Annoying Video-Game Helper: In the platforming sequences, the camera will often helpfully pan over to demonstrate your intended jump, but throws off your directional controls since they are relative to the camera, not the character.
Arc Fatigue: While he's a popular character and the games aren't necessarily hated, Ezio's story took place over three games of the main series (supposedly so there were games coming out while development of Assassin's Creed III was underway). By comparison, every other main character has only headlined one (the Kenway family members, Arno, Shay, the Frye siblings and Bayek) or two.note Altaïr in the first game and Revelations (though he also headlined minor games) and Aveline in Liberation and DLC for Black Flag.
The whole series got hit with this as time went on- Unity and (to a lesser extent)Syndicate were both panned for largely just being a case of "Seventh/Eighth verse, same as the first" with many critics arguing that they were just treading water and carrying on arcs that weren't appreciated by part of the fanbase (namely, the Modern Arc). It's telling that the vast majority of the fanbase openly rejoiced when it was announced that the series was taking a break for 2016.
Archive Panic: The series' convoluted ongoing Myth Arc and its regular annual new releases has led new fans to be Locked Out of the Loop with the massive troves of backstory and Info Dump needed to get up to speed, not including portable consoles releases, or, for that matter, the novelizations, with at least one of which (Assassin's Creed: Forsaken) having attained canonical status, or the graphic novels. The main games are also very long, which means that if you want to start on the series as a newbie you have a busy month and a half ahead of you.
Black Flag averts this- outside of knowing the basics of the Myth Arc (Assassins vs Templars, Animus, Juno), you can go into the game and have a relatively easy time keeping up- as long as you don't play the Aveline DLC on Playstation.
Author's Saving Throw: After the disastrous launch and technical issues of Unity, Ubisoft realized that the annual releases were starting to bring the series down. The next game was much better received, and Ubisoft decided to not release a new game in 2016, so that they could plan the future of the series and allow the next game more development time. Time will tell if it will work, although it did work the last time.
And the throw seems to have worked. Origins has had such a positive overall reception that they've even decided to give smaller delays to a couple other games.
The plot getting more and more cartoony each series, especially compared to the first one, though many point out this would be the natural progression considering the people in charge of both sides throughout the years; besides this has been downplayed in recent years.
While this is rarely brought up in the games themselves, the Templars have done a lot to improve living conditions, from medicine, to helping on the expansion of the Industrial Revolution, and communications; their biggest problem is being assholes.
While Assassin's Creed III has been widely criticized for being The Gump and suffering major glitches, it also brought a lot of the Greyand Gray Morality with a more complex protagonist and a very refreshing setting.
The parts of the games that take place in the present. Some fans think of them as a valuable, interesting addition while others just plain and simply hate them, and are glad when those parts only take up a small percentage of the respective game.
AC IV: Some feel that by technically being a prequel to AC III and having for main gameplay focus an improved version of a gimmick of the previous game then it can be considered more of a overpriced DLC, plus that the plot is more akin of a Post-Script Season, while others rejoice at again a newer and more fresh setting that is miles more functional than the previous installment.
Also the series becoming one revolving around historical tourism rather than a complete present day Assassins vs Templars conflict, which is relegated to the backstory and lore rather than gameplay. This one has actually gotten worse in light of Ubisoft's comments that they want to make more robust modern-day segments in future games going forward (Syndicate onwards). The divide is largely between fans who don't give a damn and just want to roam about in whatever historical setting strikes their fancy, and those who are invested in the series' long-running Myth Arc and care about the over-arching plot.
The Chris Carter Effect: The series' modern day and overall meta-narrative with its Kudzu Plot, Trapped by Mountain Lions irresolution, retcon, and introduction of new plots and schemes has made a number of fans give up on the modern day and even the series lore, with many believing that the games should be enjoyed entirely for the sandbox setting and not for the story.
Subject 16/Clay Kaczmarek is a major one despite technically being a Post Humous Character because of his vivid personality and... unique state of existence.
Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane even more so. Introduced in ACII as part of Lucy's assassin cell, they have gone on to garner a massive fanbase. In fact, Shaun is now the longest running character in the entire franchise - Assassin's Creed I, Rogue and Origins being the only core games he does not appear in.
Escapist Character: Most of the Assassins avert this (Connor especially) on account of having really serious and dark stories, which only highlights how difficult and tragic their lot in life is. But Ezio Auditore is pretty much the exception: he's rich, wealthy, charismatic, popular with ladies, incredibly skilled as a warrior and politician, and gets to be best friends with Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolò Machiavelli; not in the sense that they meet so and so historical figure and got their autograph, but is best buds with them, knowing their flaws and defects, in a way no one in real-life can really know the past. He also has the happiest ending of most Assassins, retiring after restoring his brotherhood to former glory, finally settling down and marrying a very Nice Girl (who is also nearly two decades younger than he is) and getting time to spend with his kids and live in reflected glory of his life's work. No other Assassin in the franchise, neither Altair, nor Edward, nor Connor among others had it so good. Is it any wonder why he's the most popular protagonist?
Follow the Leader: Assassin's Creed is where the trend started of AAA Sandbox games allowing you to climb towers to unlock the map and see collectables, much to the derision of the playerbase who found this repetitive and boring but part of Assassin's Creed's charm. They became less than pleased however when other Ubisoft games, Watch Dogs and Far Cry picked this up.
Assassin's Creed III is cited as the point where this became a problem, as many felt that the game's main missions were basically scripted events, even the Assassination missions which should be stealthy and open-ended. It was also seen as being overstuffed with side activities and additional features. However, this was an ongoing trend since the well-liked Assassin's Creed II, along with its follow-ups Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed: Revelations, had moved away from the stealthy original and was filled with additional features and content. What made them acceptable was that the games were Mission-Pack Sequel and as such the additional features were condoned, and seen as part of the appeal of the touristy cities with exotic architecture. The fact that the New World setting of AC-3 lacked the tall buildings and fancy architecture only brought these problems forward.
III was criticized for its Gump Factor with the hero interacting on first name basis with all of America's Founding Fathers and participating in several key events of the American Revolution which to many beggared disbelief. Yet this was always part of the Franchise's appeal: Altair in AC-1 conversed on even terms with the very Christian King Richard the Lionheart and later fought Genghis Khan; Ezio counted Leonardo da Vinci and Machiavelli among his best friends, and interacted with a "who's who" of the Renaissance, and Black Flag also had the hero interact with every famous English pirate of that time. In the case of III the American Founding Fathers and the events of the Revolution were perhaps too prominent, known to every schoolboy, with the setting seen by foreign gamers as Eagleland. The other historical figures and settings, while somewhat well known aren't held in nearly the same reverence nor are their memories part of current political discourse.
Assassin's Creed: Unity is an inversion; an example of a Franchise, as a result of the divisive reaction to III, returning to the Franchise's roots — greater focus on stealth, less focus on side activities, more assassination missions, toning down The Gump — and getting thoroughly trashed for essentially repeating its original sins. Assassin's Creed I was criticized in its time for repetitive side activities, lack of additional interaction with the open world and endless collectibles. Unity returned with repititive Side Story quests and endless collectibles that dotted out the map to the extent that people became nostalgic for the much reviled flags of I. Where III was criticized for Connor being too central to the Revolution, Unity was criticized for the hero being too marginal to the events, with the game being highly criticized for its shallow representation of history. The game which followed, Syndicatereceived praise for making more diverse side missions, a fairer look at the historical events and having additional features missing in Unity.
From the perspective of settings, one can observe that none of the games featuring non-Western protagonists (Assassin's Creed I, Assassin's Creed III, Freedom Cry, Liberation, Chronicles: China, Chronicles: India, Origins) are set in entirely non-Western settings and periods. For instance, Ezio in Assassin's Creed II is an Italian, or rather a Florentine, in a period and time where Italians, and Florence in general, are prominent in society and culture, but Altair, Connor, and Bayek of Siwa are Assassins in an era where their lands are occupied by foreign invaders and conquerors. Chronicles: India and Assassin's Creed: Brahman is set during The Raj, while Shao Jun first established herself as a Satellite Character for Ezio's retirement, and Ezio still shows up as a "mentor" in a few sequences of China.
