Return of Multiplayer
No one would think that a series that revolves mainly around stealth would make for a good multiplayer title. Parkour aside, it didn’t seem like Assassin’s Creed was up to the task, but 2010’s Brotherhood sure proved us otherwise. It made the right move in playing into the paranoia that comes with the territory of a stealth game and flipped it on players, and there’s still nothing like attacking an NPC that could be a fellow player and paying for striking at the wrong time.
While multiplayer proved to be popular and has had its fair share of DLC, both Syndicate and Rogue went without it. It was understandable in some ways, given that AC Unity didn’t entirely win everyone over with the four player co-op, but we’ve gone long enough to where it can now make a glorious return and play with our senses yet again. We want to go back to paranoid stabfests! Or, if competitive doesn’t seem so much fun, a co-op focus wouldn’t go unloved.
For whatever problems that there have been with the series’ other multiplayer installments, they are still a ton of fun at the end of the day. There still is nothing like the sight of multiple Assassins (or Templars) working together in tandem to pull off daring feats that has everyone talking. Couple that with Ubisoft’s multi-season approach to DLC that rewards the long con, as we’ve seen with For Honor and Rainbow Six Siege, and it’s more than time for this series to bring back online play.
There are three foundation blocks that Assassin’s Creed as a series bases itself on. The first is history, which it does so pretty well and in an entertaining way. Second is the parkour, which gets more improvements with each new title. And then there’s the combat, which….yeah. It’s not so much that it’s bad so much as it is somewhat lacking the punch that it should.
Handling one enemy is fine, but any more than that, and things quickly become a bit messy. Either the targeting doesn’t work, or it becomes blatant that they’re just waiting for a sword to the eye like a weird, bloody conga line. AC Syndicate was a step in the right direction with the inclusion of brass knuckles and some good ol’ fashioned dirty brawling. (When your world has fight clubs, that’s to be expected.) Whatever era that we find ourselves in next, here’s hoping that the close quarters combat takes a huge step forward.
Modern Day Progress
The original Assassin’s Creed games–or the main trilogy, rather–had a modern day story in conjunction with all the time hopping and throat slashing involving one bartender named Desmond Miles. ACIII ended with Desmond dead and the prophesied cataclysm being avoided, and Juno (one of Those Who Came Before) declaring that it’s time for her part to begin. But since then, the story on that front has sort of stopped and started, taking some odd paths that don’t seem to have really gone anywhere.
Since Desmond’s death and subsequent dissection at the hands of Abstergo, players have been taking control of a nameless and voiceless Abstergo employee and a gamer who winds up becoming an Assassin Initiate. There’s some stuff involving a Sage, and Juno making appearances every now and again, hoping that she and the Assassins will be friends someday. Odds are they won’t, but hey, it’s nice to dream.
It’s a mystery as to what the heck is going to go on in Assassin’s Creed 2017, but here’s hoping that the modern day segments see some improvements. Some serious progression with Juno and the Precursors and that whole Sage business needs to be made, or just scrap the modern day stuff completely and rework everything from the ground up. Hell, it may even be time for us to finally take our Initiate out into the real world and see how these folks operate in the modern day. We’ve only gotten brief glimpses, but one has to imagine that the tools of the trade have changed significantly since then, and that would be fun all on its own.
More Alive Protagonists
There’s one problem with most of the protagonists of the Assassin’s Creed franchise: they don’t really seem to have a life outside of jumping on things and slicing throats. Or, rather, they don’t seem to have outside lives that really exist alongside the world they’re inhabiting. There have been characters who do have this perfectly reflected–Aveline’s wardrobe dynamic in Liberation is a particular example–but otherwise, they all just seem to be people who live in the world instead of being a part of it.
Syndicate introduced multiple protagonists to the series with both Jacob and Evie Frye, twins in London. Should we be playing as multiple characters again, it would be cool if we got some glimpse into what they do in the free world. It’s the little features that help a game world feel like an environment that is inhabited rather than simply lived in. GTA 5 did the same thing with their character swapping, and one of the cool parts is that you could sometimes meet the other characters out in the open world and send each other messages. That isn’t to say that we want to be able to send messages to ourselves via pigeon, but….actually, that would be pretty cool.
Find Some Chill
Look, Assassin’s Creed, we love you. We like your lore, dig the music, love (most) of the characters. But there’s one thing that’s sort of been dragging you down the last handful of games–maybe even since the series’ inception–it’s that you’re a bit too self serious. I know, I know, war between the Templar and Assassins, control vs. choice, and all of that good stuff. But you gotta just take a deep breath and relax, dude.
Nearly everyone in your cast of main characters can do some impressive stuff that defies the laws of physics and science. You guys jump off of buildings and an eagle caws for you! That’s awesome! Stuff like that and the pirate battles and The Truth, this is the stuff that makes your games worth playing. Not to say that you need to bounce off quips every other sentence, but you should take time to smell the roses and gawk at the cool stuff that you’re able to do. It’s dorky and more than a little self important, but realistically speaking, no one would do the things that the characters in these games can do without some mild fangirling.
Assuming that we’re playing as the Initiate from last time around again, this character would be the best way to convey that excitement. Even though they’re now three or four games used to seeing what these historical killers are capable of, whatever new information or fancy gadgets come out of this have to garner some kind of reaction from them. This way, it would be appropriate without being too intrusive or jarring if it came from the mouth of the actual protagonist.
What are you expecting from Assassin’s Creed 2017? Let us know in the comments down below.