While PAX East-goers didn’t get to put their bloodthirsty thumbs on Assassin’s Creed 3, they were treated to a tantalizing look at the updates the game will bring to the beloved series. I sneaked past Ubisoft’s mohawked-and-mustachioed PR guy to see things for myself.
Though it was a strictly hands-off demonstration, the presentation addressed many of my curiosities and concerns surrounding the new game. Like many, I wondered how the team would handle incorporating the open, out-door wilderness with the series’ signature free-running. I’m happy to say that AC3′s new protagonist Connor was able to navigate the woodlands with a very familiar sense of fluidity. Thanks to a tweaked animation and traversal system, Connor could hug large tree trunks in order to slide to a branch on the other side, swing hand-to-hand from overhead limbs, and wedge himself in the crook of a forking trunk.
Vertical traversal of cliff faces or rocky walls has been refined so as to allow the character to follow the natural contours of the surface, resulting in more realistic climbing and a decrease in the need for obvious hand-holds. On the ground, new “stalking zones” automatically sent Connor into an increased state of stealth provided he moved slowly through the cover (brushes, debris, etc.)
The additions to the movement system shared one common goal: to magnify the stalker-predator experience for the player. Once in position, a slew of new mechanics are at your disposal. The crowd particularly enjoyed the rope-dagger. The presenter explained that the harpoon-like weapon can be used to stab and then hang enemies from elevated positions. But what the video revealed as an even more brutal show of force.
Perched hidden on a limb above a patrol of British soldiers, Connor waited for the perfect moment before sending the dagger deep into an unsuspecting enemy. As the remaining soldiers scrambled to react, Connor grabbed hold of the dagger’s rope and dropped to the ground, using the limb as a pulley and his victim’s body as a counter-balance to slow his descent, leaving the lifeless body dangling from the tree.
“Running assassinations” add a feeling of momentum as you pounce upon your target. Given that you now find yourself in an environment populated by two opposing armies, you’ll often find yourself pitted against entire units of bodyguards. As you sprint forward towards your target, you can seamlessly move from target to target, carrying your weight forward as you go.
For those concerned about an America-centric story, Ubisoft assures us that AC3 remains true to the classic assassin-verses-Templar theme, and that you will find Templar enemies on both sides of the conflict.
By the time Revelations came out, I thought I was long done with the series. When the new setting for AC3 was revealed, it caught my interest. After the PAX demonstration, I can say that I am definitely excited about this title.
The game is currently set for an October 30th release date on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.Posted in Previews by Steve R Gibson on April 9, 2012