Assassin's Creed 3: First Look

By Darryl Kaye on March 26, 2012, 5:42PM EDT
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There's no hiding that Assassin's Creed is one of the biggest success stories from this generation. Ever since that first trailer hit, people have been hooked on the premise. And although the first game didn't live up to the hype for many, the second game righted many of the wrongs and set a great storyline in motion. What came next wasn't what people anticipated; two titles appeared that were dubbed as main series, but were glorified spin-off titles. Brotherhood blew most people away, Revelations didn't. It was a necessary evil though, and both served their purpose of continuing the main story while stalling for time while the core team at Ubisoft Montreal were hard at work on their next masterpiece, Assassin's Creed 3.

After much deliberation, Ubisoft settled on the American Revolutionary war for their third major setting in the Assassin's Creed universe. This marks a time period that's much closer to home in terms of how recent it is, but one that's also a lot more pertinent in the Western world than perhaps that of the Crusades or the Renaissance.

Connor will be the main protagonist this time around, another of Desmond's ancestors who has the urge to right wrongs surging through his veins. He is of a half-Mohawk and half-English descent, but he takes no sides in the conflict unless there is some benefit to his own cause.

The game will span a period of thirty years, starting off in 1753 and ending up in 1783 and historical accuracy will be just as important as ever. In fact, even more so due to the detailed historical records surrounding the war. Ubisoft has had more than 5 full-time researchers working to try and make sure everything is as accurate as possible, both from the perspective of technology, but also to make sure that people are in the right place, at the right time in history.

Bigger and better is one of the major focuses for Assassin's Creed 3. It might sound rather corny, but the work Ubisoft Montreal has been putting in behind the scenes is no joke. The random ambling space from the original Assassin's Creed is back. It's called the Frontier this time around and it's even larger than the Rome that was featured in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.

This space will be very interactive, with a good portion of the missions taking place here. It will also be somewhere that gets heavily affected by the different weather effects. Snow will change gameplay in a big way, with Connor having to trudge through different depths of snow. This affects his traversal speeds more than you might expect and it's great to see Ubisoft putting in this level of detail

Elsewhere, one of the big additions in the Frontier, and indeed in the two different cities appearing in the game, is the ability to climb trees. While previous games have been set in cities where the environment is very cramped, Assassin's Creed 3 is quite the opposite. Trees are now one of your main avenues for getting around and while it may sound cumbersome and awkward, its implementation looks solid. The dynamic nature of the animations, which have been re-developed from the ground-up, shines through here.

Unless you hadn't realised by now. We were privilaged enough to witness Assassin's Creed 3 in its raw form. This started off with some awesome concept videos, but ended up with some full-on gameplay from the current build. It really helped to show off the the adapted combat. Due to Connor's Mohawk heritage, one of his weapons is a tomahawk. This allows for some rather brutal combat, but he generally favours close encounters in a big way. Due to the time period, fire arms are a big part of the experience, but their reload times weren't desirable. Get hit and you'll know about it, but make your opponents miss and they'll be forced to engage you.

This was highlighted during an intense sequence at Bunker Hill, where massive amounts of troops were on show, but also the more fluid combat. You're even able to do chain assassinations now, which is rather cool.

If there's one thing the gameplay footage, and the presentation that preceded it showed, it's that Ubisoft wants Assassin's Creed 3 to be big. Perhaps they realise that Assassin's Creed: Revelations fell a bit flat, but it seems as though that's all circumstantial. Assassin's Creed 3 was always going to be the same. The fact they've chosen such a pertinent time period only makes things sweeter, but the main questions revolve around Desmond. And that's not something Ubisoft want to talk about at this time.

In short, Assassin's Creed 3 is looking great. The impressive part of this, is that the game hasn't even entered its polishing phase yet. There's still quite some time until it's released to the masses at the end of October this year and that time can't come soon enough.

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