Assassin's Creed: Unity
For those times when you just need to do some stabbing, Ubisoft is getting ready to deliver our yearly dose of Assassin’s Creed. So what will Unity bring to the table on release in October? Let’s take a look.
Fans and critics argued at length about the possible location for this instalment, with the final result being Paris, France. You play as Arno Dorian, a man who is looking to redeem himself for his part in the death of his father. Some of his ancestors were assassins and he inevitably finds himself drawn to join the order, even though he does not agree with their entire philosophy. This all takes place just before the French Revolution, a rich historical era with plenty of spots to slot the assassin order right in. Arno is promised to be considerably wittier than his predecessors, though I’d only class Edward Kenway as having any sense of fun at all, so that’s not exactly big competition.
But we all know how the story goes by now: dangerous man becomes assassin, kills a bunch of people, gets betrayed, completely derails society by killing some historical figure only for the Templars to eventually own the world again in the modern day.
Where Unity will hopefully set itself apart is by tweaking the mechanics. Up until now, Assassin’s Creed games have been almost strictly single player affairs. A multiplayer mode was introduced in Brotherhood and continued through the following games but that wasn’t why people picked up the game. However, since the cooperative play in the Wolfpack training mode for Assassin’s Creed III was so well received, players will have the option of teaming up with others to complete missions in-game in Unity for the first time.
Loners rejoice, though, because you don’t have to do this. The co-op missions aren’t going to be mandatory. You can even complete them solo if you want to. I’m glad the option is open just in case. Unfortunately, the big disappointment of the co-op mode (just in case you missed the online furore) is that there won’t be a playable female assassin. On the one hand, it makes sense within the mode because you are meant to be playing as Arno even in this mode but on the other hand, it’s just a bit of a letdown. Female assassins have been featured as NPCs in previous games and as playable characters in multiplayer matches. It kind of seems like they dropped the ball a bit here.
Let’s not get bogged down here. There are plenty of things to be excited about. This is the first entirely next-gen Assassin’s Creed title and it really takes advantage of the power. The game map of Paris has been leaked and it is HUGE. You want crowds? How does a crowd of 30,000 people sound? Plenty of people to hide amongst. Eagle vision does even more than tagging targets, as it did in Black Flag. Now you’ll be able to tell how many guards are in a building. Those pesky stalking missions have been reworked so that you don’t desynchronise immediately if you’re caught; it simply sends you on a different path to possible completion.
And perhaps the greatest change of all: a dedicated crouch mode. No more will you have to gingerly slide along a wall with no ability to pop up from behind a bench. There are no words to describe how necessary this feature is.
There’s no doubt that Ubisoft has set a pretty big challenge for itself by promising a new Assassin’s Creed title every year. Now comes the announcement that Assassin’s Creed Rogue, a PS3/360 only game, is coming out in November as well. Is it possible that one could get a little sick of them? I’d definitely be a willing test subject for that experiment.