The Assassin’s Creed series has been with us for about a decade and there have been great highs – like Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, Ass Creed 2 and Brotherhood, but there have also been some great lows like Assassins Creed: Unity and Assassin’s Creed 3.
With the rest of the series sitting in the middle of the spectrum and has been stuck there since after the Unity shitshow. And while its attempts to try and recapture the series since them has been relatively admirable by going full RPG with Assassins Creed Origins and Assassins Creed Odyssey last year.
A quick Odyssey review is that game has notable improvements but still repeating mistakes from previous games – including being a grind fest to make progress in the game, which for an RPG is a bad thing. While combat is better than compared to previous games yet still is a chore and a pain with enemies having more health than a jumbo-sized Toblerone. Yet still they’ve continued with the modern times moments in all of them, which is utterly pointless and incredibly dull. So, here are some ideas to try to fix its main issues and get some magic back into the series.
Make the game less of a “grind”
Firstly Assassins Creed going RPG is by no stretch of the imagination a bad idea. My issues with it rest with its execution. The way I like my RPGs and most games that you can get through the story focused stuff fairly simple and side quests to be a welcome distraction and be an incentive to do them to enjoy the game more and possibly pick up cash and or new equipment. While Assassins Creed tries to do this it fails because at certain parts of the main quest stuff the recommended level it’s higher than what you’re currently standing at. Which for me put me into the wrong mindset entirely and think that the side quests are a chore and a necessity to progress in the game rather than to enjoy the game some more.
For this to improve it would need to be rebalanced so if you want to do the main missions till the end of the game, then coming back to do the side quests you can do so. Or get lost in the world completely and emerge 60 hrs later looking like Nosferatu but still having a good time.
Other aspects to mention include how the RPG effects stealth, now while I can happily admit there is always a time where you go up against high-level bad guys who can very easily stick a halberd up the player characters arse. While it’s fun to fight them 1v1 or 2v1, it not as fun when there are 4 or 5 of them cock slapping you about, it gets tedious.
After dying you go right I’m just going to stealth it up and insert my hidden blade or spear into their throat like a historical male prostitute who didn’t read the job description in some way. But with the latest ones, however, it doesn’t kill them 75% of the time, so when you’ve shanked them, they shake it off and low and behold him and his mates continue the cock-slapping, and bows are just as bad as well.
The point I’m trying to make is that while stealth hasn’t really been Assassins Creed “ace in the hole” its always has been a viable option. But now it really isn’t with games like Origins and Odyssey as its more of a “surprise!” than anything. When you’ve already gone through 19 massive sword fights in the last 2 hours, sometimes going in quietly is a nice change of pace. So, whether they go back to the old rules of instant death every time you use the hidden blade or another solution entirely, so it would be nice to see stealth an option again.
Slightly more manageable combat
Onto a slightly lesser issue is with the combat and while in Odyssey is great fun when you can kick people of mountain tops with ease like Gerard Butler and when you’re dealing with a small number of bad guys (in a Dark Souls sense). It becomes an issue when dealing with a crowd or a warzone with Spartans and Athenians going at one another like most Jeremy Kyle guests on his show.
As you can really focus on one guy at a time effectively you will get the occasional halberd up the arse or a flaming arrow in the knee. There isn’t much of a case for a total redesign really, but maybe take some influence from the Batman Arkham games. In the end, it’s a really good and fun system and does deal with crowd fights with ease. So, maybe while the combat system is far from great maybe a sprinkle of Batman may elevate it to good.
Bin the modern setting entirely
Now while the modern setting has offered context into why we hanging out with historical figures like Da Vinci, it’s also completely dull and pointless and in hindsight should not be in the series at all. From Desmond Miles running about like a moron for the first 5 games to the 4th wall breaks and to now its just been a ballache and when you kicked out from the historical stuff that we are all here for, for them to be jumped back to modern times is like when you’re a kid and your mum calls you in for tea or bed.
It’s just a ball ache entirely and isn’t helped when the characters (apart from Shawn Hastings) and the world is as about as interesting as finding a tissue in your pocket – just bin the modern stuff and give us the main game, please.
Now, while there has been a wide range of settings that the series has explored – from Ancient Greece to Egypt, the Crusades in the Middle East to Renaissance Italy. French and American Revolutions and plenty more to note. While there are a number of settings that would work well for the series like Feudal Japan as an example. Maybe instead of looking to the past maybe let’s look to the far future which is limitless and can easily suit the Assassins Vs Templars Narrative. Something on the lines of Blade Runner and or CyberPunk 2077 or Deus Ex to give you the mindset. I mean you wouldn’t complain being a half man half robotic Assassin working to take down the Templars like a Fucking Terminator. The past is already written and has constraints, maybe it’s time those shackles come off, eh?
Or maybe look at the What ifs of history and explore alternative histories. What if the south won the American Civil War? What if the American Revolution never happened as was still under British rule? What if the French Revolution never happened? There are countless “what if” questions in terms of history and while some games have explored the “what if the Nazis won the war?” question to great effect with Wolfenstein and others. With Assassins Creed, this isn’t completely uncharted territory as they explored George Washington being a despot king in the DLC for Assassin’s Creed 3. Which was a nice change of pace from a game which tried to stick with history as accurately as possible. So, maybe Alternative Histories could be another answer to bring some magic to the series?
Agree with what was discussed or do you’ve got any ideas about how Assassins Creed can get its mojo back? Put your suggestions into the comments.