Let me first start off by saying that I am in fact a huge fan of the Assassins Creed game series created by Ubisoft. For those who don’t know (you’re missing out!), Assassins Creed is a free running open world type game in the mold of the Prince of Persian game series. In the game, worlds collide as players have a dual story line of a modern troubled time and the past time period where most the gameplay takes place. The game series has been extremely successful from a sales and fan following standpoint.
My issue isn’t necessarily the gameplay as I feel that’s what made the game great. Although not exactly my thing, the ability the game gives the player to do what they want outside the main story is enjoyable. My grievance of the game comes up in the main story and time periods chosen. I will try to be vague concerning the story as to not spoil if for others.
In Assassins Creed I (my favorite one) you are thrust into the middle ages during the Holy Land conflict as an assassin fighting the Knights Templar. As an avid reader of crusade literature, I took a particular liking to the world that was created. Being able to visualize Holy Land cities and interact with the different landmarks I had only read about in books was wonderful. The combat in the game was very much accurate of the period consisting of various daggers and swords. Even since beating the game, I have since played it again numerous times.
In Assassins Creed II-Assassins Creed Revelations, the game takes place during the Renaissance in various parts of Italy and Turkey. In these 3 games I quite liked the time period as well. Having studied the time period it was great being able to see the large Cathedrals and various parts of Rome I had seen on my travels. The combat in these games were for the most part similar to the first game with most the combat being swords and daggers. However, the game developers did introduce an early primitive one shot gun for the assassin to use. So to sum things up this far: good time period choices and combat methods.
With Assassins Creed III I had some serious issues. For one thing, I thought the time period choice was not good at all. Ubisoft chose to base the historical part of the game during the United States pre-revolution in the northeast. Combat at the time consisted of men pointing largely inaccurate muskets at each other in large groups. A lot of the “assassin” part I felt was lost in this game compared to the others. The assassin in this game moved away from the sword and dagger to a tomahawk and pistol. Also instead of running along beautiful elaborate cities, the assassin in this one mostly runs by himself in trees and woods. I did think the game did a decent job at being largely objective about the US vs British aspect of the game. Neither side looked totally in the wrong or the right.
Next to come is Assassins Creed IV and I am pondering if I should get it. The gameplay looks quite enjoyable from what I have seen. But the time period again is another put off. This game will take place during the 19th century during the struggles with piracy in the Caribbean region. While some of the naval combat elements of the game look quite good, I can’t yet come to grips with the piracy part. It just isn’t in my nature to want to be a pirate and there’s nothing about a pirates character that I find appealing in the slightest. While the assassin does appear to have his signature hidden blade and sword, most the combat appears to be pistol/gun driven. Maybe after seeing more of the game I will come around but I doubt it. If the game had less of a pirate feel and instead was during the Napoleonic Wars, I would be more excited.
In conclusion: Assassins Creed I-Revelations= Good; Assassins Creed III-IV= not so good.