This article was originally posted on IGN on May 9, 2012.
I will have a fun moment near the end of 2012. Proudly, I’ll break the sequence of my video games shelf, which is usually separated by system. Next to Assassin’s Creed (PS3), Assassin’s Creed II (PS3), Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (PS3) and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (PS3), I’ll place Assassin’s Creed III (Wii U). Even if I have to wait a few more weeks for it, I am confident it’ll be worth the wait. Nintendo’s new system seems like the perfect fit for a game like Assassin’s Creed.
Assassin’s Creed is my second favorite series born in this generation (the first would be Portal, if you’re wondering). Or at least it used to be, until installments started appearing every year. Assassin’s Creed was a game with great potential and a flawed execution, while Assassin’s Creed II fixed the first one’s flaws and added some great new features, making it an amazing game and truly one of the best of the generation. Ubisoft then decided Ezio should be in as many games as that one other Italian video game character and… it started getting old. Brotherhood improved over II, adding the training mechanic and an actually interesting multiplayer mode, but it failed to deliver fresh new experiences necessary to keep it interesting. Revelations… Well, let’s just skip Revelations.
But Brotherhood and Revelations were just passtimes while we waited for the actual next entry in the series: Assassin’s Creed III, in the making since 2009. It will feature new characters, new setting, new mechanics and, perhaps most interestingly, it is going to be the first Assassin’s Creed game to run on a Nintendo console (no, the DS spinoffs don’t count). And that’s just gold.
Assassin’s Creed III uses a new graphics engine that would go along nicely with Wii U’s extra juice compared to previous-gen competitors PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Being a resource-heavy series, Assassin’s Creed games were never able to look their best on our current consoles. The resolution was limited to 720p and, even then, the framerate could get choppy at times. Even if Wii U’s version doesn’t feature any additional graphical effect, it could probably run it at 1080p and smooth 60 frames per second, which would be very welcome.
And it’s not just visuals. I think the most interesting part of playing Assassin’s Creed III on Wii U will be the use of the touchscreen. As a game that relies heavily on maps, you’ll constantly find yourself pressing Select on your controller to understand where you are, but the map screen is pretty slow to load. Having that map constantly accessible just by looking at your controller will be excellent. And, with the screen being a touch one, you’ll be able to equip items and weapons, view the database, change settings and more, all without having to press a button.
Assassin’s Creed III probably won’t be the game that illustrates Wii U’s power and potential, but it’ll certainly help with that. And, unless Ubisoft does a lazy job when porting the game from current platforms to Wii U, I believe the version on the Nintendo system will be the one to get for early Wii U adopters.
PS: Let’s take a break from the series after this one. Right, Ubisoft?