Within hours of the rumours, Ubisoft have officially announced Assassins Creed Odyssey. After taking a year out before releasing Assassins Creed Origins it seems Ubisoft have decided to go back to yearly releases.
Odyssey will be set in Ancient Greece, the logo shows off a spartan helmet.
Assassin’s Creed Rogue originally released at a bad time for me. Upgrading to the Xbox One and falling into the troubled technical issues of Assassin’s Creed Unity, I had little time to revisit my old console and play Rogue – and it was a damn shame. The premise of playing as the enemy had a real shine to it, admittedly it would be odd to be a Templar but I just never found the opportunity to play it.
Rogue was the last throw of the dice for Assassin’s Creed on Xbox 360 and it served as a bittersweet symphony – while Assassin’s Creed Unity was only available on Xbox One – Xbox 360 owners got to experience a series first… the main character went from Assassin to Templar. I knew one day I would play Rogue; I just expected it to be via the Xbox One’s backwards compatibility program. When the news of a remaster arrived, I was giddy with excitement; finally I could play the game missing from my collection.
There is nothing more dangerous than an Assassin turned Templar – and while I was concerned about playing against my beloved Creed – I was excited to unravel the story and experience the events that made Shay Cormac turn his back on the Assassins. This equates for a third of the sequences in Assassin’s Creed Rogue, which in playtime, seemed like a good chunk of the game. There are six sequences in total, each one ranges from two to six memories, overall making for quite a short campaign, but what it lacks in length, it makes up for in story.
I thoroughly enjoyed Shay’s tale. It wasn’t convoluted or over complicated, it didn’t outstay its welcome and it balanced things perfectly with the right level of remorse from Shay, who constantly questioned his actions – both as an Assassin and now, as a Templar. Mostly, it painted the Templars in a light we haven’t seen – a group that was compassionate and rationale. It was the Assassins that were in the wrong and if you look deeply at the series, could it be that more of the Assassin’s values and actions were wrong? Hopefully in future games there will be more chances to play from a different perspective.
In the background there is a modern day story with a nameless Abstergo employee who is the puppet master behind the Animus’ entry into Shay’s memories. The gameplay may as well be straight out of Black Flag or Assassin’s Creed III and despite giving the exploration into Shay’s memories purpose, it wasn’t very memorable with dull walking sections and simple light based puzzles. The borrowing of assets and gameplay also extends into the main game with many of the missions and activities seemingly mere copies. Even the environments and character animations seem all too familiar.
There are some new elements though. Instead of a tropical climate, a cold chill is in the air, which presents Shay with a limited time in the water but also the opportunity to destroy icebergs and cause additional damage to enemy ships – essentially they are the sea version of gaming’s red barrel mechanic. There are also numerous additional tools and weapons to play with, the air rifle that eventually gives access to a grenade launcher and includes explosive, sleep and berserk area effects was easily my favourite.
One mechanic I was glad to see return was the multiplayer style of Assassin vs. Assassin. You can’t just defect and not expect the Assassins to be after you and it’s here that some of the multiplayer elements bleed through into the campaign. When an Assassin is near, whispers fill your ears. They use all the tricks in the playbook to try and get the jump on you but you also have those skills and turning the tide of battle is as fun as it was when playing online against other players, albeit considerably easier.
Shay will also come face-to-face with more experienced members of the Assassin’s Creed. These boss battle-esque sections were not too challenging, especially if you have the right tools, or rather, enough ammo in your pistol. What I liked best about these scenarios was Shay’s remorse for killing his friends. All too often games have you mercilessly kill, it was good to see that Ubisoft felt it wise for Shay to question these situations and show remorse for his actions.
Straddling the mechanics and style of Assassin’s Creed III and Black Flag may seem a little cheeky, but the story is what held my attention, particularly the end sequence, which ties beautifully to Assassin’s Creed Unity. While hardly essential to Assassin’s Creed lore, it left me with a genuine WTF moment… it was brilliant.
