How Assassin’s Creed Killed the Romance

Assassin's Creed Heartbreak

Assassin’s Creed and I have a sordid history together.

I remember delving into the first entry of the series and being initially blown away. The graphics were unlike any I’d seen before. The mechanics felt a bit unpolished, but I saw the intent and forgave the rocky implementation.

But the cracks slowly began to appear: the repetitive nature of the missions, the onslaught of collectibles, and so on. But I saw the groundwork for something truly special, and I was ultimately on board.

So when the second game came out, I was floored. I fell head-over-heels and never looked back. The mechanics still nagged at me a bit, but they were much more fluid than in the first game, and the collectibles actually sort of made sense this time around. The story was more refined and had quite a bit of nuance to it as well. I wanted more.

Needless to say, I was excited to continue to uncover all of the mysteries that were laid out before me. I was especially interested in finding out more about the unexpected dead stop of a cliffhanger. My anticipation for the next installment was through the roof, a feeling that would haunt me for almost every subsequent outing in the franchise.

I wasn’t really bowled over by Brotherhood. I liked the assassin dispatch missions, and some of the tweaks were satisfying even if they were no-brainers. But it all just felt like a polishing as opposed to a large leap forward. Baby steps, really. This was perhaps the reason I never finished the game proper; the romance was waning.

This feeling of exhaustion led me to skip over Revelations entirely. To this day I have yet to play even a moment of it. I felt a fatigue that I didn’t realized had manifested itself so deeply within my gaming DNA, one which completely soured any appeal the game might have garnered. I was done, I thought to myself.

Then Assassin’s Creed III hit the landscape and shook me out of my malaise. From trailer one, I was on board. I preordered my copy months in advance and waited in elation as each new tidbit surfaced.

Upon release, I immediately fired up my trusty 360 and away I went. Well, after about five hours of deceptive drudgery, away I went. But at that point I was again feeling bored and bamboozled. The maritime aspect was fresh and enthralling, but so completely intertwined in the rote, predictable main story arc and missions that I simply lost interest.

Assassin's Creed III

Why couldn’t they just make the entire game about this naval side attraction? After all, it was the most engaging portion of the overall experience. But before I could even put a period on the previous statement, another installment was announced and again I was gassed up.

Like a lovelorn hopeless romantic, I so wanted this time to be different. So I foolishly allowed this game to weasel its way back into my life, all the while thinking this time it would be better. This time it would get things right.

Well, at least I only wasted two dollars and some change on the rental copy.

But wait, Freedom Cry

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