As we sit on the eve of Assassin’s Creed III and ACIII: Liberation’s launch, we thought it would be fun to look back and cherry pick our favorite moments from past Assassin’s Creed titles. To think the AC franchise was born back in 2007 and already has six games under its belt (eight if you count Assassin’s Creed III and ACIII: Liberation) is insane. Yet here we are. But let’s focus on the positive and reveal to you, dear readers, our favorite bits the franchise has to offer.
Meeting Leonardo da Vinci
The Assassin’s Creed franchise has always been about mixing fiction with historical accuracy. When the franchise moved the action away from the Third Crusade with Altair to instead focus on Ezio’s plight in Renaissance Italy, the franchise became a whole lot more engrossing for a number of reasons. One of which is because we started to see a lot more familiar faces. Enter: Leonardo da Vinci. In a clever twist, da Vinci acted as Ezio’s “Q” of James Bond fame, offering the assassin plenty of neat gadgets in order to complete his missions. Da Vinci always seemed like a pretty cool dude, but Assassin’s Creed II painted him in a whole new light for a new generation – however exaggerated for fiction purposes.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, in general
We’ll be honest, we thought the series’ first spin-off, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood was going to be a cheap cash grab by Ubisoft when it was first announced. Ubisoft built up a lot of hype behind the game’s multiplayer component – a first for the series, mind you – which made us think there wasn’t going to be a whole lot for single player gamers to do. How wrong we were.
AC: Brotherhood has arguably the best single player campaign out of all the AC titles, even introducing the amazing “Assassination on demand” gameplay mechanic that has stuck around ever since. Everything that worked so well in Assassin’s Creed II Ubisoft made better in Brotherhood, and they still found time to add the multiplayer suite to produce the best all around AC game to date.
Your first leap of faith
Okay, the first Assassin’s Creed had its problems. For one, the game was repetitive as shit, sending you out to off nine corrupt leaders which basically boiled down to doing the same exact things to get your opportunity to strike. However, there’s no denying the sensation of climbing up your first tower, looking out onto the horizon and then swan diving down a couple hundred feet into a tiny haystack below, all to the glorious sound of an eagle cry no less. That’s exhilaration only possible in a video game, or real life if you’re a complete nutjob.
Exploring the tombs of ACII
Sneaking up and stabbing dudes in the throat is all well and good, but the real fun of Assassin’s Creed’s gameplay comes from platforming. Ubisoft managed to build an impressive climbing engine for this series, allowing the player to feel like a true parkour master as they run and jump from rooftop to rooftop. So in order to give more purpose to platforming, Assassin’s Creed II introduced hidden tombs with discoverable treasure that were designed solely around running and jumping, no real fighting. Entering these tombs make up some of the best moments found in ACII, of which there were many. Seriously, if there was no stabby-stab in Assassin’s Creed, only free movement, we’d be satiated.
More than a trip through history
In a day and age where the Internet rules and plot leaks happen all the time, it’s pretty damn impressive to think Ubisoft was able to keep the true story of Assassin’s Creed under wraps until the game officially released. Instead of just be an assassin during the Third Crusade, Assassin’s Creed (the first game) was really the start to a sci-fi epic where present-day people tap into their ancestors’ memories through the use of a machine called the Animus in order to control the world. This was pretty mind-blowing and is a large reason why the AC brand is such a massive franchise today.
With that said, however, Ubisoft hasn’t really taken advantage of the present-day plot in the series yet, instead choosing to tread water with it in order to squeeze as many games out as possible. It can also be argued that Ubisoft shouldn’t have revealed the first game’s sci-fi plot twist until the end of the title – they did it in the first five minutes — making it a mind-f**k of a cliffhanger that would suck people back for the inevitable sequel.
Criticisms aside, though, Assassin’s Creed’s sci-fi plot is undeniably grand in scope and helps tie the entire franchise together, whether you’re stabbing fools in the face during the Third Crusade, the Renaissance or the American Revolution. It’s one of the series’ coolest aspects; it just could be pulled off better, that’s all.