New "Assassin’s Creed" misses the mark

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Don’t expect more than disappointment when investing in the latest edition of the Assassin’s Creed franchise.

Yes, the advertising is great. We see colonial America during the American Revolution as the backdrop, we see our Founding Fathers as characters in the game, and we see a slick assassin holding a killer tomahawk and shoving bayonets into the red-coated masses. Spoiler alert: don’t expect the game to revolve around this theme, for it does the opposite.

The main storyline of the latest Assassin’s Creed title barely includes anything related to the American Revolution, aside from a few short-lived battles and forgettable encounters with George Washington and the gang. The main character, a half Native American half European makeshift assassin named Connor, is as bland as he is confused as to which side he is fighting for. He has no desire to free the colonies from the British; he is just doing whatever seems best for the survival of his own tribe. Very few of his missions require any degree of stealth, which makes me question whether Ubisoft remembers what it means to be an assassin. Connor lacks the charisma of Ezio and the intimidation of Altair; as an assassin with motives to kill, he even lacks a fitting name.

Storming into a group of enemies and pressing the same two buttons to kill them all gets repetitive and dull after the first few hours of gameplay, but the gruesome cut scenes are impressive. The same techniques and weapons used to kill in the very first mission are basically the exact same as the ones used in the last mission. This degree of uniformity is unprecedented in this series, and I was personally expecting more.

For the first time in the Assassin’s Creed trilogy I found myself bored. The creators of this game have shifted away from the justified killings of Templars to missions where Connor delivers mail throughout the city and eavesdrops on conversations. What happened to being an assassin? What happened to stealthily sneaking up on the enemy with a hidden blade and doing away with him, or jumping out of the haystack onto the soon-to-be-dead enemy?

There are missions in which Connor has to chase some poor soul through the city of Boston or New York, but because there is only one button used for free-running, Connor ends up climbing everything and anything, often causing him to desynchronize and restart the mission.

Speaking of disappointments, Boston and New York are big ones. Yet, that is not entirely Ubisoft’s fault; they have to be historically and architecturally correct in their design, so they can’t allow for the tall buildings that we saw in the previous Assassin’s Creed titles. Boston and New York look too similar to even tell them apart in the game, and all of the irrelevant side missions throughout the cities don’t have much appeal. In essence, the side missions give Connor money to buy boats to make more money, and before you know it, you’re a colonial millionaire. Too bad there’s nothing to do with your money, aside from buying weapons that are completely unnecessary.

Followers of this franchise, however, will most likely feel compelled to buy the latest (and hopefully last) edition, but there’s not much here worth paying for.