August 3, 2013
Seventh Generation Reflection: Assassin’s Creed
As the last console generation is coming to an end with the release of the new Xbox One and PS4, I’d like to take a moment and reflect on Assassin’s Creed, one of the first and most iconic new series of this generation.
Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed was released for Xbox 360 in November 2007 for the Xbox 360 & PS3. The project began as a spin-off Prince of Persia game, but soon caught on to become its own IP. The plot centers around Desmond Miles, who is captured by a huge corporation doing genetic research to find an ancient artifact in the eternal battle between Assassins and Templars. This research is done by going into the memories of his Syrian Assassin ancestor, Altair. As an assassin, Altair conducts several missions stalking, interrogating, and pickpocketing his way towards his targets while avoiding suspicion. As one of the first open-world stealth games of this magnitude, Assassin’s Creed was well received for its concept and world design, but criticized for being repetitive. It received 8’s and 9’s out of 10.
2009’s Assassin’s Creed II introduced a new assassin protagonist with Ezio Auditore, an Italian man who became an assassin during the Renaissance. Also in the present-day story, Desmond escapes from Templar Abstergo Industries and joins another group of modern-day Assassins also looking for the Pieces of Eden. Assassin’s Creed II also fixed some of the repetitive missions with escorts and more involved investigations. There were also many segments featuring carriage driving, gondola rides, and even gliding with Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machine. Many new features such as shops and a new notoriety system where guards have different levels of awareness based on the player’s actions were added. Assassin’s Creed II was even better received than the original, with 9’s and 10’s, as well as several Game of the Year awards.
Ubisoft released Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood in 2010. Instead of featuring a new assassin, Brotherhood still followed the events of Ezio after the defeat of the Templar Borgia clan, aside from Rodrigo Borgia, who lived to become Pope. After Borgia’s son Cesare kills Ezio’s uncle and takes the city of Monteriggioni, Ezio retreats to Rome, where he trains to become a Master Assassin and begins recruiting new assassins to the Guild to take back Monteriggioni. Brotherhood introduced a new assassin recruit system, where Ezio could recruit citizens by saving them from guards. Once recruited, Ezio could call upon these new assassins to take out targets or carry out other missions. Also for the first time, multiplayer was added to Assassin’s Creed with several cat-and-mouse multiplayer game modes. Brotherhood received 8’s and 9’s out of 10.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations in 2011 concluded the story of Ezio, searching in 16th Century Constantinople for the keys to Altair’s vault in Masyaf while Desmond tries to escape from his coma in the Animus. The modern-day story is also developed and Desmond’s group learns from the First Civilization that the end of the world is coming and they must go find an artifact to stop it. Revelations changes the Assassin’s Creed formula with tower defense segments and capturing of Templar strongholds. Also, crafting of bombs has been added, with over 150 possible types of bombs. Multiplayer also returns with customizable characters, new game modes, and story exposition from the Templar point of view. Revelations received 7’s and 8’s out of 10.
Assassins Creed III was released in October 2012. This game featured a new assassin, Connor, a half-white half-Mohawk boy during the American Revolution. It follows Connor’s fight against the Templars, which he doesn’t necessarily understand, while hunting down the men who destroyed his village. The modern-day story involves Desmond and the gang searching for an artifact that will stop the end of the world by solar eruption. AC3 introduced many new features, such as hunting and naval missions. The standard gameplay engine was changed with a new and improved parkour system, as well as several new weapons like bows, muskets and tomahawks. The game’s setting also provides it with the biggest world yet in Assassin’s Creed, the entire American Frontier. Also featured are huge battle segments where Connor’s actions dictate the tide of war. Multiplayer was given a huge overhaul with much more customization and a new Wolfpack game mode where players work in a team of 2-4 to eliminate NPC targets efficiently and stylishly for the most points. Assassin’s Creed III received 8’s and 9’s out of 10.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is set to be released in October 2013. The game will take place in the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy, featuring Connor’s grandfather Edward Kenway as the main protagonist.
What are your thoughts on Assassin’s Creed? Leave a comment, tell me what you think!
Image Credit: Ubisoft