It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: A common criticism of the franchise as time has gone on is that the gameplay has barely changed as time has gone on. Unity got a lot of flack in particular for this, as following the naval combat of Black Flag and Rogue, it returned to the tried and tested formula with little change. As well, the frequent usage of viewpoints is often mocked, since it's often the most boring part of the game. A common statement whenever a new game comes out is to declare that if you've played any previous game in the series, you've pretty much played the newest one.
It Was His Sled: The original trailers and information did their best to hide the existence of Desmond and the modern storyline, except for a few out-of-place "glitches" (now recognizable as elements of the Animus). A rather fancy trick, given the fact that Desmond's storyline is of greater overall importance.
Desmond or any part of the modern plot was only shown in two trailers ("Black Room" and "Gameplay" for Revelations) and the press-releases close to never talk about it. The twist can be still held up under the right circumstances.
Alongside individual examples collected on each separate game's page, Ubisoft's marketing has led to a few. There is the tendency of Ubisoft advertising items and accessories of characters in new releases as "iconic" before the game's release. We have had Arno's "iconic" Phantom Blade, and the "iconic" Rope Launcher of Syndicate. Then they briefly took this trend out of AC to Watch_Dogs with Aiden Pearce's "iconic" cap, and then to The Division with a whole host of other "iconic" items such as the "Iconic Division Jacket".
For a while it was common to claim any character wearing a white hood and doing parkour in other media was an Assassin's Creed reference.
Never Live It Down: Among the lore fans, that Juno was uncerimonsly killed off in a comic after Black Flag,Unity and Syndicate all hyped her up as the franchise-wide Big Bad became often-derided and is nowadays used as a primary example of Ubisoft having no clear end-goal for the series.
Newbie Boom: Many people who don't like or care about the series ended up liking Black Flag. It got problematic when those who came to the series to play as a pirate clashed with the fans who thought Black Flag was In Name Only, and that if one only liked Black Flag but hated the rest, they couldn't really be counted as an Assassin's Creed fan. This led to sailing becoming somewhat of a Broken Base; some wish to see it return, while others note that the "exploring a historical city" aspect would suffer if sailing was shoehorned in so some players would be able to sail around in empty seas near the historical location.
The idea of the Templars trying to take over the world, while the Hashashin try to stop them has been done before in the Broken Sword series.
Paranoia Fuel: The protagonists in the franchise are pretty much it. They are Professional Killers with years of physical, mental and intelectual trainings, who get direct intel about where their targets are, and can get wherever they need by Le Parkour. The targets almost never know of it untill it's too late, and almost no amount of preparation or guards in the area prevents the assassination.
Play the Game, Skip the Story: The weird Kudzu Plot of the series lore is a punching bag in gaming circles, as is its wide annualization and Archive Binge. As such most people admit that they play the games largely for the unique settings and sandbox environments rather than the actual story. The AC games that are most well-liked, the Ezio games and Black Flag, are the ones that are most standalone and tied to its setting than the overall plot.
"Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: On account of its ubiquity and overexposure and spin off media, Assassin's Creed is often written off as another open-world game, with many people forgetting how fresh and innovative it was when it came out.
The open-world foot, parkour and climbing of Assassin's Creed I was more or less one of the first attempts to make a detailed and immersive game where the background buildings, with its roofs, side walls, ramparts were fully interactive and accessible. Unlike Grand Theft Auto and its clones, most of which had vehicle traversal, and as such had buildings and roofs that were mostly background scenery and open only for scripted sequences, the open-world in AC-1 was fully interactive by hand and foot, with nothing truly inaccessible and out of reach.
Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: Despite the games focus on unearthing a particular set of memories of a character or a moment in history, the gameplay encourages sidequests as a means of furthering synchronization. This leads to all kinds of Headscratchers like in Assassin's Creed III where in the Present the Earth is on the brink of an upcoming solar flare, Desmond should ostensibly have little interest or time to the many sidequests his ancestor has access to.
On a wider note, this is the principal accusation leveled by Minerva on the Assassins vs. Templar conflict, noting that they spent far too much time searching for Pieces of Eden to control or keep out of hands than using said gifts to find the Grand Temple and solve the crisis together.
This becomes Harsher in Hindsight where at the beginning of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, after discussing Ezio's vision at the vault, the Assassins debate on their next course, with Mario showing interest in the mysterious 'Desmond' while Ezio is focused on consolidating the Brotherhood and Machiavelli is obsessed with defeating their surviving enemies who he notes, accurately, are too dangerous to ignore altogether. In other words, the Assassins throughout history were often diverted from their real responsibilities.
Desmond Miles was disliked as an Audience Surrogate and a generic protagonist but these same critics, including Ben Croshaw disliked the fact, at least after the first and second games, that the present day story was ultimately an Excuse Plot for the historical portion and eventually a "Shaggy Dog" Story since all the focus on bleeding effect and Desmond absorbing his ancestors abilities via a sacrifice he was tricked into making ultimately didn't pan out and was eventually removed altogether.
Chunks of Subject 16's messages at the end of the first game reference places many thought subsequent games would go, such as Yonaguni (and its underwater formations that may or may not be manmade),Egypt, the Aztec and Mayan era and China. With the exception of China and Egypt, none of these locations have been featured in the other games. Yonaguni hasn't been mentioned once, the Aztec have only been referenced in a Facebook game and while Mayan locations made an appearance in 3 and Black Flag, the era itself remains untouched.
There's a vocal minority that dislikes the conspiracy themes and modern-day segments, who would just like to play a stealth-based game about being an assassin in different periods in history.
Despite how disliked the modern-day segments there, there were a group of players out there who were hoping that all the build-up surrounding Desmond was eventually going to lead up to a game where you play as him as an assassin in modern day. Obviously, that can't happen anymore now that Desmond's been killed off.
III released Juno into the present day world with the idea that she would be the new Big Bad of the series. The plot gets some attention in Black Flag with the introduction of the Sages but more or less get shoved off into the backstory of Rogue, Unity and Syndicate. By the time Origins rolls around, it's dropped from the games completely because it was concluded in the comics when Juno gets uploaded into a new Body before getting killed off for real.
Made doubly so since Origins more or less confirmed that AC has a Shared Universe with Watch_Dogs - meaning that while the former has a villainess who can take over technology and the latter takes place in a world where Everything Is Online, these two premises are never combined.
The first game created the unique social stealth system of blending in hiding spots and using hit-and-run tactics, but they also had a combat system with ranged and melee weapons (Swords and Throwing Knifes) that are intended to be used. The game's Parkour and Climbing mechanic is also seen as clashing against the game being purely stealth. The Ezio games introduced additional features from Puzzle and Action Adventure, Economy and RPG upgrades like the Brotherhood system that some feel make it more Historical GTA than an Assassination simulator. III introduced naval, a host of other features and a crafting system, and Black Flag was a highly popular game but most people felt that it used AC as an Artifact Title and is more properly a pirate game than an Assassin game. Others don't mind these changes as it keeps the series fresh and they feel that it's Justified given that the Assassins and Templars are conspiracy organizations and would obviously take on new fronts and new roles in different post-Crusades societies.
There is also the conflict between fans who feel that the games are about Conspiracy Theory and the Assassin versus Templar conflict as well as the mysteries of the First Civilization and those fans who feel that the games are primarily Historical Fiction and the Conspiracy elements are merely an Excuse Plot to justify gameplay elements. The latter fans feel that the games should have greater focus on historical settings, events and places while the former feels that these elements make the games too unbelievable and increase The Gump factor which for the others is the series' main appeal. The former group are also the ones most invested in the Modern Day and are disappointed by the declining role it plays in the games in favor of straightforward historical simulations. The latter group feel that the games should feature even less modern day and convert to a straightforward historical tourism series, and are more than content with the series becoming an Artifact Title.
