I acquired Assassin’s Creed: Unity the same way I acquire the majority of my PS4 games — by buying it used off a stranger in Budapest. I paid 5000 Hungarian Forint ($17.50).
I’ve always been a fan of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. I have incredibly fond memories of playing the first one on Xbox 360 — forcing myself to actually walk through the streets of medieval Damascus, taking it all in. My favorite is Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, because sailing the open seas with good ‘ol Ned Kenway was just tooooo siiiiick. I know they aren’t perfect games, but I love that AC formula, and I love to... you know... climb stuff.
Then, I played Unity.
First, I Loved It...
As soon as I actually got into Paris and started climbing around, one thing became clear: this game is gorgeous. Never had an open-world, urban environment looked so damn good. Climbing up to a sync point and looking out over the rooftops of Revolutionary Paris is something that never got old, even during that grind... (but more on that later...) And the velvet... since when does velvet look so good?!
I study European history. Well, I study the history of The Paris of the East... not Paris, itself. Nevertheless, the historical focus of Unity is right up my alley, so I really enjoyed both the setting and story. I know many people found the story a bit dull — which is understandable, as history is one of the dullest subjects around — but I sincerely enjoyed Arno’s tale.
I must mention, of course, that my first experiences with Unity were well post-release. Therefore, I had no bad experiences with the bugs, glitches and frame-rate issues that plagued the game and put a permanent black mark on it’s report card. Because of this, I had a clean and clear run through the single-player campaign in Unity, and it was quite delightful.
But then came the post-game trophy hunting / clean-up game.
...And Then I Hated It.
“That map. Just look at that map. Look at all those grey chests. Look at all those locked chests. Look at all those Nostradamus Enigmas. Look at all those Paris Stories. Look at all those co-op missions. Look at all those... chores...”
Anyone who knows me knows that I generally try to platinum games. Especially games like Assassin’s Creed, which have straight-forward, easily-attainable platinums. But pressing the DualShock 4 touchpad to open up the world map and take stock of what needed to be done nearly put me off platinum-ing Unity, forever. About 100 times.
After mindlessly running around for hours on end, opening up chests and doing incredibly boring single-player side-quests, there came a point where I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. There was no light at the end of the tunnel. I couldn’t take Arno jumping on chairs in the middle of the street anymore. I couldn’t take Arno refusing to enter windows, no matter how many times I pressed L2. I couldn’t take the persistent “Hey, c’mere you!” and cockney-English wailing “Eeeeeey! Stop! Thief! Heeeeeeyyyyllllpp!” anymore. It was driving me insane!
I ejected the disc and put it back in it’s case.
Normally, at this point, I’d put the game up for trade/sale on the website I use to organize game swaps in Hungary. But I resisted. Something told me to just give it some time. Let it all just blow over.
Now, It’s All Good.
Last week, I caught a nasty virus — the type where one makes a bed on the bathroom floor. After that ran its course, I couldn’t really move from the couch, and getting into something serious just wasn’t on the cards. I needed to play something mindless. Something where I didn’t have to think. Something where I just had to do.
So I popped Unity back in.
I started running around. I started unlocking chests. I started doing Helix Rifts. If something needed to be done in Paris, I did it. And so it went, from morning until evening. It felt good just do play video games again, after fever-dreaming and trying to convince myself that I really wasn’t going to die.
Then the trophies started popping and the map started to clear up — and I realized something: Unity was there when I needed it. When I needed to run around a beautiful open world and just do some shit, Unity was there. When I needed to pop some trophies while recovering from the flu, Unity was there. When I needed to escape from reality for a couple days, Unity was there. Unity got me through a pretty shitty time. For that, Unity has my respect.
Now, I’m only a few trophies away from the platinum, and Assassin’s Creed: Unity has earned it’s place in my Assassin’s Creed library. (If anyone wants to run through some co-op missions with me, send me a friend request.)
Now, I can’t wait to play Syndicate.
What did you think of Assassin’s Creed: Unity? (I’m assuming you didn’t like it.) Let me know in the comments and tweet @Shasdam.
Until next time, always wash your hands when you get home.
Adam is an MA student and private Business-English instructor in Budapest, Hungary. He studies the Comparative History of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, and is an author on KoTAYku. He can be contacted on his ConTAYct page, or @Shasdam.