The Assassin’s Creed way of implementing air assassinations is holding down the “high profile” set of keys using a certain button (for Playstation 3, it would be R2) then pressing another button such as the square button to allow for a swift and quick takedown, thus satisfying the player. Overall, this would need two simple button presses and centering the camera on the targeted enemy. The game itself will perform the air assassination as the player watches it. In the case of this game series, there are thousands of enemies (Templars) to kill, so making the assassinations all quick and swift would be better suited for these games. Later on, the Assassins Creed series started to include air assassinating as a mandatory goal in some story missions. For example, in Assassin’s Creed 3, the player must air assassinate John Pitcairn. If they stab Pitcairn in the back, the mission will restart since the player did not do the required air assassination.
Dishonored, on the other hand, has it so that the player must jump and/or use Blink (which is quick teleportation skill), and then press the attack button right before they land on top of the target. Similar to Assassin’s Creed, this also needs two buttons: one for jumping off a ledge and the other to kill the targeted enemy. Though unlike Assassin’s Creed, Dishonored lets the player press the kill button whenever they please, because they are responsible for killing the enemy, rather than the game automatically killing the enemy for you. This allows the player to feel more accomplished because they successfully did it themselves. In this game, it is possible to die from large heights if the player does not kill their target. This portrays a more personal accomplishment towards the player because of this task being extremely risky and possibly fatal. If the player connects to the game on more personally, then that means the game, and its mechanics, are very well designed.
Finally, in the reboot of Thief, the player will press one button once they are close enough to the enemy. After the player presses the button, the game plays a dramatic cut scene of the takedown, showing off to the player how epic they are. Similar to Assassin’s Creed, the game itself targets the enemy without the player having to time the execution accordingly, which is what Dishonored allows you to do. Overall, Thief’s way of a drop assassination seems too easy for the player, making it seem more of a satisfaction element by rewarding the player with a cool cut scene rather than personally rewarding themselves.
Out of all these games, I personally think that Dishonored did the best implementation of an air assassination because it allows there to be a challenge for the player since they are responsible for pressing the jump and kill button in a timely manner, and also because dying is a possibility if the air assassination is not properly executed. This is the opposite of the other two games, where they do the assassination for the player.