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Editorial

Assassin’s Creed Didn’t Need Restructuring

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I believe that Assassin’s Creed didn’t need restructuring. I will get hate for saying this. I will get people who won’t agree with me. I will get very few people who actually do agree with me. But the common denominator among all of these: I don’t care, it’s my opinion.

The AC series, as I will refer to it from here on out, never became stagnant or repetitive to me. Syndicate was a welcome shift, but didn’t make a total change at the same scale that Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot teased in a recent Gamespot interview. Several of my fellow writers will vehemently disagree with me on my belief that every game in the franchise was good both on their own and looked at as a whole.

AC2 was a major departure from the mechanics of its predecessor. The same cannot be said for the next few titles through Syndicate. Anna Karasik, a fellow editorial writer for OnlySP like myself, wrote a piece recently that lauded the same well-publicized and mostly-positively-received Guillemot interview. In the editorial, Anna mentions how the series has seemed to only go downhill since the death of Desmond Miles in AC3. A few people on the official Ubisoft forums I used to frequent also droned on and on about why Ubisoft decided to take a pseudoscience route to resolve the present-day timeline conflict.

It’s odd — the direction of the plot of the series has really clicked with me. I started actively following AC back during development of Brotherhood. How they closed out the story of Desmond combined with the spinoff comics series (The Fall and The Chain) was very satisfying, but quite abrupt.

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But enough about story — let me get into gameplay. As I already mentioned, AC2 was the biggest all-around departure from its predecessor than any installment since then. From its breaking of the monotony and repetition of AC1 to its epic music and assassination/combat mechanics, I hope most of you, our dear readers, will agree that it was a great game overall. The innovations of Brotherhood and Revelations included a more fluid combat system and throwbacks to AC1’s Altair, with both also revolving around the pseudoscience-approach modern-day storyline while the player takes the role of Desmonds’ ancestor, Ezio Auditore. .

AC3 came next, wrapping up Desmond’s story with a nice bow on top of a visually jam-packed and quite-frankly stabby-stab-stab fun package. The addition of hunting and a revamped stealth mechanic kept things fresh and interesting. Unfortunately, the next installment, ACIV: Black Flag, didn’t add a whole lot that’s really different from AC3, with the notable exception of pirates (yay for flintlock pistols and cutlasses, and Blackbeard of course) and the stereotypes that come with them — no Desmond, and a disembodied, nameless and voiceless Abstergo employee. AC Unity brought players to the French Revolution as Arno Dorian, and introduced the crossbow/hidden blade hybrid phantom blade. Released on the same day as Unity was AC Rogue, a game that took the series on a darker story path. Shay Cormac is an assassin-turned-Templar, but for reasons that aren’t so black and white.

Last but not least is AC Syndicate, the latest installment in the series and the last of the major games in the franchise. Brutal and more visceral than any of the past entries, Syndicate introduced Jacob and Evie Frye, the first playable sibling main characters of AC. Cane swords and metal knuckles added flare and style to beating someone to a pulp in Victorian London. Bare-knuckle brawling wasn’t out of the question, however, since both Jacob and Evie are equally capable of dispatching anyone while armed or unarmed. I loved the combination of all that was good from the past games in Syndicate, such as fluid combat, multiple weapons, stealth, navigation and mission mechanics.

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So there you have it. Sure there was some necessary repetition in many of the installments. Sure there were some technical problems and issues. Heck, there were even some moments of “Why am I still playing this?” after my nth attempt at trying to get perfect synchronization in a memory or overpower Cesare Borgia in a one-on-one.

But despite all of that, I still don’t think AC needed the revamp everyone keeps saying it does. I don’t think Ubisoft needed to take such drastic development timeline choices. Let’s go over some tips for whatever Ubisoft ends up cooking up in Assassin’s Creed Empire: Take the games at face value; Try to have some patience and strategy; Trial-and-error never hurt anyone; Taste the story, so to speak; When frustration strikes, take a breath and try again; Whenever you think one of the titles sucks while playing, look for a silver lining; and most of all, play for fun.

Live by the Creed, die by the Blade.

