Stories produced by St. Peter's Journalism Students
BY EMILY ALEQUIN, CLASS OF 2014 —
‘Assassin’s Creed’ franchise finally hit its target with the newest release in the series: Assassin’s Creed III. Ubisoft, the company responsible for the series released this latest installment on Tuesday, October 30th, making it the fifth release on major consoles alone. Ubisoft Montreal has also released Assassin’s Creed titles on Nintendo DS, PSP, PC and now PS Vita; the newest game console from Sony.
The iconic series began in November of 2011 and takes place in the year 2012 where the main character, Desmond Miles is kidnapped by a corporation known as Abstergo. While captive, Desmond is forced to use a machine Abstergo created called the Animus which allows a user to relive their ancestors’ memories. Desmond is made to use this machine only because of a hidden purpose and future plans that Abstergo have. These secrets are revealed slowly through each game.
Assassin’s Creed, a steal and action-adventure game, has become known for its amazing and often excellent connections to history and the present day. The games place the players into specific time periods where they have control over a fictional character who is an assassin and must move through crucial events in history, deal with historical figures and even kill a few along the way as they deal with corruption, conspiracy, influential advances in time and so much more; all while trying to uncover clues to a future disaster set to strike in present day (I’m sure the fact that it’s set in 2012 is enough of a clue for you.)
So far the series has touched 12th century Middle East where the player visits cities such as: Jerusalem, Acre, Damascus and Masayf; Italy during the Renaissance where the player visits Florence, Venice, Tuscany and of course Rome. But now the series has taken a turn much closer to home to players in the U.S. This game takes place during Colonial American right at the center of the American Revolution.
With this change, not only was a different playing field introduced, but also a new assassin (the third after the two that led Assassin’s Creed to its fame.) His name is Ratonhnhake’:ton (later changed to Connor) a half Native-america, half-English assassin who grew up with in his mother’s native tribe until he was about 14.
But his story doesn’t exactly take off at the very beginning. Assassin’s Creed III begins where it left off in the previous game (Assassin’s Creed: Revelations), in the present day with Demond Miles and the rest of his companions. Once he re-enters the animus, he is placed into the memories of not Connor, but of another ancestor: Haytham Kenway yet still during the 1700’s in England. Players spend close to two hours of game time in Haytham’s story and that later leads into his connection to Connor. This game definitely did have one of the most complicated story lines only because it was a constant question of who to side with, who to trust, what do believe – which I’m guessing was to help the player to understand the problems and conflicts that had to be faced; not just by Connor or Haytham but also the people and citizens during this era.
So, how did all of this fare in comparison to the actual advances in gameplay, graphics and new additions to the entire Assassin’s Creed experience? After the mixed reviews and passive opinions of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Assassin’s Creed III does a pretty good job of waking up its audience and fan base with changes in the playing grounds. Everyone already knows the cities the game takes place in; such as Boston and New York, but it also introduces players to the american frontier. What does this mean? Unlike previous assassins, Connor is able to climb trees, travel through hunting grounds and even hunt and sell his own kill (something that is a little more addicting than I had thought.)
Of course this means a complete revamping of graphics and scenery which definitely was impressive. Forests, towns and cities, hunting grounds and open ocean all look stunning and really make a statement. Speaking of the open ocean, something else this game has that others did not was naval warfare. A player can now captain a ship and embark and different naval missions. And yes, that does include firing cannons at other ships and taking them over after nearly sinking them into the water.
Combat and open-conflict have become more fluid instead of passive. The fighting styles and combos have been expanded and you’ll have to repeatedly press certain buttons for a kill or combo to be completed; unlike before when one press finished the job for you; it’s now more interactive and continuos for the player.
Just as with the preview Assassin’s Creed titles, Assassin’s Creed III characters include a cast of influential historical figures such as George Washington, Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin. As for the new assassin, it’s not yet clear if he’ll become a new favorite after one character within the series had three game releases centered around his story. Events and story-lines in Assassin’s Creed often feel inconsistent instead of fluid in the point or ending plot they are purposed for; yet the game is enough to keep a player’s attention mostly because of the amazingly interactive experience it offers. New weapons and changing missions offer, once again, insight to what it may have truly been like during those times. Also, being able to see landmarks in the game that we pass on a regular basis was an added bonus (like seeing the Saint Paul Chapel in New York.)
The game will still hold a lasting impression because of all its improvements in interaction and user experience; add that to yet another cliffhanger ending to the game and you’ll find yourself once again waiting impatiently for the next, and hopefully not last, installment.