Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate had a pretty big job. It had to make up for the huge issues that Unity had and restore faith in the series. To a large extent, it did that. However, the series is still stagnant in the eyes of many gamers. While Ubisoft might be looking at it as one of their main cash cows, they’d still be well-served to consider a major overhaul of the game in the not-too-distant future. We’d humbly suggest they consider these eight changes.
Think we missed one? Tell us what it is in the comments!
No more annoying side missions
Every Assassin’s Creed game has a side mission that you just can’t stand. Whether it’s the eavesdropping and tailing missions of past titles, or Syndicate’s kidnapping assignments, they not only annoy you, they make the game less fun to play. It’s not fun to have to repeat the same mission multiple times because you want to finish an area, or 100% a game, or in the case of Syndicate, reach a high enough level to advance.
Forget about quantity over quality
By the time you hit the 25% mark in any Assassin’s Creed game, you’ll have a map that you can barely read for all the icons on it. Sure, that means there’s plenty to do, but in most cases, there’s nothing new there. A few missions that advance the story, and then a plethora of filler missions. Kidnaps, investigations, and minor assassinations litter the map, and even the missions that have you freeing child workers don’t feel important – they just feel like something you do to be able to move on and do again somewhere else. What’s needed is fewer missions, and for all of them to be more than just “free the children part 21.” They should actively affect how the populace views the player, and how the player advances through the world.
Fix the parkour
Everyone who’s played more than ten minutes of any Assassin’s Creed game knows how annoying the parkour can get. Push the button to jump on a crate, and your character grabs a nearby light pole and hangs from it. Running down an alley is particularly fraught with objects to grab and hang you up. It works fairly well in open areas, but tight quarters make it rough. Unfortunately, sneaking through alleys and between buildings means lots of tight quarters.
Simplify the controls and fix camera issues
Controls in the Assassin’s Creed games have always been a little wonky. Much of the problem lies in the amount of context-sensitive actions that are included in the games, and the fact that the same button press doesn’t always result in the same action. AC games have always had a unique control scheme, but this is one area where they could stand to start from scratch. Ditto the camera, which is sometimes spot on, and at other time swings around like it’s being controlled by a drunken monkey. Anyone who’s played these games has a tale of that time the camera moved and made you change directions and fall to your death. Stop that.
Bring back co-op
Multiplayer in the Assassin’s Creed games has always been a little strange, but it’s been fun. Trying to blend in long enough to kill your prey, or trying to play alongside your friends in Unity’s campaign had a great feel to it, even if it was a tad unconventional. Syndicate removed the multiplayer and focused on the singleplayer experience. That’s all well and good, but it was probably the game in the series best suited to a co-op experience. Playing as the Frye siblings would have been a ton of fun, and it’s a missed opportunity that Ubi should correct in the next game. Forgo competitive multiplayer if you want, but let us play with our friends.
Overhaul the combat system
The combat in the Assassin’s Creed series hasn’t really changed since Altair was slinking around the Holy Land. Back then, it wasn’t all that bad. But in the intervening years, we’ve seen games like Batman: Arkham Asylum and Shadow of Mordor implement combat systems that are far superior. Rather than learn from these other entries, Ubisoft has persisted in using the same combat. Enemies stand around and wait their turn to be taken out like extras in an 80’s ninja film, and if you can mash the counter button, you can win.
No more Uplay
One of the most frustrating things about Assassin’s Creed – and pretty much every other Ubisoft game – on PC is the requirement to use Uplay. Even though the game is sold through Steam, you still have not only activate it through Uplay, but every time you run it, you’ll have to go through Uplay again. Although the system seems to work better these days than it used to, it’s still another layer of DRM that is well and truly pointless. It’s time to let it go.
Take a year off, already
Thanks to the size of the Assassin’s Creed games, and the time restrictions of having a game every year, it takes multiple teams to come together and produce each of these titles. That many moving parts means that there are inevitably problems. Ubisoft should consider taking a year off and allowing a dedicated team to focus on one game. If they’re still married to the every year release cycle, they should at least try to set something up like Activision has with Call of Duty, where one studio gets three years to work on their entry in the series. A little more time in the oven definitely wouldn’t hurt.