Review by Bkstunt_31
"Who know that you could have so much fun in the middle east?"
Assassin's Creed is the latest next-generation action game from Ubisoft Montreal, and has already won numerous awards as well as set a few sales-records, as you probably already know. Now let's look at the game in detail to see why it is so good.
You begin the game as Desmond Miles, a bartender who hails from a long line of assassins, who has been kidnapped by a mysterious company. There, in a lab on the top of a skyscraper, Desmond is forced to use a machine called an animus, which seems to have the power to recall your ancestor's memories that are tucked away in a person's DNA. Your captors seem to be focusing on the acts of your ancestor Altair, who lived during the times of the third crusade, when King Richard the Lion-hearted had captured the city of Acre and was closing in on Jerusalem. Using this machine, they force Desmond to relive the actions of Altair as he is sent by his master, Al Mualim, to recover his order's treasure from the head of the Templar's, Robert de Sable. After failing to do so, Altair is uninitiated from the assassin's, but is offered a chance to redeem himself by Al Mualim if he can successfully complete nine assassinations of men who are disturbing the peace. As Altair goes about his work, he soon discovers that these men have much more in common with each other than he's been told.
As you can see, the story splits between Desmond and his ancestor Altair. At certain points during the game you will leave the animus, thus ending the plotline that Altair is a part of and furthering the present-day plot that Desmond is experiencing. As the game goes along, Desmond will learn more about the situation he is in, by doing a little snooping of his own. The entire story as a whole is quite good, especially the arc that Altair is in. Desmond's story is less action-oriented than Altair's by far, but it does a good job portraying what a fairly average guy like Desmond would experience. I think the whole idea of having a machine that could do such a thing is a very original concept, and obviously has so much potential for future games.
The gameplay in Assassin's Creed is unique among action games in that Altair has to keep in mind how the public is looking at him. Altair can do almost everything you could expect of an assassin, such as sword fighting and climbing onto buildings, but if he does these things while there are civilians around they are bound to look at you and question why? which may attract a random guard's attention. Instead, you must know when to strike and when to blend into a crowd. This is accomplished by switching between high and low profile actions. While using high profile actions, Altair will draw more attention his way, but he can also use low profile actions to try to blend in with the crowds. You will also have a meter to show you whether or not a guard is suspicious of you.
As you may know, this game is made by the same people who developed the newest Prince of Persia games, and feels like the natural evolution of those games. In Assassin's creed you can do many of the same things that the prince could do, including run up walls, climb things, and leap from object to object with obvious athleticism. However, the combat system is quite different. Altair has a few different weapon choices, including a sword, throwing knives, and a concealed blade that comes out of his hand that is used for stealth assassinations. But compared to the prince's combo-system method of fighting, Altair's fighting is much more basic. You have an attack command and a defend command, but you can also learn how to counter attack and grab people. The best part of fighting in Assassin's Creed is the counter system, by far. You can easily win major battles, even when vastly outnumbered, by just quickly pressing the counter button and watch as Altair predicts his enemies move and quickly counters it, killing your foe outright. This does, however, drag the gameplay down a bit as it quickly gets repetitive, despite the variety of finishing moves.
As I mentioned before, in order to progress through the game you must complete nine key assassinations. In order to do so, you will first have to travel to 3 different cities: Damascus, Acre, and Jerusalem. In each city will be 3 different sections, each containing a different target. Before you strike, however, you must first gather intel on your target, which can be accomplished in a variety of ways such as eavesdropping or pick-pocketing a guard. These intel gathering missions don't have much variety to them, as you'll quickly become a master at these things after your first couple of assassinations. Despite the repetitiveness of the combat and intel missions, the actually assassinations are all very exciting, as there are a number of different methods and paths you can use to finish your mission. I guarantee your heart will race the moment before the kill
There's only one word to describe the graphics in Assassin's Creed: Beautiful. The environments and buildings in the game are absolutely amazing, as are the character models. As you travel through the game's environments and climb up various building, you will be amazed by the level of detail and how good everything looks. It's actually amazing how they can have so many character models on screen at the same time, all looking so good, and yet the game still plays so smoothly. Trust me; you won't be disappointed with the graphical quality of Assassin's Creed.
Much like the game, the music is presented with a defining dramatic feel, often emphasized when the player is either in battle or viewing a large landscape from the top of a lookout point. Most of the music will be drowned out by all of the different background sounds in the game, along with the many dialogues that Altair will have with his targets. The voice acting was also well done, and all the voices suited their characters well. Overall, everything in the audio department is on par with what you would expect.
Re-playability earns the lowest score on this review, and for a good reason, as once you finish Assassin's creed there is almost no reason at all to replay the game. Sure, you can do something different things or take a different path to get to a target, but ultimately you'll just end up finding everything very repetitive. As for extra's, the game features a flag-collecting quest that has no reward or incentive for completing at all. I should also add that you can kill civilians in the game, but you are punished for doing so by losing some health, so it would have been cool if they used a Fable-like system for being a good or evil assassin.
Overall, a great game with a unique control scheme that excels in letting the player have fun, which is what it's all about, right? You may want to consider renting this one, as it doesn't really take that long to beat and is probably still rather expensive to buy. If you end up loving Assassin's Creed, there is also a Nintendo DS Assassin's Creed game out that focuses on events that happened prior to this game. Have fun and keep playing!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/21/08
Game Release: Assassin's Creed (US, 11/13/07)
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