Naval combat wasn’t introduced in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Instead, Ubisoft featured it briefly in Assassin’s Creed III and expanded upon it with Black Flag. That won’t be the case when it comes to Assassin’s Creed Unity. In a way, Ubisoft is going back to the roots of the series instead of continuing on from Black Flag. We’re not just referencing the naval combat in Black Flag. Many aspects of the gameplay changed considerably compared to the last title in the series.
First and foremost, Unity takes place in a single city. You won’t traverse the sea making your way between various locations and spending time plundering ships and fortresses to increase your income. Instead, your entire adventure will take place within the city of Paris and the catacombs below. By default, this means it’s easier to get around to the places you want to go. You probably won’t see the Fast Travel feature from Black Flag, but placing the entire game in one city has a number of advantages.
Due to the fact that players will be held within a single city, Unity now features an improved climbing system. It will be much easier and smoother to climb up and down buildings as you make your way around Paris. In addition, you’ll be able to acquire advanced climbing skills and abilities that will likely make missions easier. In Black Flag, you had to upgrade the Jackdaw ship, but in Unity you’re going to be more focused on the main character, Arno Dorian.
You could unlock and upgrade combat abilities in Black Flag, but it’s far more important to do so in Unity. The entire combat engine has been revamped with fencing as a base. This makes combat far more fluid and gives new effectiveness to the upgrades available. In Black Flag, you could make it through the entire game without updating your swords or combat techniques aside from the few times it was a story-based upgrade. That won’t be the case in Unity, as the combat upgrades will make some battles easier than running through the game with Dorian’s stock abilities.
Weapons from previous games will return, but one of the new weapons will have considerable impact on how the game is played. The Phantom Blade is essentially an extension of the Hidden Blade from the previous games in the series. You can still use it to quietly assassinate targets from close range, but the new Phantom Blade adds a crossbow-like mechanic to the Hidden Blade, allowing you to shoot it across a square or hit a target on the other side of the room. Think of it like the darts in Black Flag, only you can use it to kill a target instead of just putting them to sleep or making them go berserk.
In addition, the crowd in Unity will play a much bigger role than the crowds in Black Flag. In Assassin’s Creed IV, you basically only used the crowd for cover. Occasionally you could hire a few wenches to distract some guards for you, but for the most part the crowd was restricted to providing cover and nothing more. Now the crowd is far more interactive and offers numerous side ventures. As you make your way through the crowd, you may come across a pickpocket or see a fistfight. You won’t always want to partake in these side missions, but chasing down a criminal or breaking up a fight will make it easier for you to afford the new combat and wall-climbing upgrades.
While some missions in Unity are limited to single player, one of the biggest additions to the series is four player co-op. There are numerous taverns in Paris that act as multiplayer hubs. Upon entering a tavern, you can hook up with friends to begin a multiplayer mission, or join a mission already in progress.
Once you’re in a multiplayer mission, you’ll need to work together with your friends to complete the objective at hand. This will require far more teamwork than most games based on the nature of Assassin’s Creed. You can go through missions killing everyone in sight, or use stealth gameplay to complete missions without all the commotion. In many cases, using stealth tactics makes the mission far easier. If you’re going through a mission unseen but two of your friends decide to pull out their guns and start firing, that’s going to make things difficult. It will be important to use a unified strategy during these missions.
Stay tuned to Prima Games as we offer more strategic content, including a complete walkthrough of Assassin’s Creed Unity as we approach the October 28th release date.