If you are not already convinced that Ubisoft's first hidden-blade-wielding outing on Nintendo is going to be spectacular - a clue: we are - then this will send you dashing straight to your Christmas list, pen in hand. Assassin's Creed 3 Wii U shows off exactly what the console is capable of as it whisks you back to the 18th century to play Master And Commander with Assassin Connor Kenway.
Not only is the hooded half-Native American/half-British Connor (ancestor of modern-day Templar fighter, Desmond Miles, accessed via a machine known as the Animus) murdering his way across vast swathes of natural woodland in North America and stalking the huge cities of Boston and New York during the American Revolution, but he takes to the raging oceans in his ship, the Aquila.
Yes, as if there wasn't already enough excitement on a massive scale, this is yet another series first for Assassin's Creed with a host of cinematic missions that set entirely at sea.
Graphically, the HD action is entirely on par with the PS3 and Xbox and it's staggeringly detailed, as Connor takes to the wheel in full captain's garb. Barking orders to his crew as ocean spray showers him in a fine mist of the Atlantic, he commands sails to be raised and cannons to prepare to fire.
You are in control of it all; steering the creaking warship into battle and demanding sails to be hoisted and commanding your scurvy lackeys to pelt passing ships with explosives.
Different types of cannon ball are available, depending on the mission at hand. Chain Shot destroys enemy masts and lets Connor board the ailing vessel. Alternatively, if you plan to send foes down to Davy Jones' Locker, you are better off with the aptly named Hot Shot, a pre-heated cannon ball that will set shattered timber ablaze.
Unlike on other consoles, these can be selected directly with prods to the Wii U GamePad screen, so there's no need to overlay ugly menus on the gloriously cinematic action on the TV. A good thing, too, as the Battle of Chesapeake Bay we saw demonstrated was a jaw-dropping spectacle, with explosive cannon fire shattering masts into matchsticks.
Look Mum! Two Hands!
Connor leaps aboard an enemy ship to show off the dual-wield combat system and effortlessly dispatches hordes of his enemies with an utterly deadly combination of tomahawk, twin pistols and the traditional Assassin weapon, the retractable hidden blade.
Whether on land or sea, the Wii U controller screen can be used to select your tools of choice smoothly without having to bring up a weapon wheel on your HD screen. It's a neat implementation that fits effortlessly in with the fluid nature of the newly updated combat.
The default screen for the Wii U controller is a detailed map of Connor's world. While you won't need it to explore the confines of a splintering ship's deck, it'll help navigate the largest Creed to date - the Frontier alone is the size of the map of Rome in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and the whole game was set there.
It'll certainly come in useful when climbing over rocks in bear-infested wilderness, for instance, or sneaking through the dangerous, soldier-filled marketplaces of Independence-era Boston. Famous for creating enormous sandboxes filled with places to visit and living history with which to interact, Ubisoft has ensured that the Wii U controller screen is in constant use. For those fearing changes from other consoles, this is exactly the same game, just with less hassle. A good thing.
What looks certain to be an excellent third instalment in this consistently superb series shows that there couldn't be a better time to join the Creed and we can't wait to plug into the Animus.