Horseback? Been there. Carriages? They’re kinda cool. Captaining a ship, finding the broadside of an enemy vessel and blasting them to hell with canons that will shake the teeth out of your head? Yes, Ubisoft, I am excited for Assassin’s Creed III.
We saw two new portions of the upcoming stealth/action/adventure/stabfest, starting with a more detailed walkthrough of the frontier wilderness. In addition to the cities of Boston and New York, Ubisoft has crafted the most organic environments the series has ever seen.
It also happens to be the largest. Compared to Assassin’s Creed Revelations’ Rome (which was nearly the entirety of that game), the Frontier alone is 40% larger. That doesn’t even include the cities or the waterborne segments. The environments aren’t the only thing that has been built from the ground up.
Connor moves differently than Altair and Ezio did, which comes through in the way he moves and how he kills. The half-British, half-Native American Assassin has a modified hidden blade that can spin around and be used in a backhanded fashion. Additionally, his tomahawk is a brutal weapon that trades in the elegance of Ezio’s sword for raw power and sheer terror.
Along with the new character comes new interactions with the environment. Connor will sink into the snow based on depth. The white stuff isn’t just a white paint job on the ground. It has depth and mass, slowing Connor down significantly in deeper areas. This pushes players to take to the trees, which have very natural growth patterns. Connor moves through them smoothly, leaping between them, scaling them and swinging from branch to branch.
He also scales rock walls differently than his predecessors moved vertically on buildings. There aren’t specific handholds, instead giving players a more organic climbing path. The foliage also has new purpose, creating “stalking zones” that allow the Assassin to remain hidden before striking. Connor is also more resourceful, making use of discarded weapons. This section of our demo concluded with an air assassination using the bayonet of a musket. Let’s just say that there was a lot of blood.
After getting a tour of the frontier, the side quests and new character interactions, we moved to the Caribbean sea. Connor was wearing full captain’s regalia as he moved throughout the ship. We were told that players will be able to climb riggings and explore the ship. Our friend from Ubisoft took the wheel as we moved toward the assassination target, opening fire on ships. The mayhem of the naval battle, the sheer power of the canons and the frenzy of trying to gain the better position on our foe was exhilarating.
Finally, after sinking two ships, we closed in on the target. When we had wounded it and got close enough, our boarding party lept across using ropes. Just as Connor was about to drive his hidden blade into the face of the target, the demo ended and we were sent on our way.
Assassin’s Creed III has shown us something new and exciting each time we’ve seen it. We’ve been waiting a while for this full sequel, and it appears our patience is being rewarded. We’ll know for sure when the game launches on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on October 30, 2012.