This holiday season perhaps seems a little light on triple A games when compared with some previous years. A couple of console exclusives like Halo 4 and PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale give a little bit of hope for those of us keen to spend as little time as possible with our families at Christmas and as much time in front of our TV’s. Aside from those though, the majority of blockbusters are multi-platform titles like Bioshock: Infinite, GTA 5 and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and two out of three of those won’t make it out until 2013.
Having said that, there are still a couple of big titles on their way to us before the end of the year, probably most notably Resident Evil 6 and the game I am here to talk to you about today; Assassin’s Creed 3. First of all though, an admission of guilt. Although I played a demo of AC3 at the Sony stand and spent a good 15 minutes or so hands-on with the game, I really couldn’t stomach the 4 hour (yes, you read that correctly) wait to try out another build of the game at the Ubisoft stand. Call me weak if you like, but I figured my time at Gamescom would be better testing out as many titles as possible for you guys and waiting in-line for half a day for one game just didn’t seem like a good idea.
Having said that, it’s clear that Sony is proud of having AC3 on their systems. As well as giving the console version a place of focus next to God of War: Ascension on their stand, the Vita spin-off title Liberation was also on prominent display, and is something I will be talking about in my Vita round-up in a few days time.
Back to AC3 however and let me tell you that although I was excited for this game before, after checking it out in the flesh it has probably shot to the top of my most wanted list for this year. It was something of a shame that the demo on offer was not typical of the nature of the majority of the game (I believe the Boston and wilderness sections were playable at the Ubisoft stand), but it certainly painted the game in a very favorable light, and will give fans something different to look forward to.
You may have seen the demo before, as it was shown at E3 as well. Essentially it is based around a high-seas chase and battle, and sees you as the player captaining an 18th century Frigate and taking it into action. The demo begins as you are instructed to explore your ship and find your way to the steering platform. The detail is incredible as every part of the ship is brought to life and the tropical surroundings of islands and sea look fantastic. After a few minutes of getting the hang of the game I took control of the ship which is where things really kicked off.
Spotting an enemy ship on the horizon you give chase, which gives the first indication that this is a very different control system than you may be used to. The ship essentially has three speed settings; stop, half-sail and full-sail. Giving the commands for each is fascinating as you watch your crew scurry around obeying your commands. Sails unfurl and ropes are loosened as every person on deck has their own job to do.
Heading out to sea the weather takes a turn for the worse and two enemy ships appear to be heading straight for you. The shooting system here is also original, but so right for the period. You have main cannons and smaller shotguns, and the aim is to ‘broadside’ your enemy and then let rip with all of your weaponry, whilst fighting the wind and the seas at the same time. After about 5 minutes or so both the ships were sunk and I could turn my attention back to the ship I had been chasing.
For some unknown story reason you couldn’t destroy this ship, so instead you had to change your main weapon to shots designed to rip apart sails. As I did this I noticed there were at least 5 different types of cannonball which leads me to think these ship sections might be a fairly big chunk of the finished game. Once this was done a couple of well-aimed barrages left the ship dead in the water, and ripe for being boarded which was unfortunately where the demo ended.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Assassin’s Creed 3 and can’t wait for the full game. Although it was a shame I didn’t get to try out the more traditional gameplay areas, at least I have tried something different which should add some variety to the finished product. The time period setting of the game is an unusual one and these maritime sections definitely make the most of it and are offering something very different to all the carbon copy military shooters we have seen lately.