I crouch unseen behind the bureau, the guard blocking the only exit from the room. Silently, I reach for a goblet, throwing it to the opposite side of the chamber. As the guard steps toward the disturbance, I emerge, sneaking behind him. With a flick of my wrist, my hidden blade emerges. He’ll never take another step again. Also, his halberd starts fritzing on the floor before fading out of existence, a reminder that this is all virtual reality—or rather, VR within VR, the metatextual framing of Ubisoft’s latest Assassin’s Creed game.
Ubisoft has had its fingers in VR for years now, from early efforts experimenting with the format—think Eagle Flight, an aerial racing game with a literal bird’s-eye view that evolved from a tech demo—to more fully featured games, such as the social deduction title Werewolves Within or co-op space adventure Star Trek: Bridge Crew, both from its Red Storm studio.
Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR is different. It’s bigger, more ambitious, leveraging the success of the publisher’s biggest IP. And while Red Storm once more leads development, Ubisoft committed no fewer than eight studios to its creation. This is a push, one intended to make the case that VR gaming has finally, truly arrived, that it’s at last a format worth bringing AAA properties to in meaningful ways, rather than for gimmicky spinoffs.
It’s a prosecution Ubisoft makes alarmingly well. Playing Assassin’s Creed Nexus on the Meta Quest 3 has that rare distinction of shattering expectations and feeling better than it should. If you’re a longtime VR player, it brilliantly combines the best elements of immersive gameplay into a cohesive whole, allowing you to move, climb, hide, and fight your way around stunningly realized locations. For Assassin’s Creed fans drawn to VR for the first time, it does an exceptional job of placing you in the role of an assassin, with all the stealth and parkour mechanics you expect from the core games translated almost flawlessly to a first-person experience.
That it’s a canon excursion through Assassin’s Creed’s increasingly vast lore doesn’t hurt, either. The story’s present-day framing places you in the role of a hacker, one infiltrating shady megacorp Abstergo’s latest attempt at manipulating the past to control the future. Better still? Gameplay that puts you into the genetic memories of three returning heroes—Assassin’s Creed II’s Ezio, AC III’s Connor, and Odyssey’s Kassandra.
For longtime fans of the series, it’s an absolute delight to revisit these stab-happy leads years after their debuts, and Nexus leans into their different play styles, further justifying the multi-character approach. Ezio boasts two of the series’ signature hidden blades, emphasizing his more shadowy nature, while Kassandra feels like more of a fighter, befitting her mercenary nature in Odyssey. Even Connor, considered one of the less popular of AC’s protagonists, gets a generous showcase, with his use of a tomahawk and a bow and arrow bringing a materially different feel to both combat and stealth.