When Will Assassin’s Creed Get Old?

Assassin's Creed: Revelations

We’ve had a slew of Assassin’s Creed games since the original made a splash in 2007. It seems like only yesterday when I had my first encounter with Altair and the sci-fi conspiracy machine that became Ubisoft’s premier franchise. Assassin’s Creed II in 2009 introduced us to Ezio and perfected the freerunning formula, while also extending the scope and adding lots more to do. Then we had Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood in 2010, which was a direct sequel to II and put us back in Ezio’s boots. This time, though, there was the inclusion of multiplayer. This year we have Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, yet another Ezio vehicle with cameo appearances by Altair.

Next year, we can expect another title. Hopefully, we aren’t forced to play as an even older Ezio.

Assassin's Creed: Project LegacyOh and besides all of that, there’s the mountain of spinoff and companion titles that are on various platforms. These games include Altair’s Chronicles, Bloodlines, Discovery, and Project Legacy.

But why am I mentioning all of these games at once? Well, it’s been four years since the original game graced my console and we already have eight games in the whole franchise. OK, discounting the Facebook and handheld games, we have four main games.

Four games in five years isn’t exactly flooding the market but it’s pretty major for a franchise that wasn’t around in the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube era. I’m quite amazed at how prolific Ubisoft has been on the Ezio front. One of Ubisoft’s other properties, Rayman, hasn’t had nearly as much exposure (by the way, Rayman Origins released recently).

I mention the Assassin’s Creed release schedule because it somewhat matches one of the complaints that people have with the Madden and Call of Duty franchises. They keep coming out with a new one every year.

I wonder if the same people who harp on how tired the latest Call of Duty or Madden (or heck, even Halo) title is realize that they’re going to the store and buying successive Assassin’s Creed titles each year. By the way, I’m not insinuating that these games are mutually exclusive.

Perhaps it’s Ubisoft witchcraft. I’ve somehow managed to play every singly Assassin’s Creed title without even trying. They’re probably out there with a tiny Assassin’s Creed hidden blade poking a voodoo wallet and influencing me to buy their latest convoluted adventure.

“OMG, Templars! Quick, let’s mentally travel hundreds of years back through the use of this magical chair!”

“But can we take breaks every now and then so that I remember that above-it-all plot?”

“Sure!”

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

Hasn’t it gotten old by this point? I feel like the story never moves forward because Desmond is perpetually trapped inside of that damn Animus.

And then the only time that you get to go outside of the Animus, you’re either in this super clean office space reminiscent of Mirror’s Edge or you’re in this old deserted mansion. You know, the same one that you lived in hundreds of years ago when you were somehow rich and Italian. Yeah, yeah.. immigration.

I’m not being fair, I know. The world inside the world (the Animus) shows us vivid cityscapes that are teeming with the imagined quirks of a bygone era. The crafted Assassin’s Creed world inside the Animus is so much richer and more involved than the heady sci-fi crap that I halfway forget at times. What I really want to do is transfer the Animus’ depth into Desmond’s world. I want to finally live as an assassin in a contemporary atmosphere.

How the hell do modern day assassins deal with riot shields and automatic shotguns anyway? Would throwing knives still be 1-hit kills? Would police officers be posted on rooftops for an indeterminate reason?

Assassin's CreedI don’t want to completely belittle the accomplishments of the series so far. I applaud the fact that its taken us somewhere new. It’s not just another post-apocalyptic, high fantasy, or deep space setting.

Did you ever really think that you would be playing a videogame that was set in Jerusalem or Florence? I sure as hell didn’t. It never even crossed my mind that an open world game set in a time before automatic rifles would ever be a success.

But here we are, well into the series and staring down the barrel of another game.

Alright, let’s organize my thoughts:

Assassin’s Creed was refreshing.

Assassin’s Creed II maintained the vision and improved in all areas of design and gameplay polish.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood added a unique multiplayer experience as well as a few gimmicks.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations feels like a well-constructed side mission that went on a little too long.

From there we have another title planned, the details of which are a mystery but it will probably involve a new time period. I just hope it’s Desmond this time. A contemporary setting would definitely give the series a kick and reinvigorate the imagination that we all had when we were first introduced to the first game.

For now, let’s sit among the rumors and wait it out until Ubisoft gives us the official details. Until then, nothing is true and all [speculation] is permitted.

Update: Played through a lot more of Revelations since I wrote this article. It’s rote and somewhat dull (except for some of the scripted sequences). All in all, a decent game and a typical sequel. I’ll try to get a proper review up once I finish my next planned review.