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PAX East 2012: Assassin’s Creed III Preview

by on 04/08/2012

Assassin’s Creed is back for a new adventure that will progress the story and introduce us to another ancestor of Desmond Miles. Connor, the new main character who has some pretty big shoes to fill made a few strides at PAX East with Ubisoft showing off the first gameplay video of Assassin’s Creed III in action and Connor bringing the pain.

You arrive by horseback at the American forces camp at the Battle of Bunker Hill (fitting for the Boston based convention). As you get off your horse and start moving forward you hear the famous “don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” as the troops are being rallied. You then peer over the hill and see thousands of British soldiers firing in formation. Cannons blasting the ground everywhere and limp American bodies flying across the battlefield.

You watch as Connor avoids the blasts and makes his way around this chaos. Ubisoft is pushing the envelope and allowing 2,000 to 2,500 character models on the screen at any one time. This really helps in creating the epic feel of amazing battles in the Revolutionary War and we had a glimpse of it with the Redcoats scattered defending the hill. Connor gets around this and is put in more familiar locale.

Connor gets to the side of the hill and starts climbing trees, obviously with the setting change this was a needed addition to the title. The tree climbing and movement is very realistic and fluid, no need to worry about tarzan-styled acrobatics…that’s not to say Connor can’t utilize the woods effectively.

After climbing trees as he moves towards his target he comes across a British patrol coming as reinforcements. The game pauses and a “rope-spear” is chosen. My first thought was “scorpion?” as I try to figure out what was going to happen, Connor locks onto an enemy whips the spear and drops from the tree…the speared enemy flies upward and is left hanging from that tree.

Five soldiers remain and Connor grabs one of them and turns him into a human shield. The other four go into formation and fire musket rounds, but unfortunately it was all into their fellow soldier. Connor then moves in close and shows off his expertise, dual-wielding is his forte and he demonstrates it nicely with brutal and exciting kills.

Connor then continues his mission by jumping up a tree and proceeds to rock climbing. You climb the rock and end up behind the British camp. As you try to get the perfect angle at your target (a famous British general), Connor automatically crouches down into some bushes. This new feature will allow you to sneak through bushes and the like by slowly walking through them.

You are finally set up for the attack and Ubisoft demonstrates how Connor’s animations are set to allow for constant movement, meaning you can jump from one kill to the next very smoothly. Ubisoft shows this off by having Connor sprint into the camp and use the famous hidden blade into the spine of an unsuspecting soldier, he then rolls forward into another soldier tackling him into the ground and murdering him. He finally gets up and jumps on boulder and comes flying at the general who is on horseback with a tomahawk in his hand.

The action was so fluid it was almost cinematic and it made me warm up to the idea of a new assassin.With my memories of Social Studies classes from elementary school coming back into my mind as I play, it only makes it cooler. Ubisoft impresses with each new title in this series and with three years of development and a brand new setting this game will be different enough to silence critics, but also will be praised by long-time fans.

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