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  • Rincewind2981
    Original poster 8 posts

    I realize nobody is listening at Ubisoft, if the past few months have shown us anything, our complaints and our hopes increasingly fall upon deaf ears, and so, I must admit, I am broken, I cannot continue to hold out any hope for this game. I will delete Valhalla from my drive today, but before I go, I feel as if I have earned the right to scream into the void, so to speak, do feel free to move along if rehashing old complaints and bitter recriminations don't appeal to you.

    I bought Valhalla pre scaling, in fact, it was the reason I was willing to buy it in the first place. The ability to turn off scaling or being able to tailor it to an individual's style of play is crucial to the RPG experience. To change this a month after release, with no warning, and with no option to avoid it is, in my opinion, unconscionable. Ubisoft either sacrificed a plurality of their audience to the whims of another, or felt that they should control how people play. With more than one interview from people working on the game telling us there would be no scaling, I felt lied to, and betrayed.

    Yet still I soldiered on into this beautiful, albeit in the same vein sometimes boring world that was laid out before me. I suffered with the lackluster parkour mechanic, and succeeded in getting to England, and began to subsequently ignore the main story, and explore the map. This lasted till about my tenth treasure chest that I had to search down a key for, or find a hidden entrance for, that only rewarded me with cheap resources that I did not need. This whole endeavor felt like busywork that's only purpose must be to extend the life of a shallow game, with only enough substance for a short playthrough, not the deep exploration of a true RPG. I was disappointed, and frustrated.

    But, I persevered. Maybe the exploration section was busywork, surely the main quest would breathe new life into this game. I would be a Viking hero, and settle in England. This lasted until The Absence of an Ealdorman, which bugged out on me, and stalled my progress for a couple months, and while this quest has been fixed for me and some others, this game is inundated with a plethora more, some game breaking, some just irritating, but all unacceptable, this long after release. I am infuriated, and disgusted.

    Still, my better nature, and my forgiving attitude prevailed. I will seek out other things to do while this game is fixed, I assured myself that such a large game must have something for me to bide my time with, so I once again began to explore, plodding around, doing lackluster world events, and searching for varying amounts of dross in overly hidden chests. At this point I came upon a Zealot, and proceeded to be thoroughly trounced, having to retreat to safety. Fear not, I thought, I am playing a game where stealth is an option, I will sneak up and take the upper hand. Little did I know that Ubi had once again been misleading. To my surprise, I could not stealth attack this Zealot, there was no option to do so, there must be some mistake. I paused my game, and checked my menu options, guaranteed assassination was on, and the menu option clearly stated that ALL enemies were subject to it. Is a Zealot not an enemy, are they really my friend? No, just something Ubisoft felt I should work harder at. I felt patronized, and belittled.

    At this point, I stopped playing Valhalla, it has sat on my drive for weeks, untouched. Today it will leave, and, while I may pay attention to updates from Ubisoft, I will no longer be tempted unless serious change is made. An RPG is about player choice, to rob us of these things lessens your products, and in my opinion, lessens you as a company. We want to play your games, but on our terms, in the world you created. If you keep altering it while we are trying to find our way, or everytime we use our ingenuity to play differently, you will only alienate your broader audience, and limit yourselves to your core base. If that is your plan, go forth, but if you want to bring your products to the masses, I urge you to treat us like the adults we are, and not the children you seem to want us to be.

    Goodbye Ubisoft, it's been a great run.

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    Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..", comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

    Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..", comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

  • A Former User
    0 posts

    @rincewind2981 they dont give two [censored].. 1month and counting no missing fish fix . Also no content.. how the hell is this game meant to last us until 2022?? Live service my [censored].

  • TheCosmicBob
    76 posts

    I'm about ready to bail on the game myself. I "finished" it and didn't have any game breaking bugs on PS4, except for at the very beginning with Valka and they fixed that eventually - not quick enough IMO though.

    I hear you on the bad treasures and the gyrations you have to go through to get them. Keys here, exploding jars there, dropping loads of crap to break open a cache. And you usually just get a bunch of leather and some silver. How thrilling.

    I dislike level scaling, it was my biggest complaint on Odyssey (why wasn't it completely optional?). I didn't notice that they turned it on for Valhalla, I thought it was gone. I did notice that the River Riad consistently had a recommended level of 5 levels above whatever my current level was.

    As for Zealots, I haven't been paying attention to them, but I usually can kill them, but as you say, not with assassination, but just brute force.

