Assassin’s Creed 3 Preview
It’s bigger, more epic and very American.
A couple of weeks ago, we got an email from our friends at Ubisoft asking if we would like to take a trip to London to check out the latest iteration of Assassin’s Creed. Frankly, with the amount of hype surrounding the game, we could have killed a small city of hobbits for the opportunity to see game.
For those of you who haven’t kept up, Assassin’s Creed 3, based on the new Anvil engine, is a completely different take on the series. They’ve done away with the massive European towns and replaced it with the snowy forests of colonial America. While we still have a hooded protagonist (a trademark of the series now), the game feels more grand and very red, white and blue.
Our ten-minute peek at Assassin’s Creed 3 starts off with Connor, our half British-half native American protagonist perched on a tree, bow and arrows intact, gracefully leaping from tree to tree and then dredging through the snow along the American frontier. Ten seconds into the game and we’re already seeing a whole new Assassin’s Creed. First of all, the frontier looks gorgeous – deep snow, wildlife and trees replace the familiar small towns that we were used to in the older games. Equally impressive is how effortless jumping from tree to tree, climbing and side stepping looks.
As Connor walks through the snow – each step taking a bit of effort as the snow is deep, he comes across a body of a mangled soldier. As he cautiously moves in to check on the bloodied soldier, a giant grizzly bear sneaks up paws ablazing, hoping for a second lunch. Connor uses his hidden blade (generally tucked away in his sleeves), to take the giant animal down with a clean kill. Again, we see a new element to the series – the interaction with animals and the ability to kill them.
Connor notices a group of colonial soldiers making their way through the snow with a supply cart trailing behind them. He follows them through the safety of the tree tops, till they’re directly underneath him. In cinematic style, Connor leaps into the hay-filled cart – a very Assassin’s Creed move. Only difference this time around is that he’s leaping onto a moving object.
Next, we see Connor at the docks – a completely different change in scenery; the dark of night replaced by light of day, the snowy terrain of the forest replaced with solid ground. He walks through a crowd of people, gently nudging away those who are too close and the attention switches to a thief who’s stealing from a woman at the docks. The thief makes a run for it and we’re told that it’s an optional side quest that you can choose to take up. In this instance, Connor chooses to move along until he walks up to a band of soldiers. They take notice of him and he has no choice but to make a run for it in what’s an all-familiar Assassin’s Creed chase sequence. He runs through the streets and climbs on to buildings and runs through a house in order to escape. Another instance of a new development – you can actually run through houses now and not just over or around them.
The next scene sees our hero at the Bunker Hill battle as the rebel army is being roused by William Prescott’s inspiring speech. “Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes,” Prescott’s character in the game roars with historical accuracy. While hooded men with hidden blades may not serve the American revolution history quite right, the game does try to get everything else right in terms of being historically relevant. Expect to see the likes of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington in the game.
After his inspiring speech, Prescott informs Connor of a colonial general who has to be assassinated. Problem is, there’s a battle raging on with musket-wielding soldiers aplenty, ready to blow rebel and assassins to smithereens. Connor moves from cover to cover, timing his movements just right so that he can sneak past enemy soldiers as they reload their muskets. Finally, in heroic style Connor rushes in towards the enemy general ready to make the kill. A dramatic yet fitting end to our short preview of the game.
There’s so much to like about Assassin’s Creed 3. First of all, Connor, with his British/Native American background makes for a great hero. There’s also such a great historical element to the game – the choice of having the American Revolution as the background for the game is a fantastic choice. Staying true to the colonial theme, there’s also a great choice of weapons – dual pistols, hidden blade, bow and arrow, tomahawk axe and Chinese rope dart.
Add to that, the engine works so beautifully for the game. The day and night elements along with the seasons add a depth of realism to the game. One of the biggest joys of playing Assassin’s Creed has always been exploring the great cities within the game and the AC3, you not only have the vast frontier to discover but also the cities of Boston and New York. Though short, we’re blown away by what we’ve seen with the preview of Assassin’s Creed 3. The game releases on October 31st. Stay tuned for more updates.