The Siege of Paris' France to AC Unity

Over the years, the Assassin's Creed series has been known for many things — fictionalizing historical events, the mixture of past and present, and video game representations of actual locations. Although it's not possible to know exactly what ancient versions of cities like Rome or Istanbul looked like, Ubisoft successfully gives players an approximation of these impressive settings in Assassin's Creed titles, while compacting them to make them more gaming-friendly. Any player who wanders around modern-day Florence will recognize structures that they scaled as the hooded assassin, providing a pinch of realism to the fictional franchise.

Some locations appear more than once in a series, like Assassin's Creed Unity's Paris, which featured in a different guise in Assassin's Creed Valhalla's Siege of Paris DLC. With gamers able to compare the two depictions of the City of Light, as well as France as a location in general, it offers up the chance to see a snapshot of the region at two very different points in history. Or at least, Ubisoft's version of these locations. From the Francia of AD 885, to the more modern France of 1789, the areas shown in both Assassin's Creed Unity and Assassin's Creed Valhalla have plenty of differences, but also some similarities.

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The Siege of Paris

After the events of the base game and the previous DLC, Wrath of the Druids, Assassin's Creed Valhalla's next expansion transports players to Francia in AD 885. In an attempt to head off a potential invasion of Britain by the Frankish emperor Charles the Fat, Eivor joins fellow Viking Toka Sinricsdottir on a planned raid of Paris. Despite the title of the DLC — The Siege of Paris — the expansion does allow players to explore a little more of the setting beyond its capital city. Eivor also travels to Evreux and Amiens and infiltrates Charles III's palace, as well as exploring the dark depths of the Diodurum Ruins in the starting region of Melun.

The Siege of Paris is only an expansion for the main game, so players will be expecting a more concise and contained world compared to the regions open for exploration in the Assassin's Creed Valhalla base game. However, there were some complaints from players that the regions of Francia on offer in the DLC didn't feel distinct enough from depictions of Britain in the main game. Especially in comparison with the more visually-distinct Ireland in Wrath of the Druids, the new locations in The Seige of Paris came up short.

Assassin's Creed Unity's Setting

Assassin's Creed Unity still has a bitter aftertaste for many fans who played the game early on, plagued by bugs and glitches. Ubisoft has since ironed out a lot of these issues, but players are unlikely to jump back into a game that's almost eight years old when there's been a slew of Assassin's Creed releases since then. Still, Assassin's Creed Unity had some interesting additions to the series, including its gorgeous setting. Just like with Assassin's Creed Origins Discovery Tour mode that shows off ancient Egypt, sometimes players just enjoy walking through the historical locations of the series while appreciating the architecture and elements of casual exploration.

The game offers players the chance to explore Revolutionary Paris, with its dark catacombs and iconic outline of Notre Dame. Much like other key locations in previous Assassin's Creed games, the city was impressively designed, albeit on a "radial scale" to avoid forcing players to trudge around a true-to-scale replica. The architecture is stunning, and Assassin's Creed Unity's Paris feels bustling and lived-in. The areas of the city are distinct and diverse, offering an insight into the economic stratifying of the population that in part led to the Revolution. It's a crowded, tumultuous setting that feels alive and full of interesting things to see and do.

Although the majority of the action centers around Revolutionary Paris, there are also other areas to explore within Assassin's Creed Unity. Protagonist Arno's story starts in Versailles, the world-famous French royal residence, but the majority of the gameplay focuses on the country's capital. However, thanks to some time anomalies, players can also see Paris during the Belle Époque towards the end of the 19th century, or even during the Nazi-occupied 1940s.

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Comparing The Two Regions

Because of the variety of settings and historical time periods that the Assassin's Creed games cover throughout the series, it's rare that there's any overlap or points of geographical comparison. While players can compare London through both the lens of Assassin's Creed Valhalla and the Victorian-era Assassin's Creed Syndicate, crossovers like this are few and far between and separated enough by history that they're virtually completely different cities.

With roughly nine hundred years separating the settings of Assassin's Creed Unity and Assassin's Creed Valhalla, it's no wonder that players might find some differences. With new building materials, technologies, and architectural preferences coming into play since the Vikings walked the streets of Paris, there are more than a few changes in the 18th century to the France they would have known.

With some similarities, like exploring the subterranean aspects of the historic capital city through catacombs and sewers, there isn't much to link the two depictions of France. Assassin's Creed Valhalla's region is more rural and sprawling, as opposed to Assassins' Creed Unity's tightly packed and bustling urban center. The structures and buildings on offer in the more modern setting provide better opportunities for parkour traversal, and showcase Assassin's Creed Unity's superiority when it comes to prioritizing this mechanic. On the whole, Assassin's Creed Valhalla fails to prioritize this mechanic, especially when compared to earlier entries in the series.

Although both Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Assassin's Creed Unity show Paris during a time of historic upheaval, Revolutionary Paris seems more chaotic and realistically tumultuous, with great crowd mechanics and expansive city design. In comparison, both The Siege of Paris' plot, characterizations and historical events feel a little flat, especially compared to their real-life counterparts. While size is an obvious comparison, France in The Seige of Paris just feels smaller and less distinct, as opposed to the much better realized and fuller depiction of the city in Assassin's Creed Unity.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

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