The Ending to Assassin’s Creed 3
Upon completing Assassin’s Creed 3 I had many questions, but the most notable one was what I said when the credits rolled. “What the hell just happened?” The very last moments of Assassin’s Creed 3 are among the most baffling and poorly executed moments I’ve ever witnessed from a video game. It fails in just about every possible way that an ending can fail. The only good thing I have to say about the ending is that it’s so sudden and detached from the narrative that it doesn’t spoil Connor’s story (the one in the American Revolution), which luckily makes up the bulk of the narrative. To be honest, it doesn’t feel appropriate to call this an ending so much as the game simply stops the story and abandons it completely.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story of Assassin’s Creed 3, allow me to fill you in. In the game, the world is going to end on December 21st 2012. It’s up to the modern-day Assassins, led by protagonist Desmond Miles to save the world. At the front of the game, the Assassins enter a temple built by an ancient civilization called “Those who came before.” After locating three power sources and finding a key, the Assassins unlock a door that leads to some sort of ancient Macguffin that apparently can save the world. But suddenly, Juno, one of “those who came before” (who first showed up in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood) appears. After a massive and awkward exposition dump that would make Hideo Kojima blush, Desmond faces a big decision.
If he uses the device, Desmond will save the world, however not only will he die but Juno will be freed and able to enslave the world. On the other hand he can let the world be destroyed, thus containing Juno, but guaranteeing the death of millions. Desmond goes with the first option and saves the world, sacrificing himself in the process. The game fades to black shortly afterward and the credits roll. To put it bluntly, this ending comes right-the-hell-out-of-nowhere. At no point during the entire game, or in previous games was there any hint about Juno in particular had evil intentions. There are so many unanswered questions and while that was also the case with the ending to the first three Assassin’s Creed game (1,2 and Brotherhood), after Revelations successfully wrapped up Ezio’s storyline, I was pretty sure Ubisoft had a good idea on how end a character arc, clearly I was mistaken. This is an ending that was slapped together in order to put a end to Desmond’s story. The only thing more abrupt and unsatisfying would be if a Templar ran into the room and stabbed everyone.
Another big problem with the ending is that it really seems to be leading up to the player making a decision, but instead Desmond chooses for the player. At the very least, if the player had some sort of input, maybe being forced to initiate Desmond’s death at the push of a button. The big problem here is that the narrative and the gameplay are out of sync, in the sense that the narrative is presenting the protagonist with a choice, but the game isn’t doing the same for the player. This creates a very unsatisfying experience for the player and for a game to end this way is unforgivable.
There are also issues I had with the last assassination, the first one being that Charles Lee, is the last target. as opposed to Haytham Kenway (the player character’s father). While I did enjoy Haytham’s last words, I felt he was much more deserving of being the primary villain the Lee. There’s also the fact that the final sequence takes place as a single mission, and not a series of missions leading up to an assassination. Instead we get a chase sequence followed by a Templar and an Assassin walking into a bar (I’m not making that up) and one killing the other with no words spoken. Even if you buy into Connor’s desire for revenge being more powerful than his estranged relationship with his father, he doesn’t get to deliver any spiteful word’s to his mother’s killer. There’s no cartharsis, no triumph, it’s just another kill.
Ultimately, the ending to Assassin’s Creed 3 is abrupt, unsatisfying and was clearly slapped together with little inspiration. There’s no artistic vision, and I would be hard-pressed to find something in the ending worth defending. I wouldn’t call this a controversial ending, because anyone who sees it would agree that the ending to Assassin’s Creed 3 definitely and quite clearly sucks. Enough said.
Posted on August 1, 2013, in Editorials and tagged AC3 ending sucks, Assassin's Creed 3 ending, Assassins' Creed 3, bad endings, Desmond, Games, Ubisoft, Video Games. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.