Will this be the revolutionary title we’ve all been waiting for?
Many people seem to have overdosed on Ubisoft’s annual action adventure series as of late, but never fear! Assassin’s Creed 3 has changed all of that with a fresh protagonist, a completely different setting and a whole slew of new and improved gameplay mechanics.
Slated to be the biggest game of the franchise so far, it will wrap up the story of one of the series’ main characters, Desmond Miles. Set between 1753 and 1783, the game’s backdrop is the American Revolution, as seen through the eyes of new ancestor Connor, a warrior of both Native American and British decent.
After being recruited by the Assassins, Connor finds himself siding with the leaders of the Revolution and meeting with notable figures from history, such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.
Centred around New England, the game allows you to explore the cities of Boston and New York, as well as scout the vast untamed frontier. According to the developer, the wilderness is one and a half times the size of Rome in Assassin’s Creed Revelations.
With the implementation of the Anvil Next engine, the game now features a dynamic weather system, which randomly generates different atmospheric conditions throughout the gameplay experience. This system also includes seasonal changes, showcasing beautiful sun-drenched landscapes in the summer and blanketing the region in a thick layer of snow in the winter. This shift in climate directly affects gameplay, slowing the player down as they wade through deep snowdrifts and allowing them to cross frozen rivers and lakes to reach areas that proved previously inaccessible.
Another feature of the new engine is that it can now render up to two thousand troops engaged in battle onscreen at once, which lends itself to recreating the devastating confrontations the Revolution comprised of.
As well as the typical free-running traversal that the series in known for, various other methods of movement have been included, such as the ability to climb trees and cliffs, leap over & slide under obstacles and even cut through building interiors.
The combat system of Assassin’s Creed 3 has been completely redesigned, with new features such as double counters, multiple takedowns and chain kills. For the first time ever it also includes a duel-wielding hero, capable of utilising a vast array of weaponry including knifes, tomahawks, flintlock pistols and a bow, as well as the classic assassin’s blade. The rope dart has also been introduced, a long-ranged short spear connected to a rope that can impale enemies and be used to pull them over long distances.
Along with a new economic system, a variety of animals can now be hunted and their resources sold, the price of which is determined by the species of beast, the quality of the kill and the weapon used.
Another huge aspect of the game centres around naval warfare, with Connor taking command of his own vessel and engaging in huge open sea battles in the Caribbean.
Multiplayer also makes it’s returns in AC3, similar to that of Brotherhood and Revelations, with new co-operative modes known as Wolf Pack and Domination respectively. These options allows two-to-four players to work together to eliminate NPCs during a time limit and capture and defend areas on a map against an opposing force.
Despite the somewhat lacklustre first entry in the franchise, I’ve always been a great fan of the Assassin’s Creed series. I’ve played and relished every title that’s been released, even if the last couple of instalments were somewhat convoluted and arguably just more of the same.
Thankfully AC3 seems to be just the jolt in the arm that’s needed to reinvigorate the brand and put it back on top where it belongs. With a stunning new engine, new worlds and characters to explore and redesigned, more challenging combat mechanics, this is undoubtedly one of my most eagerly anticipated games of the year.
Assassin’s Creed 3 is available on 31st October 2012 for PS3 and Xbox 360, 23rd November for PC and 30th November for Wii U.
Rob Gisbey is a games journalist and music production graduate from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. To listen to his acoustic demo, read his articles and listen to the VxM Videogames Podcast head to his blog.