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4.3 out of 5 stars71
4.3 out of 5 stars
Platform: Xbox 360|Edition: Classics|Format: Box|Change
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on 14 October 2008
*Spoiler Free*

The original game released in November 2007, now it's in the Classics Range which means you're basically getting it half-price. I picked it up last week and if you haven't yet read any of the 208 or so reviews for the original game you can wade though this one!

Assassin's Creed is what you'd get if you set Grand Theft Auto in the Holy Land back in 1191 A.D. The fist fights are there, your sword replaces the Uzi, your throwing knives replace the rocket launcher, your thoroughbred steeds replace the vehicles and you play as the feared assassin Altair rather than a nobody wannabe criminal, but in a nutshell it's GTA with the added bonus of being available in the Classics Range, so you'll be able to pick it up for £19.99 RRP or less.

For historians, it's like going on a virtual field trip with the Third Crusade. Ubisoft the developers have paid great attention to detail and have faithfully recreated their version of the geography and city layouts from available historical documentation relating to this period.

You start out in Masyaf, the fortress town where the elite assassin organisation is based. Stripped of your rank and weapons following a recent botched mission, you have to relearn the art of assassination by undertaking a string of tasks set by your Master, Al Mualim.

The first few tasks are simple enough, teaching you the arts of eavesdropping (sit on a bench, lock on to your target with LT and press Y to listen), pickpocketting (lock on, follow and press B at the right moment to nick documents) and interrogation (lock on, beat up with your fists until they submit and spill the beans).

It's here that you'll get a small sense of the jaw-dropping scale of each level in the game, but if you think Masyaf is teeming with people, all of whom react differently to you depending on how you act, try to remember that Masyaf is a small village in comparison to the 3 main cities you'll be visiting (Damascus, Acre and Jerusalem), not to mention the Kingdom that connects them all.

Next you'll learn basic combat, but because you're initially starting anew you only have one basic combo at your disposal until you've progressed through the ranks a bit more.

After this, the world is your oyster as you progress through your missions taking out the 9 main targets on your list. Initially you're limited to the first 3 sections of each city, but later on after you've unlocked all the knowledge required to be a master assassin you'll have the entire game at your free-roaming disposal, and the only time you'll get a loading screen thereafter is when switching from one city to the Kingdom or jumping directly to a city from the menu.

Each of your assassinations follows the same pattern:

- Reveal parts of the map and available tasks by climbing to high points.
- Gain information on your targets by performing a minimum number of side quests like eavesdropping, saving citizens, pickpocketting, interrorgations or tasks set for you by informers.
- Move in for the kill once you have permission to do so from the local guild.

Some gamers might find this repetitive, but for me I was able to get totally immersed in the whole climbing/stalking preparation aspect, so much so that I always performed all the additional subquests before the main one even though they were mostly optional. The advantage to completing all the quests is pretty obvious - you'll have more citizens to block guards when you're escaping, you'll get more background information on your target and hence the storyline, and trying to collect 20 flags within 3 minutes or kill 5 Templars within 4 minutes without alerting guards will certainly put your free-running and stealth assassination skills to the test.

I got a real kick out of climbing to highpoints as I get vertigo in real life, and being able to stand at the top of a 200ft spire and look down on the city below really pushes your console graphically, it's something to behold. On top of this, most (not all!) highpoints allow you to take a 'leap of faith', you're not always sure if there's a handy haystack to break your fall below but thankfully it's pretty obvious most of the time.

Oddly, most of the combat in Assassin's Creed is optional. City guards dislike assassins at the best of times, and if you want you can do various things to provoke them, or you can behave and blend in to avoid them completely. When provoked, guards will chase you until you either kill them or find a hiding space by way of a haystack, blending with friendly scholars or a rooftop trellis, but to be able to use these hiding places you first have to break the guards' line of sight which can be achieved by getting friendly vigilantes to block their path, running around street corners or scaling buildings.

Combat is so much fun, and so very brutal, that a lot of the time you'll be picking fights on purpose just so you can run people through the neck with your longsword after a particularly neat counter-move or combo. Other times you'll be deliberately scampering up onto rooftops to practice your knife-throwing skills on the rooftop guards. And sometimes, just for the sheer fun of it, you'll assassinate random members of the local population just because you can.

The controls are simple enough that with good timing you'll get surrounded by 8-10 guards, grab one, throw him away, counter-attack and kill another in a very gory fashion and gradually whittle down the rest with a combination of fierce combos, side-stepping, breaking down their defences, some nifty-knifework, a spot of leg-breaking and the simple fact that spinning around behind an attacker, using a longsword up-swing to break their swordarm in half and then skewering them through the neck and practically severing their head in a satisfying burst of blood reduces the number of opponents you have by one. Every time.

