With E3 being just weeks away, and the leaked image of Assassin’s Creed Origins confirming the Egyptian setting, Ubisoft remains tight lipped on rumors or speculations about the upcoming title.
The same team that worked on Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is spearheading the newest iteration of the series, which is good news, as if the screenshot is of any indication, there will most likely be naval combat, but what’s even better news is Black Flag was both ambitious and took the series to a new level. Confronting the ancient Egyptian setting is an undertaking that Ubisoft is capable of, but they admitted with Syndicate that they wanted to focus more on the single player experience, and in doing so, Syndicate had seemed to return to its roots.
In no way was Syndicate perfect, but there’s some things that the new Origins story can take away from other games in the series.
1. Origins needs a deeper combat system.
Combat in Assassin’s Creed works in one of three ways: you either avoid it assassinate someone, use ranged attacks with stealth to down enemies undetected, or engage in melee, where the game takes cues from old pulp 80s action films where the hero fights off one enemy at a time. This is neither engaging, nor is it fluid. Assassins are agile but brutal, and combat should showcase their finesse. With the ability to climb up large scaled buildings, jump incredible heights, these individuals are athletic, and when combat breaks down to countering until you can hit an enemy, and move onto the next, it takes away from their grandiose personas.
In no way does the combat need to turn into a slug fest, but instead pull players in and make them feel powerful. Taking hints from the Witcher 3, or even Shadow of Mordor might make the players stay on their toes, especially when confronted with a group of heavily armored enemies. The AI of enemies is hit or miss – sometimes you can end combat with just using a close ranged bullet, but it defeats the purpose of what the scope of the game is.
2. Missions should be more story based.
Even in Syndicate, there were too many missions that either involved finding collectible items, going to meet someone, only to have to follow them or protect them. These missions are not only repetitive, but take away from the open world. Stories told through cut scenes had more charm than hearing Darwin or Alexander Graham Bell prattling while you walked beside them.
Taking players and having them repeat the same process does make the game longer – but not the story. With such a large setting with a rich history, players shouldn’t be robbed of scoping out a fortress of a cult, or sneaking into a pyramid by having to hunt down an item or escort a character while hearing them tell a story that has no meaning.
3. Accept different styles of game play with customization.
Not every player will take on a mission the same way – everyone has a unique play style, whether someone wants to go on a kill streak and burst into a fortress gung ho, or the player that bides their time, waiting until nightfall to stalk and kill guards, players are limited by the options given to them. Albeit there’s some mild crafting, it would be nice to see a way to create weapons and armor suitable for every style of play. Whether a player wants to incur penalties on their sneaking by wearing heavier armor, or one player wants to have poisonous arrows at their disposal, the series has made players be assassins, but not given them numerous options for customization for different situations.
Ubisoft has plenty of talent at its disposal, and they certainly will make changes for their newest title, but there’s some bigger moves they can make to show off what they are capable of. Here’s to hoping Origins bring the series to a new level.