Assassin's Creed 3 will be the fifth game in the Assassin's Creed series. A lot has changed since Desmond first accessed the memories of Altair in the first Assassin's Creed. We've seen Desmond change ancestors, companions, and memories, but we're going to see the most amount of change this October when Assassin's Creed 3 is released. I recently had the chance to check out a small demo for AC3 at the Ubisoft booth at PAX East 2012. There were a few major changes being made to series with this installment. Here's what is different.
5. Clear Paths
Connor, Desmond's British and Mohawk ancestor, will have clear combat paths. Rather than deciding on the fly if you want to play stealth or go in hidden-blades blazing, you can make the choice before you begin. Prior to some missions there will be a stealth path or an action path laid before you. In past games, full synchronization occurred when Ezio or Altair took the most stealth path. This time around that may change. Ubisoft hasn't confirmed this, but my guess is there will be two different ways to reach synchronization; the stealth and the action. Maybe I'll finally be able to 100% missions if I'm rewarded for playing like Rambo.
The Assassin's Creed series pits assassins against Templars, in that sense, nothing has changed. Like Altiar, Ezio and Desmond; Conner is out to take down any and all Templar foes. In the demo I saw at PAX East, Connor stalked and murdered Pitcairn, a major in the British army. This doesn't mean you'll only be fighting the British though. There are Templars on each side of the battle.
What has changed is the amount of enemies you'll be facing. Past games saw your assassin fight against several enemies, maybe even a dozen if you were trying to reclaim a tower. But this time around, Connor will be facing thousands of enemies. For the first time in the Assassin's Creed series there will be armies. In past games there could only be 200 characters in a scene at once; Assassin's Creed 3 will be able to support 2,500 characters on screen. I'm going to go ahead and recommend you download this game to the hard drive.
3. Stalking Zones
Blending into crowds was vital for Ezio and Altair in previous AC games. When a crime or public offense was committed, both assassins would walk slowly in sync with the villagers to avoid detection. This was crucial for gamers like me who would plow through a busy city only to be stopped by a street musician. If you knocked out his lute, the city guards would attack you. The only way to not get caught was to immediately blend in.
I assume AC3 will have drummer boys who are equally annoying because now you'll be able to use the same blending techniques with brushes, shrubbery and other plant life. If you're stalking an enemy in a field, a forest, or anywhere with vegetation, Connor will be able to crouch beside it and become undetectable.
Connor is half Native American, and with his heritage he has earned some new weapons never before used in the AC series. The tomahawk and the bow have already been shown off in screenshots. I got to see the tomahawk in action, and I got to say, it works how I thought it would. Connor attacked a Red Coat with it, slashing his face into a bloody, red pulp. The bow has yet to be demonstrated, but I can use my imagination for that one.
In the PAX East demo, Connor showed off another weapon: the rope dart. From high up in a tree, Connor can shoot an enemy with the rope dart, hanging him right there. If your enemy is alone this kill allow you to continue on your stealth path, never being noticed. If this enemy is in a group, this naturally causes some alarm.
Say goodbye to the yellows and reds of Rome, and say hello to brown and green. Gone are the buildings of Renaissance Italy. Trees are the new buildings and your parkour skills will be just as important as before.
Tree navigation has been worked into the game, not just for combat but for traveling as well. Ubisoft actively avoided making the game feel like Tarzan by focusing on realism. Giant trees that can support a man's weight can be used to climb with a move called Trunk Around. Giant branches can be used as beams to let Connor leap or swing.
Other natural formations will impact how Connor gets around. Rocks and cliffs have been carefully designed to feel authentic. The designers didn't want gamers to feel like they were following a pattern. Players will be free to climb as they want, or as the rock's curves allow.
These are just five of the many ways Assassin's Creed 3 will build on everything we love about the AC series. We'll update you as we learn more.