Y'know, I'm beginning to think Ubisoft is reworking Assassins Creed 3 into a naval simulator or something, because the new and exclusive footage I got to see at Gamescom once again took place on sea, during the battle of Chesapeake Bay to be exact. Connor is on a mission to find a templar hiding on a ship, which is complicated slightly by the fact that the frickin' Royal Navy is attacking his fleet.
Luckily, you're in full control of your ship and have a lot of weapons to dispose of the floating menace. The Round Shot is just your regular cannonball; the Heat Shot is an incendiary variation that will set enemy vessels on fire; the Chain Shot (two balls connected by a chain) is useful for ripping off masts and throwing the enemy off-course; and the Grape Shot is basically a shotgun. Just more...boaty.
The Wii U handles all this mayhem really well. I haven't seen the other versions of the game in action so I can't really compare them, but the graphics definitely reach the higher echelons of what we're used to from Xbox 360 and PS3 titles. When you give the order to attack, you can see all the men on your ship scrambling to load the cannon, secure the ropes, close the hatches and whatever else there is to do on deck. The water physics look impressive as well, and there are twelve different levels of waves that can really affect the outcome of a battle. It really seems like the Wii U knows how to handle itself.
After a while, Connor leaves his post on deck and jumps over to an enemy vessel to flush out the hiding templar. This gave me a chance to take a glance at the revised fighting mechanic, but it was really nothing more than a short skirmish so I wasn't able to grasp the details. It's definitely evolved from the old „wait and counter“ approach of the older games though and you can switch between your available weapons quickly and easily (stab a guy in the back, shoot two others with your gun, then club someone in the face...)
That's about all I got to see, which really wasn't much. However, I can now say that the Wii U IS capable of delivering current-gen graphics if the developers know what they're doing. By the way, the tablet controller is only used to switch weapons and display a map, so it's definitely not a gimmick fest. But with a game like this, that's a good thing.
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