The lights are on
I only played the beginning of the first Assassin's Creed title before losing interest. I don't remember turning away from it in disgust; I probably just got absorbed in something else more interesting at the time. I was slightly surprised, then, when I became excited for Assassin's Creed II. The Renaissance time period and location were intriguing, and I was glad to hear that Ubisoft had fixed some of the gameplay elements and was introducing new concepts. But just as quickly as my interest in the franchise was renewed at that time, so has it quickly dissipated.
Traipsing through time is certainly a key feature of Assassin's Creed, but in the case of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, it simply creates a non-starter for me. I have no interest in pirates, therefore I don't want to spend my time and money playing the game and doing the things that pirates do. In the future, the game's setting and time period could just as easily turn me on or off.
By not playing Black Flag in particular, I'm missing out on the ongoing Assassin's Creed story, but I'm not really worried about that. First off, because new players will be constantly coming and going from the franchise, Ubisoft will certainly be rehashing the main story points in future iterations for newbies/returning players, so I'm not likely to be too confused. More to the point, however, is the fact that with releases for the series coming every year, I feel like each game is simply a minute turn of the screw in the larger Assassins/Templars feud that is becoming well-worn and which you know will simply exist in all the games, therefore decreasing its potency. Similarly, the games' real-world segments are hit and miss, and yet with a certain amount of time guaranteed and necessary to be devoted to it, I feel like each game has the potential to have a giant hole in it where better gameplay could occur.
Even on the gameplay front, I've even begun to tire of the Assassin way of stalking and killing. I understand that the techniques are particular and powerful secrets of the order itself, but is it possible there are other gameplay means we haven't yet seen of achieving the goals of an Assassin?
Unfortunately, I feel like the franchise's success and subsequent yearly release schedule is a factor in why the series is currently the way it is and why I'm personally putting it on hiatus. If it came out every other year or longer, I wonder if I'd feel the same way. While it wouldn't necessarily solve my dislike of certain settings or time periods, I do feel it would improve the urgency of the larger Assassins/Templars arc and therefore possibly pump more importance into the real-world segments.
I'm not playing Black Flag, but I'm sure I'll return to the series one day. Ubisoft has created a malleable series that can go anywhere from game to game. This ensures it can last forever, but that lack of vital efficiency is also what makes any one game in it expendable.
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