Ubisoft has announced that they want the next Assassin’s Creed console installment to be on the same level of density as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Those of us who have spent time in the world of the Witcher last year know that accomplishing such a feat might not be in Ubisoft’s wheelhouse. Before Ubisoft can make Assassin’s Creed any better than it is, they will either need to trim the games fat or draw back on their scope.
Ubisoft does have experience with creating a decent sized game world, but they lack the ability to create worthwhile objectives to warrant getting lost in their world. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt does a superb job at slowly leading you into its vast world. First you are introduced to a linear type of introduction to the game where we learn some background on the story while also learning the intuitive combat system along with other game mechanics that you will be using. Then, after all the important information is out of the way, the player is dumped into White Orchard where we are introduced to creatures, monsters and other enemies along with the game within a game, Qwent. After completing this section, we head to Novigrad and the real magic begins; characters are introduced, side missions with personal and meaningful stories (that sometimes are better than the main storyline itself) are brought in and suddenly the player realizes that hours have passed since booting up the game and they are completely encompassed in this world.
On Ubisoft’s side of things, however, you never really get lost in the world. You’re chugging and plugging through story missions and if you do decide to venture off into the world, the side missions are far from interesting. You are either on an elaborate escort mission or liberating boroughs in the same three ways ten times over until you free the city from Templar control. The side activities in the recent Assassins Creed games have been utterly dull and mind numbing providing nothing worthwhile to your experience besides unlocking weapons and armor you don’t really even need to complete the game. The biggest jab in the gut Syndicate socks to the player is if they choose to forgo the daunting, repetitive task of liberating borrows, locking them out of Sequence 8 and unable to move forward in the story until a minimum of three boroughs are liberated. The game is essentially forcing you to play through their liberation actives, as if playing through the beginning missions of liberating White Chapel wasn’t bad enough, the game wants you to take a second crack at these utterly dull activities at least three more times before continuing on with the only halfway decent feature, which is the story.
Syndicate is a vast and breathtaking game world that has gone to waste; there’s not much to do besides collect stupid pressed flowers, find music boxes to unlock more pointless armor or liberate the world and turn everything red to a neutral color. Ubisoft either needs to trim their fat and bring back the scope of the world onto a smaller map or cut out these dreadful side activities all together. While they are at it, they can also change up their story missions so we’re not playing the same game with a different historical backdrop every year. I don’t know about the rest of the Assassin’s Creed Community but I’m sick of doing the same missions through every game.
With the next console installment in 2017, let’s mix it up and toss out everything we once knew about Assassin’s Creeds missions, as the next game will be the tenth installment (console-wise at least) and its about time Ubisoft begins to reshape the game or face being fazed out by redoing the same mission structure year after year. Developers have a lot of work on their hands for the tenth installment if they want to do anything similar to the Witcher 3 and just because you can make a world bigger does not mean that it will make the game better unless you fill it with worthwhile activities and side objectives.