    I got Immortals Fenyx Rising yesterday, I think I'm going to move to that for a while and just keep track of what Valhalla is up to.

  • Tyrhydion
    3 posts

    @rincewind2981 I am also considering already to delete it, along with Watch Dogs: Legion. These games are so boring, they put me to sleep. What is even more depressing, are the bugs and glitches. I feel like AC hasn't improved at all since AC III. There was a glimmer of hope with AC:Unity which allowed for seamless parcouring and had stunning graphics, but that is all gone since Origins for the sake of hyperextensive landscapes with gazillions of loot chests. The games are way too long, too boring, exhausting, and graphically underwhelming. I kinda enjoyed Odyssee, but Valhalla is zero fun for me.

    Watch Dogs: Legion is the first game I didn't bother to finish, AC: Valhalla might be the first that I am gonna delete within 2 weeks after I bought it and not coming even close to finishing it.

  • BobNewton2
    33 posts

    @rincewind2981 I concur with your statement! I have a PS 4 Pro and this game has been the glitchiest AC game I have. Always used a PC but tried this on PS, what a mistake. Had major problems with Reda until a couple of weeks ago. Can't get last codex from Winchestre so that can't be completed. Now on RR's, I can't find the St. Georges helm, I have checked every location on River Dee twice, no helm unless it is hiding in a chest which says it is rations. I saved Asgard arc for last and am about to complete that. When I do, I will start a new game and see if the problems still exist. I if they do, I will be trashing this game to all and think twice about any future AC games, plus not spend extra to buy early and wait to see what the community as a whole says about the new game. I worry about how screwed up Farcry 6 will be.

  • gearsmonger
    49 posts

    @rincewind2981 I sympathize with you. This game is the single most bug-ridden AC game I've played. It's also the most on-the-rails RPG I've played in my life (and simultaneously the most boring). In my case, I was expecting this and waited for it to go on sale before buying, not realizing just how bad it really is. I've spent a triple digit number of hours in the game hoping to stumble across hidden gems of story telling and action. There are some gems in this game, and they are beautiful, but too few and far between.

    That said, Ubisoft couldn't care less about improving this game because they've already got our money and have already made the bulk of their sales on it.

    Unfortunately for Ubisoft, I won't be purchasing another AC game (barring a major overhaul to their game design and business model, but let's face it, that won't happen). Valhalla was the nail in the coffin- the worst combination of political pandering, bugs and lack of authentic and exciting content.

    RIP Assassins Creed, you had a good run.

  • Rincewind2981
    Original poster 8 posts

    A little upset, mildly repulsed by this board at the moment. I looked through the posts on this board, and after checking my notifications could not find my post on the board. I looked through several days, and could only find my post by searching for it, with the supplied function. So I would not run into this by just casually reading the boards. I am not one to accuse without at least an inkling of suspicion, so maybe this is a glitch, maybe my double checking missed my post 3 times, many things are possible, but it feels like my rant was conveniently hidden. So, I hope you all will forgive me if I reply to myself, just to verify the veracity of my claim, or to justify my own quasi paranoia.

  • AlphaGoose46219
    158 posts

    @rincewind2981 Yeah, RPG kiss my [censored], the assassin fans displeased what a result!
    UBIsoft really lucked out with the cyberpunk release, they got all the negative press attention.
    EA gives Bioware the chance to go back to there roots after almost destroying them, hope UBI will have the same wake-up call.

  • kreutzgang
    635 posts

    @rincewind2981 I read your rant yesterday.

  • Scaredsomemore
    5 posts

    @rincewind2981 Assasins creed origins wont launch on pc since new update..beeen 2 weeks + still no fix.You CANNOT get in touch with ubisoft,try contacting them and adding dxfile and msfile then underneath it says due to covid chat only now,go down further and for the last 3 days at least it says chat unavailable so what are we supposed to do?Absolutley awful customer service.

  • AnimusLover
    388 posts

    This is an excellent and underrated post that really captures the conflicting feelings I have about Valhalla and how resentful I became after giving it the benefit of the doubt only to be let down with the next game breaking bug or DLC nobody asked for. It's actually kind of sad that a year later most of what you said in your OP still holds true. While I don't have anything against the level scaling (even scaled enemies are a joke) the only reason I can think of it being there is because of XP boosters because there's literally no downside to making it optional.

    The collectible hunting was tedious because they gated every single one behind barred from the other side "puzzles", some of which you couldn't even do without progressing through the story which makes it feel like a game from 10 years ago.

