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Assassin's Creed Unity (PC) artwork

Assassin's Creed Unity (PC) review


"Beyond the messy launch and bad business practices from Ubisoft, this isn't that bad an installment."


Admittedly, Ubisoft has garnered some good will from me. There have been a few misses. Assassin's Creed Liberation wasn't that good, I found Watch Dogs pretty underwhelming, and Assassin's Creed 3 was a bit of a difficulty spike for the franchise. But consider the game right before Unity. Black Flag was absolutely wonderful and I recommend it to everyone. Seriously, go play it if you haven't already. Show Ubisoft that we can reward their quality work.

Unity often fails to hit the same highs, though. Technically, there is the framerate issue which I do find annoying on occasion. I'd be fine for a while but then all of the sudden the game will stutter and suddenly I'm looking straight into the sky, or completely turned around. During chases, this issue has caused me to start running back into groups of guards I was fleeing from on more than one suicidal occasion. But the game seems to be judged primarily on the amount of glitches it has. Yes, it was a very messy release. Yes, it did prove that people need to stop pre-ordering titles. Letís finally learn that lesson. However. Is the game fun? Yes, yes it is. So allow me to set aside the PR mishaps and various glitches and let me tell you about the game itself:

You play as a faceless, nameless gamer. The Assassin order hacks your feed and recruits you into the Brotherhood. I'm not fond of this framing device honestly, because I myself am not really one capable of saving the world. And how we can save the world while playing a game is beyond me, but whatever. They place you in the memories of Arno who is essentially Ezio 2.0, which some of you may recall kind of outstayed his welcome when stretched across three games. Arno seems to quickly become a loyal Assassin which is a bit uninteresting when compared to the more colorful Kenway who starred in the last game.

But Unity remains fairly solid. The combat is a little more balanced this time around. Counter-attacking no longer one-shots enemies but opens them up for a flurry of your own attacks. No longer are we legion-clearing badasses. If you let them, enemies will swarm and murder your Arno regardless of gear. Bullets, also more realistically, will kill you in two hits. If you don't pay attention to your surroundings, the game will punish you for it. And that is awesome.

Gear has taken a more RPG-like vibe. In previous games, gear only served to add to your health. This time, there are various statistics like detection speed, health, and bonus ammunition pools for your gun and bombs. Each piece has a focus between health bonuses, stealth and ranged and you're free to choose which line you focus on. (I personally go for stealth stuff). It's interesting, but I'm not sure if it's a better system. It all ties back to the fact that enemies will continue to hurt you if you let them, as we can't really one-shot people in open combat any longer. That said, once you get a 5-star sword you can mow through enemies - as long as you pay attention!

Multiplayer has various levels of function. Most of the time I've tried it, nobody has a mic. The one time I connected with someone, we actually had to connect through steam and I replied to his speech via Uplay (I don't have a mic). This was very clunky because Uplay wouldn't let me make a call without some kind of input device. Or something. I don't know. Itís an awful system. The rest of the time, each multiplayer match turns into this madhouse of combat. Without coordination, without any way to talk to these people in-game via text, stealth is thrown out the window. Within seconds of being given control of our characters, inevitably I see my screen blink red and combat has begun with my teammates. So the promotional videos of all those coordinated attacks? Doesn't happen. Good idea in theory but I don't believe it's working as intended.

Am I forgetting something? Oh yes. The microtransaction function. Twenty-plus hours of game time and I've barely looked at it twice. Complain all you want but it's actually very, very easy to ignore. I still don't even know how to "get" more "Helix" points if I wanted to.

PROS:

-Combat is given some more complexity. Youíre no longer a powerhouse by Act 2 of the game. You can't one-shot counter. Enemies seem to be aware of this and will take advantage. It forces a player to pay attention, and I love this.
-Gear is varied and fun to mix, match, and experiment with.
-Boss fights are more interesting than punching a fat man to death.

CONS:

-Glitches still present, just depends on your level of patience.
-Framerate drops is an issue for absolutely everyone and probably isn't our computers. It's probably on Ubi's end.
-Map is a bit of a spam of icons.
-Multiplayer is doable, but lack of coordination turns every single mission into pure combat and nothing else.

MIXED:

-Blue chests can only be opened with some cell phone App.
-Microtransactions exist, but are easily ignored.
-Arno is fairly forgettable as a protagonist. There are side characters I care more about than him. (Elise, for example).
-Areas have difficulty gates. Normally in this series (and other games), I'd prioritize exploring and nabbing all those towers to open up my map. This got me killed a few times as a fledgling assassin when 5-star enemies started to one-shot me with their spears. I'm not sure how I feel about this, other than "Mixed", thus this section.

Beyond the messy launch and bad business practices from Ubisoft, this isn't that bad an installment to this franchise. It just depends on your threshold of patience and how easy you can ignore a few of the problems.

3/5

Zydrate's avatar
Community review by Zydrate (June 26, 2016)

Zydrate is most active on Steam and Tumblr.

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