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?