When Ubisoft released the first Assassin’s Creed on next gen platforms many saw a good opportunity gone to waste. It had all the makings of a huge hit but was ultimately let down by its repetitiveness. Ubisoft went back to the drawing board with Assassin’s Creed II and created a gem. Fixing nearly everything wrong with the first as well as bringing new ideas to the series which saw the game sky rocket to being nominated for many Game of the Year awards, winning a few in the process.
Ultimately all of the above lead to Ubisoft making two more games in the Ezio storyline – Brotherhood and Revelations. Whilst the annualisation of the game didn’t go down well with some fans it allowed Ubisoft more time to work on the next quality Assassin’s game. That’s right Assassin’s Creed III is here. Boasting a new hero, a new setting, a new time period and a new engine. This game ticks all the right boxes.
Boasting a new hero, a new setting, a new time period and a new engine. This game ticks all the right boxes.
There’s no doubt that this is the biggest Assassin’s Creed project in the series. Ubisoft’s already said that it has several different teams aiding this project from the worldwide studios and it’s evident in the scale of the game. This time around the universe is set to the period of the American Revolution, set in the time frame of 1753 to 1783, the game spans 30 years of history and Ubisoft has done its homework. Many cities from New York to Boston to Philadelphia all make an appearance, as well as the colonising British army and historical figures from both sides of the fight. Don’t let this fool you though, the game is still about the battle between the Assassin’s and the Templars.
Historical accuracy is something the game takes seriously and this is very evident when speeches from history make it inside the game. Quotes from all historical figures are rampant and add to the atmosphere of the American Revolution. Like any typical Assassin’s game a number of cities are included with the story being unfolded in each one, however this isn’t where the scale of the game lies. The biggest area of the game is a forest that Ubisoft calls ‘the frontier’. The frontier is 1.5 times the size of Rome from the Ezio Assassin’s game, yeah that’s pretty big. Within the frontier is danger from both human and wildlife as it’ll not only be enemies stalking your tracks, but animals too. However this is the Assassin’s playground and is littered with escape routes, allowing you to climb objects and find cover in order to save your own skin.
With every numbered iteration in the series a new hero in introduced. In Assassin’s III the new hero is Connor, ironically a half British half Mohawk Indian. Connor is the latest Assassin in the what’s already becoming a rich heritage of assassin’s and is drawn into the fight between America and Britain. As mentioned before the game will include significant historical figures from the spearhead of American and British history. Faces you’ll see range from the iconic George Washington, Charles Lee and Benjamin Franklin to name a few.
Ubisoft have brought some new tech to the table. Touting it as the AnvilNext, the engine powering Assassin’s Creed III. When looking at the game the new tech is obvious from the first step your character takes, even more so when seeing the full flowing gameplay. Enemies are fully animated and hostile in the backdrop of war and really makes a sight to wonder at as you navigate through dead soldiers and gunfire. The new tech also allows players to jump on and off moving objects throughout the game, these range from leaps of faith, to moving carriages that aid you in escaping an enemy. All of these present a new dynamic whilst playing the game and bring a new element to the gameplay and to the Assassin’s series in general. Amongst this comes a new presentation style for the series, which Ubisoft says had to be done to go in line with the new tech and of course the new in-game Animus 3.0.
With this being the biggest Assassin’s project to date new aspects have been brought into the game for the greater good. Weather effects make an appearance, with snow and rain pelting down during gameplay. Snow has different depths and affects travelling during the game. When exploring the snow covered frontier, Connor can come across areas where depth of snow is an issue to go through, this presents a different challenge to players when engaging with enemies and animals. The same applies to the rain aspect. When confronting British soldiers in rain using a gun isn’t a realistic option, they instead dynamically engage you in close quarters combat until you dispatch of them.
Getting down to the core gameplay side of things, Assassin’s III poses the biggest leap in terms of gameplay to the series. Ubisoft enlisted the help of professional rock climbers to aid in the climbing mechanic of the game and boy does it help. Climbing is some of the smoothest you’ll ever have seen in a game to date. As Connor moves from tree to tree in the frontier, animations look smooth and natural, a credit to Ubisoft indeed. Much like previous games in the series your assassin will have the usual weapons and armoury. Connor enlists the help of a tomahawk and knife as his primary tools with secondary tools being the hidden blade and pistols he has at each side. New weapons make the grade again this time around and one in particular will get players in awe. The rope hook is designed almost like Scorpions “get over here” blade from Mortal Kombat and can be used to pull off some pretty good kills from many angles. With that being said, primary combat still mainly takes place up close and personal, your character is an assassin after all. This is where the most refinement has been made within combat; Dual kills and fantastic counters take centre stage here and each look as good as the other, leaving players with great satisfaction when downing a foe. If that wasn’t enough, players can also kill and skin animals which can be used as part of your clothing within the game, take that Red Dead Redemption.
During our preview of the game, Ubisoft showed off the rope blade to a new chilling but satisfying extent. Previous assassin’s games would have called for the hidden blade, but this time around the player uses the rope blade to grab hold of the enemy and jump off the tree branch resulting in the foe being hanged; not a good death at all. This is just a small fraction of the type of deaths you can cause in Assassin’s Creed III and here’s hoping the Ubisoft team think of even more.
We’re sure that this is no doubt going to be up there with the best games to release this year.
In what can only be described as similar to Mirrors Edge, Connor can also get over obstacles by sliding, leaping and balancing. It’s a new mechanic that aids player movement in escape situations as well as climbing and using the environment. Dynamic environment situations will also rear their head throughout the game, e.g an open window gives Connor an opportunity to jump through to aid his escape from British soldiers who’ve identified him.
Whilst we only got a taste of what’s to come from Assassin’s Creed III, we’re sure that this is no doubt going to be up there with the best games to release this year. The climbing mechanics and new weather conditions show that Ubisoft took the right decisions in prolonging the reveal of this title.
Assassin’s Creed III launches October 31 on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC and WiiU. You can pre-order your copy here (PS3), here (Xbox 360), here (PC).