At least I feel like it sometimes when I’m playing Assassin’s Creed Unity. There are certainly some similarities at play here. A stealthy figure prowling the rooftops of a city gone to hell, stepping in from time to time to save a citizen or take down some ruffians. I’m a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A Dark Knight. Well, I guess the metaphor falls apart at some point. But, like the Batman, I also get no respect from John Law. More on that in a moment.
I’ve commented to some of the guys off air that in AC Unity, I in some ways feel more like a costumed vigilant than I do in the Arkham games. Now this may seem like blasphemy to speak against the Arkham games (or at least Rocksteady’s trilogy) but let’s think this through for a sec. Batman strives to take Gotham back from the criminals for her citizens. What’s the one thing conveniently, even suspiciously missing from each of the Arkham games? The citizens.
Yeah, yeah… winter storm of the century… city-wide quarantine… blah blah blah. Gotham’s empty streets are quickly earning themselves a place alongside Samus-losing-all-her-suit-upgrades and No-flight-in-new-WoW-expansion for the title of World’s Most Forced Gameplay Dynamic. Yeah I understand the developer’s reasoning behind it, but that it still feels as unnatural and unappealing as Brad in a princess dress.
ACU has crowds in spades, for better or for worse. So, when I have to step in to stop a mugging or catch a pickpocket for one of the dynamically occurring crowd events that pop up from time to time, there’s a helpless NPC to be grateful for my heroics. No need to thank me citizen. It’s all in a day’s work. Then there’s the murder investigations, where my assassin is tasked with searching crime scenes, gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses and eventually accusing the (hopefully) guilty party. They’re fantastic. Easily my favorite mission type in the game and far better than the crime scene investigations WB Games tried implementing in Batman: Arkham Origins.
If only Paris’ guards were more supportive of my attempts to do their jobs for them. For the most part, we’re cool. I can pass them on street level without triggering an undesired combat sequence like in some of the previous games. In a blessing sent form the gaming heavens, they’re also gone from the rooftops, which makes city traversal so much more enjoyable. But, as soon as a fight breaks out between the guards and some ruffian revolutionaries, mon petite derriere is running the other way. In an unfortunate oversight within the combat system, as soon as I enter a combat state the guards see me as an enemy, even if I view us as allies cleaning up the mean streets of Paris. You’ve got it all wrong, I’m here to help!
So they hunt me. Because I can take it. Because I’m not their hero. Je suis Le Chevalier Fonce!