Assassin’s Creed Unity takes you to Paris in 1789. It’s the time of The French Revolution where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, probably because the 18th Century equivalents of Take That, Lewis Hamilton and Google are avoiding paying their fair share of tax. There’s no chance of a Big Society happening in this era as riots break out across the city and everything turns to uproar… so that’s rather like today, then!
However, where modern Britain and 18th Century Paris differ is that Arno, with the help of the Helix – allowing you to play throughout moments in history, “Where the past is your playground” as they call it – can attempt to overthrow the establishment by bumping all those people off who he doesn’t like in the most gruesome of ways… try that in Downing Street and they’ll clap you in irons.
While Assassin’s Creed Unity follows the path of being an engaging game when you get into it, it does begin with a rather pointless prologue where you play Arno as a child, witnessing something devastating, but the only thing you actually have to do during this is steal an apple and run and hide from a guard! This is the kind of “Assassin’s Creed 101” tutorial that new gamers will need, but the series has been around for many years so we don’t need to have this in a game. Or at least make it an extra we don’t have to play through.
Assassin’s Creed Unity – example gameplay – Sequence 1.1 (720p HD)
While Unity comes to us complete with a new Anvil game engine, built specifically for next-gen consoles – albeit with PS4 owners being short-changed as they get the 1080p graphics reduced to 900p (an odd resolution) and at 30fps, just because the Xbox One can’t cope with 1080p and 60fps (although Ubisoft deny this), my PC gaming experience was less than stellar.
Okay, so the game does state a minimum spec of GTX680, and mine is a GTX650 (although I have 8Gb RAM compared to the minimum of 6Gb), but even on low settings and 720p-quality HD footage (the lowest option), does it really have to go so sluggish? Going no more than 15fps most of the time, it feels like I’m playing the original Playstation version of Tomb Raider(!)
And as for walking through a crowd scene, forget it. Hence, I didn’t bother recording much example gameplay to go online since it was as watchable as it was playable. Hence, you’re going to need a beefy graphics card for this game to get it running as the creators intended.
Assassin’s Creed Unity – Arno gets stuck up on the roof (720p HD)
All that said, I could see the quality of the graphics when I was climbing to the top of a church or another building, to look out from the top, as it reached 30fps when there wasn’t a lot to update onscreen.
On the downside elsewhere, Unity kept cutting to CGI cut-scenes mid-battle as it tries to further the story, taking you out of the action. This is where Hitman Absolution went wrong. It completely takes you out of the moment.
The game also crashed on me at least once, and also left me stranded a couple of times mid-level where I couldn’t physically move, one of these leaving me in mid-air!
I concede that my card is slightly below the minimum spec – and when the time comes that I get a much better one I will revisit this game, but there’s nothing that should lead the game to such bugs as you see here. Judging by other reviews I’ve read, I’m not the only one who has experienced problems like these.
Note that I always only play single-player versions of games, but Assassin’s Creed Unity has introduced a co-op multiplayer game which allows up to 4 players to engage in narrative-driven missions and explore the open-world map. Also, if you buy the Special Edition of the game, it comes with an extra 30 minutes of gameplay in the additional story: “The Chemical Revolution“.
Note: My PC is an i7 860 @ 2.80Ghz, Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, 8Gb RAM, nVidia GeForce GTX 650
Assassin’s Creed Unity is available now for the formats below, and click on the packshot for the full-size version.
Assassin’s Creed Unity – Arno gets stuck in mid-air (720p HD)
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Players: single player; multiplayer: 4
- HDTV options: 720p/1080p and several options inbetween
- Dolby Digital 5.1 sound: No
- Subtitles in English
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.