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Assassins Creed Unity Review

Assassins Creed Unity

Release: 11/11/2014
Publisher: Ubiusoft
Developer: Ubisoft
Genre: Action, XBox One Reviews
PEGI: M
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Assassins Creed Unity Review

Throughout the years, Assassins Creed has become an over-exerted franchise, and a new iteration can be found on store shelves just in time for every holiday season. The history of Assassins Creed has reached some amazing highs (AC2 & AC4), as well as some pitiful lows (AC3 & AC: Revelations) and Assassins Creed Unity looked to change up the formula for the better yet again. Ubisoft Montreal figured that by adding an extensive multiplayer experience and a highly interactive world filled with thousands of NPCs, it would make the late 18th century playground of France feel more immersive as a truly living and breathing world. 

The Backdrop of Assassins Creed Unity is the best part of the game as this rendition of 18th Century Paris looks amazing and feels like a page right out of the history books

However, as with most games developed on a 24 hour cycle throughout varying development teams and partners around the globe, ACU feels just as disjointed as its development team is. There’s a reason why games like this are packaged for free in holiday bundles, and that reason is because gamers know better than to buy games that are just holiday cash-ins, riddled with broken promises.

The Promise of A Revolution Is One For the Ages..Only If You Sign Up For Uplay

The Backdrop of Assassins Creed Unity is the best part of the game as this rendition of 18th Century Paris looks amazing and feels like a page right out of the history books. As Arno Dorian, you will explore the heights of Notre Dame Cathedral and the bowels of Paris’s catacombs. The world that the player is given is truly an amazing achievement of technical advancement in video game history. I particularly enjoyed watching the horses be tended to, sifting through the polluted streets, and watching the citizens of the torn city as they fought with each other and their society.

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The filth of the NPCs and their city was both appalling and alluring. Observing their world as it was torn apart by a corrupt aristocratic system is simply a surreal experience. Through my actions of assassinating certain triggers of the revolution, I truly felt that I was living in a world that was being played by my hand. That was until I found a chest that I couldn’t open unless I logged onto Ubisofts website and signed up for a newsletter and Uplay points…

This has been an ongoing issue with games as of late and its where ACU only begins to show its faults. Forceful developers are really nothing new to the game as many captivating experiences have been forever stained with in-game transactions and the requirement for the player to sign up for outside services. Nothing screams revolution like signing up for corporate services to give you more crap that you really just don’t need. Whatever happened to going on missions to unlock a more powerful unlocking mechanism that can unlock chests?

Now, I’m not saying that playing Assassins Creed Unity will provide you with any more sense of living a revolution that other forms of media already haven’t. However, for everything that Assassins Creed Unity has created through its outstanding recreation of The French Revolution, it has been erased by corporate services that remind the player that they are in fact simply immersed in a corporate recreation of a historical event.  

A Broken Episode

Its no secret that Assassins Creed Unity has been marred by the overall experience that ACU has to offer. With a lagging framerate of 30 fps the game noticeably slows during action sequences and its a miracle when the game even decides to perform at that level. As you’re running through the over abundance of NPCs, the game dips to 20 fps at times, and it just gives me a headache to look at. One of the more horrific examples of the framerate dropping below standard is during one of the earlier missions of the game when you’re climbing on the walls of Notre Dame Cathedral. The game literally slows to a crawl, as if you were flipping through in- game pictures, and I haven’t seen a game perform this poorly in years.

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Today’s realm of gaming unfortunately has had to come to terms with these issues as they can later be fixed through patches, which developers promise that they will fix down the road. The thinking behind this is that they will get the game into the hands of the gamers as early as possible; however delivering a broken experience just makes the player look elsewhere for entertainment. My main issue with Assassins Creed Unity is that it is STILL not fixed.

My main issue with Assassins Creed Unity is that it is STILL not fixed

The game has already received 3 patches as of this writing addressing several issues with performance, yet these examples still run rampant throughout the game ultimately tearing the player from the experience. Besides the framerate issues, the mobility of the character at times is still as painful as ever, as you will still find yourself getting stuck on tables and barrels. This game just feels poorly executed and rushed to shelves far before it was ready. Assassins Creed Unity has been marketed as one of the truly Next Gen Only game experiences available right now and these ongoing issues are just a missed opportunity to bring the best possible Assassins Creed game to the next generation of gaming.  

