A few days ago I was enjoying some playtime with the new Prince of Persia when I noticed several similarities between three of Ubisoft’s key games: Prince of Persia, Far Cry 2, and Assassin’s Creed. They all suffer from the same problem: a lack of variety. This is keeping these great games from becoming potentially amazing games. And besides this, I also noticed a pattern, a pattern I wish to discuss.
In Assassin’s Creed, you travel a beautifully rendered open world assassinating people while collecting flags. In Far Cry 2, you have the same gorgeous open world but there’s a little more variety in the missions: now you can assassinate people and help your buddies with various quests. In Far Cry, you also collect diamonds, but they actually serve the purpose in the game, unlike Creed’s flag collecting. In Prince of Persia, you have very few enemies, no variety in the missions, and you travel a huge world to defeat various bosses in any order you choose. You also have to collect light seeds (which again serve a purpose).
I love exploring large worlds and completing missions in any order I choose, I’m not a big fan of running around trying to find items; I think Far Cry 2 did it well in that you aren’t forced to find the diamonds but you are rewarded for going out of your way to get them. In Prince of Persia collecting light, seeds seemed like more of a way to pad the game’s relatively short campaign by making you re-explore the world to collect the seeds. I didn’t even bother trying to collect the flags in Assassin’s Creed because there was no point (unless you’re an achievement junkie).
Sandbox games are great too but the key element that makes them fun is the variety of the missions you have to complete. If all you can do in the world is assassinate people, no matter how beautiful or realistic that world is, the game is going to get dull quick. Each of these games I’ve mentioned has a lot for you to explore, and I praise the developers for creating such amazing places to roam around in, but I also resent them for giving me almost nothing to do in these worlds that I genuinely want to spend time in. I want to hang out in Prince of Persia’s beautiful cel-shaded environments, but since all I can do is run around collecting light seeds and fighting the occasional enemy, I get bored after only playing the game for a short time.
I have either played or beaten each of these games, I enjoy them all and I ’m a fan of Ubisoft, but this is getting really frustrating. Each of these games is great, they do something new and they do it well (especially the parkour mechanics in Assassin’s Creed and Prince of Persia), but they also share the same design: A lack of variety in missions, a big open world to explore, and collectible items. I realize many games have big worlds, similar missions, and collectible items, but it seems like Ubisoft is using the same outline for each of these games. I’m hoping this changes because I love these games, I want to see them do well, and I want to be able to play them for more than an hour before getting bored of the repetition. So Ubisoft, if you’re a long-time fan of theBBPS (and I know you are) and you are reading this, please do something about this problem.