Few gaming franchises could take on an epic challenge like the forging of America. "Assassin's Creed III" not only weaves its hero into the retelling of the American Revolution, but does so in beautiful and often gruesome fashion.

The New World wasn't all bonnets and cornucopias. It was a young land filled with eagerness and colored with blood. "Assassin's Creed III" alternates between future and past with our long-running series hero, Desmond, and his connection to the past -- in this edition a half-British, half-American Indian warrior named Connor.

Connor's life is amazingly intertwined with major moments of America's birth in New York and Boston. Paul Revere, the Boston Tea Party and other major (and minor) elements of colonial times make appearances and interact with him.

You'll sneak around forests eliminating groups of soldiers, while in other set pieces engage in thrilling sea battles aboard enormous, cannon-laden ships. There are quieter moments, as well, slyly assassinating targets while sneaking around the city's rooftops, or making a life for yourself as you expand your countryside homestead.

A game this ambitious in scope (and trust me, its scale is grandiose) means inconsistencies are bound to show up.

Tree branches rarely sway or bend even with humans running along them. Some clipping occurs with characters getting stuck in walls. Missions need restarting when a required event never happens. These game-play and presentation hiccups show up more often than you'd like, but they don't ruin the flow.

Online multiplayer returns, with an impressive expansion of content and modes that were first introduced in "Brotherhood." Nothing raises the tension more than skulking around a city looking for a player to kill silently while knowing there are others aiming to do the same to you.

A monumental period like the American Revolution required brave souls to mold a nation. "Assassin's Creed III" thrusts you beautifully into this thrilling time and creates a great gaming adventure.