Three years in the making, Assasin's Creed 3 is not just the biggest game in the series yet, but the most ambitious with hundreds of new features
Update: We've added two new trailers to our Assassin's Creed 3 preview. Check them out (below)
Assassin's Creed 3 is one of the largest games that Ubisoft has ever made, ever since Assassin's Creed 2 was completed the game has been under development. To place it in context, just one of the maps in Assassin's Creed 3 is 1.5x the size of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, that's right, the entire game.
Ezio's time is at an end however, paving the way for a new Assassin and ultimately a new period of history to explore. Assassin's Creed 3 will see a half Native American and half British Assassin known as Connor fight his way through the American Revolution.
Powered by Ubisoft's custom-built game engine Anvil Next Assassin's Creed 3 is unique in that it's able to create dynamic and living landscapes and then populate them with armies, townsfolk or wildlife on a scale that hasn't yet been seen.
Focusing around three main areas, the Frontier, Boston and New York the game features a dynamic weather system that is able to create random weather systems and also features a seasonal system that will see the entire game reproduced in snow for winter and then crystal clear greenery for summer.
Of course Ubisoft has saved its big guns for Connor and his ability to interact with the world, Anvil Next means that our new Assassin is capable of thousands of animations, all seamless, organic and totally in sync with the dynamic landscape around him.
Assassin's Creed 3: Features
New to Assassin's Creed is a bartering system, the introduction of wild animals and hunting means that Connor is able to sell pelts or possibly even use them to upgrade his weapons and clothing.
In keeping with the time period, armour has disappeared, instead Connor is blessed with a truly impressive arsenal consisting of a Tomahawk, dual-pistols, new and improved hidden blade, sword, bow and arrow and rope dart.
The last of these being the most visually impressive: Connor positioned on a branch can fire the rope dart at an enemy, then, throwing himself off the branch uses his own weight to lift the target high off the ground strangling them.
Stalking is a new form of hiding, and is key to interacting with the Frontier, by hiding in shrubbery and long grass Connor is able to hide himself. You'll also be able to use a new-and-improved cover system that allows for peering around corners, placing your back to the wall and more.
Assassin's Creed 3: Gameplay
The two gameplay demos we saw had Connor firstly fighting his way through a British outpost in the Frontier while the second mission had him traversing the rooftops of Boston.
Positioned as the most 'RPG'-style Assassin's Creed yet, Assasin's Creed 3 lets your pick and choose your side missions, with small towns, villages and outposts giving you the opportunity to potentially ignore the main storyline for as long as you want, building up your arsenal or indeed just gaining more funds.
In this instance we see Connor is after a British commander, by performing a small side-mission he's able to get the whereabouts of the target and heads on his way.
Heavy snow has you bogged down at times so during the winter it would seem the trees are the quickest way to travel, looking around we were able to see a British convoy in the distance while British troops went about their business on patrol, highlighting further the abilities of Anvil to allow NPC's their own backstories.
After dispatching several enemies at the front we see him move around the back of the camp, climb over the walls and in one swift move create a huge diversion by destroying their ammunition stores. This complete, Ubisoft then showcases what Connor is truly capable of.
While Ezio's style was more theatrical Connors is one of pure power, sprinting through the camp we watch him seamlessly take out a guard, steal a musket and then proceed to dispatch three more enemies without slowing down even slightly, finally throwing himself at the target.
This raw and ruthless style of combat is taken a step further in the Boston mission when we watch him use a decoy to attract a guard, finally bursting from around a corner and unleashing a volley of deadly blows.
Finally at the end of the mission we see Connor needs to access a restricted area. He calls what appears to be some reinforcements in the form of four British soldiers who surround him and give the other British soldiers the impression that Connor has been taken prisoner.
Let through the checkpoint, his compadres scatter leaving Connor to mop up all those unfortunate enough to be within a 5m radius of him and his target.
Assassin's Creed 3: Verdict:
It's hard to put into words just how much of a leap forward this game is from the previous Assassin's Creed titles. While still following the same principles that make up an AC game this feels like Ubisoft has created a next-generation game and by some form of wizardy, actually managed to persuade an Xbox 360 and PS3 to run it without spontaneously melting.
All that remains to be seen is if Ubisoft has created a storyline that can truly match the scale of the game environment and the characters it's created. Here's hoping it has.