Vindicated by History: With the exception of Syndicate, almost every game in the series that was contentious at launch has received some fair apprisals in hindsight:
Desmond in general. When his games were being released he was often seen as the weak-link of the series, particularly the Ezio trilogy, and seen as a bland main character. In the years since 3 and his death, while Desmond remains controversial opinions have softened over the years, particularly as soon after Desmond's death, the Modern Day plot went fully into Arc Fatigue and the closest thing he's had to a successor, Layla Hassan, has been even more controversial than Desmond. Nolan North revealing what the plan for Desmond would have been had the series not been extended past the character also had some fans wistful about seeing Desmond get to headline a modern game.
While 1 was never seen as a fully bad game, its lack of content outside of the viewpoint climbing and Templar assassinations was criticised, with Altair's moveset being more limited than his fellow Assassins. In more recent years, especially after Unity and Odyssey were accused of over-stuffing their games, 1 has been praised for being very minimalistic and focusing entirely on just being an Assassin, with Altair having no gimmicks or gadgets to dilute the experience.
Revelations was seen as having the dubious honor of finishing Ezio and Altair's stories while having to follow up on Brotherhood, then seen as the series peak. While it's still usually seen as the weakest game of Ezio's trilogy, its side content has been praised alongside its attempts to innovate the formula with bomb-making and the hookblade, alongside Ezio getting to be a Mentor to the Brotherhood and having a surprisingly happy ending for the character.
3 is perhaps still the most contentious game in the series overall besides Odyssey, even as the years have gone on. Its pacing remains a big deal-breaker, particularly in how it's only after Sequence 6 that Connor even gets to wear the Assassin robes and the overly long prologue with Haytham, which only accentuated Haytham's scene-stealing reputation. But in terms of the wider franchise, 3 included forest parkour and began the naval mechanic that would be further refined in Black Flag and Rogue to critical acclaim. While Connor's vocal performance remains contentious, more people becoming aware of side content like the Homestead that shows more to his personality, alongside pity from the fans over the poor hand Ubisoft is perceived as having dealt him (Rogue has an Abstergo file which says Connor died alone after his wife left him, which was so poorly received a comic afterwards retconned it as Templar propaganda) has kept him from being one of the more disliked protagonists.
While Unity will never escape the spectre of its launch and the poor state it released in, it has garnered some attention and praise otherwise. The parkour is surprisngly deep on a mechanical level and Paris remains one of the most beautiful and detailed locales in the series. That this was also the last Assassin's Creed game to try multiplayer out has also garnered some attention. While Arno remains controversial and the story is usually seen as wasting the potential of the French Revolution setting, much of the side content including the murder mysteries and the Dead Kings content has been praised in retrospect.
The Woobie: Many characters in the Franchise and extended story:
Subject 16. Everything about Subject 16. The Trauma Conga Line of the Bleeding Effect that he undergoes could put many of the entries on that page to shame. The revelations in later entries, namely that the visions he experienced were not only his ancestor memories but "calculations", visions of possible futures, only makes his ordeal even more agonizing, making him the true Mad Prophet of the series. His struggle to hold on to his sanity against the clutter of memories, Juno messages and false futures is nothing short of heroic, especially after his betrayal by Lucy Stillman. His ignominious death, the fact that even fellow Assassins - Shaun and Rebecca - call him Subject 16 even after his death only makes his life a vast "Shaggy Dog" Story, leave alone that he was in the end a puppet for Juno to con Desmond into sacrificing himself to release her.
Daniel Cross is acknowledged and discussed by Rebecca as such. His backstory, constant Mind Rape via bleeding effect and the fact that he's an engineered Tyke Bomb by Abstergo to destroy the Assassins as a "sleeper agent" including as we learn his Implied Love Interest Hannah Mueller only makes his relative innocence horrific. The backstory of his ancestor Nikolai Orelov and Innokenti, as well as the remarkable survival of his great Aunt Anna in present-day Russia is probably the only happy part of that tragedy.
