Assassin’s Creed Unity: Just What The Series Needs?

Assassin’s Creed has never quite lost its edge. Though everyone has their own order in which the games rank, Ubisoft has been consistent throughout the entire franchise, experimenting with certain elements while retaining a solid core template.

With the arrival of Assassin’s Creed III, there was a slight change in focus. Ubisoft’s amalgam of studios worked to streamline the series, refining features such as combat and free-running. Meanwhile, the studios have continued to expand the Assassin’s Creed experience through other means. Since Brotherhood, multiplayer has been a much-enjoyed staple of the franchise, subsequent games ushering in everything from item crafting and hunting to full-on naval warfare.

acu2

It’s been interesting to watch the series continue to expand as Ubisoft hop from one historic era to the next. In Assassin’s Creed Unity, however, the developer has done more than provide a mere change of setting. For the first time, Assassin’s Creed will feature online co-op elements weaved into the singleplayer campaign.

During Monday night’s quartet of press conferences the game was demoed twice, giving a basic overview of how this new online focus works. In the latter demonstration, we were introduced to Arno, one of the four playable assassin’s in Unity. As creative director, Alex Amancio, trawled through the streets of Paris, he received a series of notifications, showing off the game’s huge slab of side content.

Some of these updates were ambient gameplay events happening around Arno such as citizens being attacked. Others, however, were mission markers, allowing players to jump into one of Unity’s “Brotherhood Missions”. One of these was shown in the Microsoft demo which had four assassins sneaking into a grand Parisian estate.

In terms of the core Assassin’s Creed gameplay, nothing seems to have changed dramatically. Little touches, such as the cover system, make a return alongside further enhancements to free-running and switching between weapons. The only major difference is simply the presence of other players.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62QxAJegws8

In the footage shown, the four assassins worked in tandem, picking off enemies from afar before leaping into the fray and dispatching them within a matter of seconds. It looked both fluid and masterful as opposed to some of the series’ clunky swordplay. Though an impressive display, however, there was little evidence of what nuance co-op actually brought to the table.

Naturally, the hope is that features such as cooperative kills make an appearance. That, and a way for assassins to communicate without necessarily cranking out a headset. It seems likely, especially given the series’ track record with online co-op. Back in 2012, Assassin’s Creed III introduced Wolfpack, an arcade style mode with players banding together to eliminate roving mobs of wanted targets.

acu1

Though not enjoyed by all, it was still an ambitious new addition to the series, albeit one with a quite a sizeable caveat: the nature of other players. As with Wolfpack, there is always going to be a chance that some random assassin you’ve been paired with will tear ahead, alerting every guard as they make a beeline for the target. In Wolfpack, moments like these would ruin game sessions. In Unity however, where story elements and dialogue are woven into the mix, it could shatter an otherwise captivating sense of immersion.

Aside from that slight niggling worry, everything else about Unity bears promise. The French Revolution is fertile ground for a good story of both political and social intrigue. The visual performance of the game is also another highlight, separating itself entirely from last year’s Black Flag in terms of design and finesse. Next to upcoming titles such as The Crew, Rainbow Six Siege, and The Division, Assassin’s Creed Unity showcases just how formidable Ubisoft is, enshrining it as the best third party in the video game industry.

– PAGE CONTINUES BELOW –

28 Comments

  1. Unity looks gorgeous. And it gets a nice crowded city (something lacking in 3 and 4). And presumably hasn’t got that awful naval battle shit that they inflicted on us in 3 and 4 too.

    On the other hand, it’s not got a multiplayer mode, apart from the co-op stuff? That’s a shame. Hopefully that’ll be kept separate from the main game, at least enough that you can enjoy the single player game properly. And then they’ll realise the error of their ways and put the multiplayer part in. Just the wolfpack mode. That’s the most fun bit. (And it’s rare to see other players being complete idiots there too)

    • The pirating and naval warfare in Black Flag brought me into this franchise for the first time. Just as I was about to hang up my interest in Assassins Creed games once more, the co-op looks to maintain my interest.

      A shame you didn’t like it but each to their own.

    • I suspect it might have been better if they’d just kept quiet on that, instead of trying to come up with some weird excuse.

      It sounds like you’ll always see yourself as the main, male character, and the other co-op players will appear as their customised versions. And you’ll appear as your customised version to them. Is that right?

      In which case, it makes sense that you’ve only got a male option, and they could have left it at that. But no, they had to go and come up with a reason. And then the internet starts having a good whinge about it.

    • I have been following this too not the only reason I will be skipping this game. This series is totally washed out time for a new IP.

      I foolishly buy every one hoping to get that same buzz that I did from the original and I am let down time and time again.

      No thanks any more I’m out!

      • They’ve certainly done a good job of alienating a lot of their fan base with this move. But yes, it has lost it’s spark, I agree.

      • It’s not ‘a lot’ of the fan base, it’s a few people moaning about it on forums and on websites.

        It won’t majorly impact their sales.

    • I completely agree! Really suprising of ubisoft, but it’s not just the lack of female characters. All four of the character’s shown look like boring, generic, white men and I’m sick of it. Where’s the diversity????

