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Sunday, January 29, 2023

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Has Assassin Creed forgotten it’s roots?

I have been a long time fan of the Assassin Creed franchise I have played just about all of the game in this series. With the new AC ( Assassin Creed for short) on the way titled Assassin Creed Valhalla, two things are very clear to me: one the game will be a fun adventure through the age of Viking and two the series has truly lost its identity. While Valhalla appears to be this great game where we get to play a Viking and explore that realm this seems to truly signal the end of the old AC series.

AC used to be all about stealth and these amazing characters dress in the white hood and hidden blades of the assassin order. In Odyssey, there wasn’t even a hidden blade instead you had a magic spear. While this is cool it honestly has no business being apart of the franchise at all. Instead of the game being focused on stealth first and action second, the game took a large turn into a very different game with Origins. Where you would leave an encounter almost always fighting all the enemies in the area.  I believe the real end of the series was Syndicate which was a great game that held true to what made the AC games so much fun to explore and play.

Well, the big question is what changed? The answer is pretty simple, it was Ubisoft the main developer/ publisher of the series changing the way they make games. If you notice most of Ubisoft’s games now lean towards games as a service model, which means a game that comes out with an initial game and then over time you are expected to put more money into the game to get more content. Even then these types of models have very rarely worked World of Warcraft is the best example and Anthem being the example of a game that failed horribly. This model leans so heavily towards the publisher or developer making as much money as possible out of this one game, adding new content that is either very hard to get through in-game currency or lock behind a hard challenge or you can just pay twenty bucks and get it right now. In the most recent years, Ubisoft has changed all of its games to fit this model, for example, look no further than Ghost Recon Breakpoint and The Division 2. Both games are focus more on the multiplayer because that’s where the money is made and have all kinds of cosmetic items that you have to buy with real-world currency. But guess what single-player game is now a lot like this? Our dear old Assassin Creed Origin and Odyssey, both of these games have immense pay mechanics in them where you just buy the crafting material you need with real-world money to save yourself time because otherwise, it takes hours of grinding to make some of the better gear.

In Odyssey, you had to get an XP booster that cost ten bucks just to play through the story and not do hours of side quest for further evidence of this particular issue you can check my full article on this issue here. On a positive note Ubisoft did say they are going to give us more freedom of choice to be able to just play through the story but only time will tell if this is true.

Speaking of the story that is another aspect of Assassin Creed that has change. Instead of the linear story where you play a cunning Assassin in the fight against the vile Templar order, you are now for most of Origins a Medjay and in Odyssey a mercenary. Now, these two games are not bad at all that’s not what I am saying they are fun and tell some great stories but could really just be their own games. You take out the few mentions of Assassin’s and the present timeline features with Layla and Odyssey is a great game where you travel through ancient Greece and become a greek hero. However, they are poor Assassin Creed games that don’t even for most of these 30 plus hours games deal with the Assassins or Templars. I always loved how for example Ezio was so tied to the Assassin’s and how his three games were just as much about the Assassin as they were Ezio himself as if one didn’t exist without the other. In fact, this is actually a key part of Ezio story in Revelations.  Maybe I just miss the way the games used to be versus what they have become now or maybe the series has truly lost its roots. 

While these two new games in the AC series are great as games they have never been strong Assassin Creed games, with Valhalla on the way this fall I don’t see that changing much at all. However, at least for the moment, we got a hidden blade back in the mix maybe the Assassin all dressed in white are not far behind. Assassin Creed of the last generation will always be one my favorite series that told some really over the top stories in historical setting that for the most part did a great job of keeping the story grounded, even during some of it’s weirder moments. Regardless I am excited to play as a Viking however I am not excited to see Assassin Creed drift farther away from the roots that once made them so original. 

Currently Playing: Mortal Kombat 11 

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