Community Review: Assassin's Creed Unity

There's a lot to talk about with this year's Assassin's Creed. Bugs, microtransactions, co-op, bro-tagonists, darker themes, next-gen Paris, French history, controlled descent, and some very important under-the-hood tweaks. Here's where you have your say — when all is said and done, is Unity worth your money and time in this busy period?

My oh my, it seems like only a year since the last Assassin's Creed! For better or worse, the franchise has become somewhat of a global experiment in leveraging worldwide development efforts to release a game every year. And from what I've heard, that might have cost the game dearly this time around.

It's in stark contrast to Activision's Call of Duty model, which recently switched from giving studios two years to make games, to three, with the addition of Sledgehammer Games into the mix. And like Activision, Ubisoft seems to be shedding its original creators.

Early reports have talked about framerate issues, which is a shame. No matter how tech savvy you are, no one likes a dodgy framerate, and it runs counter to what you'd expect from next-gen.

I'm personally a bit surprised by it, because during my preview session not long before release, the framerate was fine. In that session, no part of the city was off-limits, and I saw no bugs. It was a two hour period to do whatever we wanted, and it seemed like the game was ready to be released right then and there.

The themes in the dirty part of town were dark, and had a Slumdog Millionaire kind of vibe. Facial expressions in cutscenes were nuanced and fantastic. But my favourite part was what Ubisoft had done under the hood.

Combat in Assassin's Creed games has always been too easy for my liking. In one episode of 5 inch Floppy, I literally looked at the camera while spamming the counter button in Revelations, to win a battle against eight or so enemies. It was a joke.

I still had fun with the game, but it certainly ruins the pretence of being a stealth game. Why bother sneaking around when you can just knock on the front door, kill everyone, drop the mic and walk away? If the path of least resistance is a straight line, you can't blame players for taking it.

But combat in Unity is tough. The upper limit of enemies attacking you at once has been raised. Surrounding enemies will shoot at you regardless of whether or not it's convenient. Enemies have a new attack, which requires evading with a new button, which introduces another dimension to the combat system. And one or two shots will take you down off a wall if you try to escape, and then you're right back where you started with the same problems and less health.

That's just off the top of my head — but the key part is, I actually felt like an Assassin. I had to plan my entry into certain missions, and figure out how I'd kill my mark, before popping a smoke bomb and getting up to the roof to climb out a window.

That's another thing. Smoke bombs. I never had to use them before. Why not just kill everyone?

So how about you, Kotakuers? All the above was just based on my preview session, but how have you gone with the full game. Are technical problems getting you down? Do you feel like an actual Assassin while playing? Have you tried the co-op?


Comments

    I don't normally chime in on Community Review posts for games I haven't played but I've been hearing a lot of disappointing things about Unity that have turned me off buying it entirely, which is a shame because I was really having a blast with this franchise after playing ACIII and Black Flag back to back a few months ago.

    - Doesn't advance the "main story": apparently it's 100% inside the animus with no modern-day story progression. After what happened at the end of ACIII and Black Flag it feels like they've turned away from what keeps this franchise interesting which is a huge shame. I haven't heard anything about how Rogue has turned out, and given you play from the perspective of a templar I have to wonder if it's more closely related to the canon set up in ACIII/Black Flag whereas Unity is more of a spinoff.

    - Looks nice, when it's not glitching to all hell.

    - All the bloated features of previous games are available, for a price, instead of streamlining and pacing the game sensibly.

    - Game still controls like complete ass sometimes because the freerunning system seems to be at odds with the complex environments they're building, so they're trying to build linear paths into an open world and the game shits itself. This has been a problem since AC1 and it's only gotten worse over time.

    - Too much shit going on, social chests, initiates chests, DLC chests, microtransaction currency which lets you roll through the game on easy mode, horse armour, etc.

    At this point I'm prepared to accept that the AC franchise finished at ACIII and consider Black Flag a nice bonus game. While I enjoyed the new story arc they were setting up, it seems Ubisoft aren't planning to actually go anywhere with it, so I'll bow out of future instalments. The least I can do is vote with my wallet and say no thank you to the direction they've taken with Unity. I've already skipped Revelations, so passing over this game at least until a good one comes along seems the wise decision. Apparently I'm not missing anything.

      Personally I think the freemroaming became worse when they merged the jump input with the run input. Originally I would hold the right trigger to run and only hold the jump button when I wanted to climb something. But since they're the same I regularly make mistakes like running down the street then jumping onto a crate I was trying to run past, or kick one of those pulleys and fly up to the roof, where I then have to jump off.

      Rouge is meant to be a part of the 'Colonial Era' story arc (which includes AC3, Black Flag & Liberation) so I think the story would be more related in that one & also includes all the modern day stuff set in an Abstergo game development company. And even though a lot of the marketing for it says you play as a templer, I hear like half of it you play as an Assassin, and the game follows how & why the main character becomes a Templar. I would much rather play that than Unity, but got too many better games to play atm.

