Changes that will hopefully make the experience less frustrating
Okay, so technically there's three big changes that everyone will be excited about, the third being the whole two- to four-player cooperative experience in Assassin's Creed Unity. Personally I'm not all that looking forward to it largely because I'm just a solo player when it comes to this kind of stuff. It looks cool. Maybe I'll mess around with co-op when it's released.
But the two things I'm looking forward to the most are two of the biggest changes Assassin's Creed has been needing for a long, long time now.
Assassin's Creed Unity (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One [previewed])
Ever thought it was stupid that you'd fail a mission because you got caught eavesdropping, or that you couldn't catch your target because you accidentally climbed up a wall when you were just trying to turn a damn corner instead? That will be largely a thing of the past going forward.
"It's always been a challenge," creative director Alex Amancio told us. "The problem with stealth is that the fail state of stealth is detection, and usually detection means combat. So you end up finishing every mission in combat. We really wanted to rethink that and give you a chance to regain control to reset that stealth loop and go back into stealth, and actually act like an assassin."
This is where Adaptive Mission Mechanics comes into play. Now there won't be a fail state if, say, you get spotted tailing someone. Instead, that will now turn into a chase. Can't catch him? Then it turns into a search and locate. NPCs happen to just kill your target? Maybe loot his body and see what clues he can give you instead. Instead of slapping your hands for slipping up Unity will give you chances to recover from your mistakes.
The other major design change I'm looking forward to is the Black Box design. These are open-ended, 360-degree missions with a clearly defined location, target, and objective. With those goals in mind, it's then up to the player to use their skills to accomplish whatever needs be done.
We got to see the very first assassination of Unity in our demo, and the game will first present you with the overview of the particular mission. In this case the game told us there was one target we needed to kill, and there were 10 entrances (plus one secret one) that we find to enter a church to get to our target, along with some other minor necessary information.
We also got to see an in-game cutscene that helped paint some points of interest we could use to help us obtain our goal. In this case, we saw a guard yelling at some thieves that took his keys to the church, plus we saw a man who was on his way to meet with our target.
The Black Boxes are designed in a way to let players know they have permission to explore. These missions also have bonus side objectives that, if done, can change or alter the context of the Black Box. These are optional objectives similar to past games when you're trying to achieve a 100% completion rate. In this case, completing this additional goals can change the context of the Black Box, right down to altering who your main target will be.
Your character is way more customizable this time around too. Everything from the clothing you wear to your weaponry all now have stats. For instance, a certain pair of boots will let you fall from greater heights without taking damage. Weapons, on the other hand, now have a rate of fire and levels of damage they can deal too.
I need to also point the last-known-position silhouette you will leave when engaged with enemies, similar to some past Splinter Cell titles. So guards will go to where they last saw you instead of just knowing where you are after breaking line of sight like before.
Anyway, a couple of major changes the series has been needing for a long time. Some of the new features are great here, but I'm still not sold on the story yet. Hence why I'm looking forward to Rogue more than Unity overall. Still, it doesn't look like Assassin's Creed fans can go wrong with either entries here.
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3:00 PM on 12.15.2014