Random Article


 
Must See..
 

Assassin’s Creed Unity (PS4) Review

 
assassins creed unity logo
assassins creed unity logo
assassins creed unity logo

 
At a Glance...
 

Formats: PC, PS4, Xbox One
 
Genre: ,
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
7.5
7.5/ 10


User Rating
1 total rating

 

We Liked?


  • Huge game map to explore with an incredible amount to do in it
  • Improved parkour system adds fluidity
  • Impressive crowds and living city
  • Looks gorgeous, with some impressive interiors and landmark buildings
  • Free-form assassinations are a highlight
  • Co-Op play can be fun at times if a little finicky

Not So Much?


  • Terrible frame rate issues
  • Poor collision detection at times and terrible object clipping
  • Other general techincal faults can leave you having to reset your game
  • Does little, other than spectacle, to push the series forward
  • Elongated loading times


Final Fiendish Findings?

Assassin’s Creed: Unity marks Ubisoft’s transition from last generation to current generation.  Utilising a new engine and the increased power of the new consoles what can the massive teams at Ubisoft bring us to move the franchise forward? Shifting the story focus this time to revolutionary France we find ourselves looking through the eyes of […]

0
Posted November 18, 2014 by

 
Final Fiendish Findings?
 
 

Assassin’s Creed: Unity marks Ubisoft’s transition from last generation to current generation.  Utilising a new engine and the increased power of the new consoles what can the massive teams at Ubisoft bring us to move the franchise forward?

Shifting the story focus this time to revolutionary France we find ourselves looking through the eyes of Arno Dorian.  As Arno makes his way through the story he becomes embroiled in the true struggle behind the French Revolution and its orchestrators.

The back story to Arno’s tale is fed directly from the action in the new last generation release Assassin’s Creed Rogue.  With Arno’s father, a high ranking assassin, killed in the opening sequence a sprawling story of revenge, love and honour plays out when Arno finds out the true identity of his adopted family.

nity 4

Gone are the boats and sea faring antics of both Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed 3.  Back are the more traditional aspects of the franchise honed through Assassin’s Creed 2, Brotherhood and Revelations.  It feels immediately familiar to series veterans and that can be both a good thing and a bad thing.  Good as it reminds me heavily of why I enjoy 2 and Brotherhood so much.  Bad in that it still feels like the series is stuck, with little progression made in the in-between times.

Progression has been made though and no more obvious than the environment that Arno inhabits.  Revolutionary Paris is a glorious spectacle to behold.  The increased power and capacity of the new generation of consoles has allowed Ubisoft to expand the city on offer.  It truly feels like a massive place to explore.  You can run and run for minutes on end until you reach the edges of the map.

The environments aren’t just large.  They’re densely populated as well with the streets undulating like a technicoloured sea at times as people go about their daily lives.  It really does some the closest yet to Ubisoft creating a believable and “living” world for you to use as your sandbox.  At times hundreds upon hundreds of characters fill a town square or crowded courtyard – you really can’t help but be impressed by it.

Assassins-Creed-Unity

Similarly the architectural design is breath-taking at times.  Ranging from broken down poor dwellings to opulent palaces everything has been given a rich depth not found in other games – especially open world ones.

The opulent visuals, massive crowds and expansive game map all come at a cost though, and that costs is frame rate.  With the PS4 appearing to stutter and drop frames regularly it often resembles a slideshow in intensely graphical situations.  For example climbing around a chapel that is adorned with beautiful ornate stained glass windows looks incredible.  Yet trying to traverse the simple path along the wall sconces and chandeliers turns in to a nightmare as the frame rate slows and freezes.

Whilst we’re dealing with the graphical issues we might as well go all out.  Assassin’s Creed Unity suffers dreadfully from clipping issues.  This is when one set of objects is allowed to pass through another when perhaps it shouldn’t.  For example a woman washing a step on the street had legs and arms protruding through her skirt material.  Arno at one point managed to walk through a chimney breast on top of a roof and get stuck there resulting in a restart of the game.  Characters also at times end up bent double or missing part of their construction.

For the most part these things are annoyances or amusements but some do result in a need to restart the game and loss of progress.  Not to mention it totally breaks your immersion in the game world.

ac unity 2

Gameplay wise a few elements have been tweaked.  For instance the game’s trademark parkour has been tweaked to now offer descending free-running as well as ascending.  Traditionally holding R2 and X would have you scale buildings etc.  Now you can do the same but hold O to descend from buildings in a more graceful way.  This does add a certain graceful fluidity to transitions that was missing from previous titles.  It’s only now that I’ve used it I realise how much the game needed it.

