‘Assassin’s Creed 3′ Wii U Preview

2 years ago by  

The time has come for Assassin’s Creed 3 to be revealed to the masses at E3 2012, and it has not disappointed. Plenty of changes lie in store with a new hero, new animations and all new forms of gameplay on both land and sea.

With Assassin’s Creed 3 being hailed as one of the biggest third-party titles for the Nintendo Wii U, we were more than a little curious to see what the developers at Ubisoft have in mind for the new console’s gamepad. The Wii U’s unique yet simple features were seen in the brand new demo of Boston Harbor, and were far more promising than we had expected.

Those who have been keeping up to date on AC3 news – on both console and Vita – are likely already familiar with the Frontier gameplay shown in Ubisoft’s conference and the newly confirmed naval warfare. The section of gameplay we were shown followed Connor from Boston’s state house to the harbor itself, highlighting several of the improvements and flat-out stunning effects that have been added to enrich the experience.

Ubisoft’s intention is to treat AC3 as if they are creating a brand new IP as opposed to another sequel, and they have altered nearly every aspect of gameplay in some way to reflect this goal. Beginning with the visuals themselves, it’s immediately evident that American urban environments offer a level of grit and grime that is as new to the series as it is effective in separating AC3 from previous settings.

Assassins Creed 3 Cover Execution

Whether it’s a shift in color palette or improved graphics, the game’s world and animations seem much more polished than in the past, with no visible sacrifice of frame rate or definition for the Wii U. For the console’s tablet controller, Ubisoft has decided to use the video screen to display an expanded map in far greater detail than the typical on-screen mini map.

Surrounding the map is a set of weapon wheels, granting Connor the ability to switch his arsenal with the single touch of a finger. Since the weapon and inventory systems of Assassin’s Creed have always fallen short of intuitive or straightforward, this feature in itself was enough to convince us that Ubisoft might be onto something. The crystal-clear and crisp design of the map in the controller itself was as aesthetically sharp and pleasing as it proved to be effective, so there’s no need to fear gimmicks just yet.

Aside from the controller, the traversal looked and felt basically as expected, aside from the still-impressive tree-climbing that Connor is just as capable of inside cities. Hay bales are still present as impromptu landing pads, albeit now placed into movable wagons pulled behind horses. It’s hard to say how their location will be communicated to the player outside of a directed demo, but the possibility of entering enemy territory hidden within a vehicle occurring naturally in the world opens up many doors for play style choices.

Assassins Creed 3 Boston Demo

When Connor used this mobile cover to eliminate a British soldier (still the only enemies dispatching based on national allegiance alone) another gameplay addition appeared: procedurally-generated missions from NPCs. Connor was triggered to assist a local woman in freeing her husband without any visible quest icon or waypoint, only the player’s choice to hear her concern and follow her away from the main thoroughfares.

Equipped with a bow and arrow to silently eliminate enemies, and Chinese rope dart to string up characters and attract the attention of their friends, the player has far more plausible methods of tackling an enemy encounter or problem than ever before. If an encounter should turn from stealth to battle, several small changes are placed in the spotlight. Connor’s offensive and defensive schemes have been rebuilt around the notion of a faster, more agile assassin, but seeing the flourishes and improved mobility be executed so smoothly will surely exceed the expectations of many skeptics.

Combo strings built off of countering enemy attacks still looks to be present, but are nowhere near as outlandish and physics-defying as the system seen in Batman: Arkham City. Some of the new combat animations have been glimpsed in previous gameplay trailers, with Connor’s attacks ranging from tumbles into leg kicks, flanking to attack an unprotected side, or simply flailing attacks with a blade or club. Add in double executions for enemies grouped together, and the combat available to players means far more options in dispatching Redcoats.

Assassins Creed 3 Wii U Preview

This tendency to add extra emphasis where even the simplest will do applies to several aspects of Ubisoft’s changes, no one being more intriguing than what seems to replace the Assassin backup from Brotherhood and Revelations. Instead of calling in fellow Assassins, Connor calls in members of his Native American band to assist him – in the case of the demo, wearing stolen British uniforms to lead Connor through a security checkpoint under the guise of prisoner. No word on whether this option will be completely contextually sensitive, but the impact is far more effective and satisfying than mere stealth attacks.

The major improvements all seem to be made not to the trusted and refined elements of gameplay, but to the details that punctuate combat and the game’s cinematic presentation. Connor’s ability to blend in with a crowd no longer means sitting on a bench beside civilians, but mimicking nearby behaviors, and even joining in conversations to seem less conspicuous.

Assassin’s Creed 3 on the Wii U looks to bring an elegant solution and improved navigation to the core AC experience, not constructing gameplay around the novelty of the gamepad – at least so far. If the Wii U version can perform at the same level as its competition, then the implementation of the Wii U functionality could provide one of the most immersive ways to experience the game. Rather than fumbling with a HUD or clunky menus, Ubisoft has made intuitive gameplay a much larger part of the release.

