I’ve played Assassin Creed games since the very first one came out in 2007, and ever since then I’ve been a fan of the games, and always purchased every single one of them. However I felt there was a drop in quality since Revelations, but Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag managed to make me believe there is still quality to come from this franchise. Although AC IV did a lot of things right, I did feel Black Flag departed from the Assassin’s a little too much. Assassin’s Creed Unity is a step back in that old direction which is something I hoped for, but can Unity one up AC IV, and show that there is still life in the Assassin’s Creed games?
In Assassin’s Creed Unity you play as Arno Dorian whos story starts off like almost every Asssassin’s Creed game, family member gets killed, joins the Assassins to get revenge. Although the story at the start is very basic, it gets much more intriguing the further you get through the game mostly due to time rifts that take place throughout the game. These time rifts are broken pieces of code that the person reliving Arno’s memories needs to get out of. The rifts takes the player in to new time periods, and gives you a taste of what an Assassin’s Creed game could look like in these time periods. I don’t want to spoil the time periods you will visit so I will say no more except that they are very interesting.
Assassinations are a major part of the storyline missions in Unity, sounds stupid right? Assassinations mean something in a game called “Assassins Creed” but in last years Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag, the whole assassins storyline took a step to the side while the pirate theme was pushed to the max. Assassination missions opens up a level of choice in the game as it allows you to choose how you will take care of your target. Before you kill the target there are side missions you can do to make the target easier to find/kill like causing a distraction or stealing keys for example. If stealth and careful planning isn’t your kind of thing then you are always welcome to just charge at the target, and kill them but where is the fun in that? I was really impressed with the effort that had been put back in to assassination missions as I felt they were starting to become less meaningful in each new game.
I really enjoyed Black Flag last year, but one of the things that dragged the quality down was the excessive amount of eavesdrop/trail missions in the main story. In Assassins Creed Unity, them missions have not only just been lowered to a much more bearable amount, but there have been some improvements that make them less of an annoyance. One of the improvements is that tail missions will not be desynchronized if you lose the target, instead you will have to find the target again within the green area on the map.
The combat in Assassin’s Creed features some slight improvements, enemies are now rated in levels out five similar to the Borderlands games were enemy difficulty is done through levels of the enemy. If an enemy has a level of one then they have much less skills, less health, and are much easier to kill while each higher level has better health and skills. Combat is simple but effective with brand new animations for finishing off enemies with some slick attacks. There has also been some animations added for when the player is killed instead of just dropping to the ground after a sword strike, the enemies will actually now stab their swords through Arno for a much more realistic killing strike. It’s a small, but cool addition to the game. Then there is always the option of using stealth to get through enemies and areas if you like to avoid the much more difficult one assassin vs six enemies scenarios.
Unity manages to create an in game world that feel alive. While you travel around Paris you will see NPC’s doing all kinds of things, from arguments with other NPC’s, dancing around the streets, and the homeless scattered all around Paris. There are also random events that take place throughout Paris like thief’s that can be chased and tackled, helping people who are being attacked, and chasing after fleeing murderers. Due to Unity only being available for PS4/Xbox One/PC, you will notice a much more populated world than any other Assassin’s Creed to date. All these small features along with a beautifully recreated Paris helps capture a living and breathing in game world.
Outside of main story missions, like all Assassin’s Creed games there are many things you can do. Some of the side missions in Unity include CO-OP heists (before GTA Online!), Paris story missions, murder mysteries, and some many more little side missions. If you are a collectable hunter then there also many collectibles to find around Paris like chests, artifacts, and other collectibles. The feature I enjoyed the most out side of the main missions was the deep customization that can all be found on the main menu instead of visiting shops.
Almost everything can be customized for Arno in Unity. You might think that Arno’s colors look terrible so you can change the color to a range of different colors, as soon as I was allowed to customize Arno’s clothes I changed it to the classic Assassin colors of white, red, and black. Like myself you might also not like the gear Arno wears so you customize different pieces of gear like the hood, chest, forearms, waist, and legs. To sum this up, the customization is good enough that no two assassin’s should really look alike unless you keep the default gear for Arno. You can also purchase and upgrade new weapons and skills for Arno in this customization menu.
Assassin’s Creed Unity comes with some faults though as at times the framerate which is supposed to be locked at 30fps has some big drops throughout the game along with some textures pop ins which mostly happened whilst in large crowds. This is very noticeable, and will hopefully be fixed soon. Other issues I had was how unresponsive climbing up, down, and through buildings can be, it can become really frustrating at times when you are trying to climb through a window but instead Arno jumps above or to the side of the window or when you are trying to climb up a building, and Arno doesn’t respond to me pressing up so I have to do it again. I also had some problems with Arno getting stuck behind walls or getting trapped between characters.
The Final Verdict
Assassin’s Creed Unity manages to do many thing right like having a story that pulled me in, and made me want to keep playing to see how it all unfolds which was something Assassin’s Creed III had a problem with. I was also happy that Unity focused a lot more on assassinations, and made some solid improvements to the assassination missions. While Unity managed to do a lot of things well, it has quite a few problems on the technical side of things like the glitches, framerate, and texture pop ins that can really take you out of the fantastically recreated 1790’s Paris. Technical issues aside this is another solid entry to the series.
+Improvements to assassination missions
+Paris feels alive, and is captured very well
+Like all AC games there is a ton of content to get through
-Framerate/pop in texture issues
-Moving up/down/through buildings can be unresponsive, making it frustrating