Video Game: Assassin's Creed III
"In the name of liberty, I will fight the enemy — regardless of their allegiance."
"I realise now that it will take time. That the road is long and shrouded in darkness. It is a road that will not always take me where I wish to go. But I will travel down it, nonetheless."Assassin's Creed III
is the fifth main entry and the third numbered entry in the Assassin's Creed
series. The game skips a few hundred years
and takes us to the American War for Independence
by way of the French and Indian War
as a Native American Assassin named Ratohnhaké:ton, a.k.a. Connor, and was released on October 30, 2012 in conjunction with a PS Vita exclusive, Assassin's Creed III: Liberation
(which later became available on PSN and XBLA in early 2014).
Born to a Native American woman and a British man, Connor spends his early years in a Mohawk village on the American frontier. His village is soon attacked and burnt down. Believing the Templars responsible, he becomes an Assassin and joins the fight against them, only to be caught up in the Revolution. He fights alongside historical figures such as George Washington
while using the cover of the war to seek out his targets. Meanwhile, in 2012, Desmond Miles and the modern Assassins plumb Connor's memories for clues to unlocking the Grand Temple, which offers the last hope of saving the world from impending destruction.Assassin's Creed III
brings an overhaul to the franchise, including a completely new graphics and gameplay engine that allows for fluid free-running through natural environments. Weather plays a significant role, as the game takes place over all four seasons, with strong emphasis on the harsh winter environments of upstate New York. In addition, the game features a naval combat system as well, wherein Connor can take command of a ship and engage British and pirate vessels on the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
The multiplayer section of the game has also evolved, moving from the internal training of Templar agents in Abstergo facilities via the Bleeding Effect to being an actual product of Abstergo Entertainment
, aimed at the mass market and "based on real memories of real history"
. Our old friend Erudito is back, however, hacking the program as the players play it, and revealing that everything the "game" shows is twisted to fit the Templar purposes
Ubisoft released DLC for Assassin's Creed III
titled The Tyranny of King Washington
, spread over three parts. It follows Connor as he wakes up in an Alternate History
where George Washington
found an Apple of Eden, went crazy, and took control of the United States, declaring himself king. Tropes for it go at the bottom of the page.
There is also a tie-in novel called Assassin's Creed: Forsaken
, which isn't focused on Connor, but instead his father Haytham.
For official trailers, gameplay, and promotional videos, go here
Followed up by 2013's Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
and a new historical player character (Edward Kenway, Connor's grandfather). Subsequently in 2014, there was Assassin's Creed: Rogue
which revisits the Prolonged Prologue
set in the Seven Years' War
and revisits subplots and characters such as Haytham and Achilles in an Interquel
.This page assumes that you have played the first four games of the franchise. All spoilers for those four works will be unmarked. You Have Been Warned!
This game contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: William used to beat Desmond as a child. Nominally part of his Training from Hell, it left Desmond hating his dad but also desperately seeking his approval. William admits later that he "wasn't always the best father", which is quite an understatement.
- Acceptable Breaks from Reality:
- History tells us that the American rebel forces had a notoriously hard time getting matching and functional uniforms for themselves. However, since it is not very easy and not very fun to attempt to ID which badly-dressed NPCs in a sea of them are going to be hostile to the player without help, every squad of Patriots is identically, immaculately dressed.
- Similarly, the ladies attending the London Royal Opera House scene at the very beginning of the game are the exact same character models used for the colonial townswomen in America. They should be dressed in the incredibly opulent fashions of the Georgian era (high, powdered wigs, highly embellished ballgowns etc), but it's likely the developers wanted to avoid having to design a distinct set of complicated female models for just one scene.
- As mentioned under Global Currency, the game has simplified the reality of the colonial monetary system into pounds. In-universe example as well, as Shaun tells Desmond he programmed the Animus this way to make it easier for him.
- Real naval battles had hours of maneuver followed by an hour or so of intense combat, when they came to combat at all. Commanders were damned proud if their sailors could manage three or four minutes between broadsides, and they were difficult to aim at the best of times. In short, view the naval battles as a compression of events, if that helps you accept the Aquila spinning on a dime.
- Action Commands: They reappear in the series for the first time since Assassins Creed II. Notably, you can't actually fail them unless Connor's health bar is showing up.
- Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: With the crafting system, prices go up with each craft in one session* . This is aimed to stop you from crafting enough to start drowning in money in one sitting, but this tends to result in nails, apple pies and wooden barrels somehow costing hundreds of pounds to create.
- Adjective Animal Alehouse: The Green Dragon Tavern in Boston.
- After Combat Recovery: The primary method of recovering from damage, as health regenerates much more rapidly when outside of combat.
- Agent Provocateur: Connor can do this with crowds, turning scattered groups into one angry mob.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Surprisingly prevalent in the majority of assassinations. Heck, the Big Bad even gets a funeral with mourning fellow Templars. After his first big kill, Connor says he just feels regret and Achilles says "Hold fast to that."
- All There in the Manual: If you only played the main series of games and didn't read all the expository information plus engage in all the dialogues, you will likely have no idea who Daniel Cross is or why he's so messed up in the head.
- Alternate Timeline: Due to the game wanting to be released before a certain date, it clearly invokes this.
- American Dream: The Homestead is a representative, playable version of this. Every person you settle there is fleeing some kind of past or suffering some slight or the other but find a newer, better life thanks to Connor and build a community of mutual trust and co-operation. Achilles sums it up best:
Achilles: "I trust you now know that this place has become something of great significance. A community to serve as an example of what this would-be nation could become."
- The American Revolution: The main backdrop of the game. Connor is just out for justice against the Templars (who have positions in both sides).
- An Axe to Grind:
- Connor wields a number of tomahawks, including one with a head in the shape of the Assassin crest that was passed down from the first Assassin in the Colonies. He also has the option to buy and wield a number of larger axes.
- Grenadiers and Scottish Highlanders wield large axes, which can be picked up by Connor to use in combat.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: The first three sequences are played as Haytham Kenway, Connor's father.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: For completing certain challenges you'll get different outfits to dress Connor up in:
- An Entrepreneur Is You: Connor can sell animal pelts and other parts in the various stores in the game, and he takes ownership of the dilapidated manor his mentor Achilles owns. Setting up trade routes and sending off caravans with goods — each with risk/reward ratios, even! — is a big part of it as well.
- Animal Motifs: The trademark Assassin eagle shows up again, but the game also makes use of wolves to match Connor's predator theme and Meaningful Name.
- Annoying Arrows: If your arrows fail to kill an enemy, they'll continue to attack Connor unhindered. If Connor stays undetected, they'll ignore the arrow and return to their normal routes after a quick search.
- Apathetic Citizens: In the Brazil mission, citizens don't let things like gunfire coming from a VIP box, a hooded criminal fighting security officers, or bloodstained corpses distract them from their routine of walking in circles and idly chatting up their buddies. But Heaven forbid you run instead of walk.
- Apocalypse How: At the end of the game, Desmond sacrifices himself to keep humanity from being nearly wiped out, but releases Juno in the process. There are still worldwide disasters that, while not wiping out humanity, still cause a lot of trouble.
- Archnemesis Dad: Haytham is not merely a Templar, but the Grand Master of their Colonial branch.
- Arc Words : A brief exchange between James Barrett and Connor after the Battle of Lexington and Concord sums up the grim mood of the game.
Barrett: We did the best we can with what we've got.
Connor: It is not enough.
Barrett: It never is.
- Artificial Atmospheric Actions:
- Citizens in the cities and the Frontier settlements are programmed with a wide variety of activities and conversations to help the game feel more alive.
- Animals have routines that they perform, and you may see elk antler-wrestling or a pack of wolves bringing down prey. One achievement involves witnessing an animal attacking a human.
- An entire sidequest is devoted to examining the actions of your Homestead residents. You have to follow everyone in every profession and focus your crosshairs on them when they are cleaning animals they've killed, repairing wooden structures, making ales, and so on.
- Artificial Brilliance: Since almost all of your enemies now wield bayoneted muskets, whenever they have a loaded shot, they will usually maintain distance from you while lining up a shot. However, they never think to avoid shooting their fellow comrades once Connor uses one of them as a human shield. Also, the importance of using different fighting tactics on different enemies is more prominently enforced in this game, particularly through the Boston Brawlers sidequests.
- Artistic License – History:
- Robert Faulkner in Sequence 5 says that the Aquila is the best ship from the US to Singapore. Thing is, Singapore had fallen into obscurity centuries before and wouldn't be revived by British colonisation for at least 40 more years.
- Connor can start liberating forts for the colonial forces as early as Sequence 5, which takes place in 1769. This is 7 years before the war even began, and liberating forts involves hoisting the American flag up, 7 years before said flag was designed.
- As Long as There Is Evil: The Grand Master of the Templars spells out why his order keeps coming back no matter how many times it gets decimated by Assassins: they need no creed, no ancient instructions, they merely need the world to be as it is.
- Attack Its Weak Point: In naval combat, if you deal enough damage to the bow of a frigate-sized or larger ship, you may expose the ship's powder magazine. Shooting this with the swivel guns results in an instant kill. Some optional objectives (for full sync) require you to do this to a certain number of enemy ships, which can be an exercise in frustration as it is all too easy to accidentally sink them before exposing the magazine.
- At the Opera Tonight: Sequence 1 opens with Haytham attending The Beggar's Opera in London.
- Awkward Father-Son Bonding Activity:
- Nothing quite like a traitorous Enemy Mine to help Connor and Haytham develop a connection. Granted, they still push each other at every turn, but there are moments where it's clear that Haytham is at least trying to bond with him, when he tries to tone down his snarky tendencies.
- Desmond and William use their enforced proximity to haltingly resume a relationship that was already in bad shape when Desmond ran away from the Assassins' enclave as a teenager.
- Back from the Brink: The American Assassins' Brotherhood, implied to have been plentiful and prosperous, is now reduced to a grumpy old black man in a run-down house on the Frontier, an old sailor drinking his sorrows away, and a second HQ run by a former slave in the Bayou swamps by the time Connor comes along. How prosperous the Homestead becomes is up to the player, but according to the game's version of history Connor was able to restore the Brotherhood to its former glory. He must have been a busy boy.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Connor and Haytham fight together in several battles after they temporarily join forces.
- Badass Boast:
- From a five-year-old Connor after Lee threatens to destroy his village:
Tell me your name. Charles Lee:
Charles Lee. Why do you want to know? Connor: So I can... find you.
- Connor, in his mid-teens, puts on a brave face when Thomas Hickey has him sent to the gallows on false charges of attempting to assassinate George Washington:
Connor: I will not die today. The same cannot be said for you.
- Haytham delivers one to a drunk soldier who tries to challenge him to a fight:
Soldier: Oi! Whata' you doing!?
Haytham: Well... I, uh, I was leaving.
Soldier: Oh? And now?
Haytham: [steps away from the door] Well, now... I'm going to feed you your teeth.
- Done by Charles Lee in the finale. Needless to say, threatening to kill everything a One-Man Army loves isn't the best idea.
- Badass Longcoat: Connor wears one of these. Unlike Altaďr and Ezio, his white outfit camouflages him believably with the winter environments. It's also based on British and Colonial uniforms of the time, making it possible to mistake him for a light infantry soldier.
- Badass Native: Connor, the (second) playable ancestor.
- Bayonet Ya: All muskets have fixed bayonets. Connor can scoop one up at will and run it through an unlucky enemy. If the musket's loaded, he can also shoot a second target with it at the same time. There's a special Achievement/Trophy for doing this.
- Muskets are also a powerful weapon in melee combat, being able to counter nearly any attack. Truth in Television, that, because each one was three feet long and heavy as hell and intended to be used as a melee weapon at need. There were whole manuals dedicated to it; it was a martial art in the most literal sense.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Vidic asks Desmond for the Apple. Desmond obliges.
- Bears Are Bad News: Wilderness encounters may include bears, which Connor can fight (and collect their pelts to trade) or bait into attacking enemy patrols.
- Beat Them at Their Own Game: Part of what makes the Colonial Templars' Grand Master such a deadly foe is that he's received the same training as Connor. In fact, this could be said to work both ways, as the Templars have no qualms about adopting Assassin tactics if it aids them in achieving their goals.
- Because I Said So: Said by Haytham to Connor at one point, when Connor asks why he should be the one chasing a soldier down, continuing the theme of Connor being treated like a petulant child.
- Been There, Shaped History: Like Ezio before him, Connor does this. He works with George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, and is an Arch-Enemy of Charles Lee, for starters.
- Best Served Cold: Connor's main story arc begins when Charles Lee burns his village, killing his mother in the process. The arc ends some twenty years later, when his vengeance finally comes to fruition.
- Big Applesauce:
- Connor visits New York after the fire of 1776.
- Desmond visits the Big Apple for a story mission. After almost falling off a tall building, Shaun tells him to hold position because of the view of the city's night skyline. Desmond is rather annoyed by this. Amusingly, data from Desmond's phone — which you can find through hacking computers in the sequel — includes a picture he took of himself with that same view as the background.
- Big Bad: Much like in Revelations, there isn't a definitive Big Bad. The closest we get to one are Haytham Kenway and Charles Lee in the American Revolution and Vidic, followed by Juno, in 2012.
