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View Full Version : [Spoilers] My Rogue & Unity Reviews + Future Series Ideas



Annastasya1978
12-02-2014, 02:41 AM
As a background, I have been a fan of the series since the very start and have played every console game to date. I'll try and cover the positive and negative experiences I have had with each game, followed by my suggestions for the future of the series.


AC Rogue (Played on PS3)


Shay

Fairly likeable character. Stuck with his beliefs, and found his own path which was admirable. His dual wield fighting style is one of my favourites of all the assassins so far. I also loved his outfits as well, you can never go wrong with red and black!


Templar Story

Prior to release, I was very excited by this game's Templar story. I have long wanted to see the other side of the coin, and it was thrilling to finally see a glimpse into their world. In fact, in some ways I now finding myself sympathising with their cause somewhat. A surprise to be sure. I do feel that Shay's change of allegiance was far too late into the game though, and I was left feeling a little short changed on the full Templar experience.


Music

Special mention must be made on the music to this game. I have long critcised the series for it's music since Jesper Kyd's association faded. However, Elitsa Alexandrova did a
really good job weaving in themes from previous games along with some thrilling 'chase' pieces. When the AC2 music started on the main menu I knew things were off to a good start!


Performance

The game did not really run that well if I am honest. In cities you can see the FPS drop quite substantially if you turn Shay to face the ocean, and then back to the city. Towards the end I started to get full screen freezes that would last for four or five seconds. Some serious optimization was likely needed, or the PS3 is just simply too old now for modern games.


Naval

I have hated it since it's introduction, and this game again does not warm me to the theme. I still feel like it has nothing to do with the series, and I groan every time I am forced into naval combat. Do not enjoy it, do not want to see it again. I'm here for hand to hand combat, not Pirate simulator.


Combat

Feels relatively unchanged from AC4. Enemies still block far too much, and I still miss the old counter chain killing from AC2 and Brotherhood. Yes, it was easy, but it was so much more fun than continually banging away at blocking enemies. I would argue it made you feel more like a deadly assassin back then compared to the current system.


Hacking Puzzles

Just ugh. I never want to see these again. No-one likes shape puzzles. Lets have the old "spot the difference" puzzles that we used to have with AC2 and the conspiracy theories. I miss those.


Uplay

As with the last few games, Uplay was continually down for me on launch day. I attempted to redeem the outfit and sword, but they did not appear in my inventory until near two days later. The naval minigame was utterly boring so I didn't bother with it.


Rushed

Its plainly evident that this game was rushed to market. For example, the main campaign took me about 9 hours, and my ship was barely 40% upgraded by this stage. Pretty much the same time I spent on Liberation, which was half the cost. It is sad to see repeated corner cutting like reusing art assets, such as Achilles mansion, or Abstergo's offices. Clear indications of attempts to speed up development.


Summary

I enjoyed the game, but I hope it is the last on the PS3. It felt a fitting end to the America storylines, but it was far too short and I still feel like the potential of the Templar story
possibilities have barely been scratched.

6/10





AC Unity (Played on PS4, with Patch 3 installed from the start)


Arno

A cheeky character, whilst I found him pleasant enough, he really is a literal copy of Ezio. Brash young man who turns Assassin out of circumstance. I also found him to be far too trusting of people he literally just met, which literally was a curse to him throughout the story. I felt he was well voice acted though.


Elise

Whilst Arno was a solid lead, Elise steals the show for me. Headstrong, full of wit, and an edge of mystery that always left me wondering if she could really be trusted. It's a shame that Ubisoft did not elect to use her story as the main piece instead of Arno's if I am honest.


Parkour

The overhaul to the parkour system works really well! I love that you can now choose to climb or descend whilst bouncing your way across the varied structures of Paris. This is a genuine refinement and much improved over all the other games in my opinion.


Presentation

Standing still, the game looks really amazing. The amount of work that must have gone into the textures must be staggering. I often found myself looking at stained glass windows, or the various statues that are so amazingly detailed. I recall at one point I saw an NPC cooking a pig, and watched in amazement as she sprinkled spices over it, and slowly turned it around whilst tending to the fire. Amazing. On the other hand, the oft reported frame rate issues are a great shame as they really detract from the experience. I found FPS drops much worse in the areas with massive crowds, and its quite sad to see popup on the NPCs when they switch between low and high detail models. Its really noticeable.


Time Anomaly

I know there were only a few of these, but I found them an interesting addition to the series. It opens up many opportunities, and the thought that you could randomly appear at the same spot over different centuries is kind of exciting. Especially if some action you take in a past time frame would affect a future timeline. I'd like to see them return, and be fleshed out more in future titles.


Co-op

Only played this briefly, but it was fun to team up with another player and try and experience the story together. I've always preferred this style of multiplayer to the traditional PVP deathmatch types. I'd like to see more.


