Ubisoft releasing two Assassin’s Creed games on the same day sounds like the start of a bad joke. There’s no punchline here though – this Friday it’s really happening. Won’t somebody think of the easily confused parents?
Assassinâ€™s Creed Unity and Assassinâ€™s Creed Rogue launched in the US on Tuesday, a few days ahead of the European release. Come Tuesday morning it became apparent that something was wrong – reviews of Unity were yet to surface, despite it being available to purchase. Reviews of Rogue were even less forthcoming, with IGN reporting that they were yet to receive a copy.
Once the cheekily timed embargo lifted Tuesday evening though a torrent of reviews of Unity arrived. Praise was far from universal however, with a vast number of critics claiming that it wasnâ€™t quite the next-gen dÃ©but they were hoping for. Reviewers also noted a few performance issues, including drops in frame-rate and graphical glitches. With a bit of luck a patch is already under way to smooth these problems over.
Technical problems aside, the majority of outlets still werenâ€™t sold on Unity. â€œAssassin’s Creed Unity is the best and worst of Assassin’s Creed. It’s hard not to appreciate everything that it gets right, and you’ll have a good time if you can wrangle some friends for co-op, but it’s impossible to ignore where Unity falls tragically shortâ€ said JoyStiq.
Polygon shared the sentiment: â€œIn the quest to build something that looked and sounded “next generation,” Ubisoft Montreal failed to fix the problems that have accumulated over so many annual releases. Combined with an uninspiring story, and a long list of considerable technical problems, Unity falls short of the fresh start Assassin’s Creed needsâ€.
The Official Xbox Magazine on the other hand felt that it was a return to fan-favourite Brotherhood, and as such is a very welcome addition to the money making franchise. â€œIn many ways, Unity feels like the sequel Brotherhood should have had three years agoâ€ they said. They went on to give it an 8/10 – one of the higher scores at the time of typing.
While Unity is getting mixed reviews, the few reviews of Rogue out there are altogether far more positive. â€œWith much of the groundwork already in place, the developers have been able to focus on content creation, and Rogue is one of the biggest and most varied titles in the franchise to dateâ€ said GameInformer. The National Post echoed this: â€œWhile Rogue is overshadowed by Assassinâ€™s Creed Unityâ€˜s next generation marketing blitz, itâ€™s a meaty additional chapter that provides greater depth to some fan-favourite characterâ€.
Another wowing the critics is Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Currently it has a Metacritic of 90% formed of 35 reviews, none of which are below 8/10. Destructoid believes it sets the new gold standard for remakes while ZTGD reckons it’s worth buying an Xbox One for. â€œThe sheer amount of content included for $60 is staggering” they claimed.
We can expect LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham to join Assassinâ€™s Creed and Halo in next weekâ€™s UK chart. Reviews are just starting to appear now, albeit from far flung reaches of the globe. Insider Gamer gave it a decent enough 77%. XGN dished out a similar score – 7.5. â€œLEGO Batman 3 is not a whole new concept but it is a nice co-op gameâ€ reads the Google translation.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 is another high scorer, bagging a 9/10 from Eurogamer and a glowing review from The Average Gamer. “PES 2015 is an excellent alternative to FIFA 15, and although it borrows some of FIFAâ€™s elements, PES would be the football connoisseursâ€™ choice” said the latter.
From good to bad – one to avoid this week is last-gen brawler Digimon All-Star Rumble. Hardcore Gamerâ€™s review paints a very bleak picture indeed: â€œWith bargain basement production values, mediocre visuals, boring gameplay and a substantial lack of features, thereâ€™s no reason to experience it”.
And there we were thinking licensed games were starting to improve.
The jury is still out on Shape Up – Ubisoftâ€™s Xbox One-exclusive fitness thing for Kinect – and the budget priced Tetris Ultimate, again from Ubisoft. The 3DS already has a very good version of Tetris, making Tetris Ultimate seem like a very hard sell. It may perform better on PS Vita.
Speaking of which, Tales of Hearts R is out on Sonyâ€™s handheld this week. General opinion is that it’s one the format’s best RPGs, with a fair few 8/10 reviews around to back up that fact.
Also out this Friday – The Last of Us: Game Of The Year Edition on PS3, Little Orbitâ€™s Disney Planes: Fire and Rescue on Wii U, Wii and 3DS and World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. That last one could be a potential entrant in next weekâ€™s top ten chart too.
Then over on PSN thereâ€™s Tennis in the Face on PS4, a physics based puzzler staring a tennis player. It looks pleasingly daft. Thatâ€™s being joined by the very well-received Nidhogg on PS4 and PS Vita – complete with Cross-Buy support and a 20% discount for PS Plus members – and also the pun-tastic Shake Spears! – a cartoon-like jousting sim on PS3 and PS Vita. We wonder what came first – the game or the name?
Finally, we have Toybox Turbos – a top-down racer from Codemasters. It’s clearly inspired by the Mirco Machines games of yore, and for us that’s a good enough reason to try it. It’s out on PSN, Xbox Live and Steam this Friday for Â£11.99. Curiously, it isn’t an arcade release on Xbox Live – you’ll have to look in the ‘Games on Demand’ section for it. This means that it’ll have 1000G to potentially gain, rather than 400G. Sweet.
Next week: GTA V (PS4, Xbox One – out Tuesday), Far Cry 4 (PS4, PS3, Xbox One, 360, PC – out Tuesday), Sonic Boom (Wii U, 3DS), Dragon Age Inquisition (PS4, PS3, Xbox One, 360, PC), WWE 2K15 (PS4, Xbox One), Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PS3, 360), Escape Dead Island (PS3, 360), M Persona 4 Arena: Ultimax (PS3, 360), Arcana Heart 3: Love Max (PS3, PS Vita), Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd (PS3, PS Vita), Watch_Dogs (Wii U) and Jett Tailfin (Wii U).