Circus Maximus: Why Assassin’s Creed Is Not a Stealth Game

The drums pound. The lights flash and set the smoke aglow. The crowd claps and cheers in anticipation. Then everything bursts into life. Lions roar, performers soar, cannons fire, swinging higher, knives are thrown and flames are blown until finally each performer converges on their mark.

The fabled eagle cries. The target is killed. The audience applaud.

You are playing Assassin’s Creed.

Assassin’s Creed is murder made theatrical. Death comes not as a result of silent assassinations but circus executions; a choreographed routine by a brotherhood rigorously trained and skilled in their art. But this art is different from the discipline in which I am trained. This is not stealth. This is stealth entertainment.

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Was gaming better without collectables?

A generation ago games were simpler. Since then TDM, fastest lap times and online leaderboards have hijacked the humble pleasures of the gamer. Back then you played for fun, you played for yourself. Back then you had no competition. Back then there were no trophies, no achievements to collect. You simply played. Or you didn’t. The choice was yours.

Now that choice has been snatched from us. Now not only must we play, but we must play until the bitter end, until 100%, until Platinum. Because now Jean Girard from Jarrier, Rhône-Alpes can scan our collection, Billy Sanchez from San Antonio, Texas can probe our performances, and Dave Smith from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire can scope our successes. Anyone can view our online achievements and stalk our statistics like some horrid progression goblin.

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