Assassin's Creed 3 Preview (Xbox360)

As uncomfortable as I may be seeing the British being portrayed as such an oppressive force in Assassin’s Creed III, I cannot deny how excellent a game it’s shaping up to be. Everything from the combat, to the free-running, to the characters and quests. Ubisoft have looked at every facet of this game with the objective of turning it up to 11, and so far it looks like they may have succeeded. Locked away deep within the Tower of London, we were fortunate enough to get some hands-on time with the latest build, and I’m here to share some impressions with you.

We started the demo at Sequence 6, so a few hours into the game and at the point where Connor first gets access to his ‘Homestead’. It’s comparable to Monteriggioni from Assassin’s Creed II in the sense that it acts as a de facto ‘Headquarters’ area for the player, and like its Italian predecessor it can also be upgraded by investing money, but also by inviting special characters to come and set up shop. The ‘Homestead’ area is quite large, with a run-down farm acting as the central set-piece, but there is also a nearby forest, stream, and some high cliffs, all of which can act as missions areas and contain their own natural hazards. We found two people to help populate our homestead within the area itself, and more can be found out in the Frontier and other places.

It’s the sheer scale of Assassin’s Creed III that boggles the mind slightly – Ubisoft haven’t really conveyed a sense of what you can do, but when you get there and see for yourself you may just find yourself with too much choice (not a bad thing, unless your me). There’s the Frontier, which is massive and has a lot of areas to explore, as well as the towns themselves (which are also pretty big), there’s a wide range of quest types for you to get involved in, not to mention the new Naval missions which were recently revealed. One side note on those – we’re told that apart from two compulsory ones (one where you first get your ship, and one where you take part in a famous battle), the naval missions are optional, for the most part, so if you’re like me and not entirely sold on that side of things, no need to jump in if you don’t want to.

One thing we will say though, combat may be a bit jarring for some people… we’re not sure if it’s because we’ve been playing too much Darksiders II recently or not, but it seems odd that someone as nimble as Conner cannot simply roll or doge out of the way of attacks. Instead, you have to make sure you press the counter/parry button at the right time in order to block any incoming attacks, and from there you can perform counters. It’s always satisfying to see Connor pull off the more flashy moves that are at his disposal, but mastering them from a player perspective will probably be one of the game’s many challenges. Also, with the much larger towns, navigation is a bit harder, as well as trying to effectively evade soldiers (if you aggro), and we’ve also found getting away with anything harder as well as there seems to be soldiers everywhere. It definitely requires a lot more patience and lateral thinking, that’s for sure.

Assassin Creed III is going to be the best Creed game yet. Probably. It’s certainly improving on a formula that came very close to getting stale, and with the studio’s intention to turn this into a new trilogy public, we have to wonder what will come next. Still, before we even get to think about that, there’s still this mammoth game to contend with. We were definitely impressed with what we played, although some of the changes will take some getting used to – regardless, unless you’re a grumpy old imperialist like me, we’d be surprised if you found anything you really hated here. Bring on Christmas! Assassin’s Creed III is due out on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on October 30th in North America, and October 31st in Europe. The PC and Wii U releases are coming later in November.

Most Anticipated Feature: Because I’m stubborn, I just want to see Connor kill some Americans instead of British all the time. Even if it’s just the once.


By Jasca_Ducato (SI Core) on Sep 24, 2012
You're not the only one who wants to see that. Though if you think about at, at this stage in history both Loyalists and Colonials were considered British; there was no such thing as an American (discounting Native Americans).

That said, I am looking forward to this game. Had the Freedom or Die edition on pre-order from the day it was announced..