    And regarding not being able to assassinate the zealots - I've never attempted assassinating them so I don't know but in the old games you could assassinate pretty much most of the main templars, the only trouble was getting close enough to do so without being hounded by their security. Of course, that actually took intelligent level design but today's devs prefer to bypass coming up with a challenge like that by just forcing you to fight the bad guy head on while navigating his gimmicky move sets.

  • longjohn119
    1340 posts

    @animuslover I trying to do a recorded playthrough and those damned lame puzzles just ruin the flow of the game and a couple of them I just said to hell with it because all I was going to get was a few furs and ore. I'm in the middle of the Lundun quests and am having a hard time getting motivated to just play the game much less spend the time recording, editing and uploading videos .... I'll probably stick with it because I like to finish what I started when possible but I just got Final Fantasy VII Remake yesterday and kind of want to play that just because I've heard so much good about it plus I played the original PC port back in 1997 when it came out and it was groundbreaking in it's day.

    It's the complete opposite of Odyssey where I could play it again and again and not get bored with it because I could change things up, the loot was always different and you could get some real gems when great engravings and the special engravings were just so much more interesting than these Runes that don't seem to do much of anything and don't even get me started on the fluster cluck of an ability "bush" that makes no RPG sense for creating builds like most decent RPGs that allow you to specialize or min-max builds.

  • pesto.
    366 posts

    The build tree is just conceived as a leveling method rather than a path. It’s how most games handle it to be honest but there are odd exceptions like Outlanders with its limited number of upgrade points so you have to be careful what you pick, or there are games where every perk you pick comes at a cost so e.g. +stamina but -speed, so if you were to upgrade everything you actually end up right where you started.

    I feel like AC put that “pick a build” into the armor rather than the character, unfortunately that side is very shallow while the character tree is massive but shallow in a different way. Mainly so they can sell us more interesting builds for real money, it gets boring. A game like Monster Hunter has a far more extensive armor and weapon build system.

    I’d like to see more rpg in AC, it was going in a good direction. I guess they felt it needed to be pulled back and become a less expensive IP to make and at the same time more approachable for everyone unlike those hugely unsuccessful games like Elden Ring, The Witcher, Skyrim, Final Fantasy…

  • AnimusLover
    388 posts

    @pesto Not only are the armour sets shallow but they're obsolete - the skill tree is really all you need. Any runes and armour sets applied are just cake dressing.
    In Odyssey the skill tree was vital, yes, but in order to get the most out of it you had to make a good build using armour and weapons - at least on nightmare difficulty. The legendary sets provided a way to bypass that for players who couldn't be bothered with numbers. So, in fact, with Odyssey Ubisoft actually proved that they could cater to both playstyles, i.e. make the RPG elements approachable. Let's just be honest, the real reason why Ubisoft gutted the loot system is so they could sell most of the best armour sets in the store anyway.

    That said, I would very much like to see the RPG element gone. I want memories and sequences back, not "quests". I have my Bethesda games for that.

  • pesto.
    366 posts

    @animuslover my gut instinct is that Ubisoft sees the mobile (and I guess upcoming vr) games for that sort of linear storytelling. I’d rather AC kept moving forward than always looking back in terms of game mechanics. Valhalla cements that in my mind, almost everything they brought back from the past for the fans was to the detriment of the game.

    There technically is no difference between quests and sequences except where they show up in the UI and you can change the order a little with quests. Where I think Valhalla fails narratively isn’t that, it’s in having a settlement. It’s a bad cheap trope that Ubi have started putting in all their games in order to give a sense of accomplishment in the world, but it makes everything feel like a quest rather than an ongoing journey or adventure. It’s endless go to quest giver (settlement) go forth.

    I felt like the battles in Odyssey would eventually result in a better system than “build a settlment” for leaving a more permanent mark on the world. Open world games always have difficulty with this - you’re the hero, but nothing you do has lasting impact on the world. So the world ends up feeling like a dead animatronic set rather than a living breathing place where you have impact. Adding a political strategy element would have been a wonderful way to change that and show it in a visual way, affecting frontlines, wealth of regions and so forth. It still allows you to have a tightly written journey narrative with a single or multiple outcomes (e.g. there are four potential allegiances in a two side fight - either side, mercenary or objector/ignore).

    As it turned out they went with the settlement trope as it’s much easier. Who knows where they may go in the future, but hopefully it’ll be something that’s fresh again as Origins was.

