Assassin's Creed III - Preview

Assassin's Creed III on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC and Wii U at GAME

Assassin's Creed III developer Ubisoft may have pulled off the near impossible. This year's adventure looks set to refresh the series with a stunning game that's crafted to please both hardcore fans and new players alike.

Those fresh to Assassin's Creed will find a completely new landscape to explore. Ubisoft has moved the action to 18th century America - or rather, the land soon to become America. The game's story will take place throughout the American Revolution and focus on Connor, a half-British, half-Native American assassin-in-training.

A Theory Of Revolution

As well as a new main character, timeframe and setting, many of the series' features have been reworked and expanded. It's worth noting that Assassin's Creed remains a hugely successful series for Ubisoft, and it's pleasing therefore to see the developer eager to evolve the franchise further, rather than just rest on its laurels.

Perhaps the biggest change comes to the game's combat system, which has been updated and simplified. Fights now feel faster as Connor zips around the screen raining death upon foes. Armed with a tomahawk, pistol or the assassin's trademark hidden blade, players can now silence enemies in style using multiple weapons at once.

Assassin's Creed III on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC and Wii U at GAME

Combat controls have been changed to feel similar to the acclaimed fighting style of Batman: Arkham City, where enemies can be blocked or countered, and kills chained together. Where once it would take players precious seconds to select a foe to attack, Connor can simply weave amongst his opponents, dispatching several redcoats in a single fluid movement.

Connor Chameleon

The same sense of fluidity oozes into the game's general exploration, too. Connor has been given a whole new set of skills to traverse the American frontier - climbing trees, scaling rock faces, and hunting for food and items to sell.

Assassin's Creed games have always offered an element of commerce to dabble with, and there's a deeper system than ever to be found here. Items gathered from the wilderness can be passed to traders, fashioned into sellable items, and moved in convoys around the territory, which also includes the cities of Boston and New York. You also get a base, the Homestead, to run things from. As you progress through the game you'll turn this village into a bustling settlement, as the characters Connor meets along the way move in.

But, of course, it's not just those new to the series who will appreciate the changes. Last year's tale Assassin's Creed Revelations closed the book on Renaissance-era hero Ezio, and left the series ripe for a reboot. Well, look no further.

Assassin's Creed III on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC and Wii U at GAME

The Templar Trap

There's plenty to keep long-term fans engrossed - including the conclusion of the series' ongoing modern day subplot. For those new to the storyline (an apocalyptic tale featuring secret organisations, ancient civilisations and an impending end-of-the-world disaster), Ubisoft promises a refresher film to bring players up to speed. Extra nods for fans - such as a mention of Chinese assassin Shao Jun, who popped up in Ezio's epilogue - should ensure those loyal to the franchise remain satisfied.

Those experienced in Assassin's Creed earlier outings will notice this installment offers a cherry-picked selection of features from the rest of the series. The game's frontier area is an improved version of Assassin Creed 1's wide open Kingdom, while the way enemies track your notoriety using Wanted posters is taken straight from Assassin's Creed 2. The series' multiplayer option also returns with several new modes. The best of the new additions is Wolfpack, a team-based affair where players must hunt down a computer AI player en-masse before the timer runs out.

Like a Christmas selection box with no coffee creams, Ubisoft has done a stellar job of selecting the best bits of games so far, leaving out any unwanted items and adding in a few new flavours. Welcome back Assassin's Creed, we've missed you.

Look Forward To...

  • Vast landscape to explore
  • Fresh character and setting
  • Smart new ideas, like naval battles

Look Out For...

  • Combat changes require getting used to
  • Jumping through trees isn't as straightforward
SKU: Previews-183600
Release Date: 05/10/2012