The year is 1789. Murmurs of a French Revolution plague the streets of Paris in “Unity,” the newest entry in the “Assassin’s Creed” franchise, as players are treated to yet another action-packed, cleverly-plotted installment from Ubisoft. The latest protagonist to join the Assassin Brotherhood is Arno Dorian. Following some rather unfortunate events, the French nobleman finds his way to the Brotherhood, seeking revenge for his father while exposing the secrets behind the Revolution.
Arno is young, impatient, and charming, but not nearly as complex a character as Ezio from “Assassin’s Creed II,” for instance. What the game lacks in terms of character development, however, it makes up for elsewhere.
“Assassin’s Creed” fans have always appreciated meeting all the historical figures during gameplay, and “Unity” is no exception. While it tells its own controversial version of the French Revolution, players nonetheless come across figures like Napoleon, the Marquis de Sade, and Madame Tussauds (think wax museums).
The soundtrack of “Unity” is very impressive. It is one of the defining factors of player immersion into the game.
The graphics are stellar as well. The game is exclusive to new-gen consoles and for good reason. Old machines couldn’t possibly handle the power of the all-new Anvil engine used in the making of “Unity.”
This isn’t to say that the technical aspects of the game are perfect. On the contrary: there has been an outpour of players complaining about bugs, glitches, and issues with the frame rate that have been causing the game to crash. Hopefully, all this will be resolved with the game’s next update.
Assassin’s Creed allows games to discover Paris in exquisite detail, from its darkest catacombs to its highest rooftops. Climbing the Notre Dame and staring at the surrounding city leaves one breathless. Not only are the sights impressive, but the variety of activities and Parisian myths are interesting as well. A pleasant addition to the game was the huge amount of interior spaces available to visit, something unusual to the franchise.
The enemies players face have become much more aggressive, and even more observant. It gets frustratingly difficult at times, especially with the sloppy controls. It feels like Arno is not as skilled as Altair, Ezio, and Connor were, but he’s not the one to blame. With such a heavy emphasis on stealth, players really can’t afford their character going places they don’t want him to, locking onto targets for too long, or switching covers with so much difficulty.
Co-op mode has been executed well, with an eclectic array of heists one can pull off with up to three friends. Whether one is assassinating a Templar or protecting an emperor, “Unity” forces gamers to cooperate with their partners: if one person dies, the mission ends in failure, each rewarded on individual effort. Well-narrated and diverse, the co-op experience does not disappoint.
There are a ton of ways players can go about their assassinations, but uniqueness is a necessity if they want to gain any Creed Points, the in-game currency used to update weapons and armor.
Being original pays off, sort of as it did in “Hitman: Absolution,” except that game had better crowd control. Alternatively, Ubisoft lets one cheat through the updates—if gaining Creed Points proves to be too difficult—by purchasing them with real money. Point blank: the micro-transactions in the game are quite annoying.
This time around, players barely get to leave the Animus, the virtual reality machine that reads its subject’s genetic memories, allowing a character to live through his or her ancestor’s eyes. For those unfamiliar with the game, this is how players have managed to hop around from one historical time frame to the other while still maintaining a legitimate storyline. This has been remarked on positively by many, and the few times one actually does leave the Animus, it’s for good reason. No spoilers, but it’s awesome.
History lovers and gamers can prepare themselves to be immersed into a full-scale open world of aristocracy, uprisings, and assassinations, and to delve into the heart of historical events—like the Storming of the Bastille and the assassination of King Louis XVI—that helped shape the world as we know it today. While the game is not revolutionary (pun intended), “Unity” certainly is a good addition to the franchise.