5 Assassin’s Creed Features We Want to See in AC Shadows & 5 We Don’t

With an entire franchise leading into Assassin’s Creed Shadows, features have come and gone over the years. All good things learn from their predecessors, so it’s important to highlight some of what should and shouldn’t be included, so here are 5 features we hope to see in AC Shadows and 5 we don’t.

Assassin’s Creed Shadows Features We Want to See

It’s easy to look at any feature in the franchise now and say it’s good or bad in retrospect. Some things made sense for the games and their titles, while others improved their games from the ground up.

1. Stealth-Focused Combat

assassin's creed mirage stealth combat
Image Source: Ubisoft via Twinfinite

I can’t lie, when I play Assassin’s Creed 3, it’s loads of fun to run up to a group of Redcoats and start a fight I know I can win. However, something about that doesn’t feel like Assassin’s Creed at its best. Assassin’s Creed Mirage brought back the combat mechanics from the days of old where stealth is more your ally than the sword at your hip. Hopefully, Yasuke can satisfy the large-scale combat, while letting Naoe remain stealthy.

While losing any fight with more than five enemies gets disheartening, it drives players to play the game using stealth, the way it should be. It makes you think about your environment and use it to your advantage, rather than brute force. When I want to tear through enemies, I’ll hop into AC3 or Black Flag, but I’d rather be sneaky.

2. Those Who Came Before – Isu

ac3 assassin's creed 3 juno isu
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One of the common threads throughout the Assassin’s Creed games is the precursor race often referred to as Those Who Came Before. They’re the basis for why the Templars and Assassins have anything to fight over. Different games have touched on them to varying degrees, but the earlier games dove deeper than the new ones.

Some titles like Assassin’s Creed 3 would have the historical protagonist and Desmond interacting with characters like Juno to give backstory to the Isu. Games like Syndicate and Mirage didn’t take any time to go forward to the present day, so the period characters had all of the interaction with them. While I don’t want Assassin’s Creed Shadows to feature the Isu too heavily, I’ll miss them if they’re gone.

3. Playable Side Games

ac3 assassin's creed 3 side games
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One of the smaller Assassin’s Creed features playing games in a bar or saloon is a nice touch that brings the world together. Certain in-game locations have people playing games either for money or pleasure. The franchise has seen games like Checkers, Men’s Morris and Hazard, so Japan opens the door for Shogi, Go or Sugoroku.

These games add to the world-building, as much as having a codex with paragraphs of information. The codex is great, but having interactive games incentivises players to dive deeper into the history. You’re immersing yourself deeper into the world, which connects you more with the characters. Plus it’s a great way to make a little money.

4. Eagle-Based Scouting

assassin's creed mirage enkidu scounting
Image Source: Ubisoft via Twinfinite

The Assassin’s Creed franchise has introduced plenty of mechanics that make the overall game easier or more connected. One such feature is the eagles used for scouting the environment. AC Origins employed Senu and Origins employed Enkidu as their scouts, and it feels right at home in the franchise. Sure, it’s not using the Assassin’s skills per se, but I can suspend my disbelief if it means flying around the map.

The marksmen that shoot at your bird are a brilliant counter to the ability, not making it feel too overpowered. If you try to use your bird and they get shot at, you’ll have to manage on foot until you eliminate those enemies. Then, you’ll be able to use the feature to its fullest, which adds an extra layer to the gameplay. If you want to use your eagle’s vision, you’ll have to use your Eagle Vision.

5. Efficient Sprint Feature

ac3 assassin's creed 3 sprint mechanic
Image Source: Ubisoft via Twinfinite

As a self-proclaimed completionist, I do my best not to fast-travel very much. I love running around the map to find the collectibles and side missions scattered throughout. That said, my patience thins quickly when a game doesn’t have a sprint button like Assassin’s Creed Origins. Games with oversized maps like some of the AC franchise can’t get away with not letting me run fast enough to explore the map efficiently.

I say “efficient” sprint mechanic as a direct callout to AC Mirage. It’s a great time to explore Baghdad, but the sprint feature didn’t make me feel like I was running much faster. Most of the other Assassins (who weren’t hulking warriors) had the advantage of being fast and deadly. Basim felt a bit slow after playing the whole game, but he’s a very different character.

