Gamescom (probably Europe’s biggest gaming convention and trade show) was this past week, meaning that lots of new goodies were revealed about upcoming releases. Ubisoft, of course, was there and revealed a lot of new trailers and details about both upcoming Assassin’s Creed 3 games. It was revealed that in Liberation, Assasin’s Creed’s first female protagonist, Aveline de Grandpre, would have access to various costume changing areas throughout New Orleans, which would allow her to change her garb to allow easier access to restricted areas. While it is kind of annoying that the girl of course gets this feature—and yes, one of the costume options is for a slave or servant—I’m not terribly up in arms about it, at least not as much as a lot of people seem to be. Here’s why.
First of all, I’ve long thought the series could benefit from the use of disguises. Realistically, it’s what an assassin would do, am I right? I can’t tell you how many times I cursed at the screen while playing the past games, and yelled, “WHY THE F*CK I AM USING THE STUPID BLEND MECHANIC THAT DOESN’T WORK HALF THE TIME WHEN I COULD JUST WEAR A F*CKING DISGUISE!?” In Revelations, Ezio gains access to the Topkapi Palace by dressing up as a Venetian bard, and I was overjoyed. Both because that makes sense and also because it wound up being incredibly hilarious (TIGHTS!).
And yes, one of the disguises is for a slave, or servant, but let’s be real here: this game is set in 18th century New Orleans. There are gonna be places where it will be easier for Aveline, as a black woman, to gain access dressed as a slave or servant. I mean, you’re probably going to be assassinating a plantation owner or two, and it would be much easier for Aveline to get in if she pretends to be part of the help. That’s just the reality of the time and place, and of your history, Americans. I also feel it would be a detriment if the game didn’t address the notion of slavery at all. On the flipside, Aveline can dress up like an upper-class woman as well. It’s possible she has other costume options too (there are shops throughout the city where you can buy clothing), but so far these are the only ones people have been shown. Connor too will employ disguises in his game, as allies can dress up as either English or American soldiers and “arrest” Connor, and gain access to restricted areas by pretending to lock him up (PlayStation The Official Magazine, September 2012). And AC2‘s games had a “dress up” feature for Ezio, which didn’t even have any gameplay benefits! The tailor shops in Ezio’s games were entirely for aesthetics, and your notoreity didn’t go down if you changed the colour of Ezio’s getups. So I feel like calling this new mechanic sexist is a little silly.
They’ve also thought this mechanic through really well. Aveline will have more limited health and limited weaponry (though she’ll always have her trusty hidden blade and access to smoke bombs), which makes sense because she’s not wearing her armour. In her Lady disguise, she also isn’t able to climb walls, which again makes sense when you think of all the restricting corsetry and skirts she’ll be wearing that wouldn’t allow her to do that. When she’s in her servant garb, it’s much looser and more casual, so she is able to climb and use her bullwhip. Depending on the situation, she can also incite other lower class people to riot and create distractions so she can enter an area. Awesomely, she also has a parasol as part of her Lady costume that doubles as a poison dartgun and can be used to confuse guards and even get them to attack each other. When in disguise, she’s also much less conspicuous to guards than when in her Assassin’s gear.
Another thing that people were up in arms about is how Aveline has the ability to “charm” guards away from their posts. Again, this is not really a new mechanic, as Ezio used the women who were his allies to do the same thing. Also, this may only be a skill that Aveline has when she’s in her Lady costume. And she doesn’t just use it to lure guards away, she can also use it to give herself an escort into the fortress, which I actually think is pretty BAMF. Again, I feel like the context and time period of the game is important, but, like, Aveline is a hot lady! Being a hot lady does have certain benefits, like getting men to fall over themselves to try and help you, especially if you are a well-off hot lady. Plus, these men would have been taught from a young age to treat a high-born lady with some respect, so of course they would offer to be an escort for her. It would have been considered good manners.
Plus, Aveline wrestles gators. I’m still definitely playing this one. Anyway, that’s just my humble opinion. You can read more about it at both Kotaku and Destructoid, from those who actually got to see and play the demo.
What do you think? Are you mad about these new abilities, or do you think they’ll make gameplay more interesting and realistic? Sound off in the comments!