Sex, Drugs & Rock n’ Roll
The Assassin’s Creed games are, as you might have guessed, about assassinating people. They are also about history and family.Violence: As an assassin, the player does a lot of killing. There are many kinds of weapons available throughout the games, though the classic weapons used by the Assassins are a set of sharp blades that shoot out of the character’s wrist guards. There are some more cinematic kills where the player can see blood and weapons stabbing people. Other times, there are only sound effects, and the corpse falling. In all but the first game there are cutscenes that can get somewhat gory, showing blades entering necks, swords penetrating people, etc.
Sexual Content: In Assassin’s Creed II, Ezio is quite the womanizer. There is no graphic sexual imagery, but he does spend the night with a woman at the beginning of the game—you can see her naked back, but nothing more. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood also features a scantily clad scene where a man and woman go to bed together; he is shirtless and she is wearing anachronistic lacy underwear. The other games have suggestive references, and some of the games feature courtesans whom the player can hire to flirt with guards and distract them.
Strong Language: Except for Assassin’s Creed: Liberation for the PS Vita, the games do have instances of adult language use, usually in moments of stress or anger.
Substance Use: There is no in-game drinking, but occasional references to wine.
Nudity and Costuming: The courtesans usually wear low-cut dresses, so cleavage is common. In the Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood scene mentioned above, the characters are shown talking while naked in bed together, with blankets covering them. There is also a scene where scantily clad men and women are enjoying a suggestive garden party.
Player Interaction: In Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, and Assassin’s Creed III there is a multiplayer mode that pits players against each other. As with most multiplayer games, this mode could expose players to strong language depending on who they play with.
Story & Themes
Assassin’s Creed is about present-day descendants of the Templars and Assassins. In the first Assassin’s Creed, a Templar-controlled company called Abstergo captures Desmond Miles, a descendant of the Assassins who is ignorant of his heritage.In each game, Desmond uses a machine called the Animus to relive the life of one of his ancestors. One of the greatest appeals of these games, rather than the assassinations, is the exploration of historical cities. Each game allows the player to free-run through cities like Venice, Rome, Jerusalem, or Constantinople. As Assassins, you can climb buildings with ease and leap across rooftops. Players can spend hours exploring the realistic cities, which are all populated with shops and citizens. The cities also contain real-life landmarks. Have you ever wanted to stand atop Florence’s Duomo and look out over the city? Assassin’s Creed II lets you do just that.
In the first Assassin’s Creed, Abstergo forces Desmond to relive the life of his ancestor, Altair ibn-La’Ahad. Altair is an Assassin in Jerusalem during the Third Crusade. Altair meets historical figures like Richard I of England, and explores cities like Jerusalem, Acre, and Damascus in his efforts to stop the Templars from stealing artifacts called “Pieces of Eden,” which the Templars want to use to control the world.
In Assassin’s Creed II, Desmond is rescued from captivity in Abstergo, but must again relive the memories of an ancestor—this time Ezio Auditore of 15th century Florence. Ezio’s story continues in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, as Ezio travels through Italy and Turkey, fighting the Borgias (who are Templars), and trying to keep dangerous technology from falling into their hands.
Assassin’s Creed III introduces Connor Kenway, a Mohawk Assassin coming into his own during America’s Revolutionary War. With this game, Desmond’s story is resolved. The series continues, though, with later games taking place in the Americas. In Assassin’s Creed: Liberation, a PS Vita game, players control the first playable female assassin, Aveline de Grandpre, as she fights to free slaves in New Orleans.
In the upcoming Assassin’s Creed IV, players will control Edward Kenway, a pirate in the Caribbean during the Age of Exploration.
Each game takes the main character on a journey which usually involves exploring his or her Assassin heritage, as well as taking out key Templar enemies in bloody assassinations. There is also a strong puzzle-solving component. The player must piece together the mystery of the Pieces of Eden, sometimes by playing hidden-object games, sometimes by piecing together paintings or solving riddles. These puzzles, combined with the quick reactions required by the gameplay, make the Assassin’s Creed games a fun mental exercise.
In addition, each game has the player interacting with historical figures like George Washington or Lorenzo de Medici. An in-game encyclopedia keeps players informed about the historical aspects of the game, including characters, locations, and events.
- PETA has objected to Assassin’s Creed IV because of revelations that Edward will be able to hunt whales and sharks. Whaling is illegal in the United States now, but in the 1700s it was a crucial part of the pirate economy.
- As the first few games take place during the Crusades and the Renaissance, there are a lot of controversial religious themes. The player takes on the corrupt Pope Rodrigo Borgia at the end of Assassin’s Creed II. In Assassin’s Creed neither Muslims nor Christians are the real enemies of the game. Templars are, and there are Templars hidden on both sides of the Crusades. The game uses historical religious tension as a backdrop for the events of the game.
- Why do you think Ubisoft chose to tell this story as science fiction instead of straight historical fiction?
- Does the game do a good job of making you feel like you’re in a real location?
- Do you think these games would appeal to someone who isn’t interested in history? Does it make you want to learn more?
- Many of the powerful figures in these games are corrupt. Do you think it’s true that power can make someone evil?
- What other historical periods do you want these games to explore? What cities do you think would be good locations?