The recent detail leak about the upcoming Assassin’s Creed IV has made a few things clear, first and foremost the new setting and most importantly the new lead character. Well, that is, a new sub-lead character, as there is a good chance that the main plot line will still follow the trials and tribulations (or at least the fallout) of Desmond Miles, but while inside of the Animus players will not have to deal with the incredibly flat, lifeless void that was Connor from Assassin’s Creed III. It wasn’t that the concept of Connor, a Boston-based Native American, that fell flat, but instead it was the execution of him that just never amounted to anything.
There are some basic character traits that can help to build a fully-realized, three-dimensional character that feels like a living, breathing human being — or at least one that you want to follow the exploits of for dozens of hours — and Connor was missing just about all of these things. Sure, you could argue that Connor could be a realistic character because not all people grow or really have engaging personalities in real life, some people are just vengeful people who never grow beyond that phase.
Throughout the span of time that you follow Connor in Assassin’s Creed III he brings so little to the table that at times I wondered why I was even playing the game. You follow Connor from his childhood until he is a fully grown assassin, trained in the ways of the Assassin’s Guild and out for revenge. Gone was the stoic badassery of Altair as well as the charm and wit of Ezio from the series and in their stead was Connor, whose quest was based more upon personal vendettas than what Altair and Ezio’s stories turned into. Sure, there were Templars to fight, but the fight was a personal one that had very little to do with the fight for the future that we the players have become accustomed to with former assassins. They always had a personal reason to do what they do, but were also looking to prevent evil forces from overtaking the planet.
None of that seemed to matter for Connor, as it was strictly revenge without all of the ooey-gooey stuff like feelings and him learning that vengeance is not all that there is in life. There was a brief glimpse at that kind of moral lesson, but it was overshadowed by the rest of the game and trying to stay historically accurate to the Revolutionary War and Boston at the time without straying too far. In a way, the game was more concerned with making New England the main character and being historically accurate with just throwing in a lead character with a tomahawk in for wow-factor. Top all of this off with them trying extremely hard to not making Connor seem like a stereotype and you have their hands tied in a very awkward manner making for a poor experience.
It is all of this that has really prepared me to have a new assassin to play as and only hope that he’ll bring more to the table than other characters have in the past Assassin’s Creed titles. Desmond has been much-maligned and feels like an unnecessary part of the game at this part and the last game suffered by having two worthless lead characters, so here is hoping that a swashbuckling pirate assassin can help make Assassin’s Creed feel fun and unique again.