Hidden Blades, Parkour and More
The Assassin?s Creed franchise is something I have a love/hate relationship with. On the one hand, the lore is cool to dive into with each protagonists? interpretation of the titular assassin?s ?creed? and I like seeing each player?s story play out. On the other hand, glitches, tailing missions, and the tendency of more recent titles to add skill trees and RPG elements have derailed the series a bit from my player experience.
I loved the Ezio Trilogy; the assassin from Firenze, Italy was charismatic and evolved into a Master Assassin, following leads and adding members to the brotherhood instead of staying the vengeful youth he started to be when the Borgia killed his father and brothers.
I picked this up as soon as I turned 17
My favorite game in the series by far is Black Flag ? I?ve played through the story at least 4 times by now and everything about the game just worked, and not in a Todd Howard sweet little lies worked.
The combat was easy to figure out and intuitive, ship battles were exciting and innovative, and Edward Kenway was a character who was a pirate in all senses of the word, looting an Assassin?s outfit and parading it as his own, doing as he pleased without paying close attention to the Creed itself, only dong contracts and work because there was monetary gain involved.
Scoping out ships for loot while my pirate crew sang shanties is something I?ll never forget or experience for the first time quite as I did with this game
Unity and Rogue
An ad for both new games
I was in high school when I heard about Ubisoft?s next titles, Unity, and Rogue, and my best friend had his gaming PC. Both of us were excited about the new titles. While I didn?t have a PS4 or gaming PC of my own, I could own Rogue for my PS3 and watch my friend play on his PC. He was so hyped about the game that he preordered it.
And then the glitches happened.
My friend was frustrated and said the game was incredibly glitchy, and a quick Google search shows exactly what he was talking about. He told me the story was bland and dull, the parkour elements were weird and messed up sometimes, and Arno had about the same personality as a blue chair with a frowny face taped onto it (at least, when he did have a face).
CBS reported ?Ubisoft?s stock has dropped almost 16 percent in the past since the game?s troubles first emerged. On Twitter, the company has been inundated with complaints and questions about how to overcome certain bugs.?
Next year, when I graduated high school and bought a PS4 of my own, I decided against playing Unity. Why would I when I had seen the comments and screenshots online?
Fast forward 5 years later, I had played through most of the games except Liberation and some of their spinoff mobile game titles. Origins and Odyssey, while ambitious in their scope and size of maps and number of quests to do, felt empty. An Assassin?s Creed game shouldn?t have dialogue options, multiple endings, skill trees, and enemies that who, after sneaking up on and stabbing in the throat, walk it off and are ready to fight with only half their health gone, treating it like a fly landed on their neck.
I had recently acquired my first credit card and needed some items to add to my Amazon cart to build credit and feed my on and off affair with online impulse shopping, and Unity was selling for $15. I was curious and wanted to see what the full series had to offer. How bad could it be?
The City of Lights
The Notre Dame cathedral in-game
Ubisoft wasn?t kidding when they advertised how many NPCs in the game there were. Every street corner is packed with massive crowds of people, protesting or engaging in conversation or about to be mugged by some Templar thugs. The cityscape of Paris is something to behold and is incredibly detailed, so much so that when the Notre Dame cathedral caught on fire earlier this April, architects are using the game?s model of the building to restore it.
Arno Dorian is an okay-ish Assassin. He?s thrown into the world of the Brotherhood because, like Ezio before him, his father was killed by a Templar. He also falls into the same pattern of other Assassins before him, becoming infatuated with a Templar woman who ends up helping him in the story instead of trying to kill him.
However, he does reflect my earlier analysis of his personality, a French, slightly ornate blue chair with a frowny face taped onto it. Arno has a vendetta to fill, utilizing the Brotherhood?s resources to kill anyone and everyone related to his father?s death, and is exiled from the Brotherhood as a result.
Can you spot the difference?
Further Gameplay Gripes
The new crouching system in the game is hit-or-miss ? sometimes I?d crouch within 2 inches of an enemy and they wouldn?t notice me, and other times I?d crouch 20 feet away and be noticed immediately.
The map is incredibly cluttered. One look at the pause menu isn?t enough to find where you?re going, and even if the main story missions are marked with a big exclamation point, there were numerous times where I?d have to spend a minute or two looking for the mission point like I would in a Where?s Waldo book.
Where should I go?
Lockpicking minigames were my least favorite part of the game by far. The cluttered map shows so many chests to loot, but I kept breaking lockpicks after spending an unreasonable amount of skill points on upgrading Arno?s lockpicking abilities. Even at Rank 3, the highest rank for lockpicking, you need good hand-eye coordination to unlock Rank 3 chests.
Is Assassin?s Creed Unity a bad game? Not really. It?s certainly much more playable than last year?s holiday season fiasco Fallout 76 (side note: it was really strange to see Todd Howard at E3 apologizing to gamers). Compared with Rogue, I have to say I like Rogue better, but both seemed like they were rushed to completion just in time for the holiday season.
I wonder what being in the Chess Club with Todd Howard was like
I?d recommend this game to completionists, those who love hand-eye coordination based minigames, and those who want to get the full story of the Assassin?s Creed universe. If I had to rank it on the infamous IGN scale of 1?10, I?d give it a 7. There are some nice pieces to be found in this game, like the NPCs and exploring France, but the lockpicking and leveling system in the game is less than desirable.
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