Assassin’s Creed 3 will be the first numbered Assassin’s Creed game since 2009 and brings with it not only a new hero, but a new world. I’m a huge fan of the series and by the grace of PAX got to check out game play footage that shows off some new features. The demo takes place on a large battlefield with British and American forces facing off. Connor’s objective is to find the British General and take him out. The battle takes place on a hill, so from where Connor is standing you can see American forces marching toward the British, while the British line up and fire at the Americans. The view and overall look of the scenario was quite breathtaking. The crackling of guns and cannons firing, cannon balls hitting the ground, and soldiers yelling back and forth really help pull you into the scene and make it quite amazing.
According to the narratorwalking us through the gameplay, in this specific scenario there are multiple paths that you can take; one being stealthy and the other being a more direct approach. As Connor makes his way through the battlefield a cannon ball touches down, killing a soldier that is close to him and causing Connor to flinch. The flinch wasn’t scripted; it’s part of an automatic reaction system put in place for AC3. Explosions, loud noises, and other items will cause Connor to react automatically based on what’s happening. I really didn’t notice it at first, but as I replayed that moment through my head I found it quite impressive because of how natural it was.
Connor’s movement in general feels very natural. He comes across a downed tree and at the push of a button can either slide under or vault it. In previous Assassin’s Creed games you would only be able to hop over an obstacle. Movement options like that should allow for some interesting chase sequences.
The demo shows off tree climbing, which will be a big part of AC3 since there will be lots of wilderness in the Northeast. The tree formations are very natural; each tree looks unique. Obviously this was no small task since these trees are man-made and didn’t have hundreds of years to take natural forms. Connor’s movement when interacting with rocks and trees is noticeably different than his interaction with buildings. You can see him using his body weight to balance himself. If you haven’t gotten the idea by now, his movement in general is very detailed and looks good.
AC3 will introduce dual-wielding combat to the series and because of this combat has been redesigned. Combat is noticeably more fluid, with Connor seamlessly going between his left and right handed weapons. One thing I noticed is that combat at a distance with Red Coats will be devastating. After Connor strung up an enemy using a new rope weapon, another three lined up, aimed, and were ready to fire just like they were trained to do. I’m sure taking all three of those shots would have caused a great deal of damage, but Connor was fast enough to move in and take them out very smoothly.
As we reached the end of the demo two more features were shown off. First, Connor was able to hide in a bush until he was ready to spring into action. Areas like this bush are called Stalking Zones, where Connor can sit undetected. Lastly, they showed off running kills. After Connor jumped out of the bush, he ran by and killed two enemies before finally killing the target; all without losing momentum. I can only imagine that running kills will be a major part of the chase scenes we come to expect in the series.
After AC: Revelations I was skeptical of what the future would hold for the series. After watching this demo I am no longer skeptical and am really looking forward to AC3 this October. We haven’t seen any Desmond yet, but reports indicate that he will be playable in AC3. We still have E3 and Gamescom to go this year, so I’m expecting to see a lot more in the coming months.