10 Reasons Why Assassin’s Creed is Still Going Strong in 2017

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Assassin's Creed has become a legendary, episodic experience for its gamers -- but what have they been doing to keep the series going?

Assassin's Creed has become a legendary, episodic experience for its gamers -- but what have they been doing to keep the series going?

Ubisoft released the first installment of Assassin’s Creed in 2007, with the story of Desmond and his ancestor Altaïr. Since then, the company has sold 100 million games and counting from the series. The series now includes 17 installations, a countless fan base following, an upcoming movie -- and who knows what else! The future for Assassin’s Creed is bright.

The Assassin’s Creed Series begins with the character Desmond Miles, in present day.  A group called the Templars is attempting to get hold of him, so as to use his ancestral connections to find certain artifacts hidden throughout history.  The Templars manage this by using the Animus machine, which can take the user back through the memories of his or her ancestors.  Throughout the series, the Assassins use Desmond to travel by way of his assassin ancestors throughout the centuries and locate artifacts.  

The question we must now ask is this: How is this bold idea still pulling interest almost a decade (and 17 installations) later? Read on to find out.

1) Assassin’s Creed Movie

Assassin’s Creed Movie Trailer

The year of 2016 was a year for popular video games to hit the big screen.  World of Warcraft premiered its movie in the summer of 2016, followed by mixed reviews.  December 21st unveiled the next attempt at a video-game-turned-movie: Assassin’s Creed. This one looked rather promising, with highly-acclaimed Michael Fassbender starring as the protagonist.  The movie takes place in Spain during the fifteenth century, and has a plotline similar to the video game, but with different characters.

The announcement of movies always helps to revive enthusiasm within a game series. A video game being converted into a movie is like the icing on the cake for a hardcore fan base -- of course, the announcement is still always followed with skepticism. Even so, that surely did not stop fans from flooding the theaters at midnight on the 21st.  The Assassin’s Creed movie has helped keep fans interested in the series, even after the company announced it would not be having any more releases this year.  

Assassin's Creed Revelations city view

2) Historical Fiction Meets Science Fiction

One of the most spectacular and bold aspects of the Assassin’s Creed series is that it takes place, not in space, or in some made-up world in a different universe, but in the past. Not only this idea original, it allows for the player to learn more about the time period in which they are playing.  While this may not appeal to everyone, the little side blurbs and quests are easy to skip over, while allowing the player to better immerse him or herself into the world.  

The science fiction within the series makes players want for more. Time travel, fantastic powers, supernatural beings, artificial intelligence technology…  These games certainly can hold the attention of science-fiction fans with their strong technology elements.

Why do these facts matter today, in 2017?  As stated, this was the first game to employ the hybrid of the historical and science fiction genres.  Not only was the idea bold, but Ubisoft brilliantly balanced the two aspects in a smooth fashion that continues to hold our interest even today -- when possibilities of virtual reality and artificial intelligence are looming ever closer.

3) Incredible Fight Scenarios

Amo kills a guard in Assassin's Creed Unity

If there is one thing that differentiates this series and draws gamers, it is the kill scenes.  Sticking with their vision of total immersion, Ubisoft sought to make kills by the assassin as realistic as possible. To mimic adrenaline rush and allow the player to fully experience the kill, time is slowed as the blade hits. The graphics in these scenes are outstanding, as they show point of contact and damage from the inflicted wound. It sometimes comes to the point where players will simply wander around the maps, killing, in order to experience this phenomenon.  

There are plenty of other games that have graphic killing scenes, though, right?  But we keep playing Assassin’s Creed fight scenes over and over again because of the immersion factor. There are so many different ways to fight and kill opponents within this game, so that the experience can feel new and fresh each time.

4) Progressive Weapons System

Assassin's Creed III Connor holding a tomahawk as he prepares for battle

As stated in the previous section, the Assassin’s Creed Series has many different ways to experience killing an opponent. This is, in part, due to the evolution of weapons within the series. The first game begins rather basically, with fewer weapons to choose from.  As the series progresses, we see ourselves being able to equip weapons dropped from opponents, or even able to buy upgrades in the shops. These include, but are not limited to: sabers, longswords, knives, daggers, katanas, crossbows, darts, pistols, war hammers, and, of course, the iconic hidden blade. Probably the best and most original kill mechanic in the game, the hidden blade, allows the player to utilize fantastic stealth kills as we have seen in no other game.

