Ok so this has been out for a bit but gimme a break, I’m still working through my back catalogue of games I couldn’t play on my old rig!

I am familiar with the general theme of this game having enjoyed the original, although I skipped Assassins Creed 2 because of its horrid always online DRM issues on PC. Unfortunately that still hasn’t gone away and during an unusal couple of hours when my IP went offline I couldn’t play this game even though I was at my computer wanting to. That right there is a good reason to buy this second-hand, giving money to developers or publishers that are more interested in Pirates than Customer Experience should not be rewarded.

Now I’ve said my bit on that, on to the game itself.

Since I skipped AC2, the beginning, being a direct follow on from that story, was a little hard to follow for me. A bit more of a “what happened last time” might have been helpful but it doesn’t take long before things start to pick up and soon you have forgotten whatever you missed and back killing people in exceptionally cool ways then dashing through streets and rushing across rooftops to escape the wrath of the local guard, also known as Borgia.

Visually the game is a treat, the city of Rome is the focus of this game with a couple of external missions for Leonardo Da Vinci mixed in. Rome is big, about two-thirds of the city is full of buildings with a truly impressive Colosseum just on the outskirts in the more open grassland area. The voice acting sounds authentically italian, at least to my foreign ears and really adds to the feel of the game.

Walking about the city you can hear various civilians going about their business, stall vendors hawking their wares, It really does immerse you in the world. There have been some significant advances in gameplay since the original with a large selection of weapons available to purchase, recruit your own team of assassins, dye your clothing at various tailors, buy paintings to hang at your secret hideout, upgrade your gadgets from Leonardo Da Vinci and select from an extensive set of unlockable weapons and armour at the blacksmith shops. You can also renovate several landmarks and create spawn points for three guilds working for your cause, brothels, thieves and mercenaries, all of which can be recruited for a small fee when about the city districts to help you fight the Borgia.

First though, you must slowly push back the influence of the Borgia which is suppressing Romes growth, unlocking access to districts by assassinating guard captains and burning down their lookout towers. This in turn frees up the local merchant buildings for you to purchase and thus your influence and access to new equipment grows over time.

There are still some awkward camera issues, several times particularly during chase sequences I felt like I was fighting the camera with it actually wanting to look in a different direction to where I was pushing my mouse, this is very frustrating given the urgency of said task and the fact you are running and leaping at great height. However the difficulty of the game feels fair and progress is always possible even if sometimes you may need to reload a memory once or twice to figure out the best strategy.

The storyline is pretty extensive although to be honest I wasn’t too invested in it beyond the task at hand. Possibly my own fault for skipping AC2. Towards the end it gets a little more disjointed and splits tasks up into small, scenes that jump ahead in time to forward the story. The scenes with the “apple” the primary objective of the game are a little unsatisfying to use, by the time I acquired the “god” artifact I was so adept at killing with my regular weapons I found the hinderance of carrying it around and not being able to fight or use my tools disappointing. A case of a developer giving you a cool, super powerful ability and then being afraid you’ll have too much fun using it I fear. Gladly you soon get rid of it and can get back to fighting more traditionally.

Overall I thought this was a great game, there are lots to explore and tasks to keep you busy throughout the games main story.  With the exception of a few camera niggles I can’t fault the gameplay. It’s such a shame such a great franchise is in the hands of a company that cares more about people who don’t buy their game than those that do.

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