Let us begin

Assassins Creed, a famously addictive historical series of games. Since 2007 it has quite successfully told the stories of a multitude of dramatically different protagonists, spanning over several different eras. Ubisoft (both the developers and publishers of the series) have since released a new installment to Assassins Creed on a year – year and a half basis, without falter or failure. However, after the release of the widely criticized next-gen game, Assassins Creed: Unity, I think we are beginning to see a little bit of a struggle on Ubisoft’s part.

Let us begin
Let us begin!

Potential wasted

Without a doubt Unity is probably one of the last of the Assassins Creed installments I’d try to persuade you to go out and spend hard-earned money on. I mean don’t get me wrong, the game was rather enjoyable in some respects but I’m still holding judgement on whether or not it remotely compares to the prior games, and I’m almost certain I’m not the only person who holds such a view. Without spoiling anything for those who are yet to give this game a chance, let’s just look briefly at why this game hasn’t exactly been able to hold it’s own against it’s predecessors.

Initially the game is relatively appealing. With the new free-running style and map jam-packed with an assortment of different activities like never before, anyone would be eager to get stuck in. It is enticing to have so much to do that isn’t simply gathering an array of sharp implements and assassinating anything in your path. There are some rather gruesomely sinister murder mysteries to cater for the more criminally inclined, rift missions for those who like free-running around like a headless chicken against the clock. Yes, this game really does offer a particularly addictive level of assortment when it comes to side missions. Assassins Creed: Unity also has itself a new protagonist

That is one fine piece of Arno ( screenshot by me)
That is one fine piece of Arno… ( screenshot by me)

– Arno Dorian is an adopted French – Austrian, possessing a very similar level of sass and cheekiness to the franchises other charming protagonist – Ezio Auditore, presenting us with a character it is easy to fall in love with. Also, thanks to next-gen capabilities we are able to experience France (AC: Unity’s setting) on a 1:1 scale ratio unlike the other Assassins Creed.

Spoiled for choice? (screenshot by me)
Spoiled for choice? (screenshot by me)

It really does this games visuals justice, making everything about it so aesthetically pleasing. Even in comparison to the last installment, Black Flag which was set in vibrant tropical islands overrun with unusual wildlife, the duller setting of France is made stunningly realistic which is beautifully accomplished thanks to next-gen. However, I think the saying ‘it’s what’s on the inside that counts’ can be quite conveniently applied here seeing as a ‘pretty face’ is all this game really has going for it.

 

The beauty of out next-gen setting... (screenshot by me)
The beauty of our next-gen setting… (screenshot by me)

 

Assassins Creed: Uni.. oh what’s the point?

Despite the effort of countless updates, Ubisoft can’t quite seem to offer Unity a fighting chance against it’s critique. Upon initial release the game was shamefully unstable, even for a games first day in the battlefield. NPC’s (non-playable characters) would transform into another upon approaching them or continue talking to a fellow NPC that you had just assassinated directly in front of them, the 30 frames per second Unity is supposed to run at are completely diminished throughout a play-through as players run through the rioting streets of France with their player jumping all over the place.

Prepare for the lag...
Prepare for the lag… (screenshot by me)

Furthermore, to top it all off, occasionally (and speaking from personal experience) you would actually find yourself unable to move and only capable of accessing the map, great game right? Surely this far into it’s release we shouldn’t be suffering technical issues such as these, especially in spite of the many updates we’ve already had to install?

Contradictory co-op mode you tend to play alone…

Sadly, I’ll have to draw attention to the main criticism of this game, the co-operative mode. Assassins Creed: Unity offers players a chance to play missions and heists with other players and friends that own a copy of the game. In addition to new gear load-out style in which you can customize your assassin to your own personal strengths and weaknesses,the diversity to these co-op missions well… the whole concept is brilliant without a doubt. The problem here is the fact that it remains to be a mere concept. Co-op missions genuinely take a disappointingly long time to find a player to play with (in my case around 5 minutes), sometimes you’ll be thrown into a game alone despite having actually found people to play with and a fair bit of the time, the missions and heists themselves are unstable. For example, in the co-op mission Women’s March you have to transport orator – Mericourt safely and protect her from extremists who intend to kill her. I played this mission several times (when I could actually join my friends) only to find on a few of those occasions, the NPC would refuse to move from the start and simply stand there, completely stopping us from finishing the mission.

Shall we give this a go? (screenshot by me)
Shall we give this a go? (screenshot by me)

The Assassins Creeds initiates feature within Unity (available in a couple of the other games in the series) allows you to unlock chests and various other rewards within the game. Within the chests you find outfits of previous Assassins within the franchise which you can then wear on top of the armour you currently have on, the catch being you have to reach a certain initiates level to unlock the chest. Considering it carries over your past initiates earnings from the other installments, this is a nifty little feature that does in fact bring a lot more to the game, however, it is another that is in fact wasted on account of being inaccessible the vast majority of the time. Upon the games initial release, it would merely struggle to open every so often, nothing a resilient effort couldn’t overcome. Unfortunately as time went on it developed a habit of resetting your initiates level or simply telling you that you were actually yet to set up one. Again, speaking from personal experience I only had about 3 more gold chests to open when initiates pulled this fast one on me, this became a frustration beyond any other derived from a game within this franchise.

These online features played a big part in Ubisoft’s plan to differentiate Unity from it’s predecessors and considering such a significant amount of players were unable to appreciate these potentially marvelous steps forward, it’s just reduces the game to a horrid mess of frustration and ‘what could have been’.

Ubisoft, just give it a rest..

Assassins Creed: Unity was intended to be a milestone in the franchise. The installment that was truly supposed to push the limits and really enthrall players by using what next-gen could now allow them to utilize. However, taking into account that almost every aspect of the game had flaws to some extent, this game was nothing but the complete opposite. During the development of Assassins Creed: Unity, Ubisoft were also working on Assassins Creed: Rogue (the PS3’s latest in the series) and Far Cry 4 for both old and next -gen. Surely it would have I been ideal to bring the separated teams together to try and ensure Unity would work how they intended it to? I mean, Naughty Dog have ceased all work on other projects to bring the entirety of their team together to work on Uncharted 4 until it’s release. Maybe Ubisoft could take some wisdom from such an attitude to make sure fans don’t suffer like they have with Unity. I mean come’on there’s only so much free DLC you can give to compensate for months of raw disappointment.

Ubisoft may have set the standards a bit high for themselves, maybe bringing out a new installment so frequently has finally caught up with them, Unity being very little more than an ample display of their struggle to maintain their standards. So, take it easy Ubisoft, delay games if you see faults, give yourself that extra time to ensure that game is everything you intend it to be. Fans will be their waiting to purchase the game regardless of whether or not you delay it’s release date, maybe even more so if you stop releasing games that are unreasonably dysfunctional.

Here’s the trailer for those who are yet to try to bypass utter frustration and give this game a go! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PykXyQohLI0

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