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Top 10 Worst Things About Assassins Creed Games

VOICE OVER: Riccardo Tucci WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson
The Assassin's Creed franchise is full of highlights, but it's by no means perfect. For this video, we're looking not only at frequent issues with the games themselves, but also problems with the franchise as a whole. Our countdown includes Formulaic Environments, The Loot System, Glitchy Launches, Meaningless Content and more!
Transcript
Script written by Caitlin Johnson

Top 10 Worst Things About Assassin’s Creed Games


Welcome to MojoPlays! Today, we’re looking at the top 10 worst things about “Assassin’s Creed” games.

For this video, we’re looking not only at frequent issues with the games themselves, but also problems with the franchise as a whole.

Formulaic Environments


Since the beginning, “Assassin’s Creed” has put a huge focus on the famous, historical monuments painstakingly recreated for the settings. From the Roman Colosseum to Notre Dame to the Pyramids, all can be scaled and explored to your heart’s content. But the space between the landmarks is often lacking and doesn’t change much game to game; despite the fun platforming, getting from point A to point B quickly becomes a chore with nothing new to see. On top of that, many assets are reused across the series. “Odyssey” and “Origins” had the same look and feel, especially in the cities, which are visually identical to one another and are a hassle to navigate.

Lack of Assassins


While Altaïr and Ezio were firmly embroiled in the Assassin Brotherhood, the longer the games have gone on, the more disconnected from the organization characters seem to be. For instance, Edward Kenway wasn’t a true assassin for much of “Black Flag”, instead, stealing an outfit and identity. But “Origins” and “Odyssey” stretched this even further; Bayek and Aya may have ultimately founded the Brotherhood as we know it, but they waited until the very end of the game to actually give us the “origins” in the title. Meanwhile in Ancient Greece, though you could routinely assassinate cultists, you weren’t an assassin and didn’t have to play stealthily at all.

The Loot System


The more recent the game, the higher the chance that you’re going to be inundated with weapons and armor to equip. While older games had only a few weapon types and a clear progression that ties into where you are in the game, “Origins” and “Odyssey” in particular throw endless pieces of randomized loot at you. The game needs to do this because you level up so fast that your current gear quickly becomes useless, but it’s a slog to micro-manage your inventory and decide what can be sold, scrapped, or upgraded. Luckily, developers have said this system won’t reappear in “Valhalla”, so hopefully, they’ve learned their lesson.

Glitchy Launches


One of the perils of trying to get a new game out as quickly as possible is not having enough time to troubleshoot the unavoidable technical issues. The most extreme example of this was “Assassin’s Creed Unity”, which was plagued with so many bugs at launch that Ubisoft was forced to issue an apology. But the problems didn’t start or end there; the very first game, too, frequently crashed on PS3, while “Syndicate” had many of the same problems as “Unity” and then some, with entire mission strands broken. Even the two-year break didn’t seem to fix things, as “Origins” had myriad glitches as well.

The Lore


The first few games followed a relatively concise story about Desmond Miles helping avert an apocalypse brought about by god-like Isu Juno. But after that was wrapped up, things quickly fell apart, with more and more convoluted lore getting piled up on top of itself. We had the reincarnated Sage, human/Isu hybrids, and more Pieces of Eden than you know what to do with. It sometimes seems that the lore hasn’t moved in years. Attempts to go further back in time have only made the overarching plot more confusing, and even worse, the bloated lore is enough to turn some would-be fans off the franchise completely.

Microtransactions


Slowly but surely, microtransactions inched their way into “Assassin’s Creed”, from optional cosmetics and weapons you could buy with U-play points to fully-fledged in-game currencies. “Odyssey” was full of them, and you could even use your hard-earned – or bought – orichalcum ores to get loot boxes. “Origins”, too, had loot boxes, but at least you could buy these with ordinary gold as opposed to precious metals. Microtransactions are controversial enough in free-to-play games, but in a $60 game with tens of hours of content? Expecting gamers to pay even more money on top for rare items you’ll soon out-level is a new low.

So Many Editions


Gone are the days of a simple standard edition and collector’s edition for superfans of a given franchise. Now, there are numerous different editions of “Assassin’s Creed”, with most of them promising various digital rewards – like access to the season pass– over unique and cool physical collectibles. There is still plenty of merchandise, but the sheer number of different digital editions is mind-boggling. “Valhalla” alone has a standard edition, Gold Edition, Ultimate Edition, and Collector’s Edition – and that’s without counting any retailer-specific exclusives. Even if you do want access to all the digital content, it can be difficult to work out which version you’re actually meant to get.

Lack of Female Protagonists


2020 saw scandal on top of scandal for Ubisoft, as countless executives exited the company after allegations of abuse were made against them. One story emblematic of the issues in Ubisoft’s culture was the claim that “women don’t sell”, explaining the lack of female protagonists in their games. Yes, it’s true we have great female characters like Evie, Aya, and Kassandra, but all were fought tooth-and-nail for by developers. Evie and Aya both had their roles reduced in favor of Jacob and Bayek, while “Odyssey” designers wanted Kassandra to be the only playable character, but were forced to add Alexios. It’s sad to think of all the awesome female characters we’ve lost over the years because of executive decisions like this.

Meaningless Content


When Ubisoft came back from a brief hiatus with “Origins”, players marveled at the size of the map, as the entirety of Ancient Egypt was recreated. The same trend continued with “Odyssey”, and all of Ancient Greece and its seas were available to explore. However, these vast planes didn’t offer any meaningful content, instead funneling players into grinding, repetitive tasks, like taking over forts and collecting loot, to get to the interesting story. “Valhalla’s” creative team has said they’re downgrading for the next installment, however, and will hopefully provide lots of content that is actually enjoyable. Just as long as they don’t bring back tailing missions, we hope they never come back.

Modern Day Sections


Desmond Miles and the Animus was a great introduction for the series back when it was a new IP with a meta premise – but since the end of the Ezio trilogy, the Animus has become more and more unnecessary as a framing device. First-person sticky-note collection in “Black Flag” was as immersion-breaking as you could get, while Layla Hassan hasn’t found many loyal fans. Getting pulled out of the gameplay to learn about the ongoing conflict in the modern day is annoying and does nothing for the story. If they absolutely need to keep it, then they should stick to short, punchy cutscenes that don’t take you away from the most exciting moments.
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