“Assassin’s Creed: Unity” review

ACU_Screenshot

There’s been a lot of talk lately about “Assassin’s Creed: Unity.” The newest installment in the “Assassin’s Creed” franchise dealing with the French revolution has not been up to snuff for some people.

Talk of glitches, crashes, dropped framerate, poor connections for co-op and the like are all over the internet. Personally, through my own playthrough, I’ve only experienced framerate issues.

Despite this, I do have some issues with the game that I will definitely be discussing, and also some attributes of the game that I will be applauding.

The story itself doesn’t really stand out amongst the grand tapestry that has been woven over the last several years with regards to the “AC” franchise. And for that, I am deeply saddened. I’ve always loved these games a lot and one of them not living up to my expectations in regards to my favorite part is very disappointing.

However, I think this game is going for something different with regards to the game series. Much like the original game, this is the first foray into a new frontier and Ubisoft went all out on the new crowd system and the improved parkour.

As for those aspects of the game, holy cow. They really outdid themselves with regards to how full and robust the city really feels. I’ve never seen one so full and so alive and it’s gorgeous. The parkour itself is improved, with descending actually much improved and feeling like it flows just as the ascending does. Unfortunately, climbing somehow has gotten harder and there are times where the player will definitely be halted by the game for some reason or another and it will not be clear.

Customization of Arno is quite fun. Giving him stats through his gear really allows you to make this game have the type of playthrough you really want to have, forcing you to use more stealth or rely on armor if you’re an all-out fighter. Which is important to note because combat has been dramatically increased in difficulty. Whether it’s because the combat is now so much slower than it used to be, or purely because the enemies do that much more damage, there is a sense of danger now in each fight that can be both frustrating and exhilarating should you decide to look at it that way.

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Air assassinations are as satisfying as ever to perform on enemies.

Experience and abilities are earned as the player progresses, unlocking skills such as Double Assassination or Disguise. This seems to be more of a vehicle to shape Arno for co-op play, rather than being a trait for the main game. Especially since some of those skills have been things that were givens in the main campaign like Double Assassination.

Speaking of co-op, should you get it to work it’s actually quite fun. It may not be as exciting as the multiplayer matches from previous games, but having a team of assassins work together is pretty cool to watch and you all feel like badasses when helping each other. Communication is key however, so if you’re doing these missions without being able to speak to the other players, you’ll definitely suffer and more than likely fail a lot.

Microtransactions. No one likes them, least of all console players. Why they’re in this game, I don’t know. They only seem to serve the purpose of leveling up weapons and gear more quickly than achieving real experience would. Anything garnered with the purchasable Helix Points can otherwise be earned through pure determination. People are, of course, upset that Ubisoft seems to be trying to squeeze money out of them, and rightly so. But honestly, they don’t seem to be forcing it on the player, and neither have I found myself ever feeling the urge to purchase any as experience points are easy to come by in this game.

So what’s the verdict? Yes, this is indeed one of the weakest games of the franchise as far as mechanics and story. But it’s also one of the strongest in terms of scale and ambition. As a follow up to “Black Flag,” which was so large in terms of free-roaming the ocean, this is staggering when looking at how large this map is compared to Rome in “Brotherhood.”

One can’t ignore the technical issues people are reporting with this game. No question. But there seem to be just as many people not experiencing issues that one has to wonder if they are as rampant as people say. “AC: Unity” is a solid 6 or 7 when looked at in a scoring sense against the rest of a very strong series. But is it the worst game in the franchise? I don’t think so. I think the original, and to some extent “AC3” are worse in a lot of ways. But that’s just my opinion. The game is indeed a letdown for myself and a lot of other players, and this is one you should wait for a price drop on before going out and snagging it. No question.