Assassin’s Creed is a highly popular series, which has seen an annual release since 2009. Ubisoft have experimented with a variety of ideas for the story, setting and gameplay since the original release, sometimes moving away from the core idea behind stealth games. Unity is the first AC game built for next-generation, following last year’s release Black Flag which was ported to the Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

The game begins in France during the 18th century. You play as Arno, a character who is linked to the Assassins, but not really concerned with them. Instead, he is caught in the center of an evil conspiracy and has to unravel the tale of a mysterious murder. However, the backstory of the game is at times unclear and badly explained. After playing through the entire tale, I am not really sure about the importance of Unity’s story and how it actually linked up. However, it does allow the main character, Arno, to create some spectacular action as he goes on an adventure through important parts of the revolution.

One of the most impressive aspects of Unity is the way in which it presents Paris. Everything is created in incredibly beautiful detail. Buildings are themed exactly as you would expect for the time period of the game is set, while characters look and play their part well. While everything is unfortunately only rendered at 900p, the game still looks absolutely stunning. The textures are vivid, crisp and high quality while the lighting engine makes everything look spectacular. Many buildings and major landmarks of Paris feature fully explorable interiors and the world has a depth which adds a lot to the game.

Unity returns somewhat back to the roots of the Assassins Creed series, with the game focusing a lot more on stealth once again. Many of the missions involve sneaking into a secured building, silently taking our an enemy or leaving without being noticed. Enemies will take you down very quickly if you do not think and act tactically; hit and run will not help you in this game. All of these objectives feel very rewarding on completion and overall, the gameplay is a lot more enjoyable than it has been in the last couple of releases, particularly if you are a fan of stealth games.

Unfortunately, the game suffers a number of glitches. Arno often becomes caught in obstacles situated anyway around the world, which often results in awkward movements becoming necessary to untangle him. Also, sometimes climbing up objects does not work, particularly if Arno is not approaching them at speed. The issue also applies to windows, which are particularly tricky to get through unless you are using ‘free run’ mode. These moments cause a lot of frustration and are a significant hindrance to the overall experience. Ubisoft are currently working to patch up this glitches are much as possible, however, most of the them have been present in past games and have still not been resolved.

Another issue present in the game is an unstable frame rate. If you play through the game, you will often experience it dropping below 20FPS, sometimes even freezing up entirely at brief moments. For a major release, this level of glitching and instability is not really acceptable and makes it feel like Unity was rushed out. Loading times are long and the game even crashed the PS4 completely on one occasion during my playthrough. This makes Unity difficult to play at times and heavily damages the impression the game’s graphics and gameplay make.

Overall, Assassin’s Creed: Unity presents a great leap forward in terms of the graphics, world, realism and gameplay. However, with an irrelevant story, an unacceptable number of glithces and generally sub-par stability, Unity feels like it was rushed for release. Ubisoft have stated they are working on fixing the game, and have offered players some free DLC as compensation. However, right now, Unity under-performs in many areas.