The Assassin’s Creed series has become an annual video game franchise and Ubisoft has always tried to make sure each one feels different from the other. Assassin’s Creed Unity however is a game that goes back to its roots as the gameplay feels more akin to the first two Assassin’s Creed games.
Whereas Assassin’s Creed III and IV added different styles of gameplay such as the “Naval Sea Battles”, Assassin’s Creed Unity is a more intimate experience as the only city you will be exploring is Paris, France in the 18th Century. Paris in itself is huge as it’s a 1:1 scale of the entire city at the time. It is one of the biggest cities ever created in video game history that’s for sure.
Assassin’s Creed Unity sees you taking control of Arno Dorian who is born to a father who is an Assassin. Arno’s father gets killed when he is only a chid so he gets adopted into a Templar family. As Arno grows up, his adopted Templar father also gets killed.
The story officially kicks off as Arno tries to find out those who are responsible for the murders of both his father figures. Much like any other Assassin’s Creed game, the plot becomes deeper as Arno finds out more about the Templars, but also the Brotherhood of Assassins he becomes a part of as well.
The gameplay in Assassin’s Creed Unity is much like it was back in Assassin’s Creed II. There are no more trees for you to climb, and you don’t have to take control of a pirate ship either. Most of the missions require you to infiltrate palaces or other big buildings to eliminate a target, or find more clues to who killed Arno’s father figures.
The one thing I loved most about Assassin’s Creed Unity’s gameplay is the fact that missions are not linear as you have a choice to how you want to approach them. There is no babysitting in the game as you are only given directions on where your target is. How you want to go about killing your target is your choice.
Most of the missions are set in a specific location such as a huge palace or another big place like a church or something. There are usually around 40 or more guards standing around while your target is in one location. You are free to literally just walk through the front door and try to kill every guard if you can. You can also choose to go quietly and kill your target without being seen by anyone. Alternatively, a combination of both techniques works too.
Some Assassin’s Creed veterans will dislike some of the different control mechanics that have been altered here in Assassin’s Creed Unity. For one, the counter button has been removed in favour of a parry. This is annoying as Arno can only block attacks as opposed to counter-attacking enemies. Combat feels stiffer as parrying is less helpful than the counter button.
Another thing that has been removed is the ability for you to carry away and hide dead bodies. Why this has been removed is anyone’s guess. It makes stealth missions unnecessarily harder as dead bodies are usually in plain view for other guards to see. Life would have been easier if hiding bodies was still available.
Instead they have added other gameplay controls. For one, there is now a proper cover mechanic added to the game. Arno can now crouch and hide behind cover like other third-person stealth games. He also has an array of cool weapons such as swords, guns, and grenades just to name a few.
You can also upgrade Arno’s weapons and armour to make him tougher for harder missions. This is cool, although upgrading weapons and armour is time consuming because it’s expensive. You can speed up the process via microtransactions if you are impatient, but only do so if you don’t mind spending you own money to do this...
Competitive multiplayer has been removed in Assassin’s Creed Unity to make way for several co-op missions. The co-op missions are pretty elaborate and cool to do. They are different from the single player missions as they are new and not recycled. Co-op is very fun, although only if you are able to play with friends that are good at the game. It can be difficult if one person in the team isn’t very good.
In terms of graphics, Assassin’s Creed Unity is one of the best looking games I have ever seen. The interiors of the old French buildings look immaculate and are full of detail. Not to mention the character models are getting very close to the 3D animation we see in Hollywood movies. It’s also commendable how Ubisoft managed to make the graphics look so good with the city of Paris being so large, plus the thousands of NPCs you see standing around.
The only major flaw in Assassin’s Creed Unity right now is the many bugs and glitches that are present. I reviewed the game on Xbox One and have encountered many glitches that have prevented me from progressing. Sometimes Arno will die randomly even though his lifebar was full. Another time a cutscene failed to trigger and the game just froze. There were also many times Arno would fall through statues and buildings too. Hopefully Ubisoft fixes these bugs with numerous patches as the game right now is annoying to play with all these glitches ruining the experience.
Assassin’s Creed II fans will probably love Assassin’s Creed Unity the best as both games are similar in a lot of ways. If you loved the third and fourth games, you might be disappointed about the lack of Naval Battles and the different style of gameplay. Graphically the game is one of the best you’ll ever see, although the current glitches need to be fixed to make the experience more fun. Still, Unity is a decent game although it goes back to basics more than it does to revolutionize the series.