Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review

Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review

Assassin's Creed Unity is my least favourite major Assassin's Creed since the 2007 original. It's also the first Assassin's Creed that I didn't feel better about the more I played it. I didn't expect to be telling you this.

Unity is a gorgeous game, which is just about the only high praise I can offer the Parisian adventure. Its campaign is dull. Its side-missions — usually among my favourite parts of these games — are dull. Its lead character, the Assassin Arno Dorian, is dull. The game's vaunted co-op is dull. I'd tell you that the game's modern-era gameplay was dull if the game had modern-era sequences, but in a first for the series, it doesn't.

Unity feels like an attempt for the Assassin's Creed series to start over, to spare new players the complications of the series' centuries-old sci-fi conspiracy by minimising references so severely as to make them entirely missable. They don't even call the Animus the Animus anymore. Now it's the Helix. Even some classic abilities don't return — unless you choose to upgrade your character to use them.

Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review

The game feels like a test for a graphics engine that should lead to equally beautiful but more fun future Assassin's Creeds. Despite some hitches in framerate, it is a stunning sight. At times, Arno often appears to be walking through a painting. This is, after all, the first Assassin's Creed that Ubisoft has developed strictly for the new generation of consoles (and PC).

Unity also appears to be an experiment to see how much Ubisoft can atomise a game and split it into tiny component parts, the better to aggressively adopt the gameplay systems and business practices of character-levelling, randomised gear collection, individualised characters, synced companion apps and optional and temporary microtransaction-fuelled stat-boosting that can make solo gameplay easier.

The good of that atomisation of Assassin's Creed game design involve the myriad looks you can adopt for Arno by changing his cowl and clothes...

Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review
Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review

... and it's nice to have a broader range of weapons and equipment that can modify the assassin's abilities...

Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review
Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review

But then there's optional but questionable stuff like this, a real-money way to obtain the game's optional "hack" currency instead of using the in-game currency you earn by finishing most missions...

Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review

Whether these changes are temporary experiments or the result of a shift in Ubisoft's long-term goals for the series, the end result is a problem: Assassin's Creed: Unity just isn't very fun.

Assassin's Creed Unity is a land-locked adventure set in late-18th-century revolutionary Paris. Our hero is the assassin Arno Dorian whose sole interesting personality trait is that he is in love with a woman who is a Templar, the group in eternal rivalry with the Assassins.

What Arno does in Paris is much of what assassins in this series have done in most of the previous major games of the series. Unity, after all, is essentially Assassin's Creed VII (they don't always put a number on them). It resists the currents of change that had swept the series toward fresher gameplay. Where the last two Assassin's Creeds deviated radically from formula to move the series into the non-urban American frontier and across the Caribbean sea — adding tree-climbing and shipwreck diving along the way — Unity brings us back to the series' urban roots. With that comes a lot of climbing up buildings and running across roofs, a lot of street-level swordfights and an incentive to get lost in a crowd after stabbing a target in the gut. That's not condemnable in and of itself, but Unity lacks the smoothness of control and the je ne sais quois of great mission design to tie everything together.

On paper, in prose, Unity sounded great. They were going to fix the game's controls and building-climbing by adding a button command for climbing up and a different one for climbing down. They were going to fix the series' stealth by adding stickier cover and a dedicated crouch/stealth-mode button. They were going to make the campaign's assassin missions more open-ended, presenting them as squared-off sandboxes with multiple ways to kill Arno's target. They were going to let us finally have a significant amount of play time inside a city's buildings. They were going to fill Unity's Paris with dozens of side missions to keep solo players happy. They were going to add another new flavour to the series by making our hero a murder detective.

Let's run through how those planned changes turned out:

  • The game's controls, despite having been refined over seven years of iterative Assassin's Creed games, still put up as much of a fight as any of the game's many sword-swinging bad guys. The up/down climbing buttons work great when you're on the roof of a building and need Arno to swiftly hop-and-climb down a building rather than leap off it possibly to his death. Unfortunately, the new scheme doesn't preclude Arno from getting stuck hanging on a weird ledge or other in-game object, sometimes dangling, unresponsive, a few feet off of the ground.

