E3 2012: Assassin’s Creed III
It’s odd being the bad guys. Set in the American Revolutionary War, Assassin’s Creed III naturally casts the British as oppressors and the target for the series’ latest assassin, Conner. All is forgiven though: it’s refreshing to see a period of history that’s not already saturated with similar games.
A snowy New England forest was the setting for the first area in the demo shown at the Ubisoft booth. Like the assassins before him, Conner is a master of his environment, scaling trees and hiding in the undergrowth before dispatching his prey.
More familiar territory was shown in a recreation of Boston, where Connor’s outfit – very similar to previous AC games – looked somewhat out of place. It was in this urban environment that Ubisoft chose to show off a number of minor gameplay enhancements, with new methods of blending in with crowds and using them to distract or set up guards.
In one instance, a woman insults a British soldier while Connor hides behind a wall. When the guard approaches to berate her, the assassin pounces from cover to execute him.
The combat has changed little throughout the series and this seems set to continue. Conner can dual wield weapons and kill while running, but the core one-vs-many battles are as clumsy and satisfying as they’ve always been.
One notable addition is the rope dart, a weapon best used when crouching in a tree above a guard. Twice the same move was demoed: Connor fired the dart and hooked his enemy, then jumped back, pulling his enemy sharply upwards on the rope.
The game’s formula, then, is largely the same as before, with the most significant change being its setting. There is one aspect of the game bound to raise eyebrows though: ship combat.
In what seems like a completely out of place section, we’re shown Conner as the captain of a warship, with the player able to steer the ship and aim volleys of cannonfire at enemy vessels. How this fits into the rest of the story is unclear, but like most of Assassin’s Creed III it looks intriguing nonetheless.