Review by Cillranchello
"Unentertaining, Anticlimactic, and ultimately a trade-in."
Ah, Assassin's Creed, a game of truly mixed feelings. While I might assume, my dear reader, that you've read the other reviews; Some extolling this game for it's greatness, others defaming it for it's lack of. I share the attitude of the latter.
The game starts off with it's sci-fi twist right in the beginning. Ok, that's out of the way, now what?
After some subsequent cut scenes, a little action, and more cut scenes, you're free to start playing. After a touch of running, you get to run around some more. Until your first "real" mission, the game is slower than old people playing shuffleboard. Your first mission is the highlight of the game. Why? An Open Environment.
Altair is skilled at free-running, amazingly skilled. The rooftops are a Jungle Gym, and you're a Eight year old hiked up on sugar. You do all sorts of investigations, pickpocketing, interrogation, saving old ladies, playing the hero. After all this, you get to kill someone! Yay! You are, after all, an assassin, and what do assassin's do? Annihilate! You try to be real sneaky, wait for the right moment to strike. But, as soon as you do, you enter direct combat.
The combat system is not stellar. You can easily win each and every fight by holding the High Profile button, and mashing Counter Attack. That's it, my Cat could do it. Skill, is, by no means, a factor in this game. The most skill required is figuring out "Can I hop from this rooftop to that one?" Generally, the answer is yes.
Ok, your first kill didn't go as smooth and assassin-y as you like. But, there's another one right around the corner! Go home, get a new mission, and ride out. Once you arrive, you have to get information on how to kill your target, again. In order to get that information, you have to interrogate, pickpocket, and talk to informants... again. Ok, that's not so bad, they're just doing the same thing to help get you acclimated to the bigger challenges, right? Right?
Each and every mission follows this format.
1) Arrive into town.
2) Save old ladies, look at the city, figure where the information is.
3) Preform said tasks to be able to kill the target.
4) Get the "OK" to kill the target.
5) Kill the target.
6) Go back and tell your target is dead.
7) Watch some cut scenes.
The story line is largely unsatisfying, and, for the most part, cliched in nearly every aspect. The end of the game is utterly anticlimactic, and unsatisfying. While most games have a build-up to the conclusion, the conclusion feels exactly the same as the rest of the game, it flows neatly into the games storyline(or lack thereof), and leaves you feeling like you would after a bad blind date.
While many, many things are bad in paradise, not all is ill. The graphics are amazing, and there are no hangups. There's no "what the heck am I doing now?" moments, as you are neatly directed to your next course of action. There's an overall smoothness to the game that is evident at every leap, roll, and attack. The environments are fully interactive. There is truly no unclimbable building, no rooftop restricted, and no end to impressive free-running that makes up this game's mode of travel. The greatest thing Ubisoft Montreal did was give the player limitless options in order to get from A to B.
The game is smooth, and the controls are, while having a few hitches, well designed. If there are bugs in the game, I haven't found them. The free-running is amazing, and in a word, inventive.
The game is by no means hard. It is a chain of the same arbitrary goals again and again and again. The only difficulties lie in some of the informer missions, the main question being "What is the best way to kill all five targets, and make it back in time." The combat system is largely a joke. Hold Guard/High profile, and mash "Counter" till you kill someone.
That being said, the low difficulty makes it easy for people of all ages/skill/reaction time to enjoy. You don't need lightning reflexes in order to progress, only to look at the top of your screen in order to find the next rooftop to land on, or the easiest way into the streets.
Ubisoft Montreal needs to fire their Writers, in my humble opinion. While the concept is willing, the presentation is weak. The story's continuity is constantly broken by nice little "Fast Forwarding to a more recent memory." sections. These are meant as time savers, but end up as cleavers hitting the cutting board. The story's main failure is that it does not expound on either character, Desmond or Altair. There is little, if any attachment gained to them. Their fates, like the rest of the game, become irrelevant. In the end, ones only compulsion to finish the game is only to say you did, not because the story drives you to.
Replay Value: 1/10
There is no replay value except irrelevant goals. Saving the rest of the citizens, finding the rest of the flags, and making the DNA bar that shows your total completion be filled in instead of hollow, and in the end, you really don't want to do that either.
The game's highlight is the free-running. During the first hour, it's great. Leaping from building to rafter to handhold in great strides. After that, it becomes second nature. There are no new obstacles to overcome, no new techniques to get from to and fro. In the end, you're holding down High Profile plus Sprint/Free Run, and making sure that rooftop is in jumping distance, no more, no less.
Total Score: 15/50, or 30%.
This game fails, sorry to say. No longer than 30 minutes after the credits roll are you turning it in to your local Video Game Store in hopes you can buy something more satisfying. In the end, most will buy the sequel(if they make one) in hopes they have fixed their grave errors. I, for one, am undecided, can it truly be salvaged? We'll have to wait and see.
Reviewer's Rating: 1.5 - Bad
Originally Posted: 07/07/08
Game Release: Assassin's Creed (US, 11/13/07)
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