Assassin’s Creed has now become a staple when it comes to what we can expect during the holiday season, similar to the Call of Duty franchise. However, as with the Call of Duty franchise, a certain amount of fatigue has begun to set in when Assassin’s Creed is mentioned. Last year’s Assassin’s Creed Black Flag was surprisingly refreshing when compared to the fairly slow paced Assassin’s Creed 3, however there were still elements that frustrated many gamers. Assassin’s Creed Unity is the first game in the series that is is only available for current generation platforms, meaning it has not been held back by the last generation consoles. However, does that mean we can see a marked improvement, or is it just a step above like the other games in the series.
Assassin’s Creed Unity takes place in the French Revolution, where you play as Arno Dorian, a Frenchman who was born in Versailles to an Assassin father. The story is set in Paris, and fans of the franchise will notice a lot of similarities to the fan favourite Casanova, Ezio. The only thing that was slightly weird was that rather than having a French accent, Arno has a British accent, but I suppose if they’re speaking English any way there’s no use in forcing an accent. As always, Abstergo is involved and are using people’s genetic memories for their own purposes. One of the new features for Arno is a fairly advanced skill tree in which you can unlock new abilities using Creed Points that are earned throughout the game. This is quite a nice addition to the game, and makes it easier to see the progress your character has made.
Assassin’s Creed Unity starts off as it means to go on. Unlike the tedium that was Assassin’s Creed 3, there are very few areas of the game where you are simply walking towards a mission marker in order to view a cutscene. Instead these cutscenes have been combined as much as possible, meaning you don’t have to keep skipping them in order to get to any action. It’s also evident right from the main menu that the way this Assassin’s Creed plays is very different from the last. There is now a metro-style interface where you can select missions that you want to play, making it much easier to navigate through the memories than in previous games.
As always there is a short tutorial at the beginning of the game that gets you used to the controls of the game, and introduces new abilities. However, the tutorial is relatively vague and almost assumes that you should know what to do as it gives you the control prompts fairly late. There have been some minor tweaks to the controls that make a massive difference when playing. The main new feature is a quick descent control combination. Like you would press R2 + X to climb up a building, the developers have now introduced an R2 + O combination that allows you to descend buildings and platforms much quicker.