Customization

As with most MMO's, customization is a major feature these days. As a result, I was thrilled to see Ubisoft allowing us to choose our weapon types, armor, and even a dye system. I hope this system returns in future titles!


Music

Following my positive comments on Rogue's music, I'm sad to report that Unity's soundtrack was just dire for me. Literally the worst of the series. I barely noticed it, which is a complete contrast to previous titles (Jesper Kyd ones) when I have outright purchased the soundtracks. Most of the time it was just generic low bass ambient beats, with the same violin piece every time you conclude combat. Ugh.


VA - Accents

This is an odd one. For example, in Liberation I complained about the French accents as they were a bit tricky to understand. However, I also feel Unity's approach is wrong too. It just feels so weird walking around Paris and hearing broad cornish accents, or cockney. It really takes you out of the experience, at least in my view.


Combat

Although the graphics are better, it still feels like the same system as Rogue to me. NPCs block far too often still. I have a new gripe with this system though, in that whenever you kill a foe the camera zooms in. This is great, except when you are fighting a load of other people. I lost count of how many times an enemy was off camera behind me, and I would come out of the execution animation straight into someone's swipe. On that point, some of the checkpoints in this game are brutal. On one of the missions I had taken a good 30 - 40 minutes methodically killing every guard to reach my assassination target. I sat through the cinematic, and then promptly died trying to escape the area. Guess what? I'm back at the start, with all 40 minutes of guard kills undone. When I finally re-do it, I have to sit through the cinematic again, unable to skip it! Highly frustrating stuff. And where is my ability to dual wield hidden blades?


Initiates / Companion App / Uplay

Again Uplay was broke for the majority of my playtime. But that was not the worst of it. I came across a chest, and tried to open it. Nope. "You need to play the companion app". Erm, what? Why is this in my game? Same thing with the Initiates system. There should not be any artficial barriers to the content I have paid to play, especially ones that are put behind third party applications in this way. Frankly I am disgusted to see this, and do not want to see it again. As a result of this, I just ignored all the chests in the game. Freaking stupid Ubisoft.


Microtransactions - Helix

And then things got even worse when I came across the Helix system. Really? Microtransactions in a single player game? With respect, I purchased the Bastille Edition at a price of 70, you have had plenty of my money without trying to fleece me for even more. (130 if you include Rogue) Its plainly evident that the in-game economy revolves around this as well. For example, I barely got above 5000 livres throughout the entire game due to the ridiculous cost of consumables, and the weak income rate. By comparison, some of the best item upgrades are as high as 200,000 livres. If that is not an advert to purchase with real world money I don't know what is. Frankly, it ruined my enjoyment of the customization system. The economy of the game needs massive rebalancing in my view.


Performance - Glitchs

Oh dear. I was very vocal in my criticisms of the technical mess that was Assassins Creed 3. But Unity goes even further. Fortunately I decided to play Rogue first, so I was a sad observer as Unity's launch woes splashed across the websites of the world. (Seriously, faceless Arno was everywhere!) It cannot be any more evident that the game was horribly rushed to market, and the candidate that was put to market must have been an alpha state. Sure, by the third patch the game is now in a much more stable state. But the damage is already done. Loyalties tested. Future sales lost. From my own experience I suffered falling through the world, got caught in a building's structure, lost all sound, seen NPCs vibrate like crazy, NPCs walk up structures and drop back down again in two steps, game crashes, PS4 fans going crazy on the option menus, and to top it all off Arno's mouth bugged out on the final scenes and kept "talking" but his voice completely vanished. Just an awful way to end the game for me. After suffering save game corruptions mid way through the last two titles, I was convinced I was going to get the same here. Fortunately this was not the case, but looks like I was one of the lucky ones looking at these very forums.


Summary

Its a frustrating game. Whilst there is visible improvements in many areas, on others there is massive backsteps. For example, there is very little modern day story. The game came in somewhere between 15 - 18 hours for the main story, which is compartively shorter than previous titles for me. I've got to say that overall Arno's story was pretty lacklustre, and amounted to little more than your average love and revenge tale. It felt overly familiar, and a retreading of previous games. And how was he able to see people's memories? That was weird, and not really explained. I miss the "white rooms" over the new assassination cutscenes. It was also sad to see the same mission structure used in near every sequence. Get info on henchman. Tail henchman. Assassinate henchman after killing 40 odd guards. What happened to the variety of missions that AC4 had? Sadly the remaining content on the map was too uninteresting to carry on playing for me. Murder mysteries are dull. Nostradmus riddles boring. And thanks to the idiotic third party elements, I'll never touch the chests throughout Paris, or have the money to afford the best weapons that the microtransaction skewed economy denies me. It goes without saying, that this is the worst Assassins Creed game to date for me. I trust this is the last we will see of France and Arno. Hopefully.

