first few hours of gameplay. Connor's inexperience with the world beyond his valley, mirrors the player's inexperience with the game world, and this helps the player identify with Connor.
The twist which reveals Kenway as a Templar is also excellently delivered, and warrants special mention. During the time I played as Kenway, I always felt that something was off: Some of the people he associated with didn't seem like particularly good people and he acted callously, taking lives a little too easily. He didn't act drastically different from an Assassin though, and used many of the assassins' trademarks, such as the hidden blade and free running abilities. I initially assumed that my problems with Kenway were in my imagination. I figured that they were simply manifested from the lack of a proper tutorial area: The game tossed you into the world and let you kill, uncharacteristically for the series, right from the start. This is exactly how to deliver a twist like this; make it clear to the player that something is off, but only hint at it so the player eventually dismisses their concerns. The reveal then becomes very believable, and acts both as an amazing revelation, and as a way for the player to feel clever.