Once the storyline is completed ('tis a rip-roaring yarn with lots of neat twists and a rather abrupt ending with 'SEQUEL' scrawled all over it in blood) you'll probably have some achievements left over to get. Thankfully, Ubisoft have designed the game so that you can go back and replay different sections, and longevity is provided in the optional tasks of collecting all the assorted flags and banners (which can be very craftily hidden) or assassinating all of the 60 Templars (slightly tougher than city guards) scattered around the Kingdom and the 3 cities.

It's here that the game really shines. If you can imagine popping in GTA IV and immediately having access to all weapons, all skills, all locations, that's basically what you get if you load up Assassin's Creed from a previously completed game, which only takes around 15 hours to do if you skip the optional tasks.

You can stroll around cities, gently pushing pedestrians out of your way (the crowd AI sets a new challenge to any developer thinking of trying to emulate it) soaking up the atmosphere from the merchant criers (you can jump through their stalls to escape guards), the beggars (you can grab them and throw them some distance to get them out of your face), the thugs (pickpocket them for extra throwing knives when you run out), the guards (who speak English, French and German all equally gruffly), or simply start a massive fight in order to get the Eagle's Flight (last 10 minutes in open conflict) and Eagle's Challenge (defeat 25 guards in a single fight) achievements.

You can jump on a horse (handily they're dotted about the Kingdom) and just go trotting or galloping off around the map looking for flags and Templars, running people down or, if you're unlucky, getting dismounted by some of the wily guards which results in a fight or flight decision. On a side note as an equestrian I really like the way horses handle, replete with Altair clicking his tongue to get them moving or calling out to get them galloping, someone really knew their horses when they coded this section.

You can stand there looking at water and wondering why you can't swim (hitting water is instant death), but the game is lenient in that there's no real death penalty, you just get set back to your most recent auto-save which isn't ever very far away. Thankfully there are only two main places in the game where water plays a major part, and one of them is optional.

Because this is spoiler free, I've skipped a good 30% of the game's content and about 80% of the storyline because there is a lot more to Assassin's Creed than most reviews let on. Having said that I think I've covered about 99% of the gameplay.

When it comes to scoring, I hate giving 10/10s mainly because no game is perfect, but Assassin's Creed comes very very close. Somewhere around the 94% mark for me, hence the 5 stars. Given that it's available in the Classics Range for only £19.99 or less you cannot really go wrong. It's worth that just to get an inkling of what the 360 can do in terms of showing off games and Assassin's Creed certainly doesn't disappoint even though it was released almost a year ago.

Definitely a 'must buy'.
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on 21 March 2010
Slightly oddly someone lent me Assassin's Creed, I returned it and played Assassin's Creed 2, only to love it so much I bought the now "Classics" Assassin's Creed. So in part, this was actually a 2nd play through.

Okay - after playing AC2 I'm both somewhat addicted and hunkering for more. AC when played after AC2 makes a LOT more sense. Some of the story line needs a lot of thought if you see it for the first time.

The game plays close to AC2 but with obvious restrictions in movements and less slick assassinations. A few keys have moved around too, but if you've played one the other is logical if not a little different.

Throughout the entire game I actually just kept thinking on how slick AC2 has been made, from AC. But that doesn't mean AC is a bad game, it's great to discover and find out about your world.

If there are negatives about the game its repetition, repetition, repetition. It happens when collecting flags, getting achievements you've missed, how you need to traverse the same stretch of land every time you load a game, or endure the prattling of your leader prior to getting control of your character.

All of these things are gone in AC2 and TBH for the better.

But as an addict, I don't mind too much. As a reviewer, I'm warning you.

Top tips for replaying this game:

- Check the achievements; make sure you talk to Lucy at the correct times and get all the glitches. If you don't you'll need to replay the game.
- Avoid all flags until you're ready, or mark them off on one of the great-online interactive maps as you find them.
- Never assume a flag is missing, line up your screen, shot for shot with any online guide, including (critically) the background and it's heights from the gamer

You can play this game by just running and mashing buttons, but you'll by far get the most enjoyment out of it by thinking like an Assassin and keeping everything Stealthy.

This is a great game, and at the absurd "Classics" price (sub £10), beyond worth it.
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on 20 September 2012
Assassin's Creed was one of the first purchases I made when I made the transition from PS2 to XBOX 360. It promised to live up to all my wildest fantasies - being a medieval re-enactor myself, student of the period and maniac for the Crusades - so I was really excited when it arrived.

