30 September 2012

Assassin's Creed Week: Assassin's Creed 3 Preview

Ubisoft are faced with a situation very similar to the one which confronted them when set about making Assassin's Creed 2: how do take a new assassin, coupled with a new setting, and grow the franchise?

By choosing the American Revolution Assassin's Creed has moved into the era that - to date - is the one most people will some knowledge of. With historical luminaries such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin providing gravitas and one in the most dynamic settings in human history there's a lot to be intrigued by.

But there is a problem too, namely this, to date the vast majority - if not all - of Assassin's Creed 3's marketing has featured our new hero, Connor Kenway (Ratohnake:ton by his Native American name), killing British troops, not once has he been seen slaying an American. Ubisoft have insisted that he does but they've yet to show; fueling fears that the game will be a case of 'America f@%k yeah!'. 

Even if it does come down to that there will be no impediment upon sales which should be suitably massive. Ubisoft are spending £4 million (€5.02 million) on advertising in the UK alone - their biggest ever marketing push which is up there with the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield. 

And as with Assassin's Creed 2 there appears to be a major upgrade of both the core Anvil Engine and as well as the gameplay. We're assured the former has been rebuilt from the ground up. As for the letter with smaller cities and the broader streets in the colonial settlements trees - not to mention the abundant forests we've seen in the trailers - are fully climbable  As easily scale-able as any wall in a previous game. Indeed it seems like such an obvious feature one wonders way it hasn't been present before. 

Another aspect which has been introduced is the ability to enter buildings. Not merely those were designated missions happen but any you should choose to. 

Obviously the American Revolutionary War necessitates the inclusion of the major battles which occurred during the conflict and as the below trailer illustrates it certainly shouldn't be shy in that regard:

There were major battles in the previous entries in the series, particularly Brotherhood, but they were principally sieges and often set pieces. This is full-on open warfare. And there is a key difference this time round, everyone has guns. 

But what of Connor himself? Half British - Half American Indian he is a character who retains the quintessential assassin look while remaining appropriate for the era. Whether or not he will be as spirited and likable a character as Ezio remains to be seen though there is a significant imperative for Ubisoft in this regard who have admitted that he will only feature in future titles if he proves to be as popular as his Italian ancestor. 

Regardless Connor will be confronted by challenges his forebears never were, the naval battles revealed at Sony's E3 media briefing spring to mind.  

Assassin's Creed 3 launches a month from today. It is already the biggest game in Ubisoft's history, it also has the potential to be their best. If they can achieve all that they want to than gamers could be filling Connor's shoes for many years to come. 

Is there a threat that the game will be too one-sided? Yes but a great game is a great game & there's no way to know until it lands along with Vita title Liberation on October 30th. 

In the meantime here are two more trailers to whet your appetite:

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