Don’t get me wrong, there are very few things more satisying than running from rooftop to rooftop and finally getting that perfect opportunity to pounce your mark with a hidden blade and whisper sweet nothings into his ear as he dies. In a game, of course.
In spite of that, am I the only one who noticed that, for the last two Assassin’s Creed games, nothing has happened and they’re pretty much Assassin’s Creed II with minor improvements?
For those unaware, the Assassin’s Creed series is about a bartender named Desmond who is kidnapped and strapped into a machine called the Animus. The Animus was developed by a research group (Abstergo), and it allows him to relive the memories of his ancestors. Desmond is forced to relive his ancestors’ memories while Abstergo monitors him, because Abstergo is actually the modern form of the Templars and Desmond’s ancestors are their sworn enemy, the Assassins. By the second game, the Assassins have rescued Desmond, and they’re all on the run. They also need his memories. His ancestors were important figures for the Assassins and know key information that was lost throughout the centuries.
Each game has two stories: the new story for the ancestor and the continuing story of Desmond’s crew’s modern-day battle with the Templars.
Back to my point: we’ve played the same game three times.
Assassin’s Creed II
Modern Story: Desmond uses the Animus to learn the ways and practices of the Assassins, because they don’t have the time or facilities to train him.
Ancestor Story: Ezio’s life is changed when his entire family is hanged. He joins the Assassins and, one by one, kills the the people involved in the plot to murder his family.
Improvements from Assassin’s Creed
- You own your family’s town, Monteriggioni, and can manage funds and investments.
- There’s a noteriety bar to curb that excessive assassinating.
- You can fast travel.
- OPTIONAL: Assassin’s tombs offer rewards for patient puzzle and climbing skills.
- You can disarm an enemy.
- You can swim.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
Modern Story: The Assassins relocate and plug Desmond into the Animus for some reason. When he gets concerned about the amount of time he spends in the thing, they say, “Hey, no worries! The worst that could happen is that you could end up like Subject 16, but that won’t happen cause you’re awesome!” Then Subject 16 starts talking to Desmond in the Animus …
Ancestor Story: The Borgia family attacks and destroys Monteriggioni, and, again, one by one, Ezio kills the entire family for their crime. There’s also something about an apple.
- OPTIONAL: Subject 16 leaves cryptic messages all over Italy for you to find and solve.
- OPTIONAL: You can train new recruits, send them on missions, and use them in battle.
- You can take out Templar dens and replace them with Assassin dens.
- I heard there was multiplayer?
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
Modern Story: Desmond is stuck in the Animus (didn’t see that coming did you?) with Subject 16, who seems to be playing the “Poor, Weak Old Me” Card so he can steal your body when you least expect it.
Ancestor Story: Ezio is an old man and, for some reason, can still run around on rooftops. I’m assuming he’ll have a stroke or heart attack or something before the game is over.
- You can make bombs that you’ll never use!
- You play a glorified version of Tower Defense when the Templars attack an Assassin Den.
When I played the original game, I read somewhere that Ubisoft planned the story as a trilogy, where, in each installment, you’d play as a different ancestor. The first game introduced a great story but had repetitive and frustrating gameplay. They took a good look at the complaints voiced about that and genuinely improved the second. Now it seems that all they’re doing is improving. It’s like they’re making the games just to show off new improvements, whether it makes sense in the context of the story or not. Here’s an idea: do it right the first time.
The improvements are great, but they’re merely a distraction from the fact that nothing has happened in the modern story. Aside from the twist at the end, there wasn’t any progress in Brotherhood, and, if I’m going to be stuck in Desmond’s subconscious for the entire game, not much will happen in Revelations.
I am so bored, and I shouldn’t be. I don’t care what Ezio’s doing. Hell, I don’t care what Desmond’s doing anymore, either. Last night, I collected ten memory fragments and opened a part of the Animus where Desmond droned on about some farm where he grew up. All the while, I’m navigating through some geometric shapes and opening glitter doors.
Glitter doors. Really?
The progression of the modern story in the last three games could have been done in one game – that’s how little progress has been made. When Desmond exits the Animus, all he can do is talk to his team, which means that plot progression only occurs at the beginning and at the end of the game. This creates it’s own sort of repetitiveness that’s not nearly as bad as the original, but it causes the games to drag. We’re overdue for a new ancestor, and we’re in dire need of some modern story. I hope that Ubi
gets over itself takes all of these fun mechanics to one, final, great game that introduces a different ancestor and wraps up Desmond’s plot.