Hope for Assassin’s Creed IV

Written by on March 18, 2013 in [, , , ]

For the most part, I’ve been a huge fan of the Assassin’s Creed series. The game usually finds a unique, unexplored setting in human history and covers it extremely thoroughly. Not only that, but the combat and exploration mechanics are usually top notch. It’s become a yearly series and prior to Assassin’s Creed III, I would have thought that was working. Sure, Revelations wasn’t fantastic but I had hope that III would have changed things up with its new setting.

Sadly, Assassin’s Creed III was one of my “most disappointing games of 2012.” It felt as though the series had taken a massive step backwards in many regards. So, upon seeing the trailer for Assassin’s Creed IV, I was tentatively hopeful that the franchise would get back on track.

Less Connor, More Mystery

The lead character of Assassin’s Creed III, Connor, is fairly boring. Yes, he’s on a revenge quest for a majority of the game, but his character comes off as bland and uninteresting. On the flip side, most of Ezio’s quests in the previous three installments of the series were based off of seeking revenge, yet he was likable and showed a level of growth as a human being throughout the games. That character building is important to making players feel compelled to finish their journey with the character.

In the trailer we’ve seen for Assassin’s Creed IV, there’s definitely a feeling of mystery shrouding Edward Kenway, the game’s protagonist. We hear of his various conquests throughout the Caribbean from the trailer’s narrator, the notorious pirate Blackbeard. He speaks of Kenway with a dark admiration. The implication is that for as tough as Blackbeard is, he would not dare to cross someone as powerful as Edward. It’s a compelling mystery that I hope will be slowly unraveled throughout the game.


Piracy on the High Sea

Without a doubt, the best part of Assassin’s Creed III was the ship segments. These parts of the game had you sailing a ship along the coast line in search of treasure, while simultaneously fighting off Redcoat ships. Using the ship to attack your enemies was fun and simple. Honestly, I would play a game that was made entirely of those segments of the game.

It seems like Ubisoft heard my prayers and is making ship combat far more integral to gameplay. The trailer showed Edward Kenway commandeering a ship, which makes me think that the full game will have a lot more sections sailing on the high seas. Indeed, according to game director Ashraf Ismail, the game will be forty percent naval. Assuming these sections are as good as the ones in Assassin’s Creed III, this shows a ton of promise for the sequel.


New Locations

While colonial America could be an interesting setting for other games, Assassin’s Creed has always had a focus on climbing and parkour. While the base mechanics for this parkour system are still in Assassin’s Creed III, the environment doesn’t allow you to use it much. Buildings are significantly smaller and climbing is far more simple, leading to a less challenging and less satisfying experience.

The developers of Assassin’s Creed III seemed to understand this and made a huge frontier section with a large number of trees to climb. However, there’s no real incentive to do so and as a result, you can easily ignore any climbing. The Caribbean may not be much better suited for this sort of traversal system, but one can hope that the developers have built larger environments with more to do in them.

Following Up On a Fizzle

Without spoiling too much, the ending of Assassin’s Creed III seemed to simply fizzle out. The series has always had a large focus on Desmond Miles, a modern day human who enters into the Animus to relive his ancestors’ memories. With Assassin’s Creed III, one would have hoped to see Desmond’s story conclude in a huge way.

Instead, the story just kind of ends, with almost no fanfare or any real interesting plot developments. It feels like the game was rushed out, with no clear direction to take the character. Hopefully, Assassin’s Creed IV follows up on this point to add onto the ending, or even gives Desmond the proper sendoff he deserves.

Assassin’s Creed IV is a game that I am tentatively excited for. What we’ve seen so far, though limited to a CG cutscene, shows promise and an understanding that something needs to be changed in the formula. It’s a series I love dearly and I hope that Ubisoft figures out how to bring this beloved franchise back on track.


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Author: Addam Kearney View all posts by

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