Assassins Creed Unity represents a turning point in the series, utilising the latest consoles’ power to bring you into revolutionary Paris whilst building on the series’ solid foundations. In this instalment, you play Arno, who - after having assorted father-figures murdered shortly after their introductions - is inducted into the Assassins order to bring the Templar killers to justice.
France’s beauty is something to behold; the period-architecture blurs by as you run over houses, puddles splash as you hit the street, and vast crowds watching beheadings fill the screen, providing the most immersive world yet. The story, however, was forgettable, giving up completely towards the end. This doesn’t stop the game being a lot of fun - it’s just fun you have to find. This is most evident in the campaign’s crowning moments; the assassination missions. You are given optional objectives to complete, such as causing distractions so you can introduce your hidden blade to target’s backs. Alternatively, you can run in, shoot the target, and smoke bomb out of there.
The improved stealth and combat contribute a lot, with the more aggressive enemies not falling for the counter-instant-kill which became a running joke in older games. However, this is only really true at the start of the game; after getting smoke bombs, no matter the crowd of people attempting to kill you, there were no instances where disappearing in a puff of smoke into a confession booth didn’t work. Although it was entertaining once to see guards prowl outside my hiding spot in search, by the tenth time (with the same group of enemies), it was clear that AI’s intelligence has dumbed down.
Like the improved stealth, the improved navigation is a blast. The inclusion of ‘parkour down’ adds more than it initially appears to, making rooftop running and street chases gratifying. Furthermore, the welcome addition of customisation is necessary to distinguish yourself on the excellent online co-op. But communication is vital to enjoying this online; it only takes one unaware teammate to lead a conga-line of angry riflemen towards you.
Famous faces from the period show up. In this case, Arno encounters at least two recognisable figures: Madame Tussauds and Napoleon Bonaparte. However, like the story, they are quickly forgotten. Even the new story characters are dull. Despite this, the LA Noire style murder mysteries, the random acts of street crime and the ability to take out targets however you want make this game great.
Really, this game is for you IF you enjoy the series, like sneaking around, are not bothered by the story, have friends with headsets, and can make your own fun. Regardless, if you can wade through the negatives, I must recommend Unity. Despite its flaws, chasing your targets across rooftops and escaping in puffs of smoke brings the same thrill as the first game, and the new features, whilst not revolutionary, add to the experience. Unity recently dropped in price, and with a free massive story DLC coming soon, it’s definitely worth picking up.