  • longjohn119
    1340 posts

    @pesto I think stealth and assassinations took a big step backwards, there are just too many closely spaced NPCs to make assassinations all that effective. Except for bosses and some Elites I could clear out an entire fort in Odyssey with assassinations but it is pretty much impossible in Valhalla. The hood thing was a big fail and seems broken to me and not at all like when it was done right in Syndicate. And adding a Rogue-like mode to a game that is already tremendously grindy isn't something I'm the least bit interested in because I don't like doing the same things over and over, especially in a game that's as wonky and crash prone as Valhalla. It's bad enough having to replay a small part of a quest because of a crash but having to start again from scratch each time it crashes or because of the controller lag gets you killed is going to be too painful to be fun. Never was a big fan of rogue-like games anyway because they don't have any story to speak of. Even a bad story is better than no story at all

  • AnimusLover
    388 posts

    @pesto I wholeheartedly disagree. There’s actually a significant difference between quests and memory sequences. For one, sequences were thematically consistent with the concept of the animus and thus more immersive. Most importantly, sequences were replayable from start to finish. In these new RPGs once a quest is done it’s done. This is why it didn’t matter that the old AC games were shorter by comparison - they had immediate replayability.
     
    I agree that everything Ubisoft brought back to Valhalla for the fans was to the game’s detriment…but that’s largely because they didn’t fully commit to it. They wanted to have their cake and eat it - a viking sim and old school AC mechanics, and the result is that it’s not particularly great at either. Vikings and assassins just don't go together; they're completely opposing ideologies. But there is another combination that would have worked as proven by another game - and I keep using this game as an example but I will continue to use it because it perfectly illustrates my point - Ghost of Tsushima.
     
    Ghost of Tsushima puts to rest the argument that AC needed to completely change its identity to remain relevant.  Not only does it shamelessly pinch from AC but even the storyline is so Assassin’s Creed, just without the modern day sci fi elements: A samurai who realises that the old ways are not working anymore and so has to  betray everything he knows to become the dishonourable “ghost”, i.e. taking out his enemies with backstabbing tactics like assassinations, smoke bombs, poison etc.  He even bands together with a bunch of misfits who also work outside the realms of tradition to take down the mongrels. Replace “ghost” with “assassin” and “misfits” with “the brotherhood” and it’s Assassin’s Creed.
     
    And about “moving forward”...the thing is, there isn’t really anywhere for AC to go but back to basics.  This is why they’re just going to turn AC into a live service now which, to me, is just the devs admitting that they can’t evolve the series anymore so now they’re just making one game that will go on for…infinity. The stealth and parkour have gotten progressively worse over the years with only combat seeing change for the better and, even then, Valhalla shows that this Poundland soulsborne system has limits… When it was first introduced in Origins it was great. Then Odyssey made it better than anyone could have ever imagined. Ubisoft took that same combat system and tried to ground it again but once you go full demi-god there’s no going back - Valhalla’s combat is just Odyssey’s but not as fun. Whereas that old combat system still has potential to improve.
     
    As for the settlement building, that’s been there since the Ezio trilogy but in a much limited capacity. Even the Homestead in AC III was one big settlement building side arc. In those games, rebuilding Rome or the Homestead actually felt crucial to the character of Ezio and, especially, Connor, showing a side to him rarely seen in the main campaign. Whereas settlement building in Valhalla, like everything else, just feels like a fan requested tack-on that serves neither Eivor or the world she inhabits.  Black Flag also had weak settlement building and it was made by the same team so perhaps this area is simply not their strength.

  • longjohn119
    1340 posts

    @animuslover Actually if you like the old school stealth mechanic and a more linear story you should really check out Sniper Elite 5 .... I probably did more stealth assassinations in the 1st 3 missions than I have in 100 hours of Valhalla. I probably did as many stealth takedowns as I did sniper shots ... You have the same whistle mechanic to lure them into the bushes and it has the old AC vibe to it but instead of killing Templars you are killing Nazis which is about the same thing

  • pesto.
    366 posts

    The reason the old elements didn’t work in Valhalla is twofold. Firstly they were better in peoples memories than in reality, our bar for games has changed. Secondly in what mostly happens in development is when you remove a feature then unless you bring it back immediately you are going to be reinventing the wheel, starting out from scratch once again if it’s requested, you don’t keep spare parts laying around, that means you have no foundation to build on. It’s revision one, they’d have to keep on updating to get to something decent again.

