Ubisoft’s flagship franchise is moving forward in a huge way, bringing forward a new assassin as the protagonist, Connor Kenway. The core element of the entire series is that iconic hidden blade and the assassinations that it performs. In fact, in one trailer for the first game, we see the internal components of Altair’s hidden blade. In Assassin’s Creed II, we meet Ezio, his main change from the first game (aside from not actually becoming an assassin until the end of the game, but that’s a story for another day), is the dual hidden blades (just look at the cover art). The game does lose some of the core, single target gameplay of the first game, but makes up for it with many new features.
In Assassin’s Creed III, Ubisoft is giving us a much more action oriented game. The hidden blades are no longer the symbol of an assassin. Apparently now it is a tomahawk shaped like their logo. Connor’s combat is the most brutal to appear in the franchise to date. It is aggressive, loud, and he can even perform assassinations, which were previously done exclusively by hidden blade, and while stealth mechanics seem to have been improved greatly for this game Is this departure from such an icon of the franchise an atrocity, or is it a welcome new gameplay element? Will you follow my typical pattern of only using a hidden blade in combat, or will you embrace the new weapons?
The cinematic and sell-able action game that Ubisoft Montreal is bringing us this fall looks to be the greatest game by the developer to date. I have played every major console release of the franchise, and I’m working my way through the series again in anticipation of ACIII. The transition between a patience based assassination game to this guerilla warfare, cinematic adventure is brilliantly done. Each game feels like it is doing nothing more than building upon the elements of the previous game, and judging by the massive amount of gameplay that I have looked at from Connor’s first story, ACIII will live up to that pedigree and innovate the series without destroying what we love about it.