- Bittersweet Ending: In the present, the Apocalypse has been prevented but Desmond is dead and Juno has been unleashed upon the world. In the past, Connor has successfully slain all the major Templars in the Colonies and the British have left, but Achilles dies soon after, Connor's people have been forced out by the new government, the "spirit" is finished with him and his people, and there is still oppression in the land.
- Blunt "Yes":
- William Johnson and Haytham both give one.
- Desmond also gives one to his father William Miles near the end of the game when he rescues his father from Abstergo and kills Warren Vidic and Daniel Cross in the process.
William: You put everything on the line for me?
- Bond Villain Stupidity: At Haytham's funeral, Lee captures Connor but refuses to kill him — instead taunting that he will destroy everything he holds dear first. He then leaves Connor to be beaten by some random mooks, from whom Connor predictably escapes and murders Lee. Meanwhile, in 2012, Warren Vidic asks Desmond for the Apple. Suffice to say he got way more than he bargained for.
- Boring but Practical: The game sports a revamped system for recruiting Assassins and sending them on missions for money as well as an interesting trade system where you have people who live on your homestead provide different goods to sell for profit... but odds are, you'll just stick to hunting for treasure chests in towns for profit, since finding them earns you more money than you'll need in the main game. Even if you do wish to get money by trading, you're better off selling the furs you get from hunting rather than doing any crafting. Also, regarding the new Assassin training system, the introduction of the new abilities means that in order to level them up faster, you're supposed to rely more on using those abilities rather than sending them off to time-consuming but not-so-rewarding missions (a 10-minute mission earns a 60-XP reward, while simply using an Assassin to kill one guard yields about 40 XP and can be repeated after less than 30 seconds).
- Bottomless Magazines: Averted beautifully, except for one instance during the Captain Kidd missions, where someone fires a single-shot muzzle loading musket onscreen... twice in less than five seconds.
- Brain Uploading: One of the "methods of salvation" attempted by the First Civilization was to transfer their minds into a computer for storage against the apocalypse. The problem they had was not how to get in, but how to get out. It is strongly implied that Juno, Minerva, or both underwent this process, and that Desmond's sacrifice is in some way Juno's ticket out.
- Breather Episode: The Homestead missions are this, depending on when you play them. It's certainly a breather to find Connor smiling and helping his friends with their problems compared to the grim campaign.
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: In multiplayer. You can buy Erudito Coins for real-world money which allow you to unlock most (but not all) unlockable items regardless of fulfilling conditions to unlock them for purchase for Abstergo Credits (like reaching a certain level).
- Broken Aesop: Ties directly into Bribing Your Way to Victory as Erudito's messages to the players of the game all carry a heavy anti-Abstergo and anti-capitalist message. Yet, the buy-for-real-world-money currency the game uses for its application of that trope? Erudito coins.
- Bulletproof Human Shield:
- Connor can use enemies as shields against massed musket fire, then close with the remaining soldiers before they can reload. It also features in one dual execution move, where Connor knocks down one soldier, then grabs the other to block the knocked down soldier's musket shot.
- Connor has a dual execution move that defies this trope: he can run a soldier through with the bayonet of a musket, then fire the musket at the soldier behind the first one. It is similar to one of Ezio's moves in Brotherhood, wherein he counters a soldier by blocking him, then shooting him through and killing the soldier behind him as well.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Charles Lee at first fails to recognize Connor; it takes a face-to-face confrontation for him to remember that little Native boy whose village he hadn't burned so long ago.
- But Not Too Foreign: Connor is half Mohawk, half British. He can use this to his advantage; at the advice of his mentor Achilles (who is black), he accepts the name "Connor" and tries to pass off as being of Spanish or Italian descent.
Achilles: Better a Spaniard than a native... and far better than me.
- Calling the Old Man Out:
- After Sequence 3, Desmond finally snaps at William, ranting about how he hates being nothing but an Unwitting Pawn who is treated like he isn't even there, and that William himself is just as bad as the Templars. His father punches him in the face in response.
- Connor accuses Achilles of failing to protect the Assassin Brotherhood before setting out on his own in Sequence 10.
- Connor later calls Haytham out for deliberately concealing the fact that Washington was involved with the attack on his village years ago and had just authorized another attack due to them supporting the British in order to manipulate him. He also calls Washington out for this and declares that he will no longer aid him in the war.
Connor: A warning to both of you: either follow me, or oppose me and I will kill you!
- The Cameo: Besides the huge list of historical people who show up, special nod goes to Daniel Boone, who appears in a tavern in Boston as a background NPC. Connor can't interact with him outside of the Frontiersman missions, but the game nonetheless acknowledges that it's him by popping up his database entry.
- Canada, Eh?:
- Some of Stéphane Chapheau's French ranting during his Sequence 6 mission reveals that he grew up in the "Province of Quebec", a British colony and a small section of what is now eastern Québec.
- There's an Assassin Recruit mission that takes place in Montréal, which is where Ubisoft's headquarters is located. It even involves investigating a company making games that are addictive and distracting to the population.
- Norris, the recruitable miner for the Homestead, is also from Quebec. His accent is far more believable than Stéphane, who alternates between a Québécois accent and one tinged with French-from-France notes (this may be intentional, as it's stated that he's a second-generation Québécois, therefore his parents would have spoken with a French accent).
- Two of the Captain Kidd missions take place in the Northwest Passage and Oak Island.
- Cast of Snowflakes: In sharp contrast to the earlier games as well as the follow-ups - Black Flag, Rogue, Unity, the game has several unique NP Cs outside the main fictional and historical characters. Every settler of the Homestead and all of the Assassin recruits have a distinct model and unique animations. The Encylopedia of Common Man side-mission has you follow and trace every unique animation coded into the NP Cs at the Homestead and there are several varieties.
- Cats Are Mean: Cougars and bobcats can be found in the frontier. They'll attack you and any other humans they run across, in addition to hunting down prey animals. Not to mention the stray cats you find wandering around everywhere won't let you pet them.
- Cheat Code: Finishing the game unlocks a mini-storyline about a team of hackers hacking into the Animus, which allows you to unlock Cheat codes that give you various things like infinite ammo or changing the weather.
- Chekhov's Gunman:
- In the opening opera house scene, the little boy whom Haytham Kenway gestures to be quiet to is Duncan Little, who would eventually go on to be one of Connor's Assassin recruits.
- In Sequence 1, the boat that (apparently) sinks in the storm while tailing Haytham is implied to be the Aquila, which Connor later repairs and captains.
- The Chessmaster: The Assassins and Templars are playing their usual game of Xanatos Speed Chess against each other as they derail each other's plans, but the true chessmaster is Juno, who sabotaged Minerva's plan millennia before it had even started to be put into action and is single-handedly responsible for the Assassin vs Templar conflict keeping everyone too busy to save the world. The reason for this was to set up a situation where either the world would be devastated and then restart its old cycle of fanaticism and violence, or she would be set free to take over the world.
- Collapsing Lair: Several, usually caused by copious amounts of gunpowder. Most notable one is the literal load-bearing treasure left behind by Captain Kidd at Oak Island. Another load-bearing treasure is Achilles's original Assassin costume, hidden in an unstable underground cavern.
- Climax Boss: The climactic fight with Haytham is the only thing that resembles a proper "boss" fight in the main campaign, and takes place very close to the end of the game (although there's still one more mission to go that involves dealing with the Non-Action Big Bad). That said, it's very much a Puzzle Boss fight and fairly simple.
- Confusion Fu: According to the Battle of Bunker Hill's database entry, unintentionally done by the Continental Army. Their organization and communication was rather poor, causing some units to arrive in different places at different times with no idea what to do. General Howe saw some of these units and assumed that they were freshly arriving reinforcements, causing him to hold his deployment back until his own reinforcements could arrive. Unfortunately for the Redcoats, this gave the Continental Army more time to dig-in and construct more fortifications, turning what would have been a mop-up into a drawn out meat-grinder.
- Shaun says in the same entry that he's thinking about using this technique himself by shouting about tables at people who start at him until they give up in confusion.
- Continuity Nod:
- When Cross goes insane in the final encounter with him, he begins shouting in Russian, as a reference to his ancestor from Assassin's Creed: The Fall and its sequel, Assassin's Creed: The Chain.
- When Desmond infiltrates Abstergo's headquarters, if you activate Eagle Vision, you will see that Clay's (Subject 16's) blood writings are still all over the lab.
- The Rope Dart was created by Shao Jun.
- Remember Leonardo's flying machine? It makes another appearance, though it's not quite so successful this time around.
- Controllable Helplessness:
- You control Connor during his walk to the gallows in Sequence 9, but you can only go forward, and you can't control the camera.
- During his assault on Fort George in Sequence 11, Connor is caught in a cannonball blast and spends the rest of the mission dealing with what appears to be a concussion. He can't run and can barely fight.
- In Sequence 12, Connor is severely injured in a fall, and can only hobble in pursuit of Charles Lee.
- Cool Ship: The Aquila, the "Ghost of the North Seas", the former Assassin flagship which Connor restores to her former glory.
- Cosmic Deadline: The plan for the Assassin's Creed trilogy of games was to bring Desmond's story to a close by the end of the year 2012, to play off the end of the Mayan calendar as an impending apocalypse that the world in general does not take seriously, but the Assassins must try to prevent. To this end, there was a rush to get Assassins Creed III out the door by a particular date important to the story. While Ubisoft did a commendable job, the result is some rough elements that they did not have time to polish out. See Obvious Beta on this page for more detail.
- Creator In-Joke: The inn at the Homestead is called the Mile's End. You'd have to be very familiar with Montreal and the location of the Ubisoft Montreal studio to know that it's located in a neighborhood called... the Mile-End. Also, Foreshadowing to Desmond's death at the end.
- Creepy Child: Both New York and Boston are infested with random trios of "orphans," whose entire purpose is similar to that of the "beggars" in previous games: To jump out and obstruct your path until you get pissed enough, chucking coins at them so they'll go away. But the creepy part comes in after you run into them a few times, and realize that their character model has only one sound associated with it...Which is a repetitious, bizarre, wordless whoop-and-giggle combo that rapidly becomes extremely unsettling. So much so that you'll find yourself doing just about anything to avoid hearing it.
- Cultural Posturing: Shaun is not shy about taking potshots at the American Educational System and history when writing the database entries, often implying Desmond's lack of education or intelligence in the process. It is mostly Played for Laughs though, as Shaun says he is unsure if Desmond is even reading them, so he has to find some way to amuse himself. Although if you take time to talk with him, they do have serious debates about these issues on occasion.
- Culture Clash:
- Played for Laughs when Connor sets out to assassinate William Johnson in Sequence 6. Kanen'tó:kon gives Connor a hatchet, which he plants into the side of the Homestead. Achilles chews him out, but Connor explains that the Mohawk plant a hatchet into a post when going to war, and remove it when it is finished.
Achilles: You could have used a tree!
- Haytham expects Connor to give him automatic deference as his father. Connor is from a matriarchal culture and doesn't care.
- Cutting the Knot: Haytham tries to find another way into Church's home. Lee simply kicks the door open.
- Cutscene Boss:
- After a long chase that ends in a burning ship under construction at the dockyard, Charles Lee is shot in a cutscene by the wounded Connor. And it still takes a long trip to the inn Lee fled to and a second cutscene to finally kill him.
- Warren Vidic, likewise, is killed off in a Press X to Not Die scene.
- Cutscene Incompetence:
- No matter how well he does in gameplay, Connor tends to get beaten down in cutscenes with great regularity.
- In the final storyline naval mission, the Aquila confronts a Man o' War not unlike the others that you've probably taken down with relative ease. However, its first volley manages to knock out all of the Aquila's cannons, forcing Connor to board it instead.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory:
- Blocking is changed to B/Circle/E instead of RT/R1/RMB. This is included with a handful of other minor changes (such as Connor automatically locking into combat), which can disgruntle long time fans who have had four games to grow used to the control style and now find themselves accidentally hammering the wrong button only to get hit. Blocking is just the most notable change considering how much the combat relies on counter moves.
- This also applies to multiplayer where you would stun pursuers with B/Circle/E, but now it's on X/Square.
- Don't forget map navigation on consoles! In every other game in the series, the left stick moves the map and the right stick zooms in/out. Now the right stick moves the map, the shoulder triggers zoom in and out, and the left stick opens up a Ring Menu which customizes markers. It's a really good system once you get used to it, but it'll take a while for series vets to adjust.
- Countering is done by tapping B/Circle/E at the right time instead of holding it down and then pressing X/Square/LMB at the right time. Pickpocketing is holding down B/Circle/E rather than tapping A/X/Spacebar, with A/X/Spacebar now just used to fast walk and gently push.
- The fact that B/Circle/E was previously used to help Ezio make his way through crowds without stumbling led many players to hold the button constantly as you move about the streets. The fact that this action now causes you to start randomly pickpocketing people in front of you means you'll spend a lot of time accidentally getting into fights until you learn to stop holding the button.
- Dark Reprise: A more somber version of the main theme plays whenever Connor assassinates a Templar.
- Darker and Edgier: To the franchise as whole:
- The Ezio games are Lighter and Softer despite the high body count and Trauma Conga Line undergone by Ezio. Also, both Altair and Ezio have the luxury of definite victories since they belong to cultures which are stable and near their peak, whereas for Connor, his goal of trying to protect his village, and by extension halting the spread of the American frontier, can only lead to Failure Is the Only Option which makes his game feel very grim and dark and with a real sense of Pyrrhic Victory in his hunt against the Templars. His ethnicity and mentions of Sam Adams's slave Surry also emphasize how hollow the Patriots' espoused freedom really is as the likes of him and Achilles are still not entirely free.
