by Dru Law
previewed on PC
If you’re like me, you groaned when the first advertising for Assassin’s Creed III was released, thinking it was just another product using its title to squeeze more money out of fans of the franchise. This being the 5th game of the series in as many years, it is natural to worry that Assassin’s Creed is just another franchise to become a victim of its own success. So often success leads to complacency and I was worried Assassin’s Creed was just another casualty. I saw the colonial American flag in the background and that was the last straw. To me, nothing screams “we’re after your wallet” louder than so tritely appealing to the world’s biggest gaming market. I paused for a moment and reminisced about popping in the disc to the first Assassin’s Creed. I fell in love with its compelling story and innovative gameplay. But as more iterations followed I was just fed more of the same in slightly different venues. If I had not been asked to preview Assassin’s Creed III, I may never have returned to the series. Luckily I was, and was greeted with one pleasant surprise after another.
The Native Son
The series’ change of pace starts with a new protagonist named Connor, being the son of a Native American mother and a British father is a solid foundation for character development. Connor has all the potential to be a new kind of assassin. Ubisoft says they are breaking away from the smooth-talking heroes and approach Connor in a more real way. Connor is raised in a Mohawk tribe that is destroyed by violence fueled by the impending revolution, which thrusts him into the conflict. Through circumstances unknown, Connor is drafted into the Assassins, convinced it is the best way to secure freedom for his people and his country.
Unlike similar characters who are solely motivated by vengeance, his motivation is to seek out and eliminate injustice and promote the common good. This leads him to joining the Assassins when his and their goals intertwine. Growing up living the predatory lifestyle of Native Americans, he is an extremely adept hunter, which translates well into his assassin career. He has grown accustomed to navigating the wilderness in silence, and stalking an elk for meat is strangely similar to preparing to eliminate a Templar out for a stroll.
In the fiction of Assassin’s Creed, Connor is part of an untold story that shaped the formation of the United States. Ubisoft Montreal pulls no punches when approaching the great leaders of the United States. On Connor’s journey he will meet larger than life historical figures such as General George Washington, inventor and statesman Benjamin Franklin, and General Charles Lee, a ruthless American general who played a key role in many of the bloodiest battles of the Revolutionary War. Ubisoft has gone to great lengths to preserve the sanctity of these historic figures while depicting them in a very human way. They have brought in a variety of historians and consultants to be as precise as possible when portraying the various people, events, and colonial lifestyle. They know their conspiracy-like take on history will draw scrutinizing eyes and aim to craft an exciting and interesting narrative. Just how farfetched the tale will be remains to be seen, but judging from the previous iterations it will make for some interesting water cooler conversation.