Assassin's Creed Unity Dead Kings (2015)
Assassin's Creed Unity Dead Kings
Set a few weeks after Assassin’s Creed Unity, Dead Kings sees the return of Arno Dorian to Revolutionary France, this time set in the small town of Franciade on the outskirts of Paris. The location of the tombs of the French royal family, Franciade is the target of raiders and pillagers. Arno must travel deep into the catacombs of Franciade to find the artifact that is currently being hunted by none other than Napoleon.As this is simply a DLC the review will be mercifully short compared to that of the main game, so first up is the positives of the game. For one, the DLC is actually rather impressive in its size. The city of Franciade consists of five districts, two of which are the catacombs underneath the city. The size of the above ground portion is rather large by itself, roughly a quarter of the size of Paris in the main game, which the underground portion makes it larger but is mostly tunnels and small and large chambers. Despite its smaller size it is nonetheless just as graphically pretty as Paris, and feels just as alive. The city also has a different atmosphere, which is much darker than Paris and fits the theme of the DLC as well as distinguishes itself as its own. The atmosphere really is one of the coolest aspects of the DLC, and Ubisoft Montpellier should be commended for making it so dark and brooding. Another large positive of Dead Kings is that it allows the player to really make use of a fully upgraded Arno in a different adventure than Unity, while obtaining the cool new Guillotine Gun. If stealth is your preferred approach than Dead Kings will definitely not disappoint, as virtually the whole underground portions are stealthy incursions into the catacombs, though stealth is not absolutely necessary if you are a guns-blazing kind of player. Aiding this in one small way is a new mechanic that involves raider leaders; if Arno successfully kills the leader, the raiders in the area will not fight, and instead run away. Stealth is certainly encouraged here, as a sneaky assassination of a leader can mean no fighting at all. Although this feature can be a bit glitchy at times, it does fulfill its purpose and again sets it apart from Unity. Another good aspect of the game is the collectibles and extra activities make a return, with Franciade having their own side “Franciade Stories” missions, murder mysteries, and other things to do once the DLC is completed.The game does have some negative aspects, some of them shared with Unity. For one the story of Dead Kings is not overly interesting. Without spoiling much it simply does not have the payoff of completion, and does not seem overly important in the grand scheme of Arno’s story. It also does not really feel like its own adventure, but rather a sequence that was cut out of the main game. This is in direct contrast with previous DLC adventures such as Tyranny of King Washington and Freedom Cry whose stories were completely separate and very distinct from their base games. It feeling like a cut sequence is also not helped by the fact that it is even named sequence thirteen, which you can begin after completing the story in Unity by simply taking a carriage fast travel to Franciade. This also makes the story of Dead Kings feel very anticlimactic, as the story was easily ended in Unity yet this feels like Ubisoft’s way of saying “No wait, THIS is Arno’s ending for the French Revolution”. And overall, like Unity, Arno’s adventure just does not feel as interesting as it could have been. There are other more minor negatives, such as the somewhat glitchy nature in certain areas, as well as the refillable lantern that is needed for some parts of the game such as bugs that can attack Arno without the lantern, or puzzles. The puzzles part is alright, but overall the lantern feels unnecessary. The guillotine gun is fun, but overall useless if you are a stealth-minded player as its secondary function obviously makes it quite unsuitable for staying quiet.Overall, Dead Kings is not a bad DLC. It, like Unity, could have just been so much better. Again, Arno’s adventure was simply underwhelming over both Unity and Dead Kings, and the ending of this DLC is simply not fulfilling to me. But the game is still a fun extra adventure in Revolutionary France. The gameplay is still solid, the exploration is fun, and it still has the same quality audio and graphical features that were a huge plus for Unity. The soundtrack alone is quite a treat to listen to, and the city, despite its atmosphere and some familiarity with Paris, is very cool to look at. The guillotine gun and the new enemies were a big plus as well. But overall, the game simply feels unnecessary. Luckily, due to the huge mess that Unity was at launch, Dead Kings was free, and honestly I feel that that helped it tremendously. If you did enjoy Unity, even only a little bit, there is no reason to not play this DLC. I just hope, in some way, that we do see Arno and Revolutionary France again, as the whole setting was simply not utilized in the way it could have been.7/10
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