Assassin's Creed Unity ReviewJoslyn Walter
Another Assassin's Creed game? So what's new?
The first thing I fell in love with while playing this game is the newly reinvented parkour. The large announcement trailer pre-release of the actual game announcing the ability to parkour down, not just up, made for much less stressful climbing and was incredibly smooth; especially after its glitch packed climbing predecessor; Black Flags.
However, some changes were made that were slightly less savory; the first notable thing was combat. The combat is significantly harder, my first encounter of three enemies to loot a chest ended poorly within the first few hours. NPC's are avid ranged weapon users because of the setting of the French Revolution made for very frustrating gameplay. If snipers weren't shooting you from the roofs, enemies on the ground were shooting you with pistols, and every NPC enemy in the game had a pistol. Running away from combat was ridiculously difficult at times because of the ranged weapon uses of the game.
Right from the start, pulling up the customization screen, I was pleased to see the return of armor and weaponry choices; especially the armor stats relating to a players specific style of play style. However, with quick and slightly horrified realization, assassin skills were on a purchase system as well; that meant double kills, stealth kills, climbing, combat, and whatever else you could think of had to be unlocked by an in game point system based upon the main storyline. This was especially painful for a player such as me whom usually completes the map, collecting all loot, animus fragments, and side missions, first before continuing down the main story missions.
The actual plot of Unity is almost not worth mentioning. In fact, there hardly was one. Imagine Assassin's Creed Romeo and Juliet, and just about nothing like the advertised French Revolution. In the trailers, there was a rather large deal about Arno helping the French people take back France during the Revolution. However, extremely vague and not really related revolutionary side missions aside, the main plot had nothing to do with the French Revolution. Arno was too busy attempting to settle a personal vendetta to care much about the people of France. It is even safe to assume he didn't care who got caught up in the war as long as he got revenge or "justice" depending on how a player viewed it. Also noting that Arno's life is owed to the Templars even though he pledges himself to the Assassin's which makes the relationship with his female Templar companion/lover very awkward. In addition to the Romeo and Juliet theme, some story missions were rather ridiculous and completely unnecessary. A hot air balloon chase sequence of two lovers in danger from an unrelated side party. Really? Ubisoft really dropped the ball for the story, both in and out of animus plotlines, and the future of the Assassin's Creed story remains bleak.
The great country of Revolutionary France was beautiful and by all means large with breathtaking realistic architecture including slums, war torn areas, and confounding sewer tunnels. Despairingly, the world in my personal play through seemed to have a lot of holes and I fell through the map more times than I care to mention. Not to even mention the loading screens were much too long and painful to sit through. Personally I had time to clean my room while waiting for the screen to load, and that being said, I wish I was exaggerating.
The multiplayer experience was both wonderful and extremely aggravating. The Ubisoft servers were all over the place in the first initial week after the game release. Fortunately, players do not need to be in the multiplayer missions to play together and can run around the open world doing whatever they please. However, the missions were horrendously glitchy and most times even restarting the mission could make the glitches worse.
For the gameplay in general, it made for a strange experience. In each Assassin's Creed game starting from Ezio's first appearance continuing all the way to Black Flags, it goes without saying that players expected brutal, cooler, flashier finishing moves and executions. Black Flags accomplished this nearly flawlessly with Edwards reputation as a pirate. When someone thinks "French" brutal isn't likely the word that follows, even with the word "assassin" after it. Arno's fight style seemed like rouge unpolished fencer tied into contemporary subtle stunt finishers, but flashy is not how I would describe Arno, especially compared to his predecessors.
As expected out of any Assassin's Creed game, the soundtrack was wonderfully composed. However, the game even with a good first impression, did not end well as a complete and polished game.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.