An Unlikely Chill-Out Game: AC Unity

Here’s a new idea that I’ve had: find games that are fun to chill-out with, but probably shouldn’t be, and write about them. Don’t consider this a review, though – I’m just poking holes in silly games and finding unexpectedly fun things about them (even if it’s a bad thing). There are a few I’d like to write about, but I’ll start with what I’m currently playing.

Mah Creedy

Ah, Assassins’ Creed. A game where a pat on the shoulder can become deadly, and where hoodies can prance about like acrobatic yobs. I have good memories associated with the Assassins’ Creed series, though I’ve actually played very little of it, in truth! When Koiby-kun and myself were still in school, during the summer holidays we’d plant ourselves in front of his TV, fire up the Xbox and play through each game. Silly quotes became our catchphrases – we’d yell them at each other and giggle like hopeless dorks. Here are some of my favourites:

“Bene. Now I can get back up again if I fall.”

“Coins!”

“Now that’s booty!”

“Are you a royalist?”

Bonus points if you can spot which quote goes where. Your flammability will be triplicated if you read it aloud – with the right accent.

Disunity among Assassins

Barring a brief stint into the first game and the abomination that is LiberationAssassins’ Creed: Unity is the only title out of the series that I’ve really sunk my time into. Koiby-kun and I spend a few hours some nights playing Co-Op missions – unless I’m at his. Otherwise, we’ll spend a few hours solving the Nostradamus riddles (or we did. Now those are all solved, we’re plunging into the murder mysteries!).

Plus, I’ll play this quite happily on my own. Although the game is deeply, deeply flawed – it’s actually pretty fun. Koiby-kun is sceptical of my dubbing it a “Chill-Out Game”, and I can’t blame him – blasted game is damn frustrating, most days. However, I think that’s a result of playing the game like you’re supposed to.

Given the game’s several options that allow a player to use a different playstyle (sort of), is there really a way you’re supposed to play Unity? Well, yeah. For the most part, it’s a stealth game. You’re meant to play all sneaky-like. The annoying thing is, that’s exactly when the game becomes a true pain in the rear to play. You could be trying to sneak around on the rooftops, and then find yourself stuck halfway up a wall, wiggling your butt like an exhausted fish on a line. You might set up a Beserk Bloodbath and then get spotted, or just have it fizzle out in front of you. Perhaps you’ll try swapping covers but end up doing jazz hands in front of five armed and angry thugs. Stealth is annoying – but then you knew that, didn’t you? Enough reviews spoke of the painful free-running controls, to say the least.

But no, when I play Unity, I play hard. Imagine a purple-garbed, hooded loon sprinting through the Parisian streets with no regard for anyone around him, hostile or not, brandishing a spear.

You do not see Lych!

Stealth by intimidation, perhaps? Pah, who gives a toss about stealth?! No-one’s seen you if everyone who saw is dead, right?

But yes, whether on a Co-Op or Single-Player mission, I tend to follow the Mad Axe Murderer playstyle – and I have grown ohhh so fond of the long weapon category.  I’ve always been very attached to the idea of fighting with a Jo (or Bo) staff in Jiu Jitsu. My plan is, hopefully, to take up Joujutsu and become a master of big sticks!

I would have been over the moon if Unity had a Yari or Naginata, but alas not – only a Katana is available (and a bloody decorative one at that). It makes sense, I’ll admit – Japanese weaponry would surely have been troublesome to import in Revolutionary France, especially when you consider that sakoku (鎖国 – Closed Country)was still in place at the time.

So instead, I chose the coolest looking long weapon I could find. Right now, it’s some kind of glaive or corseque! I love fighting another long weapon user, as well. Just imagine the sounds: clunk. clunk. SLICE!

Playing like this isn’t free of its frustrations, though. Specifically involving defensive tactics. Basically, when the enemy’s health bar turns to a gold colour, you press ‘Parry’ and Arno parries his opponent! Simple, right? Not always. This doesn’t always trigger – and when fighting a lot of people, that’s a problem.

Even so, my method still stands. Screw stealth. Go nuts!

Streetpass Vigilante

Another element of Unity that I quite enjoy is completing “crowd event”. The whole idea here is that you could quite happily be walking around, or scampering across the rooftops when the game suddenly whispers in your ear “Hey, catch that thief!” or “Oi, kill those criminals.” A ‘Hex’ marks the spot, hovering above the unfortunate ne’er-do-wells for easy identification. After you catch them or kill them, the civilian-in-need will either back away in fear – or cheer you on.

Either way, the game congratulates you and adds your success to a running total. Rewards follow.

I don’t know if I should be surprised that it’s actually a fun way to pass the time. I’ll aimlessly wander the streets and wait for an event to appear – it’s somehow relaxing. Hell, I could spend a long time doing so.

Except when the challenge is to “kill the messenger without being seen.” That’s a pain in the butt. Because you need stealth.

Play Chicken

I’m closing up here, but I wanted to say this much – one thing annoyed me, playing the game. I discovered some chickens clucking around, doing their thing. Naturally, having a liking for the Zelda games, my first instinct was to mess with them. Hell, I do the same playing Alundra. Those chickens certainly didn’t appreciate a teenager swinging his sword at them, but I saw no avian apocalypse.

In Unity, though? Not even the slightest cheep! Granted, I couldn’t exactly attack them directly, but even an invasion of their personal space was useless. My attempts at chicken bullying descended into pushing them down the street, hoping to drive them into the Seine. No such luck. The movement was either too inconsistent or took too long. I gave up.

Chicken Torment it is not.
Still a fun game, though. Oddly.

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