Recently I got around to playing Assassin’s Creed: Unity due to the Xbox Games with Gold Program. Unity was a game that I didn’t pick up upon release because after Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, I needed a little break from the series. That break ended up being three years, but I managed to get some time to complete Unity.
I’ve decided to change how I review games a little bit, focusing on story, gameplay, and performance because I feel like those are the three things that matter the most to me. A lot of other reviewers have different guidelines, but these are my three pillars that make a game good to me.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity’s Story
The story line is first for me because I’ve always liked games that have good, compelling stories. A good story gets me more involved in the lore and characters, which makes me enjoy the game that much more.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity’s story is a bit of a hit and miss. There is the basic Assassin versus Templar story that each game has had in the past, but there isn’t much depth to it. I didn’t really learn anything new or interesting about either Order. The plot jumped around a bit, with several years passing between each memory sequence. There was no recap of what Arno was doing in between these years. It felt a little disjointed, and it took me out of the experience.
The French Revolution was a great setting for the game to take place in. It was cool to see the historical figures such as Napoleon and Robespierre represented in a video game. The French Revolution is such an important and interesting event, I ended up watching a documentary to learn more about what happened in France during that period of time.
Arno and Elise were probably the two best characters in the game. They played really well off of each other, and the game improves when the two team up in the latter part of the game.
The supporting cast really didn’t shine, and I didn’t feel like the villain was properly portrayed as a villain. Yes, there were some killings and bad moments, but the entire game was based upon hunting him down. That’s 13 memory sequences just learning information and trying to hunt this guy down. During the middle of the game, it felt like a slog because I just wanted to get the game over with.
There are some plot holes in the game as well. Arno is kicked out of the Assassin’s Order, but he still wears a hood and uses a phantom blade? Yes, he wasn’t a member anymore, but he still looked and acted like one. It would have been interesting to see some sort of story or gameplay change because of his expulsion, but there wasn’t any.
Compared to the previous Assassin Creed games, Unity’s gameplay feels slow and clunky. I can’t tell you how many times I got stuck or ended up going in the wrong direction when I was sprinting in the streets or jumping around buildings. The movement was not crisp at all, and it was really frustrating when trying to chase people down. I would accidentally climb up a building or get stuck on a corner.
The combat system is what it is. I basically took my time in each encounter and waited to parry and counter attack. The enemies waited while I sliced them down one by one. Dodging gunshots did add a little bit more difficulty, especially when surrounded by a large amount of enemies, but once I upgraded my health bar it was a lot easier.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity looks good for a game that released in 2014. The graphics were solid, and I didn’t encounter any frame-rate issues while playing. However, the load times were pretty long, and the Ubisoft servers or whatever they do, made the game take longer to load up as well.
I had two complete crashes during my entire play-through.
There were several cases where NPCs would get stuck in the environment during cut-scenes, which really took me out of the game because it just looked ridiculous.
Overall, Assassin’s Creed: Unity was an okay game. The French Revolution setting was fun to play in, but the actual gameplay left me disappointed. Arno and Elise had a good story, but the rest of the plot fell flat. The performance was solid, other than the two crashes I had.