Assassin’s Creed Unity ‘s getting an RPG injection 
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Geoffrey Tim
August 13, 2014 at 10:00 am

ACunity

Something that’s always been a problem with Assassin’s Creed is that its always been so narrative focused, that the world in the periphery is often wholly ignored as players pursue the end goal. That very much changes with Unity, which does a better job of rewarding players for exploring – and with such a well, fully realised Paris, there’s quite a bit to explore.

While secret entrances and side activities have always been a part of Assassin’s Creed, they’ve never been explicitly listed. Even the keenest explorers never quite knew just how many a given area or mission might have. That changes with Unity, which provides all of that info.

While I didn’t get to go hands on with the game today at Microsoft’s play day, I was treated to a look at Assassin’s Creed Unity’s single player campaign. It was an early mission – Arno had only just made his way to becoming an Assassin. His first real mission? To kill some or other French Aristocrat (who may or may not have been Charles Gabriel Sivert), by first finding out where he may be. It required him to move in and about buildings using that very refined French martial art of running away –  as is the norm for Assassin’s Creed.

There’s been quite a bit of a change to the parkour mechanic though; our player assassin no longer runs up, down and across things through the action of a single button. No, now there are indeed two buttons for the purpose; one for running up things, and another for running down. And it works. It not only makes Arno’s motions far more fluid, but also makes it quite a bit more interactive. As you can now scale down buildings instead of just vaulting off of them, you’ll find yourself jumping into fewer haystacks in this game.

Another rather big change to the game is that the game takes on quite a few RPG sensibilities. At one point, Arno encountered a locked window in his quest for Sivert. Had he acquired a lock-picking skill, he’d have been able to open it and be on his way. Instead, without it, it required having to find the unfortunate, soon to-be-dead guard with the key. There will be other skills, and even a leveling up mechanic that sees you putting points into them to increase proficiency in certain areas. There’s even equippable gear that, things like legs, boots, forearms, chest, hood, and masks and the like that confer bonus attributes.

One of those attributes is stealth, which is actually not only a viable mechanic in this year’s Assassin’s creed, but also a necessary one. The combat is far trickier now. Taking on more than just a handful of combatants is certain death. It’s often best to stick to the shadows instead of engaging with guards. And of course, Unity now includes 1:1 buildings that the player can enter, without so much as a load screen – which actually makes more of a difference to the game than you’d initially imagine. And all of it – inside and out – is  as superbly detailed as you would expect.

The demo ended with Sivert clutching the side of his bloodied head, his Sacrament of Penance in a confessional not with a priest, but with Arno’s blade instead . The mission doesn’t end with the assassination though; as exfiltration is just as important as finishing the ordained task. And it’s where all that exploration came in to play. With prior knowledge of a secret tunnel underneath the church where Sivert met his fate, slipping away unseen was significantly easier.

It’s the RPG-lite mechanics and rewards for exploration that have me excited for this new Assassin’s creed. With these additions, the game is becoming more of a stealthy sandbox rpg – the sort of thing Assassin’s creed was always meant to be, but has never quite managed to pull off properly. Unity has me rather confident that this time, this time dammit, it’ll be done right. Look out for our hands-on of the game’s co-op later this week.

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces. I am also the emperor of the backend

  • Sith JJ

    When I saw this pop up on the home page of LGz I couldn’t figure out why the hell a dude with a combat suit and a gun would be in Assassin’s Creed.

    • Admiral Chief Beta Tester

      To go back in time to do some CTRL+C and CTRL+V

      • Sith JJ

        And here I thought AC was trying a completely new concept.

    • Hammersteyn

      Especially when they mentioned RPG. I mean rocket launchers?

      • Admiral Chief Beta Tester

        Wrist-mounted rocket launcher, I can dig it!

        • Kensei Seraph

          Wrist-mounted rocket launchers and plasma wrist-blades…
          Remind me why they haven’t made a futuristic AC yet?

          • Sith JJ

            Because Star Wars is better ;) Always will be.

          • Kensei Seraph

            I never said anything about Star Wars, that would risk copyright infringement after all.

          • Sith JJ

            No. It would risk looking stooopid. ;)

          • Admiral Chief Beta Tester

            If only they had some sort of saber that uses focussed light…

          • Sith JJ

            But who would be strong and focused enough to use such a weapon without instant self dismemberment?

          • Admiral Chief Beta Tester

            Only those who are elegant in such a civilized age…

          • Sith JJ

            Ah. Such elegance.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            ME.

          • Sith JJ

            There’s a difference between focused and fancy.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Jelly you’re not fabulous?

  • Umar

    Rogue is looking similar to 4 also

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vG-ImjoPCAM

  • Kensei Seraph

    This has been a day fill of games to make me salivate.

  • Umar

    I dont know. Adding RPG elements means that they have to have some weight to the actual game, and Im not sure AC can pull that off. There has been a currency system and different manners of upgrading but they never felt like they could change the game. If you can simply kill the guard for the key , then why bother with the lock picking skill? Hopefully there will be higher level missions that REQUIRE certain skills to be at a certain level and these missions scale in difficulty to the skills you have.

    I’m sorry, I’m still not convinced by this game. Rewarding exploration however is always a plus

    • Kensei Seraph

      Well I suppose the point of the lock-picking skill is so that the other guards don’t notice the dead body you didn’t hide well enough or wonder why he hasn’t reported in and thus you don’t have to fight your way though the guards while your target escapes.

    • Kensei Seraph

      Well I suppose the point of the lock-picking skill is so that the other guards don’t notice the dead body you didn’t hide well enough or wonder why he hasn’t reported in and thus you don’t have to fight your way though the guards while your target escapes.

      • Umar

        Well I mean, its just another way to avoid detection or make that process easier. If you look at lock picking for example in many RPGs, many areas and loot are hidden behind locks that can’t be opened unless your skill is high enough. But hey, it is RPG-lite afterall

        • Kensei Seraph

          They’ll probably have powerful equipment hidden in a locked chest or a super secret escape passage or even interesting bits of lore that you need a high lock-picking skill to access.

          Honestly I’m now hoping for the lore and equipment, but that might be because of my RPG training of explore everywhere and take everything.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    That sounds pretty good to me, especially the stealth & the combat. I’m still trying to get a decent handle on the combat in 3 & how to do sequential kills properly, it’s fairly different from the 2’s which was pretty simple.

  • Boontjie

    Spotted it, “Best new generation” — Lazygamer and “best multiplayer” — lazy gamer. Lazy gamer is getting allot of recognition the last while

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    Hey at least it doesn’t have Duckface Desmond in it.

  • UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

    Oh shit… They’ve got me now! RPG elements… Please tell me there will be more equipment upgrades! I want millions of swords and guns and armor to choose from! TELL ME!!!

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