Why is the variety of weapons so important, you ask?  You can only kill so many times in the same way before you cannot stand the repetition any longer.  Having a variety in weapons and their abilities allows players to test different methods and fight in different ways, depending on the situations they find themselves in.  It creates more incentive for characters to use several different weapons, rather than simply sticking with the basics.

5) Stories Within a Story

Assassin's Creed Unity street brawl in the French Revolution

Gamers are, of course, familiar with the journey of Desmond Miles that begins the Assassin’s Creed series. His story provides entertainment and challenges in and of itself, but when we add to that the background stories behind him, the game just gets that much better! In addition to adding depth, having several different stories contributing to one overall storyline adds a complexity that keeps the material fresh and entertaining for veteran players.

6) Parkour in an Open World Map

Assassin's Creed Altair climbs a wall in an escape

Another original characteristic of the Assassin’s Creed game is the parkour skill of the protagonists.  Being able to climb and jump off of buildings is one of the most iconic parts of this game (after the hidden blade, of course).  Not only is this skill cool, it adds extra challenges as well, for you have to find safe paths for the character to climb in order to reach an objective. And the views are pretty sweet, too.

Being one of the few games in its time to add parkour to the mix, this method led the series on to popularity from day one. Being on the streets made us have to walk our character everywhere to remain incognito. But who needs streets when you can run across rooftops?

7) Replay Value

Assassin's Creed Liberation Aveline approaches a household

Many games that follow a strict storyline often become tiresome after having completed it one or two times -- especially considering that there are so many more installations to move onto.  However, Ubisoft managed to keep the material fresh and interesting by adding all sorts of little side quests and people to talk to that gamers may have missed the first time. Or maybe even the second or third.  

To be able to replay a game is an extremely important factor in the gaming world, so as to keep interest enough for a continuation of the series. True, some people may want to buy a game and play it only once. But, if they buy a game and are willing to play it again and again, then there is high incentive and assurance for the company that a next installment will be well-received by their players.

8) Conspiracy Theories

Assassin's Creed Unity Arno waits for the stealth kill

There are too many conspiracy theories on the internet to count. So why do they hold such intrigue for us? The great question of “what if” has always been a high fueler of human curiosity. It adds mystery and suspense to otherwise boring topics. 

If conspiracy theories can add interest to boring topics, then what could they do for topics that are already captivating? Assassin’s Creed adds an extra layer of story by inserting the secret societies of the Templars and the Assassins.  All throughout history, we find out that historical figures were actually Templars, who have an ancient rivalry with the Assassins. In some cases, the theory is laughable, but others can look at it and think, “that makes sense”. And who is to say what the truth really is?

9) Lovable Characters

Assassin's Creed Rogue Shay takes aim at his target

In each installment of Assassin’s Creed, we find ourselves with different protagonists. Some installments feature characters we are familiar with, while others give us new ones to figure out. Given that each character is unique in their timeline, background, and experiences, fans manage to empathize with them and want to know more. Sometimes funny and charming, other times alienated and determined. Each character has their own appeal.

10) Challenges to Stay Incognito

In this game, we are assassins, right?  Well, the key to being an assassin is being stealthy and undetectable.  

A key part of the Assassin’s Creed Series is remaining undercover. This is not always the easiest thing to do, and sometimes requires active or passive roles on part of the player to remain incognito. Blending into a crowd, taking down signs, or staying out of sight on rooftops are just some things that signify the stealth of your assassin.

Gamers love this aspect of the story, because it furthers our immersion into the life of the assassin. Instead of simply telling us that we are an assassin, we are welcomed to act and think like one, too, which adds high value to the storyline as a whole.

Overall, Assassin’s Creed has held a special place in gamers’ hearts since its release.  The continuation of the story holds twists and turns that keep every player on their toes. Lovable characters, stealth mode, conspiracy, parkour, incredible fight graphics, historical science fiction, a progressive weapons system, and the Assassin’s Creed movie are only a few reasons why we continue to put money into this series.  So… Why do you love Assassin’s Creed?

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