It always amazes me how Ubisoft is able to crank out the Assassin Creed games once a year, yet somehow manages to improve and outclass the previous installment in the series in almost every way. Each game is an improvement in terms of graphics, sound, gameplay, story, you name it. Ubisoft hasn't ceased to surprise so far, so will the upcoming Assassin's Creed III once again be a piece of art?
From what I've seen so far, it might very well be the best Assassin's Creed to date. Let's take animations as an example. Every single animation in the game has been rebuild from the ground to fit with Connor's new style of fighting. Unlike Ezio, Connor relies heavily on movement whilst fighting, making fluid animations an absolute necessity. And these animations are most certainly fluid. If a cannonball strikes close to Connor, the way he stumbles over seems almost real. This also has a positive effect on the combat system, as Connor can now slice through hordes of enemies with Tomahawk without even taking a breath. But naturally, the looks aren't the only things that have been improved. Assassin's Creed III adds a variety of new gameplay elements to the game that fit perfectly with the era. During the civil war, units would always fire in lines, at the exact same time. This also applies to any group of soldiers Connor may encounter. If Connor is out of their bayonet range, they will line up and fire a volley at Connor. This once again shows how much Connor relies on his movement, and how important the reworked animations are to close that distance and get up close.
As many parts of Assassin's Creed take part in the forests instead of towns, this also required a new way of traveling across the "rooftops". Instead of rooftops, we now have climbable trees and rock formations that allow Connor to act as a predator in the woods; he hunts on his enemies, and his new gadgets show that. These new climbable obstacles also look natural as well. Even though you can swing from tree to tree, it doesn't feel like you're jumping from one metallic beams to another, it actually feels as if you're scaling the landscape. And as with the combat system, Connor relies heavily on moving continuously to scale difficult obstacles.
Assassin's Creed III also brings several improvements to the engine of Assassin's Creed. For example, the engine can now support up to two and a half thousand units on screen, instead of just two hundred. This results in epic battles being fought between the lines, and shots of cannonballs ripping through whole groups of enemies.
What really stood out at Gamescom is a brand-new feature shown today, naval battles. These battles put you at the command of a ship against several enemy ships, and gives you a full arsenal of cannonballs and chain shots to fight with. These ships can actually be freely moved over the seas, there is no on-rail system. The system also feels quite realistic, with wind directions actually impacting the speed of your ship, and setting more sail will make you speed up.
But what amazed me was the sound and graphics during these ship sequences. Hitting your enemy close by with grape shots decimates their ship, causing fiery and loud explosions that truly add to the atmosphere. With heavy waves and stormy weather, hitting your enemy wasn't easy. But with great and easy-to-use controls you'll still rule over the waves.
The player gets to choose between four different ammunition on the ship. The first type is the normal cannonball, which is best used at longer ranges for medium damage. Secondly there is the grape shot, which causes massive damage if fired from a close range. Your third option is the chain shot, which rips apart the enemy sails, leaving them unable to sail in the water. Finally, the last weapon in your arsenal is the flame shot. These can be combined with several smaller cannons on your deck that you can aim manually do cause extra damage.
With tons of new gameplay possibilities, an improved engine and amazing graphics, I think Assassin's Creed III will be another candidate for the Game of the Year. Ubisoft once again manages to create a truly amazing Assassin's Creed game with so many new features and graphics. If you weren't excited for the game yet, you should be now, especially after seeing the new trailer.