Review by Mad_Ogre
"'Worth playing - You'll need more than a weekend rental to get your fix of it'"
So you're interested in Assassins Creed? Read on for my personal opinion on the game.
Ah right, where should I begin? Well, the thing you probably want to know first is what the graphics are like, and I must take my hat off to the graphics as they are pretty solid. There are a few things you'll notice here and there like shadows being blocky from far away (they look good up close, though) also you'll notice the pop in textures and scenery like ladders sometimes, so it is basically your standard sandbox game in that respect. One thing to note about the graphics is that (in my experience) you get some screen tearing for an unreasonable amount of the time on the ps3 version (nobody seems to complain about it on the 360 version) and it is unclear at the moment as to what causes it - some have pinned the blame on the software updates from Sony, claiming that they have no screen tearing issues on lower grade version. Either way, I'm just telling it like it is. I'll give the graphics on the ps3 version an 8/10. Update: [3/1/2008] - A patch was released a few weeks ago that has corrected this issue for the ps3 version, there is now a lot less screen tearing and many of the glitches have been fixed such as freezing.
Okay, now I'll move on to the gameplay. I feel that the game could really have done with some variety - there's not too many different kinds of side mission, and by the last few assassinations I was simply sticking to the minimum number required to be done in order to begin the assassination. The assassinations themselves seem quite varied and interesting and the environments to explore and move around in are pretty huge and looking for flags to collect and those 60 templars to kill is more fun than it sounds. The free running in the game is pretty cool if I'm being honest, it is a lot of fun when you get the hang of it (which I didn't find hard to do), and there is very rarely any problems with walls not being solid or climbing up an invisible extension to a wall, though I have to admit that it does happen on a blue moon or two. Basically, the side missions should have been a lot more varied and also perhaps the difficulty should have kicked in sooner - I felt the game got more difficult at the end but I really wished this had happened sooner. You don't have to play it properly to get by, though it is fun to play it properly. I think this is one of those games where you get more fun from it by playing it for a few hours every night, than you do from playing it for 3 days solid - 6.5/10
Now for the story. The story is very well done, and kept me going throughout - it kept me wanting more information always and there are times of big suspense which maybe drag on for a little too long but it adds to the experience nontheless. 9/10
What else can I say? I feel that some of the loading times seem to drag on for slightly too long, then there is the problem of the game crashing every now and then, which may or may not be explained by Sony's software upgrades. The crowd has been pretty well done, although I feel they could have put a lot more variation into their random dialogues, you hear the same things said time and time again and it grates on the old nerves after a while if I'm honest. But this is nothing that other sandbox games don't also suffer from. There are a few other stereotypical sandbox problems such as 'lethal water syndrome,' crowd pop-ins, and the ability to mess up and still be allowed to try over from scratch without reloading - you simply vanish from the area and come back and they're all there again as if they never knew you existed. Fair enough, this is explained by the story but it still makes you feel ever so slightly cheap for having done it.
The combat is pretty basic at the start, I don't want to spoil anything but a few things are added later in the game which give it slightly more depth, but don't expect anything on the level of Ninja Gaiden or something, the A.I is too easy at the start, as explained, and it gets tougher near the end - but too near the end for my liking. I really felt that the game could have used difficulty settings where hardcore players could get straight into it with the game being tough and tight, which would have made you play the game properly from the start instead of in the last few missions.
I can't shake the feeling that this game could have done something cool online with itself, but the developers didn't even try to do it. Therefore the replayability is reduced. If I'm honest - unless you really take to this game and have too much time on your hands you won't play it through any more than 3 times. Once for the first time, one more time to fully understand the story and also try doing it professionally, and then maybe one more time for some random reason but more than likely you'll just try and find a few flags and finish off the templars.
I congratulate the game on its attempt to try something new, and I think they have produced a relatively solid game which is worth playing. It doesn't always play smoothly but it is a great game to play for fun in short bursts - of that there is no doubt. It took me just over a week to complete, but I played a solid 2 and a half days, then a few hours a night until the following weekend. Is it worth buying? In hindsight I still think it was, and you'll definitely need more than a weekend rental to get your fix of it. But I can't see the game lasting any more than about a month, with all the other games that are coming out this year - but if you buy it you will come back to it for your fix now and then. Like most sandbox games, it is fun in short bursts - only this one has a great story to go with it, oh - and it also has assassins, who doesn't like assassins?
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/26/07, Updated 01/03/08
Game Release: Assassin's Creed (EU, 11/16/07)
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