I count myself very fortunate when it comes to where I live. San Diego; known as Americas Finest City, also Sunny San Diego. I have a multitude of different options when it comes to my daily entertainment. I can head to the beach, mountains, or even the desert. What make this even more of a lovely city to live in is once a year, we have our annual gathering of nerds… Comic-Con International.
Gratefully, I was able to take some time out of my schedule, and see what the big ruckus, this year, was all about. As always, we have our movie and TV premiers, new comic books are sampled and launched, and video games are demoed and displayed to the hungry masses. One of those games this year happened to be Assassin’s Creed Unity.
Unity is the much anticipated, next-gen entry, in the long running franchise that’s aiming to change everything we know about the series and the mechanics. I had the delightful pleasure of sitting down with a representative from Ubisoft, as I got to demo the game and get a feel for this ambitious new entry.
The demo began with my Assassin perched on the top of the infamous Notre Dame cathedral overlooking the town. I was immensely surprised at the level of detail, and quality that the team has put forth into the world. What even surprised me, moreover, was as the cut scene finished, and the game began, there was no apparent transition what-so-ever. What I mean by that, is that there was no black screen, no framerate, or graphical degradation, nor any freezes or chop. Just one plain, clean transition that left me unknowing that the game had begun, until I was informed by the rep.
As I began to descend the cathedral, I was able to experience one of the games newest mechanics, controlled decent; this enable the player to trail the Assassin’s hand against the wall, controlling both movement speed, and direction, as they run against it during a decent, instead of just jumping down into a crowd. This enables the player to take a much more stealthy game style then what previous entries have.
Once on the ground, I was surprised to see the number of NPC’s (Non playable characters) have increased, quite noticeably, which made the town feel much more alive. The citizens are starving, and on edge as their king flourishes behind his castle walls, and as the civilians begin to rebel, you will have your chance, and choice to take part in their fight. These non-required battles can be helpful to your cause however; lending you the assistance of the underground resistance can help you with larger battles down the road.
This time around, a main focus of the game is going to be its stealth aspect. This is something that was being stressed to me, by the representative, as well as being shown to me through in game mechanics, is that Unity is focusing on changing the Assassin’s Creed formula to a much more stealth based game. For instance; when I went into one of the house to try and track down information regarding where my targets location was. I was welcomingly surprised that there has been the inclusion of a full cover system, as well as a crouch option. These are two features that fans of the franchise have been begging for a very long time, and seeing that the developers have decided to listen to the fans is always a plus. The crouch/cover system in Unity works identical to the system that was used within Watch Dogs; one can only hope that through development that the team will be able to work through the kinks that plagued the system.
Another major change to the game I witnessed was to the long running power of Eagle Vision. Instead of it being an ability that you can toggle on and off at a whim, or even leave it on while exploring. Eagle Pulse, as its being dubbed, will require the player to stay still to use, as well as allowing players to see through walls to properly plan out how they would like to take on the upcoming scenario. As I said, bringing the game into a much more stealth genre.
Yet another change they are bringing to the game will be in the form of combat. Now granted, Assassin’s Creed has never truly been known for having a great combat system under its belt. That’s why when the dev’s decided to take this entry into a different direction; they also brought combat with them. What I mean by that is simple; open combat is not advised, nor is it simple. When fighting against trained armed guards, they are just that… trained armed guards, not a circle pit with swords. From the small taste of combat that I had during my demo, I found that combat has been slowed down for the most part, as well as enemies a much more difficult to kill than previous version. Seeing how methodical combat was with a one-on-one situation, taking on large groups of guards will be suicidal at best.
Besides that, there are bunch of small tweaks here and there that has been included for your pleasure. Like for instance the new wall running system can allow you to run up walls at an angle, versus just straight up it. This will prove to be quite useful in chase sequences I feel. Also they are incorporating a system that allows the player to see all of their objectives, as well as side-quests that are available by climbing to the top of a high building, instead of always having to open up your map constantly.
Lastly, even though I didn’t get to experience it. The new Co-op multiplayer aspect to the title will mainly take place inside of what’s being called social hubs. These hubs replace the boring, stagnant multiplayer lobbies where you had to wait patiently for other to join your game. These hubs will take place within taverns within the game, allowing player to see how many players are currently playing each of the missions, as well as giving them the opportunity to join friend’s mid-play.
Personally, I am extremely excited to get my hands on this game once it is released. I feel that this entry can breathe a breath of fresh air into a series that has stuck to repetitions for too long now, and could possibly usher in a new age of AC games. Assassin’s Creed Unity is available for pre-order now, and is due out on October 28th. Stay tuned to us for the latest updates for Unity when they do become available as well.