Assassin’s Creed is an incredible series. It changed environmental interaction and revolutionized the open world and action adventure genres. That said, not everything that came out from Assassin’s Creed was incredibly good. Here’s 4 things we want to see in the new Assassin’s Creed origins, (and 4 we don’t.)
Being set in Egypt is a huge opportunity for the franchise. Assassin’s Creed two was widely considered to be the best in the series, and one of the main reasons for that was the constantly evolving world. Witnessing the renaissance firsthand was a unique experience that you couldn’t really get in any other game. The accompanying history about each structure and the fact construction effected gameplay kept the environments from getting old. It also had the double effect of connecting players to the world, which grew as you did. In the trailer we see an assassin sliding down the pyramids, but imagine how much more impact that would have if we were there when it was built. It doesn’t have to be the pyramids specifically, but watching these gorgeous environments evolve would be a treat.
Open world games have a lot of walking. Legs are great, I’m kind of attached to mine, but getting around becomes tedious 40 hours in. Assassin’s Creed alleviates some of this problem by making parkour a central part of the experience, but the introduction of flight through flying machines was a serious game changer for the series. Technologically speaking, there’s no historical basis for flight during the period the game is set. Thankfully, the developers seemed to find a way around this through good ol fashioned spirit animals. In the trailer we see the player take control of Senu, a beautifully rendered hawk, as it flies above the city to do what hawks do best, spot prey. It’s no flying machine, but if it looks as good in game as it did in the trailer, nobody will be complaining.
Black flag was all about pirates, and the ship exploration and combat saved the series from the staleness that many fans complained of. Collecting sailor’s sea shanties added a color of culture that made the game come alive. The seamless transition from ship to land without a single loading screen created a level of immersion that would make Bethesda take notes. Egypt is positioned right between the Mediterranean and the red sea, so naval combat is certainly plausible. Even if they don’t venture deep into oceanic waters, they have a great opportunity with the Nile river. Jumping ship to ship while heading down the Nile, catching babies in baskets would be a great minigame. According to certain books that’s what Egypt was like.
Unfortunately, the game director has already confirmed that there will be no multiplayer for Origins at launch. Multiplayer was added in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and was generally considered to be the greatest achievement of that installment. Unfortunately, the travesty that was Assassin’s Creed: Unity made online play a sore spot for both players and developers. It’s possible that the removal of multiplayer was an effort to distance the series from that train wreck, while also returning to the game’s single player focused roots. While we mourn the loss of being T-bagged by vulgar 13-year olds, the graphical advances that origins has made compensates for it. There is always the possibility that Multiplayer could be added later, but that isn’t necessarily something we are hoping for because one thing we don’t want to see is…
Downloadable content is a great way to fix bugs, and keep old games fresh. It can also be used to add new features that the players want. New characters, game modes, and aesthetic items are fun, but we already bought the game once. Ubisoft has become notorious for releasing unfinished games, with the expectation that they will be “fixed” in later dlc. The catastrophic launch of the latest Sims game, and Assassin’s Creed Unity were examples of that. There have been promises up and down since then that history won’t repeat itself, and they even went so far as to make both of those games free to play as an apology to players. Origins shows way more polish in the trailers than either of those titles, but trailers have been altered before. There’s a legitimate concern among the fan-base that the game will come out incomplete, but the development life-cycle for Origins was much longer than previous Assassin’s Creed titles, so hopefully we are stressing over nothing.
The AI in Assassin’s Creed is good, for the most part. Enemies will follow the player up all kinds of complex buildings, flank, inform each other of the player’s presence, and change attack patterns as the game goes on. The same cannot be said for allies. While the introduction of allies in Brotherhood was super cool, they left a lot to be desired in the way of their smarts. Getting stuck seemed to happen more for allies than it did for enemies, and escorting the game equivalent of a toddler through a sea of deadly guards was nothing short of infuriating. There doesn’t seem to be any indication of such frustrations yet, but we won’t know till the game come out if the loathed escort mission will be present. Hopefully the game directors realized that there’s no point in being a bad ass assassin if you have to protect a suicidal troglodyte.
I get it, the Apple of Eden is a main plot device of the series. Supplanting it in every old art piece was fun. It was like the ring in lord of the rings meets where’s waldo. But Assassin’s Creed isn’t a mystery game. It wasn’t fun figuring out what all the convoluted metaphors meant, and every time the player fought some supernatural teleporting enemy with an apple the game totally lost the realistic gravity that made it great. So please, don’t have us looking for fruit in Hieroglyphs.
The Animus started the series, I know. The idea of genetically stored memories was how the player even got into the game to begin with. It added a matrix feel that created an iconic aesthetic for the game. But guns defeat the purpose of being a highly trained assassin. Watch Indiana Jones if you don’t believe me. Not only that, but going from an incredibly cool assassin to their lame modern equivalent is like going from Ironman to his twelfth cousin that fixes lawnmowers for a living. Referencing the present day is fine, but every time the player gets pulled out of Egypt to run around some lame lab everyone will have the same reaction. “Oh God, not this crap again.” If we wanted modern combat, we’d play call of duty.
Assassin’s Creed Origins comes out on 10/27/17 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Happy Hunting!