Friday, February 16, 2018

The Ubigame problem

The complaint that I am about to air is not unique to Assassin's Creed. It appears it most open world Ubisoft games, namely all of the Far Cry's and, if I remember correctly, both Watch Dogs games. There is more stuff to see than there is stuff to earn. And the problem's corollary: fuck level caps.

Assassin's Creed Origins caps Bayek at level 40. He still earns points for skills, albeit slowly, but he is done getting more powerful or gaining hit points. I hit this last night and, while I do not have all of the skills unlocked, I have all of the ones that I am going to use. My Bayek has peaked in power. The game graciously gave me a point of no return warning on a mission so I turned around and looked at the map. About half of it was still empty. The main game was in its final act and half of the world was unexplored.

In my opinion, as a person who plays open world games in a almost completionist manner (not quite 100%, because fuck those elephants, but pretty close) this is poor balance. Do not leave the player with nothing to do to their character when there is still hours and hours (and hours) of stuff to explore in the world. Exploration can be it own reward, I suppose, but it is even nicer when I get a cool sword for the trouble or a few hit points or something tangible for the effort.

This would be fixed most easily by removing the level cap. Allow the player to built Bayek into an over powered, straight up broken killing machine. Reward the player tangibly for taking the time to explore every corner and every cave and every tomb.

It is especially disheartening in Origins because the cap came so early, real estate wise. I do have around 44 hours in on the game but there is a lot of territory left to cover. My need to check all of the boxes will pull me through for a while but my other need to see numbers grow larger is going to be severely neglected.


Did the Egyptians use the work fuck? Cleopatra dropped an f-bomb and it sounded really weird.

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