'Assassin's Creed Unity' and 'Rogue' Reviews Won't Be Seen Until After Launch ...
Today is the largest Assassin's Creed launch day in history, with two fully-fledged games in the series debuting for both new-gen and last-gen systems. In order to make Unity a fully 'next-gen' experience, Ubisoft tried to max out the current potential of the PS4 and Xbox One, while they crafted an entirely separate game for the established install bases of PS3 and 360, Assassin's Creed Rogue.
And yet, despite today being the release day for both games, what's everyone talking about this morning? That would be Dragon Age: Inquisition, which has debuted to rave reviews with an embargo lifting a full week for its actual launch.
So what's the deal with Assassin's Creed?
There will be reviews out today, but in a rather unorthodox, slightly worrying fashion. Review copies of Assassin's Creed Unity were indeed sent out, yet the embargo for reviews of the game does not lift until 12PM EST today, three hours from the time of this post, and 12 hours from the official launch of the game. As for Assassin's Creed Rogue? Review copies weren't sent out at all.
There may be a movement among the video gaming public these days that's a kind of backlash against 'unnecessary' critics and reviews, but the review copy and embargo system can reveal truths about a game ahead of launch, and often serves as a gauge of how confident a developer is in a certain title. For example, Dragon Age: Inquisition probably would not have let their embargo break a week early if they didn't believe they made a great game. I probably would not have a copy of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U in my hand right now if Nintendo didn't think it was going to deliver.
That's why it's rather strange that's what's supposed to be one of the biggest launch days in Assassin's Creed history is happening with relatively little fanfare. No review copies of Assassin's Creed Rogue and a 12-hour-after-launch embargo for Assassin's Creed Unity would seem to indicate something is up.
Naturally, I'm only allowed to talk about any of this because I didn't receive a review copy myself, so anything I say about the game's theoretical quality is just based on the evidence at hand. And so far, there does seem to be some evidence that the game is suffering from technical hiccups. Ubisoft has announced a rather huge Day One patch for the game which more or less amounts to 'fixes a lot of things,' as it seems the game may be launching with quite a lot of technical problems. YouTuber TotalBiscuit verified that Unity, at least on PC, is a complete mess, and paired with the game's absurdly high max settings requirement, it does not seem to be optimized well at all. And he also goes on to say that he's heard there are significant, similar technical issues with the console release as well.
Perhaps what's happened is that pretty far out, Ubisoft realized the game was suffering from these kinds of problems and a day one patch would be required to fix them. That may produce a perfectly functional game on launch (again, today, in case you forgot), but as a result, they had to restrict the impact of critics who may have been playing through the game pre-patch, and found fault with it as a result. Hence a late embargo for Unity, and just an outright review denial for Rogue, though what few early reviews I've read about the last-gen game are absent of any scathing criticism other than 'more of the same.' Still, the simpler explanation for late or non-existent review embargoes is 0ften 'we want fans to buy this game on launch day before critics tell them they shouldn't.' Hopefully that isn't the case here.
In a few hours the extremely unorthodox post-launch review embargo will lift, and we'll get to see what on earth is actually going on, but for now, in case you were wondering if these games actually launched today, and why no one is talking about them this morning, this is the answer. I'll update this post as more info from Ubisoft and the reviews
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