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.
on 4 September 2009
I can't really expand on what has been said before, essentially this is a combination of Mirror's edge and Tenchu, freerunning combined with stealth. Although repetitive, I found the game very compelling, the storyline is rather detailed, maybe too much so, and not allowing you to skip over dialogue is tedious at times. The game is also very, very, very annoying. The character you control will get stuck on small boxes, react strangely, and jump in odd directions. The AI can be awful, they seem to see through walls sometimes and can be very hard to escape. When trying to use stealth by walking slowly past guards, you'll probably be attacked time and again by a drunk or loony, which for some inexplicable reason causes the guards to attack you; very frustrating.
But there are good points; the game is rewarding, the storyline unfolds and is quite deep, this is probably better for adults, but paradoxically, for adults with a lot of time on their hands. I finished the storyline 100% in a little over two days, but if I had to spread this over several weeks I'd have got bored a lot quicker. The achievements are extremely rewarding and just the right level of difficulty, bear in mind you have to collect around 500 different flags from around the various parts of the kingdom to get 1000G in this game, also don't forget to talk to lucy after every single level for one of the achievements. The levels are constructed to allow you to bounce from beam to wall to roof in fluid motions, although you're always guaranteed to fall off eventually it's a lot of fun escaping guards in this manner.
If you like 'hidden package' type games (although most games are these days), deep storylines, a reasonable challenge and gamerscore then I would recommend this.
It's funny how many people moan about repetition when the majority of gamers these days spend 100's of hours on games like Halo 3, Call of Duty and Gears of War, all of which invlove shooting people over and over on the same maps, with the same weapons, with no storyline whatsoever.
I have actually found this game really enjoyable and I would thoroughly recommend it for it's different feel. It should be noted that it is a single player title with no Xbox Live or multiplayer integration at all, but this is no bad thing....at least it means all efforts have been channelled into making the game good.
Ubi Soft would obviously claim that Assassin's Creed has been built "from the ground up", but it's roots are clearly in the Tom Clancy's titles, especially Splinter Cell. This means you get decent physics, stunning lighting and quality textures on a richly 3D map, plus a solid, well thought-out story.
You play as Desmond Myles, descendent of Altair (al-tie-ear), who has inherited the memory of his ancestors through his DNA. These memories are sought out by a scientific reserach group who are after a lost treasure from ancient times. It's your role to access and play out these memories of ancient times, and in doing so you spend most of your time carrying out the tasks of Altair in the 'simulated' ancient realm.
This all happens in the time of King Richard, between the cities of Damascus (Turkey), Jerusalem, and Acre (England I think), with an expansive rural 'kingdom' connecting the cities, which you cross on horseback!
The combat is all about swords and knives and archery.....no grenades and rocket launchers here....so fights with city guards and the like tend to be pretty intense. The games' big feature is free running; you can scale pretty much anything and leap from roof top to roof top in an effort to disappear.
This is where you can see the re-use of Splinter Cell code....it's all about being low or high profile. If you are discreet you can pass through the cities unnoticed, blending with the crowds and not attracting the attention of any roof guards. Climbing ladders gets you to the rooftops where you can move around more freely, but as you would expect, it gets harder as the game progresses to not attract unwanted attention.
So like Splinter Cell where you use light and shade to control how visible you are, in Assassin's Creed you use discreet and non-discreet behaviour in the same way.
I've found this particularly enjoyable in Assassin's Creed, as you can change the pace of the game in an instant, whenever you like, and it makes the in-between times less tedious as you don't have to creep around everywhere.
There's plenty of side missions and objectives that are well worth doing, and a good haul of gamerscore points available, and also as you progress through the game, you unlock new weapons and abilities. Without this the game would probably get too repetative too quickly, but with this built-in control over your progress it actually helps you develop your skill at controlling Altair's actions.