Desmond Miles ultimately. A decent young man who chafed under his father's dubious parenting skills only to run away and somehow make it as a bartender in New York with an active social life, only to be taken against his will by Abstergo, undergo the unpleasant and bitter realization that his Jerkass father was right about the Templars all along and the cherry on top is his death, via Batman Gambit by Juno. Even after that, his body is unceremoniously desecrated by Abstergo, who harvest his DNA into Sample 17 and use their acquisition to make crappy video games about his Pirate Ancestors.
Jennifer Scott, the daughter of Edward Kenway and Caroline Scott. We see her as the cute and innocent 8 year old girl, delighted to see her cool father and his cool ship for the first time. Then we see that she's become a famous society beauty who still honours her mother by keeping her Family Name over Edward's. But then you read Assassin's Creed: Forsaken and find out what happened to her, namely that her father had engaged her into a marriage she did not want with Reginald Birch, who was not only a Templar but killed Edward and then kidnapped her and sold her into sex slavery. When Haytham rescues her years later, she's bitter and angry at her father, full of hated towards Reginald and appalled that Haytham is serving the Templars. She ends up becoming a bitter old spinster, estranged from her brother, who unbeknownst to her would soon be dead at her nephew's hands.
Speaking of Haytham, he fares no better than rest of the Kenways. He watched his father died trying to protect him and his half-sister taken by the mercenaries. He then raised by Reginald Birch and trained as a templar. During his rescue of Jenny, his friend, Jim Holden was captured and castrated when trying to protect them, and later comitted suicide. The death of his friend caused Haytham to be ruthless and often resort to extreme measure when dealing with his enemy. Haytham also suffered Broken Pedestal when learning that Birch is one who killed his father. His dedication as a templar also estranges his mother and his sister. Haytham's life in American Colonies is worse than his adventure in Europe. His wife Ziio forced him to leave when learning his templar identity, his son was trained by Achilles, a assassin gradmaster and mortal enemy. Throughout the Assassin's Creed III, Haytham witnessed his order crumbled at the hand of his son, who also took his life as well. In the end, Haytham's ideal of bringing order to the colonies and making peace with the assassin brotherhood died with him.
Connor, who's specifics can be seen on the YMMV page for Assassin's Creed III, is a Jerkass Woobie to some, but a Woobie nonetheless. For starters, he lost his mother and his home at a very young age, and when barely a young adult had to leave forever to become an Assassin. There's more than enough to go on talking about, like his forced Patricide and the fact his whole fight for freedom becomes a "Shaggy Dog" Story, and those are just the things the game calls specific attention to. He loses everything despite a typically good nature and several attempts to be an Actual Pacifist.
Altair, who counts more as an Iron Woobie. Lets see, when he was 11 his father was killed by the Salah ad-Din in exchange for Ahmad Sofian's life, who later committed suicide in front of Altair because he couldn't live with the guilt causing Umar's death. This cost him the friendship to Abbas. Fast forward, Altair starts a relationship with Adha who later dies. The year after, through his own fault, he get's Kadar killed, Malik crippled, and is stripped of his rank as Master and publicly humiliated, forced to reclaim his honor through relearning what it means to be an assassin. All while Malik (and most everyone) takes every opportunity to remind him of how terrible a person he is. He grows as a person, earns Malik's respect and then... finds out his Mentor and foster father Al Mualim is a Templar, forcing him to kill him. He becomes Mentor, marries, has two sons. Yay. Or not as one of said sons - Sef - is killed, Malik is blamed for it, and branded traitor. Altair is so distraught that he almost believes it but Maria manages to make him see reason and they rescue Malik from the dungeons. Which lasts about a day before Malik is beheaded and his head is given to Altair in a sack. They leave, return, Maria is killed. And despite all that, and despite losing his faith in people overall, he never stops fighting for a better world.