Assassin’s Creed III, one of the most anticipated games of the year, and its Vita counterpart are less than two days away worldwide!
With a new setting, a new protagonist and revolutionised combat, here are six reasons you should be super excited about Assassin’s Creed III.
Revolution is Upon Us
After two direct sequels to Assassin’s Creed II in as many years, it’s clear that the series needed an injection of fresh ideas. Ubisoft has drastically overhauled the Assassin’s Creed series to deliver something relatively unique. AC3 explores the American Revolution, an era largely forgotten in video games, and is surprisingly historically accurate.
At least, the background story is. Connor, our protagonist, is more intent on protecting his village and his people than fighting in the war. It’s more of a backdrop that continuously keeps him busy than a major driving force behind his own personal motives.
Connor is Slick
Connor, or Ratonhnhaké:ton (say that three times fast) is a half-Native American assassin intent on protecting his people. Assassin’s Creed III delves into the conflict between the Assassins and the Templars through Desmond exploring the world as Connor.
Our new protagonist is unlike Ezio is a number of ways. He’s raw, but he’s powerful and nibble, perhaps even more naturally gifted than Ezio, especially when it comes to scaling the wilderness and hunting throughout the lands. Connor feels completely different to control, in a good way, in part due to the new movement mechanics, as well as the overhauled timing-based combat system.
I’m on a Boat
Driving (steering?) a boat in Assassin’s Creed III puts the old-world at your fingertips. It’s a requirement throughout the main quest, but will also offer hours of entertainment should you pursue the extensive range of naval missions.
Controlling a massive ship takes some getting used to, especially as I first attempted it on Wii U at a preview session. Even when you’re familiar with the button layout, you have to think on your feet and ensure your ship is well aligned to attack and defend itself simultaneously. Naval warfare is surprisingly challenging and one of the key reasons that Assassin’s Creed III may be remembered as one of the best games 2012 has to offer.
Brutal is one word for Connor’s approach to assassinations. The new combat system will require some practice, but as it’s heavily reminiscent of the Batman: Arkham series, it should feel natural to most players. With a strong emphasis on timing, Connor is in the box seat against under five enemies, who never coordinate their attacks, but his chances greatly reduce with each additional enemy thereafter.
With the hidden blade and tomahawk by his side, Connor will plough through lone Redcoats with ease, slitting their throats and leaving blood all over the place. His air-drop assassinations are even more brutal, and then there’s the rope-dart. Connor can impale an enemy at range and then pull him in for an excruciating execution, or silently hang him by hitting a target from above, and then jumping off a tree to act as a counterweight, breaking the poor sap’s neck in the process.
As well as combat, free-running has been simplified in Assassin’s Creed III. Free-running and wall-scaling are handled by holding down the right trigger -- there’s no need to also press a face button anymore.
Connor can quickly scale a wall to momentary safety as he tries to evade his attackers and regain precious health. That extends beyond the rooftops the series has become renowned for to treetops, perilous mountain ridges and even through buildings as a means to lose a committed pursuer with a newfound grace and fluidity.
Speaking of running away, the Notoriety system is no longer on or off. There are four levels that determine to which level Connor will have to fight to stay hidden and how many reinforcements will be sent should be be discovered. You don’t want to hang around on Level 4.
Hidden Secrets in a Story Worth Telling
Whilst the background information is historically correct, Connor’s story is very much his own. Connor’s story takes place over 30 years around the American Revolution, but other than that, Ubisoft has been very tight-lipped.
The story is well worth telling and will delve deeper into Connor’s life than we may have expected. The development team has been happy to talk about the middle part of Connor’s life, but that’s hardly a three decade journey. What happens before and after what you may already know has been kept secret, even from the media, until the game’s release, and it mightn’t be what you expect.
By Ben Salter