This article has been archived and may have some errors due to a previous design of MGL. None of the review has been altered however. Assassins Creed comes back for another year and returns to a more traditional format, taking you to Paris and the surrounding areas to play out the story of Arno Dorian, a man who’s entire life has been forged by the war between the Assassins And Templars, that an his love for Elise who he meets as a child.
You will control Arno in the vast open city of Paris with the addition of co-op multiplayer. Unity offers players masses of opportunity to play together in a number of interesting missions, or play alone with a huge amount of content around the well constructed main story. With beautiful architecture and well detailed characters, especially the details in outfits, facial expression and emotion. Assassins Creed really does look beautiful up close, but annoying bugs will appear during key moments and break up important cut scenes and force you to reload checkpoints in key missions.
Still the game has more than enough to keep fans happy and people tempted in by the co-op play will have a lot of fun playing missions together in a vast, open city even if it’s not quite as fun as exploring the seas in Black Flag, the main story & sheer content makes up for it.
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After you have enjoyed the written review, feel free to check out our Video Review here with some PS4 Gameplay Footage!
Look and Feel
The game looks beautiful, so long as everything is moving slowly, perhaps not the best comment to make in a game based around fast navigation across and open city. But up close, buildings, scenery and characters, especially their uniforms and hair, look really stunning. I was particularly impressed by the characters and their level of detail, lip syncing and expressions are very well done in the game engine cut scenes, with a serious level of detail going into the costume design and things like Elise’s hair.
It really does look good.
Unfortunately, once you get running around textures can pop in very late and the frame rate can dip and jerk as the game saves and loads which is a bit of a shame in a very fast paced game. There are also a number of bugs that can get in the way, quite literally in fact, and given the story takes a very serious tone, it really breaks the immersion and the mood of the game. So while the voice acting and character animations are done exceptionally well, that doesn’t help when you can’t see them for a random floating man in the middle of a cut-scene because the guy is literally floating in front of your face… it does seem the guys at Ubisoft have some bugs to work out still.
But even with them in the game, and some are likely to get patched of course, these occurrences are quite rare and do not stop the game looking beautiful, it’s just a shame when some key moments in a good story are spoiled but the well designed scenery and characters still stand out.
Arno Dorian is the subject of the war between the templars and the Assassins before he has any knowledge of them, after meeting a girl named Elise he falls for her and she soon becomes the motivator for his life. As usual in assassins creed, people get killed and soon both Arno and Elise are on the path for revenge and to figure out a series of killings that are linked to the Templars and Assassins with both sides taking losses.
The story takes a more serious tone than in previous games, with Arno really having a tough life from the very early stages of the game, which will get you identifying with his cause even if his manner and overly seriousness at times doesn’t ever make you really like him like other protagonists in the series. But that does not stop the games story being a captivating one, conversations between Arno and other characters are exceptionally well done, with lip syncing and animations all spot on along with a great voice cast that help to paint a picture of 18th Century Paris. The character that I felt was best done was Elise who plays a good part in the plot from beginning to end, the fact she is doing her own thing a lot of the time makes the meetings more meaningful.
While it’s a well told narrative with some good twists and turns along the way that will catch you out, I am left a little disappointed there wasn’t more direct involvement with the French revolution. Some of the side quests do touch on it but still, there is not quite enough given how much scope the writers had to really get you involved with one of the most brutal and pivotal moments in French history. That being said evidence of the revolution is all over Paris and uprisings can be seen all over certain areas, I just wanted to get a little more hands on with it personally speaking.
With a very well told the main plot and the optional Paris City Stories and other quests out there to be found, the single player experience really has not suffered anything due to the addition of Co-Op and with the main story being 15-16 hours if you rush it, there is plenty to occupy your time. One big win here is the way the story is told as the tone and events really do give you a lot of motivation and incentive to find out exactly what happens in the end rather than just getting lost in the additional missions as with previous games in the series.
Of course Assassins Creed is all about the gameplay, moving around and getting involved in a wonderfully created open world. Free running is really smooth and you can scale buildings and get around with ease generally, but again some bugs can appear and spoil the fun. If you get in a tricky position and you’ll struggle to get to a jump point and sometimes leap off and slap to the floor and have to re-load, occasionally going straight through the floor and into the void beneath… I did mention bugs right?
Combat is the usual Assassins Creed affair which has a nice flow to it if not hitting the same smoothness as other games in the same genre. Where the game is really smooth and consistent is in the stealth as you use crowds to hide in or sneak silently behind guards and kill them in the flick of a wrist and are gone in a flash. Toys like the smoke bombs and Phantom Blades help but mainly its fun to just sneak in, a quick assassins blade to the back and back to the shadows. Lots of fun!
Mission Structure wise there are a number of assassination missions during the story that are really well done, they simply give you a wide open area and a target to kill within. There are opportunities in the environment for assistance but it’s up to you how to approach the kill, get it right and you get a very special kill scene out of it too. Mess up and you’ll wind up setting off all the alarms and having to get out of there, end up dead or simply restart the checkpoint again! All of this works nicely, the controls will let you down at times especially in tight quarters and some big fights, especially the final boss fight but all in all it’s as you would expect from an Assassins Creed title.
Multiplayer is a nice addition and a more subtle one than I was expecting you can play some missions with another player at an objective together with is a lot of fun, then there are clubs where you can make teams to play together and all in all, the mode is very enjoyable and it’s a bit of a break from simply jumping around the city on your own. The fact there is this content and a huge amount of single player too makes for one very large game.
One of my personal favourite moments in Unity is where the server gets hacked as you interface with Arno’s memory in the future. Trips to the “real world” are rare in the game and happen as a face on the TV and your server code breaking down. The team open a bridge to get you to another server but it’s full of broken code and sends you into different time frames. There are a few of these and the objectives are simple enough, escape through a portal to another server, but the break in setting is really interesting and adds some additional depth to the experience, The World War 2 one being a personal favourite.
This is very much the classic Assassins Creed experience with the addition of some fun Co-Op play, thankfully this does not take away from the Single Player element with so much to do around the large map. Bugs and texture pop-in do break up what is a good main story and the gameplay at times, with some poor collision detection effecting the flow of free running on occasion too. Still, the game does have some of the most beautifully created architecture, character and costume design out there and there is so much to do in the city both on your own and together with friends, you could literally get lost in all the content.
Ultimately, it’s very much an Assassins Creed game for Assassins Creed fans, some of the co-op play features may well tempt other players to join in, but if you are not a huge fan of the games gone by, there is nothing new here to draw you in and go for another trip in the Animus.
For the fans, well it’s a step away from the Black Flag themes and more like Assassins Creed 2 in structure, is it as good as Black Flag? The Story mode is certainly an improvement and lasts a good 15 hours, but it has lost some of the fun in the change over and losing the freedom of your ship and the battles.
Unity is a solid addition to the Assassins Creed Series and a game worth picking up should you be into it and a good place to start have you never played one before. Don’t expect the most polished experience but it’s certainly a game that will keep you coming back for more.