View Full Version : Blacked Out: Former Franchise Fan's reactions to Unity

06-08-2015, 09:14 PM
A little about me, I once was a very big fan of the series. In fact, there is no other franchise that has been that dear to me. AC2 and AC1 are still some of my favorite games of all-time. Black Flag was a dream come true, and I even loved ACIII's combat and free roam, Revelations' Constantinople, and Brotherhood's entire (albeit brief) entry. However, the decision to remove competitive multiplayer and the one-year release schedule of AC had left me bitter by 2015.

So for Unity. I passed. Until now.

I will post my reactions to the game here intermittently, for what's it worth. Perhaps, these comments will find someone's ears, perhaps not. Perhaps they will be interesting to see how a person blacked out of all spoilers reacts. PLEASE NO SPOILERS BEYOND WHAT I COMMENT ON ... I haven't finished the game, remember? :cool:

As of now, I'm on Sequence 3, and just beginning my story... so there's not a lot to say but immediate reactions.

Arno. I like this character. He's different. Bad-boy charm like Ezio, except an orphan who tries harder as a result. Witty with a chip on his shoulder. Edward was a bit of an ***, but it was a good character. Connor was ... well... Connor. Arno is nice variation of Ezio. +1

Paris, ah, Paris. Absolutely brilliant. I mean, I've hardly touched the surface but it's just amazing. There is so much variation in the buildings, streets and blocks. The free-running paths are very well done. Wow, they've really outdone themselves.

New free-running. Takes a moment to get used to, but I very much love it. He's very agile, and seems to go where I want 99% of the time. They also seem to have slowed down the climbing more in line with AC1's methodical climbing plus a few efficiency improvements. Love the free-run down mechanic, very very nice. Arno does seem to run a bit slow compared to Connor or Edward and I would like to see better control over my speed. I miss the slow methodical walking, normal walking, jogging and then full sprint variatons of yesteryear. Arno seems to have either slow walking or half-sprint. I'm guessing they had to slow his top speed so processors/RAM could handle loading in all the environments and NPCs.

Animation. I'm both not a fan of Arno's animation in-game (his running looks silly) nor is it a technical improvement over the last games. Altair remains among the best animations of a 3D player controlled 3rd person character. Arno is long way from that. And combat, well, that is all Connor. That said, he's got some nice variety in his climbing moves, and it's generally nice to control him as he saunters up a building.

New stealth mechanic. Not a bad first attempt, but feels a little clunky. I feel like Ubisoft should really look at Tomb Raider's intelligent cover system - which in my mind - remains the best cover mechanic ever designed. It wouldn't entirely fit, but I could easily see combining that system with the "sneak button." When in stealth mode, Arno automatically goes in an out of cover based on proximity to objects ---- it would be fluid and seamless and look great.

Story: So far, the basis for a good story is here. That's been true of all the games. I'll have to wait to see how it pans out. Already, it seems to be jumping ahead of itself. Eleise's reveal that she's a Templar, while obvious, felt out of place. Arno wasn't even an Assassin yet... so I'm a bit confused. And the Order rushed him through his initiation with that weird dream sequence... which was fun to play but made no logical sense whatsoever. If I was in the Order, I wouldn't trust him after being raised by a Templar.

So far, I'm both elated and saddened by Unity. Elated at the glimpses of brilliance, saddened that I can see the shortcuts taken to meet it's launch date. Ubisoft Executive Leadership is killing this franchise. I see AC3 and I see potential game of the year with another year development. AC4, man, a few more months to get the combat tuned out and it would be perfect. Unity is shaping up to be the same ... a game filled with great ideas and solid work stopped short of its own ambitions. Hopefully, there will be more good than bad.

06-09-2015, 06:43 PM
Lockpicking: I'm glad to see that mechanic return. AC3's was better, but this works too. The whole concept suits an Assassin very well.

Notoriety? Not really sure how it works. The game tells me that my enemies remember me, but for how long? Can I bribe someone and reduce it? How does that work exactly?