There are so many highlights from my experience of the game. Things I particularly like are:

- being able to visit the great medieval cities of Christendom;
- the great storyline, which I'll not spoil (and which continues through the sequels);
- the wide variety of interaction with people and the physical environment;
- killing innocent civilians (always fun on any game);
- the variety of different side missions on offer;
- simply walking round, taking in the sights. It's always nice to take a 5-minute stroll through Jerusalem!

The only gripe I have is with the personality of the character you control, Altair. He's the kind of guy I'd punch in the face if I met him in real life. But apart from the very occasional time-consuming mission, there really is nothing I can fault with Assassin's Creed. It really is a classic, and at the time it really did break the mould. All the sequels since then have improved various features - graphics, fights, storylines - but having completed those, I'm now back to playing the original. It really did change my expectations from gaming, and more importantly, moved me away from solely playing sports games and into different genres.

There are some really detailed reviews on the game. I would recommend that you read them all, even the negative ones. Because once you have, you'll be clicking 'buy now' rather quickly! Enjoy!
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on 26 August 2009
Despite the abundance of subject matter history remains an area strangely neglected by the gaming industry. Aside from WW2 and empire building RTS games, there's little room for the historical epic in a market saturated by space marines, mutants and zombies. In this regard, Assassin's Creed gains immediate kudos for originality, but Ubisoft's real achievement is to a make a game that actually lived up to this lofty premise

The Holy Land, at the end of the twelfth century, it's height of the third crusade with King Richard and Saladin battling for supremacy. In the midst of political turmoil a secretive guild of assassins seek to restore peace and prosperity through a campaign of targeted assassinations. The not too distant future, bartender Desmond Miles is imprisoned by mysterious organisation intent on extracting information from his ancestral DNA, forced to co-operate in unravelling a nine hundred year old conspiracy that has implications way beyond its crusader origins

The whole scale of the thing is mindblowing, three medieval cities and a considerable expanse of countryside to boot for you to explore. Yes, other sandbox games have done it even bigger, but few if any have managed to do it better, Grand Theft Steed this ain't, it's a whole different proposition entirely. Clambering to the top of the many churches and minarets littered across the landscape you can truly appreciate the attention to detail that has gone in to creating a believable medieval landscape. Going back to other sandbox games after this, everything looks as if it was made from Duplo. Only poor water textures strike a wrong note in an otherwise faultless production (something ironically GTA 4 excels in).

What is equally impressive is the maturity in which Assassin's Creed addresses its subject matter. Admittedly, this kind of thing only really impresses history nerds like myself, still, from the political rhetoric of the town criers to King Richard's French accent , such historical accuracy makes for all the more immersive historical experience. It's the shame then that the plot ultimately degenerates into Da Vinci Code style religious conspiracy hokum and it makes you wish Ubisoft stuck firmly to the history they've gone to so much trouble to recreate.

In terms of gameplay, incredibly slick parkour mechanics mean you'll be acrobatically flying across rooftops in no time at all and the combat system strikes an appropriate balance between accessibility and skill. Combat is largely reliant on timing as opposed to button bashing and with level ups throughout the game you'll develop an ever growing repertoire of moves to dispatch your foes in increasingly imaginative (and blood thirsty) ways.

The game is structured in such a way that how you utilise these components is largely up to you, other than the occasional moment where you're forced to flee the scene in the aftermath of an assassination or boxed in by enemies, leaving no choice other than fighting your way out. The same cannot be said however of the missions which, the actual assassinations aside, become repetitive and have little replay value. Such complaints only really surface on the second play through, still, a little more variety wouldn't have gone amiss.

Many of these issues appear to have been addressed by Ubisoft for the sequel, due out at the end of the year, with greater variety in the mission structure promised amongst other things. However for the moment such minor complaints shouldn't detract from what is already highly accomplished action adventure game, and now Assassin's Creed has made it into the cut price classics range there's all the more reason to check it out if you haven't done so already.
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on 15 February 2011
i actually played this game after Assassin's Creed II and Brotherhood, i was originally put off by the reviews, which all cited repetitive gameplay, despite the allure of a fascinating period of history (the 3rd crusade), but after playing the sequels i yearned to experience this, the first in the series, and for a decent price of only £10, why refuse?