- The overall Gray and Gray Morality of the Assassins vs Templars conflict and the theme of compromise makes this overall a sadder and more grim experience reinforced by the dark conclusion of the present day story when Desmond finds that his destiny is to merely enable the return of an Eldritch Abomination and he has to make another compromise, at the risk of his life.
- Deadly Lunge: Aggressive animals will lunge at Connor if he gets too close, forcing him to perform a sequence of Action Commands to counter. If the counter fails, you take damage and have to either counter again (for bears and elk), or button-mash to throw them off (for cougars, bobcats, and wolves). Bears and elk also take more than one successful counter to bring down and will continue lunging until either they or Connor are dead.
- Deadpan Snarker: Shaun and Haytham. Rebecca tells the former to back off on the snarking during the outside missions, however.
- Decoy Protagonist: The first three Sequences are played as Haytham Kenway, Connor's father.
- Deflector Shields: One of the technologies perfected by the First Civilization was a personal forcefield (a limited version of which you can obtain for Connor in a sidequest). One of the "methods of salvation" they attempted was to scale this up to a planetary shield, which they lacked the energy to accomplish.
- Determinator: Connor in the finale. Not only does he go to outrageous lengths to find Charles Lee following his escape, but continues until he kills him despite the fact he is barely standing and bleeding heavily following impalement. Charles Lee can be probably be considered one at that point as well, since he's still going after being shot.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
- In Sequence 3, trek over to Fort Duquesne. Yeah, those are French soldiers, who only appear in exactly one other mission the entire game.
- Firing a gun near goats will cause them to faint; this references the so-called "fainting goats", a group of goats with a mutation that causes their muscles to freeze when they are startled.
- Deus ex Machina:
- The proposed salvation of the Earth plays to the original usage of the term, as it is quite literally a god intervening to stop the Sun from wiping out humanity. It is also literally a god emerging from a machine.
- The assault on Abstergo is resolved only by Desmond's use of the Apple, a plot point that is foreshadowed in such a way that one can easily miss it.
- Diabolus Ex Machina: At the very end, we learn that Juno's proposed "salvation" of the world comes at a cost — namely that she will attempt to use the power of the Grand Temple's Lost Technology to Take Over the World and recreate the First Civilization, thus making the Assassins' work something of a Pyrrhic Victory.
- Didn't Think This Through: Connor's inability to think beyond his next kill is repeatedly condemned by his enemies, and the fact that part of the Templars' plan was to preserve Native American land and negotiate a peaceful end to the war, when it is a Foregone Conclusion that neither will succeed, shows just how serious the consequences of this are.
- Dirty Old Man: Benjamin Franklin shows shades of this. His conversation with Haytham is a paraphrased version of a letter he wrote extolling the virtues of a having an older mistress, so there's some Truth in Television there.
- Don't Explain the Joke: One of Shaun's database entries relates a tale of how the Clutterbuck brothers were convinced to sign on a ship's crew after hearing a sailor boast about the power of his "cannon" and misunderstood the euphemism. Shaun then goes on to explain the euphemism with further euphemisms for several sentences, before finally dropping the euphemisms altogether. He closes the log saying that he will explain the euphemism again later in case Desmond did not get it the first time.
- Doomed Hometown: Double Subverted. Connor's village is razed during his early years, leading him to the Assassins in a search for justice. However, it is rebuilt and is alive well into Connor's Assassin career. And then at the end, his people are forced off their lands by the colonists.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Some Native American women and a majority of the women in Brazil are barefoot.
- Downer Ending: At the beginning of the game, when your targets call you naďve when you're about to kill them, Connor scoffs them off. By the end, it all makes sense because it is revealed many of the Templars are WellIntentionedExtremists, like John Pitcairn. He knew that a war would result in colonists getting killed and thus was tried his best to parley and prevent a Revolutionary War from being triggered. Killing him didn't just stop the Templars, it also signed the death sentence for many fellow colonists and soldiers. William Johnson was convinced that the currently amicable colonists would turn on the Natives once they were finished with the British, hence why he threatened the Mohawk chiefs to accept Templar control. Seeing him call Connor's naivete out is gut-wrenching, especially if you know what happens to the Natives once Americans began going West. The Templars' accusation of naďvete suddenly makes sense. And if you choose to do the homestead missions Achilles dies. It's bitter to say the least.
- Drowning My Sorrows: After the Aquila was decommissioned and the Assassins all but wiped out, Robert Faulkner fell to drinking. He sobers up once Connor promises to give him a job again.
- Dual Wielding:
- The combat system has been revamped to allow Connor to wield multiple weapons and fight with two weapons at once at all times. The promotional art depicts him holding his iconic tomahawk and a pistol, and he has access to double Hidden Blades, like Ezio Auditore, with one Hidden Blade now detachable for use as a short knife.
- Desmond wields a combat knife alongside his Hidden Blade during his one man assault on Abstergo HQ.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?:
- James Barrett calls Connor a boy and initially asks him to get out of the way of the fighting.
- When talking about going after Pitcairn, Sam Adams doubts Connor's ability, saying that a thousand troops stand in the way. You should have cut down hundreds by now...
- Israel Putnam doubts Connor's ability to do the impossible. And he doesn't just doubt once, but twice in rapid succession.
Connor: I expect an apology on my return.
- Dull Surprise: Connor. Justified, since English is his second language and so he often speaks very formally and in a monotone because he is still thinking through what to say.
- Easing Into the Adventure: We spend the first three Sequences as Haytham, and it's a full three more for Connor to grow up and learn all the ropes—hunting, notoriety, the economy system, ship captaining and more. The process is slow, but designed to help players learn all the systems at work before throwing them to the wolves, literally as well as figuratively.
- Eleventh Hour Superpower:
- In the Abstergo mission, Desmond steals Daniel Cross' silenced handgun, which can one-shot the guards. Never before has a simple semi-automatic pistol felt so empowering.
- In the final part of Desmond's assault on Abstergo, he's able to use the Apple to get guards to kill themselves.
- Elite Mooks:
- Officers can block armed combos and counter unarmed ones when they're wielding their sword. They can also counter your counter kill attempts even without it and pack a pistol.
- Grenadiers and Highlanders wield large axes and able to counter Connor's counter attacks. If you don't learn to use defense breakers or to disarm them first, you'll learn to run away very fast.
- Scouts pack knives and are pretty hard to get away from, even if you take to the rooftops. They can counter defense breaks and disarm attempts.
- Hessian Jägers are the most dangerous. They are extremely skilled swordsmen, can pull out their pistols at half the speed of an Officer and can only be countered with a disarm attack, a lucky back stab or shooting first, they block and counter everything else. Once you hit notoriety level 3, they begin spawning every thirty feet. Also, Fort Captains are always Jägers, so be stealthy or prepared for a rough fight. In addition, while Jägers can be killed by a single bullet if you are stealthed, shooting them while you are in open conflict with them just causes them to stagger back and look down at their chest for a moment. While this does give you a good opening to finish them off, if you assume that they are dead and move on to another target, you can be in for a nasty surprise.
- Enemy Mine: Quite a few missions have Connor teaming up with Haytham, the Grand Master of the Templars in America.
- Escort Mission: Numerous, but by far the worst one is where you must defend a fleet of 8 merchant ships against 4 capital ships. The merchant ships excel in getting in front of your course and your firing line. They also appear to be suicidal, as even if you immobilize one of the enemy ships, they will happily sail right in front of its cannons.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Although it isn't played straight as Connor is generally considered a good guy, even if you haven't done anything "wrong" in front of a dog, it may start barking at you, and grab a nearby enemy patrol's attention.
- Face Death with Dignity: Charles Lee and Connor are both too wounded to fight in their final confrontation. They silently sit together, share a drink, and then Connor stabs him.
- Faceless Mooks:
- Several Redcoats wear scarves that obscure most of their faces. As damage grunts imply, some of them may be Sweet Polly Olivers.
- The Jägers are also wearing scarves, which adds to their menacing appearance.
- Father Neptune: Robert Faulkner is an old navy sea dog in service of the Assassins who was decommissioned along with the Aquila. When Connor offers to renew his services, he proceeds to help recruit a new crew and seems to enjoy bossing them around. He is also stated to have an uncanny ability to predict the weather.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Connor's relative naivete and earnestness, his anger issues and many other flaws only reinforces the fact that he's doomed to fail to protect his village and halting the spread of the frontier. His victories, turning the Homestead into a proper community, rebuilding the Aquila, seem very hollow in comparison, at least for him.
- Also his hoped for goal of resolving, even temporarily, the Templar-Assassin conflict in service of the greater good and forming a bond with his father Haytham.
- Final Exam Boss: Both Charles Lee and Daniel Cross serve as these for Connor and Desmond respectively. Charles Lee's assassination is an intense obstacle course testing the player's reflexes and free-running skills. Cross' assassination is much more open, but it requires skill at tracking enemies through dynamic environments and at traversing complex platforms and pathways. However, in neither case do you actually engage the target in a fight.
- The Final Temptation: Subverted for Desmond Miles. Sure, following Minerva's advice would involve burning and effectively rebooting the world. But Desmond himself would survive to become that new world's hero and messiah. He would even be seen as a god in due time after his death. Unfortunately, this would also involve his would-be work turning on its head as history repeats itself and the Templar-Assassin war begins anew. Desmond instead opts for the relatively lesser evil: Juno.
- First Episode Spoiler: Haytham Kenway, Connor's father, is a Templar, and you control him for the first three sequences before switching to Connor.
- Follow the Leader: The re-worked combat mechanics own a lot to the "free flow" combat style popularized by recent hits such as the Batman Arkham Series.
- Foregone Conclusion: The historicity of the events surrounding the American Revolutionary War makes the outcome of much of the game's plot rather obvious. Even if you don't know the history, the Animus database tells you all about it and unlocks the ability to read about events as they happen.
- Shaun hangs a lampshade on the fact that the Continental Army succeeds and George Washington lives to be the first President of the United States, by referring to that conclusion as a "spoiler alert" in a database entry.
- Anyone with even a vague grasp of history knows that the Iroquois Confederacy (of which Connor's tribe is a member) is forced off their lands by colonial expansion, making Connor's quest to protect them in vain.
- In the early parts of the game, there are a lot of subtle hints that Haytham is a Templar, such as the similarity of the council to Templar councils, the emphasis on the "weapons" in the Precursor vault, the use of a single assassin to try and kill Haytham on the Providence (he uses white chalk on the barrels), lots of emphasis on order and purpose, calling their organization an "Order" rather than a "Brotherhood", Haytham and his colleagues being quite callous (Thomas Hickey in particular stands out as a crude, boorish drunk), and the ring that Haytham takes from Braddock. Also, he has no qualms about threatening to kill the captain just for insulting him, whereas an Assassin would not harm an innocent, and the subtle fact that he doesn't pay his respects to Braddock upon killing him as Altair or Ezio would have done and just takes his ring and leaves.
- There is much evidence that Juno hates humans and wants a return to "how things were before," with humanity at the first civilization's feet. So, it's unsurprising that she betrays you and plans to conquer humanity.
- Desmond's use of the Apple of Eden at Abstergo is foreshadowed very lightly in the introduction and in Juno's exposition segments. In fact, it's likely to make complete sense only if you've played the previous games.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With/Rule of Symbolism: During Connor's Crystal Ball Samba, Juno deliberately gives Connor the form of an eagle because of its relevance to Native culture, as well as its association with the Assassins, especially the line of Altaďr.
- Freak Out: Daniel Cross has one of these right before he's about to shoot Desmond, apparently due to the Bleeding Effect finally overcoming him, with strong hints that the Apple is involved. Desmond has to chase him down to finish him off.
- Friendly Enemy: Connor and Haytham's interactions give off this vibe sometimes. They work together when their interests align on occasion, and Haytham constantly tries to connect with his son and turn him to the Templars despite the fact that they are on the opposite sides.
- From Bad to Worse: The Assassins manage to stop the Templars' plan and avert the destruction of the world, but now Desmond is dead and Juno is free to take over the world.
- Game Within a Game: Connor can play Fanorona, Morris, Bowls, and Checkers.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation:
- With elements of Mood Whiplash: It can be somewhat jarring to go from the many side and some story missions where Connor's kindness, generosity and respect for human dignity are on display in fine form in his expressions, choices, and dialogue — to usual combat gameplay, which is amazingly brutal.
- Finishing certain optional objectives "out of order" will trigger cutscenes wherein NPC's comment on things that haven't happened yet, or speaking of things that HAVE already happened as if they're still imminent.
- The optional objectives are supposed to represent the exact method that Connor completed the missions, but some of them seem to defy any kind of common sense solution for the sake of providing a good challenge.
- Genre Savvy: Charles Lee exhibits this. At one point, Thomas Hickey protests about offing George Washington in the presence of Connor (who is in jail); Lee cuts him off, saying that he would discuss it elsewhere.
- Global Currency: In the database, it mentions that Colonial America's traders traded in an absurd number of different currencies, which the Animus has simplified into just British Pounds for Desmond's (and the player's) convenience.
Shaun: You're welcome!
