Feature: With ASSASSIN’S CREED III launching next week, fans of the series are eager to start conquering the American Revolution. Ahead of our full review, we examine why this colossal Ubisoft title might be the best one yet.
1: Poking Redcoats
Stabbing dudes in the face has never been more satisfying. Connor Kenway moves with an air of confidence I’d never seen in a video game protagonist, continuously accurate with his assault, always inflicting devastating blows. Your Assassin executes technical moves whilst you repeatedly press X, yet Assassin’s Creed III never makes your combat victories feel cheap or unearned.
For a split second, you’re not an inadequate being with half a Karate lesson’s experience – you’re an awe-inspiring deadly assassin, eager to kill anything that stands in your way.
Perhaps in more relatable terms, Assassin Creed 3‘s combat feels like it would easily rival Batman: Arkham Asylum’s infamous fighting system. In an industry where almost all games seem to operate with the same combat features of iron sights and various grenades, Assassin’s Creed 3’s pitch is much needed.
2: Impeccable Armada
The naval missions, while not necessarily pirate-related skirmishes, do a great job of immersing you in the large naval battles you imagined as a child.
Playing these sections was simply magnificent. Seeing an enemy ship quickly break into shards of your opponents’ lost hope, hearing your crew cheer as the enemies’ boat sinks, or as you lead them into an on-board siege – it all contributes to forming the childhood dream of being the captain of a powerful vessel.
All throughout these skirmishes, the strong waves crash against your ship, the Anvil Next game engine demonstrating its volatile beauty and power. Not since Half-Life 2‘s Source have I been as excited about a game engine.
3: Spiritual successor
Connor Kenway’s deadliest weapon is his loving soul. Just kidding – he likes to end people with numerous razor-edged weapons.
Caught in the 18th century conflict, Connor fights on the side of the American Revolutionaries. You’ll be stabbing mass amounts of British Redcoats in the face – because Native Americans hate quality humour and bad teeth.
Ubisoft have been quiet on many details about Connor – only hinting that his mixed inheritance is inevitably going to be the source of much confliction. I feel his spiritual background is ideal for an Assassin’s Creed hero, and if Ubisoft delivers on their promise to outclass the forever popular Ezio, we might have a new favourite executioner in our midst.
4: Big risks
At this point it’s common knowledge, but it cannot be overlooked: the financial investment alone into Assassin’s Creed III is Ubsoft’s biggest risk yet. 600 members of Ubisoft Montreal have worked on the game, supported futher by others around the world. Proof of Ubisoft’s excessive investment in this latest Assassin’s Creed is that over 5,000 unique animations were created for Connor alone.
Playing the title you can feel the investment has been implemented well. The grand scale of a big budget release instantly apparent, money spewing from every beautiful backdrop to Connor’s highly detailed tunic. The new in-game engine, Anvil Next, is simply spectacular, making the world feel like a much more believable landscape. The cities of Boston & New York alone will be roughly 80% the size of Rome. Italy’s capital was already sizable, so combined with rural areas, Assassin Creed III‘s scale is unprecedented.
5: Desmond, where art thou?
The continual speculation about Desmond Miles really excites me. Ubisoft have barely shown content on this part of the game, and seem to be sending different messages. Lead writer Matt Turner hinted that we’d be seeing more of Desmond than ever before, while creative director Alex Hutchinson stated that Desmond’s storyline would be just 10-20% of gameplay.
Regardless of possibly conflicting information, I had previously hoped the latest Assassin’s Creed would finally let us take full control of Desmond, gaining the knowledge and athleticism of ancestor Ezio.
However, the potential of Assassin’s Creed III cannot be underestimated. Ubisoft have an astounding game on their hands – this is the Assassin’s Creed game I’ve craved since the end of Brotherhood, and if they can learn from the mistakes made in Revelations, this could be the most exciting bout of face stabbing to date.
Assassin’s Creed 3, from Ubisoft Montreal, will be released on the 30th of October for PS3 and 360, and at a later date to PC and Wii U.