Assassin’s Creed Unity: 4 ways it will redefine the franchise
Assassin’s Creed: Unity is finally pushing the franchise into the next-generation. Unity is introducing the biggest, most immersive world the franchise has ever dared to deliver. Rebuilt movement systems, a focus on stealth and fully integrated online systems are helping to usher Unity into the future, but are any of the franchise’s wider problems being addressed? Following E3 2014, it looks like Ubisoft is finally fixing the major annoyances that have plagued the series since its debut in 2007. Here are four that have impressed us the most following Unity’s reveal.
Updated Mission Structure
The Assassin’s Creed series has evolved in some fairly significant areas since its debut back in 2007, but the mission structure still feels unusually outdated. Whether you’ve navigated the dangers of the Third Crusade or the sun-laden beaches of the Caribbean, following a target across a huge stretch of land can range from frustratingly boring to painfully monotonous. The AC games have become known for their ridiculous instant fail missions as much as they have their gorgeous open worlds.
Thankfully, Ubisoft is going back to basics with Assassin’s Creed: Unity. The mission structure is being opened up to let you actually play like an assassin – responsive, fluid and stealthy. Unity will let you tackle missions in a way that’s appropriate for your play style and character. If you’re tailing a VIP to find a location, for example, there’s no need to stick to their heels and hope they don’t notice you. Instead the mission parameters shift depending on how you approach the task at hand. If the VIP notices you, there won’t be an instant fail, instead you’ll have to chase them down as they begin to run. If you lose them, it’ll turn into a locate mission. Should the person get caught up in a riot or killed by the environment, you’ll be able to loot the body to get the information you were after. Of course, the game will respond to the VIPs death by doing something like doubling the guards at the target location. Unity is looking to let you express yourself by adding plenty of variety to a formula that has grown stale over the console generation.
Return to stealth roots
There was a time when Assassin’s Creed was primarily built as a new breed of stealth action game, and Ubisoft is looking to return to those roots with Unity. The new title is putting an emphasis on its stealth mechanics: prioritising stealth combat and avoiding entanglements entirely, a nod towards the slower, more methodical combat found in the original Assassin’s Creed.
“Assassin’s Creed is first and foremost a social stealth game. You’re an Assassin. You shouldn’t be Rambo,” said Creative Director Alex Amancio following Unity’s E3 showing. Ubisoft is looking to follow through this ideal by integrating a completely redesigned stealth system. Unity will introduce a new stealth stance, which changes how Arno moves around and interacts with world. Next-gen technology is also being utilised to get Paris ready for these stealth encounters; crowds not only swell to 1000 AI persons (they were a maximum of 100 on Xbox 360) but you can now use them as stealth cover – perfect for when you need to take out multiple foes in a dense urban area.
You can finally climb downwards
One of Assassin’s Creed’s biggest mysteries centred on who carted those damned haystacks around. No matter how high you climbed, there was always one waiting in just the right place to break your fall. Screw the Templars, this is the real conspiracy behind AC. Still, they won’t be a common sight in 18th century Paris (the haystacks that is, the revolution is teeming with Templar spies), as Ubisoft has updated the parkour system to let you navigate down a building. Finally. A new fluid method of downward parkour has been introduced, which has a surprising impact on your agency in the world.
For the first time in Assassin’s Creed, you’ll really feel free. Like the city is your playground. And you’ll certainly need that extra freedom, as Ubisoft is promising that all of the buildings have been designed at a 1:1 scale. We’re already terrified of climbing the Notre Dame; this won’t be a game for those suffering with Acrophobia.
Join a Brotherhood
Ubisoft seems to be the only studio really exploring the possibilities this next generation has introduced, and this can be once again seen in Assassin’s Creed: Unity as it introduces four player co-op. Unity will let four players join up and take on story driven missions, a self-contained story, to gain loot, XP and special rewards. The Brotherhood missions have been designed with replayability in mind and can be tackled in multiple ways – ensuring you’re never just that Assassin that has to scale a building to open a door every time.
How you tackle these missions will depend entirely on how your Assassin is customised – with skill points trees for stealth, combat and navigation being introduced to let you play the game your way. Thankfully, the customisation and character gear you earn and build in the single player will carry across to the co-op experience, and back again.