- Grey and Gray Morality:
- Templars and Assassins fight on both sides of the war, and the relative morality of the two factions comes into play to a much greater degree than in Ezio's story. Similarly, neither the Colonials nor the British are portrayed as wholly good or evil; in the official trailer, Connor observes that the Colonials may be in it for their own freedom, but not necessarily for his. Bonus points for Washington himself ordering the destruction of Connor's village.
- During their "final words" scene, Connor's assassination targets tend to say something along the lines of "What have you done!? I was just trying to help! Now more people will die!", which is more in line with how they were in the first game. They seek to control, but also to protect humanity, mostly from itself, whereas the Assassins are slipping from trying to encourage people to better themselves, to doggedly harassing the Templars because they don't know how to do anything else. Connor, to his credit, is aware of this and can see both sides of the picture.
- Groin Attack:
- Connor can finish off incapacitated opponents with a groin kick.
- Connor punches Haytham in the 'nads in their final fight.
- Guide Dang It: The game avoids this in most cases by giving the option for the player to buy an in game map for collectibles, but it still has a habit of not showing certain things, like the last chest in Boston or some of the Liberation missions. The methods for achieving 100% Completion are in many cases anything but obvious, including a number of missions and locations that don't appear on the map at all, requiring either a guide or obsessive, almost foot-by-foot exploration.
- There are no hints that you can counter enemies using your gun, which is unfortunate given how much more effective it is against most of those resistant to normal weapon counters.
- Gun Fu: Some multiplayer characters have the option of equipping a normally cumbersome flintlock musket, which (for the sake of balance) is used as a mix of being fired, thrown, as a spear, and juggled between punches.
- Guns Akimbo: Connor can wield dual pistols. Justified, as before the invention of internal magazines, pistols were limited to one shot per barrel before they had to reload, which was a rather involved process, so for those with the means it was often a good idea to carry more than one. That was the only realistic way to sequentially fire several shots without pausing to reload in the middle of combat.
- Guns Are Worthless:
- While Connor can One-Hit Kill most enemies with guns, the same cannot be said in reverse; even a full musket volley only takes off a decent sized chunk of his health. Later in the game, he can acquire a hidden item that can deflect bullets, making them even more worthless against him.
- When Desmond confronts Abstergo security officers during his missions, their pistols are harmless to him, dealing no apparent damage if they even hit at all. Of course, when Desmond gets his hands on a pistol late in the game, he can immediately one-shot all the guards.
- Half-Breed Discrimination:
- Connor is looked down upon by quite a few people on both sides of the war for his heritage, though the Assassins, his village and several other sympathetic characters don't.
- Juno towards humans, some of whom are half-breeds of humans and precursors.
- Handshake Refusal:
- Haytham refuses to shake the hand of Louis Mills the first time they meet. No explanation is given, but it's implied to be a class issue; Haytham is a British aristocrat and Mills is a working class sailor, so Haytham probably regards a handshake as beneath him.
- Connor is a more justified example; he was raised among Native Americans, who consider it taboo to touch someone you don't know, so he Hates Being Touched. He turns down an offer of a handshake with John Adams, though he does grow to accept a handshake as an acceptable greeting once he's spent some time living amongst the colonists.
- Hates Being Touched: Connor reacts very poorly to hugs, shoulder claps, and similar "familiar" behavior from the Colonists he meets. Sam Adams has to show him how to shake hands. Even late in the game, he reacts to pats on the shoulder with a Death Glare. People who are familiar with him grow to recognize this. He becomes less averse to it as the Homestead Missions go on, as he begins to see the other people on the Homestead as a family.
- Headless Horseman: The Horseman appears as a side quest for Connor to disprove is real. He finds the Horseman is indeed real.
- The Hedonist: Thomas Hickey, unlike most of the other Templars that Connor assassinates, is not in it for their principles or ideals; he just goes along with them because they pay well. All he wants out of life is girls and booze, and his Motive Rant to Connor is all about how he, unlike the Assassin, can have what he wants. That is, until Connor kills him.
- He Had a Name: While out of the Animus, Desmond can start a conversation with Rebecca, during which she'll refer to Subject 16. Desmond immediately cuts her off.
Desmond: His name was Clay.
- Historical-Domain Character: Up to 80% of the characters appearing in the game are based on real people.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: After concocting the plan to distract a fort by bombarding it from the sea, Connor doesn't get far before he's caught in a blast from one of his own cannonballs, severely concussing him.
- Hollywood Healing: Subverted — late in the game, Connor gets caught in a blast that takes him a long while to recover from, and then later impales himself accidentally and requires a vast amount of time to recover.
- Hostage For Macguffin: Late in the game, William is captured by Abstergo, and Warren Vidic offers to trade him for the Apple, setting up a Storming the Castle scenario which Desmond turns into Be Careful What You Wish For.
- Hypocrite: Connor states this about the Colonists for wishing for freedom yet owning slaves. It is actually because of this viewing that Connor suggests trying to reach a truce with the Templars.
- Hypocritical Humor/Motive Rant: After you kill Cross, Vidic begins ranting about how you're dooming the world with your actions, how Cross (who we'd witnessed shooting up a VIP box full of innocents, which included a fellow Templar's wife) was a true hero, and that Desmond's really the evil one and the Templars are the one who are justified.
- Idiot Ball: Warren Vidic kidnaps Desmond's father, and demands Desmond trade the Apple for his life. His terms are that the Apple be handed over by an Assassin in person at Abstergo's Italian headquarters — seemingly forgetting that the Apple lets the wielder mind control other people. This does not end well for anyone at Abstergo, least of all for him. Didn't Think This Through doesn't even begin to describe it.
- If We Get Through This: Near the end, Desmond and his fellow Assassins start to talk about what they will do after the solar flare is stopped.
- Impairment Shot: There are two scenes in which Connor is concussed or recovering from a concussion; the game liberally applies blur and slow-motion effects, and Connor visibly staggers.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
- Some of the Bayonet executions have Connor ramming the bayonet straight through his target.
- There's an environmental/stealth kill where Connor rams the victim's head into a pitchfork on a rack of tools.
- Connor is impaled by a piece of wood while chasing down Lee. He lives but the effects of the injury stay with him even after a few years.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Apparently the training of Abstergo security officers involves wielding semi-auto pistols like flintlocks, and being unable to hit a human target at two paces. They are remarkably good at shooting each other, though. Desmond's carrying the Apple, though, so he may have some precursor-tech protection going on there, like the ring Connor can find, which, note, is referred to as a "Shard of Eden".
- Important Haircut: In the final act, Connor gives himself a mohawk; this was a tradition among his people, later adopted/popularized by American soldiers in Vietnam, whence it worked its way into popular culture in the seventies and eighties.
- Improvised Zipline: Although not a game mechanic, Connor does use his tomahawk to slide down a slanted rope during a cutscene.
- Infant Immortality: Unlike earlier games in the series, there are plenty of children around; however, they cannot be harmed in gameplay. Domestic animals like cows, pigs, and chickens can be harmed, but it causes Connor to desynchronize if done too often.
- Infinity–1 Sword: The replica of Major General Lincoln's sword.
- Infinity+1 Sword: Any combination of the replica of George Washington's sword, the War Tomahawk and Obwandiyag's War Club, the "Broken Sword" knife and the Pitcairn-Putnam (one shot, most effective pistol at either short or long range), French Coat (two shots, incredibly strong at short range) and Royal (two shots, balanced between short and long range effectiveness) flintlock pistols will make combat much easier.
- Insistent Terminology:
- Faulkner insists that the Aquila is a ship, not a boat, and that you call a ship a "she". Connor catches on after a few corrections.
- Godfrey wants Terry to know that there's a difference between a tribe and a confederation, you totty-headed twiddle-poops.
- Interface Spoiler: Inverted during the first three chapters. When you're playing as Haytham, there are no Assassin symbols in the game world, neither on your faction nor on your enemies. That would perhaps make you suspicious, but the GUI still contains the regular amount marking for example your allies. Of course, the Animus GUI is designed by Rebecca who thinks that Desmond is playing an Assassin.
- I Regret Nothing: In Haytham's final words to Connor:
Don't think I have any intention of caressing your cheek and saying I was wrong. I will not weep, and wonder what might have been.
I'm sure you understand.
- It Always Rains at Funerals: At both Haytham's and Achilles'.
- Item Crafting: A lot more involved than the bomb-crafting of the past, too. You need to set up a bunch of other people in your Homestead (basically, the countryside around your manor) before you can even begin to craft, since they provide you with resources and are the ones who actually turn those resources into weapons (or other tradeable materials).
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Haytham Kenway, whose friendly but snarky interactions with Connor is only to turn him into the Templar ways. And when the latter finally goes against him, he drops the facade.
Haytham: Even when your kind appears to triumph, still, we rise again. And, do you know why? It is because the Order is born of a realization. We require no creed! No indoctrination by desperate, old men. All we need is that the world be as it is. And this is why the Templars will never be destroyed!
- The Joys Of Torturing Mooks: Connor's kills are even more brutal than previous playable Assassins. Notable among his implements of murder is the rope dart, which can be used to hang enemies from trees, Predator style (it's even referred to as a Predator move in-game!), and you get an achievement for doing it. 100% Completion also requires that you perform such actions as killing enemies with every type of weapon in the game and killing a certain powerful enemy type with their own weapon.
- Justified Tutorial:
- The Animus provides an inherent justification for its tutorial elements, as it is explicitly teaching Desmond how to navigate the memories.
- Playing as an experienced character for the first three memory sequences provides ample room for the player to learn how to master all the Assassin skills. There are some missions where Haytham demonstrates his skills to characters who are not familiar with his repertoire.
- The introduction to tracking is shown as a young Connor playing a game of hide and seek, and the introduction to tree-running and hunting is shown as a teenage Connor teaching his friend the ropes.
- The introduction to naval combat is a teenage Connor learning the skills of navigating and fighting from a veteran sailor.
- Kill Streak: Plays this straighter than the previous two games. Some Elite Mooks that are normally immune to the One-Hit Kill chain from an existing foe will turn vulnerable if you rack up enough kills, or disarm them, first.
- Konami Code: If Connor leans against a wall of Achilles's house and whistles, a wild turkey appears. If the player then enters the Konami Code, the turkey gains a hood and becomes... an Assassin Turkey.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: Somewhat downplayed. The opening cutscene spoils the major details of the overarching plot (ancient civilization, Abstergo = Templars, planet about to get fried by the Sun, etc) but it actually avoids the major spoilers of the individual games. For example, Cesare Borgia is shown as the leader of the Templars, probably because he's the only Big Bad whose identity isn't a spoiler.
- Left Hanging: The "Eve" sub-plot from the end of Brotherhood seems to have been dropped, as Desmond completes his journey without it ever coming up. Then again, it turns out Juno is actually evil, so it's possible she was lying or needed to give an excuse for killing Lucy. Assassin's Creed III: Liberation addresses this at its ending — apparently Eve led the humans in the war against the Precursors.
- Le Parkour: As the setting lacks the tall urban environments of the previous games, this game adds "tree-running" to the Assassin skill set. As trees are not typically shaped in right-angle boxes like buildings, programming this was a new hurdle for Ubisoft and it's the reason their main team worked on Assassin's Creed III' for three years while Ezio's games were developed with the older Assassin's Creed II engine.
- Limit Break:
- These are what kill chains are for. As you kill more and avoid any damage, you can start just murderizing more advanced enemies in one stroke, with each kill getting flashier than before. You get to the point where you can kill Grenadiers in one strike, who are normally immune to combos.
- Possible in the "Wolfpack" co-op mode through sync-kills; meeting difficult circumstances with 2+ players prompts a Finishing Move wherein the players quickly dispatch a group in style through coordinated flips, weapon juggling, and dodging.
- Lock and Load Montage: In the final act, Connor not only gears back up, but adds war paint, gets an awesome haircut and leaves his hood down, possibly suggesting that this time It's Personal.
- Losing the Team Spirit: True to historical reports, many of the militia at the Battle of Lexington and Concord ran for the hills when the shooting started. Connor is among them, but he's running to Concord under orders to warn the others.
- Luck-Based Mission: While every mission can be reliably have its core objectives completed by player skill alone, sometimes the optional objectives (which are required for 100% Completion) can depend completely on luck. Particularly, this is the case when they depend on the enemy A.I. being cooperative, such as lining up so that the player can take them out under a strict par time which would be impossible if they choose to be more dispersed, or when the player must execute particular actions within a time limit in the middle of a panicked crowd who push and shove randomly and where some enemies are rarely susceptible to said actions.
- Luke, You Are My Father: Connor knows everything about his father—his mother and his mentor tell him everything. Haytham doesn't even know he has a son.
- Made of Plasticine: Under the right conditions, you can kill your enemies with a single kick without using your weapons.
- The Marvelous Deer: One of the hunting sidequests involves hunting a deer which, according to all the hunters who've tried to bring it down, is Immune to Bullets.
- The Maze: There are elaborate tunnel mazes underneath Boston and New York, built by the Masons. Navigating them unlocks more fast-travel options. Tons of maze-related tropes are included, such as Door to Before.
- One of the Gamestop pre-order bonuses is a single player mission called "Lost Mayan Ruins", where Captain Kidd has buried treasure and his favorite saw-toothed sword. Unlike most examples of this trope, it's not full of Bamboo Technology or spike pits. The danger comes from the fact that the pyramid is falling to pieces after two thousand years of disuse, and generally speaking its architecture is pretty normal.