    Arno can't even climb in a window half the time, at times climbing across the window instead of going into it (you have to hold the right trigger but not press the parkour-up button, I think, although the game tells you to try pulling the left trigger to go in, even though... I didn't need to? See below)

  • The new crouch button lets Arno sneak up on people in a way that's more predictable and useful than the stealth controls in the series' earlier games. It's tied to the left trigger, and on paper, it works similarly to the generally excellent stealth controls in Ubisoft's Splinter Cell games. But it and the game's cover-snapping do not gel, in part because the game, frustratingly, does not allow you to corner around an object you're covering behind or easily snap from one piece of cover to another. Imagine you're in a room full of chairs and desks. A guard is walking back and forth. You've taken cover behind a desk where he can't see you. You've pressed the A button and you're "stuck" to it. The guard walks away from you and you want to sidle around to the side of the desk to get a bead on him before pouncing. You can't, because you cannot turn a corner while crouched and snapped to cover. You have to unsnap, creating space between you and the desk, risking detection, and then you have to sneak around the corner of the desk and snap again. This is not a hypothetical. It happens during the first big stealth mission.
Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review
  • The assassination missions are indeed more open-ended and present a good template for re-thinking how major assassinations work in these games. Arno will survey a scene from afar, and the game will tell the player how many possible entrances and guards are around. It will also mark areas of opportunity where Arno might, say, be able to convince some people to create a distraction. Some of these missions also offer Arno an opportunity to do a signature kill. I murdered my first major target in a church confessional, for example. Sadly, the number of entrances is not a useful stat, and the amount of guards might as well always be classified as "a lot.". Worse, the missions just don't feel that different than assassinations in previous games, despite the new design approach. Assassin's Creed IV occasionally tasked players with needing to kill a target who was on board a ship, and deciding to do so by pulling him overboard, rushing his crew, or pouncing on him from the crow's nest felt at least as open-ended as anything offered in Unity.
Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review
  • Being able to enter buildings is a pleasure, when it works smoothly. This is one of Unity's triumphs, and it will be hard to go back to any Assassin's Creed game that doesn't let you prowl through many of the buildings in its cities.
  • Unity's side missions — my favourite obsession of the series — are mostly a letdown. The main offering is a pile of Paris Stories that add little narratives to the sneaking, chasing, searching and other gameplay familiar to players of the series. Here you will have to track down severed heads for Madame Tussaud or investigate three water fountains where devilish murderers await. A man in a dress turns out to be great swordsman who wants you to win five duels. But we've done all this before, many times — the narratives supporting the side missions are a nice frame on familiar work. Just a year ago we were offered side missions that involved running through the jungle or spearing sharks or swimming through underwater caves to emerge amid angry men who we needed to defeat with our bare hands. We were sailing pirate ships through storms to unleash a fusillade of cannon shot into fortress walls and then running into the fortress to kill its commander. A year before that we were raiding forts, building a village and exploring a network of spooky underground passages.
Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review
  • In Unity, the side missions are often a drag. In one, I had to rescue a prince from the second floor of a building. I entered through the window, killed his captors, went downstairs to kill some more, and died. I tried it again, clearing the first floor first, then rising to the second and slaying the men there. The prince complained that he could not go downstairs until the ground floor was clear of enemies. But it already was — the game just hadn't taken into account that I might have approached things that way. Another mission required me to guard a woman who was distraught over the execution of her husband. She walked slowly through Paris' streets and, for the most part, wasn't attacked. I kind of just walked with her, silently, waiting for the mission to end.
Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review
  • The game's murder mystery missions are its best side activities. They turn Arno into a detective-mode Batman, requiring him to use his Eagle Vision to find and interpret clues. As he investigates a person's murder he'll come upon people to talk to and potentially accuse. Accusing the wrong person will diminish the mission's reward. A murder mystery involving three men who were attacked for being descendants of torturers stretches across several blocks of virtual Paris and shows the potential excellence of this style of mission. But they aren't all great — bizarrely, another murder mystery introduces just a single suspect. Guess what: They did it!
Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review
  • The co-op missions feel half-baked. They are set in parts of Paris that the player may also have to visit for campaign missions. Co-op missions involve things like searching alleyways for clues, infiltrating heavily-guarded buildings to kill targets and, in one max-difficulty mission, enter a climbing-and-killing tournament in order to get close to four targets. The game offers players the chance to unlock some special co-op powers such as a shared Eagle Vision, but in practice, they simply play like slightly larger-scale regular missions that are easier when players divide and conquer. It can be satisfying to attack a map together, but the more people who are playing, the more people who are grappling with the game's finicky controls, getting spotted by the numerous guards, and seeing their plans go awry. While connected to other players you can also go on group stealth heists and even just run freely through the city, treating virtual Paris as the world's most beautiful chatroom. Nevertheless, the co-op feels like it's missing something.