Assassin’s Creed 3 will be released on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on October 30, 2012. A Wii U release date has not been confirmed.

Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.


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  1. I was very impressed with that I saw of AC3 and AC3 on the Wii U. Seeing as how I have owned an Xbox 360 (3 times) and own a PS3 (2nd one) plus PC, I’ll most likely pass on a Wii U. It looked like it performed better than a PS3, but for the price different over the slight improvements, not enough to persuade me. AC3 will be in my disc tray on October 30th.

    • You don’t buy a system for the slight improvements at launch. It will get much, MUCH better over time.

  2. Seriously who’s going to wait for this on Wii U? For what possible reason? So that you can take your eyes off the screen anytime you wish to change weapons or look at the map?

    LOL, I don’t see that as an improvement on gameplay in any way.

    I really think a map is probably all that we’ll see from 3rd Party developers using the Wii U Gamepad. That PRO controller basically ensures that the gamepad will only be used as novelty.

    • LOL

    • Except I’m pretty sure the console will come with the gamepad, and not with the pro controller. Designing for the latter and not the former would make very little sense.

      • So?

        My point would be that the mere existence of the XBox360…I mean PRO Controller makes it highly probable that 3rd parties will just lazily port PS360 games over to the Wii U and use that controller.

        I mean why program extra stuff for the tablet when you don’t have to?

        • Beeecause not everyone who owns a Wii U is going to have a pro controller? I agree that there will probably be a lot of lazy ports that’ll barely use the second screen — just a minimap/inventory thing pretty often, I expect — but the Pro controller doesn’t really have much to do with that.

          • If there was one thing I took away from the show, it’s that developers are specifically adding functionality to the Wii U version, since it means more games sold. Without it, there’d be no reason to buy it latter on the Wii U.

            Also, it’s pretty cynical to say that developers only care about money, and not a brand new interface to use in their gameplay.

  3. wii u proves once again why its going to be the top selling console for 5+ years

    • No it didn’t.

  4. Well I guess the only thing saving the map from sounding “gimmicky” is that it’s a good map…yet we still have to look down at it…which basically same as going to the map screen in-game on the console/PC versions. Well I pre-ordered the PS3 version, and I’m pretty sure when I get it on PC also, it’ll look better than the Wii-U…although the performance maybe shiat depending on the mood of Ubi’s PC Porting team, they always seem to have downs though. :P

  5. “Seriously who’s going to wait for this on Wii U? ”
    Will let’s see? If the game doesn’t go on sell until Oct. 30th that means majority of the people who bought are not going to play until the 25th of December. That gives people a thought in saying “should I buy this for my 360 and wait to play it with my son on Chirstmas or buy a Wii U and play the game on the 25th of December? As for the Pro Controller shaped like a 360, so what PS3 fanboy ignoring that Sony ripped of the Wimote.

    • ? Bish pleasee, Sony didn’t rip-off of the WiiMote, the PSMOVE is based on Sony’s PS2 move like controller created years before the Wii came out, for the EYETOY. Stop talking jibberish.

      • the ps2 eyetoy didnt have a controller. it was a mediocre and failed attempt at tracking body movements just like the move, which is why they added a controller as an addition tracking point which didnt even work. when you think of motion controls, nobody’s mind jumps straight to the move, it either goes to the kinect or wii/wiiU. the move is a failed experiment that not even sony tries to continue. sony doesnt have a single game that has been made widely known since they made the damn thing aside from the games they released specifically for it at the start of the move. as for who’s waiting, once the wii u is actually out, there will be no delay in between 360, ps3 and wii u ports. its only because the wii u is coming out soon that there is a delay. after release there will be no more delays and at that point games wont be considered ports but just multiplatform. the wii u has better specs because how could it not after being made after consoles that have been out and aging for years. as a result less technical issues. nintendo is the only console maker that still doesnt have an equivalent of the red ring of death because they dont make consoles that run theselves into the ground, they make them to last. In the end if people want a console with quality motion controls, superior specs, a vast number of 3rd party games and a strong list of first party games, and no hardware failure like the red ring, they will wait for the wiiU.

        • looking down shouldn’t even be an issue of concern. its only slightly different then looking at the bottom corner at the mini map. only difference is you have a much larger and more detailed map. plus its only a split second or two once you know what you are doing. you are most likely using it just to get a layout wen ur planning something like wat battle strategy to use or where enemies are at. my guess is that only people who are devoted to one system somehow feel threatened by a newer system with better mechanics and specs and are trying to find anything they can to nit pick about it.