- Magical Native American: Like his ancestors and Desmond, Connor has the Eagle Vision ability, but is otherwise an ordinary if very skilled fighter. The Alternate History DLC plays this straight with the abilities granted by the Great Willow tea. However, since it's not clear if Connor is dreaming all this, this may just be a figment of his imagination, especially since the Great Willow is not there in the "normal" reality. So far, Connor can:
- Become invisible in plain sight (he can run up to a guy, kill him, run away, and everyone will just wonder what happened to the guy who collapses) and summon a pack of spirit wolves to attack nearby enemies. The first ability is Cast From Hitpoints.
- Turn into an eagle and fly to any ledge or rooftop or person (for assassination). This ability is also Cast From Hitpoints.
- Ground Pound as a bear, killing anyone in the immediate area and damaging certain objects.
- Magical Negro: Achilles averts this. He fits the role plot-wise, but his personality is that of a Grumpy Old Sink-or-Swim Mentor, and he makes the young Connor work hard to earn his Assassin robes, and always goes out of his way to question Connor's true motives.
- Meaningful Name: The epilogue reveals that Achilles named Connor after his own deceased son.
- Meaningful Echo: After the battle at Lexington and Concord, Connor and James Barrett have a brief exchange:
Connor: It is not enough.
James Barrett: It never is.
- At the end of the game, he has a similar exchange with Juno, noting that safeguarding the Grand Temple key is a feeble achievement compared to what he hoped and sacrificed for in the course of The American Revolution:
- Mentor Occupational Hazard:
- A villanous example: Haytham dies trying to defend Charles Lee from Connor. Lee even exhibits The Hero characteristics (as in, promising to avenge him) when he meets Connor in Sequence 12.
- Averted with Achilles. He does die near the end of the game, but quietly and peacefully in a chair in his parlor, passing on from old age after living to see Connor become a successful Assassin and the Brotherhood beginning to rebuild in the Colonies.
- Mind Screwdriver: While Revelations answered many important questions about the Meta Plot, this game contains vast amounts of exposition about the schemes of the First Civilization, including an explanation of the "six methods of salvation" described at the end of the previous game. It seems that the writers consciously try to address every single fan question that's ever arisen. In typical Ubisoft fashion, though, the end adds another layer of Mind Screw to replace the ones that the game takes off.
- Miracle Food: In an optional conversation, Shaun reveals that, while poking around the Grand Temple, he found machines that manufacture manna, a bland but nutritious substance, evidently intended to keep the people of the First Civilization alive while sheltering there. He theorizes that this is the origin of the concept of ambrosia, and to the dismay of his companions, states that he tried some of it. According to him, it tastes like cardboard.
Rebecca: You ate something that came out of a seventy five thousand year old machine?
- Mixed Ancestry: Connor's father was a British immigrant and his mother was a member of the Mohawk nation.
- Moment of Silence: When you stab Charles Lee , not one word is shared between Connor and the victim. All the more notable because prior to this, every console entry for Assassin's Creed had a poignant dialogue between the assassin and the main villains.
- Money for Nothing: Once the Homestead is able to provide good animal furs and you have access to land convoys, you'll rarely have to worry about money again. Just buy as many pelts as you can and send them off to Boston or New York.
- Money Sink: It's possible to complete the entire game without upgrading the Aquila once. However, once you master the trading system, buying advanced ammo or a new rudder is the only thing preventing your coin purse from weighing you down.
- Mook Chivalry:
- Standard for the series, but played amazingly, stupidly straight with Abstergo goons. Entire groups of them will holster their fully-loaded 9mm pistols and pull out telescoping batons, then sequentially attack Desmond as he is finishing off the last group of guards who did the exact same thing.
- Occasionally averted by Revolutionary-era guards. They can form firing lines that can take off quite a bit of your health or have one grab you while another one attacks. Sometimes, up to 3 guards will attack Connor at the exact same time, though he can counter-kill all of them in a cinematic sequence if the player times it right.
- Mooks but No Bosses: There are no real major boss fights, unlike previous games in the series. Most of the assassination targets aren't even particularly skilled combatants. The only real exception is a Climax Boss fight against Haytham Kenway towards the end.
- More Than Mind Control: Desmond confesses (Late-Arrival Spoiler) that this was what he was under when he killed Lucy near the end of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, saying that it was not just mental domination, at some level he let it in, being shown visions of future betrayal which convinced him it needed to happen. He observes that this is in many ways what being under the influence of a Piece of Eden must be like.
- Motive Decay: Mentioned in-universe about the Assassins. While in Ezio's trilogy, it seemed the Templars had fallen from their original goal of benevolent control of mankind to simply wanting power for selfish motivations, it wasn't really pointed out that the Assassins weren't the lighter shade of grey they had been in Altair's time. Now with plenty of Sympathy for the Devil towards the Templars, the Assassins' fall from grace really gets highlighted. While Connor's enemies do most of the ranting about this, Rebecca has a conversation with Desmond in which she laments that it feels like killing people and nothing else is all the Assassins ever do. To be fair, Connor himself angrily calls Achilles out on this.
- Multinational Team:
- Most of the American Assassins are not part of the typical English immigrants who came to the New World. By the end of the 18th century the Assassins consist of (at a minimum) a British-Native American outcast (Connor), an English-Caribbean Badass Grandpa (Achilles), a French-Canadian rabble-rouser (Stephane Chapheau), an Irishman (Duncan Little), a former Hessian mercenary (Jacob Zenger), a Scot (Jamie Colley), an African ex-slave (Agate), and an African-French noble (Avéline). There's a frontier sharpshooter (Clipper Wilkinson) and a tomboyish girl (Dobby Carter) to make sure that the trope is not completely played against the stereotype, though.
- In the same way, the colonies as a whole are realistically portrayed as the multiracial, multicultural, multilingual hodgepodge they were. Though the English language would have sounded more like a slightly German-English version of Yosemite Sam than the modern dialect we hear in the game, the German shopkeepers, Dutch bystanders, indigenous warriors, and French workers were part and parcel of Colonial life.
- Mundane Made Awesome: You get an entire action-packed minigame to break up a fistfight. You need to continually apply pressure to 2 bars on 2 separate lines lest one bar reach the center and result in one opponent sucker-punching the other.
- Mundane Utility:
- Eagle Vision works great at picking your target out from a crowd and, as a young Connor found, making it easier to win at hide and seek.
- By the time the game is over, Connor will likely have used his hidden blade to kill and skin game far more often than he will have used it to assassinate people.
- Mushroom Samba: A teenage Connor undergoes this due to a Crystal Ball Piece of Eden. It is a vision guiding him to the Assassins, with the voice of Juno narrating. The strangest part of this is that Connor takes the form of an eagle, not a human.
- Never Bring A Knife To A Fistfight: The best way to deal with Officers and Jagers is to disarm them and use their own sword against them; you must be fighting unarmed to attempt this.
- Never Bring A Knife To A Gunfight:
- When Desmond and Daniel Cross face off for the last time, Cross mocks Desmond for using a knife in the modern era. Cross then conveniently has a Freak Out, after which Desmond takes his silenced pistol and takes the lesson to heart by gunning down Abstergo security guards.
- Abstergo's security guards avert this; for some reason they wield their guns like flintlocks instead of actual semi-automatic pistols, and prefer melee combat, letting Desmond beat them up with ease.
- In gameplay, trying to fistfight Officers and Jagers without disarming them first will get Connor countered and cut to bits. It also works to your benefit, though; Jagers and Grenadiers that would easily counter Connor to death if going weapon-to-weapon are much easier targets once Connor's the only one with a weapon.
- Never Trust a Trailer:
- An interesting example, where the developers have stated in every interview that the more jingoistic commercials for Assassin's Creed III were a huge pile of Blatant Lies, probably anticipating the backlash from non-American fans of the series. Turns out the developers were right.
- In a smaller example, in a media preview of Sequence 6, one cutscene showed the then-unnamed Kanen'tó:kon prominently and implied that he was Achilles. While it is an actual cutscene from the game, the real Achilles' lines were removed.
- The "Yet you fight. You resist. Why?" dialogue is in Achilles' voice in one trailer. It is said by Charles Lee in the game.
- Next Sunday A.D.: A near literal example. The game was released in North America on October 30, 2012 and Desmond's story opens... in North America, on October 30, 2012.
- New Media Are Evil: Shaun makes a crack about this in the database entry about The Beggar's Opera. Yes, even opera has been hit with this trope.
That bloody opera, corrupting our kids!
- New York State: Upstate New York (specifically, the Mohawk Valley) is a setting in the historical part of the game, and it's also where Desmond and company find themselves in the present day.
- Nice Hat: It's practically the golden age of nice hats. Tricorns are everywhere, plus other wide-brimmed hats and some bearskins.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If the Templars' post-assassination words are to be believed, Connor only made the Revolutionary War worse and more deadly for all involvednote . Furthermore, Connor siding with the Patriots despite urging his village to remain neutral and outside of the conflict backfires when his lifelong friend is convinced by Charles Lee that Connor is an enemy and is part of the impending Patriot attack on the village.
- Nintendo Hard: The game is perhaps the most difficult in the entire series to date. Particularly difficult segments include:
- The minigames. With the possible exception of bocce and checkers, many of the strategic boardgames have maddeningly difficult AI that's very unforgiving. One mistake can easily spell the foregone conclusion of a loss or draw, most notably in Fanorona where bad positioning can have your opponent perform up to five or six moves in a row to devastate your numbers.
- The optional objectives can range from readily achievable to noticeably more difficult than the base objectivenote to borderline random; fortunately, your prior optional objective progress for that mission is preserved even when you Reload(ing) From (the) Last Checkpoint, and doing so doesn't count against you for the purposes of the "do all of the above optional objectives in a single playthrough" optional objective.
- No Cutscene Inventory Inertia: Due to a bug, Connor sometimes randomly loses the pistol in the second holster after you have crafted it. He also occasionally loses some of his tools, like bait and/or arrows, for no explained reason.
- Not So Different: While all the games in the series have suggested that the Templars and Assassins seek similar goals with similar deadly means, this game makes it very blatant in various ways. For instance, you might not even realize you're playing as the Templars during the first three chapters of the game because they operate similarly to the Assassins and are led by a reasonable and affable anti-villain. Templar Haytham and Assassin Connor even team up while their interests align, and both Connor and Desmond contemplate a Templar-Assassin alliance to accomplish more together. Furthermore, the game is quick to point out that the Patriots aren't the perfect good guys either, with their actions benefiting whites but doing little for or even harming blacks and Native Americans. By the epilogue, Connor seems disillusioned with Commander Washington and the Patriot cause, disgusted by their railing against oppression whilst still supporting slavery and driving the natives out of their homelands.
- Nostalgia Level: The Abstergo headquarters in Rome is a perfect match to its appearance in the first and second games... and in Desmond's memories of it in Revelations. The markings on the floor of the Animus room left by Subject 16 are icing on the cake (although they do not exactly match their locations in the first game).
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Connor's motivation is to save his people and preserve their land, and he becomes an Assassin to that end. The American Revolution is more of a sidequest to him, and he sides with the Patriots because he believes that they will help him find and defeat the Templars who attacked his village. When he discovers that George Washington ordered the attack, all bets are offnote .
- Obvious Beta: The creation of an all-new game engine means that we have all-new bugs to encounter, like floating muskets, disappearing redcoats, Connor's second gun glitching out of existence, all of Connor's tools vanishing between saves, and so on. Some of the sidequests were apparently tacked on at the last minute without being finished too; courier missions and the Twenty Bear Asses missions have no in-universe justification whatsoever, just a guy who always says "You have my everlasting gratitude, sir!" and nothing else. They don't even take the items, so they pretty much gave you 1,000 pounds just to look at them.
- Obviously Evil: Post Time Skip Charles Lee, to the point of getting a facial makeover, complete with some nasty scarring.
- Offhand Backhand: Connor pulls one of these when countering an enemy attacking him from behind. Typically, this happens when he's attacking another enemy in front of him.
- Oh, Crap:
- The Templar at the end of the "Rise" trailer points his pistol at Connor after being shot in the shoulder with an arrow, but it misfires.
- Haytham's reaction to asking Connor to find something to pry open a door to escape a burning building, only to turn and find him preparing to charge both of them straight out the door.
- One-Man Army: In keeping with the tradition of the series, Connor can take on entire regiments of troops by himself and come out victorious. Developers note that this is partially because his brutal, in-your-face combat style is nothing that the European armies were trained for, being taken from the American-adopted guerrilla tactics begun by the Native Americans (with whom Connor grew up).
- One Steve Limit: Averted, there are at least three characters named Benjamin (Church, Franklin, Tallmadge).
- Pet the Dog: Literally, and some other animals too if you want. As a trope, Haytham is probably the least evil-seeming of the Templars, ever. In his sequences, he frees Mohawk slaves, rescues a man being tortured, chews out a ship captain for being an asshole to his crew, and assassinates a butcher of a general. It's all to forward his goal of getting into that vault, but it's not just a chess game to him; he really does want to help people in the long run.
