Perhaps you’ve been reading some of the bad publicity Assassin’s Creed: Unity has received. As with President Obama’s healthcare program, the new Adidas ball at the World Cup and Xbox One, too much fuss is made when glitches are found upon the public introduction of a brand-new product. Unity is a game loaded with nice new stuff. This makes it either great because you like the new, or disappointing if you prefer a plain old continuance of a tried-and-true format. Ubisoft’s puzzling choice to release it simultaneously alongside Assassin’s Greed: Rogue makes no kind of business sense whatsoever.
Well, like it or not, and I like it, Ubisoft‘ has re-tweaked its latest effort in the Assassin’s Creed franchise for cutting edge current consoles, and does it ever show.
First of all, though, the main thing I took note of was a return to the fantastic vista values of Assassin’s Creed II, where the architecture of Milan is reproduced so sumptuously that is has left its successors in the shade. This time, Ubisoft are at the top of their game, however, and Unity’s Paris really will knock your socks off. Each and every cobbled street, every brick and point on every building, the tiles of every roof, the stuccoed escarpments; all of it’s stunning. It’s like you are right there in High-Def!
As in real life, big, beautiful Paris stretches as far as the eye can see. So, you enter Paris through the point-of-view of an orphaned young lad, Arno Victor Dorian, who is adopted by François De La Serre, a rich, hedonist friend of his father. A bit spoiled by his circumstances, Arno has to rethink his whole existence before being recruited into the brotherhood of assassins as a means of vengeance for the murder of both his doting adoptive ‘uncle’ and his father. This all takes place while the French Revolution is at its scary zenith as Arno regularly brushes with fame, meeting Marie Antoinette, King Louis XVI, Napoleon Bonaparte, Robespierre, Danton and Talleyrand.
Unity is also the completely fictionalized tale of Arno ‘L’Assassin’ and his female equivalent, Élise the Templar, is an interesting one as well. Ubisoft has been rightfully criticized a lot by feminists and liberal intellectuals for inventing more choice in the realm of female assassins over the last decade or so. Well, Elise is a cold, calculating, intelligent killer of the first order and makes for both a splendid enemy and partner for Arno Dorian. She is an expert in a cornucopia of weaponry. Brave, independent and quick, she very much enhances the new game.
Both Arno and Elise are interesting characters. He seems rather spoiled and foppish, obnoxiously bourgeois in the same manner as the Scarlet PimperneI, but with a cool kind of reassurance. Meanwhile Elise is sometimes so comically ‘independent’ that you can’t help but be amused by her very orneriness.
This game is also much harder to play than previous numbers in the franchise. Arno and Elise are not bullet or blade-proofing the franchise. Gone are the days of being able to stand your ground and wipe out hordes of enemies. Combat is tougher and much more gruesome. I won’t give them away, but there are strategies and tricks you’ll need to learn in order to survive.
Finally, all I can say that is really bad about the game is that too many of the bad guys are completely, moronically super-stupid. A really bad villain along the lines of the joker/Moriarty would be preferable to these idiots! Not much to moan about, really, but, If I were to make one complaint about Unity‘s difficulty, it’d be that… that the enemies in pursuit are stupid. All of them: Just plain cow-shit stupid.
Otherwise, Assassin’s Creed: Unity‘s new climbing controls are interesting. Throughout the series climbing up has been hard, and down just a matter of gravity, luck and starting all over again if you fall. Now that there’s a dedicated climb-down button, descents are both a temporarily hard trick to play and then shockingly simple. Old school players will take a while to get used to it, but it’s well worth it. Longstanding players of the series, however, will definitely take some getting used to it.