Why Assassin's Creed Unity Is A Step In The Wrong Direction

#1 Edited by Gormetheus (6 posts) -

We all know Assassin's Creed is a very creative franchise, or at least it almost was.

When I first heard of Assassin's Creed, I thought I'd found a game with such glowing potential that the franchise would introduce a whole new world of story telling and fluid game play. Then I played the first game.

The story was there, the vast, open world was there, the freedom, the parkour, the bad-assery, it was all there for the most part, but then the game showed one fatal mistake, it's lack of good game play.

For those who don't know, the game followed one, simple and mundane formula.

  1. Watch cut scene telling you who to kill.
  2. Go to the region where your target is hiding.
  3. Search around for interrogation, eaves-dropping or pick-pocketing objectives.
  4. Get noticed and kill off a bunch of guards by spamming "counter-attack".
  5. Track target.
  6. Spam "counter-attack"
  7. Kill target
  8. Repeat.

Not only did this recycled formula weigh the game down and turned it into a repeating bore, but the combat also showed it's game-breaking abilities.

The combat was so painfully easy, so void of challenge that it quickly lost the magic it held with it's super satisfying animations. The combat consisted of literally spamming the counter-attack button until you won. Any horde of faceless enemies could be easily dispatched by spamming this single button. Even if you were unlucky enough to get hit, if you got back to spamming that counter attack, your health would regenerate in no time. There was so little challenge, the game quickly became a dull blade.

Three games later we see Ubisoft make few adjustments to the formula, but maintain their ever so obedient fan-base. The animations got cooler, the parkour became more complex, the weapons, more abundant and new, but the games kept their sub-par game play and their crazy lack of challenge.

Then came Assassin's Creed 3.

Don't get me wrong, not much changed, the combat was still too easy, the formula changed a bit but remained lacking in variety. Basically there was no noticeable difference.

But wait...what's this!?

We were sailing.

And this was were the match sparked the flame. The player got something they never had gotten before, the freedom of the open sea. The game introduced a new form of game play, it was epic, it was big and it was NEW. Which was exactly what the franchise needed, finally, we could do something other than spamming counter attack. Unfortunately, it was short lived as the game still focused on land-based combat.

Then... it happened.

Assassin's Creed 4. Or as I like to call it... PIRATES.

AC4 had given us what we'd been waiting for, something different. The game would focus on sailing, looting, the open seas, naval combat. It was fantastic! I, like many players ditched the whole assassin get-up and threw on our pirates' coats, grabbed our cutlasses and pistols and took the high seas.

The combat was still easy, but who cared!? WE HAD SHIPS, we had freedom.

We could fire cannon volleys and sling hooks onto the enemy vessel and reel her in. We could board our enemy's ship while our men fired muskets off deck. We could climb the mast and cut down the enemy's flag as we watched our men cut the poor enemy sailors to bits, ripping the ship apart, as well as her crew.

But the best part was the challenge at sea, you couldn't just take down a Man O' War with your stock ship, you'd be pummeled, and that was the beauty of it, there was a sense of danger, a looming threat that we actually had to worry about!

The franchise was finally out of the rough, it had found it's identity, THIS, was the future of Assassin's Creed, this was where it belonged.

Then Unity Happened.

From everything that I've seen, it looks like Ubisoft ditched the sailing and went back to their not-so-trusty formula. What am I expecting? Boredom. Simple, easy, mundane, casual. All these words describe my predictions for this game.

My question is, why? Why throw out what was clearly adored and functional? Something that made players go "Yes. This is it", something that showed POTENTIAL? We could of had a new era of AC games, a promising one.

But of course that was too good to be true. Now we will probably get the same recycled game we've gotten before- but wait! This time it's in France! If you can't sense my sarcasm, well, those are the limitations of text.

Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions, maybe this game will show me something new and interesting, but at this point, I highly doubt it.

Max Lejawka

#2 Edited by Ish_basic (3998 posts) -

while I agree that the franchise has been stale...really, it stalled out with all those Ezio sequels...Black Flag came off as an interlude to me, exploring the ship element from AC3 to its full potential before getting back to business with the tried and true formula that had guided them from the beginning.

I never expected them to take the ship element beyond Black Flag. It was more like Ubi saying "wait! they love this. Let's make money off that before we go any further." They kinda abandoned the story awhile ago on what was initially supposed to be a trilogy and just started pumping out filler games they could ship each year and make money...Brotherhood, even AC3 probably weren't intended as part of the original storyline. In fact, there's a hint dropped at the end of AC2 that the next setting would be the French Revolution, and here, 4 games later, we're finally getting to that.