As you spend more and more time playing, you will find that you can move around the environment much, much faster, and it's at this point where I've been disappointed at how regularly the game/disc has to catch up. It's only perhaps half a second that it hangs for, but it still messes with the flow, and I think it's a symptom of Ubisoft games, where they rush to meet a deadline and release a game with a few unfortunately obvious bugs. It's the same with the Rainbow Six Vegas and Ghost Recon AW stuff.
My only other complaint, as others have mentioned, is that they only recorded one set of dialogue for people that you re-encounter, so for example, when you save a citizen they'll say the same thing the last citizen said in a different city. For the sake of a couple of minutes of extra audio, it would have made a big difference.
Despite these negative points, I still give the game my full recommendation as it's a really fresh approach to 3rd person role-playing action adventure stuff, and the free running is really cool and well done.
The concept lends itself to a franchise, and it'd be great to see a sequel set somewhere different, like feudal Japan.
on 14 December 2007
First of all I'd like to say that the whole concept and idea of this game is absolutley brilliant. However now for the bad points, and believe me there are tonnes of them. First of all the trailers and the hype from the creators is rubbish. It is virtually impossibnle to assassinate your targets stealthly. I have tired every target at least 3 times but everytime i get spotted by the guards or byt he target for doing nothing but standing in the crowd plotting my means of attack. When taking out your target you cant go where you like becuase to activate the targhet you have to stand in a certain area to activate a cut scene etc etc which then allwos you access to the target. So thats the first down point. the second down point is the as everyone says repetitive information aquiring missions which to be frank are rather dull. The dullest part is riding to the different towns, but that is ok later on as you can quick travel.
The free running and how they have created the controls for it is brilliant however at times you find yourself screaming at the screen say I didnt want to jump that way or something those lines.
My last moan and probably the most irritating thing, as it usually is the cause of the failure to stealth assassinate a target, is the fact the guards are permenatly suspisious of you when you have done anything...why arent they suspicisous of the bloke next to you who is also "doing nothing"
This game has potential and I hear they are making a number 2. Personnally I would wait for that and hopefully they would have sorted out the stupid things.
Overall the game has potential but dont waste your pocket on it. Wait for number 2 if it comes!
on 5 October 2013
I was pretty fresh on Xbox when I played this first installment in the series. After finishing the game I went on to AC2, Brotherhood, Revelations, and AC3, along the way catching the achievements bug. But I hadn't tried to get all the achievements on AC1. So I went back and now am picking off the last remaining achievements. The flag finding ones are actually kind of tedious.
on 16 November 2007
The central disappointment with Assassin's Creed is that it could have been the most entertaining game ever made. Set partially in the crusades, with a weird sci-fi subplot that is genuinely unique (hint--you're in a game within a game) you play the part of a deadly killer crossing ancient cities to murder your targets. Along the way you can free-run the buildings, merge into busy crowds, dive into subplots to gain info or forge allegiances, engage in combat with swords, daggers and throwing knives and even ride horses. It all sounds pretty amazing, doesn't it?
Then of course you have the graphics--gorgeously detailed graphics with amazing lighting effects--which offer the kind of environments that you've been begging for since you first bought a next-gen console. When you add the stunning panoramic views from the tops of the soaring minarets the whole things sounds like it was made by god. I mean what else could possibly be right about it? Perhaps only if it lit your cigarette and passed you a beer could the game be any better.
Sadly that isn't the case as Assassin's Creed truly stinks. It is shallow, irritating, repetitive and coma-inducing. What you do is more-or-less trundle around these vast environments experiencing déjà vu. After being demoted at the start of the game you have to hunt and plan to assassinate 9 targets to redeem yourself, which means that you sit on some benches and listen to a conversation or two from bland NPC's, pick the pockets of a few more bland NPC's, save some other bland NPC's from being robbed while beginning to wish that you were an NPC yourself, as that way you'd never have had the money to waste on this silly game.
