Thursday
Jan152015

Nothing is Working, Everything is Broken

ey everyone, I’m sure you’re all slightly confused as I have no doubt that you’ve already read the title of this feature post, and what it naturally suggests, and that’s understandable. Which is why that I have decided to begin with a disclaimer what I’m trying to accomplish in this peculiar admission of mine, and some important bits of clarification that are real crucial to the meaning behind it.

I have spent weeks trying to write a fair, and objective review of Assassin’s Creed Unity to be published on Press Pause Radio, and have now reached a point where I no longer feel comfortable with the idea of doing so.

After giving it a considerable amount of contemplation and consultation among other members of the crew, I’ve reached the decision that this game is just too broken for me to just grade on a scale of the scale of quality that we typically adhere to.

In other words, the amount of shit that’s unabashedly broken and fucked in Assassin’s Creed Unity his hit a point with me, one where it is beyond any redemption or worthwhile attempt at to plodding through the unbridled mess that is, regardless of any merit that could be mined out of the content’s intent alone.

The potential for this particular entry in the series was palpable; Assassin’s Creed has consistently emanated a sense of isolation. Even when you recruited new members into the brotherhood, and carried out missions with the assistance of others, players were empowered to take on the trials and pursuits of the adventure that laid before them as a one-man army—which what makes Unity so refreshing at first impression.

Ubisoft Montreal promised that the excitement and tension of Assassin’s Creed trademark open-world action gameplay would be reinvigorated with a new sense of engagement of life with the addition of cooperative multiplayer and social integration through seamless networking and interaction that’s organic within the pacing of the game.

Sounds like a really inspiring direction for the series right? The reality however, couldn’t be farther from the truth, to an almost offensive degree.

It’s more than apparent that after spending mere hours into the prologue of the game’s campaign, that the game is a technical disaster. In spite of the update where the developer had promised more than a whopping three hundred fixes to the number of issues that plagued the initial weeks of the game, the frequency of the lingering total of faults is still a bit too staggering to believe.

Post-update, I had found that the existing problems with contextual interaction with anything in the game, whether it would be traversal, combat, or any points of interests that vary among the many objectives I undertook, all resulted in the same painful cycle erratic failures to register the intended in-game reaction to my input.

Mind you, I understand that this flaw isn’t anything I haven’t encountered before, especially in games centered around open-world environments, but the extent of it Unity was unreasonable and beyond any acceptable grade of criticism that could be justly scaled by the standards expected of its contemporaries today.

Like, we’re talking about moments where ascending different architectures could range anywhere from glitched out leaps that blatantly exploit past the governed law of physics implied by the game engine to just plain floating in the air.

Yeah, you read right, I somehow still encountered moments where I’d suddenly catch a big ol’ handful of nothing hundreds of feet in the air. Sometimes I’d be hanging on to these non-existent scaffoldings when I’m  parallel to a building I was either aiming for while moving or one that I was leaving for lower ground, These paradoxically invisible walls of shoddy programming would appear from time to time to hinder me out of nowhere with absolutely no fucking rhyme or reason at all. Also, the same disregard for the principles of mass and force frequently occurs in combat and NPC behavior as well.

This can range anywhere from bizarre bouts of intangibility during attempts of initiating contact with an entity, them even chaotically rag-dolling and blinking in and out of existence all over the immediate area like the cheap kind of firecrackers that sputter all over the place when lit.

Oh, and this squeakily dysfunctional and defective roller coaster ride doesn’t stop there, because just when you thought you would at least have something pretty to look at, the fluctuation of graphics attempting to process on screen will introduce a whole new level of nightmare fuel that you could have gone your whole life without seeing.

Let’s start with the textures; they’re about as reliable as a water-proof towel trying to dry something off. I cannot tell you just how many times I suffered the sight of multiple textures disappearing and reappearing across on the screen every time Unity began to be indecisive with its framerate.

I’m sure that a majority of you reading this are aware of the infamous screenshots of character models missing entire faces and skeletal structures while the gross display of disembodied eyes and lips would awkwardly remain—that shit isn’t what I’m specifically driving at here.

(In fact, to some consolation of Ubisoft Montreal’s efforts to fix the game, the update did reduce the likelihood of that disturbing visual cropping up as often as it used to.)

No, my beef lies with just how disorienting the game is in motion because of these constant hiccups of rendering that go in and out of assimilation to the Arno, or any of the dozens of people on screen, and just how much it occurs in general. Again, these aren’t a few moments of just stuttering or lag to the animation of what’s actively going on, it’s that with the addition of numerous layers of bitmapping and their corresponding textures, ridiculously alternating between degradation and subsequent correction of what’s on display, in lapses that can go on to last for several minutes at a time.

 I would try to touch upon my experience with multiplayer or the micro-transactions that Unity heavily endorsed, but I was never able to have any, because I could never connect Ubisoft’s servers, and I’m grateful that my life would never depend on such a hopelessly desperate act like that whole ordeal truly was.

At every point I would attempt to start a cooperative mission with other players, be they random or, with friends, Assassin’s Creed Unity refused to grant me any access to the feature, getting what seems to be the endless alert of “Error Code 0x60000001.” What’s that you say? All I have to do is update the game on my PS4 and it’ll go away you say? Well bully for those who were able to get it fixed, because I sure haven’t  gotten it fixed.

I can’t imagine I’m the only one either.

So in short, I just can’t review this, there’s so much wrong that’s going on here, that even if I were to try and assess the quality of the game that I know that’s hiding under all of this mess, I honestly shouldn’t really have to—no one should. The honest truth of the matter is that Monolith’s Shadow of Mordor is the best new Assassin’s Creed game we’ll ever get out of 2014, and that’s not meant as a discredit Rogue or Freedom Cry necessarily; they’re just a bit of more of the same.

But hey, at, least they work, that’s something I just can’t say about Unity.

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