Assassin’s Creed Reloaded or From Animus 1.0 To 4.0

With Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag around the corner, why shouldn’t we take a quick look at how the series evolved from its not that humble beginnings? Well, let’s at least have a look at the console games … the handhelds don’t really count after all, do they?

Assassin’s Creed (2007)

Basically, the first Assassin’s Creed is a tech demo. On the plus side, it is a breath taking one. Three huge cities to climb and explore, a story that combines the middle eastern past witnessed by protagonist Altair with the dystopian present (the game was set in 2012), and awesome assassinations. On the other hand, the gameplay was repetitive to no end (9 assassinations, and the preparations played out all the same) and collecting hundreds of flags felt even more pointless than shooting pigeons. There was some gameplay depth missing, and the only things standing out were the interesting beginning and the amazing end of the game. But the game laid the foundations for the Assassin’s Creed series – from introducing the perennial war between Assassins and Templars aka Abstergo, the pieces of Eden to the mind-boggling reliving history through DNA arch we now take for granted.

Assassin’s Creed II (2009)

We switched from Altair to Ezio, a playboy turned Assassin. The second game did a much better job in progressing the story with many new gameplay ideas, and diversity in mission design. This time, we had 2 big cities, 2 towns and one village which doubled as home base. Above all, Assassin’s Creed II was fun; Ezio was more cheerful than the stoic Altair, there was a more fleshed-out backstory taking place throughout Italy, the gameplay included fighting, sneaking, silently assassinating to races, an economy system, tombs to explore Tomb Raider style and puzzles to solve to unlock “The Truth“, and of course this fourth wall breaking ending of the game:

Of course, it wasn’t perfect. There was some feeling of repetition in the middle of the game, and the removal of sequences 12 and 13 to be given back to us as DLC was truly disgraceful. But let’s be honest, that’s just nitpicking …

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (2010)

The bad news: We went from 6 locations to one, Rome. Although the city was huge, there was a certain element of freedom missing. The good news: The rest of Brotherhood. Be it commanding a full-fledged Assassin’s guild including the arrows storm and sending your soon-to-be Assassins across Europe, the many guild challenges, the Metal Gear Solid style Leonardo missions or the puzzles from Subject 16, the Desmond stuff in the present … Brotherhood had it all. Oh, and Rabidgames should not forget to mention that awesome cliffhanger at the very end of the game! That’s how it’s done.

Assassin’s Creed Revelations (2011)

For many, Revelations is the low point of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Rabidgames agrees (actually, he never finished the game). Assassin’s Creed II.3 felt like a mere add-on to Brotherhood. Constaninople felt rather weak (different from other cities through architecture only), the Desmond sections went quickly from interesting to fucking boring as hell, the minigame Den Defense was one of the worst tower defense incarnations ever to see the light of virtual day, and the whole game felt a bit stale. If it hadn’t been for the exploring and the refined Mediterranean Defense minigame where you sent your Assassin recruits to missions across Europe once more, Revelations would have been completely boring. Revelations was not entirely bad, but it was several steps below the rest of the games, lacking innovation and surprises. Not exactly the revelation Revelations was hoping for …

Assassin’s Creed III (2012)

Goodbye Ezio, hello Connor. And Haytham first … Assassin’s Creed III was mixed box of entertainment: there was tons of awesome stuff, from hunting (bar the fucking QTEs), climbing trees, the entire frontier, the funny investigations, the decidedly grey story of the American revolution and the treatment of the Indians – and of course, naval battles, the highlight of AC3! Unfortunately, 2 protagonists meant 10 hours of tutorials, the game was full of bugs and glitches, the economy system fell flat on its face, and the missions were even more linear than before. Oh, and while the ending in the past was weak, the ending to Desmond’s story was fucking abysmal, especially because of a dea ex machina and not giving us a damn colour-based choice! At the end of the day, Assassin’s Creed II was a good game marred by questionable design choices and a rather bad technical side. Let’s hope Ubisoft learns from its mistakes.

Rabidgames is looking forward to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013): Why? Assassins and pirates, of course (let’s hope for ninjas, too)! Naval battles, a huge with many islands world to explore, several cities to freerun, a new protagonist and us being Abstergo agents promise an interesting experience.

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