Thursday, January 9, 2014

Diary of an Assassin - Eleventh Entry

Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag doesn’t waste any time introducing you to Edward Kenway. With the sound a boom, you’re on the deck of a ship, cannons firing back and forth in the middle of a storm as Ubisoft puts its naval combat front and center. There’s no cutscene to show who his family is, where he came from, or what his motivations are. Kenway is a pirate, out for riches and himself and that’s all you really need to know about him.

There is an exception to this, of course. There are a few flashbacks to his earlier life with his love Caroline Scott, showing how her father didn’t approve of Kenway. It’s a stark contrast to compare Kenway to the other assassins of Desmond’s lineage. I spent a good chunk of time getting to know Ezio’s family, and in turn, their deaths being his motivations for becoming an assassin. I spent even more time with Conner and his family. I spent time as his father, Haythem Kenway, Edward’s son, as Conner when he was a child and Templars killed his mother, as a teenager, and as an adult.

Altair is the only assassin who comes close to having as little backstory as Edward. I know Altair was a master assassin, before being demoted to a novice for breaking the assassin’s creed and essentially being too cocky, but before that, not much is known.

The short introduction to Edward is a far cry from Conner’s introduction in Assassin’s Creed 3, and almost feels like a direct response to it. For the most part, I liked Assassin’s Creed 3, particularly it’s time and place during the American Revolutionary War. But its long, drawn-out, and unreliable introduction set a pace that made the rest of it feel arduous. It’s near eight-hour introduction left me feeling like I was already halfway done with it before even starting. Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag slims the introduction to Edward and the Caribbean down to maybe three hours. Once you get your ship, it’s clear sailing from there.

Through the process of completing missions, recruiting crewmates, and upgrading your ship, it’s almost glaringly obvious Edward was written to invoke the vibe of Ezio, and I’m ok with that. Ezio is, without contest, the best protagonist the Assassin’s Creed series has seen, no small thanks to having three games dedicated to him. But Edward Kenway nicely fits in at no. 2. His selfish attitude and lust for wealth is just what was needed, and the way he plays sides, assassins and templars, makes his tale intriguing and unique among Desmond’s ancestor.

Intriguing and unique are also the words I would use to describe the real world setting of Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, and it’s probably the thing I’m most excited to talk about, but I’ll save that for the next entry.

No comments:

Post a Comment