Let me explain to you in detail why Assassin’s Creed Unity is the DEFINITION of EVERYTHING wrong with gaming nowadays. And why ACRogue is even worse despite being the better game (technically speaking).
Full Disclosure: I played both ACRogue and ACUnity, sa the endings to both games and took some time to do some post game content but not all. I did not buy either game, I have friends.
It used to be that, when you release an unfinished broken mess of a game, nobody bought that game because it was an unplayable broken mess. But those days are long gone ever since we can patch and change the game after release. The first major release to extensively do that was Gothic 3 – and it only got worse ever since.
Assassin’s Creed Unity is the epitome of this crap. The game is barely functional, sometimes it isn’t even that. It is so unfinished, on my playthrough I had three game breaking bugs early in the game, fell through floors and at one point my main character was noting more than a set of untextured walking pants and a floating gun. This game is clearly unfinished.
Furthermore, it is an unoptimized, technical mess. It looks worse than the last entry in the series due to a horrible art style and technical errors, horrible LOD, ugly textures, bad model work and of course unplayable framerates. I have a machine that can blast through most games in Ultra High, Be it the Arkham games, Tomb Raider or Ubisofts own FarCry 3. The AC games were always horrible ports and this one must be the worst (well, this one and AC3) in terms of quality and framerate. My system falls somewhere above the recommended settings of the game and sometimes the game drops to under 10 FPS in the indoor areas.
I actually finished a chase mission after three seconds because the game was stuttering so hard I could barely see anything and the person to chase and kill did not move due to a bug, they were just standing there and I was pressing random buttons because I feared that I was in a fight (not sure, it was stuttering so hard) and boom the person happened to be dead. Another instance had me follow Elise (not a spoiler) and she didn’t move. SHe was just standing there, looking silly.
And those are just some of the technical issues I faced. But what is even worse than those are the gameplay problems the title has. Technical issues can be fixed and some of them probably will be fixed. AC3 is still a buggy broken mess of a PC game but at least the console versions are pretty solid now. So I have no doubt that Ubisoft will throw out six quick patches over the next few months and then just give up and leave it as it is.
But the gameplay is broken as well. The basic game principles are very much AC and I love them. The story is predictable, dumb and badly executed but that doesn’t bother me, despite tha fact that the entire modern day thing has been a joke ever since Desmonds death in AC3 (not a spoiler that game is 2 years old) and despite the fact that they threw in random plot points just to appease to loud mouthed fans. I am okay with that.
However what is NOT okay is the fact that a 70 buck game is riddled with microtransactions that may be optional but still a vital part of gameplay all while promoting UPlay, a service that sucks hard, the ACUnity companion app that sucks almost as hard as UPlay and hiding a lot of content behind online DRM. THat is NOT okay at all.
There are chests in Unity you can’t open without using the companion app, something I can’t do since I don’t own a smartphone to begin with (yes, I use an old burner fliphone, I am old school) so a lot of content stays locked for me. Furthermore there are different locked chests youc an only use via the ACInitiates program which you don’t need an app for but need to use the shitty website which is equally bad. And those chests usually contain great weapons, customisations for the character or outfits. Then of course there are microtransactions, so-called “Time Saver Packs” that give you things you otherwise would need to play hours for right at the beginning. Which would be nice if more than half of those “optional things” were obtainable in the game, but they are not they are hidden in the ACUnity Companion app and ACInitiates website chests.
You can always buy the Season Pass that will give you all DLC and all unlockables of course, for a mere 30 bucks. So that adds 30 bucks to the already 70 bucks you paid to get the FULL game but STILL as a buggy, incomplete and partially unplayable mess.
Now let’s say you were smart enough not to buy and be like: I buy in in the summer sale, the complete edition with all DLC and bugfixes for 40 bucks. Good for you, that would be the right decision. If the game were any good even if you leave all those problems behind. But it really isn’t. In fact I would argue it is the weakest AC game to date, speaking in terms of core gameplay. So I am not sure those 40 bucks are worth it anyways.
You see, under all the shit this game pulls hides a pretty solid game bogged down by a boring and VERY short campaign, unmemorable characters dumb game design decisions. In an effort to modernise the series they broke it. It seems to me that Ubisoft tried to fix a problem that wasn’t there to begin with so they created the problem just to fix it but the problem they created was bigger than the fix they had in mind.
