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Assassin's Creed 3: taking the Revolution to the high seas

Connor's just as slick and dangerous on the water

Alta´r was driven by duty. Ezio, by lust of revenge. Connor is driven by a more naive and inherently doomed desire: he just wants to do good. Good for his relatives in the Mohawk tribe, and good for the Assassins.

While we're on that, this is something that Ubisoft can't reiterate enough - Connor isn't taking a side in the American Civil War. He's not killing British people because they're British. The rough and racist world of America's founders (something that Ubisoft won't flinch from or wallow in) is the backdrop to our real battle between the Assassins and the Templars.

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At our latest trip to Ubisoft Montreal, we saw three new trailers. One set in the wintery wilds, one in a hot Boston summer, and the other out at sea. Any doubts we had about how you'd navigate the forests were dispelled as we watched Connor hoof from tree to tree like an ungodly gazelle-squirrel hybrid. On the ground, he ducks, side-steps and jumps obstacles to keep up with his quarry. But it's up in the canopy of the forest, on the subtle network of branches, that he becomes his own Assassin.

Here, the right-angles and the grid of the city have disappeared. Instead, the trees themselves lead you intuitively through the sky, and you can nestle in the v-shapes of tree-joints. From the perspective of a hands-off demonstration, Connor's movement seems to be easily the most natural and liquid yet.

Then there are the sea battles - Connor will be able to steer and fire cannons in sea-faring arcade sequences, which involve navigating tight reefs, open seas, and boarding the enemy ships. It's like someone took the boaty moments of Revelations and thought, "let's make these bits good". It's far more arcade than sim, which is all to the good. Real-life boat battles are pretty ponderous.

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While the trailers have Connor running across battlefields and single-handedly winning huge battles, stealth has new options, too. Connor can lurk in cover against walls, and waist-high shrubs offer him a valuable skulking place. The crowd mechanics have been refined to be more individual and purpose-based, so you won't see a bunch of Courtesans swanning aimlessly around. Instead, walking close to lots of other people will cause the Animus to crown you with a tiny white circle of inconspicuousness. If you need further disguise, you can call your Brotherhood. They can be summoned, in full redcoat disguise, to escort you into forbidden areas.

Side missions will emerge from the crowds in towns, as you see purses snatched and traders with missing stock deliveries, and you can cash in your animal skins for cash. New hero, new setting, new moves, and no Desmond coma scenes - count us in with both feet.

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