E3 2012 Preview: Assassin’s Creed III
posted on 06.09.12 at 12:14 PM EDT by (@GrizzNKev)
Latest Assassin's Creed shaping to be the best yet.

At E3 this week, I saw a behind closed doors demo of Assassin’s Creed III not shown during the Ubisoft or Sony media briefings. Though it was relatively short, the demo was so packed with new information that not a single second was wasted in showing off the huge changes realized for this threequel. There wasn’t much in the way of story or an actual mission in this demo, as it was meant to demonstrate new features and technology that hadn’t yet been seen by the public. Cutscenes and dialogue were likely omitted in the interest of time. 

The demo opens with Connor, our new assassin hero, wandering 1773 Boston. British red coat soldiers watch the streets carefully. Connor can now shield himself from view by holding his arm near his face, similar in function to walking like a monk in the original Assassin’s Creed. The visual representation of blending in has changed to appear overhead instead of on the ground, and only requires you to be between two people instead of a large, preset group. Connor can also now lean on walls and other tall objects to blend in, similar to sitting on benches in previous games. Animals join the crowd this time around, and followers are back again with brand new strategies. We were shown that followers could now wear disguises and pretend to have captured Connor to pass him through security checkpoints. This isn’t a guaranteed success however, and anything more elaborate than simply walking by will can cause guards to become suspicious.

Our demo continues as Connor brutally assassinates an unsuspecting guard, initiating combat. Enemies are no longer extremely hesitant to attack. Combined with the return of kill chains, the overall combat system is significantly faster than previous entries in the series. We were also promised a wider variety of enemy types in Assassin’s Creed III, though only a few were shown in the demo. After the first wave of British soldiers was defeated, a larger group began to approach from the distance. This looked like a good time to escape, so Connor bolted toward a row of buildings. As seen in the recent gameplay trailer, Connor ran through a second story house interior, swept his legs over a table, and dove out the window on the other side. Upon landing, Connor struck a pose, a stylish way of indicating that the chase had ended.

The team went on to highlight the game’s animation system. It was demonstrated that Connor’s legs properly adapt to their height when walking on a slanted surface, such as a rooftop or jagged frontier landscape. Connor then traveled to a dock area to commandeer a ship, showing that he could climb on, through, and up ropes in a way similar to what we had seen him do with tree branches.

Assassin’s Creed III combines great art direction and new technologies to become a visual beast. Admittedly, the shadowing and view distance haven’t improved due to hardware limitations, but the repetition of world objects and structures is much less apparent, giving the setting a much more authentic feel. Both water and character models have made a major leap in quality. Reflections of light from wet surfaces are now believable, and distinct facial features are much more pronounced and recognizable. Overall, the series has made an incredible graphical improvement in a very short amount of time.

I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to play the game myself, but what I saw convinced me that it’s shaping to be the best entry in an already excellent series. Assassin’s Creed III is due for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC on October 30th, 2012. A Wii U version is also in production.

If you didn’t catch all the E3 media, see the new CG trailer, gameplay demonstration, and screenshots here. See the multiplayer screenshots here.

  • Hinano

    Hm, is this the Boston Wii U demo?

    • Zero

      @Hinano:

      It sounds like it to me.

      Regardless, thanks for the preview.

  • Miranda Lawson

    I have never played an assassin’s creed game before. I wonder if this would be the best one to get first…

    • Zero

      @Miranda Lawson:

      AC 3 features a brand new ancestor, so all of that story will be brand new. What will continue is the story with Desmond, and the constant story that is Assassins versus Templar’s.

      The only real obstacle you might have is understanding the story as Desmond.

      You play as Desmond while he is using the animus to virtually relive memories of his ancestors in the past.

      They might have a quick summary at the start of the game, but the best bet would be to go on the wikipage and use youtube to catch up on the current (Desmond) plot. (Stuff like watching cinematics from the previous games.)

      If just doing that is enough to satisfy you with the current plot in the game, then I think you could start with AC 3.

      I don’t think I could ever recommend it though. The previous games were all very good. If you wanted to start new with the series, I would recommend AC 2. Just watch the story scenes from the first game via youtube, that and a small bit of wiki reading about Altair would do the job.

      The first game is the weakest and shortest game in the series.

      Creed 2 is in my opinion the best in the series, with Brotherhood right on its heels as the second best. (The ancestor you play is Ezio.)

      Revelations (most recent) is not as good as the previous games, the pacing is a bit questionable, it starts kinda slow. The best part is when the story gets going. It more or less finally gives players a conclusion to the story of Altair and Ezio.

      I’m a longtime fan, so my inner fan wants me to say no no no! The sane person in me gives the above advice. I hope my random babble helps you make a decision. xD

      • Miranda Lawson

        @Zero: I have watched my brother play parts of AC1 so I know who Desmond Miles is, and what the Animus does. I know more about Altair’s story than Ezio’s, Altair seems like a better person and character than Ezio. I love it how Altair’s story takes place in the middle ages (my favorite era.) That is why I wasn’t sure if I should get this game or not. It looks like it has better graphics and other stuff than AC1, but unfortunatly it takes place in an era that I don’t really like. I haven’t even considered getting AC2 or AC brotherhood, because I am afraid that I will not like the main character, because I watched some videos of Ezio on youtube and he does some immoral things. So I am still not really sure which game I should start with.

        • Zero

          @Miranda Lawson: I just saw this reply. Sorry for huge delay.

          Without spoiling everything, Ezio is a complicated character. His actions in AC2 and brotherhood are very much fueled by revenge. The guy is not out to make friends with his enemies.

          Altair is a great character. His parts in Revelations are the best part of the game, in my opinion. If Ubisoft had put all of his story in one game it would have been amazing!

          I suppose that if you really could care less about Ezio, you could just start with Revelations. You do play Ezio in the game, you also get to play as Altair.

          Revelations concludes the story of both characters, with Ezio learning about the end of Altair’s life in the game.

          As a fan, I have to give some support to Ezio. He isn’t as bad as he seems, I promise. AC2 lets the player experience his life over many years. You get to see horrible things happen to him and his family. If you like revenge stories in games, it’s one of the best.