Eurogamer 2012 – Assassins Creed 3 Demo Impressions
If you live in Britain, then Eurogamer is the place to be every September if you want to sample the latest games. And lets face it, you do. Well I’m no different so I checked it out representing Analog Addiction. Eurogamer is a big expo with a lot of games and some very queues, I wasn’t able to sample every game but don’t worry, I sampled some of the best starting with Assassins Creed 3.
The latest entry into the Assassins Creed franchise, Assassins Creed 3, places us in the shoes of Connor, a half Native American and half British Assassin living in Colonial America. Connors story will take players across thirty years of the Assassins life. It is in 1773, three years before the signing of the Declaration Of Independence that the demo takes place. Connor departs from his own Naval ship, a ship that occupying crew recognise him as the Captain. The demo starts you off climbing a cliff showing off some of the new surfaces and terrain that Connor is able to scale. It was really quiet something to actually play through that as I can think of very little to no games that allow you to move this dynamically. Assassins Creed Brotherhood had some “cliffs” but they were merely stacked platforms that Ezio seemed to barrel over.
When reaching the top of the cliff, you enter an old prison occupied by the British Army. Connor makes a move to infiltrate the prison evading and killing guards as he goes along. The stealth killing is far more brutal and varied this time around. The previous games had the Assassins using their hidden blades to quietly dispatch of enemies whereas Connor slashes throats, breaks necks and buries his Tomahawk deep into the bodies of unsuspecting British soldiers. Stealth was a key theme in the demo so gameplay was a combination of old assassination techniques such as hay bale assassinations, aerial assassinations and the such. What made things more interesting is that Connor can lure guards to his hiding spot to attack them.
Killing on the move felt absolutely fantastic. I was able stealthily assassinate guards after bounding from cover whilst moving quickly. It was a blast and I can already tell it’s something that’ll make for memorable gameplay. Connor is a far more agile Assassin than Altair and Ezio ever were and can navigate the world much more naturally and fluidly. The end of the demo saw the prison being shelled by cannon fire and was tearing up the place. This is where Ubisoft was able to really show off just how nimble Connor is. The place is falling apart, walls are being blown to pieces and the whole time Connor is moving through with relative ease. The game has an Uncharted cinematic feel to it that Ubisoft has tried pulling off with past games but it just never worked because Altair and Ezio just weren’t ever that easy flowing as Connor is. You won’t recognise just how clumsy and clunky the past games are in comparison to Assassins Creed 3, it really is quiet remarkable.
What makes the cinematic levels of this sequence even better is that the framerate was able to keep up the entire time. It didn’t jump or lag at all and there wasn’t any problems, at least on my playthrough. The demo was running on a PS3 and looked fantastic in motion thus really complementing what Ubisoft have done with their new AnvilNext engine.
The combat has been completely redone for Assassins Creed 3 this time around. You won’t be standing in the middle of a circle of enemies waiting for them to attack one by one waiting to be killed. Instead you’ll have to be far more active in combat to ensure a victory. As skilled an Assassin as Connor is, he has to put some real effort into fighting. You can be attacked in the middle of a counter in AC3 so the game is forcing you to be aware of your foe.
The noticeable thing when I walked away from the booth is just how hard it is. You won’t get to October and jump into familiar feeling combat. There’s a trick to combat now and it’s something players are going to have to practise. This demo, like most demos on the floor dropped you right into the thick of it with no tutorials so what it seems to be is that combat will revolve around breaking your enemies defence to kill them rather than a handy counter ensuring a kill. As I said, you can be interrupted in a counter. This is where Connors two handed combat works the best. You can be finishing off an enemy and be dispatching your current attacker at the same time. Combat will take some getting used to, but it’s really very fun when you’re getting a bayonet shoved through you.
Despite AnvilNext being a brand new engine built from the ground up, enemies still do that annoying ragdoll freakout thing when they die. Y’know, when they hit the floor and have some kind of post death seizure. It’s obviously something in the AI programming that causes this but it’s still an annoyance as it reminds you that you’re playing a game. The camera also gets a bit weird when you’re moving around quickly inside buildings. It got stuck behind a corner a few times when I was trying to execute enemies silently. It’s yet another game with a few camera difficulties so it’s nothing new nor game breaking.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed what brief time I had with Assassins Creed 3. I didn’t get to sample the naval combat, but what I played was brilliant. Despite playing it for about 10 minutes, it’s a definite day one purchase. From what I was able to sample, I couldn’t find many serious problems which is great, but this demo probably won’t be representative of the final product.
During my time at Eurogamer, I was fortunate enough to interview some of the gamers who were experiencing the games and most of you were kind enough to lend me some of your time.
So time to see what you thought…
I was able to talk to Simon Thornton of Playstation Radio UK and his friend Chris about what they thought of Assassins Creed 3.
Chris: “It’s shaping up to be pretty good so far although the combat seems to be a bit heavy and not as fluid as Brotherhood. The climbing is new and different and you can climb on a lot of new surfaces, which is fun. The combat seems to be better in the terms that its not hold right trigger and press the X button to win, you have to be a bit more tactical now. There’s heavy guys now, so you’ve got the heavy class system where you have to kick the crap out of them to get that kill. And you also get some really nice finishing kills at the end of it.”
“It doesn’t feel as fluid, but maybe because they’ve tried to change it up to make it a bit more new and interesting and it may also be because I’m used to it [the previous games combat] and I would recommend that people play it. It’s a good game, people should check it out and make their own opinions for it. It was a little bit clunky but it’s still in beta form.”
What do you readers think? Did any of you get a chance to play it at Eurogamer this weekend? Let us know in the comments below and my thanks to the interviewee(s).
George Sinclair is an editor for Analog Addiction where you can find all the latest reviews, previews and news. George is currently wishing for the whole of October to hurry up so he can get back to killing Templars. You can follow George on his Twitter and his super duper blog on IGN where that Top 25 PS3 games is still coming. Don’t worry, it’ll happen.