Let’s talk Assassin’s Creed…
The year was 2005. My buddies and I were playing Halo 2 like crazy, both live and locally. I remember getting a flag melee kill on the guy with the sward AS he was lunging at me to win the 2v2 flag match. The top of my game. Times were good… yeah I know that was luck. I’m not TheHaloGod (<- check out the video), but that was awesome!
And then (fall 2006), I left the country and basically dropped off the face of the gaming planet for two years. I remember walking into a mall in 2007 (Nånstans, Sweden) and seeing a poster for Assassin’s Creed. Someone I was with explained it to me as I stopped and stared… I was hook[blade]ed and didn’t even know it. (See what I did there?)
The hood, the arm bracers, the hidden blade, the missing finger giving away the hidden blade… it was beautiful; mysterious, dangerous, and TOTES intriguing. …So, I waited in the dark, silent like a stone.
Finally (fall 2008), I get my hands on my friend’s PS3, Assassin’s Creed, and a 2-liter of the DEW. My time had come! I sat in my basement, on the floor like a kid playing my Nintendo for the first time, Christmas night after everyone else had fallen asleep, with the volume turned down as the blue hue from my TV turned my bottle-o-dew the florescent green it should be. Eyes wide and heart racing, I started up the game. The Ubisoft animation pops up for the first time, literally sucking me in. “Inspired by historical events and characters”.
Who doesn’t like a good historical fiction story, am I right?! Then it drops me down to a scene with an executioner and my hooded character runs up there and kills the man in charge then runs away, up walls, on rooftops, then gets lost in a crowd of monks. “Oooooh this is going to be good,” I tell myself with a giddy chuckle, completely disregarding the incongruency with the crossbow and the time period, but on to more important things!
At first, I don’t quite understand the mechanics, having heard nothing about it other than the little I already mentioned. Then I (as Desmond Miles) wake up in a big room on a table next to a guy in a lab coat. The story puts you in the body of an assassin who doesn’t know or understand his past, possibly refusing at times to see what the people around him are telling him to be true.
You play as Desmond Miles and mentally become him, in a sense. You, both the player and Desmond, have no idea what’s going on (at least this was my experience) and those around you, seemingly “in the know”, explain who you are and you have to deal with accepting this new truth as well as doing what they say, or you die (IN THE GAME, not IRL… This isn’t The Matrix, here).
Simple enough and it makes for a realistic and fluid tutorial so the game doesn’t feel so much like a video game since the character you’re playing is also (basically) playing a game, which works because Desmond has to go through a tutorial as well… convenient enough!
I really got into it and have a tendency to do that in general. Is it just me or did anyone else think they could stop bullets after watching The Matrix for the first time? Like, if I watch Pride and Prejudice or something with such quick and intelligent banter, I unknowingly I emulate their speech and general demeanor as well.
This game really got to me, though. Feeling like a “nobody bar tender” going nowhere in life, too out of shape to climb walls and fight like Altaїr or Desmond, but maybe I AM special and worth being kidnapped by some enormous pharmaceutical corporation. Perhaps that was the thought process behind it all, what the creators were thinking: “We need to appeal to the average person.” Well, you got me Ubisoft, you got me good.
I tend to play games to escape and/or solve puzzles and work my problem solving skills. The repetitiveness of the gameplay got a little frustrating and I know that was a big letdown for many, but at least the fighting got a little better as you progress through the story and “level up” Altaїr.
One of the fun things about the first installments of the series was the “IRL” story line that you, the player, have to hunt down outside the animus (which, if anyone doesn’t already know, is the machine you use to play as Altaїr, the console to play the game IN the game, if I may). This aspect of the game enriches the entire Assassin’s Creed experience. There were always multiple story lines to discover and progress through within the game.
Recently, I’m finding a lot of the general population disagrees with the necessity of the “real time” story line in the game, but I submit THAT is what makes an AC game. The fact that there are big conspiring companies or hidden leaders out there controlling things behind the scenes feeds to a lot of the “dystopian” cravings people these days have in books and film. It only makes sense the young entertainment medium, video games, would be able to ride this wave as well.
Eleven years after the first release, I am so very glad the rumors of “never a sequel” were LIES. You know, come to think of it, I heard it from only one person (the friend that lent me the PS3 and the game) and he’s a funny guy… Maybe he was just trying to get my goat all along?.. Dude ran off with my goat!
But, as repetitive and mundane at times the first Assassin’s Creed was, it started it all and laid out a very broad foundation to build upon, or even beneath, if we’re sticking to the house metaphor, with the newer prequel story lines. I enjoyed the challenge of finding all the hidden flags in every area and being the completionist that I am, I read through all the different emails for the lore AND all of the side missions in all the different areas; the more synchronization, the more “health” you get, so why not?! Unfortunately “the grind” is what does many games and gamers in, but more on that another time!
Anyways (cuh cuh cuh CONVO-breaker!), thank you for making it to the end and letting me share my experience with you! (Insert trophy “ding” here.) I’d like to know if your first time with the Creed was like. Also, I plan on doing more of these “from my perspective” posts on Assassin’s Creed. Let me know if you want to hear my take on any other game. So, please, leave a comment and join in the conversation! Vi hörs!