“Origins”, that’s the name of the new Assassin’s Creed chapter released on PC and consoles on October 27th. The game’s title speaks for itself and it is no coincidence that Ubisoft’s new fatigue is all about the birth of the assassin’s sect, among which we’ve met charismatic and emblematic faces like Ezio Auditore and Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad. For those who don’t know, the two are the protagonists of the first two games of the series, considered among the best – when it comes to quality – for the standards of the 2007-2009 era.
Since then we have received ten main installments in the series, so the time has come to make a judgment.
What’s has changed? Has something really changed? That’s what we are going to discover.
Assassin’s Creed came out in 2007 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. It was set in ancient Palestine, during the Holy War, and followed the story of Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, a member of the Assassins Brotherhood charged with killing corrupt leaders to end conflicts and restore peace and balance. The game established the main features of the series that we will eventually find in the next installments:
- 3rd person prospective
- Open-World setting
- Mission structure
- Side-Quests to keep the player engaged
The formula was even improved with Assassin’s Creed II; it was less repetitive than the first one and everything was definitively quicker and better packaged. The plot was better as well since it featured better defined characters and a setting that was just perfect: Italy.
Ubisoft had the formula for the perfect action open-world game, yeah, but they felt too confident. Besides Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, the games released after 2009 have negatively affected the series for their lack of dedication and their being not-so-much inspired.
Basically, the series was going on with its story and its characters but there was no evolution, and that has been its curse. Contrary to linear franchises which can receive several installments because there’s interest in the story, Assassin’s Creed is strongly gameplay based and has kept the same structure for years becoming the shadow of its former self. You can’t just change the setting and keep the rest, it’s like driving the same car but with a different body.
That’s why Assassin’s Creed Origins is a valid open-world game but a disappointing Assassin’s Creed; a few changes for what concerns exploration and the combat-system can’t justify a full price production, and people are starting to not see any difference between a game like Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed. The old Egypt setting might be interesting, the story too, but the general feeling is to play a more of the same.
What the franchise needs is a break. Ubisoft should take 4 or 5 years to think about what to do with the series and if it’s about time to move on, and they have to do it fast. Assassin’s Creed is not FIFA nor COD, and the legacy of the Auditore seems far farther away.