Ubisoft did a great job with remastering The Ezio Collection and they have done an equally fine job with Rogue. While it may not hold up to the wonders of Assassin’s Creed Origins, it doesn’t look out of place on Xbox One – unlike some other remasters out there.
Rogue serves more like an expansion to Black Flag/Assassin’s Creed III than a standalone title but the three titles sit together neatly making a great trilogy of stories, even if you do have to endure Connor. Rogue also gave me the perfect excuse to return to the excellent naval battles that were prevalent in Black Flag and the opportunity to experience a different point of view from the Assassins. It also gave me a new – and somewhat unexpected – perspective to the Templars. It is however, a title for fans of the series that may have missed it the first time round, and a far throw from the excellent mechanics of Assassin’s Creed Origins.
The campaign of Assassin’s Creed Rogue is but a mere drop in the ocean, there’s plenty to explore outside of the campaign and numerous forts to vanquish, not to mention numerous collectibles, treasures and animals to hunt. Rather than force all this into the campaign, you can choose how much you immerse yourself into Shay’s world, and while it may lack a character of its own, I can’t wait to carry on exploring the world through a Templar’s eyes.
Xbox are releasing an Assassins Creed Origins Xbox One S bundle.
The 500GB is available for £229 and £299 for the 1TB bundle.
The 500GB bundle will include a full-game download code of Assassin’s Creed Origins, and the 1TB bonus bundle will include full-game download codes of Assassin’s Creed Origins and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. Both bundles will include an Xbox One S and an Xbox One Wireless controller.
The new list of games available for cheaps on Xbox Deals with Gold have been announced. All the below are available at the discount given from today (29th August) through to 4th September. Great news here for fans of Assassins Creed, with nearly every single game available. Black Flag was one of my favourite ever games, so I would suggest picking that up, as well as TiX favourite Rainbow Six Siege, just after the free weekend!
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles – Trilogy – Xbox One Game – 60% off
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China – Xbox One Game – 50% off
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India – Xbox One Game – 50% off
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia – Xbox One Game – 50% off
Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag – Xbox One Game – 60% off
Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag Illustrious Pirates Pack – Add-On – 50% off
Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag – Freedom Cry – Add-On – 50% off
Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag – Season Pass – Add-On – 67% off
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – Xbox One Game – 60% off
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Gold Edition – Xbox One Game – 60% off
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – Jack the Ripper – Add-On – 60% off
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – Season Pass – Add-On – 67% off
The adaptation of videogames to film hasn’t gone well. For years the film adaption of a game has suffered from poor storytelling, poor pacing, poor writing and poor direction, leading to poor fans not receiving the high-quality film version they’ve hungered of their favourite gaming franchise. And there are myriad reasons for this; from writers not understanding the source material, to compression of an eight hour story to two hours simply not working. Assassin’s Creed makes less mistakes than many of its ilk, but despite this, it still doesn’t make the transition clean enough to qualify as a success.
Assassin’s Creed follows the story of Callum Lynch during the present day, and Aguilar de Nerha during the past. In the present, Callum finds himself in a facility run by Abstergo, where his lineage can be tapped into through a machine called the Animus, allowing him to relive memories of his ancestors, of which Aguilar de Nerha is one of them. Abstergo are using the Animus to find an ancient artefact called the Apple, and Aguilar de Nerha is the last person to have seen it. Aguilar de Nerha is part of the Brotherhood of Assassin’s and is assigned to protect Prince Ahmed de Granada from the Templars during the Granada war in 1492. The Templars seek the Apple and threaten to kill the young prince in order to get it from his father, Sultan Muhammad XII. Back in the present, Abstergo is the modern face of the Templars, meanwhile, The Brotherhood of Assassin’s continue to try and protect the Apple from the shadows. Abstergo probe Callum’s mind for clues, whilst Callum learns more about his ancestry and the Brotherhood of Assassin’s his family are bound to.
