When I first caught wind of the Assassin's Creed series, I initially thought it was about a 11th century assassin who fought against a brutal religious order. Digging deeper, I soon realized that Assassin's Creed was far much more than the sum of its parts. It was a complex, interwoven story that transpires against the fabric of time itself, leapfrogging between modern day heroes and stalwarts of the distant past. It also revolved around the frightening idea of a devastating, cataclysmic event. But I didn't start off with the original Assassin's Creed. Nor did I start with Assassin's Creed 2 or Brotherhood for that matter. My first real, hands-on exposure to the franchise was Revelations---the fourth game in the franchise.
I didn't understand a word of it. I didn't even know who Ezio Auditore was. It was probably a mistake on my part.
Apparently, I didn't learn my lesson because I went ahead and leapfrogged again to Assassin's Creed 3 this year. Perhaps I was caught up in all the excitement and the hype, and I had pre-ordered it from GameStop because I wanted that limited edition game tin---which, to this day, has never left its celophane. This, however, turned out to be as much a blessing in disguise as it was a double-edged sword.
For one, each game provided an in-game primer that chronicled the events leading up to the games in question. For AC3 and Revelations, I got to know more about Desmond Miles, the Assassins, the Templars and the roles they play in this world. However, I inadvertently removed the element of surprise from the early Assassin's Creed games, meaning I know in advance specific events that I probably should not have laid my eyes on. The only consolidation here is that my newfound respect and admiration for the Assassin's Creed franchise enables me to enjoy the fruits of its solid gameplay and explore its surroundings further. And to its credit, the retrospectives included in the AC games serve as helpful tools for newcomers who, like me, jumped past the earlier entries simply because the newest game in the series was getting overblown by press releases and attention.
But I already know a lot of the major events that occurred because I had made the mistake of spoiling myself. So does it make sense to play the rest of the franchise for the story? Or for the experience?
My excuse is that the experience overall was worth the erstwhile sacrifice. That said, I plan to one day own the entire series for my 360. But leaping ahead isn't something I'm likely to do again in the near future, because I like the element of surprise. Most game sequels do not require that you had to know about earlier games to enjoy them, and other franchises have gone so far as reboot themselves. This is the nature of the industry to expose successful franchises to newer audiences. I came into Assassin's Creed rather late in my gaming career, but my pride did not allow me to buy the original Assassin's Creed when I could be enjoying the much-improved, far superior, newly-released Assassin's Creed 3.
Yet, I realized I was slowly starting to repeat my mistake yet again with the Halo series. I just got Halo 4. And Halo 4 transpires directly after Halo 3. Fortunately, I played and finished Halo 3 beforehand (back before I was a FPS gamer, and I had played it with friends at the time who were FPS nuts), but that was roughly five years ago. Still though, I'm holding off on Halo 4 for a bit. I played it some, but I already knew what happened at the end of Halo 3.
So, is it considered a crime for newcomers to leap ahead in a game series, not knowing a thing about the games that preceded the latest release? Have you done what I did? Did you feel good about it overall? Or did you feel you made a mistake? Let me know your thoughts on this.