Assassin’s Creed: Unity (PC, Xbox One, PS4)
Set during the second French Revolution in the 1700s, you play as an orphaned assassin, who is tasked with killing a number of high profile Templars.
AC: Unity is set during the late 1700s during the tumultuous period of the second French revolution, in Versailles (prologue and tutorial missions) and Paris in France. You start the game as a young boy, Arno Dorian, who is bored of sitting around, runs off with a young girl and causes mischief, including stealing an apple from a courtyard. Afterwards, you find you father lying in a pool of blood, murdered by an unknown assailant (actually Shay Cormac in AC: Rogue) after which you are taken in by the young girl’s father, aware of who your father actually is and is himself the Grand Master of the Templars. The next part is the tutorial which teaches you the combat system, stealth system and parkour system. You end up sneaking into the initiation ceremony of Elise, the no longer young girl from the prologue, and upon being almost discovered, you escape into the central courtyard, where you hear a commotion. You then find your adopted father has been murdered by what turns out to be other Templars. However, you are the one accused of it, and are thrown into the Bastille in Paris where you meet a friend of your father’s. You both escape, and you join the Assassins’ ranks, setting off on a course of action which winds up causing the power vacuum that leads to the revolution in Paris.
From the music right down to the background sounds when walking the streets of a Parisian suburb, the sounds in this game are downright spine tingly authentic. Swords clash, guns echo, crowds of people chant and scream, footsteps abound, enemies shout and it just fills you with a sense of awe.
The graphics on this game are out there with the best of them. Although the system specs are quite high, even my PC which just about gets it on graphics memory and processor power, I still have things set to high. Only the anti-aliasing is at the lowest level without being off. Regardless, this still looks better even than most things do on the Xbox One and PS4, and when you are in the middle of a crowd or high above climbing the roof of the largest cathedrals in the game, it looks splendid. Even the nitty gritty details of the back streets look authentic. You can lose yourself in this game. It is that good.
Ubisoft has made the decision to get rid of competitive multi-player in this instalment of the Assassin’s Creed series, opting for a co-operative experience instead. And it works. You can free roam, solve street events, go on co-op missions, loot chests and do heists (yes, Ubisoft beat Rockstar to it!) with up to three friends joining you. You can synchronize assassinations, work together to distract and kill or grab objectives, and you also become a more formidable fighting force by working together.
Unity can be quite hard at times, given many of the enemies are specialised and take a lot to kill. You can easily be outnumbered, having to rely on your devices to dispatch your foes. Although the general two person patrols that use standard units are easy to dispatch, if they are close to a large group of guards or patriots, then you’re in for a rough time, specially since they can easily kill you in large numbers or shoot you from a distance. And then some missions require a large amount of stealth with needs to be timed exactly in order not to attract all the guards.
This is where AC: Unity shines but can also fall flat on its face. Swordplay is ace, although one mistime on a parry or counter and you are done for. You can even the odds by using a pistol or rifle to shoot one or more of your enemies. (I prefer my trusty four shot flintlock pistol to do the job) However, movement is where the game can sometimes fail. I don’t know if this is just a problem on the PC without a controller pad, or if it affects consoles too, but you can sometimes jump the wrong direction and end up jumping to your death, or when running collide with objects with either gets you killed or your quarry gets away from you and you fail the mission. However, this may be due to my incompetence with parkour based movement systems rather than any problem with the game. You can make money either by completing story missions or the many hundreds of side missions available to you. You can also play co-op for bigger rewards. You can also loot chests and loot your dead enemies for money and other items.
I have no idea at this point if you CAN replay the game… you can certainly chose to replay former story missions. But short of deleting your save game, you cannot simply start over. I can’t fault it for this though, after all, most gamers wont want to restart the whole game after upgrading every bit of kit and exploring the map and getting 100% completion…
A very addictive game that can suck away hours upon hours upon hours and could probably last a lifetime if you wanted it to. Amazing sound and graphics, and gameplay which makes the game a challenge even to those more experienced and with the game almost complete.
Replay Value: 9
Review written by Steve