I realised the other day that I do not wish to play the new Assassin’s Creed game called Syndicate. This is weird, as I have always quite enjoyed the Assassin’s Creed franchise. My recent lack of interest in the franchise has probably come along gradually, and some of the reviews of the latest game was the nail in that coffin for me personally.
One of the reasons for why I have grown slightly tired of the games probably comes down to the sheer amount that have been turned out through the years. Nine games since 2007 to be precise. That is more than one game a year! This is very productive indeed, but as I see it, part of this is also due in part to the way in which the game has mostly stayed the same throughout all of those years. Slight changes have been made, but by and large we play the same “game” simply placed within various historical time-frames.
This is one of the greatest deal breakers in games – repetitive gameplay without the feeling of adequate reward. What we find to be adequate reward varies of course, but I believe most of us have experienced starting to play a game and at some point giving up on it, because we simply lose interest.
Now, I was tempted to get the new game Syndicate, partly due to the fact that it takes place in London, but must admit that I have dispelled that idea after reading reviews. The two I took most note of were reviews by IGN and The Guardian. They both noted that the game has a more “focussed story”, and they also both note that the atmosphere created is very good indeed, capturing a dark and murky London that varies from district to district. So far so good. But I am sad to say that this is where the praise ends.
IGN, on the negative side, had to admit that the game has a “Bad ending” and “Repetitive combat”. These are two rather significant elements to an Assassin’s Creed game, so the fact that they still go ahead and give the game 8.2 out of 10 seems very odd to me. The Guardian was generally more critical of the story, criticising the game for having too many repetitive side quests that the player is forced to play through in order to level up and progress in the main story. They also reported that the actual gameplay mechanics are an issue, seeing them as outdated. The mechanics of the game haven’t changed much since the launch of the very first Assassin’s Creed, and stay to some degree simplistic. This may make it easier for newcomers to get to grips with playing the game, but it also ignores issues such as the same button carrying out several different actions according to surroundings.
In the end, we are left with a game series that does little to reinvent itself within neither mechanics nor gameplay, and therefore relies heavily on its story. When this story is then also criticised I believe we have a problem. I find it very hard to motivate myself to play a game that I by now already know might let me down story wise towards the end, and will encompass repetitive gameplay throughout.
So, I guess I wrote this post partly out of frustration that what could be a great game does not seem to deliver, but also because I in this case was slightly confounded by IGN. The negative elements they themselves mention about the game are quite significant, but they still go on to give the game a rather high score. I am left wondering, why? The Guardian might I add, which also mentioned positives and negatives about the game came down somewhat harsher, only giving the game 2 out of 5 stars.
Then, as I mentioned I have not played the game, so if you have, then let me know what you think about it. Do these elements persist as problems for the gamer when playing? Or are they overstated in the reviews?