Can Assassins Creed Syndicate Save The Series?


PeteThe Assassins Creed series is one that divides anyone who has ever played them.  They divide Alan and I in fact, he buys the collectors edition of every new title the day of release whereas I’m… Not so keen on them.  Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t as simple as Alan loving Assassins Creed and I hating it, even the individual games divide me as I wasn’t keen on the first Assassins Creed nor Unity overall, but I thoroughly enjoyed Black Flag, the fourth main game in the series. As it happens I recently bought Assassins Creed II, so I’m giving the whole thing a fair shot by now owning four of the main titles.

What I think divides fans of the series so much, particularly recently, is the mess surrounding the release of Unity.  In the buildup to its release a lot of emphasis was placed on its four player co-op mode, and at first we must have missed something as we thought that feature was available throughout the entire game, it wasn’t until later we realised it wasn’t and then when we both played it realised further still that there were only a handful of co-op missions available altogether.  However that was more of a personal gripe we had (not to mention the only reason why I personally bought it), the major problems were with bugs.  And my goodness were they plentiful, just watch this video for proof of that:

We’ve encountered our fair share of those bugs and several others too, in fact we’ve done an Alan And Pete Play video on Assassins Creed Unity where the bugs are plentiful – at one point Alan losing his temper because his character is just wildly flapping his sword around is one such occasion.  The underlying issue for all this was effectively due to Ubisoft rushing and ultimately releasing an unfinished game, and although they eventually put out huge patches to make the game somewhat playable and even released their downloadable content Dead Kings for free as a way of apologising the damage had been done.

To be honest even though the game was eventually in a playable state and free content had been given out it still wasn’t particularly good.  As mentioned the co-op missions were little more than a tacked on afterthought and serve little purpose, to the point where they can be skipped entirely and it won’t matter other than for the sake of 100% completion.  Another reason is that the overall story arc with modern day Abstergo has run its course and the Renaissance theme personally didn’t interest me a whole lot, the characters are run-of-the-mill and add to that annual releases of re-skinned versions of the same game and for me you have a series that’s burned out.  The issues with Unity’s release didn’t help matters.

In my opinion Ubisoft should have taken time out from making another Assassins Creed game.  They could have rebuilt and tweaked the game engine as with the progression of each new title it’s become laughably unstable and given fans a breather for a few years.  Case in point, here’s a list of all the games, downloadable content and add-ons released since the series’ inception in 2007:

Main games
assassins-creed-brotherhood-photosAssassin’s Creed (2007)
Assassin’s Creed II (2009)
Battle of Forlì (2010)
Bonfire of the Vanities (2010)
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (2010)
Copernicus Conspiracy (2010)
The Da Vinci Disappearance (2011)
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (2011)
The Ancestors Character Pack (2011)
Mediterranean Traveler Map Pack (2012)
The Lost Archive (2012)
Assassin’s Creed III (2012)
Benedict Arnold (2012)
The Hidden Secrets Pack (2012)
The Battle Hardened Pack (2013)
The Tyranny of King Washington (2013)
The Infamy
The Betrayal
The Redemption
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013)
Aveline (2013)
Blackbeard’s Wrath (2013)
Crusader & Florentine Pack (2013)
Freedom Cry (2013)
Assassin’s Creed: Rogue (2014)
Assassin’s Creed: Unity (2014)
Dead Kings (2015)
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (2015)
Assassins-creed-4-black-flag-131Spin-off games
Assassin’s Creed (mobile game) (2007)
Assassin’s Creed: Altaïr’s Chronicles (2008)
Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines (2009)
Assassin’s Creed II (mobile game) (2009)
Assassin’s Creed II: Discovery (2009)
Assassin’s Creed II: Multiplayer (2009)
Assassin’s Creed: Project Legacy (2010)
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (mobile game) (2010)
Assassin’s Creed: Multiplayer Rearmed (2011)
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (mobile game) (2011)
Assassin’s Creed: Recollection (2011)
Assassin’s Creed III (mobile game) (2012)
Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation (2012)
Assassin’s Creed: Pirates (2013)
Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD (2014)
Assassin’s Creed: Memories (2014)
Assassin’s Creed: Identity (2014)
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China (2015)
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India (TBA)
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia (TBA)
Assassin’s Creed: Ezio Trilogy (2012)
Assassin’s Creed: Anthology (2012)
Assassin’s Creed: Heritage Collection (2013)
Assassin’s Creed: The Americas Collection (2014)

That’s a lot of Assassins Creed related gaming, even excluding the added content we’re looking at ten main games alone over the span of only eight years – and there was a gap of two years between Assassins Creed I and II!  I brought up the same point during my post about Rock Band/Guitar Hero and how too many of those games too quickly turned people away, I fear the Assassins Creed Series is going the same way.  In fact it already has as far as I’m concerned.

So instead of taking a break, tweaking the game engine to make it work and maybe even stepping away from what is basically the same game re-skinned year after year Ubisoft decided to give us Syndicate, a game based in Victorian England.  Here’s the current trailer for it:

As always it looks great, much like Paris did in last years’ game, but again it looks like little more than a reskin, Unity in London as it were, and I don’t think it’s going to be enough when it comes to saving the series from falling further into decline.  I’d like to be wrong, but after the series apparently peaked with Assassins Creed II (which is why I bought it recently), eight main games ago, there can’t be long left for Ubisoft to start getting it right again.  Let’s just hope they don’t ‘pull another Unity’ and have learned from that particular mistake.  I won’t be buying Syndicate either way.

Pete is part of the imaginatively titled Alan & Pete Play, and can be found on Twitter and YouTube.  He dislikes visiting London.

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