Last Updated on June 16, 2022 by Yildirim Sertbas
Here we are, the highly anticipated Assassin’s Creed Unity has reached a turning point, the generational leap. Ubisoft has in fact decided to leave the next-gen behind (not entirely since Assassin’s Creed Rogue will be available) to exploit the potential of the new Xbox One and PS4, let’s see the result below.
We have known the setting for some time now, the splendid Paris at the time of the French Revolution, an interesting and varied historical period where it was easy for the scriptwriters to insert the events of Assassins and Templars by tying them with the really existing characters.
The plot is not particularly complex and the story is fluctuating in quality, alternating scenes, and clips of quality (one of which is the evocative oneiric scene of initiation) with declines in the script. The game starts by letting us play a kind of short prequel as a Templar. The ” tutorial ” then continues (without being noticed) with the events of Arno starting from childhood. The choice to link it directly to the plot and take advantage of the opportunity to let us experience one of the facts that will later mark the life of the future Assassin is particular and certainly appreciated.
Obviously, we cannot reveal too much to avoid spoilers but the plot will be guided by Arno’s desire for revenge who will have to deal with events that are not excessively intricate (the series had more fascinating narratives) but interesting for the historical implications. Although it is not a masterpiece of the screenplay, the twists are not lacking although to deepen the context more it is necessary to turn to the secondary quests of the ” Stories of Paris ” series.
We have already talked about the period and experiencing the storming of the Bastille is certainly exciting but what amazes us is Paris, a city rendered to perfection, characterized almost as a living being and above all excellent in technical implementation. The feeling that will strike you is that of a greater life; streets and buildings immediately seem less empty and the level design contributes to this aspect.
In fact, there will be many houses and passages between one row of buildings to another, able to eliminate that feeling of claustrophobia that we could experience in the previous chapters as well as being a significant advantage in terms of gameplay, both during exploration and in missions. . Furthermore, the feeling of being in front of a fictitious environment is greatly attenuated, contributing to the identification of the player.
Let’s go back to Paris, a city masterfully created by Ubisoft that has filled streets, buildings, and crevices with details aimed at bringing the game closer to photorealism. Buildings and “props” are rich in detail and you can immediately see the possibility of the new consoles managing a much higher number of polygons and quality textures. Ubisoft did not miss the opportunity to exploit the computational power of the next-gen and an example is a work done for the lighting system, with really convincing shadows, lights, and effects (even if a step back from Black Flag).
Enter one of the Parisian churches: you could spend whole minutes admiring the vividness of the colors, the reflections, and shadows from the stained glass windows, and the incredible level of detail lavished!
Furthermore, it is to be commended that the graphic quality is constant for all the elements, starting from the main buildings up to the simple houses to moving on to the interiors, the furnishings, and the characters that inhabit the city. These move in a more realistic way in the city environment, giving rise to contextualized scenes in a city in revolution, although there are still several characters busy in a single activity, whether it is standing still and talking or dusting the shelves of a library.
Paris shines like gold but, pad in hand, we noticed some flaws to report. During the game, in fact, it happens to witness some oddities such as enemies that snap into a different position while “crossing” an object or the same protagonist who on some areas of the roofs remains suspended in midair.
What is reported does not affect the game since it has never happened to find ourselves with the character actually blocked to the point of having to restart the level. It is not the best, however, to see the protagonist literally cross a passerby or waver in search of the next hold. We also report some artifacts in the cut scenes and interpenetration problems.
The framerate issue was certainly the big protagonist of the pre-launch period. Given that 60 FPS are not necessarily mandatory for those who write and that in such a game the 30 FPS are absolutely enjoyable, AC Unity, unfortunately, cannot guarantee the stability that would allow us to put our hearts in peace. The dips are present in situations where the graphics engine has to move too many “objects” (there are scenes of 5,000 / 10,000 characters on the screen) or when dealing with complex lighting effects.
Is Assassin’s Creed Unity therefore forgivable in light of these pros and cons regarding the technical sector?
We leave the answer to you, for us it is a “sin”. The work done by Ubisoft in the pure quality of the graphics is excellent, also thanks to the cinematic direction of the cut scenes integrated into the gameplay, the fantastic views of Paris, and the quality of the details.
The technique flaws on occasion for the aforementioned reasons but, with optimization work and some patches, it is not certain that the situation cannot improve … maybe even slightly shortening the loading times.
Gameplay: combat and power-ups
The choice of the developers for Unity was to propose gameplay faithful to the series. If you have already played the saga you will find familiarity with the pad and the control system from the first moment despite some pleasant changes. Let’s start with the fight where we immediately found a lesser tendency to immobility of the enemies.
Both from the research and pursuit phase, where also thanks to the greater diffusion of firearms, the challenge postage is higher, and in the white weapon combat, our opponents are tougher in terms of tactics and brute strength. The attacks of multiple enemies at a time are increased and the same can be said of the reaction time, greater for the guards who see us commit an offense or run away when we are wanted.
However, there remains a sense of dissatisfaction if you have played Shadow of Mordor, a game that owes a lot to the Assassin’s Creed saga but that has managed to perfect the combat system. The animations still show a slight woodiness but certainly, two aspects are noticed.
The first is more thoughtful management of the clashes and the second is the use of the elements of the scenario to further co-pilot the fight. For example, if we fight an enemy near a table or a wall, Arno will use these elements to create a greater sense of dynamism.
