Full disclosure: I really enjoyed Assassin’s Creed Unity.
With that bit of unpleasantness out of the way, let’s talk Dead Kings, the first DLC pack for Ubisoft’s much derided and oft-scorned latest entry in the hiding-in-haystacks genre. It’s free for everyone who buys the game, a make-good for all the bad press they received.
It reminds me a lot of the kind of boxed expansion you’d have bought in the 90s, back when shelling out $15-20 got you a bunch of new levels, maybe a new weapon, and little else. It wasn’t really a place to extend the story – story!? – or try new things; it was more content, plain and simple.
Much like something you’d have bought for Quake 1, Dead Kings introduces little in the way of new stuff — the much-touted lantern little more than another widget to solve puzzles with and the new guillotine axe weapon a gunblade for men with beards. The level design is heavily reminiscent of the original game and other recent titles in the series. The catacomb sections return spelunking to the series, which is appreciated, but it never quite hits the highs achieved by the various Assassin’s Creed II spinoffs. There are six or so missions, a bunch of icons on the map that you’ll feel slightly guilty for ignoring, and a bunch of new types of people to stab.
Oddly enough, there’s also more series meta-narrative than the entirety of Unity, but that’s not saying much.
I mean, if you didn’t like Unity, Dead Kings won’t change your mind…and that’s fine. Move along, there’s nothing for you to see in this free DLC.
But if you, like me, are still carrying a torch for the beleaguered series, then Dead Kings is worth a whirl.