Unity serves as one more reminder (as if we needed it) that yearly development cycles are a problem — not just because of the quality issues, but because Unity shows a company unable to pivot. I'm sure prior to Black Flag's release, when Ubisoft was served a big ol' plate of derision over "Assassin's Creed with boats," Unity probably seemed like a great idea. It would be a return to the so-called glory days of Assassin's Creed II and Brotherhood.
The problem? Black Flag was a surprise hit — easily one of the best games in the franchise. It was too late for Ubisoft though, which was forced to finish Unity. There's no way the game could be overhauled with only a year left. So we were fed the "It's a return to our core tenets," line, as if it was some rogue team at Ubisoft that made Black Flag without the support of the "real developers."
It's the same problem Call of Duty fell into, with the so-called "good" release coming out one year and a more ho-hum entry playing catch-up the following year. Unity, in many ways, feels like a sharp downgrade from Black Flag, stripping out almost everything that made that game laudable and addictive and replacing it with... well, Assassin's Creed II. As if we hadn't already played two direct sequels to Assassin's Creed II.
And even that wouldn't be too bad — probably a 7/10-style "been there, done that" — if the game weren't such a slap in the face as a PC port. As things are, this is a new low for the Assassin's Creed series.
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