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Assassin's Creed 3: Boston and beyond in Ubisoft's bloody threequel

Xbox World travels to Montreal

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Connor simply doesn't stay still. We've seen no fewer than four Assassin's Creed 3 demos as part of our exclusive visit to the developers at Ubisoft Montreal, and - in all of them - the Native American star is continually moving.

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He flows from enemy to enemy during fights, free-runs everywhere, and hunts animals with relentless energy. He can even assassinate on the run, without breaking stride. And through it all, he looks great; Ubisoft's new Anvil technology allowing him to pick through densely packed forests and city streets with the grace of a panther.

Our first demo sees Connor in Boston (see it yourself in this Assassin's Creed 3 video), which has been recreated accurately to a 3:1 scale. It's a huge city, and thanks to the galleons moored in the docks, it stretches out into the sea. Despite that, the streets are packed with detail, and one of the first things we notice is that the crowd - although slightly less dense than in Assassin's Creed 2 - is made up of individuals.

Each person looks different, and seems to have their own motives and agendas. They're not just aimlessly wandering around waiting for a handsome young assassin to blend in and escape the attentions of some guards. During the demo Connor is fleeing a bunch of Redcoats after starting a fight, and instead of sitting on a bench he leans up against a market stall selling fish. The owner starts to chat to Connor about fish, clearly seeing him as just another customer, and the deception works... the Redcoats file past, still searching for their quarry. Clever.

But lets rewind a little. At the start of the demo the camera pans down from a vista of Boston to reveal Connor sat on one of the series' trademark jump-off points. As a hay-cart rolls past below, he leaps off and lands neatly in the hay. Nice. Then, as the cart rumbles past a Redcoat guard, Connor reaches out and yanks him in as it rolls down the street. Murder done, body hidden, killer away from the scene of the crime.

Pulling punches
After that, our hero hops out from his transport and immediately gets cornered by a woman who begs him to free someone from the town stocks. She leads him down an alley where one of the town guards is patrolling. Connor takes cover by pressing his back up against the wall of a building, and the woman starts to hurl abuse at the guard, goading him to come and apprehend her.

Once he reaches the corner Connor pounces from cover and knock his opponent out cold. In this game you have the option to both incapacitate and kill, so you can avoid murder if you really want to. We can't think why, but there it is.

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Several quiet takedowns later and Connor has freed his ally from the stocks. It's all aggressive stealth, done fast. We can't stress this enough - you don't stand still in Assassin's Creed 3. Even the hidden blade has been adapted to accommodate a more pro-active approach to murder. "It works kind of differently," explains creative director Alex Hutchinson. "You pop it out and then sort of spin it a bit, a bit like a switchblade so he can use it for what looks like a knife. There are huge amounts of hidden blade in the game." Sounds promising.

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