Assassin’s Creed Shadows Features We Don’t Want

There’s no inherent issue with Ubisoft giving Assassin’s Creed Shadows features that can keep things fresh. However, sometimes features are added to the franchise that it could do without, or that are only appropriate for the title they’re originally featured in.

1. Grappling Hook

assassin's creed features syndicate grapple hook
Image Source: Ubisoft via Twinfinite

One of the most game-changing mechanics introduced to Assassin’s Creed would have to be the grappling hook from AC Syndicate. Don’t get me wrong, there was something satisfying about being able to grapple up the face of most buildings. However, it does go against what makes Assassin’s Creed feel the way it does. Fearlessly scaling buildings by hand makes the Assassins feel capable and threatening. Having a grappling hook do all the work feels like taking a shortcut.

The grappling hook being a feature in AC Syndicate does fit that time nicely, but it’d feel out of place as a feature in Assassin’s Creed Shadows. The Industrial Revolution was a boom in technological advancement, so it only makes sense that the Assassins might get some new kit. However, having a grappling hook in feudal Japan might pull players out of the story, so it’d be best to omit one this time.

2. Glider/Flying Machine

ac2 flying machine ezio glider
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Speaking of faster methods of transportation, Ezio‘s glider in Assassin’s Creed 2 is another thing that should be left out of AC Shadows. Depending on the size of the map, my opinion on this might shift because sometimes you need to cover large distances quickly. Traversal shouldn’t feel like a cop out, and luckily the glider wasn’t a main feature, so it didn’t become distracting.

Rise of the Ronin was a recent game set in Japan with the protagonist using a glider, so it’s safe to say that AC Shadows won’t want to mimic it. Depending on the map size, it might be worthwhile to have some method for speedy travel, but I’m a fan of the classic horse. As long as you can make the horse sprint, I’ll be happy.

3. Naval Combat

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Image Source: Ubisoft

Naval combat was introduced to the Assassin’s Creed franchise in Black Flag. It consists of captaining a ship and its crew to board and destroy enemy ships while traveling on the seas. While the mechanic is interesting and done uniquely, it can tend to slow some of the gameplay. There’s a learning curve, with patience being key to success.

There is plenty to appreciate about the naval combat in the AC games that have it. Listening to your crew singing sea shanties was a great touch in Black Flag, and boarding a ship is always satisfying. It just feels like using large-scale transportation like ships isn’t as discreet as the Assassins aim to be. Assassin’s Creed Shadows could feature some boats, but I can’t see Naoe captaining a vessel to the cheers of her crew.

4. Modern-Day Cutaways

ac3 Assassin's creed 3 desmond miles
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This one is a struggle even for me to choose, but I’ve got to go with my gut. I understand the parts of the game that cut back to Desmond or an Abstergo employee are the way to tie everything together. When I first started playing AC games, I became more compelled by the historical settings than the meta-story. Even though I like the precursor details, after Desmond’s story I haven’t been impressed by anything in the modern day.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t enjoy a new modern storyline if it were done well. I only feel that Ubisoft should focus its resources more on the part of the game that people are buying it for. Blag Flag’s Abstergo cutaways were my least favorite part of the game, but not playing them at all felt like skipping out on the full experience. As much as I loved Nolan North’s performance, I found myself racing to get back in the animus whenever I could.

5. Freerun Up/Down

ac syndicate assassin's creed freerun up down
Image Source: Ubisoft via Twinfinite

Assassin’s Creed Unity revamped the freerunning mechanics for the franchise to allow for more precise traversal. This continued into Syndicate, although later games abandoned it to pursue a different style. The introduction was much needed in the franchise to smooth out some of the traversal mechanics, and it succeeded.

That said, at this point in the franchise, the mechanic is dated. While it did solve some of the former issues regarding traversing the map, it’s since been modernized in a way that makes sense for the franchise. The newer games have implemented a smoother, implicitly directional system allowing for a more natural experience. Freerunning up or down is a feature Assassin’s Creed Shadows won’t be needing.

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