Monday, 24 September 2012

Preview: Assassin's Creed III (Multiplatform)

As far as this writer can tell, Assassin's Creed III's principle goal is to usurp Day of the Tentacle as the best game ever to feature George Washington (notwithstanding the Civilization series).

Oscillating between present day and "Colonial America," Assassin's Creed III looks to break the mold of what gamers expect from the series. Or at least reshape it slightly because it looks like the same kind of acrobatic stealth-ish gameplay is involved for the most part, with some naval combat thrown in just because.

Desmond, the Present Day animus-riding protagonist throughout the series, returns and supposedly plays a more central role in the game. He bounces into the conciousness of half-Native American, half-English Connor Kenway, who will no doubt be central to shaping the events of Colonial America. Reportedly, the game covers 30 years of Connor's life and spans multiple locations, such as Boston, New York and Charleston. It has also been noted that Connor will be headed into the American Frontier, (one hopes in order to assassinate Oregon Trail as the pre-eminent game to feature dysentery, broken axles, and bison killing).

I'm extremely interested in how Assassin's Creed III works given that during this time period there weren't that many tall buildings in Colonial America. And the ones that could be defined as "tall" aren't actually that that tall. It's definitely not as "scalable" or dense as Renaissance Italy. It seems the team is going horizontal (and broader) with the game; the verticality just won't be the same even if some trees do get pretty big.

If one thing is absolutely clear about the Assassin's Creed series, is that History is fast and loose. (Have you seen the end of Assassin's Creed II?) No one should expect the third game to suddenly stick to the text of the whys and whatnots but with historical figures important to the formation of these United States of America such as Paul Revere (horse racing), Benjamin Franklin (taking the place of Leonardo da Vinci, obviously), and Samuel Adams (beer) it's apparent there will be at least some lip service paid to History of the "What if...?" variety.

The solo experience appears to make up the bulk of Assassin's Creed III, but to pad out the experience Ubisoft is developing a co-op mode called "Wolf Pack." Up to 4 players can participate in coordinated assassinations of NPC targets in series of 25 increasingly difficult "waves." This could be the greatest mode ever provided one of the playable assassins is George Washington or possibly a kite-wielding Benjamin Franklin.

History itself is so fast and loose -- it could have happened that way.

Expected Release: October 30 (360, PS3); November 18 (Wii U); November 20, 2012 (PC)

- Aaron Simmer