Classic keys to use, with X for attacks, B for parry (indicated by the illumination of the enemy’s vital bar), and A for dodging too heavy blows.
Closing the combat section we point out artificial intelligence is in poor shape. The enemies, especially in the infiltration missions, seem to circulate with blinders, and their field of view is reduced to the front section, leaving us the possibility of a massacre as it already happened in other chapters of the series. Surely if we had to choose one aspect of Assassin’s Creed to improve with a wish, that would be combat and enemy AI.
Instead, let’s see the section on the upgrades of our assassin, essential for improving combat performance and obtaining new skills. Starting from the skills you can buy upgrades by completing missions and thus unlocking new skills.
Weapons, armor, and consumables (bullets, medipacks, etc.) remain relegated to vile money but acquire a second life since they can “grow” in the characteristics with points that are obtained by demonstrating a particular ability to behave as assassins (assassins in flight, disappearances with style etc). Finally, for those in a hurry, the way of in-app purchases is available, a tradition borrowed from the world of smartphones and increasingly popular even on home consoles.
This more RPG cut is one of the many innovations that we appreciated in Unity, able to clear the old equipment/inventory system making it varied, and open to customization and offering us a few more hours of autonomy while having fun looking for the best performing combination of objects. But beware of the extreme: by dedicating ourselves to the accumulation of money we will soon be able to obtain an arsenal that brings us close to invincibility, therefore it is recommended to balance this aspect during the game so as not to end up with an unbalanced character.
Gameplay: in the streets of Paris
Let’s see how Arno behaves in the exploration phase. Again there are tangible benefits from the improvements made. Running, that activity that will engage us for at least 70/80% of our wandering, changes face and file many of the defects thanks to three-button management. The right trigger remains the one to enter the running mode but you can vary the result by using it alone, with the A key (to climb), or with the B key for controlled descent. In particular, the latter allows a greater fluidity of movement than in the previous chapters where we could choose whether to launch from buildings (with the consequence of landing pains from those too high) or use the B key for a slow descent.
In Unity everything is more acrobatic and immediate, even overcoming obstacles through the new RT + B mode which has the result of speeding up exploration (together with the passages between buildings that have grown exponentially in number) and increasing realism. Arno is less “superhero” in climbing and running, the movements are faithful to reality and the Parkour inspiration is even more evident. The system meets the defects of interpenetration we talked about in the technical section and needs a good practice to “insert” the hole when we want to enter a window while climbing
Apart from this, the yield is certainly the best we have seen in the series although it is still to be optimized. The developers, however, have not limited themselves to improving the running sections but have also modified the “slow” ones, that is the stealth phases with the possibility of using the covers and jumping from one to another quickly.
Gameplay: Final Thoughts
Assassin’s Creed Unity improves a lot compared to the previous chapters, both for the aforementioned innovations and for the missions that embrace a wider spectrum of cases. The design of the same, together with the level design, allows more options for achieving a goal: try to ask a friend how he completed the mission “X” and you could discover a totally different approach from yours, or have fun replaying yourself. that memory by changing modus operandi.
The “Helix” interludes are also pleasant: in these cases, the developers and scriptwriters put us in front of temporal rifts that cross time and space. We will not dwell any further so as not to spoil the surprise but it is certainly an interesting innovation to break the rhythm of the main story.
Obviously also present the various secondary quests, puzzles, and investigations of Sherlock Holmes, exploration in search of collectibles (no, no feathers and songs that escape this time but simple and immobile rosettes and newspapers), and the managerial / management part already introduced by previous chapters and amplified in Unity by creating a new small game within the game: the Café Theater.
The strength of every revolution is certainly the number and Unity lives up to its name and the motto “United” that we have heard several times at Lucca Comics & Games.
The cooperative of this chapter allows you to face certain missions online alongside up to three other players. In this AC Unity borrows a dynamic already known for some time in the videogame world (the last of the various titles is Destiny for example), the resuscitation of comrades who fell during the mission. Taking up GTA, however, the new chapter offers the exploration mode in a cooperative, always with a party of four players.
Assassin’s Creed Unity is a controversial title. On the one hand, the generational leap is clear and pleasantly amazing for graphics, gameplay innovations, and longevity. Assuming a race to the main campaign with a fair degree of secondary missions and some extra-curricular activities, 20 hours are reached. The 100% maniacs, on the other hand, will have bread for their teeth for at least 35 hours with side quests, investigations, and Paris Stories (we estimate since we haven’t completed all the “extras” yet).
The dark side of this chapter is represented by the technical part that still maintains some defects that we would like to see eliminated with the new chapter. The main one is definitely a non-brilliant AI and a dancing framerate, fortunately only in some situations. There remains, therefore, that bit of bitterness in the mouth for the aspects highlighted but it is still a game capable of entertaining and above all an unmissable chapter for fans of the series. We sincerely hope for the next chapter: working on what we have reported we could really get to a title close to perfection and the players are waiting for nothing else .
Pros And Cons
- Paris is gorgeous and huge
- Content impressive
- Finally introduces a stealth system and sandbox kills to the series
- New, more complex Free Running system
- the co-op has a lot of fun with friends
- Various glitches and frame rate drops
- Enemy AI remains stupid and detracts from the stealth system
- Large imbalances in gadgets
- The complication of free running leads Arno to crash sometimes