In the world of Assassin’s Creed, there are ancient relics to be found and people to slay. It is also more than just about saving the world from imminent peril; art and color have taken precedence. During gameplay, magnificent city views and colors stand out against hidden blades and swift assassinations. In the first game, Jerusalem, Damascus and Acre were gritty and lacked color. The prominent hues were gray, blue and white. It had great detail but it didn’t have much importance to the player’s eye. You were focused on the target rather than the view, but even then the occasional lofty View Point showed promise to what the game could provide aesthetically. Climbing up to certain crests, synchronized Altair- allowing him to perceive adjacent objectives, while also exhibiting a stunningly panoramic view of a city, village or field.
In the second game there was a vast shift towards art, mirroring the series’ transition into the Italian Renaissance. Buildings stood out and one couldn’t help but stop and stare. There was no way of ignoring the art and detail that was featured. One of the most interesting interactions in the game was with Leonardo Da Vinci. He was one of the most innovative artists during the Italian Renaissance and in the game; he helps Ezio throughout his missions. From flying machines to a wrist-mounted hand gun, Da Vinci’s contributions kept missions interesting and fun. This shift allowed the players to interact with actual influential people of the era, portraying history in a new light.
Another important figure was Machiavelli. The change brought a new light to the game. It wasn’t just about assassinating important figures in history; it was about the architecture and the pieces that surrounded the city. Not only did Ezio grow and become more resilient but also the art within the game took a bigger step as the story branched out to Brotherhood and Revelations.
As a player, I immersed myself head on into the world of Assassin’s Creed and I feel in love with the art along the way. I appreciated the amount of time it took to incorporate important pieces of the time. It made me want to learn more about the eras, art and the people. One couldn’t help but appreciate the inclusion of historical structures, each imploring the player to study their context outside of the game. The Assassin’s Creed franchise moved from a bleak world to a colorful one. As one walked the streets as Ezio, you felt as if you were in Venice, Florence or Rome, thanks to the game’s unprecedented amount of architectural detail. Most likely, players might have stopped in the middle a cobble-stoned street, just to enjoy the scenery.
In Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, architecture and art took even a bigger step forward. Although there were some buildings that were historically inaccurate, the amount of careful creation of actual structures was remarkable. That is the one thing that the Assassin’s Creed games have always been able to do. One of my favorite elements in Brotherhood was one of the missions that required Ezio to destroy the flying machine. The flying machine was first featured in the second game but it felt rushed and needed a lot more work. The new and improved flying machine had a cannon strapped on it that allowed more freedom and control. No longer did you have to depend on strategically placed fires, you could make your own fires that were able to sustain you in the air. The beginning of the mission required you to be stealthy and tactical. Not only did you have to burn the blueprints of the flying machine but you have to sneak your way to the machine itself. I used every weapon possible to pass through the guards and alerts which caused me to the on the edge of seat throughout the first part of the mission. I was rewarded with time flying, shooting guard towers and other prototypes of the flying machine. Everything about this mission captivated me and although I loved the storyline and the puzzles, this is what made me love this game.
The games not only gave a sense of the history that was happening at that time but also gave perspective of the color and art that surrounded the people of that era. The depth that the art and historical figures gave to the series was something that other games don’t often have. It was breath taking and made me want to stop to gaze at the scenery. I was ready to kill but also to study the detail of a work of art.
One bit of trivia: in each game, the highest point of each game isn’t a View Point: in Assassin’s Creed it’s located in fortress of Masyaf; in Assassin’s Creed II it is the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore; in Brotherhood it is the Castel Sant’Angelo while in Assassin’s Creed Revelations it’s the Galata Tower, or one of the Hagia Sophia’s minarets.