View Full Version : A few thoughts on Core Gameplay

11-29-2014, 11:08 AM
A lot of threads in this forum now (obviously) relate around problems and bugs with the game. Luckily for me, I was able to play the game mostly bug-free, except some visual bugs and some issues with the companion app. Because of the many problems, only few people seem to talk about the gameplay changes that came with Unity, but I want to do just that and would love to hear back from the community or even Ubisoft on some points.

First let me say this is not a rant. There are a lot(!) of things about Unity I love: The new climbing system is awesome, in particular controlled descent. I like that you can now customize your armor and have different color schemes and also that you can now pick heavy and long weapons if you prefer. I love the new side-missions like enigmas, murder mysteries and helix rifts. And having coop in AC is just awesome, I really hope this will be expanded in the future, there are so much possibilities in this. Also, next-gen is a huge benefit for AC: The graphics are awesome and the crowds really make the world so much more lively and increase atmosphere. Also, standing on top of Notre Dame and being able to see over half of Paris without textures becoming washed out is just one of the most amazing sights in video games ever for me. Seriously.

Nonetheless, for me there were some problems with the changes to core game mechanics, and I would like to elaborate on those a little:

* Stealth: I like the idea of a "silent movement" but I find the cover mechanic to be clunky and personally don't really like it - maybe because similar mechanics have been in every third-person shooter in the last six years. But besides that, the absence of whistling is a real game changer for me - how am I supposed to take out a room with three or four guards undetected if I can't lure them. Also, it somehow seems to me that most of the guards in Unity don't have a movement path. A lot of the times I examine a room with eagle vision, just to find two guards looking at each other and not moving - ever. How is the player supposed to take one out without the other suspecting. The only way seems to be phantom/berserk blade, but this feels like a pretty lame way to solve half the situations. Maybe its just me, but I think stealth should be THE core game mechanic in an AC game - please, please, please, rethink it, it seems pretty broken right now.

* Combat: I like that you guys made combat a lot harder - combat should be the last resort if the stealthy approach failed, and you shouldn't be able to kill 20 guards easily. But for one, this assumes a perfect stealth mechanic. And also the combat in Unity feels horrifyingly undynamic. I get that you want Arno to perform nice animated movements and all, but if I press the attack or dodge button, I expect Arno to attack or dodge IMMEDIATLY. During combat, every button press takes at least a few seconds before it is actually executed. Oftentimes, I actually see a guard aiming with his rifle, and I press dodge. His meter slowly fills, I press dodge dodge dodge dodge dodge but Arno is stuck in some attack animation. In the end, getting hit by the rifle is one of the most frustrating experiences, since you actually saw it coming and took action, but the game mechanic is so clunky you get punished nonetheless. This is even worse for the finishers, which take 5-10 seconds to execute, cannot be aborted and you are vulnerable during. I'd rather have a few cut off animations and have a direct, dynamic combat system like in earlier ACs - having the feeling that you don't have control over the character is just unbelievably frustrating.

* Side Missions: Like I said before, I love a lot of the side missions. But I couldn't help but wondering: Why have a gazillion side missions, of which half are just "go to the green circle, activate eagle vision, kill the target, run away". Those are neither challenging, appealing, interesting... they just eat up time. I mean its great you want to pack your game full of content, but I would rather see half or a third of the missions if every mission really brought something interesting to the game. If a mission is about an assassination, make it count. Make me think about how to approach the target. Or add something new to it, like a target that has doppelgangers to protect itself. Something. The story mission where Arno becomes an Assassin and you run through the dream sequences is basically just a little bit of climbing, but it was jaw-dropping for me. This is what I am talking about.

Anyway... I think the post got far too long already and nobody will read it anyway. But since AC is probably my most beloved game series I needed to get this out there in the hope that a community manager at Ubisoft will read this and take it to heart ;-) As I said, I'd love to hear the opinion of others on these things, maybe I'm the only one who thinks about the new mechanics this way.

11-29-2014, 01:02 PM
I agree with every single word.

The lack of whistling and the clunkiness of entering/exiting the cover system are issues. I also think moving from cover to cover should be activated by holding the cover button, not just pressing it.

I like the new combat a lot but Arno can get a bit carried away in a button-mashing situation. I think if guns hadn't been included, it'd be near perfect.

The side missions are nice but some of them are pretty shallow. I'd love to see RDR levels of care put into them in future.