Ubisoft has recently given us the latest addition to their Assassin's Creed franchise. Set in London in 1868, twins Jacob and Evie Frye embark on a quest to liberate the city from the Templars' control while seeking out a fabled Piece of Eden. With the disaster of a launch that was Unity, it's easy to see why many proceeded with caution to purchasing this year's entry. According to sources, it's the second worst selling game in the series, only doing better than Rogue.However, as someone who has played this game for the first three sequences, I can safely say that there have been few to no bugs or glitches. But does it carry the torch proudly? Let's take a look.
Explore Victorian London
If there is one thing Ubisoft has gotten right with their next-gen video games so far, it's the sprawling majestic city that's just waiting to be explored. Here the city feels very much alive and every side character I met acted like an actual person. There are even some noticeable historic figures including Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Queen Victoria and more. As I progressed through the story, each and every one of them felt like an important part and weren't just there to give the game historical credibility.
One incredible addition is the ability to build up and control your own gang called the Rooks. As I gained money and resources, I was able to build a stronger gang and have more control over London's economy. But the Templars have their own street gang as well called the Blighters. There are several districts throughout London, each controlled by the notorious crooks. The way to take back an area is a simple four-step process that can be done in any order. Take over a gang hideout, free child salves, kill a Templar, and win the gang war. It sounds simple, but the catch is, each district has it's own difficulty level and the only way to be truly ready is to make sure Jacob and Evie have their skills upgraded to a level that allows them to take on enemies. It's a bit of a bummer because the game heavily relied on me to upgrade those skills in order to proceed, a problem I had with Unity that the developers were unable to remove.
Basically, if you try to take down a hideout in a level 8 area but the Assassins are only level 2, you're going to get killed pretty fast. I learned that the hard way.
As stated earlier Jacob and Evie Frye are the protagonists of the game and to be honest, they may be the most interesting ones out of the whole franchise. Jacob is the brash brother of the duo, whose combat style is more confrontational than the stealthy approach her by-the-book sister Evie uses.
But it's more than just combat styles that separate the two, with any sibling relationship you get the love and the hate, Evie insists they stick to the plan and find the Piece of Eden while Jacob just wants to run around with his gang and kill Templars left, right, and centre until London is free. It's the dynamic of this relationship that made me more invested in them and made me want to play the story even more.
After playing the first two missions the title came up and I had already completed the first two sequences. I checked my trophies (I played the PS4 version) and found out that there are only eight sequences instead of the traditional twelve. I was worried, I was thinking "I'm already a quarter of the way though. This game's probably going to be really short, that's a bit disappointing." But when I played some more and figured out how tough it was, I realized that it's going to take a lot longer than just a couple of hours to complete it.
The twins' combat styles are generally different than what we've seen from previous Assassins. It's quicker, more brutal, and there are plenty of jaw-dropping finishing moves. What sucks is that you can't change between brass knuckles, the sword cane and the kukri (the knife) on the fly and instead have to pause the game and equip your choice of weapon before entering conflict. The good news is medicine, the gun, throwing knives, and smoke bombs can be equipped with a press on the correct d-pad button (If it ain't broke, don't fix it).
Departure from Unity
As someone who didn't get Unity until it went down in price, I was not affected by all the bugs that game had. So when I bought and played it on release day, I was pleased to see how polished the game looked, although it could have been due to the two day one patches Ubsoft released for the game.
One thing that won't be missed is the lack of multiplayer and co-op. Although it did show promise in Unity, just about everybody gave up on it when it took as long as five minutes for the mission to start. And I thought it was bad enough when I had to keeping backing out and joining new servers in Call of Duty. Luckily for us, Ubisoft is excellent at noticing what does and doesn't work when it comes to making future instalments, so the multiplayer is no more.
Despite sales, Ubisoft has made what is probably the best Assassin's Creed to date. It has a bigger map than Unity, more intriguing protagonists than Assassin's Creed II, and a more fluid combat style than Black Flag. I'm still not a fan of the skill and level factors, but I will admit it does stretch out the game and it feels like you're making progress. Overall, it's a fun game, maybe worth waiting until it goes on sale for the Christmas shopping season if you're not that big a fan. Otherwise go for it and have fun doing that leap of faith off of Big Ben.
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