Assassin's Creed Unity Review (PS4)



Worst. Barber. Ever
Assassin's Creed is back and this time it's bringing its A-game exclusively to next/current gen consoles in the form of Assassin's Creed Unity, set during the French Revolution of the late 1700's, you are Arno a young man who overcomes personal adversity only to find himself recruited into a shadowy league of assassin's in their fight to... well... fight. They fight against authority, Templars and various other ragamuffins. The game unfurls and reveals a pseudo-science fiction undercurrent in which a dodgy tech company is doing dodgy things. Sound familiar? Well, it's very much a rehash of what has come previously in the franchise with little offered in terms of gameplay innovation but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Bad things are yet to come. 

"Last one there's a rotten croissant!"
So as to expedite the review process, perhaps an airing of negatives should be done before progressing any further. This game is buggy as all get out. For such a highly anticipated title, which was already delayed no less, there are some serious issues which affect the overall gaming experience. While Ubisoft have already released patches in an attempt to counter the problems, they still persist to an extent that you'll frequently find yourself removed from the immersion of Paris and find yourself grumbling on the couch with controller in hand. First of all, the load times are extensive. On many an occasion I found myself choosing to run across town instead of using 'fast travel' purely because the 'fast' portion of the description is a misnomer. Even when starting up the game you could be advised to click past the main menu before making yourself a cup of tea. Trust me, you won't miss a thing. 

"What? Do I have something in my teeth?
Gorgeously rendered buildings and thousands of random NPCs may seem like an evolutionary step in gaming, but random drops in frame rate make the game look like a giant, HD rendered GIF with character skins sporadically changing, flesh seemingly torn from the faces of characters and characters popping into existence right before your eyes. It's like I'm in the Matrix. On top of this is the frequent frustration of falling through the floor when jumping from roofs. One second you're tracking a murderous murdery murderer and the next you're falling into an infinite maw of teal. Within my first 2 hours of playing this occurred 4 times, all in the middle of a mission. Sure, once every 30 minutes doesn't seem so bad but it takes you out of the moment and leaves you cursing what should be a highly polished AAA game. That being said, I have faith that Ubisoft staff will iron out these issues in due course.

Claude's favourite, choc covered liquorice!
Thankfully, the game is otherwise a delight to play. My disappointment with frame rate drops aside, the attention to detail and sheer size of the game map is impressive. While Black Flag may appear to have a bigger map when taking into account sea faring missions, Unity has expansive open areas, luscious interiors and towering... er... towers. Running through the grimy streets of gay Paree before hurtling through a window, upstairs and out through the drawing room gives the game a true sense of organic fluidity. 

"Welcome to The Voice: Bastille"
Thankfully the Abstergo portion of the game is limited predominantly to some speedy cut scenes. I've always found the whole underlying sci-fi story to be completely unnecessary so its omission doesn't nothing but add to the experience for me. The setting of the game isn't necessarily forced down the throat of players with the locale and general aesthetic enough to make it known that these are tumultuous times for madames and monsieurs. Want to know more about the French Revolution? Go ask Google. However, it is a consant frustration when character voices only ever come in varying degrees of regional English accents purely due to the time period instead of location. Need a French beggar from Cour de Miracles? Here's a Cornish accent. A servant? Take some Yorkshire. And of course anyone of importance gets the generic voice of English aristocracy. That said, we're not here to listen to scousers in a bordello, we're here to run and jump and stab and shoot. In that respect, Assassin's Creed is a success. 

More swag than Kanye
Co-op missions, when not being plagued by connection issues, are great fun and are a great way to see different variations in costume, equipment and play style when comparing to your own. Joining or creating your own team and unlocking social clubs exponentially adds to the playability of this game. There are a multitude of different ways in which to customise your assassin by choosing from various hoods, coats, pants, belts, boots and gloves as well as weapons. All of these customisations not only increase your abilities but they also make you look like a dapper bad arse. More opportunities for unlocking gear can be found in the iPhone and Android companion app which allows you to complete mini-games which in turn unlock chests within the game proper. While I personally enjoy being able to play the game when not playing the game, it may prove to be frustrating that not all elements of the console game are available unless you also play on a mobile device.

Assassin's Creed Unity may be more of the same but god damn is it a formula worth preserving. While technically the most ambitious game in the franchise to date, it's impossible to gloss over what are considerable issues with bugs and glitches, all of which detract from a lofty potential for immersion. You can't help but feel as though the 1 year product cycle got the better of the developers in this instance. For all of its faults, Assassin's Creed Unity is ultimately an incredibly fun, richly painted tapestry but one which is riddled with (fixable) holes.

- Ryan

1 comments :

I am a long time fan of AC.That said,this game had the most exceedingly terrible performance I have ever seen.The frame rate is bad to the point that it is unplayable.So upset Ubisoft released this garbage to us.Gracious, and the micro exchanges were expelled from the audit fabricates.Yes,you gotta pay for the good stuff over the 60 bucks you cushion for the game.Sony was pleasant to such a degree as to refund me my money.First time ever I requested one.

Betty Anderson.

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