Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death

Assassin’s Creed IV was a turning point for the series. While a lot of fans were disappointed by the pointless Revelationsand the polarizing Assassin’s Creed III, Black Flagdelivered everything you could possibly want from Ubisoft, và then some. Fans embarked on quite the adventure with Edward Kenway, & many newcomers even described it as “a pirate game that happens to lớn be Assassin’s Creed.”

Assassin’s Creed Unitydoesn’t live up khổng lồ the new standard mix by Black Flag, but it’s a journey worth taking if you’re already into the series, và proves that the franchise is still sustainable.

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Assassin’s Creed Unity(PC, PS4, Xbox One )Developer: Ubisoft MontrealPublisher: UbisoftRelease: November 11, 2014MSRP: $59.99

Unityonce again adapts entirely khổng lồ an iconic period in world history: the French Revolution of the 18th century. Without delay you’re reintroduced to the timeless battle of the Templars and Assassins, but this time, the former are on the defensive after a witch hunt from the ruling class. It’s at this tenuous time that you’ll meet Arno Dorian, the anh hùng of the tale. Much like Ezio, Arno’s father is killed right at the start, which leads him lớn the discovery of a conspiracy involving the two major groups, as well as the awakening of his true power as an assassin.

Although his story và subsequent actions are mostly predictable, I was on board with Arno from the get-go. He’s not quite as memorable as Ezio or as dashing as Edward, but he’s likable, và believable in terms of how the team ties him into the narrative. Ubisoft is clearly getting better at drawing emotional performances out of its subjects, & the current-gen visuals help a lot of the characters come khổng lồ life lượt thích never before — even if what they’re actually doing isn’t all that exciting.

About an hour into the game, you’ll get lớn the actual revolution, & things kick off nicely. Although Ubisoft once again nails the time period, mirroring events with its own signature faction spin, it doesn’t have as much charm as Black Flagdid. Gone are the vast open-sea sections, the memorable sea shanties, and the sense that at every turn, some new bit of buried treasure or fortress may be there for the taking. Paris is a huge playground, though — perhaps one of the biggest single-setting areas so far in the series. As long as you don’t mind that many areas look similar to one another (there’s not enough district variation as in other Assassin’s Creedgames), there’s quite a bit of ground khổng lồ cover here.

The modern half of the story — or should I say, the modern fraction — is a lot less prevalent this time around. At the start you’re billed as yet another employee of Abstergo Entertainment, the modern-day incarnation of the Templar order, & every three to lớn four hours you’ll be contacted by Desmond’s crew for a quick briefing on what’s going on in the current age as you’re recruited into the Assassin order. It’s basically more “Templars are bad, mmkay” dialog, và you’ll quickly be ported back into Arno’s tale after the short expositions.

In fact, everything outside of the 18th-century Arno core is streamlined. There are only three bits of chơi game where you aren’t exploring the revolution, which khuyến mãi with three specific periods in time throughout France’s history: the 1800s, Nazi-occupied Paris, và the Middle Ages. These sections are, for a lack of a better word, unified (and roughly 15 minutes long each), and for those of you who aren’t fans of the overarching modern-day story, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s almost non-existent. If you dig it, you may want khổng lồ look elsewhere khổng lồ get your fix. I’m not a huge fan hâm mộ of the modern stuff, but I could have stood for a little more of it, much in the vein of Black Flag.

Gameplay is relatively the same, with the completely new addition to không lấy phí run “up or down” by holding the run trigger & a specific button. It’s mostly the same as before with a couple of extra button taps lớn get used to, but the movement system thankfully prevents more accidents than in previous games; you’ll rarely jump off cliffs to your doom now because you accidentally jimmied a direction in a way your character didn’t like. The animations are also smoother, and I specifically noticed a lot more variation with Arno’s parkouring lượt thích extra spin moves and tumbles, which were a neat surprise.

Unity also adds a more RPG-like element khổng lồ the game — the ability lớn “level up” by doing more missions, gaining new powers in the process. These are things lượt thích more health, better lockpicking skills, abilities lượt thích restoring your ammo at will, và gaining new close-combat moves. I lượt thích this addition since it allows you khổng lồ build your character the way you want from the start without getting into the minutiae of skill points or anything in-depth. You earn points by doing random actions out in the wild, which encourages you to lớn start tussles and actively level-up.