The Assassin's Creed series has long felt artful, sometimes shockingly so, given that each game is the work of hundreds of people. Unity, however, feels more like a game designed off of a spreadsheet. This is a game about maths. At times that's a good thing. Arno is able to acquire and wear dozens of cowls, chest-pieces and the like, each of which modify the statistical performance of being an assassin. A specific cowl might increase the range of Arno's Eagle Vision. A certain chest piece might afford him another notch of health or reduce the ability of guards to see him by a specific percentage.

All of this gear costs virtual money, although it can also be bought with an alternate currency that players can purchase with real money. The gear can all be upgraded using a third currency, that one earned (as is the main currency) by completing missions. It gets silly how many different currencies are in play. Players earn experience points for their every smooth assassination move — making a clean getaway, killing a guy with a finishing move, etc. What do you get for that? XP that eventually changes your gameplay-irrelevant assassin title. (I'm an Elite Enforcer now, in case you're wondering).

As I said, the game feels like it was designed by spreadsheet. Much of that stat-affecting gear can be obtained by completing missions, although get this: you'll sometimes have to play a mission multiple times to get all of the gear tied to that mission. A trio of tonally distinct side missions offer the best change of pace in Unity (I won't spoil them here, but Ubi did spoil the best one). That's good. Not so good is that they are then chopped up and offered as seven more missions, their terrain now turned into an obstacle course where players have to fetch point-nodes while racing against the clock — and that, what do you know, they offer access to about 20 text files that appear to be the only elements of the game that advance the series' modern day story. If you're doing the maths correctly, you've likely surmised that you have to play each level multiple times to access all the text files. Such is Unity's penchant for wasting your time with things that weren't even fun the first time.

This feels mean to say, but the game is also just very annoying. Does that sound petty? This is a game that is constantly slapping reminder messages onto the screen, sometimes over other messages you're trying to read, always nudging you to do stuff:

Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review

You can minimise the heads up display, but you can't minimise Ubisoft's desire to get you to sample all their peripheral Assassin's Creed projects. Say, for example, you like opening up treasure chests in this game. You'll need some good lockpicking skills to open some of them. That's fine. But to open the so-called Initiates chests? You need to be signed on for Initiates, Ubi's web-based Assassin's Creed series hub. Let's try that, ok? Here's an Initiates chest:

Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review

How about we press B and open it this fine Tuesday launch-day morning?

Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review

Argh!!! Come on, Ubi!

I'm sure they will get that fixed, but still. This wouldn't be so aggravating if there weren't other treasure chests that could only be opened if you have been using the game's iOS and Android companion app.

Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review

Really? AC IV dipped into this a tiny bit, but it was easily missable. At this rate though, why not add some treasure chests that can only be opened if I'm simultaneously playing a Rayman game on a second TV?

I don't know the inner workings of Ubisoft, a company that has produced many wonderful video games, but is this a game or a shelf of products? Come on.

I think the developers may have underestimated how intrusive this stuff can be, and the game has made me too sensitive to all of it. To wit: I've been adding fellow players into my Assassin's club (it's called "Kotaku" if you'd like to join before we hit the 50-player cap). If anyone in your club is trying to play a co-op mission, it turns out that a character that represents them will stroll right up to you and ask for your help… even when you're investigating a murder!

Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review

This is actually a clever way to handle matchmaking. And why wouldn't you want to know when your friends are about to start a co-op mission? The problem is that the game is so intrusive so much of the time that even a good idea like this can be annoying. What a bummer. (Note: You can, at least, turn these off.)

Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review

So what is Assassin's Creed Unity good for aside from looking good? The campaign is OK, although it lacks drama or a surprising character arc. Ultimately, Arno is trying to deal with sinister forces that are causing problems for Assassins and the Templars. Arno meets a young Napoleon. They talk briefly. One highlight involves Arno running across rooftops to chase a hot air balloon.

The graphics are astounding. They are not without technical problems... some pop-in, some chuggy framerates that will bother you if you have a low tolerance for that sort of thing (my game crashed on my Xbox One three times over the past several days, but Unity has also been patched a bunch already, so it's hard to tell how long-term these issues are). I was nevertheless happy with the game's performance, all things considered and what with the series' historical emphasis on visual detail and strong art direction over smooth, high-framerate performance.

I love the game's animations. Here's my favourite:

I wish I could say all these great graphics amounted to something, but the game's massive crowds turn out to be not very interesting. In theory citizens in the crowd will accuse you of crimes if they spot you being bad. They will scatter at signs of trouble. They jostle around and make Paris look and sound alive. But their application to gameplay feels less relevant than the crowds of Assassin's Creed Revelations, who players could enjoyably manipulate by throwing all sorts of smoke, coin and blood bombs into their midst.

Assassin's Creed Unity: The Kotaku Review

The combat in the game is somewhat improved. Fights are tougher as are the enemies, whose prowess mandates that you get better and better defensive gear and offensive weapons. You can no longer chain infinite kill combos, although smart parrying and use of items like smoke bombs will save your skin. Here's a skirmish to show you some of that:

And the new disguise perk, borrowed from the series' competitive multiplayer, makes sneaking into enemy territory all the easier.

I keep going back to the mission design though, and the lack of variety among the tasks available. Expansive as Unity is, the game just feels so narrow. Beautiful as it is, it nevertheless seems close to monotone.

I played Unity with great disappointment, wondering how it went so wrong. As I played, I kept hoping the next sidequest or co-op mission would turn it all around for me. I wondered if I'd just grown tired of a series I've enjoyed for so many years. But I don't think it's me. I'm the Assassin's Creed guy at Kotaku. I'm the one who, generally, loves these games. Last year's pirate-themed Black Flag is probably my favourite, although I have very warm feelings for Brotherhood and the controversial AC III. I am crazy for the games' mix of historical settings, building-climbing, so-so stealth, weird conspiracy theories, strange modern-era missions, and their overall messy sprawl. I love that the series affords us the opportunity to play ambitious — if uneven — games year after year.

I happily play the new releases every fall. I return to them in December or January to do any leftover sidequests. One or two of these games a year for me is not too much. Even as I write this, disappointed as I am in Unity, I'm optimistic about Rogue (also out today but I haven't played it yet) and the forthcoming Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China.

I do think Unity illuminates some creative dead ends the series has wandered into. The city-based gameplay has been getting tired for years, and Ubisoft's designers may simply have run out of ways to make the climbing of churches and clock-towers appealing. (Perhaps it's time to climb an ancient pyramid.) The general sameness of the pedestrian-filled streets of virtual Florence, Istanbul, New York and now Paris may mandate a shift toward urban centres filled with cars. The series' stabbing and swordplay may simply be oversaturated, the better to return to other means of combat such as pirate ships or minions of summonable assassins.

It could well be that Unity's focus on co-op could beget a more complex way to manoeuvre through a city or kill enemies in groups. Maybe a Unity 2 could get co-op right, but to accomplish that, Ubisoft would have to overhaul their control scheme (yet again) and design missions that make stealthy feats feel special, sort of how they do with the best co-op modes in their Splinter Cell spy games.

But Unity's true flaw is simply a failure to figure out what could feel fresh and fun for the series. I can imagine Unity with Shadow of Mordor's enemy-levelling Nemesis system and I suspect it would be a far more enjoyable game. I can imagine it with a more lively lead character or with more interesting missions in its Parisian underground. I can imagine it with sandbox assassinations that contain more optional mission tweaks. When I imagine those things, I also imagine a better game.

That isn't the game Ubisoft made. They made what amounts to a showpiece for a new graphics engine, a game that will initially turn heads but which quickly reveals itself to be frustrating, repetitive, and dull.

I've been happy with Assassin's Creed for a long time. Any series can have an off year, and hopefully Ubisoft will do better the next time around. But this year, for the first time ever, I'm telling you to skip the year's biggest Assassin's Creed.


