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Assassin's Creed Odyssey vs Syndicate: 5 major differences that show the evolution of the franchise

Assassin
Assassin's Creed is one of the most popular franchises in gaming history (Image Credits: Reddit)
Rahul Bhushan
ANALYST
Modified 09 Oct 2020, 14:29 IST
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Assassin's Creed has come a long way as a franchise and has enjoyed varying degrees of success.

Ubisoft began work on a spin-off for the Prince of Persia franchise that would tell the story of the Prince's guard, the Assassins. The idea would then evolve to become Assassin's Creed as we know now, one of the biggest game franchises in the world. Right out of the gate, Assassin's Creed proved to be a solid franchise, with the first game earning massive acclaim.

However, it would be the sequel, Assassin's Creed II that would solidify the franchise's place in history. Not only was the game a solid sequel but shot it the franchise to massive heights.

The series has gone through a massive transition after 2017's Assassin's Creed: Syndicate as fan opinion turned against the franchise in a big way. The annual release structure was dropped for the studio to re-think their approach.

Here, we take a look at how the franchise has evolved since Syndicate.

5 ways the Assassin's Creed franchise has evolved since Syndicate

1) Genre

Assassin's Creed Syndicate and the games that came before it were largely action-adventure/stealth games that had some elements of RPG. The games were all open-world, with the player having absolutely massive maps to explore at their own pace.

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Syndicate was a fairly standard approach, although it introduced several well-received changes, following in Unity's footsteps and introducing Assassination missions that actually encouraged experimentation and had different approaches.

However, post-Syndicate, Assassin's Creed Origins breathed new life into the franchise with a fully-realised and robust RPG experience. The genre of the franchise had shifted in a massive way, and the game experience was altered significantly.

Odyssey built on the foundations of Origins to deliver an even more expansive and in-depth RPG experience that rivals some of the best western RPGs of today.

2) Reliance on story

The story and narrative have been a huge part of the Assassin's Creed experience, and the lore is simply one of the fascinating aspects of the franchise. The series has always teetered on the boundaries of becoming too convoluted but has managed to strike a great balance.

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Players began to feel that Ubisoft were not as focused on re-hashing the same Assassin-Templar conflict and began experimenting with other interesting lore. Syndicate had a fairly interesting narrative but the story took sort of a backseat to the core gameplay loop.

Odyssey, for all its RPG bells-and-whistles, tells a fairly coherent story that is massively engaging. Assassin's Creed has slowly been shifting away from the Assassin conflict in the hopes of making the games less convoluted.

3) Core gameplay

If one were to put Assassin's Creed II right next to Odyssey, they wouldn't even look like the same series. Syndicate had also been an evolution of the core gameplay loop but still bore resemblance to the original gameplay.

However, Origins and Odyssey have moved way past the gameplay introduced in the original trilogy. Assassin's Creed now resembles The Witcher 3 more than anything the franchise has produced yet.

Parkour, stealth and ranged combat are still present, albeit, in a much different way. While the series was previously obsessed with creating cinematic action and gameplay, it has now taken cues from games like Dark Souls and The Witcher to create its core gameplay loop.

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Progression and loot are tied strictly to gameplay, and the games, as a result, provide a far more comprehensive challenge than the series originally offered.

4) Variable outcomes

The Assassin's Creed franchise, for the most part, have been fairly linear, despite the open world and the illusion of choice. Odyssey takes a much different approach by letting players make difficult choices that change the outcome of the story.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey has multiple endings, with each choice leading to different results in the game. Games like Mass Effect and The Witcher do this extremely well, and so has Assassin's Creed.

This provides a far more "gamey" game than perhaps fans of the series were used to.

5) Tone

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Tonally, the Assassin's Creed franchise had a sense of humour but the stories were quite grim, with moments of levity thrown in to balance it out. Assassin's Creed Origins was also a decidedly self-serious affair but Odyssey decides to go the Black Flag route to keep the game light-hearted.

That is not to say that the game lacks gravity and does not have a captivating narrative. Odyssey tells a deeply emotional story but the character of Alexios/Kassandra is as light-hearted or self-serious as the player wants them to be.

This creates an instantly more accessible experience than perhaps earlier games in the Assassin's Creed franchise.

Published 09 Oct 2020, 14:29 IST
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