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The last Assassin’s Creed game I liked was Brotherhood. Revelations bored me, and my copy of Assassin’s Creed III was so broken, I didn’t care to give it another chance even after Ubisoft released the patches. I didn’t even try to give Assassin’s Creed IV a chance, even though everyone swore it was fantastic. When Ubisoft confirmed Assassin’s Creed Unity not long ago, I was once again disinterested. I’ve broken up with you, Assassin’s Creed; don’t even try to win me back. After watching Assassin’s Creed at the E3 press conferences and spending some time with the game at Ubisoft’s booth, I have to say that I have been sucked back in, and I have been sucked back in hard.
Guards all facing in the other direction. Wtf? Dumbasses!
This Assassin’s Creed is named Unity because players can form their own four-assassin brotherhood with friends online. With co-op play, teams can complete any of the game’s side missions and assassination quests as well as explore all of Paris. This is exactly what I wanted when Ubisoft first announced a multiplayer mode in Brotherhood. I didn’t want to kill other assassins; I wanted to go do assassin things with my friends! This October, I’ll finally get that wish.
While you can drop in and drop out at any time to do side missions and explore with friends, you can’t actually play the main campaign missions together. I was disappointed by this, but at least anything you discover while exploring with a friend you get to keep and carry over to your own game, including any quests you accepted or side quests you unlocked.
In addition to the glorious co-op mode, Ubisoft has added in several new features for the first true new-gen Assassin’s Creed game. For the first time ever, players will have controlled freerunning capabilities. If you want to freerun up, you press one other button on the controller; if you want to descend, you press a different button. If you want to simply freerun across something at the same height, you press no additional buttons. No more accidentally climbing a tree or plunging to your death. And no more searching for haystacks before you swan dive off a building. Arno will be able to climb down a building with believable stealth. Diving off of a temple into a haystack is not stealthy and unnoticeable, no matter how clueless the NPCs were made to be.
Um... oops. I didn't mean to do that. Sorry.
Ubisoft has also expanded upon their open world mechanic they already had from previous Assassin’s Creed games. Instead of making the open world map larger like so many other RPGs have opted to do, they’ve made it more complex. Most of the buildings in Paris are not just empty shells with locked doors; Arno can go into many of the buildings throughout the city to stage assassinations, hide, loot, or start side quests.
The most amazing new feature in Unity is how the crowd in the streets can be used in various ways to help out Arno. For example, by reading a crowd’s reaction, Arno could unlock a side quest. In my presentation, we came upon several Parisians looking into a house window and talking with a lot of anxiety. Arno entered the house, discovered that everyone was gaping in horror at a dead body on the floor, and consequently unlocked a murder mystery side quest. In another instance, a group of people got a little rowdy, and a man started to stab a woman to death. We could choose to avenge her death or try to break up the riot, or we could let the murder continue, and use it as a distraction for the guards. Even though the guards could clearly see Arno, they chose to help the woman out instead of bothering Arno, allowing him to pass on by and get closer to his assassination target. The crowd’s reactions to Arno can also dictate how quickly he is spotted by the guards or how much they are willing to help him. It all depends on which faction the player chooses to help in Paris, as well as if he helps the haves or the have-nots. It’s a completely diverse and more complex set of mechanics than we’ve ever seen in an Assassin’s Creed game.
Ubisoft has promised to let us know more details about the co-op mode and more about the factions and gameplay mechanics that will be present in Unity over the next few months. As of now, Assassin’s Creed Unity is set in October this year for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
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