By Joseph Valencia ’17
“Assassin’s Creed Unity”- Ubisoft
7 out of 10
Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC
“Assassin’s Creed Unity” is a beautifully detailed and complex adventure taking place during the French Revolution, but it suffers from the acclaim that its predecessors earned.
The previous entry in the series, “Assassin’s Creed Black Flag,” was applauded for its complex protagonist as well as its stunning naval combat gameplay.
Not only did “Unity” eliminate the naval warfare, but the protagonist, Arno Dorian, is also lacking.
Arno begins as a young boy who loses his father, a member of the Assassin Brotherhood, to a member of the Templar Order.
The man who kills his father adopts him out of respect for his rival, and Arno befriends his daughter, Elise.
The story then shifts forward about 12 years, with Arno being a mischievous adolescent who is in an amatory relationship with Elise.
At a party, Arno’s adoptive father is murdered and he is blamed and imprisoned as a result.
Arno meets a member of the Assassins in prison, who trains and helps him escape. Arno then quickly joins the Brotherhood.
Arno’s character evolves too fast, not giving the player any time to become accustomed to him. For example, he doesn’t mourn the death of either of his fathers, and he joins the Assassins without taking the time to think for himself.
The simple, boring story revolves around Arno and the Assassins killing numerous instigators of the revolution.
The player is lead to believe that famous figures of history, such as Maximilian Robespierre, were hired by the Templars to throw France into chaos.
While Arno and the story are lackluster, the city of Paris is alive and ever evolving throughout the course of the game.
At the start of the game, Paris is clean and orderly, but quickly transforms into a violent place full of riots and murders.
New technology has allowed developers to insert rioting crowds, with each person performing an individual task, such as raising a pitchfork or holding a flag.
The only problem with the massive crowds is the challenge they pose when the player wants to get across the street.
When Arno is encountered by large crowds, his movement slows to a walk as he attempts to push his way through. Fortunately, the parkour system has received a facelift with new animations, making travel by rooftop a joy to watch.
Arno’s climbing style is distinguished by the new animations, making his style different from any of the previous protagonists. Arno is able to leap across seemingly impossible gaps between buildings, and he looks amazing while doing so.
A new controlled descent system allows Arno to use small footholds to quickly hop down from buildings. Controlled descent eliminates the need for hay bales when jumping from tall buildings.
Arno himself is fully customizable, giving the player the ability to select what armor he wears, the color of the armor, the types of weapons he uses and the skills he has. Weapons and armor come in five tiers and are purchased with in-game currency, while skills are purchased with skill points.
The five tiers armor are: handmade, tailored, improved, master and legendary. The benefits of the armor increase as the tier increases.
Weapons come in three types: long weapons, heavy weapons and one-handed weapons. Though the player is able to purchase any of the weapons, they can only utilize one type of weapon at a time.
Long weapons give the player range and consist of spears and tridents. Heavy weapons offer slow, heavy attacks and one-handed weapons consist of light swords with quick attacks.
A new weapon in the series is the phantom blade, which transforms the iconic hidden blade into a ranged projectile. Arno’s wrist grader has a small crossbow mechanism that allows him to fire his blades at will.
Currency and skill points are difficult to come by, making Arno’s progression well paced and balanced.
Overall, the setting and superior parkour system allow “Assassin’s Creed Unity” to shine above its predecessors, but a forgettable protagonist and lackluster story hold it back.