Hands-On: Assassin’s Creed Unity

Ubisoft announced Assassin’s Creed Unity back in March, and since then, we’ve been aching to see gameplay footage and walk through the game’s massive Parisian world. We finally had that chance at E3 this week in the form of a guided tour at Ubisoft’s behemoth booth.

The entire game has been reworked to get back to the basics of the original Assassin’s CreedUnity has actually been in development for about four years so far, starting when the work on Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood wrapped.

Unity is about being a stealthy assassin, not about being a major hero as in recent games. It looks and feels more and more like the original game in the series as our demo goes on, despite some major changes to the classic mechanics of the series.

The new navigation system called “parkour down” allows the player to look down and hit a trigger to direct your assassin to go there. No more awkward bales of hay sprawled across the city. Climbing has also been refined to include jumping on angles, making the system much more forgiving than it has been in the past.

Combat has been made much more difficult this time around, as the non-player characters are able to react to your moves and time their counterattacks with better accuracy. As a result, however, the team made it so that these enemies are no longer able to chase the assassin up a rooftop or ledge, so that the user always has a chance to escape if they need to.

It’s not all easy: they will shoot at you if you start running away, so you’ll need to be skilled at evading, as well.


If there was any doubt that Assassin’s Creed doesn’t have some of the best visuals of any game, watch the demo and trailer again. It is, without hesitation, one of the most polished experiences you’ll have, especially on a next-gen console.

The wood panelling in rooms and on doors is tattered and worn with realism. The tiles on rooftops are cracked and damaged beautifully. The reflection on shiny metal surfaces is rendered in real-time and wouldn’t be possible on previous-generation consoles. Unity is truly a sight to see.

There are seven different areas of town, each with their own architecture and civilian class system. In one part, you might see someone having their shoes shined, while just across the street might be people looking into an abandoned building for shelter.

The crowd also looks unique. We couldn’t spot a duplicate face in there anywhere, and while we’re sure there’s got to be some overlap, the animations of each patron vary greatly and seem completely unique.

Content in Unity is also widely varied and plentiful, as you might expect. Hundreds of side missions alongside assassination contracts and the ability to add things to your quest log to return to them at a later time, all make Unity a huge value for gamers.

New mechanics like stealth introduce unique ways to play through certain areas, especially now that combat is more difficult. The team at Ubisoft Montreal actually worked with some of the Ubisoft Toronto team on using some Splinter Cell tech like the last known position for Unity.

Prepare yourself; this is a massive game with a lot of content, whether you’re already an Assassin’s fan or are new to the series. We didn’t touch on multiplayer, which is a huge part of what Unity is all about, so look for that in the upcoming days.

Assassin’s Creed Unity launches exclusively on next-gen consoles and PC on October 28.