December 5, 2012

Assassin’s Creed 3 (Part 4)

With the much-anticipated conclusion of Assassin’s Creed 3 looming on the horizon, I feel that I have not even had the chance to touch upon anything more than the revised game mechanics and the vaguest mention of a plot. It is difficult to say anything regarding the plot without spoiling the entire game itself. Major plot details are introduced in what is relatively the very beginning of the game, and the rest of the story revolves around such important bits of the plot. Trust me, some of the plot twists that Assassin’s Creed 3 has thrown at me have caught me unbelievably off guard. The last thing I want to do is accidentally spoil the whole story of the game since half the fun is being surprised by such moments of revelation.

That said, I cannot help feel slightly confused about Assassin’s Creed 3’s story. I am not confused about what is going on in the game – that’s easy enough to understand: stab dude, dodge bullets and/or cannon balls. I understand what’s going on as far as the plot is concerned as well. What I am confused about is how many of the events in the story are relevant. Assassin’s Creed has always had some sort of issue with this problem since there are basically two stories being told in each game: the overarching “main” story (Desmond’s) and the “fun” story (the assassin’s). I call Desmond’s story the “main” story because that is precisely what it is. His story in essence is to gain the knowledge and skills of assassin ancestors to inevitably save the world one way or another.

However, Desmond’s story in the past games has been limited to merely sitting in a chair, which is why I call the assassin stories the fun stories. People like Assassin’s Creed because of the action packed, compelling assassins, not because of Desmond and his life as he relives the past. But I am getting a little off track. The reason (story-wise) the fun assassin plots are there are because Desmond must relive the memories of his ancestors to gain something, whether it be knowledge, new skills, or a shiny little ancient artifact. The rest of the plot of the assassin stories exists only to entertain the player and is theoretically completely irrelevant to the rest of the plot. But while this has occurred throughout the games, the question of relevance, at least for me, has never been an issue. However, in Assassin’s Creed 3, all of the events seem quite disconnected to everything else, and half my time is spent wondering why I couldn’t just kill regular little Templars like Altair and Ezio used to do.

Another major detail that has bothered me somewhat is Connor himself. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel that he has the personality of a dead sock. The developers attempted to characterize him throughout the story, but he seems so bland in comparison to the colorful, well-rounded supporting characters of the game. I know they tried to paint him as a naïve innocent when he was young and just becoming an assassin, but by the middle of the game, any title of naiveté should cease to exist after Connor had single-handedly taken out half the British army during the heat of battle. Perhaps I have issues with Connor solely because I am used to Ezio, an extremely well characterized figure of the Assassin’s Creed series. I am tempted to say that it’s difficult to connect Connor with the audience in just one game, but I can’t since Ubisoft pulled that off beautifully with Ezio in his very first game in Assassin’s Creed 2. Ezio was able to maintain human emotion as he stepped into the shoes of the master assassin, where as Connor seems to have turned into a particularly lethal brick.

Disregarding my rant on a somewhat disappointing story, I have found that there are far more aspects of the game to like rather than to hate. The revamped system, many new additions and more have made an incredible game that is compelling and exciting. If you’ve got a spare fifty or so bucks that need to be spent, I’d say get this game. It is a ton of fun with loads of replay value. While I may have thought that the story was a little bit of a let down, keep in mind that my expectations for this game were ridiculously high partly due to my unfailing reverence and zeal for the series.

Image Credit: Ubisoft

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