The Assassin’s Creed franchise has remained relevant in the video gaming industry. An adventure that spans melding elements of action, weaving history on a rigid and compelling science fiction framework, never-ending silent battle between the Assassins and the Knights Templar. Assassin’s Creed Unity is an important move for Ubisoft. Marking the change in not only visual appeal but in gameplay as well. But is that sufficient to top the vast open seas of Assassins Creed: Black Flag or the charm of Assassins Creed III?
At its core, Assassin’s Creed Unity feels like every other Assassins Creed out there, which is disappointing. That’s not to say there are not a lot of new things, but a lot of them are focused on making the game more realistic.
The Parkour, freerunning aspect has gotten the best and bigger change of the lot. Barring a few glitches, Arno just seems to breeze over the environment as he vaults over edges, runs beyond rooftops and does slight wall runs to grab adjoining duke holds. It’s just incredible. You can also freerun down with an additional button, allowing Arno to do a controlled descent. This addition more than makes up for a lot of the flaws of the game.
One annoying feature of most Assassin’s Creed games was the stealth mechanics, where you could only crouch and hide in certain areas. Taking a page out of Watch Dogs and Splinter Cell, Assassin’s Creed Unity now has a new cover system as well as the ability to crouch and walk anytime. However, the controls can get a bit sticky at times.
The combat system is changed a bit to include more of a fencing style; however, it’s rickety at best. There were times we could not tell when we are supposed to parry and there were times where it feels like hits were just not connecting. Add to that glitches like enemies clipping into your character and you’ve got a mess.
There were times I parried, but the animation of the sword was pointing in the wrong direction, which is shameful because an Assassin’s Creed clone Shadow of Mordor did combat so well; in the latter, you can feel the power of your character’s sword-strokes as you can cut through swathes of enemies with precise control. At best Assassin’s Creed Unity’s combat feels clunky. We sincerely do hope Ubisoft will fix this in upcoming patches.
Assassin’s Creed Unity does not break away from the usual bunch of mission types. You still follow targets, eavesdrop, chase and perform the occasional assassination, but now you get to solve murders too. With a game overhaul, it would have been nice of Ubisoft to mix things up a little more. However, to be fair the, game does give you a lot more freedom on how you can go about your mission. Earlier there were just external buildings you can traverse, but in Unity you can enter certain interiors through open windows.
Assassination is a lot better this time around as well, with you feeling a lot more like an assassin. You will actually need to case the scene, prepare you kill and see the multiple routes to go in, kill and get out in one piece, preferably with the head still attached to said piece. You can either sneak in unnoticed or create distractions or go in sword swinging, taking down guards and target alike.
One annoying factor is the crowds. Sure, it fills you with awe watching the angry mobs from a rooftop. However, on any mission, be it a chase or a sneak, there are milling crowds of people getting in your way. It just gets annoying watching bumbling peasants wearing ridiculous pink and white dress shirts get in your way as your target happily traipses around the crowds to get away from you.
Assassin’s Creed Unity is one of the best looking games out there to date. Every turn, every corner is so detailed that you have to blink twice and remind yourself that it’s not real. The detail in the textures is staggering, stones on a building are varied in style and not just a repeated tile. The ground is mucky in places and dusty near market areas. The crowds look great, as the game distinguishes each member with an astonishing amount of details. Later in the game the crowds are just plain malevolent entities, walls of angry peasants.
All of the famous Paris architecture are rendered in exquisite detail. You can not only visit but also climb to the top of monuments like Notre Dame and Eiffel Tower. Everything just looks amazing. Picture perfect. Interiors of buildings are equally detailed, with gold trimmings along the walls, paintings on the ceilings and old French furniture in the room. Assasin’s Creed Unity is just a feast for the eyes.
The animations are very realistic too, marked by Arno’s fluid and real movements. Little details in the parkour animation add to the realism, for example, when running over rooftops, Arno seems to accelerate and decelerate on the slopes of the roof; when running he goes into a controlled slide before vaulting easily and hanging off the edge.
Everything about Assassin’s Creed Unity will make your jaw drop. Everything. Though such beauty comes at a price. A steep one. Even at 900p on the PS4, the game’s framerate drops regularly, especially in places where there’s a lot of crowds. Managing so many animations is taxing on even next-gen consoles.
Unity has quite a lot of glitches. While we just experienced weird hair movements, odd character floats with a healthy serving of clipping and we fell under the map several times. However, there’s the now-famous kissing glitch, where users took screenshots of a passionate kiss between Arno and Elise, except that Arno just had hair, eyeballs and teeth, nothing else.
The PC version undoubtedly looks the best, but to run it at 1080p with all effects on you will need a juggernaut of a card. At least a Nvidia Geforce GTX 680 and above, an i7 and above processor and a lot of RAM. Those who have beefy PCs will get the best of Assassin’s Creed Unity.
Assassin’s Creed Unity feels a lot more like a glorified tech demo than an actual full fledged game. A decent game that needs a lot of patching up from Ubisoft. That said, what it gets right turns out to be great. There’s good Parkour and stealth with the revolution bursting through the seams. Of course, this is the best looking game out there and has raised the bar graphically extremely high for games.