Alex Birlo on May 7, 2020
A short while back we saw the reveal of the next game in the series “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” and it made me want to recall my love for the franchise and say a sort of “farewell” to it as the games go into this new future.
I have played these games and when I am asked: “Is it a good game?” I say – Yes! When I am asked: “Did you like it?” I say – absolutely! But if you would ask me a different, strange question: “Is it Assassin’s Creed?” I would answer – no, it is not…
Why so? The answer is on the surface but not so obvious.
When I saw the first game for the first time as a kid, I was living across the street from a set of gates, these gates were the entrance to the old city of Jerusalem. My mother would work there, day in and day out managing restoration works on an old church, so I would spend there many days after school with my little brother.
Thus, when I saw this awesome concept of this secret war raging in the background of a historic moment in my country, in my city – I fell in love.
Ever since then I was studying everything I could about each period in which the next Assassin’s Creed was announced to be set. Books, documentaries, talking to other history fans.
With every game I expected this group of history lovers and game developers to bring about another cool simulation of a historic period, with as much realism as they could, without compromising the “game factor” of it all.
Nowadays, this franchise is HUGE, and I could not be happier that so many people join in on the lore and world of this game. But it is also an equivalent of a huge factory that has to bring a return on the investment put into it. And so it begins to actually print money.
These new games are great. Big worlds, filled with quests, dark dungeons, strangers in distress, and conspiracies to unfold. But it is no longer a “simulator” so to speak. It no longer cares for realism to that degree and that is FINE, but it is not what I fell in love with more than 10 years ago and it staggered me at first, but I am fine with it now.
For me, Assassin’s Creed was always about these stealthy martial arts masters that fought against oppression on the backdrop of historical moments, pretty carefully recreated to the point of a smooth and interesting simulation.
Now the games went “Full Witcher Mode” with gear rarity, EXP farming, and skill-trees. It is just what the game is now – You kill a goat and you get a gigantic, overly flamboyant, golden message “Level Up!”.