Ubisoft has been releasing Assassin’s Creed (AC) titles on a yearly basis since Assassin’s Creed II was released in 2009. The first installment of the series (2007) was highly regarded, despite it’s share of issues, for it’s original structure and innovative controls. While many believed that the faults of the original would be fixed in future titles, these hopes haven’t really panned out. Ubisoft has a great series on their hands here, that myself and many other gamers still believe in, but it’s getting a bit stale and disappointing. Unity’s rushed release led to a truck load of graphical and game breaking glitches that are forcing investors to lose faith in the company’s ability to release complete games on launch day. The following top 5 is a culmination of the biggest problems that have most commonly plagued the AC series through the last 7 years. Here’s to hoping the ninth iteration can hit the brakes and take some time to solve these issues.
Described as a “fictional history of real life events” the Assassin’s Creed series often can’t decide on how much fiction or realism it wants to cram in. Often times, the only historical part of a mission will be that your target existed and they, in some fashion, died. Even if historically, they actually died of the flu, AC will just sweep that one under the carpet, because assassin’s are awesome! The series also falls short in the character department, frequently creating one dimensional characters that give few reasons for the player to get attached. Assassin’s Creed Unity pulled out a few interesting characters, like Napoleon Boneparte and The Marquis de Sade, that could’ve made the story so much more vibrant if given more involvement. Instead, they got a few minutes of screen time then were never seen again like most historical characters in the series.
4) Graphical Glitches
Graphical glitches, frame rate drops, and pop ins have occurred so often in the series that it’s become almost expected and a little comical at times. Although it wasn’t funny when Unity crashed on me seven times. The series has always tried to push the limits of graphical smoothness, often pushing too far. Trading out graphics for playability will always be a game breaker. It’s hard to enjoy the scenic oceans of Blackflag when my ship turns into a jacked up party streamer and flails all over my screen.
I believe jarring would be the best way to describe most of AC’s narratives. Switching between the Assassin story and real life Desmond for the first five games often felt clunky and unnecessary. Ubisoft even seemed to understand this and gave players the ability to skip Desmond’s sections in Revelations. If only they could allow me to do that for the beginning of Assassin’s Creed 3 or Unity, where we’re forced to play through bland backstory or side characters for hours before ever actually becoming an assassin. The beginning of a game should start strong with good forward momentum, not spending ten minutes to steal an apple as an 8 year old.
Fact: Assassin’s have been known to kill their targets brutally in the open to make a point to their enemies. Fiction: Ten guards would not stand around said assassin and patiently wait for their turn to also be murdered. But that’s how it plays out in nearly every battle. You play an assassin who’s goal is usually to avoid combat, so why are you constantly being forced to fight groups of enemies clearly more prepared than you? And how do you win everytime? It’s like the guards drew straws before the fight to decide who has to sit there with their arms crossed admiring your robes. If you do luck out and have more than one enemy attack you at once, you can usually just spam the parry button until everything dies. Unless you’re playing Assassin’s Creed Unity where the parry button frequently decides to take bathroom breaks in the middle of a big battle and leaves you regretting your decisions to start a fight with that guy who looked at you funny. No worries though Mr. Parry Button, I have over powered smoke bombs, I’ll handle this.
It only took Ubisoft eight games to give the player the ability to crouch in a stealth game. You’re really on top of things guys, great job. I can even crouch in Super Mario 64 and you wouldn’t let me crouch as a “skilled” assassin. I’m sure it just hurt too much for Altair to crouch for long periods of time after jumping into all those conveniently placed piles of hay. Luckily eight games later, Arno decided it might be better to just climb down, you know…safely. While having run, jump, and climb all assigned to one button may sound like an amazing idea in practice, it frequently leads to frustrating moments of grabbing the wrong ledge, falling into unwanted fights, or ultimately leaping to a less than glorious death.