Three weeks ago, I sat down in front of my TV with three new games that I had acquired during the holiday season: Assassin's Creed (AC1), Assassin's Creed 2 (AC2), and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (AC:B). Well, it's three weeks later, all three games have been beaten to near 100% completion, and I find myself drooling over the thought of the third installment in the series!
The first game was both loved and hated; loved for its incredibly unique story and gameplay but also disliked for its sense of repetition. It's hard to say how many times I was told that AC2 was far better than the first but despite that, I still greatly enjoyed AC1. The mystery behind Desmond and Altair was a wonderful treat. It wasn't long before I moved on to the second game.
AC2 was everything that people said it was and so much more. Ubisoft took their new game design from AC1 and honed it to near perfection for the second. The story moved away from the character of Altair over to the new face of Ezio who I felt was a much more dynamic character with a rich back story. Desmond was still the central character to glue all the elements together and it was great to see his story develop further than it had in the first game. The gameplay elements had been refined and felt smoother and the story telling approach/mechanics were infinitely stronger!
Then I moved to AC:B. I have to be honest, I find myself to be weary of spin-offs as they normally end up being attempts by the publisher to milk a franchise for more money. However, AC:B was a rare exception. The game allowed me to go deeper into Ezio's background and learn more about his family and the Brotherhood of Assassins. The character development was a wonderful addition and the game tied up some loose ends that AC2 left dangling. The gameplay was just as solid, the story was compelling, and the cliff hanger at the end"¦holy crap! I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't played the game but suffice it to say, it's quite a nail biter.
AC:B also added in a new online multiplayer mode that, believe it or not, is hinted at in the story of AC2 (who knows what part?). Many people complained that the multiplayer felt random in the sense that one minute you may be winning and the next you may be losing for no apparent reason. I on the other hand never experienced that. My first time playing, I was consistently coming in first or second place, and this was against people ranked much higher than myself. The concept behind the multiplayer is MUCH different from the popular multiplayer games that are around today (such as Halo and Modern Warfare). It takes patience and finesse and I found myself loving it for that. Simply put, I cannot wait to see how they upgrade and enhance the multiplayer in AC3.
While the music from the first game was decent, Jesper Kyd really stepped it up for the two newest games. Some of the themes are truly gorgeous and fit the tone of game perfectly. He did a fantastic job combining the elements of electronic music into the fully orchestrated score. This juxtaposition helps bridge the gap between Desmond's world and Ezio's world. Jesper continues to grow as a composer and AC3 is sure to deliver his best work yet.
My biggest complaint from the games so far is that I've felt that they haven't spent enough time developing Desmond's storyline; that it's been secondary to the story of the descendent that he is reliving. My greatest hope is that Ubisoft will spend more time with Desmond, Lucy, Shaun and Rebecca. Considering how they ended AC:B, they damn well better!
So far, the Assassin's Creed games have spanned two different periods of time and AC3 will be bringing a third into the mix. While I have my theories as to what period in history it might be, I find myself giddy at the idea of getting back into the Animus to discover more about Desmond's lineage and how the war between the Assassin's and Templars will play out! Ubisoft, I can't stress this enough; HURRY UP WITH ASSASSIN'S CREED 3!