Assassin’s Creed: Unity marks the 8th instalment of the Assassins Creed Franchise and is the first of its kind to be limited to the new-generation consoles.
This time the game is set in 18th century Paris during the French Revolution, a pretty bloody period in history with politically motivated murders, secret plots and angry revolutionaries. But behind all of this the war between the Assassins and the Templars still rages on, with the Templars now conspiring against the whole of France. You play as the young French assassin Arno and it’s now you’re job to rid Paris of the Templars while the city slowly plunges into anarchy and chaos amidst the revolution. So now that you have the basic gist of what the backdrop for the game is, it’s onto the review!
The Story is a big factor in games. If told well, it can keep the players engrossed and create a memorable gaming experience for them. Likewise characters actions should have some impact on the story. For example in Assassin’s Creed 3, Connor’s action helped in America’s founding and he is also present (and helping out) at every major historical event like the Boston Tea party. Sure the plot was a bit complicated but Connors role in the American revolution is an important one and you get to relive history while playing character and feel a sense of importance and motivation. This time you play as a strapping and mischevious French assassin named Arno Dorian, a character both hopelessly in love and out for revenge. And as charming as he is, his part in the French Revolution is sadly extremely minimal. Which seems like a wasted opportunity given how brutal yet intriguing the French Revolution and its Reign of terror was. There was so much potential here. In fact you hardly get to see the revolution unfold, unless you are on some very specific mission.
As for Arno’s personal tale of revenge, it doesn’t seem to link up well with the conflict between the Assassin’s and Templars. You get a target, you kill the target, exactly how this target is linked to the murders of your father isn’t well explained. After a while it feels like you are killing Templars just because...well..they’re Templars. Even though the plot ties together in the end (no spoilers) Arno hardly seems to have a role in shaping any of it. Things happen and Arno goes with the flow. So much for revenge.
The main storyline is told through characters narratives with the French Revolution acting as just a backdrop to all of this. So from this point of view, the characters are decent, the story, however, is not. Also why on earth does every character seem to speak in an English accent? This is set in France right?. Its immersion breaking to say the least, especially when you’re engrossed in playing and you come across a character speaking in a posh English accent.
This is where Assassin’s Creed Unity scores well. If the story is lacking, at least the gameplay makes up for it. The game stays true to its stealth genre. Every mission needs proper planning and patience so barging in expecting things to go your way isn’t ideal. The assassination missions (or at least the way in which they are executed) are interesting. You get a target and the area and then you’re sent on your way to finish the target off. But the variety of options and unique ways to kill your target are vast, fun and enjoyable. So there isn’t one sure fire way of completing your mission. You have multiple choices. This gives the player a lot of freedom to choose which method they see fit. The game has also included various skills and armour that can be upgraded. Unique outfits can also be obtained by finishing optional missions like puzzles or completing random events.
The game has also added a new co-op feature this time allowing up to four players to team up and take on missions together. The missions are well planned and require careful execution from the whole team. The missions also have their own stories and narratives and are scattered across the map, so it’s not just mindless assassination quests all over again. This feature is well crafted and makes for seriously fun gameplay with a small group of buddies..
The controls don’t have a clunky feel to them anymore and are more fluid and natural. So whether its manoeuvring through the large NPC crowds or gliding across the roofs, Arno does it just as easily. The gameplay still suffers from clumsy enemy AI, but the missions more than make up for it. Also free running has received a much needed over haul in the form of parkour up and down buttons, giving it a more polished feel. It also means you don’t fall to your death as often. Also gore... The game is violent and bloody as it should be considering this is the French Revolution, a time when watching someone die by the guillotine was your typical weekend entertainment. Vive la bloodshed!
Assassin’s Creed Unity is only available for new-gen consoles, being the first of its kind in the franchise. So the game has expectations in terms of graphics and it meets them flawlessly. It delivers a highly detailed and extremely large map of Paris which requires hours of exploring. The level of detail in this game is immense. From the filthy streets and bazaars of Paris to the intricately decorated houses of the French bourgeoisie, every little detail will leave you captivated.
Free running and character movement also feels more polished allowing you to leap from different buildings effortlessly while taking in all the stunning scenery Unity has to offer. There are also a staggeringly large number of non playable characters roaming the streets, going about their own business which makes the game more immersive as you don’t see the same NPC model very often. The NPC’s also react to your antics but occasionally suffer from bad AI, walking into walls or floating in the air.
Game freezes, lags during busy scenes, increased load time, NPC’s floating mid air, game crashes, the bug list goes on. Some are game breaking while others are just plain annoying. There’s the occasional clunky AI with enemies forgetting that you were ever there or spotting you even from behind a cover. Its like they waver between having a memory span of a guppy to hawk like vision, leaving players either confused or irritated. Hopefully Ubisoft will have these fixed soon.
Assassins Creed: Unity aims high but falls short in certain aspects but the gameplay and graphics makes up for what the game lacks in story and characters.
- The game has stayed true to its roots with assassin missions making for exciting and unique gameplay.
- The graphics are amazing and the city of Paris seems lively and enormous creating a beautifully detailed environment for players to engage in.
- The co-op feature is also another wonderful addition worth mentioning.
- The quests are not very motivating as they don’t tie well with the backdrop of the French Revolution or Arno’s personal story.
- The bugs need to be squashed..and fast.
Overall ratings: 7/10
We also have the review of Assassin’s Creed: Rogue over here.