Video Game Review: Assassin’s Creed Unity

Details: Played on PC for about twenty six hours. Beat the game and the Dead Kings DLC (downloadable content).

When Assassin’s Creed Unity was first released, it entered the market to great controversy. Many people found the game unplayable with crippling glitches throughout the game. It’s been almost two years since it’s original release and I decided to give it a try.

Luckily, I experienced almost no bugs/glitches throughout the game. Whatever bugs were present at release seem to be patched out or I just got lucky. As for the actual substance of the game… there’s much to be said.

There are numerous aspects of the Assassin’s Creed franchise that I look forward to and expect to see when I purchase one of these games. Firstly, I expect and enjoy the cinematic nature of the series. Playing these games often feels like you’re playing a movie and the performances combined with the motion capture definitely give the game that movie feel. Here, the graphics were great. The cut scenes were also fantastic.

Secondly, I play these games for the historical aspect. Each Assassin’s Creed game takes place in a historically significant time period. Additionally, you not only get to walk through detailed slices of history, the story interweaves with historical events and you get to meet historical figures like Benjamin Franklin or Napoleon Bonaparte. In Unity however, while there are certainly important figures and events present, I feel like they weren’t included enough in the main story. I would have liked to see more involvement of historically significant people. The problem might have been with the time period as well. There just aren’t that many big battles during the French revolution, at least not like the big wars between countries. Most of the missions that take place in historical events just involve walking through a crowd to get to an assassination target. I wish there was more  variety.

Gameplay however, has never really been the Assassin’s Creed franchise’s strong suit and that is certainly true here. Generally, the Assassin’s Creed franchise plays like it part Hitman/Splinter Cell with the stealth, some parkour and platforming, a little Batman detective mode, and some of the Grand Theft Auto feeling of an open world with no aspect of any of these gameplay elements being particularly great. They are just tolerable. I usually describe Assassin’s Creed as historical Batman.

Also, the story of a game like this normally acts as an incentive to get through the missions (ideally the missions are fun, too). Aside from the main story arc, all the side missions are repetitive and do not come with plot points or accompanying cut scenes. The result is that all the quests and missions outside of the main plot line are pretty boring and unsatisfying. Without a narrative reward, you don’t feel any real progression whenever you beat these side quests or chase random collectibles.

Edit: After playing through the game some more I’ve found that there are some story driven side quests involving characters from the main quests. These are interesting, but still boring in that the same mission structures remain (i.e. kill X person, investigate Y area). I’ll increase the score by .1 accordingly.

Additionally, there is no new gameplay mechanic that allows Unity to stand out. In prior games, there is usually some additional mechanic on top of the old run around and kill things gameplay. For example, Black Flag had the ship and sailing and Assassin’s Creed had the hunting (not as fun as the sailing). Unity has nothing new, just the same old things we’ve seen every game.

Oh, and the Nostradamus quests sucked. If you’re going to do something like looking for unmarked objects in a massive open world, at least color an area so we have some clue where to look. What a stupid idea.

The investigation missions were fun, although they needed to be fleshed out a little more. Maybe made a little more cinematic. I’m a sucker for mysteries.

Score: 6.4/10 It was fun, but was it worth sixty dollars? Hell no. I bought it for substantially less so I don’t feel too bad. Definitely a fun game if you don’t feel the need to collect everything. If you do… maybe skip it because it is filled to the brim with inconsequential filler.

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