Has Assassin’s Creed Gone Wrong?

When the first Assassin’s creed released for consoles in 2007 the game didn’t fail to disappoint. The inherent repetitiveness of the mission structure and gameplay left many gamers wanting more. A game that clearly had so much potential didn’t live up to the expectations that the hype had brought it. Enter Assassin’s Creed II: a game that arguably should have been what the first Assassin’s Creed wasn’t, it made so many radical changes to the series that everyone wanted. It ditched the bad, built on the good, and made a world that felt so real. Its unique mission structure, a better story, and upgraded gameplay mechanics was exactly what the series needed. These changes showed in the reception the game got, a 91 on PS3 and a 90 on Xbox 360 on Metacritic is no small feat as only a small percentage of games ever receive such an honor. For good reason the game sold well too, exceptionally well for that matter, the game sold 9 million copies as of 2010 which ranks it in the elite popularity.

A year after its release came Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, my personal favorite of the series. It took what made II special and ran with it. Ezio was as awesome as ever, the story got even better, and added was an addicting new gameplay system that let you recruit assassins to the Brotherhood, send them on missions to level them up, and use them in combat. Not to mention the game ended on one of the best cliff hangers that left you theorizing with your friends and scouring the internet for months about what the hell had happened and what was next for the series.

Sadly what was next for the series was its decline. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations released a year later and it was clear the series was starting to age. From the get go you could tell that Ubisoft was trying to implement new gameplay systems without tweaking the games core that people loved so much. When I was doing whatever the hell that cart thing was at the beginning I could tell this game would be different, and add that wacky tower defense system right after? The series I had started to love began to fail me. Sure, the game moved from Italy to the Ottoman Empire, but the core gameplay was never changed. Rather than improve it like they did from II to Brotherhood, they left it almost the same and it began to show.

My love for the series had dwindled after Revelations, but when the next installment was announced and it was to be set during the American Revolution I quickly jumped back on the bandwagon.  I could finally fulfill my ambition of living during the most interesting point in American history, combine that with the fact that the team that made Brotherhood was making it and I couldn’t help but be excited. However when the game released and I picked it up on day one, I was once again disappointed. Sure, the setting was cool, homesteading was weird but fun, ship combat was awesome, and there was lots to do, but again Ubisoft had failed to tweak the core gameplay. Free running had now grown annoying, rather than press X to climb like in Infamous you just hold down a button and let Connor do the rest, this button was also the sprint button which resulted in plenty of annoying instances where I would run up a building rather than down the street during a mission. Combat suddenly felt stale where I found myself jamming on the counter button waiting for an attack rather than being more aggressive like the game had promised before release.  Mix the even more aged system with a slow start and as unlikeable of a character as Connor was and I couldn’t help but feel like Assassin’s Creed III had crashed the series into the ground.

Its no question that the annualizing of the Assassin’s Creed series has been its downfall. The games sell so well that you can’t blame Ubisoft for choking the series to death. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag promises something new, but I’ve heard this too many times. I remember back in June watching the gameplay shown off at E3 and losing all hope. It didn’t look at all changed from III and I don’t expect it to be anywhere near as good as II and Brotherhood were. Sadly, for the first time in the series I don’t think I’ll be buying Black Flag. I can sit here and complain about the never changing gameplay and aging mechanics, but speaking with my money is a more effective strategy.  Hopefully I’m wrong, hopefully I can love the series as much as I did with II and Brotherhood, but until then I’ll sit and wait for changes to come, unfortunately with the way the games sell every year, I think I may be sitting for a while.

  • Mippy

    I absolutely agree. I never finished AC 3, and have no appetite for 4. AC Brotherhood was by far my favorite

  • I’d have to agree with this too. I never was driven to complete Revelations, and the same thing happened for AC3. I think I did enjoy AC3 more, but the combat just felt… annoying. Like they had broken what was already a pretty simplistic combat system. I’ll only be picking up Black Flag if they make guns extremely desireable to use 😛

  • Potato

    I agree with this review but Revelations did not disappoint me at all in fact it’s my favourite game of the series. The tower defense and Desmond’s Journey was pretty meh but it was still a great game. Bombs and bomb crafting was an awesome addition. And how can you possibly hate on the hook blade? Uncovering the secrets of Altaiir and his library was pretty interesting too. Not to mention the beautiful graphics especially in that one mission where you chase Templars on a boat down a river while you are overhead in the mountains.

    I started AC3 a few days ago so I can’t say much but I do agree that AC3 sucks so far. I liked the old controls a lot better and Connor is just not as likable as Ezio. It really doesn’t feel like Assassin’s Creed anymore because Boston and New York don’t have closely packed roof-tops and cool zip lines and synchronizing viewpoints is just not the same and whatever the hell happened to stealth? I wish AC3 was the continuation of Ezio’s adventure or maybe Ezio and Sophia could have a kid..ANYTHING other than Connor and the American Revolution. I will say that AC3 has beautiful graphics especially when you’re in a forest running across trees. The only reason I’m still playing is because of Desmond’s story.

  • Altair

    Now I’ve played Assassin’s Creed IV I’m 100% sure the series is wrecked. The game itself was beautiful, the gameplay was fun, if repetitive. The naval combat has always been interesting but there’s only so much you can do before it becomes boring. However, the story was the most boring one to date in the series. “Wow Edward’s so cool he does whatever he wants!” Yeah, that’s pretty fun for a sequence or two, but when you’re playing Assassin’s Creed, you expect to become an Assassin some time soon, not the god-damn last sequence. Edward was pretty boring, nothing like the build-up and trailers suggested. The only character I liked was Kidd, which, credit where credit’s due, was clever from Ubisoft.
    This, I could have dealt with, if the modern day story was relevant. Not even interesting, but relevant to the series. But it wasn’t! You’re some random guy, who just happens to be able to hack everything for the Assassin’s, with no real consequence. None of the things you hacked for were even that important anyway. This, along with the ‘encounter’ with Juno (which made no sense to the story or the game) just seemed like Ubisoft forgot they were doing an Assassin’s Creed game and shoved something in at the last minute so they could justify selling it to the hardcore fan-base.
    To me, Assassin’s Creed IV was a pirate game with references to the old games (my opinion on which lie completely in line with the article). A good pirate game, but not an Assassin’s Creed game. So; unless they progress the story in V (or whatever crap they spew out to insult the first few games), remember that Assassin’s are in this ancient war with templars (or did they just forget Desmond killed Vidic and Cross?) and remember there’s a god (GOD) with a mission to enslave the Earth on the loose this is one extremely agrieved hardcore Assassin’s Creed fan that that will have to call it a day and play different games.

    In memory of Assassin’s Creed (Game Series) 2007-2010