It’s all very familiar for anyone who’s played the games, and that’s certainly to the film’s credit; it does a great job of staying true to the established world the games have constructed. Abstergo are very much the same shady, power hungry organisation they are in the games, and the Brotherhood of Assassin’s are still very much the struggling to survive, morally numb murderers they are in the games. It’s very true to its source material.
Where it takes liberties is with the Animus. Here it’s not just a simple interface for accessing genetic memories, it’s a harness that allows the user to re-enact memories rather than simply experience them in their minds. It’s a smart choice that fits the ‘show don’t tell’ philosophy of film making.
However, whilst sticking to the source material helps connect the film with the already established audience of the games, an over use of nods and references to the games comes off as patronising and irritating. This is at its worst when concerning the eagle. In the games, the screech of an eagle accompanies daring leaps and the unlocking of an area’s map by climbing high on a landmark, but in the film there are literal shots of an eagle flying around, and not just short flybys to give a bird’s eye perspective on a location, but long following shots that scream ‘game reference’. Further references are more subtle, but entirely unnecessary and equally irritating, the ‘leap of faith’ section in particular.
Fortunately, a spectacular cast does a great job selling their characters. Michael Fassbender delivers the complexity of Callum Lynch and the devotion of Aguilar de Nerha splendidly, meanwhile, Marion Cotillard delivers the conflicted Dr. Sophia Rikkin in precisely the right manner to play off Callum’s aforementioned complexity. The rest of the cast are equally brilliant and do justice to their characters. However, it’s a shame we couldn’t see more from other Animus subjects in the Abstergo facility, in particular Michael K. Williams’ character of Moussa, in modern times, and the Haitian assassin Baptiste in the past, a character who appeared in Assassin’s Creed: Liberation.
And indeed, that’s one of the main concerns for the film: a lot of the games lore and its storytelling charm is compressed into a mere couple of hours. Here the film fails to find the right balance in telling Callum’s story, Aguilar de Nerha’s story, and that of the Templars/Abstergo verse the Brotherhood of Assassins. It doesn’t quite fit together, meaning the struggle between the Templars and Assassins is rushed, and Aguilar de Nerha is too focused on the Apple. Callum gets the majority of the character growth, and whilst it’s an interesting story, without the other aspects fleshed out enough, it still feels incomplete.
However, certainly the biggest problem with the film is in its visual direction. The screen is almost always lousy with smoke and dust effects. It’s one of the ugliest, dreariest and drabbest looking films out there. It could have been explained away if it was only during the past sequence, but it’s not, worst still, it looks as if a lot of it was digitally added in post. It’s a baffling visual choice that hides so much of the detail, and once you notice it you can’t un-see it.
The Assassin’s Creed games concentrate on the ancestor’s story more so than that of the modern subject, here the opposite is true, and whilst Callum is a good character, Aguilar de Nerha has the better story, and it feels like a missed opportunity not to have focused more on his life as an Assassin. Meanwhile, some the references to the game are a bit on the nose and hard to stomach, and the visuals are plain ugly. However, the film succeeds in setting up the modern story of the Brotherhood of Assassins verses Abstergo, and the change to the Animus is excellent, making it all the more disappointing that the whole experience didn’t quite come together in the end.
With the impending release of the Assassins Creed movie, Ubisoft have announced 2 books to accompany the film. The first being the official film tie in which tells the story of Callum Lynch as he discovers his ancestry and his descendants part in the secret society of assassins.
The second book is entitled Assassins Creed: Into The Animus. This is a behind the scenes look into the making of the movie and gives a unprecedented insight into recreating 15th century Spain. Along with interviews from the cast, set and costume designers this is definitely something for the avid Assassins Creed fan. The movie and the book are set for release at the end of the year and from the trailer it looks amazing.
The Assassin’s Creed film will launch in cinemas worldwide on 21 December this year.
