The latest entry in the hit franchise, Assassin’s Creed Unity, not only transports the time frame of the plot to a new era but brings a new addition to the gameplay that has reinvigorated my interest in the series. The demo I saw at E3 was essentially what was previously shown at the Ubisoft press conference on Monday, but I did get the added benefit of having a running commentary from one of the developers at Ubisoft.
Fans of the series will recognize the haystacks as one of their greatest allies as it has long provided the players with a cushion to land on after theyve jumped from three stories up in the air. This has mostly been eliminated from the gameplay now as the characters will rely primarily on “controlled descension,” which is achieved simply by using the B button and R trigger. The fluid movements of Arno as a result of this slight but noticeable change give the player an even more immersive sense of control, something that will be a big benefit in the long run.
The recently-released videos for Assassin’s Creed Unity might have some players worried that the co-op has replaced the story mode of the game, but that is not the case. In fact, the solo portion of the game is still the driving focus as a whole with the co-operative missions serving as additional story-driven content. These missions are also accessible at any point during the game’s giant-sized map, which is roughly the size of Assassin’s Creed 3‘s frontier albeit stacked with accessible buildings. Instead of players being forced to work in tandem with their teammates to complete the game, like Ubisoft’s other stealth-based game with co-op Splinter Cell, the nature of “Assassin’s Creed” coupled with the level designs allows player to work together but go down their own paths. While one player might choose to attack a target from the front, his teammates could infiltrate the same area from the back and the side of the buildings. Its refreshing to see a co-op experience really set itself apart even after its become the norm for campaign gaming.
I was curious about how the co-operative portion effects the story, specifically in relation to the characters that are your partners which is where my only complaint with the demo arises. Instead of each of the four characters being their own man with their own arc in the story, each of the players simply play as the lead character Arno though they are all equipped with their own weapons which they can pick and choose as they go through their single player campaign and upgrade their character. It’s understandable why Ubisoft wouldn’t have the time to create four unique characters as that would take way more time than developers have in putting together these annual titles, but the most fun co-op games are when each of the characters feels like a well rounded individual allowing the player to form an attachment and maybe pick a favorite. Unfortunately that’s not here.
With each “Assassin’s Creed” game something new has to be brought to the table, and while co-op may not seem like a big deal in relation to the open pirate world of last years “Black Flag,” in execution it looks like a ton of fun. The setting of the game looks stunning in full 1080p and the giant crowd scenes are very impressive as hundreds of characters appear on screen and not once will you see or hear the same thing. It may not look like a lot has changed for “Assassin’s Creed” with “Unity,” but the small changes will no doubt effect the game in big ways when its done.
Assassin’s Creed Unity will be available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on October 28. You can watch the official E3 single player commented demo below.