- Playing The Player: The twist at the end of Sequence 3 is set up by the fact that throughout all previous games, you have always played as an Assassin. This causes you to cheerfully ignore the foreshadowing. The twist is further enhanced by the inversion of Interface Spoilers: You don't see any ingame Assassin symbols during the prologue. Well, maybe the assassins have finally figured out that a secret order shouldn't advertise its presence with a great honking flag - but you're still definitely playing as an Assassin since your GUI involves some Assassin symbols (marking your compatriots for example), right? Wrong - your GUI is written by Rebecca who also assumes that you're still embodying an Assassin. As always, Desmond speaks for the players; as soon as Haytham's true allegiance is revealed, the sequence abruptly stops with Desmond exclaiming "Wait, what!?"
- Plot Coupon: Finding the temple key is the only actual reason why Desmond would need to experience the memories of the two player characters. The power cells for the Grand Temple also function as this, justifying Desmond's excursions to New York, Brazil, and Italy.
- Point of No Return:
- You can't access the present day missions after the end of Sequence 12.
- Starting the first mission of sequence 11 locks you in and prevents any exploring or side missions until the post-game epilogue.
- Politically Correct History: Averted. This may be the era that invented the notion of "equal rights", but they're in their nascent form and it's going to take a hundred years or more for lawmakers to realize that equal rights apply to more than just white land-owners. The less-than-appealing traits of many historical figures are also on display and/or mentioned multiple times.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: While people calling Connor a "halfbreed" and a "savage" among other lovely epithets is certainly accurate to the times, it's noticeable that it's only done by people the writers want the player to dislike and feel okay about killing. (And makes it ever so satisfying to axe them to bloody bits.)
- Post-End Game Content: Beating the main memory sequence unlocks some epilogue missions and a hacking minigame.
- Powderkeg Crowd:
- Referenced by Achilles just before the Boston Massacre.
- You can cause riots in order to cover your movements, either by talking to specific groups of civilians or by using your Assassin Recruit abilities.
- Preacher Man: Father Timothy, one of the final residents to come and settle in the Davenport Homestead. He finds fulfillment in being the Good Shepherd to the townsfolk.
- Press X to Not Die:
- You need to press a random sequence of commands when countering the Deadly Lunges made by various animals.
- When piloting the Aquila, you press a command to take cover from incoming cannon volleys and rogue waves. In this case, it's "press X to not take damage".
- Prolonged Prologue: The first three sequences are played as Haytham Kenway, Connor's father. It isn't until Memory Sequence 5 that you control Connor and have full freedom to move around the Frontier.
- Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Some Elite Mooks can perform a combo breaker if you hit them several times in a row (unless you've broken their defenses beforehand), which also slightly hurts Connor.
- Purposely Overpowered: Midway through the Abstergo infiltration mission, Desmond gets a silenced semi-automatic pistol. There is no need to reload it and each shot is an instant kill, allowing you to mow down anything in your path. However, your time with the gun is brief because Desmond gets to use another Purposely Overpowered weapon — The Apple of Eden, which automatically forces all enemies to cower as he walks up to them and induces Psychic-Assisted Suicide on all of them at a press of a button. Your time with it is just as short.
- Puzzle Boss
- Climax Boss Haytham can only be defeated by smashing him into scenery objects. The game outright gives this away in a big text message the moment the fight begins.
- The Ropebeater of the Boston Brawlers has to be defeated in the same fashion. The difference is that the game does not give away the hint this time and the scenery objects are not obviously shown, making this a longer trial-and-desynchronization process.
- Pyrrhic Victory: In the present day, the Earth is saved, but Desmond dies in the process and unleashes a vengeful Physical God on the world. Back in the Revolutionary War, Connor kills the Templar leadership in the Colonies and the British have been driven out, but not everyone is free and his people have been driven from their village, forced to move west.
- Rabble Rouser: You can order your Assassin recruits to start riots. Stephane also starts in a fit of Unstoppable Rage while he's searching for the Redcoats who robbed his home.
- Ramming Always Works:
- The Aquila can ram enemy ships, which can sink smaller vessels and badly damage bigger ones depending on how fast both ships are going. Upgrading the Aquila with the Naval Ram increases the damage dealt. Watch out, though, they can ram the Aquila as well.
- In the battle of Chesapeake Bay, the Aquila is badly damaged and the only weapons she has left are her momentum and the Assassin onboard. Full sail ahead, boys!.
- Reality Ensues: The plot of the game as a whole provides a somewhat realistic answer to the question, "What happens to you if you go through life without a plan, counting on righteous justice to see you to victory?" (Hint: You wreck a lot of things, get beat up and betrayed a lot, and wind up failing in your original goal because it was doomed from the start.) The final two sequences also address the questions, "What happens when you try to fight in a fort that's being shelled?" (You get concussed by a near miss.) and, "What happens when you parkour inside a burning ship?" (You fall and get Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.)
- Reality Warper: Human minds, when coupled with the Pieces of Eden, can alter reality if enough of them are enthralled at once. The First Civilization attempted to use this to prevent the solar flare from destroying them, but they couldn't control enough minds at once to generate the effect on the scale they needed to prevent annihilation. The narrative teases players by hinting that this is what Abstergo might be attempting, but it turns out that Desmond got a vision of the future showing that it would fail.
- Refuge in Audacity: While stealth can be used as an option, you can run inside Templar-controlled forts through the front door, dash to the Hessian Jäger fort leader past the troops he was instructing, and assassinate him in front of them, all without a bit of subtlety.
- Regenerating Health: Connor's health regenerates spontaneously, like in Assassin's Creed I (no medicine). It regenerates very quickly out of combat, and at a much slower rate in combat. If you absolutely must, it is possible to break out of a fight and run around in circles or climb a tree until your health meter fills enough for you to continue.
- The Remnant: The Assassin Brotherhood doesn't have a large contingent in the Colonies, following some unspecified incident where they were wiped out by the Templars. It's down to, at the beginning, just an old man in a manor in the countryside, an old sailor with a wrecked ship and Connor. That's it.
- Rule of Cool: When talking about the combat animations with the tomahawk, developers say that they went over actual military maneuvers and tomahawk moves, but decided that they "weren't awesome enough", hence why Connor's fighting style is the way it is.
- Sadistic Choice: In the end, Desmond either has to let the world be wrecked beyond repair, essentially rebooting the planet with him as Messianic Archetype, only for a whole new order of Assassins and Templars to arise and begin the whole war all over again or save it at the cost of own his life but unleash Juno upon it. He chooses the latter.
- Savage Wolves: You can encounter them out in the countryside, typically in small packs.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: Connor is raised a hunter with Eagle Vision and he can stalk his prey anjd pick up tracks very quickly. He takes this to Sherlock Scan levels when he investigates several clues to unearth secrets in a room as well as reconstructing past events with a high degree of accuracy.
- Scenery Gorn: The AnvilNext engine allows for real-time destruction of environments within gameplay. This in turn allows the game to present such visual spectacles as an escape from a fort that's on fire, an escape from a sinking ship, and a mad dash through a town being shelled.
- Schmuck Bait: You can invoke this: Entering a hiding place gives you the ability to whistle, which lures guards to investigate, allowing you to easily take them out.
- Sequel Difficulty Spike: This game made all but the easiest enemy types able to block if not outright counter at least one of your attack moves. It's still manageable if you keep a clear head on your shoulders, but definitely tougher than Assassin's Creed: Revelations, where even the toughest Elite Mooks could only block attacks. On the highest level of Notoriety, a melee fight involves you facing several enemy archetypes at once, requiring different configurations on the fly, complicating the over-familiar One-Man Army tactics.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: It turns out that the Grand Temple is not only the place where The Ones Who Came Before stored all their Lost Technology, but also the place where Juno stored herself, waiting for Desmond to come along and let her out. And Juno doesn't want to save mankind; she wants to rule it.
- Series Continuity Error:
- A small one, but during one of Desmond's encounters with Juno in the Grand Temple, he is shown a vision of Ezio meeting Minerva beneath the Vatican, but in his Brotherhood-era Roman robes and not the Armor of Altair he was canonically wearing at the time.
- The intro movie has Ezio meeting Minerva while wearing his Revelations-era Pilgrimage robes.
- Settling the Frontier:
- The focus of the Homestead side quests, finding and encouraging people to come and settle near Achilles' manor, then helping them settle in and sort through their issues. They are far enough away from big cities that they need to pull together and depend on each other's skills and efforts, but close enough that they can trade. As new people come into the homestead and business operations are further developed, new buildings will go up and new people will walk the unpaved roads and go about their business.
- The progressive march of the American colonists into the frontier is what threatens the lifestyle of Connor's Mohawk tribe. In the end, for all his other victories he is doomed to fail at protecting them.
- Sequel Hook:
- Seven Years' War: Serves as the backdrop for the events of the first four memory sequences, although it's not explored in any great detail by the story.
- Shoot the Dog: Possibly literally. There are guard dogs you can silence and one mission involves rabid ones needing to be put down.
- One of the craftable weapons is a knife called the "Broken Sword". The Broken Sword series of adventure games featured a couple of storylines which dealt with the conflict between the Hashshashin and the Templars.
- The Gunstock Club weapon is a direct reference to Chingachgook's club in The Last of the Mohicans.
- One possible dialog if you happen to have a close brush with a city dweller is "What we have here is a failure to communicate".
- Shown Their Work:
- The development team went above and beyond the norm for historical events, showing the political figures Warts and All and even hiring consultants so they could accurately portray life in a Mohawk village.
- While expatriated now, during the 18th Century cougars and elk really could be found in the northeastern US.
- Shrouded in Myth: The Aquila is known as the "Ghost of the North Seas" and was rumored to be crewed by actual ghosts.
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: This could be the Central Theme of Assassin's Creed III. Juno puts it bluntly, when Connor laments that his efforts have not benefited his tribe.
"You strive for that which does not exist."
- The Slow Walk: Desmond and William's departure from Abstergo Industries Headquarters. Desmond also has the option to cause any guards in their way to commit Psychic-Assisted Suicide using Ezio's Apple, but this is optional.
- Small Steps Hero: Connor will always fight the Templar present at the moment, regardless of whatever "greater good" that Templar claims to be pursuing.
- Snow Means Death: The game takes place across all four seasons, with winter being the hardest to maneuver in for both Connor and his enemies. The gameplay trailers and related cover art make a point of showing Connor assassinating soldiers in the snow.
- Space Compression:
- Inverted for the cities. New York and Boston are stated to be about three times the size of their real counterparts of the period.
- Played straight for the Frontier. It encompasses most of the game map, which is about two square miles in size, or slightly larger than Rome in Brotherhood. This is an area that represents Eastern Massachusetts (Lexington and Concord), Central New York State (Johnstown and the Mohawk Valley), Central New Jersey (Monmouth), Eastern Pennsylvania (Valley Forge) and Western Pennsylvania (Fort Duquesne i.e. Pittsburg), and wherever Davenport Homestead is (coastal New England).
- Staged Populist Uprising: The Templars believed that the American Revolution would be this. They fomented events such as the Boston Massacre to spark unrest so that they can negotiate a peace settlement either for devolution or full independence. From their highly biased perspective, Connor messed things up and made it a real revolution which quickly went out of control for both Assassins and Templars.
- Haytham also states that their attempt to direct the revolution is Not So Different from the Continental Congress who promise freedom while owning slaves, claim to represent the people when they form at best a highly privileged Vocal Minority. In his mind, the oonly difference is At Least I Admit It.
- In Assassin's Creed: Rogue, a dying Charles Dorian mocks Shay for the fact that Connor ruined the Templars' plans for co-opting the American Revolution. Shay counters that the Templars will try again.
- Stealth Pun: Connor begins his search for Benjamin Church in an abandoned church.
- Stock Scream: Apparently Private Wilhelm was a redcoat, since you hear him scream if you shoot a powder cart near the end of Sequence 3. Also, his identical son joined the Colonial militia, but unfortunately got killed by artillery fire as Connor approached Israel Putnam at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
- The Stoic: Connor is a very stoic person. He gets it from his mom, apparently.
- Storming the Castle: When William is captured by Abstergo and brought back to the Italian headquarters where Desmond started the first game, Desmond leads a one-man assault with help from Rebecca to save him, killing Daniel Cross and Warren Vidic in the process.
- Storyboarding the Apocalypse: At the end, Minerva grants Desmond a vision of the future of the world should he choose not to save it. She also tells Desmond what will happen if he does save it, which is not much better.
- Sugar Bowl: The Homestead is almost always an idyllic, almost utopian, community barring a few incidents here and there. The villagers regularly tell Connor how happy they are and how perfect their lives seem now.
- Subliminal Advertising: As you progress in the multiplayer mode, you unlock various Abstergo Entertainment designer interview videos and Abstergo Industries advertisements. Fulfill certain challenges, however, and you gain access to Erudito-hacked versions of them, revealing all the subliminal trickery used to affect the viewers.
- Sympathy for the Devil: The game does much to make Haytham into a sympathetic Templar figure. If it weren't for him callously murdering people after interrogation and associating with Templars that are less justifiably sympathetic than him to say the leastnote , he could easily pass as an anti-hero at worst.
- Tap on the Head:
- All of Connor's (and by extension, Desmond's) unarmed finishers will never kill his opponents, as they merely moan and writhe on the floor afterwards. Considering his high-profile behind attack is a Suplex Finisher that breaks the victim's spine, and one open combat finisher involves forcing an opponent to his hands and knees, then curb-stomping his neck, it becomes downright impossible for his opponents to not be dead. At the same time, a halfhearted kick to the leg of the same guy who survived his neck being broken will kill him dead.