5/10




The Future of the series


When I played the original Assassins Creed many years ago, my main attraction to the story was the tale of Assassins versus Templars. Specifically that which was being played out in the modern world. I loved how the puzzles used to relate to popular conspiracy theories. Arguably, since Desmond left the series the modern world story has suffered considerably. It is not helped when "you" are portrayed as a faceless / voiceless "numbskull" or initiate. What we need is protaganists, and a return to the overarching story of the series. Rogue let me down on the Templar angle, but I do feel it has vast story potential that I would like to see. To this end, I would suggest to Ubisoft to perhaps try and do two branches of games going forwards. One revolving around the Assassins, and one around the Templars. This would help further the story, and allow the characters to ask the questions that we all have on both sides of this conflict.

In my view, the two protaganists should be one male, one female. (The female a Templar maybe, as evil women are cool, right?) It is a sad day when your girlfriend watches you play Assassins Creed, remarking that she likes the series but wants to play as a female character. There is an untapped market out there of female players that Ubisoft is missing out on. More and more games are offering the option to play as female characters, and frankly the comments put out at E3 by Ubisoft were insulting. "A female is too difficult to animate" etc. Yet we have Elise who has her own running, climbing, and unique animations? Heh.

Frankly I am tired of Europe and America. I think it is time to take the series somewhere more interesting. And despite Ubisoft's protestations, it really is about time that we went to the Far East. Fans have been crying out for this for years, so if you are really listening then deliver on this wish. Personally I would like to see China, but Japan would also be amazing. Admittedly we do have the Chronicles game coming up, but we all know that is not the full experience we all crave.

Another element to the story that I truly miss is the First Civilisation or pre-cursor plot. The concept of a high technology past for the earth is a fascinating one, and apart from the odd glimpse at some of their technology, they are notoriously absent in the last few games - especially a certain individual. I want to learn more about them, so I am encouraged that Abstergo are apparently seeking out their DNA. Hopefully this will lead to us being able to explore their past, perhaps visiting Eden? That would be amazing.

In terms of the series as a whole, in the short term future, Uplay has to be overhauled. Its seriously letting Ubisoft down at every launch. It needs serious investment, and to be reliable. I love the series, but it is time for change, as even a long term fan like myself is seeing the fall off in quality each year. I am also siding with the fans that are calling for Ubisoft to delay the release of future games for another year. It goes without saying that fans will flock to the release whenever it happens. I bought Watch Dogs in May. There was no need to rush Unity and Rogue out for November in their unfinished states. You upset fans, investors, create bad press, and harm future sales. I do not see the logic in releasing between Call of Duty and GTA V this year. That surely did more harm to potential sales than delaying the games until they were properly QA'd and completed.

In the long term future, if the series can flesh out the Templar side and make the two factions very defined, I do feel that an MMO style of game would be good for the series. For example, something akin to Destiny with Co-op story missions. Lobbies in the modern world with your own avatar choosing one of the two factions. Different time frames as different maps. Customised assassins/templars ala Mass Effect, where you can make a male or female. Episodic content, with persistent areas, faction PVP, and progression ala GTA online. It is time to make our own stories in this universe.

Oh, and throw money at Jesper Kyd to come back. Seriously miss that guy.

Thanks for reading.

KPRage
12-02-2014, 04:08 AM
I like this post, but the one thing that I will have to say is that the combat isn't as bad as you think it is. In both Unity and Rogue, you have access to abilities that can break an enemy's guard. Unity has Staggering Strikes and Strong Attacks, while Rogue has Break Defence. Also, Rogue does have kill chains. You just have to aim at the right opponent and do it quickly. I think I managed to clear the deck of a schooner in thirty seconds one time. ^_^

As for naval combat... Yeah, I'm with you on that. It was the biggest detraction for me on Black Flag, making me take ages to complete it on the PS3. Having to do it again on not only the PS4 port of BF, but through the majority of Rogue, makes me wish that Ubisoft would just make a sailing game.

SixKeys
12-02-2014, 06:13 AM
Haven't played Rogue yet, so can't comment on that. I absolutely love Unity though, it may be my favorite AC game yet. I have some disagreements with you (mission variety in AC4? You mean where literally every second mission was a tailing/eavesdropping one?) but overall yours is a fair review. I appreciate that you're critical of the games without presenting strawmen, and you highlight the positives as well. I'm just a little surprised that you ended up with a final score of 5/10 even though your review sounded mostly positive. But I'm guessing the companion app stuff and technical issues affected the final verdict a great deal. For me they're definitely annoyances but not so severe as to overshadow my overall enjoyment of the game.