Upcoming this year, the new Assassin’s Creed game is coming out claiming to be going back to its roots. The trailer dropped a while back and I couldn’t even bother to look further into it. But for some reason I couldn’t get it out of my head either since I used to love this franchise so much back then that a few things I have to say about this new entry.
The new game is called “Mirage” and at the end of its announcement trailer, they show two other titles are in line of development. How can finish one game properly when you are already thinking about making more games that’s going to have the same boring-esque gameplay & mechanics? The new trailer showed some new stuff. It’s still work in progress, so my take may come as too much. But let’s about it.
The entirety is the same as usual: the parkour, Eagle Vision except you can see the guards’ field of vision (where they are looking), blending in, leap of faith, scout as the eagle except the guards shoot it if you get too close (which is nice), and the AI is usually dumb; falling for the same ol’ trick. The level design and set pieces are obvious and doesn’t feel challenging. Normally a Platforming title lets you think for a while, solve a sort of mini puzzle, and plan your approach. But when the game shows you exactly where you have to go, it gets dull just like the past decade. Also, it felt sluggish and slow, which could be because it’s still in development. Then again, Ubisoft never was able to scale this wall of mediocre.
Story and Cutscenes
IDK what to say… if there’s anything good in it. It’s the same coming of age story we’ve seen in every new Assassin’s Creed entry. They pick up a random victim of the tyrannical rule and turn him into a hardboiled killing machine. Maybe that’s all on the surface. Maybe they will focus more on the character’s inner struggle and question the things that are wring instead of going with the flow. There is potential but nothing else stood out for me.
The cutscenes are getting worse and worse. Characters feel too stiff when they talk, and it feels too robotic when they stand still until one stop talking. It’s not natural and definitely not entertaining. The actors are giving it their all, but they are imprisoned but the scripts and certain limitations. Then again, could be because it’s development.
What can be done?
Simple: make the AI react more, make the combat more technical, make the level design more intricate, and make the narrative more engaging and character focused with adequate world-building. It’s easier said than done? Maybe, but they have taken such approach in the past. The combat in Origins felt interesting, the traversal in Unity felt unique, the hidden areas explorations in 2 and Brotherhood were fun, but everything had problems. Every new game introduced a new concept but none of them got to reach their full potential and they just left them in the dust to make more incomplete games. The cutscenes in Black Flag and Origins got the most effort put into with fun gameplay but felt short due to repetitiveness. The AI is probably never gonna get better, maybe. So, the combat may make you feel like a badass once, it’s gonna get boring soon. Fun challenges and interesting story is what makes video games worth it. The old Prince of Persia games were challenging in terms of platforming and combat; killing of this franchise is basically what killed fun in Ubisoft games.
In the end, the elephant in the room is going to be optimization. Game breaking bugs, fails and glitches are mandatory parts of major triple A titles these days, but the main issue is that all Ubisoft games crushes the CPU if you are on PC. They are all CPU intensive and after a long session of playthroughs, it can permanently damage your CPU and motherboard. Also, they take a lot of space. Modern games are like this, but optimized games are no stranger either. Both God of War and Spider-Man‘s PC port work wonderfully on a budget system while looking nice. All the Call of Duty games also don’t require a $5000 ultra gaming PC. All they have to do is figure out how not to clutter everything with bloated assets, how not to make the system render every little thing on screen, and program everything smartly.