- Connor himself gets beaten up and knocked out on multiple occasions, and seems to be suffering from concussion symptoms after several of them.
- Taught by Experience: Achilles directly refers to this when explaining why he left Connor behind in Boston in Sequence 5.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Some of the combat finishers approach the level of Video Game Cruelty Potential, like the one where Connor stabs an opponent through the chest with his sword not once, not twice, but three times. What makes this even more over the top is that if you get interrupted before the end of a finisher combo, your opponent might not be defeated.
- The Tetris Effect: In-Universe. Due to his exposure to the Animus, Desmond's view in his sequences in Brazil and Italy includes "counter" prompts and "awareness" indicators, both of which were not visible the last time he was in a battle in the present day in Assassins Creed II. Also, if it is not a Translation Convention, the exposure also gives him enhanced language acquisition, as he is able to understand Portuguese enough for it to be translated in subtitles as he passes people by. Essentially, the exposure since finding his Synch Nexus has had added beneficial components, while lacking the Sanity Slippage.
- Tomato Surprise: Haytham and his friends are Templars, and you've unwittingly been playing as (or at least with) the Big Bad of the game.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: All of the Templars, post-timeskip, but most severely is Haytham. He spends every scene he gets seeking new and exciting ways to be a massive condescending jackass to Connor. Charles Lee is even more noteworthy, as his change from a respectful and polite young man to arrogant and hateful after the Time Skip is very noticeable.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The interactive trailer effectively ruins the twist of Sequence 3.
- Translation By Volume: Haytham slowly enunciates his English to Ziio, a native; she asks him, in excellent English, why he's talking like that.
- Translation Convention: One of the few games in the series to totally avert this. All voice acting is done in the appropriate language, with large amounts of dialogue among the Kanien'kehá:ka being done by native speakers and given subtitles; they never speak English unless it's appropriate to the situation or person, even if they know it fluently.
- Trojan Prisoner: Connor can call on Assassins dressed as Redcoats or Patriots to help him infiltrate fortified areas by taking him "prisoner".
- True Companions: In deliberate contrast with his participation in the war, Connor develops strong relationships with the settlers on the Homestead; they come to regard each other as the closest of friends.
- Twenty Bear Asses: The collection sidequests involve gathering a bunch of items for a random person for no explained reason. Amusingly, the game doesn't take them from your inventory afterwards, even though it does give you the money for them.
- Understatement: During one of Shawn's various database entries about notable buildings, he talks about how the Northern Church of Boston was commonly known as the "Christ Church". He remarks that the latter name was named after Jesus, a "former celebrity carpenter". Shawn is nothing if not sarcastic.
- Unreliable Narrator: While Juno is telling the truth throughout her exposition segments, she is not telling all of the truth.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: In the Brazil mission, the amorous couples don't seem to even notice when Desmond gets into punch-ups with guards.
- Unwitting Pawn: Early in the game, Desmond complains about being treated like a pawn by both the Templars and Assassins in a Calling the Old Man Out speech to his father. Ironically, it turns out that he, plus all the Assassins and all the Templars, are pawns in Juno's scheme.
- Urban Legends: The Frontiersmen quests, in which Connor investigates certain local legends, including the Headless Horseman and the Sasquatch. All but one turn out to have mundane explanations.
- Useless Useful Stealth:
- Social Stealth, a staple gameplay element of the previous games in the series, is no longer quite as important. This is likely because it's harder to hide from alerted enemies than before, and simply killing all the pursuing guards is faster.
- Assassin Recruits can disguise themselves as guards and escort Connor through enemy guard posts. While this works on regular guards, those guarding forts still won't let you in and will attack if you try to press it.
- They also have a tendency to dress up in the wrong uniform, sometimes leading to you being paraded around Redcoat territory by Patriot guards or vice versa, rendering the disguise useless as guards will attack them on sight.
- Vendor Trash: There are a lot of craftable goods which serve no in-game mechanical purpose but to be sold at a profit.
- Victorious Chorus: Played while Desmond strides towards Abstergo's front doors, holding the Apple aloft and slaughtering guards. He's so powerful you don't even need to press any buttons; the Apple reduces the guards to trembling kittens.
- Video Game Caring Potential:
- Connor can feed and pet all sorts of domesticated animals, from kitties to lambs. Awww~
- The grand majority of Homestead missions seem to be intentionally designed for causing warm fuzzies.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential:
- Yes, we've slain hundreds across our Assassin careers, but have you ever wanted to snap a beaver's neck with your bare hands?
- If you find an aggressive animal near a squad of soldiers, sprinkle some bait in their path and watch the fun.
- Using the Apple of Eden to force Abstergo guards to shoot themselves in the head. You don't have to do it; they'll flee in terror otherwise, but it's just so satisfying...
- Video Game Cruelty Punishment: As in the previous games, the Animus will start desynchronizing if you start killing civilians. It will start desynchronizing if you start hunting animals for sport (that is, fail to skin your kills) or killing domestic animals as well.
- Villain Decay: Cross is easily trounced by Desmond every time they meet, and is a Zero-Effort Boss when you finally get to kill him. If he isn't just taken down in one hit when he is chased in Brazil, his combat prowess and durability is about as much as the average Mooks. You'd expect better performance from someone who killed the Mentor of the Assassins and got away with it. However, William acknowledges that after 12 years, Cross is more of a symbol than an asset to Abstergo.
- Villain Protagonist: At the end of Sequence 3, Desmond and his team learn that Haytham was a Templar, seeming to have defected to that cause from the Assassins.
- Villainous Breakdown: Cross goes over the edge late in the game when he's subject to an intense Bleeding Effect, and after Cross is killed and Desmond is annihilating Abstergo agents, Vidic launches into a tirade of Templar rhetoric and attempts to justify what he's done, while claiming they help enrich lives at Abstergo and Desmond is just taking and taking and being evil.
- Walking Armory: Connor can carry a tomahawk/knife, a pair of pistols, a bow, a sword/club/bigger axe, and a pair of Hidden Blades, one of which can be detached and used as a dagger. In addition, he can pick up muskets with fixed bayonets.
- War Is Hell: You see the bodies piling up, soldiers of both sides being blown to pieces by stray cannon shells, as well as starvation and the other ailments soldiers and civilians went through during this age.
- Welcome to Corneria: The collection, delivery, and assassination sidequests have utterly generic dialog. "You have my everlasting gratitude, sir."
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: For all of Desmond's rebellious nature, he reveals through conversation that he is also desperately seeking his father's approval. William for his part acts like a Jerkass to him (though not without reason) for the first half of the game, not warming up until later.
- Wham Line: At the end of Sequence 3, though talk of order and purpose immediately prior does hint at it. To hammer it home, the achievement earned for completing the sequence is "How D'ya Like Them Apples?"
Haytham: You are a Templar. May the Father of Understanding guide us
- What an Idiot: In-universe, twice during the Storming the Castle sequence. First, Vidic lampshades the idiocy of using an elevator in a building where the person in charge (who would have control of the elevators) knows he is there. Later, Daniel Cross lampshades the stupidity of continuing to run around with a knife as a main weapon in the 21st century, when most people have guns. As it turns out, Desmond has the Apple, which is all he really needs.
- What a Piece of Junk: See that wrecked ship in the harbor near Achilles' homestead? Yeah, that's your ship. Fortunately, it's repaired into great condition after a Time Skip.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In-Universe, Desmond's crew speculate on why, of the Triumvirate, only Juno seems to be present in the Grand Temple. It turns out to be because she threw away the memory discs they left for him as part of her secret plan. And Minerva shows up at the end anyway. Tinia (Jupiter) still remains unaccounted for, though.
- What the Hell, Hero?: The Templars that Connor kills accuse him, not without some justification, of blundering around and starting the Revolutionary War when they were only trying to achieve a peaceful resolution.
- Where It All Began: Desmond tracks down and kills Vidic in the building where they first met in Assassin's Creed I, in the Abstergo Headquarters in Italy. Similarly, the Green Dragon tavern is where Charles Lee was inducted into the Templars early on and where the final confrontation with him begins.
- White Void Room: As before, this is the Animus loading screen, but it's been updated (along with the game engine) so instead of looking like a void with grid lines, it looks like a chaotic void made of shards that mirror you in odd ways as they tumble around you.
- Wide Open Sandbox: The Frontier, a countryside area near Boston, is one and a half times bigger than Rome as seen in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.
- Wiki Tropes: The informational tidbits Shaun provides now exhibit some of these, especially brief, hilarious parenthetical commentary on the subject at hand. What's even funnier is that Shaun alone writes the entries.
- Wooden Ships and Iron Men: The naval combat in this game, though taking a few liberties, works hard to capture the experience of this.
- Would Hit a Girl: Well, when you have to fight one (actually two) in a brawling tournament, of course you have to.
- Wrestler in All of Us: Connor's and Haytham's unarmed finishers include a dropkick, suplex, and DDT.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: There are several side missions that can take place years after your current time period, despite just becoming available, most notably the Benedict Arnold missions. You can do them as soon as you arrive in New York in Sequence 10, but for some reason, Connor is extremely hostile to Washington during the mission and returns to being friendly towards him after it ends. This is because Washington ordered Connor's village destroyed, which he isn't supposed to find out until Sequence 11.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: The Templars have to hastily recalculate to try and salvage their plans, which Connor keeps screwing up. They fail, and since their goals were protecting Native American land (so they can obtain it for themselves to find and secure the Grand Temple) and organising a peaceful resolution to the conflict, it's safe to assume that Connor has made matters quite a bit worse. Achilles plays too, but is at a disadvantage because the Assassins have deteriorated so much.
- You Are Too Late: In the ending, Minerva states that the Assassins and Templars could have saved humanity had they only found the Grand Temple a few hundred years earlier and not spent all their time fighting with each other. It was her original plan that humans perfect the technology that the First Civilization left behind. Instead, Juno manipulated history in such a way that the only remaining choice is to free her or let the world burn.
- You Can Barely Stand: After the chase sequence in the burning ship, both Connor and Lee are too badly injured to fight, and are reduced to sharing a drink across a tavern table.
- You Said You Would Let Them Go: Post time-skip, Haytham casually murders just about everyone he's captured for interrogation, usually right after they beg for mercy. "Right! Off you go!" *slit* These Kick the Dog moments help justify Connor deciding to kill him rather than ally with him.
- Zero-Effort Boss: Both Daniel Cross and Charles Lee are killed without an actual fight, despite the large amount of build-up the former gets throughout the series, and the latter being the Big Bad of Connor's storyline. Justified in that Cross is prone to mental freakouts that render him unable to fight, something that's been previously established, and Lee isn't an Assassin-level fighter and knows it. The confrontation with Lee is further justified by the fact that both he and Connor are severely injured.
The Tyranny of King Washington
- A God Am I: While King Washington never outright claims godhood, he still purposefully elevates himself to a mythical status by claiming he embodies freedom and that he and Ratohnhaké:ton are "above" the common people.
- All Just a Dream: The bonus memory fragments and the ending reveal that the entire Alternate History was a vision caused by an Apple that Washington found in Yorktown. Apparently, the entire sequence of events plays out in a fraction of a second after they both touch it. After that, Washington realizes that such a powerful artifact must never be used, lest the user become corrupted by it. Furthermore, the experience only serves to reinforce his belief in the republic. Connor is also humbled into avoiding such objects in the future and vindicated that backing Washington was worth something after all.
- Allohistorical Allusion: King Washington's pyramid is a large scale model recreation of the Great Seal of the United States.
- Alternate History: An Alternate History of an Alternate History, primarily caused by Washington finding an Apple of Eden and being corrupted by its power.
- It's explained by writers and hinted in the expanded backstory of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag that what we see in the DLC is a "calculation" that is the Applied Phlebotinum of the Apple's Timey-Wimey Ball sometimes gives glimpses of possible futures as well as actual ones, with Connor and George merely getting a glimpse of one. Although this isn't without precedent in the series: Desmond describes his compulsion to kill Lucy as an informed decision due to having seen what would have happened otherwise.
- And I Must Scream: It is revealed that pretty much everyone under Washington (including Washington himself) are under the influence of the Apple. On their deathbed, they seem to finally snap out of it and realize what they have been made to do.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: This could be The Game of this trope for the game series, that has followed close to actual history.
- Another Story for Another Time: While sailing to New York in The Redemption, Ratonhnaké:ton mentions to Faulkner that he is not the first in his family to be drawn to the sea, but then decides to focus on piloting the ship, telling Faulkner that the story of Edward Kenway (the protagonist of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and Ratonhnaké:ton's grandfather) will have to wait for another time.
- The DLC was released just after the announcement of the fourth game so is very obviously a Sequel Hook.
- Armor-Piercing Question: More like Armor Piercing Exchange, as King Washington takes note of Connor's increasing addiction to the Willow's gifts and his temptation with the Apple:
Ratonhnhaké:ton: You have been corrupted by the Apple's power.
King Washington: Corrupted? Well, that raises an interesting question: Do you wish me to give up the Apple in order to ... save my soul? ... Or do you wish the Apple for yourself, so you can control the nation?
Ratonhnhaké:ton: ... The true rulers are the people.
King Washington: Let's not deceive ourselves. It's an absurd thought, but let's suppose I were beholden to this Apple, how would you behave differently?
Ratonhnhaké:ton: I would use it for the good of everyone.
