Assassin's Creed 3 Hands-On
Assassin's Creed 3 Hands-On
We could talk about how Assassin's Creed 3 does ship-to-ship combat right. How against all odds the third person camera - only slightly removed from the usual in-game perspective - works surprisingly well for sailing a Tall Ship. We could discuss how unbelievably big Assassin's Creed 3's world is. How it's easy to get lost on the frontier, as you travel between your Homestead and the Colonial port city of Boston, Massachusetts.
But what I really want to write about is how Connor Kenway, the game's protagonist, is more Predator than Assassin - and I love it.
It's the trees, you see. Well, it's the trees and the rope darts. In previous games your assassin - Ezio or Altair or Desmond or whoever - was certainly capable of dealing death from all manner of directions. He could stalk his prey like a lioness on the serengeti, moving through throngs of people like they were blades of grass. He could definitely swoop down on his target from on high with ease if he chose, and if he ran fast enough he'd get away before anyone could do anything.
The assassin's in the AC series have always been hit-and-run specialists - the sort that when they kill a target, that target knows who got them. In many cases they'll even have chats with their victim, oblivious and uncaring of the mayhem surrounding their violent attack.
I imagine it will be difficult to have a talk to a man who has a rope dart in his brain stem. It will be even harder when he's hanging from a tree branch as well.
My hands-on with the game began with a short cutscene as my... gentleman's gentleman gives me the new weapon. It's a dart with a rope attached. It's called a rope dart. The frontier spirit clearly didn't extend to naming stuff.
Almost instantly Connor is using it the Jackie Chan uses a fire hose, like some sort of genetic memory (an appropriate theme, considering the series). This isn't the only tool in our Half-English, Half-Mohawk's repertoire - it joins the Bow-and-Arrow, the Tomahawk and the Flintlock in his arsenal of death.
It's interesting to note how silent his weapons are - but there's a definite element of barbarism to them as well. Naturally Connor rocks the hidden blade common to all Assassins, but the Tomahawk is not a clean killing weapon like Ezio and Altaire's fine blades - it hacks where the theirs slices, and where a sword might leave an identical set of entry and exit wounds, the hatchet leaves broad wounds.
This is in evidence when Connor finishes off enemies in combat now. The combat system has changed from the Auto-Counter system Junglist was not a huge fan of - now you counter by tapping the circle or B button and this gives you a window to attack in. It's an obvious choice - the counter-window system works for dozens of games - and it's very easy to adapt to in Assassin's Creed 3.
When Connor goes in for the kill though, he really lets them have it. The tomahawk executions have weight to them, and my jaw slackened every time he wrenched the axe from his victim. Other attacks - like when he grabs a musket from a fallen redcoat - are just as brutal - a combination of bayonet stabbings and large bore point blank shooting.
So there's a brutality to combat on the frontier - appropriate for when you want to be the Predator. Naturally, because Assassins are heroes (I'll never quite understand that) Connor's hunting has a benevolence to it. He's not hunting for sport, he's hunting for justice. Still, that didn't make me feel any less like an almost inhuman monster as I waited in a tree branch for a pair of thugs to come past.
I followed them, moving from tree branch to tree branch easily, as they talked about the spoils of their attack on a lady - she was being taken care of at my homestead - until finally I picked my moment.
The pair of them paused to talk near a cliff face. They both seemed so... killable, but eventually I made a choice, flinging the dart portion of my rope dart down at the one with a pistol out. He jerked, still standing, as the dart punched through the base of his neck. His hands stopped gripping the gun in his hands as they flinched outwards, and I took a step backwards from the tree branch, using Connor's weight and momentum to launch him skyward. As I landed I switched to my flintlock, countered the second man's attack and then shot him square in the chest.
It wasn't a silent kill. It wasn't a clean kill. But these two men knew they were dead. And anyone who came through this forest would know - you don't attack innocent people near my house.
Combat is where Assassin's Creed 3 is at its most different. It's more engaging, but it's still as fluid as it ever was. And when it's combined with the inventive new weapons, the gorgeous setting of a Colonial America and an effortless movement system, it makes the game play like a Revolutionary War-era Kung-Fu movie. Bring it on.
Comments on this Article
Thu 04 Oct 12, 2:49pmAudi
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Thu 04 Oct 12, 3:24pmnarenhooson
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