|System: PC, Xbox 360, PS3|
|Release: October 30, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Angelo M. D'Argenio
I'm on a boat. I'm on a boat. Take a good long look at the imaginary, reconstructed from my genetic memories... boat. This is what the E3 presentation of Assassin's Creed III was all about. The floor demo itself was actually not very different from the PAX East demo that we saw a while back, however, many more details were revealed in the various assorted press conferences, meetings, and presentations. The biggest and most entertaining of all of these is the introduction of naval combat into the game. Connor, Assassin's Creed III's protagonist, gets to take command of a naval vessel at multiple times in the story, ordering a crew to slaughter his opponents on the high seas.
Why is this significant? Well, a while back we ran an Assassin's Creed III speculation article about cannon warfare being introduced to the game. Turns out we were right: cannon warfare has indeed been added, and this is how. Connor's ship will fire several different types of ammunition at his enemies, attempting to rend their sails, set their boats ablaze, and sink their ships in bloody military battles that extend beyond simple one on one assassination attempts. Being that one of the biggest advertised capabilities of the new Assassin's Creed engine is the ability to render thousands of troops at the same time, we can probably expect ACIII to have many more gigantic military conflicts than any other Assassin's Creed title in the past.
The first challenge of naval combat is contesting with the high seas. Boats aren't exactly Ferraris, and navigating them around the high seas involves rapidly changing speeds, high winds, choppy waves, and of course, enemy boats that want to kill you. Once you manage to finally get control of your boat, your goal is to bring yourself up alongside your opponent. The game shows your cannon's range extending off the side of your vessel as you sail. If you can keep your opponent in your sights long enough, you can attempt to fire a volley at your opponent. Firing a volley takes a moment to prepare, so be sure to time it right. Boats in Assassin's Creed III take positional damage, so aiming well will be important. Take out a boat's sails and you will stop it dead in its tracks. Take chunks off of its side and it will be unable to fire volleys back at you. Finally, if you manage to blow gigantic holes in its underside, you'll sink it altogether.
Of course, your goal isn't only to sink your opponents. The game will at times task you with boarding your opponent instead. To board an opponent you have to cripple their boat without sinking it and then pull up right alongside it. This initiates a cinematic sequence where your troops take up arms and tether the opponent's boat to yours. Then, Connor and his troops will jump from one boat to the next, ready for battle. Though we didn't actually see the battle after that, an Ubisoft rep said that there will be many battles where Connor is backed up by troops rather than fighting alone.
Boats, as awesome as they are, aren't the only new Assassin's Creed III information dropped at E3. Ubisoft also showed off Connor's ability to utilize his brotherhood of assassins in the middle of land-based missions. One simple whistle and a bunch of allies come to Connor's side. They can be used for all sorts of things, from fighting in gigantic melees to simply increasing the size of a crowd, making it harder for enemies to follow Connor.
Ubisoft recently unveiled Assassin's Creed III Liberation, a brand new Assassin's Creed game for the Vita. Assassin's Creed III Liberation puts the player in control of a brand new female protagonist in the same time period as Connor, and apparently it is very likely that their paths will cross. The games will share special connectivity, allowing players to unlock new characters, costumes, and other content should they own both Assassin's Creed III and Liberation. A brand new white PSP is being made for the release of Assassin's Creed III Liberation, and bundle packs for both Liberation and Assassin's Creed III are coming, offering a PSP and a PS3 together with each game respectively.
Overall, Assassin's Creed III is unlike any other Assassin's Creed game we have seen before. Previous games have focused on the singular antics of one assassin against the Templars, but this game focuses on war and everything that is contained therein. There still isn't a whole lot of the game that has been available in playable demo form, and plot details are still being kept under wraps. However, in spite of all this, playing Connor has been much more fun than playing either Ezio or Altair due to the many options he has. While the Assassin's Creed formula had started to get old in recent days, Assassin's Creed III might be just what the franchise needs in order to breathe life back into it.
Angelol M D'Argenio
Date: June 6, 2012