I thought the game was fun, but the rough edges in the franchise are getting worse. Ubisoft needs to stop with the annual releases and allow their studios to refine the games lest they continue this spiral of decline. While the free-running controls are improved, they can still become a frustrating mess during chase sequences. The combat controls are also much improved, but now combat is easier than ever and it makes stealth unrewarding. The ship missions were fantastic, but I'd rather see them fleshed out into their own game than used as a limited side-mission in a franchise already suffering from feature-creep. The crafting/convoy system was pointless busywork with a terrible UI.
I actually liked the setting, maybe because I didn't have the American Revolution crammed down my throat from a young age so I wasn't overly familiar with it. I loved the frontier; it wasn't quite as good as RDR, but it was still really good. The game also has the best snow I've ever seen in an open-world game.
The Templars were much better handled in this game than previous ones. For the first time since AC1 I could actually sympathize with them and their motives and felt sort of bad for killing them. The Templars of the Ezio trilogy seemed more like power hungry stereotypical villains.
Agreed, these Templars were far more interesting, especially Haytham, and there was a lot more moral complexity presented than in Ezio's story. Ezio was still a more fun character to play as, and his story in AC2 was more interesting than Connor's, but at least we didn't get comic-book villains like Cesare Borgia.