Even though some other games piqued my interest at this year’s E3 (*cough* Watch Dogs), I must shamelessly admit that I was ultimately excited about Assassin’s Creed III more than anything. I even whimpered and squealed like a third-grade girl when they presented it at the Ubisoft conference.
So it was kind of a bummer that I wasn’t originally slated to preview it. However, the dork gods smiled upon me, and I got to fill in for the person originally booked. I must say that I was very, very satisfied.
This time around, instead of naval battles and traversing the canopy of the North American wilderness, I got the chance to view Connor’s acrobatic dance atop the masonry of 18th-century Boston. What a fantastic sight it was, because, along his journey to resurrect the long-dormant Brotherhood, Connor Kenway has learned a few new tricks.
Assassin’s Creed is one of my favorite series of this generation, solely because of its fun factor. Few games manage to retain the illusion of feeling like a badass, without sacrificing it all for the sake of “challenge.” AC has never been one of the most difficult games in the world, but it certainly is fun, and this third chapter in the series looks no different. Now, assassinating the unjust is more fluid and satisfying than ever.
Boston revealed a multitude of changes in the way you take out your enemies. First, and most importantly, Connor uses a bow. I know, about five other games at E3 have this, but AC3 is where it makes sense the most; because bows are silent, and, well, this is a game all about killing people without drawing too much attention. Of course, ammunition is quite limited, so this isn’t always available for players to easily take out baddies.
Another cool addition is the ability to blend in with the brush of your surroundings. When players enter tall grass or foliage, they go into a sort of stalker mode where Connor crouches down, out of sight.
Players can then more easily sneak up to suspicious NPCs and drag them down to their death. Or, if you’re a bit of a pacifist and would rather kill as few redcoats as possible, then the brush is an easy means of sneaking straight past guards, without them ever knowing you were right behind them, breathing down their neck.
Not every assassin is perfect, though, as sometimes you will be spotted while you work. The first choice is typically to run away and hide, which Ubisoft has completely retooled for the modern cities of colonial America. One popular choice of evasion is to lose the sight of the alerted guards, then blend in with the city’s denizens. Instead of finding a pack of folks and awkwardly standing in the center of them, Connor now simply walks into a crowded area. When he starts to blend in, a small icon appears above his head, and he pulls his hood down to cover his face. No more turning gray; Mr. Kenway doesn’t stand for any of that achromatic bull crap.
A neat little metagame addition is side-quests that players can do for city dwellers, gaining their trust and a small perk as a reward. In the demo I saw, Connor helped a young woman whose husband was unjustly imprisoned by the local redcoats. Afterwards. She provided a nice little shortcut for him during heated situations. The next time Connor gained the antagonistic attention of the city guards, he was able to cut through the top window of her house and break the line of sight much easier. I can’t wait to see what other perks players can receive from the game’s troubled American citizens.
Another thing that Ubisoft has reworked is how guild mates aid the player. Instead of being nothing more than a cheap, simple means of assassination, guildies can help Connor sneak into certain places. For instance, he was charged with the task of taking out a few officers who were stations on a docked frigate. Instead of sneaking in the old-fashioned way by hurdling over the rooftops, he called on his assassin buddies -- dressed in the red garbs of British soldiers -- to act as a crowd around him, as he snuck past a group of guards.
A regular feature to the series is haystacks, which are often used as hiding spots -- after the iconic “leap of faith” -- and also as quiet assassination tools whenever enemies venture too close. What they’ve never been, however, is mobile. In AC3, horses now sometimes pull large bales of it, making retreating from pursuing guards or silently dispatching a certain enemy that much easier.
Times exist where one must stand their ground and fight, however, and AC3’s combat system has gone through some slight changes. For one, bolting past guards to get to a target no longer requires the player to stop in his tracks, take out people in his way, then move on to the next person. Now, Connor never stops moving; as he runs past enemies, he can easily take them out with a tomahawk to the face, roll over them, and continue on his path. I’m glad they addressed this, because I never enjoyed seeing unwanted enemies as brick walls in the way of my goal.
Out of all the cool additions to Assassin’ Creed III, what I wanted to know the most was some context behind Connor’s ethnicity. So, naturally, I wasted no time asking Ubisoft about his background and how he’s affected by a time where Native Americans weren’t seen in the best light. Connor Kenway (known by his tribe as Ratonhnhaké:ton) is a half-Mohawk man who was born in a very reclusive village. While growing up, he learns of his roots, and trains in the ways of assassination with hopes of ridding the world of injustice and resurrecting his long-lost guild after his home is attacked.
