I have completed 4 games in the Assassin’s Creed series. I did not get all the flags in Assassin’s Creed 1, but I achieved 100% in Assassin’s Creed 2 and direct sequels. Assassin’s Creed 1 had some progression in that each chapter I got an upgrade, and the more objectives I completed the higher my health (to a cap). It was rather slight all told. Assassin’s Creed 2 had a much more varied progression, and it went up to what felt like a lot of progression in Ezio’s finale in Revelations. And, I’m not sure I played it as intended.
Let me back up though. I am an MMO player. I don’t normally like single-player games that aren’t little bites (like “Papers, Please”). So while Far Cry 3, Dishonered, and the like all look great, I just don’t feel a compulsion to play them. Assassin’s Creed 2 and beyond felt different. It felt like an MMO in the sense of the world and exploration. As the series progressed the landscapes felt more and more alive. I must say I was blown away when I started Assassin’s Creed 3; it just keeps getting better. Anyway, somehow Assassin’s Creed itches some part of my MMO nature.
I want to discuss particularly Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, which was the last game I got 100% on. By sequence 4 of 9 (sequences are the long chapters of the game filled with missions) I had one of the best armors and weapons. (I will admit though the sword was from a DLC.) For progression, I was nearly done. See, I saw things like the guild challenges, which would give me more weapons and upgrades to my NPC hires, and well I had to go for it. In Brotherhood especially I felt these challenges were not going to be easily completed in the normal course of things (e.g., counterattack steal instead of counterattack kill). So if things could be checked off, they would be.
It was a blessing and a curse. Like I said, I was a health and attack monster by mid-way through the game, but I almost completely burned out. The other thing about Assassin’s Creed series is that there are sometimes invisible walls to complete thing. In Brotherhood for instance I could not get the best armor until sequence 5 because the final area wasn’t opened. I also saw that one of my assassin’s refused to complete a mission I had sent her away on because the game didn’t want to give me the best sword. Without the internets, I would have no idea when these invisible walls would be brought down. I kind of miss the clarity of Assassin’s Creed 1 where the walls were very clear in both limit and duration.
Assassin’s Creed 3 has me a bit frustrated already even though I am blown away by the smoothness so far. However, I am ignoring optional objectives for now. I am just playing through sequences until I get to a certain… transition, let say. Now, the missions have multiple objectives which aren’t clear on the first playthrough. In earlier games I had one optional objective (e.g., kill the target with the hidden blade) known at the beginning of the mission. I find myself repeating missions way more than I would like for the “gotcha” factor, and also the “do all optional objectives in one playthrough”.
The end of sequence 2 was particularly frustrating as I had to figure out how to avoid a firing squad of 10. If they hit me, I lost the objective. This was at the end of the mission too, so if I failed the objective I had to reboot a very long mission. That’s more of an achiever problem though. I am mostly thankful that due to the way the story is going right now I am finding it easy to ignore all the possible progression I could be doing right now.
Overall I am really enjoying the series. I am playing in order, and I don’t think I could skip around. There is no way I could go backward to Assassin’s Creed 1, and right now I think the gameplay in Assassin’s Creed 3 blows away the prior 4 games. Still I see my MMO side peek through way too often. I will do less fun things for some reward or check box without hesitation. I guess it’s just part of my nature.