Assassin's Creed Reader Review
What is it about being an Assassin that�s so appealing to gamers? For some it�s the slow build to the kill and for others the kill itself however there is something undeniably cool about them. Therefore Assassin�s Creed was always destined to be a big seller this Christmas and it�s had long enough to build it�s hype, what with the first trailer popping up before the launch of the next gen consoles. The game comes from the same people that made the 3D Prince of Persias so there was lots to live up to, but does Ubisoft end up giving us another disappointing game?
Graphically this is one of the best games out there, standing tall over other next generation games with Call of Duty 4 by its side. Each city is rich with detail and bursting with life, there�s also a great array of civilian models going around and multiple models near each other don�t stick out like sore thumbs as in the Grand theft Auto titles. The cities are realistic and stay true; paintings of the cities at the time of crusades were clearly used in the design process. Animation as well is good especially when on horseback or as Altair is climbing a building which brings a great amount of authenticity to the game. When walking through a crowd the animation is particularly fluid as you gently push civilians out the way and make your way through. Also when you�re running and hit a civilian Altair loses his balance and this looks fantastic but if he falls over it can look a bit odd with some very slight slowdown.
The score is suitably epic adding a lot of extra oomph to the chase sequences as they gather speed before an eventual climax. Voice acting is good but hardly to the level of other titles this year, some speech from civilians doesn�t eve seem natural and repeatedly hearing �Why is he doing that?� �Stop acting like a child� etc as you run up a wall or leap between buildings does get annoying quickly. This free running element of the game was the main selling point and Ubisoft have done well with the mechanics of it. It�s a hard craft to master but soon enough (and with some extra abilities gained later on) Altair will be bounding around at incredible speed. When climbing up buildings it looks great with Altair actually grabbing onto protruding parts like cracks or ledges and not Spiderman-ing his way up a bare wall.
At speed though the controls can prove tricky, to sprint (in the 360 version) you need to hold down the right trigger and press A, this also means Altair automatically jumps when he reaches an edge or a wall and sometimes the game picks up the wrong part or starts running up a wall you didn�t want to run up. Considering the high speed pursuit going on this kind of thing gets annoying fast as you hit the ground and then get attacked by multiple guards.
The fighting system is simple to use and much more fun to play than it looked at E3 this year. X is attack, hold it down for a strong attack and hit the right trigger at the right time to block enemy offence. To lock onto an enemy is a simple tap of the left trigger but once you�re focused on one you can easily change to another guard by pointing in their direction as you attack. It�s a great system and flows well but the counters are too easy to pull off and each one is a one hit kill. Don�t get me wrong these kills look ugly at some points with kicking them in the crotch and then lodging your sword into their shoulder being a personal favourite but it�s far too easy. The sound is great in these kill animations though, for example when Altair swings his sword into the back of their legs, the crunching sound is revolting but in a good way.
The main part of the game however are the assassinations of which their a 9 in the game, these obviously vary in difficulty as you go but they all require the same �investigations� to be carried out to gather information. Interrogation is when you follow a suspect until he�s in a quiet place and then you basically beat seven shades out him before he tells you what he knows. The most boring of these tasks is the eavesdropping which simply means finding a suspect, sitting on a bench and targeting them to listen to what they�re talking about. This is usually followed by pick-pocketing which isn�t too hard to pull off but gets tedious. Then there are occasionally people who want Altair to knock a few of their enemies off before they give you the information which is a simple case of 3 quiet assassinations. These do get repetitive after a while and simply boring which is the biggest downfall of the game.
After a number of these you can go to the target. Before the kill can be achieved there is a cut scene showing off how evil they are as well as pointing out possible methods of despatching them. When it comes down it, the usual cool methods of assassinating someone are all but useless; whilst they are possible and very satisfying to do it�s usually a case of fighting them with a sword before plunging your hidden blade into their neck. Nice. This often leaves a sense of disappointment and a feeling that you�ve not done it the way it was �meant to be done� but ultimately this is how most other people will end up doing it as well.
The story unravels itself nicely and whilst quite confusing to grasp it holds itself well against the Mass Effects or Half Life�s of this world. It�s unfortunate that the game kicks off with what would have made a great twist if it had appeared half way through the game. The Animus is the device your character uses to access the memories of his ancestors buried deep in his mind, it�s ridiculous really but there have been far more outrageous stories this year. The most annoying sections of the game are when you are outside the aforementioned Animus and walking around a massive room in a futuristic lab with absolutely nothing to do until you�re told to go to sleep. Cue loading screen, you wake up and then after some brief story continuation you�re back in the Animus.
Assassin�s Creed bears a startling resemblance to one other game released this year, Bioshock. Both had massive amounts of potential and both were great to look at but were bogged down by their repetitive gameplay. Too much time was put into the design of the game, the graphics, the animation etc whilst the core gameplay mechanics took a backseat and simply didn�t have enough effort put into them. In the years to come Assassin�s Creed will be remembered for one thing and one thing only. Jade Raymond. I know I would.
8 / 10