Ubisoft going "all in" on Assassin's Creed

Originally published at: Ubisoft going "all in" on Assassin's Creed | Boing Boing

Sounds like a risky gamble, and one likely to come back and bite them on the dagger sheath. Flooding their market instead of making each entry unique and special and leaving the audience wanting more rarely works (see: Star Wars; Marvel; both of which have struggled with their more recent entries, with a few notable exceptions).

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There hasn’t been an Assassin’s Creed made with the traditional formula – cool hood, social stealth, ideological struggle – since 2015, and the last time we saw a good story from the series was before even that.

OK, so I must be imagining Origins, Odyssey and Valhalla then. Because they are just as full of cool hoods, social stealth and ideological struggle as any of the other games in the series. And the stories in all three have been great, with really interesting character development - Valhalla in particular managed a glorious retcon to part of the Isu backstory for the seemingly small number of us that really like that bit. I will concede that the recent trilogy lost something by moving clearly away from the Abstergo plotline but again, I get the impression that most players weren’t interested in that element, so I guess that’s the price the rest of us had to pay.
And the insanely vast open worlds that they gave us to play in are still extraordinary. The Egypt of Origins is a genuinely magical place to explore, especially with the Discovery Tour stuff, and the medieval England of Valhalla is a delight.
Yeah, I love these games and whilst I am not an obsessive (I haven’t spent any real money outside of the original game price, or bought all of the minor entries in the series), it’s a franchise that I am not yet bored with, and I look forward to finding out what historical ‘gaps’ Ubi still think are left to fill. Especially as they’ve managed to neatly establish Watch Dogs as the ‘modern world’ setting for the eternal struggle…

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Coraggio, vecchio

The stealth mechanics between the original series and the recent trilogy are significantly different. I loved the newer ones, but I also miss some of the old mechanics, like blending into a crowd of people on a busy city street.

And I still need to pick up Valhalla.

My least favorite part of the Assassin’s Creed games was always getting pulled out of the historical setting. I want to rebuild Rome, dammit; quit blathering about Templars.

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One of the clever things in Valhalla is that the mechanics feel as though they are getting the world in place for the systems used in the original game, so you get to blend in with crowds of monks, or sit on benches to avoid notice, since the setting for the game starts to suggest the ways the “Hidden Ones” evolve into the Assassins (and, perhaps more interestingly, how the Templars effectively come into being as well.)

The stealth mechanics appear to be identical to me? You get to crouch in undergrowth, run across rooftops, jump down unexpectedly from above, and panic when five extra guys appear that you didn’t expect. It doesn’t seem that different to me to the very first game.

I honestly recommend Valhalla; the main plot is very well structured and written, and the side quests are often fun, but it’s true that if you just focus on that, then the map becomes an impenetrable mess of icons in a way that even the two O games didn’t quite end up like.

If I read that correctly, that’s ten more games in this series? I liked the first game (didn’t play any of the others yet) but I can’t think of anything in any medium that was still good after ten sequels, never mind all the ones currently out. Colour me skeptical.

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10 more isn’t even doubling the size of the series.

/me blends in on bench.

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I’m looking forward to Valhalla, I’m just waiting for sales, as well as other games to buy I have in my queue.

As far as the difference in stealth mechanics, I thinks it’s more about the mandatory role stealth played in the earlier games. In the newer games, I’ve slaughtered entire fortresses after getting spotted. That wouldn’t happen in earlier entries. Also the parkour aspect became a lot easier, which is not necessarily bad, but definitely different.

I could also be misremembering the older games, I haven’t played them in a while.

No, I tend to think that’s all been pretty much the same since the start - you stealth until you are spotted, and then just madly swing at everyone hoping that there aren’t too many of them. With patience, you can still stealth through almost everywhere and still get all the treasures.

I mean, yes, in the more recent games you can indeed forego the stealth entirely with little cost, and there’s far too much equipment that encourages you to do that. But that’s true of similar game series like Deus Ex or Dishonoured or even Thief really - the problem with giving players freedom to approach things the way they want is that you have to make the “mow them all down with a machine gun” strategy viable or those people will be very upset. And I have to admit that I think those people seem likely to be far more vocal than those of us who prefer stealthy, perhaps for obvious reasons?!

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I was a big fan of the original Thief, so I’m definitely in the “if you pull your sword out you’ve already lost” camp.

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Ten years without a Splinter Cell game now…

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Honestly, I’ve played a few of the Assassin’s Creed games over the years and the only one I liked was Shadow of Mordor.

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I always called that “Lord of the Assassins” or “Creed of the Ring”

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I call it “a nearly perfect orc murder simulator”. I was so upset that they fucked up the sequel. Not just the horrendous microtransactions, but it just didn’t feel as good. It’s not very often that I get drawn into an action game with deep mechanics (because I am bad at video games).

But that first game just felt so good. 100%ed it!

There is a very different feel to the stealth in Origins and Odyssey compared to the older games, and the parkour is both not as integral or as difficult to pull off in the newest trilogy. Stealth is a way to make your life easier, and it is still very satisfying to pull off a stealth massacre in a fortress, but the fighting is a lot more central to the games now. Not sure how much I really feel like I need to blend in with the crowd or hire a gaggle of thugs or prostitutes to distract guards anyway. I’ll certainly be interested in what they might offer in the future.

Shadow of War was more fun for me, but Mordor was great.

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The enemies can be sooo dumb.

stealth headshot thwack
“hmm, what’s this body over here?” twhack
“hmm, what’s this pile of two bodies over here?” thwack
“hmm, what’s this pile of three bodies over here?” thwack

I think I’ve gotten up to 5 or 6 and still not set off alarms.

ETA: The only reason that low is that it was everyone patrolling in that section of the fort.

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