The city, while having huge buildings, is actually fairly small. Since the buildings are so big, your walking speed has been scaled back a bit (just a bit) to make it seem even more massive but in terms of sheer traveling time it is roughly the size as Istanbul was in ACRevelations. That would be okay, really but it still takes forever to get from point to point due to the slower running speed and the fact that so many ugly NPCs clutter up the CPU, making the game slower (source of many framerate issues) and your path through the streets more cluttered. All this could have been solved by giving you a horse and removing a third of the NPCs but no such thing here. Sure there is fast travel, but the loading times are so horribly long it sometimes is faster just running to your destination. The new battle system is also an answer to a problem that didn’t exist in the earlier AC games. Fighting got too easy by the time AC Revelations and its sequels came around so they made it harder by removing the counter kill and giving the enemies more HP and having them dish out more damage and the option to counter kill YOU! This might feel nicer in the beginning but despite the fact that you level up your character, you are still easily outperformed by enemies even in the late game. You are supposed to be an assassin, a great fighter and one of the best they have and you just never feel like this. You feel capable, but not like the master Assassin you’re told to be.
They also removed the “talk after the assasination” sequences which sounds like a great idea on paper since you now see the memories of the person you killed explaining the story. The problem here is that all character designs are boring and very same-y and their names are mentioned not enough times for you to remember who they are – or care for that matter, a problem they had in AC3 as well, since every non american probably never heard about those people. Nobody heard about La Volpe either but you remember him, you remember Bartolomeo d’Alviano or Lucrecia Borgia. Those were well made characters. You remember the Pazzi Family (despite Lorenzo’s best efforts to erase them from history) but do you remember the name of the french guy in AC3 who you recruit as your first assassin?
Which brings me to another problem: Since the game is supposed to be co-op now, they have done away with assassin recruits entirely. They did so in AC4 already but at least there you had to recruit crew members to board. Here you are on your own. That wasn’t a problem in AC1 and AC2 since the games were set up around that mechanic but ACUnity is set up around co-op and if you can’t play co-op or don’t want to you are in a bit of a problem since some mission require a helping hand – you can play them alone but they are clearly designed around co-op, resulting in incredibly frustrated moments where you are supposed to do three things at the same time.
Last but not least, the story is short, the main campaign is, despite having 12 sequences, the shortest main line campaign since most sequences are just 2 or 3 memories. It took me about seven hours to plow through the campaign, despite several deaths and game breaking bugs due to the unfinished nature of the game. The post game content is there and there is a lot to do but it is all repetitive and more work than game – solve a gazillion badly written word riddles to obtain some armor or replay the same three Helix synch memories over and over again to unlock… I have no clue I didn’t bother with those after the third time doing the same shit. Talk to people to solve murders which basically means enter eagle vision, press B at highlighted object, repeat and solve some issues with your shops, all boring and mundane tasks not worth the time or effort.
The problem with all of this is the fact that the people still buy this shit, they still give Ubisoft their money to put out shit like this and they are happy to do so. Some people bought FOUR AC games this year, FOUR!
They bought Liberation HD in February, Rogue and Unity now and the DLC for the chinese 2D game. 4 AC game sin one year and people bought all of them. Why? Why would anyone do this? Because the templars are right, people like to be told what to do, apparently.
You see, ACRogue is by far the better game, but it is even worse in terms of supporting shit than ACUnity is – so was Liberation HD by the way. The problem with Rogue is that it is exactly the same game as Black Fla, but in white. It has the same gameplay, same mechanics, sometimes even the same missions, they reuse the engine, code, assets and even the music. Rogue is a well made game – of course, they made that game already and this is nothing more than a glorified MOD and yet it costs 70 bucks and people gladly buy it!
With practices like this, is it any wonder why publishers continue to shit at their consumers? Does anyone really ask themselves why this happens anymore? People buy this shit, they want to be fucked in the ass and Ubisoft gladly delivers.
If Rogue would have been the AC game of the season for all systems, they could have brought ACUnity next year, giving it more development time, making a better game and given the inevitable next game next year more time in development as well. But seeing that this hasn’t happened watch them announce at least one new AC game at E3 for next year, broken and buggy messes for 75-80 bucks, sucking you dry bit by bit.
For 70 bucks you get AC Unity or Rogue. If you buy them both and a Season Pass to get content that is already in the game but locked, you pay 170 bucks for two shitty games. Alternatively you pay 60 bucks and get Bayonetta 1+2 – two finished, full, highly polished and great games. I know what choice I made. Ubisoft doesn’t get one cent from me.