|System: PC, PS4, Xbox One*|
|Release: November 11, 2014|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol|
by Matt Walker
When the first Assassin’s Creed came out, I admit to being really excited and equally let down upon its arrival. I found it incredibly easy to make fun of the shortcomings in the game. I even found it easier to ignore the follow-ups. Well ignore is a strong word, more like I played them a bit until I got bored. It wasn’t until I played Assassin’s Creed III that I felt like this was the game I was excited for all those years ago. Maybe the setting, the characters, or the gameplay overall is what did it for me. Whatever it was it catapulted me into a frenzy of excitement when Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was announced. After all this one had freakin’ PIRATES!!! Of course, commanding a ship for the better part of the game and sailing the deep oceans blue didn’t hurt my growing love for the series.
However, when Unity was announced I felt… well I’m not sure what I felt. It wasn’t excitement, but it wasn’t disappointment either. It was more along the lines of “meh”. In all honesty, I was completely afraid I was now done with the series. Again they just had a game, to me, that was damn near perfect. It had freakin’ PIRATES, in case you didn’t know. So what would Unity need to do in order for me to feel as if I needed this new entry into the mega franchise? Simple really. It would have to retain the level of fun, multitude of things to do, and offer up a story I would find myself compelled to progress through. Could Ubisoft continue to deliver on those aspects they exhaustively advanced on with each installment? The answer might surprise you.
Set during the French Revolution, you play as Arno Dorian–ladies man, scoundrel, and orphan. Arno is literally unlike any assassin we’ve played as before. In the beginning he literally is a devil without a care. He doesn’t pretend to be anything more than a man without a care in the world, save his affections towards a woman. Things are a bit unique between Arno and his ladylove, but I won’t spoil it for you. Things get really dicey at one point in the game and Arno goes from man with no to burden him to a man who is ready to put the toys away and play with the big boys. This is probably one of my most favorite parts of the game.
A lot of people complained about Black Flag and how Edward just sort of knew everything about being an assassin without any training. Well complain no more. You will train Arno, see the ritual all beginning assassins go through, and shape Arno into the assassin you want him to be. This is really key to the franchise, as before sure you could upgrade your characters, certain aspects around them, and even acquire rare items to make yourself a more efficient assassin. Here however, you will literally have base skills to roam through to achieve you missions, but certain skills are only unlocked once you acquire the right amount of Assassin Points (which you can only achieve by completing certain missions) and playing through certain sequences first. For example, one such trait (I’ve had more than my fair share of fun with) is disguising yourself as the enemy to surpass certain areas without alerting the enemy. Felt very Mission Impossible like and to me that only further increased my enjoyment of the improved stealth aspect of the gameplay.
With the categories laid out for Melee, Stealth, Health, and Ranged Weapons you are able to make Arno become a truly remarkable assassin. In addition to these RPG elements you also have weapons, equipment, and boosts you are able to unlock for various forms of currency in the game. The only downside to this for me was the amount of different currency you have in the game when it comes to your skill tree. Your money is used for everything as far as consumables, weapons, and clothing, which is really par for the course. Your Assassin Points are as explained earlier, what you use to upgrade your specific skills. But then you also have Creed Points and Helix Points. Creed Points you accumulate just by doing something as simple as and aerial assassination, Helix Points are from various other sorts. However they both do the same thing; they allow you to upgrade your equipment. It takes more Creed Points to upgrade something than Helix points but that’s beside the point. I wish almost in a way, that you could take the Creed Points and after accumulating a certain amount, trade those in for Assassin Points, but I digress.
Outside of that small complaint, I have to admit the combat system at first annoyed me. I think a lot of it had to do with the more direct brutal almost animalistic combat of III and IV I was still expecting. After I jumped in and started upgrading and advancing Arno, the combat became a refreshing style of finesse. It was with this finesse, I started loving the combat. I was walking around just picking fights for hours with anyone who would fight me. Maybe part of me always wanted to learn fencing and that’s why I enjoyed it so, or maybe fencing has always been that badass, either way after each kill I felt myself wanting to swish the controller in front of my face as if holding the sword myself and say “take that b…..” Maybe I should get out more.