Still, you do have to climb a lot to fill-in the map. Endlessly scaling the various towers to take a bird's eye view of the scene, the camera swoops around you in way that is supposed to be awe-inspiring but only plays as a yawn after you've seen it for the umpteenth time. Then of course you jump off those towers (the much vaunted "leaps of faith" hyped-to-glory by Ubisoft) which are equally dull when they've happened half a dozen times. You simply land in a pile of hay or into the back of wagon full of hay and then climb out onto the street with a sense of perfunctory non-achievement.
As for the assassinations themselves, then they are brief and feel like non-events. Having waited and waited to get to them, suffering as if you were having teeth pulled in slow-motion, you finally kill someone with less room for style than you possibly could have imagined. Oh goody. So it was all worth it, then.
In summation: this game is rubbish and I kind of suspect it knows it--hence the last minute, delayed reviews and the desperate barrage of advertising. When it should have been better than Bioshock it's more like the disaster that was Two Worlds as it is simply BORING--really, very boring and it's no fun at all. It lacks intelligence, it can't seem to pick-up the slack with the combat elements, and to be brutally honest the whole sci-fi thing could have been dropped with no loss to the story whatsoever.
The prevailing atmosphere of Assassin's Creed is that of a design meeting that went off the rails. Someone mentioned Splinter Cell, someone else mentioned Oblivion, it turned into an argument about the Matrix films and some maniac started leaping around the furniture. It's like an object lesson in how not to build a game and as I regret that I bought it, I'd advise you to avoid the grief.
on 3 January 2008
Assassins Creed gets top marks for style. The graphics are astounding and everything about it is just so slick, even down to the loading screen. For the first hour or so of playing the game you'll be perfectly happy just wandering around and basking in how gorgeous everything looks.
However, the gameplay itself is somewhat lacking. Assassins creed bascially consists of 5 or 6 "sub-games" (such as pick-pocketing or flag collecting) that you have to complete again and again.
And again and again.
It gets very repetetive and strangely doesn't seem to get any harder as the game progresses. These little tasks can be fun enough if you only play the game in short bursts but play for any sustained amount of time and you'll quickly get bored.
I won't be giving anything away by mentioning the twist that the game has as it's revealed in the first scene. Your character is actually in the present day and is experiencing his ancestor's memories through the use of a machine called the Animus. This concept is fair enough, but the present day scenes are just so poorly done. They jarringly pull you out of the action of the 12th century only to make you sit through a long and boring bit of dialogue that is un-skipable. You're then left to wander around a featureless office basically until you walk into your bedroom and click on the bed to go to sleep - why make you do this every time?
The developers have obviously gone to a lot of trouble to keep the game world looking historically acurate which makes it all the more bizarre when you are given tasks such as "I've left 30 flags scattered around the city - go collect them for me in 30 seconds".
All in all the game looks amazing, is moderately fun in small doses but given the game's potential it's ultimately pretty disappointing.
on 11 March 2008
I think the key to enjoying this game is not to have read the pre game hype. Many of the people ranting about how let down they felt seem to have raised their expectations too high by reading all the fuss that is generated before a big company like Ubisoft releases anything. Just my humble opinion but I think that rating this game less than 3 stars is pretty unfair. Let me share my thoughts:
This is graphically one of the most beautiful console games I have ever seen. The view is 3rd person - which in my opinion is waaay better than the much over-used 1st person - and the characters movement and animation is smooth and realistic. The controls are well explained to you through the use of a tutorial mission and the missions increase in difficulty as you learn more skills. The stealth aspects of the game are well done and I feel that they are much more realisitc than the hitman titles were. For instance; in hitman, when you were meant to be blending in with a crowd, you could pretty much get away with running up behind your target and just taking about 1 or 2 steps in stealth mode. Not so here. Do that in assasins creed and the guards will have you in a heart beat. There are also many other stealth skills (other than killing) worked into the game such as eaves dropping and pickpocketing. However, as I played the game I found that the most fun was to be had simply "free running" over the rooftops and spires of the city - to me that was a fun game on its own!!!
