Assassin’s Creed 3 Review.

The blockbuster action game is back this year with a new character and setting. Assassin’s Creed 3 continues the epic battle between good and evil. The Templars and Assassins are now facing off with the American war of independence as the backdrop. Our new hero Connor Kenway story doesn’t start until a good few hours into the game, you will either love the complex and involving story, or hate it because you just want to play as Connor. As strong and well throughout character as Connor is, he just doesn’t have the charm of previous lead characters, like Ezio from AC2

The backdrop for this tale is more chaotic than ever. A vast and expansive game world throws a large amount of enemies at you. Cannons fire, horsemen tumble from their mounts, platoons of redcoats march through the carnage. A new game engine helps with the huge scale battles and set pieces. Along with the new engine, combat and free running have been improved. Attacking large groups is challenging but never frustrating. This is partly down to the newly implemented combat system and a better camera set-up.

Graphically Assassin’s Creed 3 is stunning. The cities of Boston and New York feel alive and lived in. Street vendors, shop owners and vagabonds fill the streets adding a great level of immersion. A first for the franchise is the frontier area, a huge forest zone filled with additional objectives and the fantastic new tree-climbing mechanic. Traversing this environment is simply beautiful, giving the player huge levels of freedom. Combat is fast and brutal. A whole new set of kill animations and weapons will make you wince. Mixing up counters, dodges and environmental kills add some new dynamics to the solid fight engine. Assassinations can now be done with any weapon adding new tactical levels to the gameplay.

Like previous entries in the series, Assassin’s Creed 3 has a generous amount of side missions and other distractions like the brilliant new naval missions. So once the credits have rolled there’s still plenty to do. Multiplayer has also seen a bit of a do-over. The mechanics haven’t changed much but the customisation and upgrade system add an extra layer of replay-ability.

An epic story and fantastic graphics are the standard for such big titles this time of year, Assassin’s Creed 3 goes one step further with improved gameplay, a wealth of extra content and a compelling and robust multiplayer. Assassin’s Creed 3 is a must for all action-adventure fans.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Review.

Each November brings with it another Call of Duty. Each Call of Duty adds a little something new to the formula. This year’s entry, Black Ops 2, has seen the biggest change in the series since Modern Warfare. Set in the not two distant future, and jumping back to the eighties, we follow the story of David Mason. (The name Mason my be familiar to CoD veterans.)

As always, you’re dropped into various war zones around the world and tasked with shooting endless armies of (mostly) east Europeans. The bombastic set pieces and breakneck pacing are all present. We’ve all done this before, building tumble, civilians scramble for cover. Its safe to say the shock and awe of this series has run dry. The branching story line bring little to the overall experience, although this adds replay value to the incredibly short single-player.

Now, on to the multiplayer. Like its predecessors, Black Ops 2 has a fully featured online mode. Much has changed from the previous games. Character customization and load outs create a balanced playing field. The new ‘Pick 10’ system works perfectly. The replacement of kill streaks to score streaks creates a much more team focused game. Maps are open and feature multiple routes, with sniper spots and back alleys to flank and suppress.

The fan favorite, Nazi Zombies have also made a return. Like the multiplayer, this mode has also seen some changes. The original survival mode returns but with it comes the expansive Tranzit. A semi open world for you to explore, hunting down parts in order to progress further. Zombies have always had a huge fan base and this is what they’ve been waiting for.

The single-player levels may be linear and uninspired but the combat and controls are as tight and engaging as ever. The multiplayer is the strong point of the series and Black Ops 2 has just raised the bar. The new features added to Nazi Zombies make this a great value game with hours of content.

If fast, high-octane run and gun carnage are your thing, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is an essential purchase.

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