So, Assassin’s Creed 1 comes out and everybody loves it, right? It’s this new style of game barely ever done before, in this setting that was (at the time) a touch controversial. It didn’t suck (then), it kinda had a faceless, whatever main character that got better as the games went on, but it didn’t suck. It was pretty great, I remember loving having to eavesdrop on conversations to find out more about the best way to approach my target, blending in with the priests who wore similar garb to you, and that satisfying moment when you finally drive the wrist-knife into a dude. It wasn’t about combat; the combat actually sucked. But it was about exploration, information gathering, and… assassination. It was fun.
Assassin’s Creed 2 comes along during a very awkward time in video games. Batman Arkhman Asylum had a very similar development time and a very similar release date. And now all of a sudden, there’s a combat system in AC2. Is that an inherently bad thing? No, but when it is -identical- to Batman’s? I get a little fishy. I get the feeling the devs behind AC2 didn’t have a lot of confidence in their material and maybe borrowed a few things from Batman, but it’s just a feeling, I have no proof to back that up. But back on track, we have new main character! Ezio Auditore, who is kind of an unlikeable character. He’s a womanizer, he’s a street fighter, and he’s a thief (explaining his oddly powerful parkour skills, this is important). But, no spoilers, some stuff happens and he becomes an assassin on the side of good! Game is good, everyone loved it. 2 for 2, Ubisoft.
But then Ubisoft was like, “Yeah! Let’s do that three more times!”. The created AC Brotherhood and AC Revelations, “sequels” to AC2 that didn’t really add much to his story or the gameplay and were just generally… meh. Ezio wasn’t such a flagship character that he deserved three games in a row, he got boring very quickly and his changes as a character weren’t enough to carry him the way through three full titles. Don’t get me wrong though, the multiplayer they added, I played that for -hours-, -every day-, I thought it was the most fun and creative kind of multiplayer I had ever played. It was like this strange Where’s Waldo? Where you’re given another player as a target in a sea of similar looking people and you would look out for odd behavior to catch the right one. It was beautiful, I was the best at it! I mean, it was really fun and innovative for its time.
Then they remade the games and re-remade the games and blah blah, skip a few years to the dreaded AC3, the one that, in my opinion, shot the series in the knee and the bullet came out of the foot. Decent enough premise, takes place in Revolutionary Era and follows the story of Kenway, a white man trying to make his way while also being an unlikeable character, and Connor (a new character, finally), an assassin who dedicates his life to killing Kenway for raping his mother and… being an unlikeable character.
In my opinion, this game was a game with a great platform, and just didn’t stick the landing. The game tries to fool you into thinking Kenway is the main character by having you play as him (with his amazing parkour skills for a white sailor), for an hour before switching to Connor. This genuinely got me, but the jump from “Kenway is kinda okay” to “Kenway is an unlikeable character” just did not resonate with me at all. It felt like a total change, two different characters, and the narrative broke for me from there. That on top of small buildings to climb, boring missions, boring stuff to do, and just nothing… fun. Nothing grandiose. It just fell right on its face for me. However, it did introduce boat combat, which saved the whole frickin thing. ALL I ever wanted to do was the boat battles. Connor eventually gets his own tradeship and has to do battle with pirates and and ugggggh, it was so much fun! Why couldn’t the game be more like this?! Where was THIS game?!
AC4. That’s where. This game went the complete opposite direction. It gave me a character in Edward Kenway, grandfather to the unlikeable character, that I actually kinda liked. He’s just a scruffy pirate who accidentally gets shipwrecked with an assassin, kills him, and develops all of his assassin superpowers for no reason, and then feels the need to complete this assassin’s mission? That’s the whole game. The plot is garbage.
But BOATS! With pirates came SO MUCH BOAT COMBAT. AND I HATED IT!
I don’t know what changed, but having to do it soooooo much with no changes or evolution to the formula ruined it for me. And you do it a looooooot. Game was a flop.
AC Unity was a glitchy mess, no one played it. And who even played AC Syndicate? You can be a girl, that’s cool, wish that was an option from the start, but whatever. Meh game is meh. There’s a few AC sidescrollers that no one cared about that were pretty good, but nothing to write home about.
Assassin’s Creed – Origins (really could’ve just been AC5…), brought back something the series hasn’t had since the first half of AC2. FFFFFFUUUUUUNNNNNN.
Everyone who has ever played an AC game knows they’re all bogged down with these boring real life segment where you’re really a dude just reliving the memories of his ancestors to find the locations of the dragonballs and blah blah, all those segments did was drag the games deeper and deeper into the ocean.
But Assassin’s Creed – Origins? NONE.
You know how you start the game? As the MAIN CHARACTER.
You know how interesting the story is so far in my current 10 hour campaign? Very much so!
You know how many boats? None.
I-It’s like… they went back to… their Origins… OOOOOHHHHH
Anyway, Assassin’s Creed – Origins is a genuinely fun experience. The combat and satisfying and brutal, the assassinations actually feel more like puzzles than getting-caught-simulators, the main character is great, what technobabble there is is very minimal and I think actually enhances the story, something I don’t think any game in the series has ever been able to accomplish. Parkour is fun, jumping on stuff is fun, running around is fun, it’s just fun! And on top of that, instead of garbage, they added RPG elements! There’s a pretty fulfilling skill tree that lets you decide how you want to assassinate, giving the player -choices- (Dishonored was giving people assassination choices back in 2012, so I’m not tooooo impressed here), and the weapons are all different and have different uses and times where they fit better than others, encouraging you to hoard a stockpile of loot that you find.
So, let me tell you, as someone who has borderline hated Assassin’s Creed for a long time but still played them in hopes that maybe this one, -this one- will be good, it finally happened.
This one, is good.
BUT, no multiplayer. 0 out of 10, don’t buy it…