    Take rooftop chases for instance, What people want to remember is cinematic experiences such as they got in Uncharted where the world around you is falling apart and they’re barely hanging on for the ride. But you’re no longer doing a choreographed linear chase, instead we’re in an open world, the player could take any route or use any tactic. It suddenly becomes prohibitive to invest that much expenditure in maybe having many different scripted interaction points over an area so the player will likely have a cinematic moment or two along their way. Moreover not all players want to have control taken from their character or camera mid action anymore. It’s very hard to justify this on side activity material.

    With regards sequences being somehow more tied to the animus. Good riddance IMO. The Animus concept helps explain invisible walls but otherwise it’s a straight jacket. The modern day characters are unrelatable which is ironic given they’re meant to be us, zealots and true believers. IMO that stuff is exactly is what broke immersion, being yanked out of what you were doing for a slow walk advertisement break that had no bearing on the story - yuck. I actually don’t agree with the idea of replaying main story missions out of order given how linear they are currently (there’s a lot of follow me stuff), if they started to make make story missions more like Hitman then yes, it would be good to be able to replay them, but you don’t need them to be a “sequence” to do that.

    Stealth agreed they really have dropped the ball. Odyssey and Origins were much better with regards that, but still both were a step back from Syndicate and what came before and people were complaining already. It needs a complete overhaul.

    Ghost of Tsushima isn’t the best example. The stealth was as bad as modern AC, but the combat and coop was great and just worked flawlessly, however they’re separate missions from the main campaign. I disagree that backwards is the only direction to go in with AC, there are plenty of routes towards a USP that maintain and continue to improve the best qualities of AC, it undersells the imagination of the developers to say that’s the only way to go. Stagnating is how you kill an IP. We have the old games still if we want to play them, and the mobile games for new content that’s more retro like but in the same vein. I believe Ubi can make something new and cool with AC. We should trust them a little more.

  • AnimusLover
    388 posts

    @pesto

    I replayed Black Flag in the spring of the year Valhalla came out and replayed Revelations just a few months later and, yes, they are as good as I remember. Better, even, in the case of Revelations, which I did not like on release at all. Can I ask which of the old games you’ve played and how long ago? I think it would surprise you just how well they hold up. The only game where some of the mechanics don’t quite work is AC1 but people complained about it even then, hence why AC II drastically improved it.

    On your second point, while generally that is true in game design,  I don’t think Valhalla’s issue is that it had to rebuild those mechanics from scratch (this point is actually better suited to Unity). It’s just simply that it doesn’t fit with Ubisoft’s new approach to world and level design. It’s not the actual OG mechanics but the world in which these mechanics exist that needs to change to make them worthwhile.

    Let’s look at social stealth. In the Ezio games, the level design was more restrictive and linear (I know, I know - dirty words in today's open ended obsessed gaming climate) in such a way that during stealth oriented missions you couldn’t be unblended very long before being detected by guards. Therefore, your goal was to move through crowds slowly without alarming them (i.e. accidentally bumping into them, as they would back away from you), or use the environment such as benches, or hire distractions such as courtesans and thieves. I remember a Ubisoft dev describing the courtesan blending as a shield that’s being slowly chipped away at, which sounds crude but he’s right. Each time one of the ladies went towards a guard, Ezio would become more and more vulnerable as his chances of being detected would increase, meaning not only did you need to keep up with your target but you needed to make sure that as you were doing so you were thinking ahead about what path would provide you with nearby social stealth opportunities. Sometimes, these two factors didn’t always align so this created tension. My point is, social stealth in those games were rarely optional to getting missions completed silently wherever it was implemented.  

    There’s a reason why the old games do not have a crouch button and didn’t introduce one until social stealth became more watered down in Unity. The moment you do that, it gives players an easy way out - why would I choose to be hidden in plain sight when I can just be hidden?  The latter is less risky. This brings me to exactly what’s wrong with Valhalla - social stealth is just another option and a lesser one at that. There is literally no reason to use it and, in fact, I would go as far as to say that you have to go out of your way to even make it worthwhile. For one, there is a crouch button. Instant fail. Secondly, the villages and towns are so wide with so many hidden paths and so much cover that it makes more sense just to crouch behind a building or run on the rooftops to avoid guards since there are few rooftops guards anyway. There isn’t a single instance or mission in Valhalla that I can recall where I felt like I needed to use social stealth to get by undetected. I only ever used it to pop a trophy.

