I was lucky enough to go hands-on with Assassin’s Creed Unity during Gamescom. There are some really cool features to the game that make it even more fun when cooperating – and you can even be a fully animated woman if you go into disguise.
Before we went hands-on, the developers talked us through some new features. One of the core new functions is character customization. With over 200 items to use in customizing your character (which do more than change aesthetics), each version of Arno will be slightly different. There are also options to upgrade specific skills, with those skill abilities catering for coop. For example, there’s a new skill called communal sense – this lets players share their eagle vision markings. So, if you can put someone up high and let them look around using eagle vision, the player on the ground in the crowd can see who is actually the target or where the enemies are dispersed.
Another such upgradable ability is that of disguise. Players can disguise themselves as members of the crowd, or even groups. I always loved using groups of courtesans to hide in crowds in previous Assassin’s Creed games. Well, now you can group together with your other coop friends and be the prostitute group. See, even the guards know women can’t be assassins, only hookers – use the stereotyping to your advantage and move through the city unseen simply by disguising yourself as a woman.
Going hands-on was a ton of fun. The game feels much more fluid and well designed, with Arno actually feeling like an assassin. You can creep quickly, moving from one place to another without being detected. I love the new ghost imaging – it’s much more fun to slip through the shadows and distract guards. During my play through, I was able to rush into an underground area, with guards only getting a fleeting glimpse of me, not enough for them to even come investigate. From there, I moved directly into killing another enemy before helping my co-op partner join me as we moved through the tunnel systems together, sharing our eagle visions and coordinating attacks on guards. The controls are intuitive and separate parkour assassin from stealth assassin – letting you play your way without moving in ways you didn’t intend.
The game simply feels how I’ve always wanted the Assassin’s Creed games to feel. The controls handle so smoothly – I never once shouted at my assassin to just do what I was trying to make him do. The transition from single player to co-op is smooth and easy; I simply accepted a co-op mission and selected that I wanted to play it with other people in the world rather than alone. No fiddling, invites or lobbies. It simply worked – of course it was the closed environment of Gamescom, but I will still impressed to see how straight forward it was.
Co-op missions can also be played alone, although they’ll be more difficult. It was really nice to have support with me to help in throwing smoke bombs, killing random guards and even finding alternate paths. Plus, human companions are way smarter than their AI versions from previous Assassin’s Creed games – I felt like such a ninja when coordinating attacks and sneaking together through shadows or across rooftops.
I couldn’t stop smiling while playing Assassin’s Creed Unity – it just feels fresh and new and was a whole lot of fun. I think it’s finally a version of the game that players can be excited about again.
Last Updated: August 18, 2014