Set against the backdrop of the American Revolution, Assassin's Creed III is a walk through the explosive birth of the world's most powerful nation.
Or at least an alternative version of the story, with non-fiction weaved in throughout.
The game is epic in its scope and beauty: from hunting on the land of a Mohawk band, to guiding a long ship into battle, to galloping on the back of a stolen horse, to stabbing a red coat in the back.
The Assassin's Creed franchise is known for games that play out on a rich tapestry of world history, from the tops of churches in Jerusalem to the lush Tuscan countryside. It's what brought this series to the forefront of gaming.
In 2007, Canadian developer Ubisoft Montreal stunned the gaming community with the depth and beauty of the first game in the franchise, set during the third crusade in the Holy Land in the 12th century.
That title set into motion a battle between the brotherhood of assassins against the Knights Templar that has, so far, spanned five games — three of them numbered.
The series follows Desmond Miles, a bartender who's descended from the bloodline of assassins. In the first Assassin's Creed story, Desmond is snatched by modern-day corporation, Abstergo, and forced to re-live the memories of his ancestors in a machine called the Animus. Those memories are monitored, thus helping those in the present find relics needed to unlock a great power that could control mankind.
The premise continues in Assassin's Creed III (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC). This time, Desmond is in the company of his father and friends, rather than the evil corporate suits, when he enters an Animus found in an ancient New York temple.
However, the meat of the game is played out in 18th century Boston, New York, the rugged Colonial frontier and — in added naval missions — along the Eastern seaboard.
While the game begins with the player controlling Haytham Kenway, a British citizen sent to Boston to hunt for a secret storehouse, the game eventually puts the player in control of Connor Kenway — Haytham's son — who is also half Mohawk.
It's refreshing in a video game world dominated with Caucasian protagonists to break from that mold. Seeing the world through Connor's eyes give an interesting peek into the world of First Nations, increasingly under threat from colonization.
The main trouble with Assassin's Creed III is its glitchy presentation. The joy of the series is becoming immersed in history. However, the experience is often rudely interrupted by loading screens before the frequent short cinematic scenes. Sporadic frame rate drops lift the veil on the game's highly polished finish.
Still, with a game this big, a few glitches and extra loading time can be easily forgiven.
While the game flips back to Desmond at times, re-engaging a convoluted plot that spans all of the titles, I found the title's strength is in the historical setting. There is simply so much to do in the past that it's almost painful to be stuck in the future.
Players can hunt with snares and bait throughout the frontier, catching small game, such as rabbits and beavers, or big game, like bears and cougars.
They can focus on building their homestead by completing missions that help draw more pioneers to their land and increase trade. Or they can engage in naval warfare, firing their cannons at ships along the Eastern seaboard and in the Caribbean.
Bottom line: Assassin's Creed III is a history buff's dream, an opportunity to walk through an authentic layout of Boston in the 1700s, or glimpse First Nation culture and hear characters speak Mohawk. This is a game that you'll keep on your shelf long after you've beaten it, simply so you can revisit the world from time to time.
David Wylie is an editor with The Daily Courier. He has played video games since the olden days of the Atari 2600. Tweet at him: @editorgeek