    I’ve already touched on the flying paper challenges but I think it's worth elaborating a bit more: In Black Flag the parkour system there (while significantly downgraded from the Ezio trilogy) allowed for this sort of side activity to actually work. Retrieving the sheets was all about how quick your reaction time was to recognising the routes you could take. Additionally, one panicked, poorly judged jump wasn’t a complete bust seeing as Edward was fast enough that you could improvise in the heat of the moment and find another way of getting back on track.  Also, generally speaking, the old parkour system encouraged finding the fastest way up and it was almost always quicker to move through the rooftops rather than on the ground.

    The new parkour system from Origins onwards seems to be about finding the fastest way down because climbing is actually inconvenient beyond being a stealth opportunity (this is why Odyssey removed fall damage altogether). The buildings are more spread out and the actual parkour moveset is way more limited so it’s faster to just run on the ground or take a horse. Eivor moves in accordance with that - she seemingly favours descending to get to the nearest road rather than moving across buildings for efficiency. That’s not a problem in and of itself, but it becomes a problem when you attempt to implement parkour challenges, such as the aforementioned flying tattoo drawings.   Eivor, instead of jumping towards the nearest branch or ledge, for some reason, just props herself down on the ground or a lower ledge which makes no sense. In order to get her to recognise the better route you have to stop her in her tracks mid sequence to position the camera, like some sort of platformer. If you don't, she will almost always just jump down. And because she’s so sluggish, should this happen, it’s faster to chase the paper on the ground while it’s flying above you and then just hope there’s a path up to the final destination. Again, I replayed Black Flag in the spring of the year Valhalla came out so this was made worse by how fresh the comparison was. Funny enough, AC III and Black Flag actually had far less emphasis on parkour than the Ezio trilogy or AC1 but in the missions where parkour was required its world design allowed for it.

    I don’t recall cinematic rooftop chases in Valhalla? But I’m not arguing against its lack of inclusion because it’s for the best. My problem is with the features from the old games Ubisoft did bring back and how they did them badly.  

    The Ghost of Tshushima example was more referring to how being more imaginative with historical settings directly makes for more interesting story concepts and gameplay mechanics. The issue of identity - i.e. a samurai’s honour versus the so-called dirty tactics of a ghost can easily be interwoven with the concept of becoming an assassin while allowing us to break from the generic revenge quest most of us were sick of by the time Unity came around. 

    Vikings does not. In fact, Eivor outright says that she doesn’t want to be an assassin because there’s no glory in it so why are we here following her story? It’s the complete opposite to Jin’s character arc who is willing to sacrifice his personal glory and honour for his new creed if it means keeping his people safe. I personally do think the stealth is better than any of the modern AC games and I recall particularly loving that a lot of the stuff you can use in stealth can actually be used in open combat as well. But that’s a personal preference. Where combat is concerned, the stance system was awesome and the stand-offs were so satisfying when you got the timing right. The old games, even across different time periods, were still somehow based around, ‘wait, wait, parry, wait, wait parry’. Ubisoft never evolved combat beyond what gadgets you could use before throwing it out altogether for a soulsborne clone.

    The black box stealth missions were a step in the right direction where stealth was concerned, with some of the most elaborate assassinations this series has ever seen (the Pearl Attaway and Lambeth asylum ones were particular highlights) but Ubisoft shelved this idea before they could take them to their limits (and brought them back in Valhalla, predictably, nowhere near as good).  So, there were some new ideas developing when Ubisoft shifted to the new generation but it came too little, too buggy, too late.

    Ultimately, what killed the OG AC games was that the annual releases didn’t allow enough time for these massive open world games to reach their true potential. The changes from year to year were incremental for the sake of time while not providing any room to implement feedback from previous games. Consequently, there was too much emphasis on the historical period for marketing purposes, rather than how that historical setting could be used to evolve the core mechanics. The Dreadful Crimes (in which Odyssey’s cult of cosmos system is directly pulled from) was a very clever side quest but was somewhat undermined by the fact that Unity did it (way worse) just a year earlier. Ubisoft learned the wrong lessons from the failure of Unity and Syndicate and it appears they’re making the same mistake by going live service, only this time they’re doing it before people can complain that these new RPGs are all the same too. 

    Valhalla has demonstrated the limits of this new RPG style, with most agreeing that it’s the weakest of the ancient trilogy. Making these RPGs a live service won’t fix that, and abandoning the series’ identity is not “imagination”.  It’s selling out.




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