As anyone who has spent any amount of time with the Assassin’s Creed series knows, brutal and “Oh sh*t!”-inducing combat is one of its most joyous cornerstones. And if you’ve been keeping up with any of our Assassin’s Creed 3 coverage, like our video feature on the evolution of the franchise's combat system, then you know full well that this tradition not only continues with Ubisoft Montreal’s latest installment but has been taken to remarkable new levels. At this year's E3 and Comic-Con, Ubisoft showed off hefty new portions of gameplay and gave us a look at some of hero Connor’s impressive skill set in the area of messin’ fools up.
Now, as in previous games, because the animations are so quick and slick (i.e. so expertly crafted), it can be easy to miss all the nuances that go into to bringing these insane moves to life. So to help give you a better sense of what Connor is capable of on the battlefield--and what he’s actually doing from an animation perspective--we decided to put together this little takedown breakdown of some of these new moves that should educate as well as inspire a healthy amount of “Dear lord!” shouting.
1. The human shield maneuver should prove to be a valuable one, especially when facing down a squad of musket-packing Red Coats. With so many guns on the battlefield this time around, I would expect this to be a very popular move throughout the campaign, and not just because it's so badass.
2. I love this low-high-low attack. Knock out the knee with the hatchet to get him off balance, slice him across the face with your dagger, and then bury your hatchet into his chest, just under the rib cage with a swift backhanded upward thrust. The way this guy ragdolls after the final blow is just fantastic.
3. One of Connor's coolest and most useful abilities is the behind the back block. It's also the perfect way to start the above combo of knife to the back into neck snap, and it shows off how much more combat variety there will be now that you're able to dual wield weapons.
4. Another behind the back save here, only this time Connor bounds into the air and buckles the dude's leg at the knee, putting him in prime position for a hatchet-based throat slit. This move also shows off Connor's dexterity and physicality as he moves from countering to jumping to grabbing in one smooth motion.
5. This counter is just good old fashioned "block/chop a dude down with three brutal strikes to the jugular." My favorite execution type in the other AC games is the multi-knife stab to the chest, so as you can probably guess, this takedown had me giggling heartily.
6. To maintain the balance of power in any given fight, it's always important to have at least one heavy enemy that requires some extra thought to defeat. In this case, it's a kilt-wearing, feathery-hatted foe capable of blocking Connor's frontal hatchet attack with a simple hand grab. He adds injury to insult by head butting Connor as well, but this brief/ultimately futile tide turner does nothing but inspire Connor to make a smarter first strike in which he pulls the enemy off balance with his hatchet. He finishes the job by separating the dude from his throat.
7. Assassin's Creed 3's new momentum-based takedowns allow Connor to dispose of multiple enemies in a row while on the move and without breaking his stride. These moves promise to deliver some of the most spectacular death flourishes in the game, as evidenced by the above attack. It appears that at certain points there will be grabable objects in the world that Connor will be able to put to good/deadly use. In this case, it's a musket snatched from a gun rack. What's great about this move is that Connor is able to skewer the first dude but hold on to the musket and use it again to take out the final target. It's unclear if you'll be able to use every weapon this same way, or if it's situation specific. Either way, expect to be sharing stories of pulling off these moves around the proverbial water cooler once the game is in the wild.
8. Similar to the firing squad move seen earlier, this "Face, pitchfork; pitchfork, face" kill highlights a couple new features, all within about three seconds. Similar to previous games, Connor can use his environment to blend in--in AC3, any two non-enemy characters can be sidled up to and used to provide cover--and as we see here, he can now strike from cover and use his environment to take out enemies. This takedown also shows off AC3's new cinematic camera, which has obviously received quite a bit of work as well, as the camera swoops in and around Connor and makes these sorts of takedowns even more stylish and personal. And the way the soldier doubles over after the punch lands, and the shock on his soon-to-be-skewered face really drive home the ferocity and quickness of Connor's attack.
9. Connor's roll ability lets him cover even more ground than Altair and Ezio and before him. He still has jump attacks, and the one-hit-kill counter system automatically draws Connor to enemies without the player having to physically move him, but being able to roll (and/or having it trigger automatically when one-hit-killing an enemy that is especially far away) will allow for much roomier fights. Best part of this move has to be the way Connor springs up from the ground and braces himself with his front leg before delivering the killing blow.
As you can see, Connor is quite the skilled killer, and we have only seen a fraction of what he is capable of when it comes to putting down those pesky British invaders. We'll be seeing more Assassin's Creed 3 goodness at Comic-Con 2012 in a couple weeks, so be sure to stay tuned. In the meantime, I'm going to practice my knife and fork takedown skills on this here burrito.
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