When the first Assassin’s Creed released way back in 2007, I had high hopes from the countless previews I read in the months leading up to its arrival.  When I finally sat down to play the title, I came away enjoying some aspects but ultimately disappointed that the game had me sitting on benches and failed to live up to its promise of assassination freedom.  Still, the series progressed through its many iterations and inched closer and closer to the game fans wanted from the outset.

And, from a recent eyes-only demo I experienced, it seems that with, Assassin’s Creed III, Ubisoft may just have found that game.

A developer on the upcoming threequel walked me through a portion of the game in Boston, as Connor explored the colonial town in a manner uncustomary during the 1700’s.  By detailing some of the various additions that enhance both combat and exploration, fans can look forward to the most fully realized Assassin’s Creed offering yet.

Right away the demo played with a franchise staple, introducing moving haystacks into which Connor can leap.  Horses will trot around the city connected to these bales of hay and can, conveniently, line up with guards that Connor can kill and drag into the mobile hiding spot.  As Connor pulled such a move and began to walk down a nearby street, a woman motioned to him from an alleyway on the right.  By following her, Connor, for all intents and purposes, began a side mission to save this woman’s husband.

As the deadly protagonist slinked his way through backstreets, I witnessed a few minor but significant alterations to how the player preys on the inevitable victims.  As the wife calls out to a guard to attract his attention and lead him to his doom, Connor can position himself against a wall and actually take cover on the corner, waiting for the moment to strike.  This portion of the demo also had Connor employ the “stalk zone,” which serves essentially as a moving hiding spot as players look for the perfect opportunity to attack.

As seen in a previous trailer, Connor used the rope dart to kill and hang another enemy, but it will be up to players how they operate this fantastic weapon.  The hanging technique as well as others will be available, but here it allows for Connor to distract the other guards while he frees the woman’s husband.

The remainder of the demo occurred on the docks, showing off the combat and crowd behavior updates.  The masses of people on the Boston seaside do not behave in identical fashion but rather engage with the environment and each other with more realistic behaviors.  From interacting with produce stands to leaning against a table while in conversation, the crowd is made up of varied denizens and creates a more organic space into which Connor can blend.

As the player moves through the space, Connor will also react to his environment in intriguing ways.  To avoid the gaze of nearby redcoats, Connor pulls the front of his hood down to hide his face.  And when he enters combat, Connor engages in a battle far more fluid than in previous Assassin’s Creed titles.  His tomahawk packs a lethal punch, but the assassin was not afraid to use his opponents’ weapons to his advantage.  Connor will work in a two-handed fashion much as he did here, stabbing a foe with his smaller knife and then repeatedly hitting them with his signature tomahawk.  It’s a brutal system that looks to move beyond the parry and kill system of previous titles, and I was thrilled to see the system evolve to this points.  One of my biggest gripes with more recent iterations has been the monotonous combat, but the battle demonstrated promises something a bit more unique.

Connor ended the demo by calling upon his brotherhood, disguised as redcoats, to sneak him onto the dock and a specific ship.  Here Connor performed a number of impressive kills, including stabbing a soldier with his own musket and shooting through him to kill another soldier.  And with an impressive view of the Boston cityscape from atop the boat, the demo ended, leaving me stunned that I have to wait until October 30 for the title.

Assassin’s Creed III looks like the game Ubisoft and fans wanted from the beginning, and the few minutes on display here had me pining for more.  Though there were certainly noticeable upgrades, including Connor’s new animations and the location, and while the story will likely be a fascinating conclusion to Desmond’s story, I was enthralled by the myriad touches made to the game’s many systems.  The developers are clearly paying attention to detail, and cannot wait to get my hands on it when it releases for the PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii U.

13 COMMENTS

  1. “Still, the series progressed through its many iterations and inched closer and closer to the game fans wanted from the outset. ”
    Weird. I could swear it was the other way around and AC just got crappier with each release.

      • Oh I’m sorry, I have a different opinion than you, which means I must be wrong! How old are you? Are you so used to everyone agreeing with you?
        Now I’m surprised you never read this opinion on any reviews or game forums, look around, they’re out there.

        • While Revelations may not have been as great, I think 2 was an amazing leap forward and Brotherhood was the game 2 should have been.  In a way, they’re two halves of a whole that was expanded into two full games for sales sake.  But I still think Brotherhood improved, while Revelations maintained what made it great but made a few unnecessary changes.  Though since it wasn’t made by the AC2/3 team I’m willing to forgive their experimentation.

          • I try to make it my policy :). Just thought I’d explain my position since I do agree Revelations did not progress the series as much as I would have hoped, and I suppose I really left it out so the sentence was less clunky.  But either way the new one does look to be doing a number of great things that I’m very excited to see the final result.

          • I can’t reply to your newest comment, but just wanted to say that I appreciate it. The only flaw that bothers me in AC1 was the controls, I felt the story came together much better than the others, the setting was way more interesting, and to me those are the most important things. Also prefered Altair much more. I liked AC2 better (I’m not blind to its flaws, but loved the larger than life “mythology”), after that it feels too much like more of the same. And the more games in a series the more convoluted the story gets.
            Yes I realize that liking AC1 is not the most popular opinion, but a lot of folks feel that it goes AC1 AC:B > AC:R

  2. AC 1 was good at first but after the 3rd or 4th chapter you just found yourself getting bored of doing the same things over and over again. That said i haven’t been dissapointed with an AC game yet although in my opinion 2 was far better then 1 brotherhood was better then 2 but revelations was to short and although they made changes to suit demands i dont think it lived up to its hype so i place that around the same as AC 2. Now this new one i’m not sure I’ve ever looked forward to a game as much in my life and im just hoping it lives up to its reputation  

  3. AC 3 was a failure, AC 4 was awesome, AC unity was crap, and AC victory TBD.
    you’re welcome future viewer
    everyone hates AC now.
    Farcry was a hit though.

LEAVE A REPLY