So I know that this game came out around a month ago, but I wanted to finish the game before I posted anything on it. Granted I finished it a couple weeks ago, I’ve just been really busy with work.
With that, I’d have to say this is probably my favorite game in the series since any of the Ezio trilogy. I just wasn’t a big fan of Assassins Creed 3, and while I thought Black Flag was fun I felt it relied heavily on the naval combat to make up for a lack of side quests. Granted there was quite a bit of collectibles to find, and assassin contracts to do, but I felt like I spent more time doing these things than I did actually doing main story or side quests.
It has been a while since I played AC 2/Brotherhood/Revelations, so I don’t remember all the content from those games either, but I still felt like I enjoyed the games more. Maybe it was just the setting and the characters that made it better. But this is exactly the reason I like Unity so much.
I did find the naval combat to be well done in Black Flag, but after a certain amount of time I felt like I’d rather be running through a sprawling cityscape than having to farm ships for merchandise to upgrade my ship to farm better ships for more merchandise etc, etc.
Unity feels a lot like the Ezio games to me. There is a solid, compelling story with like-able characters that you (mostly) care about. I liked the addition of being able to choose your own play style through your gear load out and the controls were fairly solid.
The graphics in the game are also very stunning and well done. I don’t have any personal gameplay to share, but any youtube video that can be watched in 1080p will show how well the structures were done and how beautiful the game itself was. Obviously after playing the game for awhile you start noticing how the crowd tends to have the same faces and how the building interiors all look the same, but that doesn’t bother me because if every face had to be randomly generated the system would blow a gasket.
The controls were also fairly solid, failing only in the traditional ways that they always have. Primarily free-running. There is always a time where I’m running along the street and all of a sudden I get to close to a wall and just grab on and get stuck. This game does encourage you to spend more of your time on the roofs than on the ground, but I still had issues with that.
It never ceased to amaze me how your character has no problems climbing to the top of the tallest building or diving off in to a pile of hay but if you try to climb over a hedge or a fence it seems like the most difficult task in the world. Now I can understand that you really can’t climb a hedge as there is nothing to hold on to, but I’d like to see the game advance enough to not make the failed climbing animation and maybe just have him run in to it and fail or run through it.
The game also adds plenty of artificial barriers such as spiked fences that you can’t climb over. This doesn’t detract from the game, and honestly those fences would be there in real life more often than not.
The combat system in this game felt a lot more fluid than it has in awhile. It was easier to take on large groups once you learn how to parry and roll, and in most cases after mid game using smoke bombs to handle large crowds. The only truly annoying part of combat were the enemies with pistols and rifles. Their accuracy was way to good for the weapons they were using. You could be pretty far away and get shot, losing half your health in the process. Even later in the game when I had a large health pool I feared seeing the gun icon because I’d still lose a majority of my health.
I feel like I should touch a little bit on the issue of bugs in the game. Personally, I didn’t experience all that many bugs, and certainly none of the ones everyone was talking about. I never had the faces not render in cutscenes, and I never fell through the world. I did get stuck once but it didn’t keep me from playing. I do like that Ubisoft was doing there best, and publicly acknowledging the issues. They even went so far as to say everyone would get the DLC content for free, and those who paid would at some point get a free game from a specified list. As a season pass purchaser I am ok with this. This means I am essentially getting Far Cry 4 for $30, once they figure out the logistics that is.
There were, however, two things I did not enjoy with the game.
The first off is the heavy amount of CO-OP missions that were shoved in my face. Most of the best gear in the game was only obtainable by playing through cooperative missions. They were not mandatory to finish the game, but you can’t get 100% completion without doing them either. I don’t mind if a game has some form of CO-OP, but don’t tell me I can’t get 100% completion if I don’t do them.
The second was an in game cash shop that allowed lazy people to just buy currency instead of taking the time to actually earn it in game. I had absolutely no problem earning money in the game. I think my final total was something in the 2.5 million range. I didn’t spend a dime on the cash shop either. What was annoying was that even though you would use the sync points to unlock stuff on the map, locations such as chests and collectibles only displayed after you came within a certain range of them. OR you could use the cash shop to buy “helix points” to spend on unlocking those locations.
What they don’t tell you is that you earn enough helix points from playing the story to buy these. So the cash shop is entirely pointless. You don’t need to use it at all. I read an article where the writer bought the most expensive package available ($100 US) and never used half of the credits he received. That is bad design and a ripoff and I really hope that it is not included in future games.
Would I still recommend this game? Absolutely. I think it is an essential part of the series and everyone should play it.
Will there be another game featuring Arno (the main character)? I don’t know. The next game in the series has already been leaked and takes place during Victorian London (19th century). If you were to assume that the game took place at the start of the period you could assume Arno could be the main character, but I would say it is also safe to bet it is a new character. Primarily because the last few games have been one offs. The only protagonist to span multiple games at this point was Ezio.