Thursday, November 26, 2015

Backlog Gaming Review: Assassin's Creed Unity and Dead Kings DLC Vive La Revolution!

I waited to buy Assassin's Creed Unity because of all the glitches and problems the game had upon its release that I kept hearing about. I'm glad I waited because it seems they addressed and fixed many of those glitches. There's a ton to see and do in Unity besides the main story such as side quests, puzzle quests, murder mystery quests,  and co-op missions that you can play with friends or privately. I liked the character of Arno Dorian (much more than I liked Shay in Rogue) and it was interesting to see a lot of his interactions with his friends and a variety of historical figures like Napoleon Bonaparte and Marquis de Sade.

Introducing Arno Dorian

The viewpoints in 16th century Paris are stunning, showing off a beautiful thriving city with a lot of people. The scenes with the Revolution were also interesting to see and interact with because of the people and I found I would stop and just listen. This also had me remembering all the French I learned as I listened to various conversations. At times having a lot of people could be frustrating when having to chase a target for a mission or spy on someone because they would get in the way causing a mission to fail if you didn't get to where you needed to be in time. There were also times where the controls would be a little wonky and Arno would grab a wall when I wanted him to just run or jump. It didn't happen often though so I didn't mind too much. I also didn't see the point of the game having four different types of currency. I'm not kidding. You had the livres, (what francs were first called) sync points, creed points, and helix credits. I felt this all could have done with just one currency. Instead you have money to buy stuff, the sync points and creed points are used to upgrade gear and skills, while the helix credits you use real money to buy things via UPlay. All of it is completely useless. UPlay is not only pointless, it just screams of greed. The game really only needed one currency and nothing else.

A spectacular view of 16th Century Paris

 I do understand that Arno's tale of revenge with the Assassins vs. Templars has been done before, but I found I did like the story for what it was; an entertaining adventure with some pivotal history and interesting characters in it. Yes, they did take a few liberties with some of the historical aspects, but it flowed really well and was done in a subtle way that made all the events mesh well together. I liked the character of Elise also, and I wish there had been a few more main missions with her because she offered a different point of view and also showed that not all the Templars were power hungry insane people. There's also the factor that she and Arno together were intriguing and they made a great team.

Elise and Arno 

There are several different ways to do many of the missions which I found to be fun. You could either sneak in a window or disguise yourself as one of the soldiers and just walk right in the front door. The AI for the enemies is more aggressive here so I found myself relying heavily on smoke bombs often. At some points it got a little frustrating especially with the final memory sequence because I had to be a certain distance from the target to finish the mission. There were a couple of glitch issues such as a location on the map for a quest not showing up and an odd one where Arno got stuck in a wall and it looked like he was swimming on the wall. Those were the only technical problems I ran into which isn't too bad. Overall the game itself is fun to play with lots to see and do. There's even a mission with a hot air balloon that's very cool.

Hot air balloon over Paris is awesome

Once I had finished up the main story of Unity, I started the Dead Kings DLC. This happens a week after the events of the main story and in Franciade (now Saint Denis) and Arno  runs into the Marquis de Sade once again who wishes for Arno to help him find the manuscript of Nicoleas de Condorcet which is rumored to be in the tomb of Louis IX. Arno agrees to help him in exchange for a ship to take Arno to Egypt. After that you get to explore Franciade and while not as big as Paris it's just as beautiful and there's lots to explore above and below.

A bird's eye view of some of Franciade

Arno runs into some tomb raiders who happen to be working for Napoleon Bonaparte and we see him once again throughout the area. Napoleon is looking for something in a Precursor Temple. While we all know what that could mean Arno does not, but he knows that whatever it is can't be good. He also befriends a young boy named Leon and they work together to figure out exactly what it is Napoleon is after. There are a lot of side missions here too along with some murder mystery quests and a few more co-op missions as well. There are even a few take over the enemy fort missions that are fun to do as well.

Some of the missions could be a bit frustrating because a lot of them were in the catacombs and it could be very hard to see with how dark some of the areas are. I had to use Eagle Vision a lot just to be able to see where I needed to go. Luckily there were only a couple of places that were difficult to see in. You also get some new equipment that is pretty awesome like the guillotine gun basically an axe and a grenade launcher melded together. While not the stealthiest of weapons, it's a ton of fun to unleash all that firepower on your enemies.  The lantern on the other hand, annoyed me. Yes, the catacombs are dark and yes you need a lantern, but it seemed a lot of the puzzles relied heavily on the lantern and it was a bit clunky and tedious. I mean having to use a lantern just so I could scare away roaches to jump on a ledge was a bit much. 

The Precursor Temple was interesting to explore with a few lighting puzzles and brazier puzzles. The scenes with Arno and Leon chatting together were nice because it showed Leon gradually getting Arno to see that there is always hope and even caused Arno to change his mind about a few things. With the main story and side missions Dead Kings is only a couple of hours, but it's a couple of hours worth playing. 

Arno in the Precursor Temple

Overall Assassin's Creed Unity (which includes the Dead Kings DLC for free) is a solid game and it is fun to play. There's a lot to see and do on your own and plenty to do with your friends via co-op missions. It's worth checking out because of the fun of the missions and because of the fact that the main character is actually pretty likable.

Note: I played this game on the PS4.

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