Directed by Justin Kurzel, Assassin’s Creed’s past is set during 15th Century Spain and follows Callum Lynch, who is ‘executed’ and then swept up by Abstergo. Once placed safely in one of their research facilities, Callum is placed inside the Animus to discover the secrets of his ancestor, Aguilar.
The Animus looks like a giant robot VR machine that allows Callum to move freely while experiencing the memories of Aguilar. His ‘execution’ suggests he was a convict – maybe falsely accused by Abstergo so they could get their hands on him without arising any suspicion.
The story follows a similar line to the games – Callum discovers the Assassins and goes up against the Templars and Abstergo themselves. The cast includes Michael Fassbender as Callum Lynch, Jeremy Irons as Alan Rikkin – the CEO of Abstergo and Marion Cotillard as Sophia Rikkin – the daughter of Alan Rikkin and Animus project member.
Ubisoft have announced they will be taking a break from releasing a major Assassin’s Creed game in 2016, instead focusing on the feedback from gamers regarding the disappointing release of Unity, and the lacklustre sales of Syndicate.
This year, we also are stepping back and re-examining the Assassin’s Creed franchise. As a result, we’ve decided that there will not be a new Assassin’s Creed game in 2016. Since the release of Assassin’s Creed Unity, we’ve learned a lot based on your feedback. We’ve also updated our development processes and recommitted to making Assassin’s Creed a premier open-world franchise. We’re taking this year to evolve the game mechanics and to make sure we’re delivering on the promise of Assassin’s Creed offering unique and memorable gameplay experiences that make history everyone’s playground.
The next chapter in Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Chronicles saga releases today for Xbox One, set during 19th-century India at the height of the British empire. Whilst tensions are rising between the East India Company and the Sikh Empire, a race between the Assassins and the Templars to secure a priceless diamond begins.
Players find themselves in the shoes of Arbaaz Mir: master assassin. Slightly more nimble than your average assassin, Arbaaz negotiates environmental obstacles with ease and can take down adversaries in an unsurprisingly slick fashion, with moves new to Assassin’s Creed like the helix strike, and the series-classic silent takedown.
Developed by Climax Studios and Ubisoft Montreal, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles is a new take on the Assassin’s Creed formula, taking players into a rich, 2.5D Indian world with a hearty blend of satisfying stealth platforming gameplay. Our very own Rich Berry reviewed Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India this week, so go check out what he thinks!
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India comes after the saga’s first entry set in 16th century China, and culminates in the series finale set in early 20th century Russia, releasing in just a few weeks on February 9. At the same time, you’ll be able to grab the lot as part of the Assassin’s Creed Chronicles Trilogy Pack, releasing both digitally and in retail stores.
The Industrial revolution has chugged into the world of Assassin’s Creed as the series takes to the Victorian streets of London. With iconic characters like Dickens and Darwin, and famous London landmarks like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, can Syndicate restore faith in the series that Unity lost?
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Assassin’s Creed, although I’m happy to admit that the series lost me slightly with III and IV. Being a UK resident, the charms of Syndicate’s Victorian London are a huge draw, but can the series deliver a story that ties the present day with the past?
Unfortunately the present day is a series of cutscenes that you watch via a CCTV drone. It makes for a disjointed experience, with Syndicate playing more like a period piece. To its credit, the present day does include a great cliffhanger; I just craved to be able to explore the present day as a ‘Desmond’ character or something similar to Black Flag’s missions. Instead you are a nameless initiate. The Templars are searching Victorian London for a piece of Eden – the Shroud – and the Assassins have turned to you to look over the memories of twin assassins Jacob and Evie Frye.
London is under the control of the Templar Grand Master, Crawford Starrick, a man who controls London’s industry and the Blighters gang; nothing goes on without his knowledge. You set about breaking his grip by taking down his lieutenants and freeing the boroughs of the city, although you need only release three of them to progress the story. This direct approach is how Jacob thinks the twins should go about freeing London but Evie wants to go directly after the Shroud – this places a burden on their relationship, and like any good sibling rivalry, the pair argue as they try to assert themselves as the dominant twin.