        I believe Rogue takes place (or least starts) approx 10 years before ACIII. since there's only one active (well, reitred) Assassin in the US colonies at the start of ACIII I have to assume that the events of Rogue are closely tied into that.

        If it weren't for that, I wouldn't care.

        I think I will pick up Rogue but I'm waiting to see if there's a port to Xbox One, since it launched only on last gen.

          Yes, you are right and I can't explain why without spoiling the game.

      - Doesn't advance the "main story": apparently it's 100% inside the animus with no modern-day story progression. After what happened at the end of ACIII and Black Flag it feels like they've turned away from what keeps this franchise interesting which is a huge shame. I haven't heard anything about how Rogue has turned out, and given you play from the perspective of a templar I have to wonder if it's more closely related to the canon set up in ACIII/Black Flag whereas Unity is more of a spinoff.

      I honestly find this a positive. I understand there are some die hard fans out there who are really into the lore, but to me it was always pointless, obscure, boring and a little bizarre. Those office sections in Black Flag were terrible.

        I'm the complete opposite. I think Tim of Ctrl+Alt+Del had the best worded complaint, how he was forced to stop being a badass pirate every hour or so to stumble blindly around an office building for twenty mintues, but I really enjoyed that stuff and was hoping to see more like it.

        I guess I'm in the minority, since the removal of the modern-day elements was probably decided by committee based on consumer feedback. I just feel like without the modern-day "out of animus" elements the entire premise becomes kind of pointless.

      The story does advance. You're hunting for the location of another sage. There's just no modern interactive element to the modern day story. It's just Rebecca and Shawn talking to you via videos.

      It's really enjoyable in my opinion. If you're into AC, you should check it out. Or at least pick it up when it's cheap.

    I played roughly an hour of Unity at a friends house. Black Flag was the last AC I have 'fully' finished, 100% AC2, Brotherhood, Revelations and Black Flag. An hour of playing has presented me of the same bugs that have been around since AC1 - that's enough for me to not want to purchase the game.

    Yeah it looks pretty. But well personally, that's all it has going for it. I wasn't as hyped for this as I was other games either.

    Tl;DR - same ship as @kermitron.

    Last edited 24/11/14 11:16 am

    Waiting for them to fix Initiates and the Companion App before continuing.

    Too many locked content from Companion App making the game incomplete without it. I still can't synchronize my app on iOS to my uPlay account. Keep giving me the error unable to synchronize when I try to login using the App.

    Anyone else having the same problem?

    It reminds me a lot of Revelations, in the sense that it's a pretty typical, solid but unremarkable Assassin's Creed game.

    There's been a few things that have really annoyed me, like the performance issues. The movement also seems more finicky, which is a shame. The new downward parkour movement is a very, very welcome addition, and the animations do make the parkour seem more natural and smoother, but I've lost count of the times where I'll be trying to get Arno to climb up something and he'll simply refuse.

    While I'm happy they've jettisoned a lot of the modern-day mumbo jumbo, the story still isn't that crash hot.

    Overall I am enjoying the game, though. Paris is an utterly fantastic setting. The revamped, more difficult combat is nice, and actually encourages you to play more like an assassin. The sandbox-style assassination missions are also a big highlight for me.

      Sandbox assassinations - it's cool finding out my friend killed his target in a completely different way to how I did it, not to mention he came in from underground tunnels while I came in from the roof.

        Exactly, I don't think I've spoken to anyone who's played those missions the exact same way. They play out more like genuine assassinations than any AC game since perhaps the first.

          It's a shame that the frame rate will be the main talking point about Unity and not things like the bolstered difficulty and return to focusing on assassinations.

            To be fair, the frame rate is something that genuinely impacts my enjoyment of the game, but I realise I'm probably in a minority there. I can deal with 30FPS if it's a nice, consistent 30FPS. Its the frequent ups and downs to 20 or even less.

            That being said, I definitely agree with your sentiment. I wouldn't say Unity is amazing, but there is a bit of a pitchfork mentality going on.

            I'm honestly excited to see what the next current-gen only AC brings. If they can keep the bolstered difficulty and return to assassinations, but just generally polish it, it could be rather good. We might see another AC1 to AC2 style evolution.

    Ive had so many bugs with this game. But I still find it fun. Wouldnt rank it high on a must play list, but to me, its like comfort food...

    I'm enjoying it, although I'm still pretty early.

    The story is pretty much non-existant so far, although I've been so distracted by the insane amount of things to do on the map, that I haven't done many story missions (I'm only up to sequence 4).

    The framerate has been pretty stable for me, only taking a dive once. I've fallen through the floor once, and I played an online session filled with invisible attackers that I couldn't fight, but generally the game hasn't been that buggy for me.

    The Initiates thing is totally bugged out though. It only recently realised that I owned Unity, and it still thinks I don't own any of the other games, which would probably be enough to unlock a lot of (if not all) golden chests.

    Also, much of the best armour is locked behind club competitions, which are "coming soon", which is a bit annoying.