The great thing about Connor’s character is that he’s completely foreign to all of the game’s locales, not to mention the conflict going on around him. I like this narrative tool, because, while it’s easy to assume most North American gamers will be familiar with the game’s locations, people in other countries across the pond may not be too familiar with them ... not to mention the American Revolution. Also, although Ubisoft didn’t provide me with any specific examples of the bigotry that Connor will experience, they assured me that it’s in there and will be quite prevalent during his adventure. I’m assuming they didn’t want to give away too much of the narrative.
I am incredibly excited for this game, and what I saw at E3 only made that anticipation more fervent. I’m psyched enough to write a 1,000+ word preview of the game, during a time when I really should prioritize. But I can’t help it! I love American history, and I love Assassin’s Creed.
Look forward to Assassin’s Creed III hitting store shelves this October. Prepare to meet another one of Demond’s 512 ethnic backgrounds.
|2:15 PM on 03.12.2013|
Assassin Creed III's invisible wolves are terrifying
The downloadable content for Assassin's Creed III has more than a despotic King Washington going for it. It also grants new abilities to Connor, and you can see probably the most terrifying of them in this new trailer. ...more
|4:30 PM on 02.27.2013|
Assassin's Creed III Game of the Year edition spotted
Assassin's Creed III: Washington Edition was spotted by a couple of German news sites (n2gmedia and Gamestrust). What essentially boils down to a "Game of the Year" edition, the collection will include the game, and a all of ...more
|6:54 AM on 02.19.2013|
AC III DLC now available, but not for season pass holders
[Update: people across the net are reporting the DLC is now accessible, after not appearing this morning.] In preparation for my upcoming impressions of the new Assassin's Creed III King Washington DLC (800 MSP, $9.99), I bo...more
|7:30 PM on 02.06.2013|
McFarlane Toys making Assassin's Creed action figures
McFarlane Toys and Ubisoft are teaming up to produce a ton of Assassin's Creed action figures. Some of the first toys will be based on Haytham Kenway, and Connor from Assassin's Creed III. We can expect two Connor variants in...more
|11:00 AM on 01.18.2013|
Assassin's Creed III DLC is now available on the Wii U
For weeks now, Ubisoft has remained tight-lipped in regards to Assassin's Creed III DLC on the Wii U. We knew it was confirmed, but we had no dates or confirmation of which pieces would be coming. As of now, the Hidden Secret...more
|8:30 AM on 01.09.2013|
Battle Hardened Pack out now for Assassin's Creed III
The second downloadable content pack for Assassin's Creed III is now out for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, with the PC version set to arrive on January 15. The Battle Hardened Pack adds to the multiplayer, bringing three ne...more
|8:00 PM on 01.06.2013|
Jessica Nigri becomes an Assassin with her latest cosplay
I love cosplay. A lot. It's always a blast seeing people go all out to dress up as characters they love and strut their stuff at conventions like Dragon*Con, PAX, Comic-Con, and way more. One of my favorite cosplayers to foll...more
|11:00 PM on 12.21.2012|
Assassin's Creed III and Liberation for PSN on sale
Just as we're about ready to get our weekend on, Ubisoft announced that PlayStation Network users will be able to save on the two new Assassin's Creed games. Right now, there's a flash sale in North America with the following...more
|5:00 AM on 12.13.2012|
Assassin's Creed III sells 7 million units worldwide
Following word that Assassin's Creed III had accrued 3.5 million sales within its first week, Ubisoft is reporting that the game is the "fastest-selling in the company's history." In terms of total worldwide sell-through, we'...more
|11:00 AM on 12.11.2012|
Amazon Gold Box: Assassin's Creed III for $33
Here's a quick note to tell you about Amazon.com's game Gold Box deal of the day today. It's Assassin's Creed III at 45 percent off, or $33. With that you'll also get $3 in Amazon Instant Video Credit, $3 in Digital Games Cre...more
|5:00 AM on 04.10.2013|
Lost Planet 3's many retail specific pre-order 'bonuses'
Oh goodie! Another barrage of retail specific pre-order bonus fluff such as weapons, items, and characters that won't really alter your experience were you to just skip out on pre-purchasing the game. Lost Planet 3 is the la...more
|12:00 PM on 03.29.2013|
Neo Geo X Gold marked down at Amazon
If you have been cautiously eyeing the Neo Geo X Gold hardware, now may be a good time to give your money to Amazon. They currently have the limited edition package marked down by more than a third at $129.99. I've just ...more
|12:00 PM on 03.19.2013|
Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut coming to Wii U
Leave it to Amazon to once again break a story well ahead of a publisher's official announcement. A new listing on the online retailer reveals Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut for Wii U is set to release on May 7. Rum...more