After making more than a bit of a splash at E3 2012, the developers of Assassin’s Creed 3 have earned a brief respite from the concerns of skeptics – what few there still might be. The team at Ubisoft had previously released a behind-the-scenes video on the demo being constructed for the show, only to arrive with three distinct, yet equally impressive gameplay sections.
The snow-swept woods of the Frontier demo have now been re-released, accompanied by Creative Director Alex Hutchison’s dulcet tones pointing out some changes to gameplay that captivated viewers may have overlooked. Some show potentially – forgive our pun – revolutionary changes to the basic interaction with the world, while others are simply elegant touches to an already well-established foundation.
Even after hearing the dev team mention the new free-running system as a major change to the look and feel of Assassins’ Creed 3 traversal, seeing it in action still surprises us. After no fewer than four games of slamming into doorways and accidentally jumping off ledges, seeing a complex, albeit pre-constructed tangle of branches navigated with ease really does show that the designers have been busy.
In addition to traversal, it seems that the two-handed combat shown in nearly every cinematic trailer might actually represent the feel of gameplay.The commentary from Hutchison confirms that dual-wielding really is as simple as connecting one button to an offhand pistol while retaining the standard Hidden Blade as another option. Continuing the trend of small tweaks to interface leading to major changes in gameplay, Hutchison also explains that the deep snow brought on by winter might be the main reason Connor has for traveling through treetops as opposed to waist-high drifts.
Once Connor reaches the Colonial camp, it’s clear just how much Ubisoft is treating Assassin’s Creed 3 like the start of a new IP and game structure. The quest structure that was somewhat at play in Brotherhood and Revelations has hopefully been simplified, but even the indication of quest-giving characters being triggered by a button prompt as opposed to proximity shows the environments and real-time interaction evolving.
The combat animations are still as fluid and varied as we saw in our hands-on demo, with Hutchison confirming enemies that attack at the same time – although negated by dual-counters – but the combat at this point does look to be less ‘game-y’ than previous installments. The increased number of grapple points while wall-climbing also seems to be a nice touch in making climbing much more believable. The solution may be an obvious one, but it still is promising for a sense of immersion.
Which aspects of the demo do you find the most promising, or intriguing? Are there any changes that you are disappointed to see haven’t been made yet? There is still plenty of time left in the series to implement them, so share them in the comments.
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.
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