King Washington: Possession of the Apple is both a burden and a blessing. Tell me, when you shake the earth, do you feel that you are a slave to the people? ... Or do you wish to be their master?
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Mad King George has mastered the power of the Apple to a degree unmatched by any previously seen user, giving him incredible sorcery-like powers in combat. The first time you fight him at the end of Act I, it's a Hopeless Boss Fight. Only after gaining the animal powers from the Great Willow Tea are you able to match him in combat at the end of Act III.
- Ax-Crazy: The Apple seems to have had an especially bad effect on Israel Putnam who has a constant look of craziness in his eyes.
- Badass Grandpa: A conversation overheard at the start of The Betrayal(Second Part of the DLC) has two soldiers discussing the death of an "old man with a cane" who is almost certainly Achilles, stating that he put up a hell of a fight before he died. Connor later find a memory fragment next to Achilles' Hat and Cane.
- Balcony Speech: King Washington delivers one to the public from the balcony of his New York Pyramid:
King Washington: Citizens of the United States! I come before you a humbled man. As I look out upon this vast land, I see each of you suffering, yes, suffering! And striving for a better life, a better future, a better America. Each one of you sacrificing, slaving for this great country, for freedom. And I humbly say to you, your sacrifices inspire me!...Today I announce the great project of this nation. We are mustering vast armies. We are fashioning powerful armadas. We shall soon march upon our great, dark enemy: England! We shall invade her shores and irrigate her fields with blood. English bones shall provide grist for our mills, and her people shall become our slaves. Each of you shall profit from the sweat of their labors! Our nation shall rise to its proper place as the greatest of all: The Most Sovereign Kingdom - The United States of America!
- The Beastmaster: Connor's Sky Journey gives him command of a pack of invisible phantom wolves.
- Big Bad Friend: George Washington is this to Connor (who remembers the normal timeline), though the Washington of this timeline has never met him. Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson also express disbelief at their friend becoming a tyrant after the Revolution.
- Big Good: After the end of the DLC, Washington firmly settles himself into this role for America. He tells Connor to hide the Apple from human hands and is so creeped out by the vision of himself as a psychotic King that he's even more firmly a believer in a republic than before.
- Broad Strokes: The DLC doesn't entirely clarify how the new timeline diverged from the original one or what role the likes of Haytham or Achilles played in it, which makes it more of a All Just a Dream than a true alternate universe.
- The Cameo: Several of the Homestead settlers make brief appearances though they aren't acknowledged by Connor by name. Big Dave is the blacksmith in Boston who sold the metal needed to complete Benjamin Franklin's key, Warren is the farmer who drives the food cart in New York and Godfrey is one of Jefferson's associates who's lined up in the firing squad.
- Cast from Hit Points: The new animal abilities are staggeringly powerful but rapidly drain Connor's health.
- Colossus Climb: The final Sky Journey has Connor climb a giant bear as he removes the various spears impaled on it from different sides.
- Crapsack World: The relatively peaceful Frontier from the main story has become a frozen near-wasteland. Bodies are hung from trees or left to freeze, and Lexington and Concord are abandoned and nearly destroyed. There are also wolves everywhere. Boston and New York aren't any better off, considering how many civilians are being executed or caged up all over both cities, plus the massively increased number of trigger-happy guards and the presence of wolves on the outskirts.
- Creepy Blue Eyes: The final Sky Journey, makes Connor's eyes a dark electric blue pupils with no white left. Benjamin Franklin is pretty creeped out at seeing him like this.
- Dying as Yourself: Israel Putnam dies admitting My God, What Have I Done? while taking responsibility for his actions. Benedict Arnold is a slight aversion in that on one hand he's free of the Apple but on the other hand he hasn't become the traitor of the Revolution in this timeline.
- Face-Heel Turn: Washington himself but also Israel Putnam. Right at the end, it appears that Connor is about to grab the Apple and take power as well.
- Fanservice: There's couple of nice long scenes of Connor shirtless, plus his clothing is considerably more, ahem, revealing in this universe.
- The Final Temptation:
- For both George Washington and Connor. The real-life George Washington stepped down after a two-term limit, setting the precedent for limits of term of office and in his retirement, some ex-soldiers approached him with an offer to be King of America which he refused. The game takes this and runs with it in an Alternate Universe showing Washington what would happen to him and what he would become if he became king.
- For Connor. The Apple and the sky-journeys offers him a sense of power and command that gives him quite a high after his Break the Cutie in the main game and he is seriously tempted to take the Apple and use it for his own means. He turns it down of course.
- Ground Pound: After drinking the Great Willow tea for the third time, Connor gains this power in the form of a bear. Doing this kills anyone in the vicinity and throws them far away. It also destroys certain mission-critical barriers.
- He Who Fights Monsters: It's strongly implied that Ratohnhaké:ton suffers this by using the Great Willow tea and Sky Journeys to take down King Washington. The DLC ends before we see what Ratohnhaké:ton planned to use the Apple for.
- Highly-Visible Ninja: The Assassins have never been ones for true stealth, but Ratohnhaké:ton takes it Up to Eleven in this one by outright wearing a wolf pelt over his head. By the third episode, the Town Criers are calling out for everyone to report any sightings of a man "wearing a wolf" and the guards will attack you on sight.
- Humanoid Abomination: Connor's Sky Journeys make hims into a Voluntary Shapeshifter with the powers of the Wolf, Eagle and the Bear. When he takes the final Sky Journey, his eyes become a cold blue.
- I Am the Noun: When told by a bluecoat that his palace is being attacked by rebels, Washington goes on a rant that includes phrases like "I "am" the people" and "I am freedom!" This coming from a man who declared himself king and plans to conquer and enslave England.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: At the end of the DLC, Washington is confronted by a mysterious figure who somehow appeared in his office soundlessly, who tries to convince Washington to take up the mantle of King. Washington lays a verbal smackdown on the man for his troubles, but somehow the mysterious man disappears from the office while Washington is in mid-sentence and is looking right at him. Sneaky Templar agent? Techno wizardry from Those Who Came Before? Symptoms of insanity or dementia on Washington's part caused by the stress of the events of the DLC? You decide.
- Mushroom Samba: Technically, the entire DLC is one for Connor and Washington, but the Great Willow Tree Sky World Journeys stand out. It has Connor communing with an animal spirit in really creepy areas before slowly acquiring their powers.
- Not Himself: Everyone serving under Washington, as well as Washington himself, due to the Apple. When they are freed of its influence, they are horrified by the actions they have committed. Benjamin Franklin is the only one lucky enough to be free and still be alive. It's also interesting to note that with his dying breaths King Washington does not express remorse like the others but rather grasps for the Apple and dies on his throne.
- Noodle Incident: For Xbox 360 players (and PC players who didn't buy the Steam Digital Deluxe Edition) who didn't get to play the Benedict Arnold missions, Connor's referencing their previous encounter will seem like this to those players.
- No Kill Like Overkill: During the first episode, Washington knocks Ratohnhaké:ton out with the Apple, shoots him with both his side pistols, then stabs him with a bayonet before shooting him with the musket it's mounted on. How Ratohnhaké:ton survived is a mystery.
- No Man Should Have This Power: In the ending, Connor and Washington decide to drop the Apple to the bottom of the sea so no one can use it.
- Not So Different: A major theme of the DLC. While the Redcoats were the Designated Villains of the vanilla game and the rebels were the de facto "good guys", the roles are switched for the DLC. It even goes so far as renaming the Redcoats to the rebels and the former rebels to Bluecoats. Also, in numerous ways the Bluecoats are actually worse; they carry out executions far more often and frequently cart around captives. Also applicable to major characters; under the influence of the Apple, allies in the vanilla game (e.g. Putnam and Franklin) become villains in the DLC. Averted for Samuel Adams, who is a good guy in both alternative histories.
- Justified in that Samuel Adams was always against centralized government having too much power. Historically, he was one of the loudest critics of the Constitution and vehemently opposed the creation of a central government. YMMV on your opinion of how justified he was considering at the time he was the Governor of Massachusetts, the most powerful man in Massachusetts under the Articles of Confederation.
- In the final Boss Fight, King Washington notes this about Connor, wondering if he also covets the same power. Connor in the King's words, never answers the question. Connor himself seems to get addicted to the power of the sky-journeys and becomes unstable and crazy as the story goes along.
- People's Republic of Tyranny: Washington reigns King over The Most Sovereign Kingdom - The United States of America.
- Plot Coupon: Franklin's special metal to defeat King Washington's security system. It's brought up multiple times but its intended use is vague at best. Ratohnhaké:ton somehow uses it before confronting Washington and it's never mentioned again.
- Purposely Overpowered: The Great Willow powers can come across like this when one is used to the vanilla game's abilities. However, this is the point of Ratohnhaké:ton choosing to get these powers in the first place, as the increased number of enemies and the Purposely Overpowered nature of King Washington himself make it necessary.
- Rage Quit: In-Universe, when Ratohnhaké:ton plays checkers with a man who begins laughing about Samuel Adams' rebels being massacred. The player is given the prompt "Press X to Rage Quit," at which point Connor smashes his face with the heavy wooden board. And then beats down every Bluecoat in the bar.
- Ramming Always Works: In the third episode, the Aquila engages in an uneven battle against Washington's fleet near New York. Despite the fact that you can curb stomp them, a lucky hit destroys the ship's cannons, so Connor orders everyone off the ship and goes at full sail towards a man-o'-war blocking the harbor. The collision sets off the man-o'-war's powder reserves, resulting in both ships exploding spectacularly.
- Rebel Leader: Samuel Adams in Boston and Jefferson in New York.
- Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Connor/Ratohnhaké:ton awakens believing the year is 1799 with all the information from his own timeline. He is completely flummoxed at how everyone around him has changed, and even cuts off his now-alive mother when she tries to reveal that Haytham was a Templar (or possibly an Assassin in this timeline) and offer his hidden blades - as Connor already knows. Becomes a plot point when Connor gets his "revenge" on Benedict Arnold, a Karma Houdini from the main story. However, in this timeline he never betrayed West Point or defected to the British, so he has no idea what Connor is talking about, and begs him to stop Washington.
- Sequel Difficulty Spike: Taken further than the main game; you are regularly attacked by much larger groups of enemies at once than usual, almost all of them Elite Mooks you can't counter kill, and at the beginning you have none of your weapons except a tomahawk and bow. The game eases up as new animal powers open up, however, and by the end of the third episode, Rakonhnaké:ton is a walking whirlwind of death.
- Sequel Hook: While captaining the Aquila, Ratohnhaké:ton references his paternal grandfather, a pirate named Edward Kenway — the player character in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. This scene also invokes Another Story for Another Time.
- Shout-Out: Part of the last Sky Journey in the DLC looks and plays very similar to Shadow of the Colossus: Rakonhnaké:ton needs to climb an enormous, walking bear, although rather than kill it, he needs to pull out the spears stuck in it.
- Supervillain Lair: Washington's Lair is complete with its own zoo of pet animals and large vents and an enormous throne room.
- The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: As soon as we get a glimpse of Washington's pyramid at the end of Episode 2: The Betrayal, you can be sure that it would become this. It doesn't disappoint, an Assassin's Tomb with an environment modified to accommodate Connor's new powers.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: The tea made from the boughs of the Great Willow grants Connor this power. After one sip, he can turn into a wolf and walk around unseen. After two, he can turn into an eagle and fly from rooftop to rooftop. After three, he can turn into a bear and Ground Pound.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Connor's default outfit.
- What You Are in the Dark: Essentially asks this question of Washington and Connor. They are both shown a vision of absolute power and given a glimpse of how things would be had they taken the Apple. Turns out that they live up to their ideals after all.
George Washington:"Your proposal raises the greatest mischief that can befall my country. You could not have found a person to whom your schemes are more disagreeable. Let me conjure you then, if you have any regard for your country, concern for your self or posterity, or respect for me, to banish these thoughts from your mind, never communicate, as from yourself, or anyone else, a sentiment of the like nature."
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Double Subversion - King Washington does shoot Ratohnhaké:ton (twice, in fact, and stabs him with a bayonet too for good measure) when he gets the chance. However, he inexplicably survives. When Washington finds out about Ratohnhaké:ton's survival, he seeks to behead him to try to ensure his death this time around. Ratohnhaké:ton still easily escapes.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: This DLC is all about this, under the premise of Washington obtaining an Apple and using it to declare himself King of the United States. He rules with an iron fist, mind-controls his advisers and generals, and orders the bluecoats to destroy the Frontier when Connor's mother tries to steal the Apple. He then commissions a giant royal palace in New York that looks like a Mayincatec pyramid. In a big speech in the third episode, he announces that he is planning on raising a huge army and building a huge fleet in order to defeat and enslave England.
- It's also hinted at some points that Connor is becoming corrupted by the powers of the Great Willow Tea. Aside from him becoming tattooed and getting bear-like and blue Black Eyes of Crazy, he talks about replacing King Washington with a new leader, rather than the "power to the people" ideal that the rebels and he himself used to speak of. King Washington himself lampshades this by asking Connor if he would use the power of the Apple to control the people, and Connor visibly struggles to answer.
Intro: Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
- It's also hinted earlier, where Connor and Thomas Jefferson discuss the future with Connor noting that after they take down King Washington the people will need a new leader, the tone essentially becoming very sinister, which Jefferson picks up on and calls him out on.