Why Are There So Many NPCs?!

One of the main issues concerning the framerate and overall performance as I mentioned before is that ACU comes with the problem of the over abundance of NPCs. Now Ubisoft claimed that the NPCs are not what causes the framerate issue, however its hard to think otherwise while the game seriously lags as you’re running through the streets of Paris shoving NPCs out of your way. ACU seems to offer just too many as Ubisoft Montreal believed that more NPCs would have made the world feel alive and this just isn’t the case.

You will begin to notice that the NPCs literally just perform the same mundane action over and over again and never really interact with anything or anyone else in the world than who they were programmed to. One great example of this is when I found some alley where a man was being jumped by two others. The three men literally performed the same dance over the course of a minute and a half and nothing ever seemed to come of the scuffle. I continued to watch until I just got bored and killed them all without any repercussion whatsoever.

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The issue of the NPCs is a mind-boggling one as it really does nothing to add to the experience of ACU and in all honesty it just make the overall experience feel that much more alone. You feel more alone and less immersed as you move through the game because the NPCs fail to create the feeling of existing in a real space with other people. Some of them pop in randomly, and others disappear into thin air. Games Like Arkham City have been criticized because there weren’t any NPCs living in Arkham, however that game felt more alive as there were enemies that you could continuously interact with. These NPCs serve no purpose and only slow the game down and present further hardware struggles for the current generation of gaming.  

Arno’s Got Some Moves and Has Brought Some Friends

One new addition to the AC gameplay is the downward climb function which comes in relatively handy and it allows the player to traverse the game in more ways than one. You no longer have to look for a hay cart to jump into from the top of a building.

This level of choice does give the world a great feeling of freedom and some of the most fun I had in the game is when I tried to approach a mission from the rooftops then altogether abandoned that approach and decided to climb down and try something else. This freedom allows you to attempt a mission in varying ways like deciding to take the streets and find NPCs that hold keys to a locked door, climb through an open window a few feet above the streets, or altogether abandon them and approach it through the spider web of catacombs below the streets of Paris.This gameplay element is refreshing and offers something new to the formula. I just wish that Ubisoft focused more on these elements rather than focusing more energy on adding more NPCs.

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The Multiplayer is decent and is another great aspect of ACU when it works correctly. The multiplayer exists within certain missions that can be accepted throughout the solo campaign map of Paris. Once you find and accept one of these missions, a countdown starts. When the countdown ends, the multiplayer co-op mission starts regardless of whether or not another required player has joined. For as fun as the experience is, it is still a buggy one as the game dips to perform at expected levels. Players can fall through walls and floors and sometimes they can even get booted from the game altogether. One of the biggest issues with the multiplayer is that barely anyone is playing it as of now, which I assume is due to the continued problems plaguing ACU.

During the first couple of weeks, the matchmaking was plentiful and I had a relatively easy time finding games to join. As of late, though, the players have been few and far between, and I actually played a good amount of co-op missions solo as I waited for others to join.

Vive la Revolution?

The Assassins Creed franchise has been built upon offering unique gameplay throughout relevant historical moments of time. Somehow that feeling seems to have gotten lost in translation as Ubisoft Montreal has decided to focus on technical elements rather than focusing on gameplay and it just feels like a dated experience.

Assassins Creed Unity has moments of promise as the story and backdrop of The French Revolution is a unique world to play in. With a world that is falling apart around you, the player can choose to advance in varying ways that make the life of an Assassin that much more realistic. However these moments are marred by continuous performance issues, too many empty NPCs, lonely and buggy multiplayer campaigns and the need to sign up for outside services to obtain items from chests throughout the game. Assassins Creed Unity, unfortunately, is just another bad Christmas present you’ll want to return.

Positives

  • 8th Century Paris Looks Great!
  • Freedom To Explore
  • French Revolution Backdrop

Negatives

  • Bad Framerate
  •  Too Many Mindless NPCs
  • Major Performance Issues
  • Multiplayer Is Empty
 

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