    To me, it's just a somewhat bland Assassin's Creed game. Some elements of it are certainly improved, and I think fans will still enjoy it, but it doesn't really bring anything new to the table.

    It's my favourite AC game so far. It was the most interested in a AC story I've been in and Arno is just behind Edward as my favourite assassin. I'll also say that I was lucky in that I fell through the world once and that was the glitch I came across.

    Last edited 24/11/14 11:34 am

    It's obscene that content is locked away pending actions outside the game e.g. installation of apps, owning previous games etc. I will not purchase for that reason alone. I hate the yearly release schedule for this series, they're going to kill it.

      All the stuff locked behind Initiates (ie, owning past games) is just assassin outfits from those games.

      No idea what's in the Nomad (companion app) chests.

      I hate the yearly release schedule for this series, they're going to kill it.

      That's what already killed it for me - I dropped off part way through Revelations. It takes me ages to get through one of these games, to the point where it feels like I've barely finished the last one before the next one comes out, leading to a bad case of franchise fatigue. They need to pull it back to one every 2 or 3 years to allow some breathing space in between, which might make each game feel like an actual event instead of feeling like they're just churning out an annual update like FIFA or COD. But we all know that's not going to happen.

      Seriously???? You have to own the previous games to play certain parts too? That's pure insanity! It's like they want us to hate them!

    Had it pre-ordered... now waiting for the inevitable 'complete edition' that will come out next year. I don't want my first experience with this game to be the hot mess that it obviously is at the moment. If I were the devs I would be furious that the execs forced the game to come out when it did, obviously doing their financial sums and estimating that an unpolished game selling in November 2014 beats a polished game selling in February 2015.

    It's beautiful, and Paris is a perfect city for the Assassins Creed style of gameplay.
    The way they've captured the interior and exterior of some of Frances most beautiful churches is laudible... but.

    This game may be playable without input from companion apps, social connections, or microtransactions... but it isn't really designed for it.
    The map is replete with chests you cannot open without playing their companion mobile game, and there's no way to remove them.
    Where as Black Flag had options to 'buy' resource packs, this has the option to buy temporary boosts (stealth, health, or damage). You can also buy currency to purchase stat based clothing, or stat based weapons.

    Changes to climbing mechanics didn't feel like they made that much of a difference to me.
    And I didn't notice a whole lot of difference in the combat from previous games... although that may have changed by later in the game.

    I preordered it because the idea of messing around in Paris fantastic, I returned it because the game was focused so heavily on the microtransactions.

    Last edited 24/11/14 1:19 pm

    Everybody, play Far Cry 4!

    They haven't fixed the glitch that is stopping red coats from spawning :p

    Paris is stunning!

    I bought the game after finishing ACIV Black Flag at 100%

    Comparatively, I was hoping for an improved game, moreover than the fun and adventure Edward had. Unfortunately, for me, it didn't come close.

    Arno is great, and the story line is again, the same... It's kinda like every season of Dexter, where there's many side missions, but there's always a main opponent to take down over the course of the season's 12 weeks. A broken records perhaps...

    There are glitches, and I was astounded at the amount of crazy kids ranting and raving their distaste over the inter webs, however, sadly, the game is 'playable' and i've finished the story line, but now i'm down to grinding out collecting chests and cockades, however the side missions are a welcome break. There's the many, 18 or so Nostradamus quests, but you only receive a dull prize as a result. Whereas Edward received a much better suit!

    ACIV felt to be more immersive for me, adventurous and plenty of fun building out your ship and taking on the Man O Wars, but whereas Unity, is the same thing but set in Paris 1700s but just running around a huge city without the adventure on the high seas. At least they could have provided Arno a horse!

    Oh, yeah, and the amount of NPCs is ridiculous! It's like every street on New Years Eve... totally packed, even at night!!

    9/10 for visuals
    5/10 for gameplay (we've seen and played the same thing many times before)
    5/10 storyline (Dexter season 1 through to 6 all had the same framework)
    overall - 6/10 sadly i've put down the controller and the patch 3 hasn't been released, GTAV FTW!

    Last edited 24/11/14 7:24 pm

    I put this one up there with Black Flag. It's nice going back to a big ass bustling city crammed with people and tall vertigo inducing buildings. The game is actually hard now, you can't engage 5+ guards anymore without getting killed, forcing you to actually be stealthy and plan your attacks. I love the new sandbox assassinations offering more freedom to approach your target on your own terms from your own path. Co-ol is amazing, the first time just free roaming the city with a mate and getting all the synch points was something I've wanted from an AC game since the beginning. Also, planning missions together is extremely satisfying.

    The downsides are pretty well known. Frame rate drops to mid twenties in large crowds (yet sometimes there's thousands on screen so it's a bit of a trade off). There's app-locked chests in the world. The microtransactions are silly, but completely optional and not shoved down your throat. I've gotten on fine without them. Your assassin still performs leaps and climbs you didn't intend. I haven't had any major glitches so far (touch wood).

    I think if you liked AC1 and 2, this is right up your alley.

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