Comments

    Oh good. After reading alot of lukewarm reviews I don't feel so bad giving this a miss for now (will either borrow it from a friend or buy it cheaper later), and can fully focus on Dragon Age when thats out! :)

      This.

      Dragon Age currently has a metacritic score of 89/100. I am excite!

        Ehhhh.. Van Ord said a down point was that combat was easy on normal and requires little strategy... Sounding mash mash mash

        "There are challenges out there, but nail-biting battles aren't common, though hard mode is always there if you want one, and dragon battles demand your concentration regardless." Argh.....

        Last edited 12/11/14 11:15 am

          I'm OK with that. I'm not too fussed about difficulty. I'm just looking forward to a huge, sweeping RPG story I can sink my teeth in to ^_^

          “Normal difficulty isn’t hard for a person who plays games for a living – 1/10”

          I always find it hilarious when reviewers are overly critical of a games difficulty when the game has multiple difficulty levels.
          As long as the difficulty runs a sensible gambit from easy to hard, allows you to change difficulty where reasonable and is consistent throughout (no crazy spikes or really easy bits) then who really cares if their interpretation of “normal” difficulty is different to yours?

            No healing spells now potions only.... And then IGN have said plot doesn't gel "Where Inquisition really stumbles, though, is in its story. It gets off to a vague start, and never really congeals. The Dragon Age universe is rich with impressively nuanced lore and socio-political intrigue, but Inquisition lacks the heart and pathos of BioWare’s best games."

            Think I'm going to sit and wait this one out for the masses to discuss before jumping in.

              Love how an article about AC has so much info on dragon age :p

                AC crashed and burned at take off.... Shows over :)

                Goodwill of AC4 lost in about 10hrs post release of Unity.

                FC4 will be the same Ubisoft is done.

    I played Unity with great disappointment, wondering how it went so wrong.

    Assassins Creed has been designed by commitee for a while now, it's only luck that a few of the previous games have been enjoyable.

    Anyways, I'm waiting for the Rogue review :)

      just finished it, anyway it has assassins creed best boat combat yet and has a perfect ending and a great story, the best up to this point not even joking sir, this game will give you shell shock from not playing it it amazing I honestly have to say good jobs ubisoft but you still don't having my loyalty as a Aussie ( talking 'bout price) still a nice game try it

    "a real-money way to obtain the game’s optional “hack” currency instead of using the in-game currency you earn by finishing most missions…"

    You have to be joking..... I can't even believe this.
    I get that they're giving the user an option but man...... MAN.
    How about good old cheat codes for cash/god mode.... nah, we'll just charge people.

    100% insult in my books

      Especially considering that money in AC games have always been easy to come by. To the point that all you're buying are pointless stuff that increase the amount of money you recieve.

      I’m glad it’s being pointed out in reviews at least.

      Ubisoft are greedy sh*ts of the highest order and it’s important that it’s reflected in review scores when it effects the experience.
      It’s going to take a sh*tload of microtransactions to make up the difference in sales from a game that gets a 6/10 instead of a 7 or an 8.

      We should also note the Ubisoft practice of including pre-order content and expecting players to pay for the game before it’s released but then putting a review embargo in place that last until AFTER the game is on the shelves. It’s ridiculous, if I was reviewing their games I’d make sure to note this kind of crap in the first paragraph.

        Exactly - it should be in bold at the top of every single fawning preview article. "Please note that Ubisoft have set a review embargo that is 12 hours after the release of the game. Make of that what you will".

        It would also be super cool to see all the major review outlets band together and say that it's a disservice to their readers to delay a review like that. It's either on time, or not at all (with the appropriate warnings to their readers as to why). Would be interesting to see how that standoff would end.

          That would be great to see.

          Personally I’d love to see publications start adding an ‘exploitation/ greedy sh*t/ bend over is a Ubisoft title meter’ to their reviews.
          Review scores are the only thing that will change these kinds of practices within the industry. Without starting on the kind of crap that’s been going on for the last month or so it’s one of those things that makes you question the relationship between publishers and reviewers when these things get overlooked.

