When you hear the word “assassin”, what words come to mind? Stealth? Undetected Killer? The most recent Assassin’s Creed games seem to have taken a turn to a more action-adventure style game. Personally, I would be fine with that, but since they built the foundation of the game on a stealthy style of combat, I’m not so sure everyone would like where these new games are going. Here are 3 reasons why Assassin’s Creed IV will be the final judgement call for me and many other assassins.
Action over Stealth
As I said above, the modern games seem to focus on the action in the game and the methods to take down arsenals of men in a single point. I get confused when talking about it now as the first four games had a focus on sneaking around places and killing targets unnoticed. Like in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, there were multiple instances where you had to sneak around crowds of people without getting spotted or figure out a way to get into a window on the 5th floor without being noticed. That made the game more engaging for the player and forced people to sit back and think of a strategy to solve the current puzzle (in this case, getting from point A to B). I picked up Assassin’s Creed III on release day, and the moment I got to the points where I had to start taking out targets, I wasn’t impressed. A lot of the time, I had to rush in there and kill in the target as quick as I could. There was one instance where I felt like I had to be sneaky and that was the time where you put on a disguise and sneak into the British camp. There was one more time when you had to sneak around and stop your fellow tribe from attacking the militia but also ended in an action fight. After that, the rest of the game just felt like going to see a modern action film: a lot of frontline attacking, storming through impossible firefights to kill someone, and a lot unnecessary filler material.
Walking over Climbing
What really put me away from AC3 was the lack of any really good building to climb and the environment. I got the sense that the game was about “trekking through the American Frontier,” but the results speak for themselves. Most of the time you spend walking around the wood or trudging through snow to get to your destination (don’t get me started on the snow). I never thought that a form of running around in Assassin’s Creed could annoy me but the snow trudging in AC3 managed to do just that. Also, during the latter of the game, I never found myself running around the frontier or anything. I would simply load into the frontier, fast travel to the other side of the map, and then walk into the loading zone. No need to waste time walking around. All that frontier space was wasted—no need to explore. Sure there were hunting challenges, but what were you rewarded with? At least in AC2 when you were collecting feathers, you were rewarded with a special cut-scene acknowledging that you completed that task. I felt no satisfaction from hunting animals. I only did it when I had no choice but to hunt things.
Ships are Cool and all, but…
Now let me preface this section by saying that I thought the ships in AC3 were an interesting idea and I thought they were a cool concept. Now that that’s out of the way, let me say that AC4 better not kill it. The ships worked (a little) because it wasn’t overkill. You have those few missions where it was required to ride the ship from place to place and fight those few ships on the way. Now I feel they did a couple too many ship battles in AC3, but it was still ok. Wasn’t a ridiculous amount of them, but there shouldn’t have been so many. Now, the fear I have with AC4 is that there will be either way too much time on a ship or using a ship. I could be wrong about this, but with the setting in the Carribean, I can’t help but be skeptical.
So after all this, I’m going into AC4 with no real hopes and high expectations. I expect to be slightly disappointed with the end result and this to be my last purchase in the franchise. With the way modern games are developed, I don’t see as much effort being put into keeping franchises to their roots.
What are your reasons for buying/not buying AC4?