  6. Funny complaing about the gamepad about looking down at it? Yet what about MS coming out with an App that also will slow people to view maps with a tablet? But only the Nintendo gets complaints and not MS huh? I’m jtz I put them all to the kitchen table.

    • That’s cause, maybe, that app is just an addition for a console that’s been out for almost a decade? It’s not like it’s their new console in this generation, and their most greatest addition, and probably the only thing that makes it different than consoles that came a decade before it is….a tablet screen. o_O

  7. “No it didn’t.”
    It didn’t? Why is it that the booths to play Wii u was so full people had to wait hours just to try it for mintues? If Wii U didn’t, why is it that MS is also planning tablets after Nintendo revealed they were? If Wii U didn’t why is it that 3rd party developers are liking with Wii U? If Wii U didn’t why is it that it is already expected to be in high demand around Chirstmas? I’m jtz have a nice day. PS I see Sony copied the same strategy from Pikmin or was that MS?

    • Making a splash at E3 is different from setting yourself up to be the top-selling console for 5+ years. Not that that definitely won’t happen, but it’s way too early to make that prediction.

      • Uhh it was full cause maybe people wanted to see wut’s up with the new console? Devs like it cause they get paid a lot for it? MS just added an additional app to their 6+ year old console just to keep things a bit fresh? PSVITA and PS3 can also do just about the same thing..? It’s expected for high demand by some random analyst because little kids want to play Super Duper Smashbrothers of DA FUTURE!!!! or Pokemon Pink-Fluffy-Edition. I’m Spider-Abu, have a nice day. PS: dafuq is Pikmin?

        • haha!

        • Hey, Smash Bros. is fun for all ages.

          • yeh ik, just like the new All-Stars game is gonna be, though it’s honestly overdone I think…but that’s their intellectual property and if they make money, they’ll just keep releasing new versions. :P

      • the biggest challenge i see for them to become a top seller is their own previous console. yes the wii u is superior but wat casual gamer is going to get rid of their wii they probably stood in line for hours years ago to get because it was in such high demand? and i suppose core gamers, once their 360 or ps3 dies they they often do, will have tohe option of switching to a more stable and advanced console, but they still have all their games and controllers. the wii u will have probably every multiplatform 3rd party game the others have, but i only see those who dont already own a wii or a particularly large collect of 360 or ps3 games deciding to trade up for a wii u. i will because i do let’s plays and im obligated to cover anything i can plus my collection so far for the 360 is small because i trade in alot to save money, but idk, i see alot of challenges in getting the console out there. there arent many people who dont own a console yet so first time gamers are virtually nonexistant. we are raised playing games nowadays.

  8. “I mean why program extra stuff for the tablet when you don’t have to?”

    Because they want to. Ever thought of that?

  9. So if playstation arrived with the Remote first why didn’t it come out until after the Wii? Because Sony took Wimotes back to there R&Ds.to copy it. That’s why Sony fanboy. Come on same set up and everything.

  10. PSVITA and PS3 can also do just about the same thing..? It’s expected for high demand by some random analyst because little kids want to play Super Duper Smashbrothers of DA FUTURE!!!! or Pokemon Pink-Fluffy-Edition. I’m Spider-Abu, have a nice day. PS: dafuq is Pikmin?

    Um Super smash bros ain’t for Sony fool that’s Nintendo.

  11. ? Bish pleasee, Sony didn’t rip-off of the WiiMote, the PSMOVE is based on Sony’s PS2 move like controller created years before the Wii came out, for the EYETOY. Stop talking jibberish.

    Yeah and the VW Cc is a Mercedes. Sony Fanboy you wouldn’t know a copy if it hit you in the head. After all the face of the Toyota Tundra, VW Iroc and Lancer hit face. Pontiac Grand Prix and Ford 500 hit tailights. Mazda 6 and Acura ZDX hint side profiles. Im jtz and I can get copies from a to z. After all the Buick LaCross’s backend ripped off BMw’s just like
    The Sony move ripped
    Off The Wii.

    • pretty much the concept itself of motion controls was ripper from the wii. maybe the kinect did go about it in a different way, but it was all in response to the wii’s motion controls and it was microsoft and sony trying to cash in on the whole gimmicky motion control band wagon.

  12. Also didn’t Sega CD arrive first? And I see the PS3 finally got 4 players. Also Nintendo started the rumble pak. They also started four players. Oh and BTW the Wii did have 3rd party games fool just not as much since the tech was so outdated. After all Resident Evil 5 wasn’t on Wii. But 6 will be and many more 3rd party games. So now what? Rare Ware should have stayed with Nintendo. I’m jtz stop copying me and have a nice day. PS. Pikmin are little creatures that caused the game to be good enough to make a 3rd game for Adults. And um Super Smash Bros is considered hardcore.

  13. GAME

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