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Hands-on: Assassin’s Creed III Naval Warfare

Sid Shuman's Avatar + Posted by Sid Shuman on Aug 16, 2012 // Senior Manager, Social Media

The shadow war between the Templars and the Assassins spills from the gilded halls of Renaissance-era Europe to the rowdy seaports of the Thirteen Colonies this fall with Assassin’s Creed III, the highly anticipated PS3 threequel. The seismic shifts in geography and time period have introduced changes both large and small in regards to combat, equipment, terrain traversal, and much more.

But the game’s most dramatic evolution lies in the form of its thrilling naval battles, first witnessed during PlayStation’s E3 2012 press conference (skip to 10:58). But during Gamescom, I finally got a chance to control one of Assassin’s Creed III’s massive warships for myself. I learned that guiding the craft was a deceptively simple affair largely dictated by the sail configuration. Full sail propels you along faster but limits your turning radius; a button tap drops you to half sail, reducing your speed but giving you nimbler handling and higher cannon accuracy.

Assassin's Creed III for PS3

Your ship’s cannons are located on its sides, so a head-on approach won’t serve you well. The swivel gun is capable of firing accurately in 360 degrees — useful for crippling an opposing ship’s rudder or cannons, but usually not enough to land the killing blow. Instead, you’ll want to pull up alongside your target in order to unleash a blistering volley of cannonballs and savage the ship’s hull or masts. Luckily, you won’t be entirely defenseless against incoming attacks thanks to a “bracing” move that enables you to lean the ship and deflect damage.

After my hands-on experience, I watched a new naval sequence set in the Battle of the Chesapeake, a critical naval battle that helped set the stage for the end of the American Revolution and the dawn of the good ol’ US of A. As depicted in Assassin’s Creed III, the battle is a ferocious bloodbath set against a smoky sky. We watched Connor’s ship carve through a convoy of British man-of-war battleships as he pursued his real goal: a fugitive Templar agent making a hasty escape aboard a British man-of-war. Connor sailed through a thick, oppressive fog in order to reach his fleeing target, only to sustain heavy damage through an ambush attack. Never one to accept defeat, Connor rammed the enemy ship and leapt aboard, nimbly dispatching the deck crew with his hidden blade, cutlass, and pistol. The boarding combat seemed to emphasize particularly sneaky hit-and-run tactics, whether it was creeping across the rigging to pounce on sentries from above, picking off hapless foes with his rope dart or shooting a powder keg to spark a deck-clearing explosion. The demo ended much too soon, but it provided a tantalizing hint of things to come.

Assassin's Creed III for PS3Assassin's Creed III for PS3

After the demo and hands-on session, we caught up with Lead Designer Steve Masters to learn more about the game’s expansive naval warfare component. We learned that ship-on-ship combat will feature in the main story, but will also include optional engagements for players to pursue. Masters explained that you’ll upgrade your ship over the course of the game, adding new cannon ammunition types such as Heat Shot (massive fire damage at short range), Grapeshot (a shotgun-like volley that suppresses crew on the enemy’s deck), and Chain Shot (crippling bolo-like projectiles that shred masts and sails). Masters also confirmed that ship-on-ship multiplayer is not in the cards for Assassin’s Creed III. Be sure to watch our video interview above to learn more.

Have questions? Leave them in the comments!

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11 Comments   3 Replies

1

+ nYcFrEeWiLL82 on August 16th, 2012 at 9:44 am said:

ALREADY PRE ORDERED THE LIMITED EDITION! CANT WAIT FOR OCT.30..I WOULDVE HAD PSASBR AS WELL BUT I GUESS THEY REALIZED HOW BIG AC3 IS GOING TO BE SO THEY PUSHED THE GAME A MONTH BACK..LOL – ITS ALL GOOD ATLEAST I GET TO PUT MORE TIME INTO AC3 UNTIL PSASBR COMES OUT :P


2

+ Link01 on August 16th, 2012 at 10:05 am said:

Would love to see more Liberation gameplay * cough cough*


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    + Sid Shuman on August 16th, 2012 at 11:16 am said:

    Very soon! :)


3

+ MakoSOLIDER on August 16th, 2012 at 11:33 am said:

@Sid
Great ACIII basically has enough to justify a purchase. We want to see more AC L. Will we be getting details on its multiplayer?


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    + Sid Shuman on August 16th, 2012 at 1:38 pm said:

    There is multiplayer but they’re keeping those details pretty quiet for now. Jeff is working on a video and hands-on post — should be live tomorrow, so check back soon!


4

+ Tekkenfighter123 on August 16th, 2012 at 12:23 pm said:

The ship part seems boring to me, but I guess I’ll see. I love the premise of being a Native American and seeing how it plays out. It got me interested in the series, I’m playing the second one, and like it a lot. Even tho the controls can be a bit irritating at times. I’m trying to finish the second one then play the first one. I’m going backwards, because I had the second one first. Anyway, can’t wait for it, and if you love games and have a laid back attitude ADD ME! I don’t play online a lot, but would like to go play borderlands or Ultimate Alliance 2 with someone every once in a while.


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    + Sid Shuman on August 16th, 2012 at 1:37 pm said:

    Oooooh it is *exciting*. I got goosebumps when the enemy ships came looming over the horizon. It’s incredibly action-packed and very, very different.


5

+ Bcrazyman on August 16th, 2012 at 12:38 pm said:

HEY I LOVE THIS GAME CANT WAIT FOR IT! ANY WORD OF A DENO FOR THE PS3 OR VITA JUST ASKING OK!


6

+ Bcrazyman on August 16th, 2012 at 12:40 pm said:

i meant a demo? ok just asking ok thanks!


7

+ Nick930930 on August 16th, 2012 at 1:18 pm said:

Anyone else think that ending song they put in sounded like Pirates of the Carribean? lol


8

+ wjang on August 16th, 2012 at 1:41 pm said:

i was thinking the exact same thing, nick


9

+ JayKatz on August 16th, 2012 at 1:51 pm said:

I am so happy right now.. and to discover it’s coming to my house a day before my birthday. Wooohoooo!


10

+ MakoSOLIDER on August 16th, 2012 at 2:32 pm said:

Im reminded of Pirates Online in those ship segments…but with way better graphics. This shud be fun.


11

+ Draven71 on August 16th, 2012 at 4:02 pm said:

Great job Sid! I really can’t wait for this game to come out. Assassin’s Creed set during the revolution is a brilliant idea and those naval battles look awesome. I’m looking to buy another PS3, any chance of a White PS3 hitting store shelves in North America, maybe to compliment the white Vita bundled with Liberation?


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