Graphics:
9.0
Gameplay:
8.9
Sound:
9.5
Control:
8.6
Replay Value:
9.3
Online Gameplay:
8.8
Overall Rating:
9.0
Publisher:
Ubisoft
Developer:
Ubisoft Montreal
Number Of Players:
1-4
Genre:
Action/Adventure
Release Date:
November 11, 2014


Update: Please read the retraction editorial in addition to this review.

They say you have to hook your reader in the first few lines. Okay, here goes: Assassin’s Creed Unity could’ve been the best video game we’ve seen in years. It strives ever so hard to elevate open-world games to another level. Most impressively, it includes every conceivable item – necessary and optional – for the noble trek up a metaphorical Mount Everest. The adventurers thought of everything; they packed all the right gear, considered all the eventualities, and above all else, exhibited that singular drive and motivation required to reach the summit.

But it’s like these brave adventurers tackled the quest without first checking the equipment.

All this being said, consider the following: We revere explorers and adventurers who made the ultimate sacrifice to further the reaches of mankind. Sure, video game developers can’t really be compared to the great explorers in human history. But the analogy, at its most basic level, remains. Shouldn’t we applaud those who try to pave the way for the future? Let’s face it, the new Assassin’s Creed doesn’t run very well. There are serious frame rate dips, collision detection issues, clipping, and the occasional comical moment (like a stuttering civilian on a rooftop). When things slow down, we grimace. When it affects the gameplay – and it can – we’re annoyed.

However, it wouldn’t do the game justice to end the graphical analysis on that note. This fictional recreation of Paris during the French Revolution is the most ambitious, historically authentic virtual environment I’ve ever seen. There aren’t just dozens of people in the streets; there are hundreds . There aren’t just a few decorative details on the buildings, there are countless details. Don’t just run around and over something like Notre Dame; slow down to look at it. Far too many critics aren’t stopping to smell the roses. When you do, you’re just blown away by the sheer scope and attention to detail. We haven’t seen anything like this before, plain and simple.

The audio is perhaps the biggest highlight, as the ambient sounds of Paris are just intoxicating. There are so many different voices and so many varying city sounds; it helps turn the landscape into a rich, fulfilling environment. The voice performances are perhaps the best we’ve heard to date in the series, and that’s saying something. Arno is particularly strong and convincing and even minor characters offer professional acting. The soundtrack is beautiful, as the carefully selected music enhances and even entrances. Battle effects are crisp and resounding and they often tie in well with the surrounding commotion of the streets. Play it with a decent headset, that’s all I have to say.

Yes, it overreaches. Even the new consoles can’t really contain this mammoth vision. That’s why the game chugs; the hardware simply can’t keep up all the time. And that was a mistake; a critical mistake that kept the game from scoring a 10. Oh, the building blocks are here for a 10. Trust me on that. Unity goes above and beyond any previous entry in the franchise and in fact, outstrips any other open-world adventure game – including Grand Theft Auto V – in terms of depth, variety, and ambitious intention. Some gamers might remember when Ubisoft laid the groundwork for the franchise with the original entry. Know what’s enlightening? Compare that to this .