Top positive review
70 people found this helpful
Nothing new but entertaining.
on 18 November 2007
Ubisoft seem to have promoted Assassin's Creed as a stealth game, which would make a lot of sense seeing as the main character is a medieval assassin but let's get this straight, the stealth elements are underwhelming and what you have instead is a beautiful, quirky action/platform game with a compelling story.
The majority of assassin's Creed puts you in control of Altair, moody badass and Hashshashin extraordinaire. Altair fumbles an important job for the guild and is stripped of his rank/ability faster than you can say `Super Metroid' and from there on must prove his worth by assassinating nine of the key figures responsible for prolonging the crusades. Controlling Altair is pretty intuitive and it only takes a few minutes to get to grips with the controls. Expect to have as much fun climbing up buildings as in `Crackdown', running across rooftops is very rewarding and gives an impressive feeling of speed and Fighting plays a lot like a rhythm-action mini game.
Each assassination is made up of a few steps, first you must travel to the city on horseback. These over-world sections feel a little bit under developed and whereas the horse riding mechanics are fun, they don't really add much to the game. It would have been nice to see a few secrets around the map but as they are these sections resemble those in `Shadow of the Colossus' or `Gun' more than they do `The Legend of Zelda'. Once you arrive at the city you will have a few tasks to complete, firstly you need to seek out tall structures, ascend them and survey the land. This will allow you to see more of the map and cause side missions to show up on you HUD. The side missions are undertaken in order to gain information about your mark and in some cases to make the job easier.
These side missions take the form of assassinating guards, eavesdropping, pick pocketing, rescuing citizens from guard brutality and oddly, hopping above the city in timed flag collecting races. They seem to have come under a lot of fire from reviewers but the repetition didn't really bother me a lot. I'll be honest, this isn't `Oblivion', you can expect to hear the same lines over and over again and the challenge or variety never really increases as the game progresses. It would have been nice to see some real depth and variety here but they are what they are and most have some aspect which is fun. My favourite were probably the flag races which reminded me of Ubisoft's other Fall platformer `Naruto: Rise of a Ninja'. There are precious few of these races, largely due to the problems of implementing them into the game narrative. There are only a few times that you can use `Erm... I lost a bunch of flags, can you get them for me before... a generic event happens'.
I found the actual assassinations to be a lot of fun, most only really involve going to point A, watching a cut-scene, running up and putting a blade through the target's face then legging it back to the Assassin's Bureau. This will obviously annoy those anticipating a more cerebral take on killing. I'm sure that it's possible to put more thought into the kills but the game doesn't really encourage or reward it and `Hitman' it aint.
Graphically the game looks amazing; it renders huge densely populated areas without really struggling. Just climb to the top of one of the towers and you'll feel overwhelmed by what the developers have managed to pull off. I noticed a handful of small glitches as I played such as texture pop-in, and screen ripping but nothing that hindered my enjoyment of the game. Similarly I experienced a couple of stutters while loading areas but I can count the number of times on one hand.
The voice work was largely professional, Altair sounds a bit too much like Troy McLure and a few of the NPCs are a tad on the `wacky' side but it's entertaining rather than aggravating. There was music there but I can't really remember it which is usually a good thing in soundtracks. Presumably it supported the action rather than intrude upon it. All in all the sound was adequately done with a couple of stellar moments such as Kirsten Bell's performance as Lucy.
Without spoiling what is an admittedly poorly kept secret there are some small adventure chapters that link the sections of the main game and add a twist to the story. I strongly advise players to make the most of these sections as they provide likeable rounded characters, an interesting mystery and hint at the direction of future installments of the franchise. Depending on how much work you put in these sections will either be slow paced and boring or fascinating and you can't skip them so it's up to you to make the most of them. Explore the rooms, use the computers and rummage through emails, I think that fans of TV shows like `Lost' will be well pleased with the overall direction of the story.
Overall Assassin's Creed is a solid action-platformer with next-gen looks and last-gen gameplay. I personally enjoyed it a lot but it doesn't really bring anything new to the table and reminds me of a number of existing games. It also leans a little bit to the easy side and offers little immediate replay value. There are numerous flags to collect but Ubisoft have taken the cheap option and bagging each set will only unlock an achievement. Gamers expecting a world changing experience will be disappointed but I suggest that anybody interested in the genre, setting or those frustrated by a lack of complexity in Video Game narrative pick this one up.