Assassin’s Creed Unity (PS4) review
It’s time to jump back into the animus and continue the never ending battle between the Templars and Assassins. In Assassin’s Creed Unity we head to 18th century Paris and experience the French Revolution.
After enjoying Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag I was somewhat optimistic going into Assassin’s Creed Unity, but that optimism quickly faded as I found I found the beautiful looking world to be incredibly repetitive, buggy and boring. Unity does nothing to enhance Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise as the game likes to play it safe by falling back on what previous Assassin’s Creed games have done.
Before I go into talking about the story and other components I want to talk about the game’s numerous bugs/issues. These issues range from minors issues such as items clipping through walls and weird ragdolls to major issues such as mission breaking bugs where assassinations fail to register and your character gets stuck in a falling loop. There were even issues that included NPCs floating and parts of character’s face disappearing upon death. If you are looking for an immersive experience these bugs destroy it, especially when you see an NPC teleport right in front of you.
The game’s story is ripe with potential from how the Assassin and Templar orders are involved in French politics and the Revolution to how Arno’s foster father, Templar Grand Master Francois De La Serre created a temporary truce between the two factions. Unfortunately, these potentially interesting pieces are given the secondary treatment with the game opting to focus on Arno and Élise De La Serre, a Templar and Arno’s love interest, and their pursuit of those who killed Francois. As you progress through the story you learn that not everything is as it seems as you learn how the Templar order has gone through a swift change and throwing away old ideals for a new more shadowy approach, and how the assassin’s brotherhood is very much at odds with itself.
As I played through Assassin’s Creed Unity I found that the missions hurt the story as each mission seemed to follow a set pattern of gather information, stalk a target, and infiltrate and assassinate important target. While it is good to see more assassinations they feel somewhat hollow as the game never allows the assassinated target to grow, sure we are given reasons to kill him, but it just feels too rushed. There are also issues of predictable character actions with betrayals etc. being easy to spot, and many people in important positions are almost comically incompetent.
Now what of the French Revolution that is taking place all around you? Well you can certainly see it all around you with street protests, interactions with famous figures such as a young Napoleon, who you spot rooting through the King’s study, and key events such as the Siege of the Bastille, but I personally found the experience to be hollow and mostly kept to the side until the game deemed it important to the story. You never get the feeling of wow I am experiencing history in the making, unlike in Assassin’s Creed III where you got a great insight into the American Revolution.
The characters in Unity are pretty forgettable with assassination targets being barely fleshed out despite the fact the game makes them out to be an important part of the Templars plan. The main character Arno is slightly better with his motivations clear to see and expressed well, I personally liked his relationship with Élise as it almost felt a bit like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, two opposing houses and people being killed because of their love and trust of one another. The Assassin’s brotherhood is shown to be almost criminally incompetent as they are too quickly to dismiss and ignore Arno despite the fact he brings important information. Lastly there is the fact that the new Templar Grand Master is under played as we never really get to full understand his reasoning or plan until the very end.
If you have played previous Assassin’s Creed games you will almost instantly understand Unity’s combat as it feels nearly completely unchanged with the game just requiring you to constantly press the parry and attack buttons to win. Despite the fact combat is unchanged assassination missions feel more difficult with the game pushing the use of stealth by trying to force players to stick to the shadows as being spotted can potentially lead to you just fighting large numbers of guards who can simply destroy you with a few gun shots. The game also likes to put an emphasis on buying and upgrading weapons and gear as they provide important bonuses such as increase stealth, increased health, and the ability to carry more items.
Just like combat the controls have barely changed, which means that free running still has its annoying little problem of making you jump into bales of hay when you run close to them etc. If you enjoyed or put up with the controls from previous Assassin’s Creed games you will be fine, but if you are like me and you hate how free running works you might be tempted to toss your controller out the window.
Running through the city of Paris is a hit and miss. It is beautiful and the attention to detail put into showing the rich-poor divide of the city, and landmarks etc. really drew me into the world, but this beautiful city is ruined by the simple fact the game has huge crowds of people blocking your way and random revolutionaries wanting to kill you because you had the audacity to walk past them. These annoyances forced me to take to the sky and run along the roofs of houses to avoid the human traffic jams, but running on roofs felt odd to me as the majority of the roofs were metal, and running on metal can be rather noisy and so it feels a bit immersive breaking to be running along the roofs of Paris without anyone taking the slightest bit of notice. Of course if you don’t like to walk everywhere you can just simply use the fast-travel system.
Like previous Assassin’s Creed games the world is littered with hidden rewards in the form of locked/unlocked chests, doors to lock pick, and useless trinkets to collect. If you enjoy hunting down collectibles you will enjoy your time running around the city. Of course collecting objects isn’t for everyone and that is why the game throws up “Time Anomalies”. These are events that happen about three times throughout the story and they throw you to various periods in Parisian history, the most notable of which being World War 2 occupied Paris where you are given the task of climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower and shooting down planes with machine guns. These anomalies are relatively short, but are a fun change of pace. In fact playing the WW2 section made me wish for an Assassin’s Creed game set in the Second World War.
Apart from jumping through time and grabbing collectibles there is the need to make money, and well Assassin’s Creed Unity offers a simple approach to this with the café théâtre, which are various social clubs that you need to renovate and attract customers to by completing a small number of quests. Making money with this social club is simple as every fifteen minutes you earn money depending on the size of your main club and how many other clubs you own. The amount of money you make starts off relatively low with a couple hundred every fifteen minutes, but by the time I finished messing with the club I was making over 6,000 francs every fifteen minutes.
For those who like online cooperative gameplay the game does offer a co-op mode, which is something I never got exerience experience because during the time I played this game the co-op matchmaking system didn’t seem to work. Although I did notice that there was no obvious way to close the matchmaking timer and that the timer messed up the game’s pop up notifications.
As I said earlier Paris is a lovely looking game with the art and design departments creating a city that reflected the time period incredibly well, but this stunning look has come at the cost of a 30 frame rate, which does have a tendency to drop, although I never noticed any major drops or stutters.
Assassin’s Creed Unity is a beautiful game that is let down by underdeveloped characters, predictable story, easy to use combat, and numerous game breaking bugs.
SCORE: 5/10 (average)
+ Paris looks amazing
+ Numerous side-objectives
– Combat is dull
– Characters are under developed
– Story is basically go kill some a person you are supposed to care about
– Numerous gamer breaking bugs
– Co-op matchmaking seems to be broken
|Ubisoft Montreal||Ubisoft||action||18+||XBOne, PS4 and PC||November 11, 2014|
For more information on Assassin’s Creed Unity, visit http://assassinscreed.ubi.com/en-us/games/assassins-creed-unity.aspx.
Author: Aaron Meehan
Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.