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Assassin's Creed 3 - forget the Templars, let's wreck the French

Bringing a tomahawk to a cannon fight

Stand on the tip of the south-easterly American protuberance that is Florida, and you're around 300 miles away from the Caribbean Sea. That's the curiously remote location where Assassin's Creed III's naval warfare demos have been set.

Why is an area fenced in by Cuba, and the umbilical cord of smaller countries that link Columbia to Mexico, getting so much attention? Well, in 1778, it was one of the naval theatres of the American Revolution. Mainly, where the British and the French would fight over the resources of the West Indies. And if one thing will stop us British being so tetchy about being the bad guys in ACIII, it's getting the French involved.

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Naval battles mean pointing your side to your enemy and patiently circling - but Assassin's Creed sets out to boost the adrenaline levels beyond 'angry drifting'. It's an arcade version, with no micro-management of your crew, and no need to know the difference between a mizzen-mast and a jigger-topgallant.

Right as rain
It's set against the violent and beautiful extremes of weather and cloud-porn skies that have been conjured by the AnvilNext engine. The weather will affect your tactics but, more importantly, it's bloody lovely to look at.

You'll be able to fire multiple kinds of ammo from your broadside cannon. Your standard round shot cannonballs fire at long range in flank-busting salvos of iron. We've seen the chain shot, where the ball separates like the deadly yellow plastic of a Kinder Egg - only connected by a chain designed to take down masts and sails.

Grapeshot is like an oversized shotgun, firing smaller lead pellets that bounce harmlessly off a ship, but tear lethally through the personnel at short range. Finally, there's the heat shot - molten lead that'll mess up the boat and crew alike. There's also a swivel cannon that you can use to take out individual targets.

Most naval battle games stop short at the point where you've sunk the ship. But Assassin's Creed isn't about piddling boats - it's about wiping out Templar conspirators. So once you've battered a galleon into a hobbled, splintered submission, you'll have to pull up alongside your quarry, board, and deliver Tomahawk-flavoured lacerations onto the soft, pink faces of your enemies.

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While Ubisoft is still staying schtum on the matter of Desmond Miles, apart from the fact he'll be in it, it looks like there's more than enough in Connor's world to keep us going for now.

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