I was excited for the Assassin’s Creed movie and had made plans to see it the day after it came out. Unfortunately, due to our scheduling around the holiday, I’ve only been able to get to this review now, weeks after its release. I think I can safely say that the Assassin’s Creed movie wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t very good either. I really wanted this movie to do well, and it had a lot going for it, but it just fell flat in too many places. Thankfully, it didn’t pander to preexisting fans and turn every scene into a pointless Easter egg hunt. Unfortunately, part of me suspects that’s because the people who made the movie don’t know all that much about the games in the first place, and not because of any considered storytelling decisions. On the whole, though, the movie suffered from poor characterization and worldbuilding.
After the previous game, I was a bit hesitant to start on Revelations, the fourth game in the Assassin’s Creed series. But as it was the only installment in the main storyline left separating me from Assassin’s Creed III, the game I originally wanted to play all along, I decided to push my way on through. Revelations is the final game in the Ezio Trilogy, only this time around, Ezio has left Italy behind for Constantinople. I was a little sad that this was the last time I’d get to play Ezio’s character, but even though I love playing games where I get to explore different parts of history, I couldn’t work my way through this story fast enough in order to move on.
Trigger warning for discussions of sexual assault ahead.
I want to start this post off by saying that I don’t hate this game. I actually ended up enjoying the gameplay a lot more than I did its predecessors. And again, as someone who used to live in Italy, there’s a really strong nostalgia factor for me when a game allows you to run around Rome for 20+ hours. But not hating the game is a far cry from enjoying everything it had to offer. The first two games had their issues, like all stories do, but their problems are much easier to ignore. Brotherhood, again following the character Ezio, has a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses that Assassin’s Creed II had, but the game’s characterization missteps are much more apparent. And it’s the portrayal of one character in particular which nearly ruined this story for me: Lucrezia.
Trigger warning for rape, incest, and victim-blaming up ahead.
I finished the second Assassin’s Creed game sometime last week, and now that I’m working my way through Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, I think I can safely say that the series is becoming one of my favorites. I loved the first game, despite its faults, and the same is true here. Thankfully, Assassin’s Creed II attempted to fix a lot of the problems from the first game, such as the lack of female characters. It wasn’t perfect, but it was still pretty enjoyable.
This is the trailer that got me to jump right into the Assassin’s Creed fandom, and I am so excited to go see it. That said, as much as I want this movie to be amazing, a really big part of me worries that it won’t be. The movie is supposed to premiere in December, right around the time Rogue One comes out—with that kind of competition, I can’t say I have too much hope the movie will do well. Mostly, however, while the Assassin’s Creed movie looks awesome, game-to-movie adaptations are rarely good, and I’m concerned the same will be true this time around as well.
Time travel is not my favorite storytelling trope, if only because if not done well it can leave a narrative more than a little confusing and hard to follow. This can especially be a problem when a narrative jumps around in time completely out of order and without warning, which is something that both Final Fantasy XIII and The Grudge did. This trope’s big crime, however, is that it all too often results in plot holes or creates events that either cannot happen or that nullify the importance of other events. Worse yet is when the time travel in question has no actual impact on the rest of the story and ends up being a pointless waste of time. A good example of this would be Star Ocean: The Last Hope, where Edge goes back in time to an alternate reality of Earth, blows it up, and the entire subplot serves no purpose other than to turn an otherwise generic protagonist into a detestable murderer.
That is not to say that time travel itself cannot be used well. Plenty of stories have utilized it in ways that improve their narrative and add to the plot and worldbuilding. There is, however, a wide chasm between creative and cliché, and for every good use of time travel, there’s a dozen or so bad uses.