I can't think of a single franchise that's surprised me as many times as Assassin's Creed has.

Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release date: Oct. 30
Price: $59.99

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Score: 9/10

When the first game came out, no one expected the 12th-century tale of Altair to be framed by a 21st-century sci-fi story. And by the end of Assassin's Creed 2, we'd learned of a race of superior beings who spoke through time in the guises of gods. Who saw that coming?

Now Assassin's Creed 3 has done it again, and even though we thought we knew everything about it, we had no idea what we were in for.

The story of Connor, a Native American Assassin with a pivotal role in the American Revolution, is still framed by the increasingly exciting modern-day exploits of Desmond Miles. But in between those two tales is another one, of another soldier in the eternal war between the Templars and Assassins. It's an unexpected journey that crosses an ocean and lends the game's plot more emotional gravity than the last four games had combined.

In that and more, AC 3 is easily the biggest departure the series has yet seen. And though not all its changes are for the best, Ubisoft's latest excels in all the right ways.

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