I can’t wait to kill in ninth century Baghdad Assassin’s Creed Mirage It’s coming next year, but I’m concerned it might be too reliant on the first installment of a long-running franchise.
As fans wait for the next major Assassin’s Creed release — now turned into an expansive open-world role-playing game saga — Ubisoft has opted to surprise veterans with Mirage, which promises an update to the original classic AC formula. The problem is…the original formula wasn’t super reliable to begin with, and certainly doesn’t hold water anymore. Please put away your curved sword. Give me a few more paragraphs.
Assassin’s Creed is a spectacular multiplatform take on the early PS3/360 era. Even before it hit store shelves, we were blown away by Ubisoft’s brand new Anvil engine, all the reactive parkour and climbing, and the hustle and bustle of 12th-century Jerusalem, Acre, and Damascus. And it didn’t disappoint once it launched (although some critics and players were quick to point out that the repetitive overall structure undermined its vivid world potential).
While I was hooked as soon as AC1 came out, the rough edges are hard to ignore after the second major assassination, which involves tracking down informers, stealing intel, and tracking random numbers near Altaïr’s targets. Despite the game’s satisfying length, the game loop just becomes repetitive, well before the credits roll. There’s little satisfaction or reward in exploring every corner of those gorgeous cities.
But hey, there’s nothing like it on the market. The technology on display is stunning, and the (now crude) combat is refreshing in a strange way after the days of third-person games. The Prince of Persia vibe is there too – I mean, it actually started as a PoP spin-off – and glues together the choppy parts of the gameplay pretty well.
Fast forward to 2022, and we find ourselves caught up in the excitement of an all-new Assassin’s Creed, which promises to bring the franchise back to its hidden roots. The cynical me says it’s all probably just an attempt to regain the attention of veteran fans who were pushed away by the “The Witcher 3 but across history and parkour” saga. I agree that stealth has been simplified in recent entries, but turning the AC franchise into something else feels like a no-brainer as its traditional mechanics and counter-based combat start to lag behind the competition.
When Unity (which undeniably contained some of the best parkour in the series) and Syndicate came along, I distinctly remember being exhausted. Together with a large player base. Assassin’s Creed is stuck in the idea of forever building new locations, characters, and gadgets on top of the first game while its core rots away. I’m ready to move on and so is the series.
It’s no secret that Origins (2017) reignited interest in the series after two years of dormancy. It’s a major overhaul that takes AC’s basic DNA and stands out with an ambitious open world structure and RPG system, even generic, than grinding endless icons for small upgrades in London and increasing completion rates It makes more sense, step by step.
Interestingly, IO Interactive also rebooted killer About 18 months before Origins arrived and effectively took over AC’s “stealth game” cake. By fundamentally changing the way its missions (now playgrounds shaped by minimal plots) are executed, and expanding player choice around every corner, IO introduces a previously unseen assassination sandbox that recognizes the value of loitering . It rocked.
We were skeptical of the block-based release model for the first season of Hitman, but by the time we finished Agent 47’s return, it was too late for Hitman 2 (and later, Hitman 3). Right now, we can’t imagine another studio reaching the pinnacle level of freedom and replayability in a non-open world game; it encourages players to tinker with everything around them and create their own micro-stories of murder.
With the aforementioned soft-reboot trilogy distracting us with daring swings and beautifully real worlds, Assassin’s Creed hardly suffers from the gradual realization that it actually wasted years doing nothing on its main premise. . Instead, it mostly sticks to building an immersive historical setting and a far-fetched narrative around it. For better or worse, AC has become an all-time sandbox game franchise that only has to keep the stealth mechanic to its name.
Now, with Ubisoft promising to (temporarily) strip most of its iconic RPG systems and keep up with Assassin’s Creed Phantoms tradition, I can’t help but wonder if the developers will go also long, long ago. Because, nostalgia aside, the original Assassin’s Creed was a chore. If sandboxes didn’t evolve, or if they didn’t give us more ways to deal with assassinations, we’d just pounce on so-called bad guys from different roofs, with fewer systems preventing us from rushing through the story.
It’s not just the killer that makes the OG Assassin’s Creed gameplay feel stale. We’ve played two Dishonored games and a couple of Batman games. Everyone gained invisibility and combat rights. And then we even borrowed Sniper Elite entries from all the right places. A nostalgic historical setting and a decent story – Basim is a genuinely interesting character in Valhalla – and if the gameplay steps back too much, it won’t be enough to keep most players hooked. So we have to hope for a refreshed homage to the original AC, not a refurb.
Despite the ups and downs, I love the collection with all my heart, and the AC15 event in September had me giggling with excitement. But I also believe it can (and should) learn from its many mistakes and rethink how it can stealthily create a better future for the brand, whether it’s doing big role-playing games or sneaky romps. Stabbing cult members in the back and throwing knives at their pugs is cool, but let me put chandeliers on them too.