The "Assassin's Creed" franchise just got more brutal and gritty.

"Assassin's Creed III" hurls you into the boots of a new assassin -- Connor, a half-British, half-Mohawk Indian, whose fate is intimately entwined with that of the 13 Colonies. The game tells a massive, epic tale with gripping twists and turns that make a fabled part of American history actually feel alive.

After his tribe is attacked, the young warrior Connor leaves to get training from an aging member of the Assassin order. He starts his journey of revenge just as the American colonies begin to revolt against the British.

Connor's fight with the Templars, who back the Crown, puts him at the forefront of many of the major battles and events of the Revolutionary War. Starting with the Boston Massacre, he also takes part in Paul Revere's ride and the Battle of Bunker Hill. Along the way, he visits historic Boston and New York, and meets Sam Adams and George Washington.

'Assassin's Creed III'
» Systems: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U
» Price: $59.99
» Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

In the new "Assassin's Creed," Connor plays a much more brutal assassin than previous hero Ezio Auditore. Connor was raised as an Indian warrior, so his fighting style is based more on raw power than the finesse Ezio employed. Connor's forebears also taught him to live off the land, so a big part of the game is spent hunting animals in the frontier lands.

A big change in this sequel is that the game-defining free running takes you from the rooftops to the treetops. Connor can use tree branches to make is way through the forest and stake his targets. And all his weapons can be used from his perch high in the trees.

Combat is the game's strong suit, but it's also where the only major flaw lies. When fights start, the camera locks in place. This can lead to many instances where trees or buildings block your view. And when combat is all about timing counter attacks, not being able to see what's going on can lead to a quick, untimely death.

While the alternate game modes, such as the den defense in "Assassin's Creed: Revelations," were quite bad, "Assassin's Creed III" introduces well-designed naval battle sequences that actually further the story. Captaining a ship every once in a while breaks up the sometimes monotonous running around.

Connor may not have Ezio's flair, but "Assassin's Creed III" revitalizes the series and sets it on the right course for the future.