In the last about 2 months you may have read both negative and positive reviews about Assassin’s Creed: Unity and I would like to detail the game’s positive and negative gameplay mechanics and features to wash the whole topic clear once and for all. I have read the comments and reviews on Steam and most of them are really not saying anything at all to me, so I have decided to write about the game.
I have bought the Xbox One version of the game and after I completed the main single player missions I did nearly all of the Co-op missions and side-missions too and I would like to share my opinions about the game as a fan of the whole Assassin’s Creed series.
I am quite impressed with the new freeroam system and I have to say the team behind it really did a great job. Everything is fluent and nearly perfect (sometimes you can see very minor bugs and glitches) and it is a great improvement compared to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.
The feature which takes us down even from the highest building works great, I haven’t had a problem with it, although sometimes the character stops moving, when the system cannot find an alternative way down, then you have to climb down a little and the whole thing takes you down safely and quickly.
The running and jumping on the rooftops and the sliding moves below and over obstacles are really solid.
The whole movement is much faster than in any Assassin’s Creed before and that’s maybe makes it look a bit unreal. On the other had Paris has really high buildings and there is no way to climb them quickly with the previous/old parkour moves.
On the Xbox One I haven’t had any problems or bigger glitches with the freerun feature and I am really satisfied with it.
+/- Combat and Enemies
The whole combat is now really challenging, the game has enemies from level 1 to level 5. Against a level 5 enemy you have to be really really quick to make counter-attacks, while they are also able to counter your attacks. All of the guards have the same finishing moves as you have, so this time around don’t be shocked if you got stabbed through by a common guard.
These new things makes the combat satisfying and make you to plan your strategy in advance.
The guard types have been rethought, so although most of the guards looks like as the ones from Black Flag you have to use different strategies against them. Smoke bombs are not that effective, and the duration of smoke is greatly reduced.
You also have to note that every single enemy has a gun, making the whole action an unforgiving experience. They will pull out and shoot their guns on the spot if they see you running away from the fight. They are going to shoot you even if you are running in a huge crowd of people and most of the times the bullets go through the whole crowd and stop in your character. If you are fighting a group of enemies and some other guys are 5-10 meters away from you, those guys will aim their guns at you or they will be throwing flashbang bombs at you. Have I told you that you cannot use your enemies as human shields in Unity? And making them to miss their shots is usually difficult and those bullets deal a great damage even when you are wearing a legendary armor? Other than these things above everything else is pretty solid and most of the times the guards won’t be chasing you on the rooftops.
Snipers are different this time, but not very much different, than in Black Flag Their sight and range are better and they are just as precise as a Swiss watch. Most of the times snipers are everywhere on the rooftops making a simple mission quite difficult or complicated. If they see you they are going to shoot you (also alarming the other guards) almost instantly and they won’t forget you for about a minute or two. Snipers make the singleplayer and the Co-op game very challenging at times, maybe too challenging.
Guards are everywhere on missions
You won’t see many spots which are not covered by a sniper or patrolled by other guards on any missions. I must also mention that the game notifies you before a main assassination about how many guards are guarding the place. For example a beggar was guarded by 54 guards on a single player mission. There is no chance to take care of them in an open fight, so you have to drop your loud and proud plan for Arno’s safety.
++ Paris and Versailles
The two main locations are very well put together and I am as quite impressed with the size of the two cities as the details of the two locations. We can enter pretty much every major building and palace and you can also jump into and pick up side missions in many small houses and apartments.
Paris is Paris period. You will be able to find every single major building and palace, so there is plenty to explore. It must be the biggest city map created by Ubisoft. Paris is the main location of the game, most of the action will take place there, although the game starts out in the royal palace of Versailles.
+/- The story
Our main character is Arno Dorian, an assassin, who does not know that his father was an assassin. Arno is our main hero, but sometimes the whole story feels like it’s more about his love, Elise De LaSerre.
I am writing this, because the whole story makes me feel, that Arno doesn’t have what it takes to be a leader and sometimes it feels like he doesn’t even have own ideas. A single cutscene describes it the best, Elise isn’t getting kissed by Arno, but Elise is kissing Arno. Many times Elise acts more manlier, she is also looks like more motivated, than Arno himself, and she does not really question herself or her own actions and moves.
Other than the personality of our main character, we get to know famous people and we will have our fair share of trouble and historical events. A regular singleplayer mission can take 2 or 3 times more time (of course the missions are also more detailed), than before. On an assassination mission there are multiple opportunities and entrances to get the job done.
I must say that the story feels very linear, because Arno is going to kill pretty much every bad people he has met along the way.
The Co-op gameplay is nothing special, it’s cool, but not as fluent as advertised by Ubisoft. You have to have a good and capable friend (or a group of friends) who is experienced and you will be fine. But if you start playing with random people or strangers, sometimes you will ask yourself why you even bother playing Co-op.
There is no versus or manhunt mode in Unity and as I know the versus and the matchmaking servers of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag are down (or offline) on PC, but there are still people playing with Assassin’s Creed III.
– Graphics& Performance
The game is truly beautiful. From the faces of the characters, the facial animations and movements, not speaking about the textures and the reflections! to the details of a palace interior or the crowded square in from of the Notre Dame everything looks like next-generation.
Maybe as the biggest flaw the resolution and the FPS rates can be mentioned. On both Xbox One and Playstation 4 the game is locked at native 900p and 30FPS. On Playstation 4 the FPS can drop down to even 20-22, while on Xbox One the FPS rates are slightly better, Unity is running constantly at 28-30FPS, but it can be down at 25FPS in large crowds.
I think that the minimum system requirement section on Assassin’s Creed: Unity’s Steam store page is misleading, the game could have been more optimized for PC and for the consoles. By the way is this “Nvidia Gametech” and the Nvidia tools are the reason behind the low FPS rates? Because Watch_Dogs was almost ruined by Nvidia Gametech on Xbox One and on most of the ATI cards on PC.
+++ Gear and Character Customization
There are more customization options than ever before. You can choose your chest armor, your hood, your boots and you belt and you can also set the color of your gear.
The main weapons can be one of the followings: swords, spears, rifles, heavy weapons or Guillotine guns (axe+rifle).
This time there is no thing like the “ultimate gear” in the game and every single piece has an effect on your healthbar, stealth, long range weapon and sword skills. The elite and legendary pieces can be quite costly, but if you are doing some heist missions in Co-op, then you can buy even the most expensive ones.
There are four types of “money”: the actual French coins (for buying new gear), the assassin points (for upgrading weapons and gear), the hack points (you cannot use these for every item – these can be bought on Uplay) and the skill points (for unlocking new skills, such as double-assassinations).
You have a lot of options, so take your time and select the best one according to your playstyle!