unfortunately, certainly compared to the sequels, the gameplay is limited and very repetitive - you don't have nearly as much freedom to improvise and your mini-objectives to set up the main "assassinations" are the same, each and every time, in each of 3 areas of each modelled city, then when you get to the actual, main assassinations, you very often can't act like an assassin because of old-school mechanics like the AI instantly knowing where you are, and being on alert, and very unforgiving ranges to actually assassinate anyone (fixed in the sequels, thankfully).

however, this is more than made up for by the locations, and to some extent, the story: Acre, Jerusalem and Damascus are all modelled with as much historical accuracy as possible, and they are all wonders to behold - filled with NPC characters doing authentic daily tasks, with shops, street vendors, guards, the cities really come alive and there is more joy just experiencing walking around these vibrant (and all unique) locations than actually playing the game. seeing templars and english knights in armour and contrasting those with the saracen forces really is amazing and can't be emphasised enough - the crusades are a fascinating period of history and some well-known characters do make appearances in the story (Coeur de Lion please stand up), it makes for a wonderfully immersive experience all round. connecting these cities is a nebulous area simply called the kingdom, large and (later on especially) filled with annoying guards (especially those in towers who always spot you as an assassin, even when you are incognito).

as for the story, well this is actually a sort of science fiction game where you play a protagonist in the present "re-living" the memories of his ancestors with the use of a special machine called the animus. frankly the modern hook doesn't really work here (though it gets much better in later games), but it does break up the game a little bit, although being yanked into the present after certain events goes somewhat against all the immersive work in-missions. basically it breaks down into the "good guys" are assassins, the bad guys all the religious "templars" - though the religion aspect is downplayed in favour of world-domination - and the templars have kidnapped a modern-day assassin to relive the memories of his ancestor to find a mysterious "object" vital to their plans. not only that but they were quite meddlesome in assassin affairs in the past, too...

overall assassin's creed is a great game - it can be frustrating and repetitive, but if you can overlook that and just enjoy the amazing locations and history you will have a great time.
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on 1 August 2010
Well, it's amazing graphically, but I have my problems with this game.

First, the movement controls. Specifically, the way they relate to guards and other enemies. The only way you can go anywhere without atracting attention is the slowest way possible. I don't know about you, but I'm not spending half an hour walking to Jerusalem from Masyaf. Second, the combat. Once you have been spotted, invariably, the guards will come at you for about five minutes, meaning that, if you survive at all, which is unlikely, you'll be on next to no health.

Third, the gameplay. "Go to a town. Scout the town by finding a high point. Complete a pickpocket and a interrogation mission. Assassinate someone (often badly because the guards seem to have super-everything and spot you in three seconds flat)." Rinse and repeat. However, when you do finally assassinate someone, you will have a moment of sheer exhilleration over it.

The story is immersive and interesting, but overall, a very flawed, yet potentially brilliant, game.
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on 20 November 2011
Firstly, at the price the xbox classic game provides it's well worth it! What a game, the storyline and gameplay make you feel involved all the way through and makes the game incredibly addictive. The only criticism i could give it is that, at times, it is slightly repetitive and you just want to get things done without getting chased by loads of guards.. However, thats just getting picky, a brilliant game that you can just get lost in!
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To be honest with you, when I get a game I want a few things out of it, I want good graphics, I want solid gameplay and finally I want a fair amount of play time. After all a game thats over with in under 15 hours is a little upsetting, especially at the price.

What you get with Assassins Creed (my first 360 game) was something that really did please the player. The graphics were better than I expected, the play time and story arc was fulfilling and the sheer amount of scope alongside different ways to achieve your targets made this a seriously good game that a lot of replay value.

So far I've lost track of the amount of times I've replayed it as well as attempting to collect all the achievements. Great fun all in and definitely a game I'd recommend for all 360 owners especially with the bargain budget price at the moment.
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on 25 February 2009
I really enjoyed this game, the graphisms are fantastic, sometimes i had the feeling that i were in jerusalem too (or any other city of the game)! The drawback is the game is too much repetitive, no matter which city you visit, the missions are still the same, and as a consequence either you get fed up with, or you just finish the game quite easily.

But it remains a good game !
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on 22 January 2010
This was a very good game, but a bit boring towards the end. Non memory gameplay (i.e. out of the Animus and in the present), although a fairly useful vehicle for additional storlyline, was tedious to play: go to your room, interact with the bed, wake up, listen to the doctor talking, go back to the Animus. I picked up a couple of objects (one pickpocketed from the doctor, one found on his assistant's desk) and I have no idea what they were although I think one of them opened the door to the conference room. All a bit vague, but the actual assassin gameplay was lots of fun. Looking forward to playin AC2.
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