Assassin's Creed® Unity 20141111133910

We're still working on our full review of Assassin's Creed Unity, but with all of this speculation as to how the game actually looks and runs on the PlayStation 4, we thought that it'd be a good idea to put forward a report on the matter. We're a reasonable way into the sandbox adventure, and by this point, we reckon that we've seen enough to give you a relatively quick verdict. Does it look next-gen? How does the framerate hold up? We'll attempt to answer these questions below, and we've even provided a handful of screenshots taken directly from our console to help showcase the Paris that Ubisoft has so lovingly crafted.

The publisher has stated in trailers and during gameplay presentations that Assassin's Creed Unity pushes the PS4 to its limits, but honestly, if this statement turned out to be true, we'd be bitterly disappointed. By no means is Unity a bad looking game, but it certainly doesn't reach the level of visual quality that we'd expect from a title that's exclusive to next-gen systems.

Let's start with the graphics themselves. As we've come to expect from the franchise, there's quite a lovely art direction at work here, and the title does a great job of capturing the period. Paris in general looks great – at least, until you start to look a little closer. When you're out and about, hopping over rooftops and dashing through the streets, you'd be hard pressed to notice anything too bad, but stop to take in some details, and you'll catch some jarringly blurry textures, even during cutscenes.

Of course, Unity plays host to a massive game world, so some muddy visuals are to be expected in places, but there appears to be a huge difference in visual quality depending on whether you're inside a building or outside on the streets. Inside, everything's nicely detailed, and there are usually some incredibly pretty, dynamic lighting effects to gawk at. Outside, however, where spaces are far busier, pop-in is a fairly frequent issue.

As you draw closer to crowds, you'll notice their details pop into existence, with facial features and more detailed clothing textures forming over the ugly basics. One of the title's most talked about points, the city is absolutely bustling with activity – if you imagine Dynasty Warriors set in a built up European setting, then you're on the right track – and at times, the amount of characters on screen is thoroughly impressive, but perhaps, unsurprisingly, this seems to have a direct and noticeable effect on the game's performance.

Capped at 30 frames-per-second, the release has already come under fire from those who expect more from their machine, and unfortunately, those same people really won't be happy when that framerate drops into the 20s. These annoying dips occur on a frequent basis, particularly when you're weaving through the aforementioned crowds. It's a real shame, too, because as far as fluidity of movement goes in an Assassin's Creed game, Unity has set the benchmark with some superbly slick animations – but it's ultimately belittled by such a frustrating framerate.

And that's without mentioning the bugs and glitches. Peasants popping out of the ground and then disappearing a minute later? Check. Opponents suddenly dying and getting caught in looping animations during combat? Check. These issues aren't anything new to the series – and they're hardly enough to ruin the experience – but with so many more NPCs roaming the city, they're more likely to catch your attention. Unfortunately, to top it all off, the loads times after finishing missions or restating from a checkpoint are rather lengthy, too.

All in all, Unity seems like another solid sandbox romp in the gameplay department, and there's no doubt that some of its flaws have been greatly exaggerated – don't worry, it's perfectly playable – but when a developer is so keen to point out the technical and graphical prowess of its creation, we expect much better than this.

Are you planning to pick up Assassin’s Creed Unity this week, or are some of its abovementioned problems forcing you to reconsider? Draw your sword in the comments section below.