I have been a fan of Assassin’s Creed ever since the first commercial came out in 2007. I was entranced by the visuals of the game, and the idea that I would be reliving actual events in history through the lense of a hidden manipulator made it all the more sweeter. I bought the first Assassin’s Creed on the first day and I ended up pouring hours and hours of my down time into it. I remember it being one of those games that I just had to 100%. I ran around and assassinated every Templar, I synchronize at every overwatch point, and I even replayed every mission as an assassin that was never seen.
The first game was revolutionary for it’s time. The story telling around Desmond Miles and Abstergo left me in a sense of wonder every time I was brought out of the animus and reintroduced into the real world. Assassin’s Creed felt like two really good games in one. I enjoyed running around the main room and attempting to figure out what Ubstergo wanted with me. However, probably one of the greater things that Assassin’s Creed was able to do was leave you in suspense. They treated the end of the game like a blockbuster movie and it made me both insets and curious. When Desmond learns about the bleeding effect at the end of the first game, and the credits began to roll, I had to grab my computer and rewatch the ending over and over to find out what the heck just happened. Before then, most games that I played had an ending that I would either love or hate, but I would still understand them. Assassin’s Creed left me baffled at the end, and it only made me love it more.
That leads us to Assassin’s Creed 2, which ended up breaking the mold when it comes to not only Assassin’s Creed, but also when it comes to sequels as a whole. Assassin’s Creed 2 was able to take everything that we loved about the first game, and create something even better. We had a more engaging main character, and larger world, a better story, and a more in depth look into the life of Desmond. Enough great things have been said about Assassin’s Creed 2, so there really isn’t more that could be said. All I can say is that it is one of my favorite sequels in a video game series.
Now as you can already tell, I actually enjoyed the Desmond story. I thought it was interesting to have these breaks from the main character of the past, and then give us a chance to learn about the assassin order in the present day. Desmond was just a person that lived in what he describes as a cult for most of life, and just wanted to get away. He ran away from home and ended up a bar tender in New York before he was kidnapped by Ubstergo and forced to undergo experiments in the animus. His blood line is special, in that he is the descendant of all the great assassins in history, and he was the key to Ubstergo learning all about the Assassin order and where they kept all of their prized possessions. Their possessions?…well that’s where they start to loose people, and I think that’s also where Ubisoft started to loose faith in their own story telling.
Throughout the series, you begin to learn more and more about the original inheritors of the world. The story begins to get pretty muddled when you learn that Adam and Eve were not the original humans, but just the ones that survived a genocide at the end of devastating event that wiped out all of civilization on earth. Apparently, there was a time before Adam and Eve where life was very technologically evolved and people lived in harmony, but when a supernova hit the planet, all of civilization was lost and the world was essentially left to Adam and Eve.
Full disclosure, I might have gotten that wrong. It has been awhile since I played these games and I believe that me misrepresenting the story line might actually make my point. The story gets convoluted and ridiculous.
You can tell that this is where fans of the series begin to get confused. It seemed as though Ubisoft was trying to create to many plots in one game and the overall story of the Assassins versus The Templars begins to get lost in the sauce. Fans of the series began to complain, and ultimately Ubisoft decided that they would retroactively kill off Desmond and that entire story line after the events of the third game. I really thought the series was over after this event. I thought there was no way to have an assassin’s creed game without Desmond…I was both wrong and kinda right.
Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag came out of the gate swinging with amazing gameplay, awesome naval traversal, and an expansive open world. You can tell that their attempt was to show the fans that they wanted to focus on the historical set pieces, rather then the overwhelming story. Black Flag to me was a fantastic pirate game, but not a great assassins game. You don’t become an assassin till the end of the game, and really spend most of your time pretending to be an assassin just to get a spot on a ship. Edward Kennway had an interesting story, but you could tell that he would have just been happier if his ship was not destroyed at the beginning of the game.
Though they didnt have Desmond Miles as the catalyst to the past, they did have Abstergo and a fresh batch of no name and no face employees that you possess in order to find out the backstory behind how Ubstergo received Desmond’s DNA. Turns out that they just went to the site of his death and extracted some DNA from his brain. Quick, effective, and it gave them the ability to continue searching for the artifacts without relying on Desmond.
These moments really just felt like filler and a compromise for fans of Desmond Miles. They didn’t put nearly as much time or effort into these speratic, and often times useless, attempts at story bridges between the events of the past and present. Ubisoft just stopped caring about the present day story, and decided to go full force into the past. Rogue (which was basically a Black Flag port), Syndicate, Unity, and all of the DLCs to follow would adopt this new mold and eventually would lead to a sudden change and a year off from the series.
