!!!WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!
So here we are again in the You-Be-Soft universe and once again under the guise of an assassin. No not the guy with the three green lights on his goggles, the guy who wears a hood.
Basically if I had to do this in one sentence this would be it; Unity in London with the physics of AC1. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of the whole franchise and I will continue to play them even since the death of Desmond but this game took two steps forward and two or three steps back.
The time setting is fantastic, the industrial revolution. Guns are getting more advanced, locomotives are being used for transportation, the buildings are getting much larger due to the need for industrial expansion, we don’t need a whole history lesson here but needless to say it makes for a good setting. Also London is perfect it’s not overly large, its thickly settled but that means it’s possible to stay on rooftops again unlike in a lot of III and IV. The use of stage coaches is a nice addition but the way they handle seems poorly mashed together, also it is still more fun to run along rooftops despite the speed of the carriages. I honestly am dreading future games where they take place in modern times and it’s just guns, cars and bikes to steel, no climbing and phones that hack into everything…wait…
The weapons and gear? Some minor changes but basically nothing has changed. The best new thing is of course the grapple hook but even that has its flaws. If you are not specifically where you need to be to use it it hates you. One or two feet from the building? Bingo! More than that? Nope. Compared to the Arkham series which did the grapple flawlessly it leaves something to be desired. And yes I understand the time period difference, the speed of using it is not the issue, it is the mechanics behind it. I for one am sad they got rid of the phantom blade from Unity. I suppose there is less of a use for it now that guns are in greater use and are much deadlier than one that had to be loaded from the end of the barrel right? I like the fact that although Evie starts with a cane and Jacob with knuckles it is possible to give them whatever weapons you want throughout.
The battle system is clunky, I feel as though they took the system from Unity and said to themselves “You know what the worst part about AC1 was? the battle system, so let’s bring that back!” The whole thing seems slow, and not as responsive as it was before in previous titles. I do like that they got rid of the pause or slow of time during a counter, it makes for more realistic fights but that was the only good thing about the whole debacle.
The running/climbing system is horrible. Again it seems as though they took the engine from Unity and the crappy parts of AC1 and spliced them together. Running down the street and then all of a sudden LIGHT POLE! It’s like Jacob and Evie have running ADHD and cannot remember where they are headed. The free run down mechanic, useful, but poorly done in this game. I was still able to jump off of buildings easily in Unity when needing a quick escape and deal with the fall damage, now no matter how much I run holding A, Jacob or Evie will just hesitate on the edge of the roof. The same issue exists in reverse. I am running across rooftops holding RT and I need to hit A to go up a three to four foot wall? Really? Instead it is 2015 and characters are still running into walls like they do not realize they are hitting them. The system has steadily been getting better since the strange addition of the ‘hookblade’ in AC Revelations but it took a dive here, and not into a cart of hay.
The worst thing about the game is a plague that it caught from Unity and unfortunately has shown up in a few new games in other franchises. Microtransactions. There is no place for these in any game short of those heroin-esque mobile games that are designed to be money pits, even those are a pox upon the human race. This really takes away from the aspect of getting lost in a game. I do not want to be reminded to spend my real hard earned cash while I am thinking about being an assassin in industrial London.
All in all it is a decent game, I enjoyed the gameplay of Unity more, the story of this game more. It leaves me yearning still for the epicness that was the Ezio trilogy, the stories continue to get weaker and weaker, maybe next game things will start to tie together again. Worth picking up if you are a die hard AC fan, is it worth jumping into the series for this game? No it is not.