Some things get better with age, like wine, fine cheese and our own maturity. Assassin’s Creed has been running for a number of years now, and its latest iteration in the franchise proves how we have grown up as gamers. (Warning: contains slight spoilers)
I played and thoroughly enjoyed Assassin’s Creed Rogue. You can go read my spoiler-free review over here.
Assassin’s Creed has always been about fighting for the underdog. If you believe in conspiracy theories, the Templars (or Illuminati or Free Masons) have been controlling the world in some way shape or form throughout history. Assassin’s Creed is about their lust for power and the elite few who fight against them. You take on the role of an assassin, part of a brotherhood of those who believe in freedom, who don’t agree with the Templars’ methods. It’s all about fighting “the man” and everyone’s right to live without the evil controls of the Templars. Yes, it feels a bit like teenage rebellion, but extremely well framed.
Assassin’s Creed Rogue takes a different approach. You all know that Shay goes Rogue after a mission leading to the deaths of many innocents. However, that mission has greater meaning. Previously, the assassins had been hunting down particular relics that they thought held great power. While they were right about the power of the stones, they didn’t realize that they were actually integral to the Earth’s stability – by touching or removing them, they would cause the earth to collapse, leading to earthquakes and great waves. Shay hears an example of this in Haiti and later sees it first hand when he is sent to recover a similar relic from Lisbon. It is these destructive events that serve as the catalyst for Shay turning his back on the assassins. Perhaps their laissez faire approach to these relics wasn’t the best way – freedom is one thing, but when it leads to mindless destruction it’s a whole other matter.
Considering consequences and the price of freedom is a very adult concept to grapple with. As much as we all want to be rebels, to do what we want and kill anyone who gets in our way, the consequences for such recklessness can be dire. As such, the older we get the more our brash approach to freedom is often tempered. We still believe in some core tenets, but as a general rule we become more responsible. Much like Shay, we become critical of those in charge and worry about how our actions will affect others.
Beyond gameplay or graphics, this shows a change in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. We have a protagonist who isn’t just a crazy youth, scrambling for vengeance or control. Shay is an intelligent character, one who is kept more interesting than Connor thanks to his hot-headed nature. He shows critical thinking and a global awareness that we haven’t seen in our protagonists in the past. He is an adult, and a character with whom other adults can identify.
In this way,Assassin’s Creed Rogue proves that the franchise isn’t just about sneaking and stabbing anymore. It is ready to embrace its deeper meanings, and is trusting its fans to mature as well.
Last Updated: November 14, 2014