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Game preview: Assassin's Creed III preordering not offered for all consoles

BY DAN VERHILLE | OCTOBER 25, 2012 6:30 AM

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What would a retailer have to offer you to get you to buy a game? A shiny belt buckle? A figurine? Or possibly a chance to sink some steel into the infamous Benedict Arnold? Ubisoft is pedaling all this crap and more to get you to preorder its new game.

After waiting during a three-year-long development process, gamers everywhere will finally get their hands on Assassin's Creed III on Oct. 30.

In what will be the last and final title in the acclaimed series, players take control of a new protagonist, Connor, to guide the path of the American Revolution from the shadows.

In order to mold history, Connor must embrace both parts of his bi-racial heritage by mastering the stealth hunting styles of the Mohawk tribe as well as the full-frontal methods of warfare that built the English Empire.

Assassin's Creed III's story sprawls out across America's 13 colonies, allowing players to encounter such historical figures as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, and Paul Revere.

In a decisive shift from earlier titles, Assasssin's Creed III is trying to move into more open environments. Rather than climbing towers in big cities, players will find themselves climbing more trees and ship masts than ever before. Connor will also be able to command a ship up and down the Eastern Seaboard, exploring at will.

While dramatic, the shift has few gamers worrying about the game's engine and structure, because Ubisoft has established a reputation for consistently delivering rewarding play.

Backed by the largest development period and marketing commitment to date, the final release of the Assassin's Creed series promises to be the crown jewel in Ubisoft's collection, which has grown to encompass 12 titles across numerous platforms, a graphic-novel series, and a full feature movie currently in production.

The incredible hype surrounding the game has led to record-setting orders, which can almost undoubtedly be attributed to the extensive and differentiated incentives bundled with each copy.

Depending which edition of the game you buy and from whom, buying a special edition nets you a metal game case and a package of trinkets that includes Connor figurines, Connor's medallions, metal belt buckles, embroidered colonial flags, concept art, and novelty copies of George Washington's notebook.

In addition to promotional trinkets, Ubisoft is also offering bonus in-game content that differs by package and console. This in-game bonus content ranges from exclusive weapons, attire, and missions.

I was disappointed when I found out that the four missions released are PlayStation 3 exclusive, while each Xbox 360 package in the United States contains only one of three bonus missions available. Adding to the letdown is the rumor that a PlayStation exclusive mission sets you after Benedict Arnold.

I can't help but fear that Ubisoft has skimped on giving Xbox users one mission (instead of the full six), is that it intends to charge for them later on. Hopefully, I'm wrong, but this sort of platform prejudice doesn't sit well with me.

Isn't preordering and buying the title enough to get me all the parts of the story, Ubisoft? Should I really have to modify my platform selection and choose PlayStation 3 or PC to get the whole story?

I have no doubt whether Assassin's Creed III will be phenomenal, but I've got a sinking feeling that Xbox users will find themselves frustrated trying to justify paying for content that others received packaged with their game.


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