As I said in my title this game does have its flaws. Not the least of which is the non-stealthy combat, which esstially consists of smacking the "x" button really fast. Not exactly challenging - but then again, open hack and slashing is not really the point of this game. A further irritation was the part of the game where you are "in the present", so to speak. Although the majority of the game is set in the past, the flashes to the present leave you wandering a lab with essentially nothing to do waiting for a whole bunch of dialogue to play out. Boring. Don't know what possesed them to incorporate this into the game. Finally, the game is very linear, which no-one seemed to care about years ago but having since been spoiled by the likes of Oblivion, Mass effect, GTA 3, Fable etc seems to be a common complaint. I do feel that it should be remembered that this is not an RPG however. Not really fair to expect that it would be.
In summary, I'd say get it. It's beautiful fun. But don't expect a revolutionary game because it isn't.
on 20 November 2007
Having now nearly finished the game, I am happy to post up a review of the game, and I can certainly say that this was one game I wasn't disappointed with.
The game follows a young, arrogant assasin who botches up an important mission and ends up stripped of his rank and having to work his way back up to the top by assasinating people during the crusades. The other story however, is that all this takes place in the mind of one of his ancestors who is being investigated in order to find out more about assasination. Confusing, but its alright.
The graphics are stunning. Massive open environments lined with buildings, trees, towers, and people. Beautiful lighting, effects and details scatter the places from a 10th century Jerusalem and Damascus to his own home.
The gameplay is where it is in its element though. The game is broken down into two sections.
1) Socially acceptable stuff-i.e. walking or blending in with crowd-you just tap corresponding button for this.
2) Socially unacceptable stuff-i.e. climbing, running, assasinating, basically hold RB.
The game is basically about assasinating with other elements involved such as pickpocketing, intimidation, saving people, and listening in to conversations. There is also the option of finding flags and viewpoints and jumping from them into conveniently placed hay stacks. You can assasinate either sneakily or in open daylight. You have your small daggers, your sword and some cool hand knife thing. Great fun.
The way you play will affect how people act towards you. Save them citizens and they will help you by making it difficult for guards to chase you, annoy them and they will run and scream from you alerting guards.
Then there are counter attacks and other things. This is a big game.
Really, this game is massive and in order to believe this, you need to see it for yourself and I can guarantee you wont be dissapointed.
on 20 November 2007
Minor spoiler in first paragraph:
I've been looking forward to this game for ages. When I got it out of the box to play it, I was introduced to the modern-time element of the game. This was a real shock, because there was no hint of this in any of the pre-release trailers/videos. You are 'plugged in' to a machine that decodes memories in your DNA from your ancestors.
This was like being punched in the stomach. I was looking forward to a medieval RPG where you can explore real cities and play a part in history. It seems to be way too "Americanised". Generally, they're not considered to be a well-educated bunch and are commonly seen to be ill-informed about any history other than theirs. So they also gave the main character an American accent. It's also disappointing that it doesn't just let you see the modern-time clip at the start then let you get on with the game. You keep going back out of your ancestor's memories and have to spend ages in 'the future' watching boring and pointless cut-scenes you can't skip.
The rest of the game isn't without its flaws, either. Assassinations follow a simple pattern that you end up following over and over again. For example, to get into one of the three cities you: 'save a citizen' from some soldiers, then 'blend' in with the scholars who will walk you right past the guards at the gates. Dialogue is VERY repetitive. All the time you hear "You dare steal in my presence!?" and "You have done me a kindness, young man." It gets very annoying. And so do the cut scenes where you end up talking to your grand-master.
However, the gameplay is fantastic. I won't go into too much detail, because there are already loads of reviews you can look at that tell you about the game's good features.
But, over all, they could have ruined a potentially great game. Though the gameplay does pull the rating back up.