In terms of gear, everything is more streamlined this time around, và you won’t be fumbling around gigantic menus lớn access different variations of smoke bombs. Instead, Ubisoft kept things simple with a few flashy pieces of gear, a sidearm, & the new Phantom Blade — which is a fancy way of saying “powerful projectile” — that can be used for long-range assassinations. Like the story, it’s not elaborate or new, but it gets the job done & there’s enough tools lớn have fun in multiple situations.

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Even better, you can fully customize Arno by purchasing new clothes, uniforms, và weapons all from a simple menu. It’s a welcome addition, especially since you can switch up Arno’s threads right from the start, changing his new blue look lớn the iconic trắng setup. There’s over 100 different outfit combinations, including classic costumes with a few unlock requirements.

The biggest upgrade in Unityhas lớn be the bigger crowds as a result of the current-gen push, and it’s noticeable from the start. It’s unreal to see a couple hundred citizens rage in what feels like a real revolution, and it feels lượt thích a real struggle at points, which is unique to Unity. The draw distance is also greatly improved. You can see the Parisian countryside in the background at nearly all times. Indoor settings are also a sight to behold, as my jaw actually dropped after seeing the interior of the Notre-Dame Cathedral for the first time.

Unfortunately, Ubisoft seems to have had some issues adapting the series lớn current-gen systems; I encountered a number of nasty glitches on the Xbox One. For starters, the most common ones were constantly repeating dialog during key story parts, issues with the close-combat animations, some freezing while climbing tall structures, và falling through the floor during the start of certain missions. Since Unity offers checkpoints constantly it wasn’t really a game-breaking affair, but I encountered at least one small glitch every two missions or so. Enough for the technical issues to get annoying.

The actual mission types don’t stray too far from the classic formula, but there are occasionally more open-ended events that are less structured. I wouldn’t say they’re necessarily “organic” as described by the developer, since they just địa chỉ cửa hàng a few optional objectives that make the mission slightly easier, but they’re a nice way to jazz up assassination missions, as they make you think of ways to solve a problem other than “get lớn the target and kill him.”

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If you’re a completionist, you’ll enjoy the murder mystery optional missions, which allow you lớn gather evidence and accuse citizens of a crime, netting a “first try” bonus if you get it right. The crowds are also more dynamic this time around; there are thieves lớn tackle & criminals to stop randomly throughout the town, signified by miniature missions that can just pop up on your map. It’s not a new idea, but it’s nice lớn see something happen out in the world that helps those mesmerizing crowds seem more life-like. There’s also “Paris Stories” khổng lồ complete (involving iconic figures in French history), the aforementioned three extra time periods to explore in the size of additional obstacle courses, and of course, funny database entries by Shaun the Assassin.

Multiplayer this time around is stripped down in favor of a streamlined co-op experience. There’s no competitive element in Unity, no second disc khổng lồ insert or thực đơn option khổng lồ select — it’s all built into the campaign in one giant mode. It’s the same world as the core story, but with certain missions you can use matchmaking or partner up with three friends khổng lồ tackle them as a team.

It’s inoffensive at its worst, as there are some exclusive co-op missions you can play that can’t be done solo, & it all fits nicely into Unitywithout feeling forced.I’m fine with the removal of the competitive gametype, because almost every single trò chơi since Brotherhoodhas included it. It’s time to try something different, và although co-op didn’t phối my world on fire, it does have potential that can be better realized down the line.

My lack of enthusiasm for the multiplayer is mirrored by my experience with the rest of the game. Unitydoes take a few extra strides towards advancing the series, but in many ways it feels lượt thích a step back from Black Flag. It was fun to roam around Paris looking for trouble & ogle at the nguồn of current-gen consoles, but the game lacks that grand sense of roaming the uncharted seas in Assassin’s Creed IV, or even the open-ended feel of the wilderness in Assassin’s Creed III. In other words, it struggles to make its own mark on the franchise outside of the new French Revolution setting.

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If Ubisoft fixes the glitches, Assassin’s Creed: Unitywill be a much stronger game, even if the ceiling is a bit lower in general. Unity‘s potential isnot as strong as some of the better entries in the series, but it’s good enough for existing fans to continue the journey.