ACU: Dead Kings takes Arno into new subterranean territory, where both stealth challenges and some frustrating mazes await.
They say time heals all wounds, but free DLC can't hurt either. Dead Kings offers much for those still enamoured by the series, and its offering as a freebie is a fine gesture to anyone left aggrieved by last year's failings. Still, time will tell whether it - or what Ubisoft has planned next - can convince those who have been put off by the series' longer sense of stasis.
It makes the stealth more interesting and there's a successful tonal shift from the main game, but free or not this expansion fails to improve on any of Unity's major problems.
The now-free downloadable content for Assassin's Creed Unity kicks off with a passable new chapter that is neither a conclusion nor epilogue.
Dead Kings brings back the challenge rooms from Assassin's Creed Brotherhood and Revelations. That means a dark, dank underground setting full of platforming and puzzles. If puzzles aren't your thing, Arno's latest tale may not be for you. For everyone else, it's a solid, but unspectacular addition to Unity.
All in all, Dead Kings adds up to a package that's somewhat schizophrenic in nature. At times, it seems like both the story and the gameplay aren't quite sure where they want to go. Even more surprising, it kind of works. Anyone that knows Assassin's Creed will feel an innate familiarity with Dead Kings and maybe even a bit of excitement (particularly the last section, which conjures memories of a classic series moment). However, there's an air of freshness about it that works in some ways and falls flat in others. Dead Kings isn't likely to reignite anyone's love for Assassin's Creed, but it certainly won't extinguish any existing flames, either.
The bleak backdrop of Franciade sums up this miserable outing, as you engage in dreary underground missions built around the most rudimentary of brazier-based puzzles. We like the addition of the Raiders and the Guillotine Gun, but they're the only jewels in this expansion's smelted crown. Forget about the French revolution – this franchise needs an uprising of its own.
Dead Kings won't win Assassin's Creed Unity any new fans, but it does a serviceable job of expanding the game's lore.
From a narrative standpoint, Dead Kings is one of the lesser iterations in the franchise, even considering it's only downloadable content. However, when it comes to gameplay and graphics the DLC seems to provide a fair amount of fun and intuitive gameplay that will keep fans busy for a short while longer.