Joining Boston, New York, and the Frontier as areas to explore in Assassin's Creed III, the Eastern Seaboard of America will let Connor engage the Templars on the high seas.

After an impressive showing of the new naval warfare concept at Sony's press conference, we visited Assassin's Creed III on the E3 show floor and learned more about the water-based gameplay.

The biggest misconception that many had after the Sony conference was that the naval sequence was an on-rails minigame, comparable to the carriage sequences in previous games. Instead, we learned today that the Eastern Seaboard is actually a whole new area for gameplay that has its own missions, action, side events, and map. In fact, Ubisoft Singapore is a dedicated studio exclusively working on the naval section of the game.

Its work on the system is an impressive showpiece for Assassin's Creed III. The crashing waves and storm tossed wind and water looks great, and the ship's movement through the ocean is governed by physics -- it's not pre-scripted along a path. Naval combat has two major components. Distance combat is a strategic affair where you're trying to broadside opposing ships, take cover under the hail of enemy fire, and select different attacks from your ship's many options. 

One sequence we witnessed showed Connor shouting orders through his first mate, (an older seaworn gentleman named Robert Faulkner) as they zeroed in on a ship that held one of Connor's Templar targets. After a furious exhange of cannon fire, Connor's ship came around and shot out a burst of chain shot -- cannonballs tied together by chains -- which shredded the enemy mast. This allowed Connor to bring his ship alongside his enemy, and his troops prepared to board. Other available ammo types including grape shot, flaming shot, and normal cannonballs. 

Boarding and ship to ship fighting is be the second major element of the naval combat experience. While Ubisoft declined to show details of these boarding sequences, we expect there will be some fun fights to be had in the tight quarters of an enemy ship.