          Honestly I would have loved to see a game like Forza 5, reviewed on the eve of the launch of the Xbone marked with a big ‘DO NOT BUY’ for its exploitative economy which was completely undermined by the inclusion of micro-transactions in a full priced game.
          The feeling that I was being screwed over soured my entire experience with that game and I would have no qualms at all with the game being given a score of 50% or less based entirely on that reasoning. A few of those reviews would have hurt MS no end and you could bet Forza 6 wouldn't be replecating the practice.

          Put it front and centre in your review and make sure it’s reflected in the overall score and in the review summary. Review scores have a huge impact on sales, it’ll fix the problem quick smart.

            I loved Forza 4, but the concept of Forza 5's Micro Transactions have stopped me buying it.

            If you give me the game for free and ask me to spend money but don't require it I'm ok with that. But if you charge me full price and expect to then add Micro Transactions, well that game won't get a dollar from me. The only way I will play Forza 5 is if it is given to me for free.

            DLC is a different story and I judge each on it's own merits.

            Onto Ubisoft, I hate having to use UPlay for things and while I tried an liked the Beta for The Crew, I will cancel my Pre-order if that game has Micro Transactions. Companies like EA have been slammed for this, don't think we won't slam you (Ubisoft) for it too.

            Honestly this BS of Micro Transactions should never have made it off the smartphone.

    I totally agree - seriously you must be F**** Kidding me putting blatant micro-transactions in a FULL PRICED AAA game. That's just disgusting.

    That being said the game looks like total rubbish but nice thorough review!

    ARGH EB Games already took my money. Ah well, I'll be playing AC Rogue first anyways.

      ARGH you can cancel your preorder and get your money back any time you want you know, or swap your preorder for another game. Like Inquisition which is being called awesome so far.

      They ask you to pay for a game before it’s released, withhold content if you don’t and then put a review embargo on so nobody can tell you if it’s any good until after it’s already on the shelves.

      No offence but maybe there’s a lesson to be learnt about being a sucker here. I haven’t seen a game sell out since they ditched cartridges after the N64 days, there’s no way in hell you should be giving anybody a cent until you’ve seen a review from somebody you trust.

        This. Pre-ordering games is terrible for the consumer and should never be done. I have only preordered one game in my entrie life, and that's Titanfall. I only preordered after playing the beta extensively and watching multiple impressions from different YouTubers. And I preordered 8 days before release.

          I used to do it a lot back in the days before there was pre-order content just because there was always a risk of the title selling out. The industry is organised enough these days that it doesn’t happen.

          I do remember my Grandparents telling me they had to drive 2 hours out of Sydney to get me a copy of Goldeneye the Christmas it came out! Back in the N64 days and earlier once a game sold out you could have to wait MONTHS for more cartridges to be produced and then shipped to Australia.

          Now I only ever do it at console launches or if I can get a decent cash discount on a game I want a hard copy of and that I know I want.
          Dragon Age for example is only $59 at Dick Smith if I pre-order it. Given that I know it’s good already I don’t mind putting down cash for that early.

            I've seen it happen occasionally with JRPGs - the full-blown special edition of Tales of Xillia sold out on preorder months before it hit the shelves.

          And then you regretted it because titan fall :P ?

            I actually hugely enjoyed my time with Titanfall, it was everything I expected it to be. It's just a shame the community died off so quickly, I wanted to play more capture the flag.

    For the first ever time I will be missing an Assassins Creed game.
    I ain't even mad.
    The line that got me? "Is this a game or a shelf of products?"

    When what you are creating is being partitioned into separate things that you can then sell off to people who have already handed you enough money for a full priced game, then I just will not support you. I know, if you don't like it don't do it yadda yadda - but I don't like the philosophy of it, so I won't go near it - including buying this game.

    (Plus the reviews are saying it's not brilliant so instead I'm going to go back and Black Flag again until Rogue hits PC)

    No progress of the main story line? Thank God I don't have to play it

      It feels like they've just *dropped* that whole storyline doesn't it???

        They definitely seem to be distancing themselves from it, even black flag was trying to get away from it

          I thought Black Flag would set it up so Desmand was the new AI inside the machine you would interact with or something ala the older AC games? But alas, it was not to be...

        I heard that the story was supposed to end the series at AC3, but Ubisoft saw dollar signs and forced more sequels.

