Ben wasn’t impressed by Ubisoft’s offering for Assassin’s Creed Unity at EGX – and this time, it wasn’t because the game didn’t contain enough ‘sea’.
|Name:||Assassin’s Creed Unity|
|Release date:||November 2014|
|Platforms:||PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One|
|More information:||Official website|
Lazy. That’s the word I would use to sum up Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Unity offering at EGX 2014, especially when compared to their other stands. Far Cry 4? Playable. Assassin’s Creed Rogue? Playable. Trials Fusion? Playable and running a competition. Assassin’s Creed Unity? Hands-off gameplay demo.
First there was a queue, where a Ubisoft representative spoke to me. It was a frustrating conversation because I wanted to talk about the evolution (or lack thereof) of the series, understand why the open-world seafaring from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag had been removed, why the ridiculous comment about no female avatars in Unity from the development team had been made and the challenges faced after seven years of making games in the series. Instead the rep consistently tried to steer the conversation back to questions about what I liked in the game and who my favourite character was.
If I’m honest it was naivety on my part, I should have realised that access to members of the development team wouldn’t be as casual as that. Still, I was wearing press credentials and scribbling notes, some acknowledgement that I wasn’t a regular punter would have been appreciated.
Once at the front of the queue we were lead into a small theatre where another public relations (PR) guy told us we would be shown a new trailer for the game followed by a live gameplay demo. The ‘new’ trailer was the E3 cinematic backed by a remix of Everybody Wants to Rule the World – not new at all.
The gameplay demo we saw was unreleased code so I’m not able to share any pictures aside from the one of the stage below. It was a single-player level near the beginning of the game; Arno was given a target to assassinate and that was it. The intro showed a few hints of ways to tackle the job and the presenter called it the ‘Black Box’ system designed to give the player ultimate freedom. It worked to some extent as the Ubisoft demo-er took us through multiple options and approaches before finally executing the target in a confessional booth inside Notre Dame cathedral.
Sadly there was nothing revolutionary about it. The power of the Xbox One running the demo of course allowed for many more pedestrians than in previous titles, exceptionally smooth motion and a clear graphical upgrade but that was it. Sorry Ubisoft, but the addition of a stealth button is years too late. What I saw struck me as same old Assassin’s Creed.
They didn’t show any of the new co-op gameplay, character customisation, new fighting system or weapons such as the Phantom Blade. All of the interesting features were left out; in fact, they weren’t even discussed at all. So no new trailer, no hands-on time, no view of the new features and no one with enough knowledge to answer my questions (I even spoke to the presenter and demo-er after the show).
See what I mean? Lazy.