26 May 2015

The Unity Disappointment - Video Game

Assassin's Creed: Unit
by Ubisoft
I am an Assassin's Creed fan. When the new major release comes out, I put it on my 360 and play it until I'm done. I normally play through the whole game. I also tend to complete many of the side quests that seem the most fun. I try at least each type of side mission and I even try to collect many of the collectables. This is coming from a player who has played through six of the seven Assassin Creeds. I have yet to play Assassin's Creed: Rogue but I look forward to playing through the life and adventure of Shae in the coming months. I have 100% Achievement with Assassin's Creed 2 and I've done most of the Achievements in the other two Ezio games. I stop hunting them when multiplayer became part of the Achievement hunt. Assassin's Creed 3 was pretty good even though it lost me in the third act. Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag has to be the game I've enjoyed the most as a single game - but the Ezio games have the best story arc.

To me the Assassin's Creed was the series that ushered the seventh generation of consoles into my living room. I got a XBox 360 to play Assassin's Creed and it was a regular fixture in the years of joy that my XBox 360 gave unto me.

When Unity was announced - I was sold on the eighth generation. To be honest I just needed a good excuse to pick up the game but it seemed fitting that the Creed would bring me into the next generation of console.

So it promised a whole new story arc and cooperative missions. New movement mechanics to explore Paris during the French Revolution. This was getting closer to my Industrial Revolution London and the French Revolution would be a great setting for an Assassin's Creed game. It was back to one major city and what a city they picked. A European Jewel with plenty of history - Paris.

So then I played the game...

Story Time:
You play Arno. Your dad was a master of the Assassins. He died - boo. You were raised by a master of the Templars. The rivals of the Assassins. You grew up with your one true love Elise who just so happened to be the daughter of the man who took you in. Then Elise's dad was murdered and you were framed for the whole thing. Arno feel responsible because he didn't pass on the letter in time (something that would have happened even if Arno had not gotten involved). So Arno goes to jail, inside the famous Bastille. There he meets a rude master Assassin named Belic. He calles Arno piss-pot and he was friends with Arno's first dad (the Assassin). So Belic trains Arno and when the Bastille is stormed the two Assassins escape. Arno joins the Brotherhood and is given control over the cafe that acts as the cover for the Brotherhood's base of operations. Arno goes off working for the Brotherhood all in hopes to get his revenge, hunt down those who killed his second dad (the Templar) and score good with his true love.

Sounds fucked up - because it is.

This is my major issue with AC:Unit the story sucked. There was no meta story - the reason why the player is going through the memories and reliving the moments of Arno's life. You just get some voices - Bishop and Deacon code names used by the main support characters of the franchise, and a video telling you how bad the Templars are. That's it.

Then you play a guy who should never have a father as he keeps losing them faster than a Mel Gibson family member. Serious watch every Mel Gibson movie where they give him a family - they always die. Taking control of the cafe the cover of the base is silly when you remember that Arno was raised by their enemy and just learned how to Assassin it up in jail.

That's another thing - why did the Assassin's not take in Arno. That sounds like a big deal having the son of your recently murdered masters being raised by an enemy master.

Assassin's Creed always had two stories. One in the game and one in the meta - Unity suffers because none of them are good. They both are poor and shallow and players have a hard time caring. Which sucks because you'd figure the history rich setting of French Revolution Paris would be a brilliant place to have a game of Assassin's Creed.

Stuff and Junk:
Micro transactions are used to upgrade weapons and equipment in AC: Unity. They also are forgettable. There are chests that are blue and red and you can only use them at some time... it's not very clear outside of my map being littered with all of the normal collectables and a slew of red and blue chests. The map is a mess of stuff of things I have a hard time caring about.

The murder mystery missions are awesome - until you start getting clues and then the hud starts to overlap notifications over the clues and after 8 notifications in a row I gave up. I seriously could not read the fucking clue in game because I was getting notifications that I had earned a clue. The only way to read the info was enter the main menu which put those away deeper into the database. The main menu itself is filled to brim with so many options of useless things it was sad. Info is simply a hot mess.

Speaking of info. Who are all the characters outside of the Marque de Sade and Napoleon no one is introduced to Arno. You have to go read the database. Wana search for the marks of Nostradamus - sure but you need to dig through the database to find out which building is which and then find a way to mark the building once you do find the right link to the clue.

Also where was my room to show off my collection of weapons and armour? In previous games, I would stick to a weapon of choice and fill my house with all display items. In this case all the weapons and armor you unlock are; 1 unlocked for purchase, and 2 rarely used. So you unlock the weapon but then you need to save up and buy it damn. Hey there is a new clothing system mix and match Arno's clothes for style and use. Each with unique properties and stats that can apply to your style of play. Arms, Chest, Hood, Belt, Leggings - Awesome. Wait that's five more things to unlock and buy all in a mess of a user interface menu system.

The co-op game play was the worst. You jump in with your mates play your missions and then stop. Why? Because Brother Bear was the Brute of our team, while I was the locksmith. I find and open new way to complete the mission so he can wreck face... wait I can't do level 2 or level 3 locks until I get past the second and third act of the main game. No organic progression - so we stopped playing because we had to go back to the main game and play through to open up the abilities we wanted for the co-op game... we never played again co-op again.

Last but not least lets talk about the new movement system. Push A and you go up, Push B and you go down. Brilliant no more falling off stuff just to get down and when it works it's super smooth. Yet that caveat is the fly in the soup. It's buggy and jagged. I felt like I was playing Assassin's Creed, the first game of the series, not the new game ushering the series into the next generation. Too many times Arno running through the brilliant packed and looking crowds chasing my enemy. I see the boxes in my path or the food stall and I smile. I'll catch up, I'll smoothly free run through - then I stopped and Arno master free runner was unable to cross over a fucking box on the street.

Lastly the Assassination missions looked awesome. Sneak into an area, scout out ways in and find alternative routes. Stealth is a thing now - whoa! They were my favorite part of the game, it's too bad that when the game failed the Assassination missions started to become more week. Lots of good attempts but poor executions.

Assassin's Creed: Unity earns a BRONZE ranking. It was a good game it met the standard of a video game. It did not meet the standard of the series which would have earned it a SILVER. When the game works - it works. When it fails it sadly kills the game enough that I just today finished the game... not last November when I picked up my pre-ordered copy.

Disappointment is a shity thing - I hope the next game Assassin's Creed: Syndicate does better and fixes the issues above. It's got the setting I've been calling out for and it's looking great.

- Cheers


PS. Here is more AC: Syndicate with gameplay.