        To be honest I wouldn't care so long as the original story ended and we could find new stories and such from new games. AC4: Black Flag didn't really touch on the main storyline until the very end, by then I didn't care and was mostly interested in Kenways story.

        That's what they should do, just make new AC games with individual stories. Or just go off the rails. I would love a cyberpunk or even a steampunked theme AC game that's not considered canon.

          Indeed, but the problem was, though Desmond died (spoiler, oh well, that was what, 3 games ago now?) they left the whole plot wide open not finishing it.

          The Kenway family storyline became great. It was a bit of a misstep with Connor, but not a terrible one, as much as I dislike 3, it still has a few redeeming bits in my eyes. Black Flag was utterly glorious, emotional, fun, everything an AC game strives to be. Rogue I will be getting to play, it looks fun as hell.

          Alt-universe AC games would be interesting, your best bet of course as we know for Steampunk AC is Dishonoured at this point. But at this point I just want an interesting character with an interesting backstory :\

    Micro transactions and requiring us to sign up to their website and use their mobile app in a full priced game? WTF where they thinking? Oh well releasing at a time where there's a bunch of other games coming out means it's very easy to skip this one.

    This review completely bummed me out! I was so looking forward to this. A game set in revolutionary France was right up my alley. The setting was the most exciting one they've done from my opinion. Ubisoft, you've let me down.

    Dang, I was looking forward to this. At least I can just keep playing Halo MCC I guess?

    Yet another boring pile of crap from Ubisoft, no surprises there.

    Good review.

    I stupidly activated my code on the AU Xbox store instead of US. Now I have to wait for tomorrow for it to unlock :(

    now that Ubi hass this out of the way.....bring on Farcry 4!!

    The forest has co op now. So who even cares about this

    It's a shame the work of so many developers, musicians, writers and artists is undermined by BS marketing and money grabbing ploys. :(

      Seriously, if I worked for Ubisoft I'd be fucking losing it right now. I'd be in the producers office, resignation in hand, having a good old 'told you so' ...

        Yeah same. Also project managers - I guarantee that most developers would have loved to have a bit of extra time to fix the bugs and optimise the game. But the typical project deadlines had to be met.

          Gotta get it out for Christmas sales period....that 12 hour embargo on reviews is a serious red flag.

            Embargos on reviews are now in my top gripes about modern gaming. That along with micro transactions.

            Companies that do it obviously have something to worry about and they're afraid they'll lose day one sales.

              My top gripe about Modern Gaming is games that don't shut up. I think I put Micro Transactions next, but I can avoid those games. Third would have to be rushing an unfinished product out the door because they want a quick return. Ubisoft has had a stock drop because they released a shitty game. If this thing was polished but late would the results be the same.

              Seriously it seems to be the style in games now to tell me stuff I already know constantly.

              Sunset Overdrive asks me if I'm still doing the mission I'm on. I'm 1m away from the bloody objective. Destiny tells me that my team is losing in PVP, well d'uh it's 6 vs 3. The Crew (Beta) tells me I'm winning the race and beating them by miles when the other guy is tailgating me and then berates me when he gets in front for a split second.

    Ok, I just heard that the microtransactions were disabled and hidden for review copies. Mostly because the servers needed to access weren't up yet, but still.

    Eh, by the time I get a PS4 it'll be cheap and hopefully have had a few patches for performance.

    I struggled through ACIII to get the platinum trophy, so I dare say I'll enjoy this one well enough.

    I'll just stick with Black Flag then. Tbh, that was the only AC game I've enjoyed so far and that was more down to the setting rather than the actual game which is quite flawed (control-wise) and it seems like they've done nothing to correct those flaws

    That starting gif gave me mild vertigo.

    This is 'Assassin's Creed: lol I'm playing Dragon Age' for me. Next year sales for this one ;)

      Pretty much this, I removed it from my list of things my wife can get people to get me for Christmas and replaced with Dragon age

    Sounds like Ubisofts laziness, greed, and anti consumer measures caught up to them at last!

    Le sigh.

    Now do I forfeit my $10 birthday discount from Mighty Ape, or buy it and hope they'll take it back as a "duplicate present" if I don't like it?

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