After the release of the train wreck that was Assassin’s Creed Unity, many fans, including myself, had begun to grown disillusioned with the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Here was a game that was poised be the first truly next-gen title in the series, and it was constantly hyped up as the next logical step in the evolution of the franchise.
What we got instead was a game that was riddled with glitches, some of which were as terrifying as they were hilarious, and failed to properly deliver on even the most basic changes that it was introducing to the series. The new ability to parkour downwards was a massive disappointment, the new explorable building interiors were bland, the 4 player co-op missions were terrible and even the game’s story was just barely adequate.
In fact, during his GDC 2018 talk titled ‘10 Years of Evolution of the Assassin’s Creed Brand‘, creative director Jean Guesdon actually addresses a number of the issues that plagued the game. He talks about the struggles the development team faced when moving to a new game engine, and about how they ran out of time to develop content for the game because of their focus on the new tech.
Then came Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, a game that looked to fix all of the problems that plagued it’s predecessor while still introducing new elements to the series. Victorian Era London was a very fascinating premise, Jacob and Evie Frye seemed like genuinely intriguing characters and the game looked absolutely gorgeous.
Now I understand that this might not be the most popular of opinions, but Assassin’s Creed Syndicate was a bad game. As a long time fan of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, and as someone who has played and finished every single mainline game in the series including Assassin’s Creed Unity and Assassin’s Creed Rogue, I could not bring myself to dedicate enough time to the game to beat it.
The writing was fairly solid, but the interactions between the Frye twins, which critics praised, could often times be some of the most awkward instances of a human relationship I have ever seen depicted in a video game. The way they talked and interacted with each other, I sometimes had a hard time believing they were even related, let alone twins.
The game was also incredibly repetitive, and the inclusion of the new features such as the Rope Launcher did nothing to switch up the gameplay. In many regards this title was just a more polished version of Assassin’s Creed Unity, except the English accents this time around were actually found on English people.
But none of this is actually what made Assassin’s Creed Syndicate an unsatisfactory game. What made it bad is that the developers had a chance with this title to do something different and unique with the series after the Assassin’s Creed Unity blunder, but they chose to settle back into comfortable territory.
It was more polished, had better visuals and some might even say better combat. But at it’s core, it was still the exact same experience that we were used to after 8 Assassin’s Creed games. Hell, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag had more innovation than Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.
And it was at this point that I was more or less ready to give up on the series. I had held the opinion for a long time that the Assassin’s Creed games needed to change up the established formula in some way, both to retain their existing fans and to attract new ones, and apparently Ubisoft seemed to have the exact same idea.
After an entire year without a new entry in the series, Ubisoft came out with Assassin’s Creed: Origins in 2017. With this title Ubisoft had listened to the complaints of it’s fans, and changed up what it meant to be an Assassin’s Creed game.
The combat was greatly improved, as in there actually was a combat system now instead of just an elongated quick time event, the world was incredibly beautiful and the narrative was actually more attention grabbing than it had been in years. The developers had also replaced the trademark Eagle Vision feature with a literal Eagle in the sky and the game was actually an RPG this time around with a whole loot system, which is something that Ubisoft seems to intend to stick with going forward.
The premise is great, the gameplay is entertaining and Bayek is my favorite protagonist since Ezio Auditore. I liked Edward Kenway quite a bit, but Bayek is way better.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins is one of the best games in the entire series, and this is going to sound like a lot of unnecessary whining, but it sucks that it took this long for Ubisoft to make something like it. For a company this big, this should have been a no brainer, and they should further strive to experiment with the gameplay more with each new entry in the series.
They should also take their time between releases. I’d much rather wait a few years to get a title as entertaining and as polished as Assassin’s Creed: Origins, then be greeted with a new Assassin’s Creed Unity or Syndicate yearly, and that’s an opinion I know for a fact other people agree with me on.
And if you happen to be a fan of the Assassin’s Creed series, you owe it to yourself to try this game before Assassin’s Creed Odyssey comes out in a few weeks. From everything we’ve seen so far, it seems like it will further build on the successes of Origins, and I personally cannot wait for release.