Last week, I covered the Assassin’s Creed series up to the final adventure of Ezio, Revelations, now I continue my look back on the series that I once cherished and now have nothing but apathy for.
Assassin’s Creed III
So we leave behind our spaghetti loving friend Ezio to inhabit a new host whose memories we will relive, this time a Native American, Ratonhnhaké:ton, also known as Connor, during the American Revolution we see through his eyes the events that lead to America’s independence as he runs down a list of Templars to eliminate, a lost that includes his own dad.
This game is often decried by those who liked Ezio as the game where the series began it’s downward trend, however I disagree, I really enjoy this game, in fact I replayed it recently on my Xbox One and I still like it, I like the setting and refined game mechanics, I especially like the new climbing paths that are introduced in this game, free-running through trees in the old American Frontier is a great feeling.
I wasn’t keen on the side-missions however, the Homestead missions became a chore and the sailing had no benefits besides making more money for which there is no use after you have all the best weapons and armour.
Apart from that though, this is the last AC game that I truly loved, it would only be downhill from here.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
The dawn of next gen included the now compulsory yearly AC entry, in fact this year saw two new AC series releases, this and Assassin’s Creed: Rogue (which I never played so won’t be featured here).
Here the series took a turn into swashbuckling piracy, taking control of a Welsh pirate, Edward Kenway, who isn’t really an Assassin, he just stole a costume, so he’s essentially the world’s first cosplayer.
When this game was released and indeed still today, it was talked up as a highlight for the series, but here’s the shock, I didn’t like it, at all. Firstly you have to remember that I wasn’t a fan of the sailing in ACIII so making it the main game mechanic here put me off at the start, then the game started and I really tried to like it but could only manage about five hours before getting really bored and stopped playing. Up to this point the games had drawn me in during the first few hours so this was really disappointing.
The story didn’t grip me as the last few had either, maybe it’s because our bridging future plot had fallen by the wayside, as boring as Desmond was, he was the glue that held the series together narrative wise, so losing him and replacing him with a silent protagonist didn’t work in it’s favour.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity
Here it is, the low-point of the series, filled with more bugs than a Bombay brothel, utterly bland story and the introduction of four-player co-op, which adds as much to a stealth game as a rotating saw does to open-heart surgery, this was the moment the series should have been treated like Old Yeller and put out of it’s misery, but still it stumbled on.
So we’ve jumped from swashbuckling pirates to the French revolution, in an uninspired join-the-dots effort from a series that had well and truly ran out of steam.
Here’s an extra nugget for you, this is the first AC game that I didn’t pre-order before release, because I didn’t like how it looked and had lost interest in the series following Black Flag, instead playing when the game was cheap, thus not blowing 50 quid on a drab bucket of mediocrity I ended up with. I stayed with Black Flag for five hours, I don’t think I managed three with this, which for a series that I would play day in, day out two games earlier was what I thought was the final straw…
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
Full disclosure, I’m still not very far in this yet, as I’ve only just started playing, after getting it cheap on an Xbox store sale, I remember thinking when it was first announced that it looks more interesting than Unity, but by that point I’d lost all my interest in the franchise, so much so that I’ve only now got round to playing it.
I’m committed to at least making an effort to finish this one and it has drawn me in more than Black Flag or Unity but the tweaked mechanics haven’t helped, especially changing mechanics that were perfectly fine, like free-running which is now more convoluted and the fighting system, which granted did need to be changed because of the time period, is much duller than it was, essentially now just being a fist fight as opposed to using blades and counters in the past. Still, I’ll endeavour to at least try more with this as I want to like it, I want to be invested in this series again, but it seems that all ambition has disappeared, and with Assassin’s Creed: Origins on the horizon and not exactly looking like a revolution to the series, I’m feeling somewhat cynical, well, more so than usual anyway.