Assassin’s Creed Unity’s Murder Mystery Side Missions Are Clever and Fun

Assassin's Creed Unity charactersI’ve always been critical of the side content found in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. It’s usually just more of the same; run here, follow him, kill that. If the gameplay does get a bit of variety, it’s either a series of massive collect-a-thons or a long string of fetch quests. (Assassin’s Creed III was particularly offensive, as it literally gave you a shopping list of random items to deliver to NPCs.)

While Assassin’s Creed Unity doesn’t necessarily solve this problem — there are still three different types of collectibles scattered across Paris — there is a new style of side missions I rather enjoy.

Early in the game, Arno is tasked with investigating several murders found throughout the massive city. Once you arrive at a crime scene, Arno uses his “eagle vision” to highlight clues involved in the case at hand. These can range from various persons of interest and incriminating letters to bloody trails and murder weapons. Once all the clues are collected, it’s up to the player to crack the case and accuse one of a handful of suspects you meet throughout your investigation.

Assassin's Creed: UnityFor me, each case strikes a good balance between being hand-holdingly simple and being so convoluted that you need to check a walkthrough before you can fully understand what’s going on. A red herring may pop up every now and then, but if you take your time and dig for all the clues, you should be able to figure it out without issue. I haven’t completed them all as of yet, so I can’t really speak to whether or not there are difficulty spikes down the road, but so far, they all seem more than manageable.

All great puzzle games have that “aha” moment when you figure them out, and that’s the feeling I get every time I correctly finger the culprit. They may not be the most difficult mysteries to ever appear in a video game, but that might actually be part of their charm. Each one is just a quick and clever diversion from what you’re doing otherwise, and isn’t that the whole purpose of side content?

While it may be a bit ironic for an assassin to be investigating murder mysteries, I can honestly say that this is the most fun I’ve had with a side mission in any Assassin’s Creed since the original.

And, with the next AC title rumored to take place in Victorian England, it doesn’t take a master detective to deduce that mystery-solving will probably make a return. It’s elementary, my dear readers.