Assassins Creed Unity's depiction of late 18th century Paris is a gloriously romantic one for a place that definitely stank of stagnant shit and piss. Every facet of the city's majestic, Gothic architecture is painted in a low angle, golden light, as if it were in a perennial state of sunset. It's a stylistic choice, intended to mimic Nicolas Jean-Baptiste Raguenet's " View of Paris " paintings. Raguenet's paintings were lauded for their detail and accuracy in a time before photography, so they make for great source material. Whereas the gameplay itself has sometimes left me cold, it's this desperately beautiful world that Ubisoft has built - the way it looks, feels and sounds - that I have fallen in love with. For all the awkward climbing, dull missions and strangely linear gameplay for worlds so open and expansive, the Assassin's Creed series always manages to draw me in with its unrivalled ability to create a sense of place. Whenever I feel myself growing increasingly infuriated with Arno's failed attempts to pass through an open window, frantically wanging himself around its perimeter like a horny wasp, the fury fades when I get to what awaits me inside. Passing through an open window feels like plunging into a Vermeer painting, as if I were playing a classy, Dutch Masters edition of Comix Zone; the soft light of the window spreads itself gently over the calm and stillness of the room. Exiting through the blinding light of a nearby open doorway sees you thrust into the throng and mess of the revolting peasantry. It's both threatening and exciting to hear the songs of the revolution ring in your ears. Effigies are burned and statues defiled as you nudge your way through the buzzing, furious populace. Switching pace sees you break from the crowd and scuttle up a nearby church, its rooftop warmed by the late sun's touch. There is respite and quiet to be found up here. The singing voices still reach you, carried on the wind, now more distant, romantic, like a warm memory. Push on to the highest points in the city and it's just you and the breeze. Importantly, you can still see the people, now a swathe of tiny, tricolore freckles, but there is a strange peace up here which belies the anger and passion below; in fact, Elise herself remarks as she and Arno drift high above the city in their hijacked Montgolfier balloon - " from up here you'd never know the nation is tearing itself apart ". Being this high above the ground, in a place from which nobody else can observe these events, feels like a comment on physical and historical perspective. That all might seem a bit far fetched - and it probably is - but it's testament to how beautifully realised Paris is to draw me to thinking that way. Sadly, the public image of the game has been reduced to YouTube videos of inside out faces and pointing out glitches where an npc in a crowd of hundreds very briefly leaves the floor before returning. The YouTuber gleefully zooms in and circles the moment occurring in the background of a beautiful, living, breathing scene. If anything, it's an unwitting, perfect illustration of completely missing the point. Ubisoft only have themselves to blame for carpet bombing swathes of uninteresting content, like a boredom blitzkrieg, onto a once beautiful city, and it's telling that I enjoyed myself the most when aimlessly exploring, but it's sad that the work put into this portrait of Paris has gone largely unappreciated as a result. There's a wealth of historical information to be read and discovered as you encounter various historical buildings, characters and events, all of which enhances and reinforces the evocation of the time period depicted. It's a shame, then, when all this is interrupted by some faux-Matrix squiggly neon lines and a tonally neutral, unemotional female voice in your head warning of a riptear in the timeframe glitchfield vertices of the system program simulation box app, as you dive into a pool of glowing wireframe nonsense broth. I'm not interested in schoolboy sci-fi bollocks, or stupid, magical, golden swordguns, or enduring a barrage of cynical Danny Wallace quips. I'd much rather spend my time standing with the frustrated Third Estate as they wave flags of protest in the streets, hearing the clink of tiled rooftops underfoot as I skitter along Notre Dame, before perching on a gargoyle to admire the skyline, the gentle constant of the pouring rain in my ears.