Assassins Creed Unity : vast and gorgeous but hollow
“Next gen starts here”,that was the tagline when Ubisoft launched their first teaser of the next gen only Assassin’s Creed Unity.It was gorgeous,magnificently crafted and created a new hope among ac fans that finally the franchisee will be treated with justice and emerge with its own glory.Well Assassin’s Creed Unity is finally here and its still gorgeous and beautiful,but the experience for the gamer is just same as reliving a nightmare.Technical issues made the grand launch a disaster.In next few columns we will try to dig in to the fact where Ubisoft gone wrong this time.
A new Assassin’s Creed game a new protagonist.This time the game set in France and Arno victor Dorian is our assassin.Based on the period when French Revolution was at its peak.Guillotine execution happening round a clock.Ubisoft perfectly captured the essence of french revolution pretty well.The dirty streets,immense gathering in front of some historical places such as Notre Dame are very much praise worthy.For me I never saw such huge crowd in any ac game till now.Ubisoft tried to make the world as realistic as possible.In a particular execution sequence there was around 10,000 npcs and the crowd was so dense that I literally struggled to reach my objective.crowd never seems dull or actions seems repetitive unlike other games.Each and every character was designed individually and programmed to do different actions each time you visit the place.The view from the top of the Notre Dame was simply majestic.
Not only npcs the overall setup of France is actually great.Detailed interiors of ballrooms,the polluted canal of paris,the not so polished rooftops are some examples which Ubisoft actually mastered well in the game.As we entered in to a new era of Assassin’s Creed some things are meant to be change in a big manner.Yes,we are talking about gameplay.The famous Third person view is still there but drastic changes in controls.Dedicated parkour button is introduced.Now climbing tall building is easy and getting down from them is even easier.You don’t need to look for a haystack anymore to perform your favorite “leap of faith” to climb down from that building.Just press the free run down button and a greatly engineered navigation will help you to perform the action with ease.Combat controls changed also.Counter button is now gone and parry button is introduced which actually does a little bit of damage to your enemy.Take it in mind taking enemies head on in Unity is nothing but a suicide.I was even surprised with role of the smoke bomb and new stun grenade as they dint help me a bit when i was against 6-7 enemies.Medicines are back again to help you during grueling boss fights and in hard combat situations. This time Ubisoft forced players to go stealth in more or less all the missions as they designed in such manner. A dedicated stealth button is there for you and you have to rely on covers each and everytime to avoid head on combat.Though after some time it gets boring because of its repetitiveness.Approaching the mission is now quite unique.Now you get to choose how you approach them.In the beginning of every mission Arno sits on a rooftop and with his famous eagle vision he judge the situations and tries to find out almost all the possible options to finish the objective.Roaming around the entire Paris is also very much fun in many ways.Just in one frame you will notice that actually 10 different events taking place at the same time.Its upto you to either choose those events or continue with the campaign story.one of the new inclusion is “Murder Mysteries”.These events allow you to solve a murder mystery by visiting the murder spot and other related to it.You can do investigation by interacting with people and also accuse and catch the culprit by judging all the evidences.But beware accusing wrong person will result in less reward.Missions known as “crowd events” will give you bonus rewards and help you to quickly jump to the higher ranks and allow you to buy weapons and upgrades.
Another most important aspect of the game is its customization window.The skill up-gradation is split into 4 categories, MELEE,RANGED,STEALTH,HEALTH.You can buy these skills with your assassin skill points and get ready for bigger challenge.The most disappointing part for me is that many key skills from last AC games are now not at all free/default .Like its actually stupid that you have to “buy” skills such as crowd blending,double air assassination,double assassination even money pouch and that also in an exchange of a hefty amount of assassin points.We’ve seen many up-gradation in the signature hidden blade throughout the whole series and Unity is also not an exception.The newly modified hidden blade is now also known as “Phantom Blade”.This is actually a result of binding hidden blade with a crossbow.Though i am actually very much satisfied with this because in a stealth heavy game like Unity some times this blade actually helps you to sneak past when every other weapon is ineligible for the event.You can also use the berserk dart and see a brute go crazy on his colleagues and allow you to take advantage of the situation.
Another new inclusion in the gameplay is the widely publicized co-op mode.You can invite maximum 3 of your friends to join in a mission and share rewards among you.Co-op and heist mission are designed to give you the ability to communicate and plan with your friends on how your brotherhood will get the job done.But at present the no of co-op and heist mission are very less and repetitive.We hope Ubisoft will introduce more mission in periodical updates and season pass.
The list of omission of many old features also include a very major part.The Animus.Its very disappointing for me that Ubisoft this time dint gave much importance to the present time setting.The only present time feel you will get is only at the beginning when you will be greeted by a small commercial of Abstergo industry’s latest “console” Helix.As i said in my previous columns Unity’s missions gets very much boring as they were designed in only one fashion and that is stealth.Don’t even think now that in Unity you can log out of your animus console and go to stretch your legs a bit to hack a colleague’s console or check your inbox for messages.No,unity doesn’t allow you that liberty.Instead the only thing which breaks or Ubisoft think it can break your monotonous journey in Arno’s life is the “Time Anomaly”. These are actually some small glitches in animus which will take you back or rather incline you to the future in Paris where World War II is at its full form.Though I must say climbing up the Eiffel Tower and shooting aircrafts with machine gun was pure fun for me.But its not enough to give you the much needed break from the main boring missions.
Now the most important part of Unity and one sole reason of its biggest launch failure,the glitches and bugs.This time with Assassins Creed Unity Ubisoft chose to ditch the last gen consoles and go with the present gen.Though they released Assassin’s Creed Rogue on old gens but their primary focus was entirely on Unity as the rebuilt the engine from the scratch for Next gen/Present gen console and right from there the problem starts.Game is very much unoptimized on all the platforms.where xbox one version still manages to hold a decent frame rate Ps4 and pc are literally struggling to cope up.Though no of framerate on xb1 is not also very impressive.In Unity Ubisoft chose to create the most realistic French Revolution ever in a game with thousands of npcs but that caused a huge frame drop on both the consoles and pc.Both the Xbox one and PS4 are unable to produce the steady 30 FPS throughout the game.Some times in demanding area it drops to around 18-20 which clearly shows the game is very unstable on platforms.Not only that there are many glitches and bugs in the Unity universe such as Arno falling through the ground in a white horizon,npcs pops out from nowhere,texture pop in issues etc.In a sequence i almost killed around 50-60 guards as they were continuously regenerating from the wall.Also in parkour mode issues such as Arno’s head into the concrete wall,npcs going through Arno’s body were a regular events untill Ubisoft rolled out a second patch which promised to fix these glitches though no improvement in framerate issue.In some demanding area the fps is so low that it actually resembles to a powerpoint presentation.I do hope Ubisoft will solve these issues with future updates.
Overall Unity is actually failed to impress us on launch.Not only disaster technical issues,less gripping storyline and lack of a strong protagonist actually the cons of the game.The character rendering,AI,character details,Mocap,the entire paris and much detail historical places are still fail to conceal the loopholes of the plot.The writer actually failed to capture the equation between Arno and his childhood crush Elise and it gets very much boring and looses its grip and focus from the mid point of the game.Few mission are simply tail and kill which actually fails to create the innovation in storytelling for which Assassin’s creed series is widely known for.
Assassins Creed Unity is available on xbox one and ps4 for 3499 and on pc 1799.