Fatigue was starting to set in on not only the players, but on the franchise. I played every game, but they began to loose their luster and I felt myself just playing them because I had played all of the rest. I didnt actually get overly excited for the yearly Assassin’s Creed, I just felt like it was my duty as a fan of the previous titles to give it a chance.
Which brings us to the last year when Ubisoft gave us Assassin’s Creed Orgins. A game that takes place even further back then the first game, as a sort of reboot to the series and possibly a fresh start on the story. They decided that they would try and change just about every aspect of the gameplay by making it a full fledged RPG with level progression and loot drops. You were now able to customize not only the appearance of your character, but also alter the way that your character’s stats and combat are reflected. You could choose from a variety of play styles and weapons, which opened up new ways for you to be the assassin that you wanted to be. Origins gave you the ability to learn more about how the Assassin Brotherhood got started and the events that would reshape history. They did a lot more to flush out a good story with the main character, but I was disappointed at the rushed ending and the lack of suspense that other games in the series were able to pull off. I finished the game and was actually able to walk away without sitting there for a second in order to figure out just what happened.
I was also happy to see that they did bring back the modern story, but I wish they would have done more with it. It just felt like a bit of filler once again. You will only leave the Animus three times in the entire 60 hour campaign, and during these times, you may only spend about 10 minutes…maybe….learning whatever you can from news articles and computer entries. You could tell that Ubisoft, once again, couldn’t care less about the modern story. They couldn’t even spend a little extra money on decent actors to play the roles of the researcher and her assistant. The voice acting was so bad that I would literally run back to the Animus just so that her horrible voice would stop. I felt intrigued by what Ubisoft was attempting to do with the series and I was willing to give them a fair shot. With as much criticism as I gave, when it came to the previous entries, I still had moments of enjoyment, and there was obviously something that kept dragging me back. I was happy to see the return of Desmond’s father at the end of Origins, and this led me to believe that they maybe trying to rekindle that long lost story.
Let’s talk about Assassins Crees Odyssey.
I will preface this by saying that I am only 10 hours into the story. I can’t speak to the overall story, but I can tell you how the past 10 hours have treated me.
So far I have been having a lot of fun with this game. The combat is the same as Orgin, which is good because I just recently beat Origin, so I was already ahead of the curve. I love that they brought back the naval exploration from Black Flag, and some of the new systems that they implemented are actually pretty cool. You can tell that Ubisoft tried to take concepts from some of the best games of the past few years and make them their own. You have the “capture and turn” your enemies function from Metal Gear Solid 5, the nemesis system from Shadow Of Mordor, and the quest and dialogue options from just about every Bioware game, however, it feels as though they were trying to emulate The Witcher more then anything else. I say that because of the way they changed up the map in Origins as well. It seemed to me that they were just trying to chance the concepts of The Witcher and their traversal system. I maybe wrong, but that’s my gut feeling and this is my blog…so deal with it.
Whether you love them or hate them for being inspired by or stealing these concepts, you have to admit that it makes sense for them to do this. It felt a little gross at first, mainly because you could just sense that they were trying to just make the greatest Frankenstein like game, but didnt actually add anything new that they themselves created. After a few hours though, I let all of that go and just started enjoying the game that they created.
I enjoy this game. I want to play this game. I spend hours and hours just traveling all over the different islands and uncovering hidden treasure. The combat is fun and the stealth is very forgiving. The story so far has been better then Origins, in my opinion, and this has so far been a great game…but it is not an Assassin’s Creed game.
I feel like they have gone way off the rails with this game and it just doesn’t feel like an actual Assassins Creed game. I feel no connection to the present day story. There is such a lack of interest in my mind when it comes to the modern story that I couldn’t even remember the name of the main character. I should look it up, but I think this better proves my point that Ubisoft truly stopped caring about the modern story line in this series.
They made the main characters way too overpowered and even gave them superhero like abilities. The main thing about Assassin’s Creed was the focus on ordinary people working together, in the shadows, to overthrow corrupt organizations, which reshapes the fabric of history, and instead created a demi-god simulator.
Going into an encampment use to involve a level of planning and skill where being spotted meant restarting from a previous save. However, I have run into a main encampment full of soldiers and survived with full health. Its like they gave you the option to be an assassin…in a game literally called Assassin’s Creed.
These are just some of my thoughts on Assassin’s Creed. I wish they would have stuck to what made the first game great, instead of chasing trends. I’m still enjoying Odyssey, but I know that it could be a better Assassin’s Creed game.
What are your thoughts on the direction of the series?
As always…thanks for reading!