I'm guessing right now there is no concrete plan at Ubisoft. Sales numbers will dictate a course. If there is some one-off mini-game that people like in Unity, expect the next AC to be built around that. I think the real tragedy is that just a few years ago (4 or 5) Ubisoft was lauded for their commitment to new, original IPs, but lately they've just been whoring their franchises out and anything new coming out looks suspiciously like the old.

#3 Posted by Macutchi (3988 posts) -

@gormetheus: first of all, nice work on the thread. almost forgot what it was like to see people put effort in a new topic.

second of all, i do share your concerns about the new ac. ac4 was not without its faults but was the first ac game that i really enjoyed since the novelty wore off ac1 somewhere around the 4th mission. other than the e3 footage i haven't seen / read too much about unity however i was under the impression that all the game mechanics - parkour, combat, stealth etc are getting remade from the ground up and the *big* new addition was going to be online / local split screen co-op in the campaign. is this not the case?

i do think addressing the core mechanics are a good thing and whilst the naval warfare in iv was good, they can't solely rely on it to provide variety for the inevitable future instalments

#4 Edited by Metamania (11971 posts) -

Honesty, I don't care. AC Unity may be the best game to happen since AC2. It reminds me so much of AC1 and 2, along with Brotherhood and Reveations.

I feel that Ubisoft got a bit too off track with the whole pirate/sailing horseshit. Maybe that's why I am not liking Black Flag all that much...

#5 Posted by geniobastardo (1294 posts) -

Black Flag was great and all but in the end it's "Assassin's" Creed. They couldn't just take this pirate thingy and make a whole new franchise out of it. AC Unity is shaping up nicely, what I want is exactly what you want, I want a CHALLENGE. If they can give me one, then it won't matter even if it's the same thing all over again. A challenge would allow me to explore the depths that somewhat exist in AC games. Like in AC3, I didn't even know rope darts exist. Why? because the combat was so darn easy that all I had to do was to bring out my Tomahawk and then Chop! Chop!Chop!.

Well, I do wish Ubisoft make a whole new franchise based on Pirates because I really loved how they pulled out the pirate stuff in AC4.

#6 Posted by Krelian-co (10374 posts) -

If they go back to Assassin's Creed 2 formula, i'm ok with that, this is an assassin's game not a pirates game.

#7 Posted by udUbdaWgz1 (631 posts) -

creed1 did so many things exceptionally well with great creativity that i will overlook it's repetitiveness, at times.

ez? solution: don't spam counter-attack. you see, i don't allow myself to spam health potions in games either and there are restrictions i can give myself to improve the gameplay.

one superb aspect of creed1 is the ability to turn the hud off (thereby, completely changing the game) and still play within the designed mechanics of the game. and, lo and behold, we find out that creed1 was actually designed to played without a hud.

i played creed2, but, found it to be quite dumbed-down as it forgot all the great aspects of the first game, didn't improve upon them and so, up to now, that was my last creed game and so i can't comment further.

there are aspects of creed1 that i wish other games would implement and further.

#8 Edited by arkunsaas (6 posts) -

@gormetheus: Man i completely agree with you but i also think you are jumping to conclusions with unity because i think there are alot of gamers out there that feel the same way about this franchise which means there is a good chance that Ubisoft know that the franchise was losing popularity. So they must know that they need to bring something new to the table in unity.

The release of black flag and watch dogs restored my faith in Ubisoft and that is why i do not expect unity to be a disappointment.

#9 Posted by GamingTitan (518 posts) -

not all of us 'adored' the sailing shit~

#10 Posted by Bigboi500 (29347 posts) -

Play the game before passing final judgement on it.

#11 Posted by marcheegsr (2521 posts) -

Unity will be great. I hope they do return to the old formula.

While I did everything in Black flag, some of the stuff was really repetitive but that's how games are these days.

#12 Posted by hrt_rulz01 (5777 posts) -

@gormetheus: Yeah I agree with you... I've never been an AC fan, I always found them to get repetitive and I eventually lost interest. But that all changed with AC4... I absolutely loved it (playing it again atm for the second time). The mixture of land & sea-based missions was what made it amazing!

And yes, AC Unity does seem to be going back to the old formula... Obviously they can't have sea-based missions in every game but hopefully it introduces some other element of gameplay that mixes it up. AC Rogue actually looks more interesting to me. Hopefully they release a next gen version!

#13 Posted by chocolate1325 (32462 posts) -

I can see where you are coming from Assassins Creed 4 came and it breathed new life into a franchise that was starting to lose its touch but continuously doing the pirate theme shall wear off not saying I didn't like the idea in 4 I think it was the best since 2 but I am always up for a new more different type of game and playing with other people could be cool and also it is the first proper Assassins Creed on the next gen systems.

