Ever since I picked up the first one as an early Christmas present for myself, the Assassin’s Creed series has always been a particular favourite of mine; mostly due to my natural fondness for history. Assassin’s Creed 1 was a masterpiece to me at the time and while I reminisce with rose-coloured glasses and completely ignore the repetitive missions the assassination build-up had (Pickpocket, Eavesdrop, Beat-Up), I still believe that it was a solid and unique game with interesting ideas. It’s sequel Assassin’s Creed 2 is the perfect Assassin’s Creed game. Complete with an interesting story, great locations/gameplay and fantastic characters, AC2 had it all. The sequels to 2 (Brotherhood and Revelations) had me worried as I do tend to dislike annualisation of game franchises. They felt like jumbo DLC packs to me, which is not necessarily a bad thing. More of the same with a good few extra chunks added, some great and some not (tower-defence….) but overall, a genuinely touching end to the story of our charming assassin, Ezio.
Yet something went wrong with Assassin’s Creed 3. It looked like an Assassin’s Creed game, played like one, but it was not an Assassin’s Creed game. Or at least, not a very good one. The main character came off as rather annoying and less charming than our previous hero, there was a distinct lack of tall buildings/cities and it felt rather broken. For a game that took 3 years to build, it’s new engine was a buggy mess. When I played it, the main character Connor would clip through buildings or there were severe aiming issues with the bow and arrow. This is definitely not the standard I expected from AC games. The chase sequences in the game were downright broken and I was left with a sour taste in my mouth when I had to replay the same chase mission 15 times towards the end. I have patience like the next guy but this took it too far. Assassin’s Creed 3 was a very ambitious project with so much stuff crammed into the game. It’s a shame that the core features were not very fun or structured well to help support the extra features. Hunting was OK and so was the tree running but I wanted to get back to climbing tall buildings and being stealthy. After having such a dramatic opening, AC3 left me wanting more but never delivered. It was just OK all round.
Assassin’s Creed 4 will use the same glitchy engine from AC3 and will attempt to repair the damage 3 has done to the near-perfect nature to the game series by using the old cliché: Pirates! Yes, pirates are the focus for AC4. While I did enjoy the trailers and gameplay snippets that have been released, I realised that AC has progressed very far from its original premise. However, change is necessary to keep the game fresh and AC is the best platform to allow for change. I remain skeptical about AC4 for two reasons:
Will the engine be finely-tuned or will it suffer from glitches and bugs once more and will the game actually be fun to play or just a grind like Assassin’s Creed 3?
I just want a fun game with a solid main-game features (which appear to be sailing the ship, finding treasure, deep-sea diving and swash-buckling/hijacking ships) and whatever is tacked on as extra-features is just a bonus. Core gameplay first, then add your extras.
Assassin’s Creed 4, please don’t let me down. I’m relying on OnlySP reviews for this one because I’m not making the mistake of buying an Assassin’s Creed game for full price on launch day ever again. Fingers crossed.