Developed by: Ubisoft Montreal
Available on: Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Here we go with Assassin's Creed, the game all the fanboys have been clamoring for since hottie Jade Raymond announced it many moons ago. In Assassin's Creed you play Altair, an assassin in a secret society who has disgraced himself and lost control. Now he must regain the trust and respect of his fellow brothers by essentially starting all over again, assassinating targets all over the vast landscape where he resides. Alternately (and this won't spoil anything for you as it happens RIGHT AWAY), you play a long lost descendant of Altair who has seemingly been kidnapped by a scientific agency who are running tests on you. Somehow, the deal is that as this long lost descendant, you are literally playing the memories of your ancestor through some wacky VR helmet. So what are you waiting for? Let's go kill some dudes.
Assassin's Creed was unfortunately a case of a game being
over-hyped for this gamer. I was really, really excited to play it- who wouldn't
be? You get to run around stealthily and jab a wristblade into unsuspecting foes
and that's just frankly awesome. Unfortunately while Assassin's Creed does many
things very very right, it also has a few stumbles along the way that prevent it
from reaching the upper echelon of gaming.
When you first pop this disc into your system and get on a
mission, you are going to think you have died and entered gamer heaven. Early
on, this game is a ton of fun. You travel from the assassination bureau to your
target town somewhere in
When you finally get where you're going you find yourself walking around the city, trying to blend in and then you've got a series of tasks to complete before you can assassinate your target. These tasks are the exact same in every city, and you only need to do 3 or 4 (of about 10-15) to be able to kill your target and move on. They include eavesdropping on conversations, saving innocent civilians, running errands for brothers (such as flag collecting, picking pockets, eavesdropping and timed assassinations), and so on.
As a completist, I found myself doing all secondary tasks,
which takes quite a bit longer and really draws the game out. One thing I really
liked was the viewpoint idea, where you climb massive structures to see more of
the map, before swan diving off of them into conveniently placed bales of hay.
It's unrealistic, but very cool. The climbing animations are very realistic and
neat. It's also somewhat strange to see enemies who followed you to the rooftops
jump to their deaths once you hide away.
Unfortunately, you don't really get a sense of really being
embroiled in your missions or caring about who you're killing because the plot
points are always very brief. What really got on my nerves was when you'd save a
civilian and then you have to listen to them drone on about how grateful they
are for a minute. You can't skip it, and they almost always say the same things
and it really gets old. Also, when the time comes to finally assassinate the bad
guy, they're always proven to be very evil and terrible, until you kill them and
then they make your character feel like they're the evil one.
Anyway, let me touch a bit on the controls. Your four face buttons generally serve as body parts. One for the arms, one for the legs, etc. When you pull the R trigger, you enter 'run' mode which allows you to climb walls and free run across structures. It's easy to do and really fun, although it might be a bit too easy just carelessly flying across beams and rooftops. Assassinating your average person isn't hard, as long as your 'detection meter' isn't flashing red (by making a lot of noise or running on rooftops or just generally being a fool).
You simply sneak up on them and press the assassinate button,
or you can run up and leap at them, which will draw more attention to yourself.
When and if you do get noticed by guards, you'd better run and hide. Luckily
there's a ton of places to hide, like bales of hay and strange empty cabins on
rooftops. Although at times it can be hard to hide because if you try to climb a
wall, enemies will throw rocks at you JUST when you're about to reach the roof,
sending you plummeting down to your foes. It's very annoying.
When you fight, you select a weapon with the D-Pad and can
hack and slash or defend and counterattack. You'll have a hard time getting used
to this system, at least I did. It plays a lot like a rhythm game timing is key
here. I often found that fighting can get REALLY old when you have 10 guys
surrounding you, especially in later levels because there's a much better chance
you'll be killed from behind as you focus on the fight in front of you. The
kills are really cool and it's satisfying to dispatch foes, but you won't want
to be constantly embroiled in combat. An assassin's life is about stealth, not
The animation here is incredible, and the lighting system is unbelievable. In my opinion, this is one of the most gorgeous games to grace the 360 so far and really just looked breathtaking. Everything is very detailed and realistic. It's the little things that work, and this game definitely works its ass off in the graphics department.
Sound is great too, for the most part. The music is fitting and orchestral, picking up at the right times. The voice work is pretty phenomenal as well, especially in the long dialogues between important characters. The only drawback here is the repetitiveness of the civilian banter. When you save civilians or are just generally milling about in the city, you'll hear the same lines over and over again ad nauseum.
I like Assassin's Creed, and think it's definitely a quality effort that deserves your time. Unfortunately, it's not quite as deep as I would have liked. Assassin's Creed is like a really beautiful one trick pony, and your enjoyment of it depends on how long you can play it without getting bored of doing the same things over and over again. While this game may not win many 'game of the year' awards and doesn't exactly live up to the hype, that doesn't mean it's not worth your time. I suggest a rental, and then go from there.
Final Score: 7.5/10