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We all know that Assassin’s Creed wasn’t actually that great a title. Sure it was fun, and it was really novel to run around in a Middle Eastern nation stabbing up templars, grabbing feathers, and ignoring Desmond’s damn existence in the Animus. Ubisoft really did do a damn good job of making something that was ultimately incredibly repetitive fun for the first few hours or so. After that, the same challenges over and over again was a drag, and sometimes you get kicked out of the Animus for no reason at all, so I can go walk over to the bedroom and go to sleep and then sneak out later to replay missions in my downtime… Thanks Ubisoft, I’d have rather just stayed in there.
It was with the second title, inventively named Assassin’s Creed II, that the public started bumming Ezio Auditore in the face, and even then that only ramped up when Brotherhood was being rammed down your throat at every website, TV break and store you went into. Whilst working at a large UK videogame retailer that shall not be named for legal mumbojumbo, I had the pleasure of meeting an Assassin’s Creed fan firsthand, well I actually met many of them but this guy sums the legion of fans up in one go. Upon having achieved 1000/1000 Gamerscore on Assassin’s Creed II, only 2 days after its release, he went and got a tattoo of the Assassin crest across his heart because he just couldn’t get enough of it. It’s clear then that not only have Ubisoft successfully made a franchise out of something rather tenuous, it also has managed to gain a legion of fans who would be willing to mail their nether-regions off to Ubisoft in exchange for free games for life.
My issue isn’t with the fans (well clearly I have AN issue with the fans but thats not why we are here), after all they are only human, and many people like to be told what to do next, so lets read on. Assassin’s Creed II added a lot to the franchise, it sorted out those repetition issues by fudging some other escapade into the middle of your standard ‘chase after this man’, ‘chase after that man’, ‘walk slowly behind this man’ style missions. Its environments were also tighter, partially thanks to the renaissance Italy setting, where buildings were tall and thin and streets were narrow and dark, and where Leonardo Da-Vinci is just conveniently hanging around looking for a friend. Ezio only officially joins the Assassin’s Creed at the end of the game, so for a large part of it he is just running around killing people with little ‘religious’ motivation, least not one we see. It’s more a tale of revenge, but due to a lack of cocaine and machine guns it can’t play out like Scarface, or equally violent films with shoddy Italian accents.
Speaking of which, this is what really gets my goat, the accent, in fact the whole god damn dialogue. I think its made worse because of its faux Italian accents alongside english voices and modern colloquialisms and terms. If you want to be historically accurate use terminology and syntax from the time, don’t have someone walking around putting a spin on curse words by making it ‘Italian’, yes, that is done by just adding an ‘o’ to the end of it. Why not do it all in Italian and then subtitle it? Probably because it wouldn’t have been as successful, just look at hollywood they feel the need to remake a multi million selling film just because it was in a different language. You could argue that the voices are twinged with Italian accents because it’s how Desmond would hear it, his brain filling in the gaps though his memory. If that was the case should they not all be speaking with American accents as thats how his brain would naturally fill in the blanks, realism however isn’t what the Assassin’s Creed series is going for.
All these gadgets and inventions that are being churned out during this period are astounding, a hand mounted pistol that doesn’t blow your arm off, now thats some fancy gadgetry that they have there! Or how about what essentially is a machine gun mounted onto a carriage, do I really have to explain the complete lack of realism in that? It seems that for Ubisoft, and its adoring fans waiting to donate their blood to the creed, the inclusion of Leonardo Da-Vinci is enough to explain away all these things; despite the fact that at this period in time he would have been a painter, his inventing streak came later in his life and even then he never built a single one, he only imagined the possibilities through science.
Desmond is also an absolute pain to have to deal with, a pain made only worse by the forceful inclusion of out of Animus sections in both AC2 and Brotherhood. I already have enough Nolan North in my life thanks to every other game under the sun, so giving me more of him and then placing him in a soulless and dull character really doesn’t help at all. Maybe my dislike stems from spending hours trawling across the gameworld finding every god-damn feather, from some pretty unlucky bird I must say, only for the game to not give me an achivement, yet still reward me with the cape and then give me the achievement for having the cape. Great bug you guys have gotten there Ubisoft, real quality QA testing, although I am aware this is a random occurrence.
The Assassin’s Creed series is now in essence Ubisoft’s Call of Duty. They really have to do literally nothing to promote it, they don’t have to come up with a great storyline either, because generic bad man does something bad seems to please the masses all too well. It also has a yearly release cycle and a multiplayer mode shoved in for no real reason. It may add a whole new time-sap for the game but was it ever really needed, or indeed asked for? No doubt millions will pick up the next incremental addition to the series with Revelations due out this year, but surely fans must be growing tired of the same gameplay year on year. Batman: Arkham City would have certainly been less enjoyable if I had played it only a year after its original, maybe Assassin’s Creed III will bring about a radical rejuvination like ACII did, who knows. Until the next inevitable sequel until the end of the world, only time will tell if people will get as fed up with the franchise as I have.
The views expressed in these series of articles are all those of the authors and not necessarily those of The Gamers Hub. You can find our review of the Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood HERE