06-09-2015, 07:33 PM
Lockpicking: I'm glad to see that mechanic return. AC3's was better, but this works too. The whole concept suits an Assassin very well.

Notoriety? Not really sure how it works. The game tells me that my enemies remember me, but for how long? Can I bribe someone and reduce it? How does that work exactly?

There's no notoriety, they actually remember you (at least for the most part). If you kill a person infront of a guardpost, get noticed and then vanish, when you get back to that same guardspot they attack you instantly (happened to me a couple of times, but I'm not sure how consistent it is).

Then there's also them remembering your last known position until your outline disappears.

06-11-2015, 10:13 PM
Thanks Farlandar! Good to see a familiar face :)


Got to Sequence 5. I don't trust the Silver Smith.

Characters: I'm really happy with the characters in the story. Many of them have few layers of depth to keep them intriguing, and even the flat one-dimensional characters play their part well. Brotherhood was full of flat one-dimensional villains, but I find myself enjoying the characters in Unity.

Story: Aside from that the first couple of sequences, the rest of the story seems to be flowing much smoother now. I'm still convinced that Elise-Arno Templar-Assassin scene was out of place, and had been moved as a result of cutting elsewhere. But it's nice to see the rest of the story pick up and flow very well.

Pacing: That said, I'm extremely pleased with how they've handled the story sequences and general game pacing. No matter how much or how little free roaming and side quests that I do between story missions, the scene and mood fits nicely when I begin again. AC3 and to a lesser degree, Black Flag, suffered greatly from story sequences seeming wildly out of place with your free roaming activities. The result is often jarring and really did a disservice to the story. Unity seems to have resolved that issue, and everything seems very seamless.

In general, there seems to be just the right amount of content between point A and point B. Always enough to keep me interested. Usually by the time I travel to my next mission, I've gotten to a point where I'm ready to do something besides chests, crowd control, etcetera. Unity is full of content, and while still early, I'm very pleased so far with everything included.

Locked content: For me, I started after the patch, so all the Initiate chests and whatnot are unlocked. I can see how reviewers would be irritated, but it seems they exaggerated the problem. It's not that bad. I think they took the concept a little too far, but there's plenty of stuff without those chests.

Free-running: I'm starting to see the pains of the new system. I've had some frustrating experiences of him not climbing or jumping to where I need to... primarily because the game is intent in skipping certain holds in favor of efficiency. The game is anticipating where I want to go instead of going where I point to go. It's not too bad. My jury remains out though.

06-15-2015, 03:52 PM
What a series of shocks in Sequences 5-7! Wow. I have to say, I'm thinking this may be the best story since Brotherhood. Templars betraying Templars, Assassins betraying Assassins. And to get that climactic fight atop the church where you first met with the Brotherhood, nice nice work. And for a moment, I thought it was Eleise. Sequence 9, here I come!

Still, I can see little gaps of story missing - the parts that wrap up one thread and begin the next thread. Oh how it would fare with another year of polish. But alas, it still works. And works well.

Rooftops: It's nice to be able to run across rooftops without stopping every 15 seconds to deal with guards. Really really nice. Rooftop guards are placed strategically and used wisely and sparingly.

Guns: I've long been weary of gun play over melee combat. Since Revelations, guns have played too prominent a role in combat. Frankly, I longed for the melee-heavy days of AC1 and AC2. UNITY has pleasantly surprised me. While present, getting shot (and fear of) isn't a constant nag while playing. They are present, they matter, but their presence is not intrusive. Bravo.

In general, it seems that no mechanics are overused (so far.) AC has had a tendency in recent installments to beat you over the head with mechanics. Ships every 10 knots, guards over every corner rooftop, etc. Unity seems to apply its mechanics more wisely. Perhaps locked doors are a bit overdone, but that is forgivable and non-intrusive. And crowd events --- but they are easy. Probably the only thing I've found troublesome is the constant pull to do co-op, Initiates or the Companion app; but I wouldn't classify it as world-breaking. In general, UNITY seems to be well-organized and thoughtful game which applies it's mechanics in even measure.