      • I must say though, they pick damn good songs for their trailers. The song in the unity trailer is amazing. Looks like it’s gonna be another ‘Imagine Dragons’.

      • You might have a point with *this* game but it’s hardly true about their past protagonists – Altair, Aveline, Connor and Adewale weren’t “generic white men”.

      • True. But Aveline and Adewale were only playable in ‘side’ games, and It seems the rest of Connor’s story, which who in my opinion was such an amazing, interesting character, is being completely ignored. Ezio had an ending to his life, so did Altiar. Connor? Nah, too many people couldn’t look into his character and just took him at face value, so ubisoft have moved on. Considering the time period of Acunity, Connor will be alive during it and if he doesn’t even have a cameo or anything I’ll be really annoyed!

        I agree that AC’S have had diversity, I just feel their path has gone down a negative route after they had a backlash from Connor. It’s like the ‘higher ups’ are now playing it ‘safe’ with character design choices and how they’re conveyed to the public. In the trailers, Edward was portrayed as a flamboyant, womanizing pirate which he was not, but by portraying him like that got more sales in the western market. I feel it is the same reason that Arno does not have a French accent, same as everyone we heard speak in Unity’s trailer. It would ‘alienate’ their large american market, and I find that truly disappointing…

    • From what I read in the first article, not only would a lot of time be used up with new animations, but the female costumes too.
      I’d be more than happy if the female characters were naked if it speeds up the progress not having to design and animate new costumes.

      • Really??? Isn’t this taking things a bit too far?
        At the end of the day, it’s Ubisoft’s game, and if they choose to make the 4 characters all white males, then thats their decision. If you don’t like it, don’t buy the bloody game.

        It’s only a god damn Game!!!

      • Woooah, relax. If people are so passionate about the issue that they decide to sign a petition then that’s great. It doesn’t hurt anyone, how is it too far? Ubisoft can ignore it if they want to.

      • Its just annoying because after all the ongoing hard work and long hours I imagine they’ve put into this game, they find themselves having to defend their decisions and facing petty petitions after making a more than likely innocent decision with using 4 white male characters which isn’t unusual whatsoever.

        On a lighter note, I went to the pub last night with 3 mates and we are all white and male.
        God forbid, what were we thinking?! The thought never occurred to me to invite one of my black friends, one of my female friends and my pet monkey Bubbles instead. I now see the error in my ways and realise what a racist & sexist man I was last night. I’ll pop to the church on the way home tonight and see if I can absolve my sins. ;)

      • They don’t have to defend themselves, they can just ignore everything said if they want to. Even the very best games, books, films etc receive criticism. Nothing wrong with people doing that.

      • Boycotting the game is not criticism. Huge difference. And a fucking petition is a little bit more than criticism.

        Things are getting blown out of proportion within gaming as usual.

      • People start petitions every day, I don’t see why people are so upset about it.

      • The irony of you saying we are upset when you are refusing to buy an ENTERTAINMENT product – a game to be specific, a damn game – because it doesn’t include females in its tacked on co-op mode.

        Deary me.

      • One of many reasons, honestly there are quite a few other games coming up that interest me more. And I only have so much money to spend. But I wouldn’t refuse to buy the game for that reason alone. I think it’s a poor decision made for the wrong reasons but Ubisoft are usually pretty good.

        We’re all allowed to make mistakes and it’s not like they did it to be nasty. I’m disappointed that they’ve done this but not to the point where I will sign the above petition.

      • I refuse to play another AC game until they cast a quarter black, quarter chinese, half english-american gay hermaphrodite with red hair as the lead character. I made a petition but no one signed it :'(

      • LOL! You guys who are disagreeing with people’s right to be upset about lack of character customisation are so funny. Especially you, double-o-dave. You’re hilarious. Wow. You should be a stand-up. You’d certainly give Jim Davidson a run for his money.

  2. Looked fantastic! I’m a big fan anyway, but was one of the highlights of E3 for me.

  3. It had me interested right up until that lousy combat system reared it’s head.Real time combat may look uglier but it would be far more of a challenge than the attack pause gameplay they insist on.

  4. I’m surprised at all the moaning here! I’ve enjoyed all of the Assassin’s Creed games, but I thought Black Flag was one of the best, so the series is showing no signs of flagging for me. Friends who didn’t particularly enjoy Revelations and AC3 loved it too.

    Unity looks great – visually stunning, lots of gameplay elements revamped & refreshed, and I’m excited about the addition of co-op too. Bring it on!

  5. I’ll give the same two pence I gave on the article for the multiplayer reveal.

    Of course it looks good when you have a perfectly synchronised choreographed performance, with players sneaking and taking alternate routes.

    However, when it plays? If anyone thinks the online won’t devolve into players wading in all guns blazing is naive. I can’t imagine that being much fun.

    It happened with the pvp multiplayer too. The only way to win was to run around like a headless chicken.

    • Surely it’ll be like Splinter Cell (co-op missions) but with two more of you. Just go in there with friends so you all know what method of attack (or avoidance) you’ll take. At least, that’s what I feel it’ll be like.

Comments are now closed for this post.