The missions themselves are split between two different types: co-op missions and heists. The co-op missions usually entail doing the sort of activities, i.e., follow some person to a location, steal something, assassinate a particular target, that you do in the main game. These activities are strung together to form a sort of narrative with some basis in historical events. For example, one particular mission started by giving my squadmates and me a little background about a particular Citizen that stuck his nose too far into things and is now on his way to the guillotine. We needed to first break into a prison to get a key from a guard, then locate the Citizen’s notebook that contains some valuable info on the Templars, and then rescue the Citizen himself from a public execution ground. Each phase of this required scoping out the area, planning the best approach and which guards to take out first, and using some distraction methods to get all the guards running at one person while the other slipped in unaware.
The heist missions are more straightforward, i.e., make your way into this place and loot it, and are, perhaps, even more cooperative. These missions give out bigger rewards the more stealthy you are. If you manage to go through it without getting spotted, then you’ll get a big pay out. Get seen a bunch, and you’ll only walk away with a few Francs, so you’re strongly encouraged to take a more stealthy approach and better coordinate efforts between players.
If a player falls in combat during a co-op mission or heist, there’s a brief window of time provided where another player can revive him or her. In co-op missions, players that don’t get revived will automatically respawn at the nearest checkpoint. Should all players fall, then everyone gets respawned at the nearest checkpoint. For heist missions, however, the death of one player means the death of the entire team and you have to start all over. Engaging in an all out murder spree should things go bad, then, is not encouraged. Getting away, staying alive, and becoming anonymous are your best bets.
Both types of missions can be started straight from the pause menu by going into the “Progression Tracker” and “Co-Op Missions” portion to choose which mission you wish to undertake. Friends can also be quickly invited to your game and missions made either public or private, depending on how social you’re feeling. You might even get notifications, occasionally, that a co-op mission is currently underway nearby and all you have to do is go run up to the mission point on the map to join it.
Regardless of which mission type you choose, both of these missions feel like the evolution of the “Wolfpack” mode found in the previous two Assassin’s Creed games. Instead of being tossed into an arena with a timer and being given a series of unconnected and random tasks to complete, co-op missions and heists in Assassin’s Creed Unity have their own little story and each new objective is linked. It also has better “co-op moments.” Coordinating with your team to take down a group of guards all at once is a spectacle to behold. Finding yourself cornered by a group of foes only to have a teammate drop from above or pop out of a haystack to quickly dispose of them is awesome; intentionally planning and executing such a thing is epic.
All of the systems, gear, and skills (like having shared Eagle Vision or creating an ammo cache for teammates) that are put at your disposal in the game are designed in such a way that they truly shine in co-op. This is the co-op experience I’ve been waiting to play since Wolfpack was first introduced. And whereas that previous attempt split these kinds of things off into an entirely separate multiplayer mode, with its own skill system and gains, Assassin's Creed Unity merges it all into one.
This merging of systems is what make the single-player experience of Assassin's Creed Unity feel like a bloated blob of different game designs and ideas, and the cooperative experience feels so good. It is perhaps why there have been so many initial bugs with the game, as there are so many systems at work to help support a world where players can group up and shank some Templars at any time. Ubisoft has strived for more connected experience for Assassin’s Creed fans, and it is both a success and a failure.
The Assassin’s Creed games we have come to know and (for some) love over the past few years have fallen victim to popular gaming trends and various external gaming constructs. But from those fallen ashes a new type of Assassin’s Creed is starting to emerge. One where we are free to pursue the Templars with our friends. The cooperative experience for the franchise is starting to look very bright, indeed.
The Co-Op Experience: Certain missions within Assassin's Creed Unity will allow up to four players to team up and work together to take down a target in the same open-world gameplay style as the main campaign. These missions are interspersed with the single player campaign
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.