Editor’s Note: For those expecting impressions of the game, well, I touch on that a bit below, but I’ll have a more detailed look at the title coming soon.
I’ve been not-so-secretly hoping for the French Revolution era to come up for Assassin’s Creed since the franchise started. Tackling settings like Rome, Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Venice to name a few continually gave me hope that Ubisoft would eventually call upon Revolutionary France to host one of their games. So when Assassin’s Creed Unity was finally revealed earlier this year, I felt like a kid on Christmas day. Finally, my time had come and the chance to interact with historical figures like Robespierre, Napoleon, and a ton of other characters was on it’s way. I was one hundred percent on board from the start.
Fast forward to launch day and I was ready to rush out to grab my copy. I work a normal 8-5 job so for me, I’m not able to pick up games until my lunch break which can sometimes make the wait that much more excruciating. I wasn’t too interested in reviews but I find that it satisfies my cravings for information so I do read them if available. Oddly enough, the reviews never came even though the game was available. I found that the embargo was not up until noon and strangely enough journalists on Twitter started hinting that a certain franchise had significant issues. Once the reviews hit, I was stunned to see all of the negativity, technical issues, and overall mediocre review scores for Unity. Needless to say I was a bit crushed.
As an aside, I don’t find the review embargo date all that controversial or indicative of Ubisoft trying to hide a subpar product twelve hours after it was released. Ubisoft generally sets their review embargos to be hours after a game is available. Think back for a minute. When Rayman Legends was re-released for next-gen systems, it carried the same embargo time of 9am PST. Looking at the scores, that game currently sits at a 90/100. Child of Light, which received a lot of critical praise also carried a 9am PST review time. I could go on, but as you can see, Ubisoft (like Activision) have a tendency to hold reviewers off until midday (EST) of launch day. Unity’s embargo didn’t strike me as controversy worthy but I think it was fueled by the fact that the game released with a lot of technical issues. If it had released stable and glitch free, I doubt people would have raised such a stink.
Did Ubisoft “weaponize” their review embargo like some people have mentioned? Again, no, I don’t think that was the intention. Should Ubisoft re-evaluate their embargo dates to make a little more sense in terms of a game’s launch? Yes, I really don’t see the issue with taking a look at changing how that’s done. Thankfully, Far Cry 4 did not follow this same path as reviews hit days before the game launched officially.
After feeling pretty conflicted and not wanting to endure a potential Assassin’s Creed III situation again, I went back and forth on whether or not to bother with it. While I may be limited on money and time these days, I still went ahead and picked up my copy willing to endure the technical issues knowing that Ubisoft would patch the game and figuring my love for the franchise would smooth over other blemishes.
Here’s the odd thing. Expecting the game to be just an absolute mess after what I had seen around the internet hours earlier, I found quite the opposite to be true. The game was not only playable, but I found myself enjoying the main character, and I found the setting to be stunning. The only bug I ran into was a massively long load screen at the game’s menu, but other than a few slight frame rate drops now and again, I had zero issues.
The same continues to ring true today as I’m about halfway through the game currently and so far, I’ve had no real issues even before the second patch Ubisoft released. I’ve heard a lot of reports about the PS4 and PC versions of the game being a lot rougher around the edges so maybe that’s the big difference. Either way, the internet outrage that this game sparked last Tuesday seems pretty unwarranted to the level it reached. Sure, the game has a few issues, but overall I’ve had a great experience with Unity and completely disagree with some of the reviews out there. Just goes to show you that sometimes you just have to think for yourself. Reviews are just someone’s opinion about the game anyway, they’re in no way meant to be taken as the absolute law of the land. I’m glad I went ahead and picked it up, Unity has a lot of great things going for it.