Evie’s more delicate approach to combat makes her ideal for stealth, and although you can level up both twins with the same skill tree, there are some stealthier skills that are only available to her. Jacob is more ‘hands on’ with fighting skills that are only open to him. While the two play similarly, Jacob handles differently in combat, highlighted during the final fight of the game when you switch back and forth between the two.
If you want to sneak through an area Evie is certainly your lady and during the open area of London you can choose to play as either twin. The campaign gives you no choice in which twin you play as and you can’t use them both to set up simultaneous assassinations or issue commands. Only the last sequence features both of them, and it works really well. It’s a shame then that there weren’t more of these scenarios throughout the game.
To realise Jacob’s vision for London and build a gang, you must assemble the Rooks by freeing London’s boroughs. Each area has several missions that when completed reduces the Blighters’ hold on the borough. Once you’ve completed all the borough missions there’s a gang war – a faceoff with the local gang and their leader, who you can assassinate during an earlier borough mission, doing so makes the final faceoff significantly easier.
The borough missions are similar to those from previous Assassin’s Creed games except for the new kidnapping activity. Plan ahead and you should be able to grab your target, stuff them into a carriage and take them straight to the slammer with little interference from gang members or Bobbies on the beat. If you get busted or fail to restrain your target, things get a little out of hand making kidnapping an annoyance but that mainly comes down to poor planning.
Story missions don’t stray too far from the tried and tested missions of Assassin’s Creed either. It works for other series so why not for Assassin’s Creed? For me, this is what I wanted from Syndicate and with tweaks to the gameplay and the excellent London playground; Syndicate is a worthy title that washes away the average feeling of III and IV, and the bug marred Unity. Navigation is smooth, the cover system works beautifully and there’s now a threat indicator similar to that of the multiplayer of previous Assassins Creed titles. The whole package is far more polished than it has been before.
There’s plenty of opportunities to get around London, from public transport to the new rope launcher, which while not as nimble as Batman’s grapple gun, is perfect for spanning gaps or setting up air assassinations. I felt that this made taking down targets a little too easy and also took away the joy of rooftop Parkour.
Carriages are great fun to get around in, and useful to hide from pursuers. You can even race them, smashing up other carriages or jumping on the roof of your own carriage to shoot or fight while your horses do their best to keep on running through the streets. It makes for some great ‘vehicular’ combat, as do the trains. You can also jump on one of the many boats and steamers that travel up and down the Thames. There’s no chance for any ‘sea battles’, but you can run from one side of the Thames to the other – Frogger eat your heart out!
London looks spectacular, and it’s great to see the combat has had an overhaul that makes it far more fluid than Unity, there may be little depth to the combos, but you can mix up punches with tool attacks and environmental kills – it’s brutal and satisfying if a little lite when compared with the Dark Knight. Target Assassinations have also been tweaked. Now you can choose how you tackle an objective, either directly or by going after side objectives that might present alternative opportunities to assassinating your foe.
The city of London is begging to be explored and conquered. I tried to stick to just the campaign and managed to rack up 25 hours of gameplay but doing so has left vast parts of the game unexplored – from activities and borough missions to additional memories from historical characters, including some special missions from Queen Victoria which are only available after the climax of the campaign. There’s also a third playable character within the additional memories and a trip to World War I, so look out for that!
I absolutely loved my time with Syndicate; I haven’t had this much fun with an Assassin’s Creed title since Brotherhood. The story is playful and has fun with itself; it isn’t too drab in tone, which is strengthened by two extremely likeable characters that bounce off one another with sibling rivalry and a cheeky flair that makes them irresistible not to love.
Sure there’s one or two bugs that any open world game suffers from. Overuse of the same enemy models does make fighting rather bland over the entirety of the game, but this aside, Syndicate is something that Assassin’s Creed fans will adore. I’d wager that even if you felt burned by the previous few entries of the series, then you would find it hard to resist the charms of London and the Frye twins.