We finally have the first next gen version of Assassin’s Creed entitled, Unity. As everyone knows it takes place during the French Revolution and at a glance it’s gorgeous. As always, Ubisoft keeps fans coming back with another chance to romp around some historical time period, meet interesting people and possibly kill them. How does it hold up under the power of the new systems? Keep reading below.
As with the last game, it’s told as if the player is a volunteer for Abstergo Industries as they continue their quest to conquer history and discover the secrets to the Apple of Eden and control long lost technologies to rule the world. The order of Assassins of course, hacks into the system to recruit the player as their ally in fighting the Templars. In fact, one of the early teases as you start the game up is a menu showing all of the assassins and even a few new ones in a menu that are mostly locked. It really makes me wonder if Ubisoft is playing at something by doing this to players or will be lucky enough to get some playable content down the road in this console generation. Nevertheless, the game starts off as a Templar stronghold is invaded nearly 400 years before the actual game’s setting as we find out some precious items of the Templars is stolen. When the game actually begins, we find out about Arno who is orphaned as a child and his connection with his adopted parents and the girl he thought he knew. This sets us on the way for a revenge story in France and pushes Arno to grow up very fast. The story is slightly similar to Ezio’s story but when we find out why the patriarchs that raised Arno die and what they have to do with the Assassins and Templars, it really sets the mood for what hopefully is an interesting story.
Gameplay and Control
As always, Ubisoft tries to add more to each passing iteration of AC and Unity is no different. With everything they decided to add, it equals up to be a mixed bag of slight improvements, such as now having the ability to slide under and hop over objects as well as having a button movement to climb down buildings. While most of these controls are needed, it at times can get very wonky. At several points in the game when I needed Arno to go thru a window, it would take several tries especially if he had jumped upon something to climb, to get him to go where I needed him to and it was bad during chase sequences. Another movement added as the ability to sneak and to take cover. Something I feel in some points was useless or doesn’t always work as well. In this case, it feels as if Ubisoft really wanted to take elements of Splinter Cell and add to Assassin’s Creed as the end result makes controlling Arno frustrating at some points but the one thing I did like that they borrowed was the ‘last position seen’ marker which was a trademark of the Splinter Cell series.
Another baffling move is how now, instead of building your way to gaining certain abilities, you have to buy them. I mean after 6 iterations of games where certain skills opened up over time, now I have to buy them? That doesn’t exactly make sense and sure I get that in a way, AC:U has some pseudo RPG elements but reducing skills down to micro-transactions doesn’t leave a good feeling inside. On the other hand however, I do like the customization you have with your character and by this being France, your character can be as sharply or shabbily dressed as you want him to be.
All that aside, what would an Assassin’s Creed game be without distractions? As many of you probably already read and heard, there are tons of distractions to be had and some are fun and a few don’t exactly make sense, like for instance, stopping street criminals. You do enough of them and you get rewarded but in the process of doing it, it’s not always fun. What I do like is in the setting up of the social clubs and networks in which to make extra income on the side. One other thing I do like that is gone is having your assassin pickpocket everyone that he comes in contact with. He can still loot bodies of people that he kills (and sometimes the AI will call the cops if they catch you doing it) but it’s good to know that this is one assassin that isn’t a petty thief.
One cannot deny that this game is gorgeous and well detailed. Everything from the lighting, to the dust that flies when you grab onto something, this is a great looking game. It says a lot as well, that Ubisoft made the streets densely packed with people and for once, you get an urban area that feels…urban. If I had one complaint about it however is that sometimes you may see too many of the same types of AI NPCs going along but at least you don’t see 5 randomly placed NPCs fist pumping the exact same way.
Also the décor just oozes with detail. You can go into one of the palaces and stop to look at the artwork or furniture and see the amazing texture and then go outside into the city and see the various cityscapes and the effort that Ubisoft went through to keep it from looking too uniform is they have in last gen consoles. The game does look good but it comes with a price.
While the game does look good, the price is that in playing this on a PS4, there can be long load times to start missions especially ones that you have to do over. I am sure that because there is a lot going on, it’s supposedly really pushing the system to its limits. But takes a lot out of your momentum when you have to wait for a section to load up. Another issue is that sometimes even with the dense crowds, it can slow you down getting to missions and you may find yourself taking to the rooftops to cover distances to get where you need to go. Also at times, I had screens that didn’t properly load and a few game breaking bugs, some of which were fixed with the update. Combat was a bit wonky as well as sometimes it was hard to disengage with one opponent to fend another. Despite all of that, there are still enjoyable moments to be had with this game as there are more than enough missions to keep you occupied and collectibles to get and items to unlock. Ubisoft gave gamers something to look forward to in future games. I would like to see them tackle ancient Egypt, Greece or do something slightly more modern, like as hinted, World War II. One thing I really want to see Ubisoft get right is after so many games, fix the day/night cycle!!! At some point, revolutionaries DO go to bed! This has been going on since Ezio’s series and I feel like if one is playing missions after dark, then make it feel that way; patrols checking for people out after curfew, cutthroats lurking in alleys and people going to or coming from taverns. Despite some of the early bugs, which can be fixed with another update, I am still on board for another iteration this series so with that, au revoir and vive la revolution!!
2.90 out of 5 stars