Please stay with us here at Only Single Player (OnlySP.com) and our Facebook, Twitter and Youtube accounts for all the latest news, previews, reviews, opinions and much more on Assassin’s Creed: Empire and the rest of the world of single-player gaming!

The opinions in this editorial are the author’s (a.k.a. mine only) and do not represent OnlySP as an organization.

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Editorial

Three Single-Player Games to Watch Out for in May 2019

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May

May offers no respite from the big, bold games that have released so far in 2019, bringing with it a host of games almost certain to appeal to gamers of every stripe.

Close to the Sun

Release Date: May 2, 2019
Platforms: PC, consoles later in the year

May’s first major release may also be its most intriguing. Close to the Sun has regularly attracted comparisons to BioShock for its art style and premise, though the relationship between the two titles is, at best, spiritual.

Players take the role of journalist Rose Archer as she steps aboard Nikola Tesla’s ship, the Helios in 1897. Like Andrew Ryan before him (or after him, depending on perspective), Tesla has created a microcosm in which scientific freedom is unrestricted, with disastrous outcomes. Rose’s first impression is of a quarantine sign at the entrance to a still, dead ship, but she presses on regardless in search of her lost sister.

With Close to the Sun, developer Storm in a Teacup aims to provide an intense horror experience. The Helios holds none of BioShock’s shotguns or Plasmids. Instead, players have no means to defend themselves, with gameplay focusing on hiding from and escaping the threats on board.

Check out OnlySP’s final review of the game here.

RAGE 2

Release Date: May 14, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

For anyone to whom the slow, meditative approach does not appeal, Bethesda is busting out the big guns with the long-awaited, little-expected sequel, RAGE 2.

This time around, id Software has tapped Just Cause and Mad Max developer Avalanche Studios for assistance in developing an open-world game. The result, if the trailers are any indication, is a breakneck, neon-fuelled experience that focuses on insanity and ramps up all the unique aspects of the earlier game.

One focal point of development has been ensuring the interconnectedness of the game’s structure, and the teams have promised a greater focus on narrative this time around. Perhaps in keeping with that, RAGE 2 is being distanced from its predecessor, taking place 30 years later with a new protagonist and a whole new story, though some callbacks will be present.

Although id’s legendary first-person gunplay is a driving force throughout the game, it will be supplemented by some light RPG elements, robust vehicular combat, and post launch challenges and support (though the developers deny that RAGE 2 is designed with a games-as-a-service model in mind).

A Plague Tale: Innocence

Release Date: May 14, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Out on the same day as RAGE 2 is the vastly different A Plague Tale: Innocence. A historical adventure, the game challenges players with overcoming obstacles with brains rather than brawn.

Players become Amicia, an orphan girl struggling to survive in a plague-infested medieval France while also keeping her younger brother safe. With the landscape rife with rats and members of The Inquisition, one of the core tenets of gameplay is reportedly the need to use these threats against each other. As such, though Amicia has a sling to use, the gameplay is designed more as survival puzzles than combat ones.

Developer Asobo Studio is not a household name, though it has a lengthy history of adaptations and support on major titles, including Quantum Break and The Crew 2. Furthermore, even though A Plague Tale is yet to release, publisher Focus Home Interactive has displayed remarkable confidence in the project by extending its partnership with Asobo.

Honourable Mentions

Although RAGE 2 is the incontestable action-blockbuster of the month, gamers in search of another kind of frenetic may want to wait until May 21, when Curve Digital drops American Fugitive, which has a more than passing resemblance to the earliest Grand Theft Auto games. Alternatively, PlayStation VR owners may want to look into Blood and Truth come May 28.

Sega also shines this month, dropping Team Sonic Racing on May 21 and Total War: Three Kingdoms two days later.

Anyone looking for an RPG has indie’s answer to The Outer Worlds, Within the Cosmos, to look out for on May 30, while those looking for slower stories get the latest episode of Life is Strange 2 on May 9, Observation on May 21, and the fjord-noir Draugen at a yet unspecified date.

Have we forgotten anything that you’re excited for? Let us know down below or on our Discord server.

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