The game's past setting takes place during the French Revolution. Arno Dorian was a young man who was orphaned early in his life as his father was murdered by an unknown assailant. He grew up with Elise, his close friend. Due to an unfortunate incident, he joined the Assassins to uncover the truth.
Even though the historical setting of this game is very interesting, the main game's storyline itself feels uninteresting. The story feels incomplete, and does not have many interesting plots that may answer any remaining Assassin's Creed series mysteries. Another factor is the lack of plot development of the modern setting storyline. Of all Assassin's Creed games, this game has the second least amount of story development of the modern setting, next to Assassin's Creed III: Liberation. It still has some exposure via cutscenes and secret documents, but otherwise not really informative and conclusive.
Characters themselves are not very interesting themselves, and Arno Dorian himself is not a very strong lead character compared to Edward Kenway or Ezio Auditore. The supporting cast themselves are not very memorable, as they have fairly short amount of exposure in the main game itself.
1) Singleplayer Section
This game plays like previous Assassin's Creed games. You can assassinate enemies using your Hidden Blade, fight off enemies with your melee weapon such as swords or spears, freerun, and other actions. However, this game has many control and gameplay features alterations that make this game fairly unique compared to the recent Assassin's Creed: Rogue and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.
Many of the gameplay controls are changed, such as now you have two dedicated freerun control, which is Free Run Up and Free Run Down. Free Run Up allows you to do free run and climb buildings or higher platforms only, whereas Free Run Down allows you to descent to lower ground or platform faster. This allows you to do freerun in more specific ways, as previous Assassin's Creed games freerun control dictate both directions, meaning less freerun direction control.
One substantial addition to game's controls is the cover button. Cover allows Arno to duck and hide from enemies' sight, as well as allowing you to take cover behind walls or low objects like desks. This allows you to enter a place more stealthily compared to previous Assassin's Creed games. You can still hide in some Hiding spots like haystacks and doors. It is also noted that this game incorporates in-door buildings where you can enter to escape your enemies or to open treasure chests. As many of the game's missions take place in indoor buildings, the loading is seamless and you do not have to worry about any loadings unless you are travelling out from Paris. Eagle Vision is still present in this game, and you can use it to find out which are your enemies, objective points, and special targets.
Combat is much more slower paced like the first few Assassin's Creed games, where most enemies will attack you one at a time, and you need to attack and parry their attacks effectively. You can attack on an enemy, parry an enemy's attacks, dodge attacks, or use your ranged weapons. A unique parry move called Perfect Parry can be executed by timing your parry move perfectly against an enemy attack. By doing so, you can catch enemy off guard and allows you to kill the enemy faster. There are few variety enemies in this game, which include regular soldiers, heavy soldiers, and snipers. They can be easy or tough depending on your equipment and skills. Two essential combat options from previous Assassin's Creed games are absent in this game, which are human shields and counter kill, so it is best for you to get used to the game's new combat controls quickly to have better advantage.
Gameplay progression remains largely the same as previous Assassin's Creed games, where you go to objective points and play a Memory to advance the game's story. Some of the game's Memories have different objectives for you complete in order to progress. Many of the game's Memories have challenges for you to complete, such as do not get detected while infiltrating an enemy's hideout or use certain assassination techniques on enemies. Memories that feature Assassinations in this game are fairly unique, as Arno will scan the whole area for Opportunities that he can exploit to assassinate his targets more easily, such as using fireworks as distractions or rescuing certain group. By completing these Opportunities, you may have more ways to assassinate your target without being detected yourself.
This time, this game allows you to buy armour parts for Arno, which you can customise for a unique character for yourself. You can buy different headsets, armours, bracers, belts, and pants for Arno to increase his stats. Each armour piece have different effects, such as some of the armour pieces can increase Arno's HP, and some may increases his Phantom Blade ammunition. Depending on the situations and your playstyle, it is highly advisable to buy armour pieces that suit your playstyle. The armour pieces can also be upgraded, increasing their effectiveness as well.
You may also learn new Skills in this game, such as Double Assassination, Poison Gas, and many more. To do so, you need to spend Sync Points. Sync Points can be obtained by completing Memories in the game, as well as collected in Co-Op missions. Some Skills may require less Sync Points to be learned, the advanced Skills may require more Sync Points to be learned. Prioritise which Skill should be bough first is raher important as it may help you during combat or exploration.
There are many side quests to be done in this game, which include renovating your hideout, renovating Social Clubs, completing Paris Story Missions, solve Murder Mysteries, solve Nostradamus Enigma puzzles or collect collectibles and open treasure chests. Many of the game's treasure chests are locked, so you can only open them after purchasing the Lockpick Skill. You may obtain money by completing Paris Story Missions, completing Social Club Missions and opening chests, but you may also obtain periodical income by completing your hideout renovations and it's Missions as well.
2) Online Co-op Mode Section
There is no competitive multiplayer mode this time, and this game now features online Co-Op Missions where you can work together with online players or your friends to complete Co-Op Missions together. Many of these Co-Op Missions require teamwork to complete, but you can always complete them solo if you have good equipment. Each Co-op Mission has their own difficulty setting, where higher difficulty usually means that enemies are more heavily armed, can take more damage, and there are many of them in that particular Mission. Some Co-op Missions may involve up to two players or even four players. Co-op Missions are not mandatory, so you may choose to skip them if you want.
