So since I've been writing a lot of comments on Sima's main blog, I thought it would be easier just to make my own blog. Basically, what I'm going to do is talk about my expectations & general opinion on what we know. So let's get to it...
So by this point, I'm sure you all know how I feel about the whole dual protagonists concept, but I haven't really discussed how I feel the game will actually turn out. And well, the answer to that question is that I feel the game will be really good.
Conceptually, I think Ubi have come up with something solid & functional. The whole idea of making your own gang to combat the Templars is something we've never seen before, & the game appears to be going for a slightly darker atmosphere than seen in previous games. Of course the overall quality of this will more than likely be determined by how good the story is, but as a foundation, I don't think we need to worry.
In regards to gameplay, I feel that Ubi are playing it a bit safe. However, I am cautiously optimistic that there is more to it than what we've been shown. And I acknowledge the fact that what we have seen is pre-alpha gameplay. Even so, I am concerned that they aren't going to try & push their ideas further, which is reflected in the fact that the animations remain completely the same as Unity for both stealth kills & movement. That's not to say that they won't change it for a later build, but I'm not getting my hopes up. Everything we have seen reminds me of Black Flag's progression from AC3, but I feel that without something like the naval combat to make it unique, we'll be left with a more refined but overly familiar experience to what we had with Unity.
Now, although I don't want to talk about my frustration with Jacob & Evie much, I feel it is necessary that I acknowledge the dual protagonist concept at least a little bit. So I'm going to say this much, I am happy that Ubi have introduced a female for once & I like the idea of having two protagonists. However, adding to my complaints on Sima's blog, I am not sure whether they are going to use this correctly. Not just because Evie may be getting less play time, but because I'm not confident that there will be a large change in gameplay style between them. I wouldn't be surprised if switching between the two simply changed the aesthetics of the gameplay rather than adding anything more to it. But I will go into more detail about this with my expectations.
Expectations & Hopes
Ok, so now I've got my opinion out of the way, I'm going to start discussing how I expect & hope they will proceed from now (most notably for E3).
Firstly, I hope that Ubi will try to take the story on a more interesting & impactful route than what we've seen in the past few games. As we all know, Unity's story effectively ended with "well that was pointless", with not much significant progression actually happening. Yes, that is beneficial to the yearly release cycle, but not so much to maintaining fan interest; & I hope Ubi realise this. Instead, for Syndicate, I would like to see some actual modern day gameplay & some reference to TOWCB. That's the kind of stuff that grabs my attention & makes me want to see the game through to the end; not watching Arno do nothing for years of his life.
With the gameplay, as I mentioned earlier, I hope that we haven't seen all they have to offer. That just isn't enough. If I'm going to shell out a large sum of money every year, I want to feel like I'm paying for a new game, not just a mod. Like I said before, Ubi can't just fix what was broken with Unity because, unlike Black Flag, they don't have a major feature to fall back on. Instead, they need to repair & add more to fix things (such as the stealth system). Unity was lacking in so many areas, so if they need somewhere to start, adding more content would definitely help. I want more options when sneaking & moving about, not just two different buttons. The rope dart will definitely help movement (although I'm not a huge fan of grappling), & hopefully vehicles will change it up too. But with stealth, I'm not seeing how they've actually improved it, only reduced the emphasis on it by reinventing the combat.
Speaking of the combat, animations in Syndicate need to be changed. What we saw in pre-alpha seemed either identical to Unity or rough around the edges (as with the combat). That's not to say combat looks bad, because it actually looks like it could be an improvement; that is assuming there's more to it than button mashing. But still, I want to feel like I'm playing a new iteration in the AC franchise, not just Unity 2.0.
Now, my most passionate topic, the topic of Evie. We know Ubi intend to show her off later on, most likely at E3, so I'm really hoping for big things. I'm certain that they've pushed Evie to the side, so I'm simply going to say that it better be amazing.
The final thing that I will mention, that I hope for the most, is that they get rid of all the surplus bullshit from Unity & finally fix the techinal problems. There should be no more pointless side-missions, ridiculous amounts of collectables & no more microtransactions. I don't think anybody likes them. Instead, they should focus on having fewer story-centric side-missions & instead of collectables to unlock things such as costumes, there should be something more reminiscent of tomb missions from AC2. And as a conclusive comment to my expectations & hopes, for the love of God fix the damn techinal problems. We cannot have a repeat of Unity! I will, however, note that the pre-alpha footage does look genuine & appears to be running smoother than Unity; most likely helped by the lack of coop & multiplayer, so here's hoping...
Thank you if you have read my entire blog. I hope this has made you think about Syndicate & I look forward to reading your replies.