Ubisoft is turning up the marketing machine for its upcoming Assassin's Creed III for the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U, and PC as its October 30 release date is approaching on the horizon. Despite the "III" in the title, this new adventure isn't actually the third part of the Assassin's Creed saga. If you bypass the sidestories that are the handheld installments (and, really, most everyone does), there are four titles that precede the so-called third part of this story. If you're new to the series and don't have time to properly catch up on things before the next sequel arrives, then Game Informer has you in mind with its feature recap of the important parts of the Assassin's Creed franchise. If you're joining us late, here's what you missed:
The uniting thread that ties together all the Assassin’s Creed games so far is a man named Desmond Miles. Born into a family of Assassins in the late 20th century, Desmond runs away from his heritage to live a life on his own, but against his will he is drawn back into the middle of the age-old conflict between the Assassins and Templars.
Unfortunately for him, the modern day corporate arm of the Templar order, called Abstego, kidnaps Desmond for nefarious purposes. With a strange invention called the Animus, Abstergo begins to probe into the genetic memories built into Desmond’s DNA. These memories of Desmond’s ancestors offer a glimpse into historical events, but also allow Abstergo to hunt down lost Pieces of Eden left behind by the First Civilization.
With the help of a woman named Lucy Stillman, Desmond escapes from Abstergo and joins up with a hidden cell of Assassins, and with them he is able to continue his search for the truth about the artifacts and their disturbing revelations.
While there's plenty of story to absorb in these games, recent releases have felt as if the story is treading water. While Assassin's Creed II was a great step forward for the narrative and Assassin's Creed Brotherhood expanded on a few lingering questions, last year's Assassin's Creed Revelations definitely felt like an annual cash grab in comparison. While the actual game is solid and worth your time (minus the annoying tower defense and bizarre first-person puzzle segments), the story is essentially paused. Desmond spends the game in a coma, and while his past is explored via narration, the story mostly focuses on the closing years of Desmond's Assassin ancestor, Ezio Auditore. Assassin's Creed III promises somewhat of a fresh start with a new historical setting and protagonist, and the newly teased Tyranny of King George downloadable expansion sounds like a fun lark. The myriad of preorder incentive options and the pre-release announcement of a $30 season pass (sold separately) for other unspecified DLC puts a damper on my enthusiasm, unfortunately. I've been right there at launch day with my $60 for each of the past two Creed releases, but this time around I might just wait for the game to drop to $40 over the holiday season before diving in so I can put that savings back into the DLC if I choose. If a publisher is going to nickel and dime me, then I might as well do the same back at it.