During the press hour of PAX East 2012, we headed right to Ubisoft for a sneak peek of Assassin’s Creed III. As we walked through the booth to the mini theater, there was a large wall scroll detailing the United States’ history during the American Revolution. The whole booth definitely wanted you to become immersed in the new setting of the game. The theater was set up like an inside tent of a revolutionary soldier. There were muskets in the corner, a cannon, and we all even sat on crates for the preview. What we saw was frankly quite amazing.
While there was absolutely no videos or photos allowed for proof of it, the game is looking fantastic as you can see in some of these press screens. The video starts as Connor, our new hero, is seen on the front lines of the battle of Bunker Hill. The world was vivid as generals talked to their troops and smoke from muskets puffed into the air. This game is going to greatly differ from the others because a good amount of your assassinations will now take place right in the middle of enormous battles as opposed to cities (although New York and Boston are two of the settings, Boston is shown above). This area is considered part of the “frontier,” the third setting for the game.
One thing we told is that in previous games, there was a very small number of characters the engine could render on screen at once. We then immediately saw a gigantic battle enfolding between the two armies and were told that this game has the ability to render up to 2,500 characters on screen at once. Connor booked it down the giant battleground as cannon fire slammed into the ground all around him, hiding behind tipped over logs to narrowly dodge bullets. All of this stuff will be common in the new game and I couldn’t get enough of it. It’s Assassin’s Creed but taken to a whole new level. Connor worked his way through the front lines in order to get to his target. One has to remember that Connor is half English and half Native American. His allegiance is against the templars. Hence, there will be targets he must assassinate on both sides of the war.
Connor snuck around the British line using the local vegetation. He eventually got to a part everybody has been waiting to see: tree climbing. We were told the devs always found it ironic the hero in each game couldn’t climb something almost every normal human being can climb with ease, hence a big reason they chose this direction. Connor fluently climbs trees the way you would expect him to. The trees are cleverly designed so you can hop from one to the next. There’s also little things thrown in such as working your way around the trunk of a tree to get to the other side of it. This was so that the trees all seem different and very natural.
Eventually, Connor saw a group of about seven British soldiers. Since Napoleonic warfare was all the rage around this time period, troops use real military tactics and stick together as opposed to a patrolling guard etc. Two were walking ahead of the rest. Connor pulled out a new weapon, the rope dart. We didn’t realize what it was or how awesome it actually was until five seconds later. Basically Connor shot it down at one of the two soldiers as it wrapped around his neck. He then jumped off the branch, in turn lifting the British soldier upwards and hanging him from the tree. He them immediately grabbed the other soldier for another new move in the series, the human shield. The remaining five opened fire, killing the shield. Muskets being muskets, there was no time to reload for a second shot. This also meant they had to fight with their bayonets since a man with two tomahawks is charging at them. Connor’s fighting style is very fluent and brutal. We saw a neck chop with the tomahawk as well as a stylish move involving taking one soldier and impaling him on another’s bayonet that was pointing up from the ground.
Eventually Connor made it to the British camp where his target was. The target was on horseback on the other side of the camp. Here we were introduced to a new “hiding in plain sight” mechanic. Basically since there’s all this lush vegetation, Connor has the ability to hide using the environment. The example shown was Connor slowly making his way across the back line of a group of tents with soldiers in front of them talking. This new stealth mode is something that will be triggered automatically in certain events. Connor hid inside of a bush waiting for the line of sight across the camp to clear. While there were soldiers everywhere, Connor knew what he had to do. Eventually he leaped out, charging right towards the target. As opposed to previous games, you can now fight and run in one fluent motion. Before the target could flee, Connor was charging across the camp killing anybody in his way and still sprinting in one fluent motion. He leapt up off of something and literally buried the hatchet into the target as the title screen appeared. Assassin’s Creed III drops October 30, 2012 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC and is already looking to be the best of the series.