The Co-op Missions are varied, but mostly largely similar as the process of completing them always involve assassinating someone. In this case, cooperation between players are important as one person can distract the enemies and the other person can assassinate the target. However, that may not happen as not every player uses their headset for communication, and some players may not work together with the rest of the players in that Mission. If a player is killed by enemies, you can quickly go to them and revive them. As you may encounter players who do not have good equipment, sticking together to complete your objectives in a Co-op Mission is highly recommended.
Completing a Co-op Mission will reward you Sync Points and an armour piece. As each Co-op Mission has three different rewards, you might want to complete the Co-op Mission three times to get all rewards. Be also aware that there are collectible Sync Points in each Co-op Mission, so getting them while playing solo is highly recommended.
Another type of co-op mission is Heists. Heists involve players to infiltrate enemies areas and steal their artifacts. Unlike Co-op Missions, Heists prioritise stealth as getting detected by enemies will reward you less bonus money. In these missions, you should work together with your online partner to complete it without being detected. However, sometimes playing solo is the best as you don't have to burden someone or having someone to burden you while completing the Heist. Completing Heists will reward you a base amount of money, as well as bonus money reward depending on how long you are detected from enemies. Total stealth and no enemy detection will reward you maximum amount of bonus money. Like Co-op Missions, Heists also have difficulty settings, with harder Hiests reward you more money. You can also repeat any Heists for fast money if you need to.
3) Gameplay Conclusion
The gameplay is good, but not great. The absence of many game features from previous games such as whistling, human shields, counter kill and others what drag down this game from great to good, and the combat system is a stepback from previous Assassin's Creed games. Although most of the game controls work solidly, some players may not like the changes. The two dedicated free run controls however, are unique and fairly reliable especially when descending, but whenever Arno tries to run on higher platform or platforms with the same height, the freerun direction is not really precise as to where you actually want to go unless you rotate the camera. Story mission progression feels quite repetitive, as there is not much variety for you to do optionally in the game. Story missions that have assassinations are the highlights of all Memories, as you have variety of ways to kill the target as well as exploiting different Opportunities. Onlne co-op is also fun to play, and it can be a good distraction from playing the main Memories. Overall, the gameplay is good, but not extremely great. Some of the side quests are fun to complete, especially Murder Mysteries.
This game has amazing graphics. Highly detailed character models, nicely designed environments, and etc. Perhaps one of the best technical achievements demonstrated in this game is the huge number of people in crowds, where they act independently while rioting. This is a next generation Assassin's Creed game, but it has some issues.
During the launch, this game is notorious for having many bugs and glitches, which cause many issues to players. Fortunately, the game is much more playable after installing the updates, with rather good and stable performance. Some bugs and glitches still remain in the game, but I do not encounter many of them while playing the game except a few.
The voice acting is pretty good, but the English accents of most of the characters in the game may surprise you, since the game's setting took place in France. Previous Assassin's Creed games feature suitable accents in different settings, but not this game. You can however, change the language option to French for French voices. The soundtrack is not really memorable, with not many outstanding themes that make me want to listen all over again. At best, it is as good as Assassin's Creed: Rogue's soundtrack, but both games' soundtracks pale in comparison on the main Assassin's Creed games' soundtracks.
There are tons of things to do in this game, which means the game's replay value is pretty high. You can opt to complete all singleplayer missions Challenges for every Sequences, complete Paris Stories side missions, collect all collectibles such as cockades and open all treasure chests, complete every Co-Op mission and Heists, as well as many other activities. Provided you like this game, the repetitiveness of doing them would not be a major issue to you.
This game is good, but it has it's own issues. The lack of focus on the modern storyline, mediocre past storyline, many unmemorable characters, many of the gameplay features removed such as human shields, counter kill, and whistling, repetitive progression, bugs and glitches and mediocre soundtrack. These issues what prevented this game from being great, but it still has some good factors. Despite the issues, the overall gameplay controls is solid and playable, and the unique dedicated freerun controls for ascending and descending is good. Combat is also fairly challenging with increased number of enemies, as well as great character customisation with different armour pieces having unique effects. Great graphics also make this game one of the most impressive looking open world game that I have ever played, and the online co-op of this is fun to play. I would recommend this game to Assassin's Creed fans, especially for those who wants something new like new controls compared to Assassin's Creed: Rogue and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.
Final Score: 7.5/10.0 or 30/40
Pros and Cons
- Interesting setting.
- New and unique gameplay controls.
- Good dedicated freerun controls.
- Challenging combat with lots of enemies to be fought.
- Fun online co-op play.
- Great character customisation.
- Great graphics.
- Good voice acting.
- Very high replay value.
- Lack of focus on modern storyline.
- Past storyline is not really interesting.
- Lack of memorable characters.
- Absence of many features from previous games such as human shields and counter kills.
- Repetitive progression of main story Memories.
- Bugs and glitches.
- Difficulty in getting online co-op sessions.
- Mediocre soundtrack.