#14 Posted by The_Last_Ride (70674 posts) -

AV IV is probably the best in the series, and i trust Ubi to make a great game. AC IV was my GOTY on the PS4

#15 Posted by Planeforger (15535 posts) -

Are you saying that sailing was new for gamers, or new for the AC series?

Just wondering, because pirate games with great ship combat is nothing new. If anything, I was disappointed in Black Flag's bare bones-ness compared to real pirate sims.

Still, I would like to see more of that and less AC stuff. Although I will say that Unity is sounding like the game AC3 should have been?

#16 Posted by JustPlainLucas (73588 posts) -

I loved the sailing missions in AC3, and thoroughly enjoyed the sailing in AC4, but let's not pretend here. AC4 is just as formulaic as the games before it. Sail around, find ships, blow them up, find forts, blow them up, find shipwrecks, raid them, find hideouts, raid them, find new sector, repeat.

#17 Posted by The_Last_Ride (70674 posts) -

Are you saying that sailing was new for gamers, or new for the AC series?

Just wondering, because pirate games with great ship combat is nothing new. If anything, I was disappointed in Black Flag's bare bones-ness compared to real pirate sims.

Still, I would like to see more of that and less AC stuff. Although I will say that Unity is sounding like the game AC3 should have been?

AC III was a game that suffered because of the new graphics engine

#18 Posted by Soethi6 (52 posts) -

I agree 100% with you. I will get the game maybe around christmas used when it is dead cheap.

I loved all AC games but was bored after Brotherhood. Revelations and AC3, I just ran through the story. I even only rented them from a friend. I had no hopes for Black Flag but like you said, it was fresh with the sailing part and diving and all the stuff. It felt like a great game and I play it now and then.

But then I saw Unity. No sailing, just the same boring things. Sure, Paris looks great but that doesn't squeeze 70 bucks out of my pocket.

The second reason is pretty simple - it releases 5 days before GTA V. Five days before I have enough to do concerning video games.

Unity is a step in the wrong direction I think. Black Flag was simply amazing and exactly what was needed!

#19 Posted by skipper847 (3167 posts) -

im on 52 hours on AC4 black flag (PC) and enjoying it trying to collect everything.

#20 Edited by guynamedbilly (12957 posts) -

I agree completely based on what I've seen so far. I loved AC1 and then loved AC4, with the others being mostly boring filler. Maybe there's more depth to running a group of assassin's now, or some new gameplay gimmick, but Unity seems like the same old boring game that I've seen four times before.

If they do flesh out the part of being in a guild somehow, and make the world feel more real and flexible, I could still be interested in it. Instead of just giving me a menu and saying I have these assassin's to send out and do stuff that I never see happen of feel the effects of, allow me to go with them. Have an RPG-like job board where missions will pop up and I can have my squad go with me. Make the actions I take have some impact on the world. If I kill a city leader, the number of guard patrols should increase and people should be a bit panicked. If I destroy a building, everyone nearby should come to see, the guard should start arresting people, and there should be riots. Make the world interesting instead of just pretty.

#21 Posted by skipper847 (3167 posts) -

Will buy ac5 on the cheap. too many other games to play and pre order :P.

#22 Posted by Kevlar101 (6071 posts) -

I thought the pirate theme was a nice buffer, but I am missing the old stuff. Black Flag is a great game, the best game in the AC series, but it is not the best AC game. Why? Because it is more of a pirate game. I miss that feeling I had when I first played AC2, or Brotherhood, or Revelations. I haven't felt that feeling since Revelations. And Unity seems to finally be returning to those roots. I got very tired of sailing quicker than most did.

Unity looks to be the best AC game since AC2.

#23 Posted by Shmiity (5039 posts) -

The mystery of AC 1, and the sadness of AC2 made them amazing games. The rest of them are okay- like they are alright, but they never quite get there. Also, the more AC games we get, the more we just see that Ubi won't fix the problems that have existed in every single installment. I like Assassin's Creed, but this yearly game thing sucks.

#24 Posted by yngsten (198 posts) -

not all of us 'adored' the sailing shit~

#25 Posted by Black_Knight_00 (18278 posts) -

Why is the Eiffel Tower in the Unity logo? The game is set in 1789, the tower was built in 1889...

#26 Posted by I_Return (196 posts) -

The TC made this topic and went into coma.


RIP in peace.

#27 Posted by heguain (561 posts) -

REALLY? cuz I think that was black flag...Unity reminds me a lot of the past AC games specially yes, AC2. Black flag is just pirate's creed imo. But I have a feeling that you guys are going to really, like really hate Unity maybe even like AC3....:D
BTW France is an interesting setting imo, looks like Italy....better than pirates of the caribbean :P