Other tweaks to the parkour system like holding in a button when running to mantle low objects like tables, crates or jump in through a ground floor window or sliding under an obstacle.  These tweaks help to bring the movement together nicely – when it’s all working as it should.  You still experience the frustrations if repeatedly climbing up a wall rather than entering a window or door way.  Something that, by now, I’d have hoped was fixed.

As well as these new movement skills there are more things to do in the game world.  As Arno moves around he will hear cries for help as someone is robbed or is being bullied.  There might be a crime that needs investigating or a separate side quest that needs looking in to.  Each of these can be taken on as and when you feel like it with the quests being added to an inventory for later action.  The environmental distractions like muggings, bullying etc usually take the form of an immediate response and take little to resolve.  A nice distraction when moving around the ample environment.

unity 5

Combat has been rebuilt in Assassin’s Creed Unity from what Ubisoft were saying pre-launch.  Playing the game though and the traditional parry, mash attack, parry, mash attack strategy that has served you well in the previous games will do so here.  The continuation of the varied dart/blade system is here allowing you to subdue to enrage guards during stealth missions.  In all the weaponry is much the same as it ever was with little changing this year.

Unity introduces a bunch of different skill and currency points throughout.  These range from XP points know and Unity points, to Francs and others.  Each can be used to purchase difference items in the game or in the case of Unity points they allow you to upgrade Arno in different was – health, attack, stealth etc.  It’s a rudimentary character progression but it mostly works.

Laced throughout the game are co-operative missions.  These are new for Assassin’s Creed Unity and offer a little variety.  Taking on some objective based levels can be fun with a friend, and the new Assassin’s club system is interesting if a little under-explained.

The missions in an Assassin’s Creed title can make or break the game.  So long have I been frustrated by endless sneak or tail missions.  How horrified was I that the very first mission in the game is “Follow person x”!  There are still plentiful “follow” missions but they seem a little less aggressively annoying than in previous versions.  Where Assassin’s Creed Unity starts to shine though are in the free-form assassination missions.

These missions will offer you up the standard “you must kill X for the cause” scenario yet they leave it open to a myriad of possibilities on how to execute (pun intended!) the plan.  For example you must assassinate someone inside a well guarded and fortified church.  You could run in sword and pistol flashing, you could scale the roof, drop in through an open window taking out the guards then assassinate from above.  My choice was to tail a man holding a set of keys for the upper area of the building, pickpocket them then climb the building.  Enter through the newly unlocked doors and clear out the guards on the upper floor silently.  I then dropped down in to the chapel and stashed myself in a confessional booth as my pray walked in.  He chatted for a few minutes then I hit a button and Arno’s arm blade shot through the separating woodwork, skewering the man the other side.  I then silently exited the booth, rode a rope to the ceiling and exited through the locked doors using my keys.

It’s the moment like this that show you just how great Assassin’s Creed can be.  Stripped back from the hundreds of side quests and frustrating eavesdropping missions there is a fantastic stealth action title hidden deep inside.

unity 3

Final Thoughts

Assassin’s Creed Unity is probably the first title to try and push the new consoles to create something a little “more” than what we’ve been used too.  The incredibly detailed world, the huge crowds, a massive number of building interiors and expansive environment all showcase what could be possible as developers get more acquainted with the hardware.

The 15’ish hours of Arno’s campaign offer some variety yet the game is still bogged down with some tedious mission structures.  The new freeform assassinations are great fun and offer the biggest non-graphical step forward for the game in years.

Technical issues dog the whole experience and serve to bring down an otherwise technically impressive game.  Most issues can just be lived with but to be honest it makes you wonder if Unity might have benefitted from a few extra months in development to polish out these problems.

Arno is a likeable enough character.  Ubisoft appear to be trying to build us a new French Ezio.  The ploy is obvious but not offensive and you’ll find Arno agreeable for the most part, if a little one-dimensional.  He’s no Ezio though.

Fans will love the deeper, richer world.  There are literally hundreds of things to do and the map is full of icons and missions to complete long after Arno’s story has faded.  Perhaps some nifty patch work from Ubisoft can undo some of the technical damage and next year’s Assassin’s Creed might actually bring things all together nicely – After all Assassin’s Creed 2 managed it.

But be warned, as it currently stands, Assassin’s Creed Unity has some serious technical issues that will hamper your enjoyment of the game.


Zeth

 
Zeth is our EU ninja and Editor in Chief. He's been writing about video games since 2008 when he started on BrutalGamer. He's pretty old and has been a gamer since he played Space Invaders as a young boy in the 80's. His genre tastes lean towards platformers, point-and-click adventure, action-adventure and shooters but he'll turn his hand to anything.