Allow me to first state that I have always been a fan of Ubisoft’s history spanning series and that despite its many flaws I have always found the entries to be entertaining and enthralling in many ways. This particular blog post today is indeed a spoof and not reflective of any actually Origins gameplay or any of the Assassin’s Creed titles although I will be combining certain elements of many of them here.
The Assassin- we do not know his name yet or what exact time period this is as it seems the Animus has broken down and isn’t processing differences between the different time periods we’ve seen or anything else lately, opens his eyes. Benjamin Franklin is whispering some sort of weird incantation at the foot of the bed. Theon Greyjoy stands in the corner muttering to himself about letting everyone down and that he can never go back to Westeros and face his evil uncle- probably a side quest offered in the season pass bundle.
As you stand up and look around the room your feet buckle and you collapse to your knees in agony. Looking down at your hand you notice that it is a solid red mechanical prosthetic and that you also have some sort of weird green glowing mark or energy emitting from your palm. Just from these few opening moments it seems that Ubisoft is really cashing in on going big or going home, making it their goal to copy the best and brightest that the industry has seen these past few years. I think this could be a really interesting project indeed and I’m excited to see the inevitable decision later on in the game to battle the Animus itself as a final boss and eventually destroy both it and the series as a whole, once and for all in a blazing flame of glory and the best Assassin’s Creed game to date.
I finally gain control of my character after a quick cutscene of Altair and Ezio “meeting” re-cut from good old Assassin’s Creed Revelations. Piloting my Assassin in the familiar slow walk of confidence I stride around the room and interact with several papers and notes scribbled furiously by Subject 27- this game’s new version of ‘The Truth’ it seems like. There’s also some sort of odd wall-art that reminds me of Rat Man’s den from Portal but perhaps for the sake of this game series it would be better referred to as Rat Man’s Eden.
Walking outside, Casandra Pentaghast runs up to me and demands that I look at the gaping hole in the sky where a giant mechanical Reaper-like being is entering our world/dimension/simulation through. It releases a swarm of those alien guys from Saints Row IV who fall to the earth and then set up a tutorial of the new combat system. I hop from cover to cover like it’s Deus Ex: Mankind Divided meets Gears of War 4. Ubisoft is really making the most of the various parts of all the interesting games of the past decade but so far we haven’t got to see all of the amazing ideas they’ve come up themselves.
Eventually I get close enough to perform a stealth takedown on one of the aliens but the game demands I make a $0.99 microtransaction in order to do so because my allotted four takedowns have already been expended. Not the greatest method of moderation but I’ll pay it this one time for the purpose of this preview and also being able to see what must be an amazing kill animation. After a small loading gap and confirmation of my payment plan, my character whips out a small dagger and throws it into the neck of a nearby enemy, thus taking him down. I’m severely underwhelmed but I’m sure there’s more great content on the way.
I take down the rest of the enemies through traditional means- noting that this new combat system seems remarkably similar to the first few Assassin’s Creed games that had no dedicated counter buttons or counter killing. I whip out my Black Flag blowpipe for a gruesome finisher involving a dart to the brain. I swing my chain/sword/axe things that I paid $2.99 to rip directly from God of War. I do some sort of odd super-jump thing courtesy of the exo-suit enhancements added to both locomotion and combat in this newest entry. All in all the experience thus far is shaping up to be like Dark Souls meets The Surge and it’s an interesting new direction for the series ironically filled with old ideas.
Now I get my first opportunity to try out some of the new side content available in this five hour demo segment. It seems that my choices range from collecting chicken feathers to delivering letters in timed races against thieving children. I go with the latter because I don’t feel like giving into the fetch quest mentality and also want to see how the free-running holds up in this newest installment. As the clock countdown begins, I take off and immediately notice that I can spam my boost capabilities in order to quickly mantle almost all objects. I rapidly press the jump button while holding down the bumper, all the while paying close attention to where my opponent is behind me.
As I pass through the third checkpoint gate, suddenly the area is closed off and I am attacked by a massive group of other thieves while my adversary gloats and darts off ahead of me. I only have ten seconds to defeat thirty enemies and then I have thirty more seconds to finish the race itself. Just as I am about to despair the sheer improbability of it all, UPlay happily updates me that I’ve earned the ‘Comet Crushing Finishing Blow’ and the game pauses to give me a tutorial as to the particular usage of said combo. My Assassin yells something along the lines of Hakuna Matata or Kamme Kamme Ha and suddenly the sun is blotted out and a tactical comet nuke thing rips my foes to shreds.
I finish the race with a quick coup de grace on my opponent prior to crossing the finish line where I am awarded with an upgraded belt that offers more running stamina, sort of like The Witcher 3 and various saddles for Roach. The demo ends here because I’ve used up all of my allotted time with the game for the time being. It really seemed to go a lot faster than anticipated so I guess that must mean I was having a blast with all of this newfangled tech and cool stuff this year’s game has to offer. I’ll think of what other thoughts I have when they finally release the story only CG trailer prior to the actual game release. In the meantime, feel free to comment with questions or concerns. Cheers!