Has Assassin’s Creed Jumped the Shark for Good?

Ongoing popular video game series that span generations of consoles tend to be released on a schedule that eventually leads the franchise into an extraneous loop until the poor series is put down for good. Until that day, however, these games tend to suffer with their own mediocrity, Assassin’s Creed happening to be one of them. Since 2007 the series has produced nine main installments and a basket full of spinoffs that have jumped onto handheld and mobile phones. Nevertheless, the potential franchise killer isn’t steaming from a yearly release schedule, but from the game’s modern day plot direction.

It’s been a long while since Assassin’s Creed Syndicate has released and although many of us have stopped caring at this point, I felt it was safe to speak about the game’s modern day story ending and how the series has finally jumped the shark…for good. Every installment of the series has been cut and dry in terms of its gameplay, as the player ends up repeating the same variations of its core mission tasks; there’s your stealth execute someone, stealth follow some guy (90% of Black Flag’s mission list), stealth pickpocket another guy, stealth listen to a conversation and on the very rare occasion the player will be inserted into a parkour action set piece.

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Essentially, if you played one Assaasin’s Creed game in the past nine years, you’ve pretty much played them all. The only variation from game to game is the lackluster story (aside from Assassin’s Creed II) and the historical setting. As time goes on for the series, we have seen a diminishing decline in not only its popularity and praise, but also its story structure. The past two Assassin Creed titles have been worst of the worst, as the storylines needlessly became more complex and the lack of innovation Unity and Syndicate’s storylines brought to the table both in modern day and within the animus have turned into one long yawn, which is surprising for a story driven game. The story is dull, awkwardly paced and worst of all predictable, but like any good concept, there were moments through each of the two games that showed potential, but were so underdeveloped that in the end it fell flat. In an attempt to maintain interest for a quickly decaying series, the writer of Syndicate thought a great cliffhanger would be a clone subplot to tie into the next installment.

You may be thinking to yourself that all these issues I have brought up with the series is exactly why Ubisoft has taken a year off from the franchise to favor a for longer development time. A longer development doesn’t always mean that one can fix a broken story, though, if the Ubisoft team in charge of Assassin’s Creed’s story decides to move forward with the convoluted and head -cratching Abstergo clone plot. For those of you wondering just what the heck I’m babbling about, at the end of Syndicate’s story, players are treated…err I mean punished…by a clip of an Templar agent handing over the “shroud” (a McGuffin device) to to an Templar Doctor who plans on using it to further his work on the Phoenix Project. Not much is known at this time about the Phoenix Project, but it can be guessed that the doctor is using it to recreate the first civilization and Minerva is going to use the clones as an opportunity to overthrow the world and enslave the human race.

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Like I said, overly complex to the point that next year’s Assassin’s Creed will need a jet ski, a ramp and a shark to bring casual Assassin’s Creed fans back to the table for a tenth helping of historical Sci-fi adventures that could have easily been written and directed by Neil Breen.