You will never forget your first trip into the animus, because you had never seen anything quite like it. Looking out on the shining rooftops of Damascus, Acre, and Jerusalem, just knowing that almost every texture was climbable. Those incredible graphics (that I would argue still hold up today) blending in with the masses of crowds, to eventually be interrupted by those pesky beggars. The combat, while clunky, was different, the time period was interesting, and you had a freaking hidden blade.
Saying that, the game often suffered the plague of repetitiveness and those clunky controls all too often got you into trouble (and man didn’t it seem like you couldn’t do anything without the guards being on high alert). And did you ever expect your Crusade assassin adventure was all taking place in the modern day? Cool, right? I guess not, since it doesn’t seem many people enjoyed this aspect of the game.
So clearly the game wasn’t perfect and in the end it was a game that either you loved, or you absolutely hated. With the next installment, it seemed Ubisoft aimed to change everyone’s mind about the series and that is exactly what they did.
Assassin’s Creed 2 took the interesting concept of the first game, improved on combat… and everything else. Basically it blew the first one out of the water! It introduced a highly likable character that would make future characters much harder to warm up to. It had one of the most expansive worlds ever created, not in size, but rather in all the character they programmed into each city. Florence was achingly beautiful, and how fun was it running around Venice during carnival with all the fire breathing jesters around. Couple all of that with some incredible missions, with equally incredible set pieces, and one incredible tale of revenge to go along with it. And let’s not forget Jesper Kyd’s amazing score that took the game and its emotion to new heights.
Dare I say this game is a masterpiece-okay, maybe I won’t go that far but it’s damn good! (Certainly in my top 5 favorites.) This game cemented the series as some of the best games around, however that all changed.
Rather than another two year hiatus between games, AC: Brotherhood was later revealed and was slated for release just a year after the remarkable second. It was a good game, it certainly didn’t match the precedent set by its predecessor, but that seemed near impossible. (As the franchise goes on it seems to be getting more and more impossible.) Brotherhood was set in Rome, it was sprawling and just as beautiful as past cities but felt much more restricted. You longed for those cities that rang with so much personality. The story was good, but was much shorter than the second. Recruiting Assassins and building up Rome was often tedious but a nice little extra, and it sure was cool seeing Ezio grow even more from the end of the second, and really rising through the ranks of the Brotherhood. It also put some much needed charm and weight into that dreaded present day story-line. In the end AC: Brotherhood was a good game, it didn’t have the remarkable changes the second did, but that was okay…until AC: Revelations was announced and would once again be releasing just a year after Brotherhood.
The big catch to this game was that it would be our dear friend Ezio’s last outing. Of course we want to see how his adventure ends, we had only been with him since birth! The game was going to take our hero to a new location, Istanbul, and introduce us to some interesting friends full of personality, like Yusif. Again, the game was good, not reaching the standards of Brotherhood, which means it certainly doesn’t match the standards of AC 2. The story was shortened once again, and this is where those extra features started to bloat a little bit. Protecting assassin dens from attacks was not much fun, luckily it could be easily ignored, and the economy became much more difficult to understand. It also seemed the series was headed toward all scripted over the top action packed missions, the likes of which are much more welcome and well done in something like the Uncharted series. They often make you feel like you are just going through the motions.
However, the worst part was how they treated the modern day story as nothing but little dialogue clips mixed in with portal-like block sequences. A real shame considering they could have turned it all around and made the haters like these parts of the game after its growth in Brotherhood. Basically, as the series goes on it feels less and less like the Assassin’s Creed we once knew.
Each entry seems to bring fans more and more disappointment. The only logical thing for Ubisoft to do would be to give this golden franchise a little time to get back on its feet again. Nope! Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag will be hitting the shelves in late October. The best part, they won’t even make this a highly anticipated launch title on the next generation of consoles. Instead this will be the sixth game of the series you can play on your PS3 or Xbox 360. (There will be a next-gen version of the game as well, according to Ubisoft it will sport slightly better graphics.)
This is just Assassin’s Creed madness! It needs to slow down before their much beloved franchise stops raking in the cash and they resort to running another great franchise into the ground. Click on too see the 5 reasons why the Assassin’s Creed series needs to take a break.
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This article was first posted on March 6, 2013