Vive la Revolucion?
Assassins Creed: Unity, the latest entry in Ubisoft’s Assassins Creed franchise was released on November 11th alongside with Assassins Creed: Rogue. Ubisoft hyped up Unity way more than they did for Rogue, which is surprising with all of the flaws Unity had at release. Before getting into all of the nitty gritty (for those of you who are unfamiliar with the series) Assassins Creed is about a company called Abstergo using a machine called an Animus to access ancestral history, which they have discovered lies in everyone’s DNA to locate specific items and locations relating to advanced ancient civilization. However, Abstergo wants to use these items to unify the world through the means of fear and manipulation and sculpt the world as they see fitting. This is where we come in, we join the Brotherhood of Assassins to prevent Abstergo, which is mainly a front for the Templar order to thwart their plans and allow the world their freedom of choice.
In this installment you play as Arno Dorian in Revolutionary France. You start with Arno while he is still a boy and witness your father getting killed. This leads to a man named Monsieur de la Serre to adopt you; what you don’t know at this point is that Arno’s father was part of the brotherhood and De La Serre is part of the order. The game then fast-forwards you and long story short you also witness Monsieur de la Serre getting murdered, which you then get thrown in the Bastille for. There, Arno meets an assassin who reveals to Dorian that his father was an assassin as well and is the reason why he was murdered. This assassin then invites Arno to join the brotherhood, and driven by feeling responsible for his father and de la Serre’s death he joins the brotherhood to enact his revenge.
Visuals-I have to hand it to Ubisoft, Assassins Creed: Unity is by far it’s most gorgeous game to date. The backdrop of Paris is absolutely stunning. They definitely make good use of what the Next-Gen consoles are capable. Cinematics look absolutely phenomenal; there are moments where it feels as if you are watching live actors instead of animated characters. Moreover, even the in game moments are gorgeous! Running around Paris and gazing at La Cathedral de Notre Dame is breath taking. I have yet to go to Paris, but through this game I feel like I have been there and have been able to truly appreciate its architecture. Perhaps one of my favorite moments in the game has been scaling the Eiffel Tower and gazing at the rest of Paris.
Missions- I feel like AC Unity finally got it mostly right with the missions. With missions you were able to make your own decisions on how you wanted to go through it; you didn’t have to go to point A to perform act 1 and then proceed to point B. With this game you had options; you could infiltrate the location a numerous of ways, or go guns blazing and take over by force. For example, in one of the early missions you have to infiltrate Le Notre Dame and assassinate a Templar, you are able to steal keys to grant you entry, you can assassinate another leader that is assisting in the patrol of the Notre Dame or you can just run in and pray you’re the last one standing. I really enjoyed this particular feature; I felt as if they were acknowledging that gamers are smart and capable of making their own decisions to complete the missions.
In Unity they also introduced a co-op mission mode that fits right into your own game. You are able to play with up to three other players to try to complete certain missions. It was amazing playing with friends and random people around the world to complete missions and reap in the rewards.
Customization- Like AC giving you the option of how you want to complete your missions, you also are able to customize your Assassin. Arno’s facial features are set, but the game allows you to easily change his color schemes, type of robes you use and upgrade that equipment. You are also able to switch how Arno fights throughout the game; you can choose to use a one-handed melee weapon, a heavy and a long ranged weapon as well, which each has their own fortes and drawbacks.
Story- The story of AC Unity isn’t completely revolutionary; you are a character who witness their father get murdered and then seek revenge against the perpetrators (like Ezio Auditore). The premise is similar to AC II, but they try to spice it up with a love story; you have Arno, the young assassin who is in love with Elise, daughter of De La Serre and… a Templar! However, Arno still feels like a two note character; I didn’t feel like he was a standout character like Ezio or Edward Kenway.
Soundtrack-Overall it’s an ok soundtrack; it revs up when a fight breaks out, or when you are about to perform a leap of faith. However, nothing is memorable; while it is great during those brief moments, I probably would not be able to hum out any of its tunes.
Controls: In AC Unity they try to incorporate a more fluid parkour system which should make scaling monuments and building a breeze, but I kept getting frustrated when Arno would get stuck and not be able to climb to the next ledge, which should be totally feasible. I then climb down and try again then magically he is able to climb up. This itself isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the game, but it sure gets annoying especially when you are trying to get to an area quickly. Another major annoyance in the game was its drop in frame rate. I’m not the biggest stickler when it comes to frame rates, but this happened so frequently that it made it painfully obvious something was broken. What really hurts this game is that sometimes Arno falls through the floors or gets randomly stuck; there are no quick fixes with these and you are forced to restart the entire game. This infuriated like no other; every time this occurred it pulled me out of the experience and would cause me to put the controller down.
Now mind you this review was written a little more than a week after its release and has played over 15 hours of the game and these problems were present every time I picked up the controller. It’s disheartening and aggravating knowing a company is releasing an unfinished product out into the market. I know when I buy a game I want a finished product.
AC Unity had the potential to be a great game; I loved the amount of customization you were allowed; ranging from what Arno wore to how the mission would go like. The story was mediocre, but I did enjoy the missions…that is when it would work without a hiccup. Ubisoft has released announcements that they are planning to release patches to fix those issues, but the major issues should have been resolved prior to release date; otherwise delay the game. I’d rather wait an extra month or two to play an amazing game rather than getting it and realizing it was an unfinished product.
Assassins Creed: Unity is available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and for the PC. This review was written playing the PS4 version.