2012's year of gaming is coming to a close and that means Neoseeker is deep in deliberation over its "Game of the Year" award. In the months of December and early January each of Neoseeker's 10 nominees for Game of the Year will be profiled. Join in the discussion, speculate on the nominees, and subtly persuade us which game deserves such an honorable award.
The fourth nominee in Neoseeker's first official "Game of the Year" countdown is Assassin's Creed III, the fifth installment in Ubisoft's pseudo-sandbox, stealth-meets-action series. Sounds like a mouthful, but anyone who's familiar with Assassin's Creed likely knows exactly what I mean. The franchise began back in 2007, and been an annual affair for most of its existence.
Assassin's Creed mixed a lot of "what if" with the most outrageous sci-fi themes you can imagine. Plot twists are definitely not an issue here. Assassin's Creed III serves as a poor entry point for series newcomers, but anyone remotely familiar with it would find the 2012 installment a worthwhile experience. Now, we find ourselves in pre-Revolution America, when the States were just colonies, and the unlikely hero is a Native American man born under the name Ratohnhaké:ton. We get to know him as "Connor," and take part in Ubisoft's retelling of a nation's birth, seeing history through the eyes of a stranger in a strange world.
Why Assassin's Creed III is great:
- Twists you never saw coming - Ubisoft has been making our jaws drop for years now, ever since the first Assassin's Creed. No matter how seemingly ridiculous the twists, none of the games were exactly predictable, and Assassin's Creed III is much the same way. Within the first hour of the game, players are slammed with the mother of all plot twists, and the game hardly slows down from there. This is something not too many games are successful at, and being kept guessing is definitely a welcome change of pace, especially when we're talking about action games where story tends to take a backseat to gameplay. Yet in Assassin's Creed III, the plot is every bit as important in motivating players forward.
- Villains worth their salt - When referencing a story, characters are a large part. Sure, we can talk about how likable (or annoyingly ineffectual) a protagonist is, but a proper antagonist? Now there's something you don't get every day. The unexpected bad guy in Assassin's Creed III isn't pure evil; heck, he's not even crazy. No, he's just some guy who genuinely thinks he's doing good, but he's also unconcerned with how his goals are obtained. He's a snake, but his charm work just as well on players as it does on other characters in the game. We hate him, yet we can't help liking him too. Go figure, neither can Connor, even when this is the man he has to kill.
- So much to do - Assassin's Creed III doesn't exactly fall short on gameplay either, for all the story-related goodness it piles on. At its core, the game is pretty much like all its predecessors, but tweaked to better suit the new arsenal and character. Yet Connor is no less deadly than Altair or Ezio, and his weapons (minus firearms) are a joy to play with. A number of new features also debuted in Assassin's Creed III, like the open world environment, naval combat, hunting, and more. Sure, not all of the new stuff is necessary, but no one can ever accuse Ubisoft of skimping on content. Think of Skyrim, where players can be distracted by a new activity or quest every few feet, never running out of things to do.
Is there more to Assassin's Creed III than the aforementioned points? Of course, but those are just a few that stand out. Really, Assassin's Creed has always been one of the better major franchises out there, even as it becomes more difficult to get into with each passing game (Most recommend starting at Assassin's Creed II.) and plot development. Even the multiplayer is worth checking out, offering a unique alternative to the usual competitive fare.
Neoseeker Game of the Year nominees:
- The Walking Dead
- Hotline Miami
- Darksiders II
- Assassin's Creed III
- Far Cry 3
- Halo 4
- Guild Wars 2
- Dota 2
Also, check out and vote in our community Game of the Year poll, where the current leader is Borderlands 2.