Review by Sui89
"A good game with a multitude of letdowns"
Assassin's Creed took a leap of faith onto the 360 and PS3 when Ubisoft decided to release a big name game that wasn't a shooter. This is something someone like myself can appreciate. I don't have anything against big name games, but I hate shooters. Assassin's Creed is somewhere between a combat based game and a stealth game. It's kind of hard to tell while you're playing it what it's supposed to be. In any case, it's a little different from other games around these days, and it was a breath of fresh air for me while playing, at least for a while.
This was one of the weaker parts of the game for me. Basically, there are two sections of the game. There is the real world, which is basically just a transition in between parts of the game, and the memory world, which is where you actually play the game. The main character in the real world is a guy named Desmond, and these scientists have him in captivity in order to access one of his ancestor's memories (people can access memories their ancestors had for some reason that really isn't explored). It's kind of hinted at throughout the game what they actually want with this, but the story in the real world isn't every really resolved and it's incredibly disappointing for the most part. I think they planned on extending and resolving the story in this part in Assassin's Creed 2. We'll have to see.
The memory world story isn't really especially interesting either. Basically, you have nine missions. There's some leader in one of the game's three cities that's corrupt in some way (or, your master tells you they're corrupt, and that's good enough for you), and then you go and kill them. Repeat this eight more times, throw in a little thing at the end, and that's the story. There's one plot twist that gets attention from people as being good, and I have no idea why. It's not especially shocking, and if you'd been paying any attention during the game, you would have noticed it before it happens.
Basically, the story is okay, but not anything you're going to wow over. Then again, it's not the main focus of the game, so you probably won't care too much.
There's a couple things to be said about the gameplay really. Most importantly is that you're going to love it when you first start playing. Running around town, gathering information, saving citizens from evil guards, pick pocketing, eavesdropping for information, running around to towers to complete your map, and exploring in a huge world and huge cities. It's pretty entertaining when you first start the game. The problem is that there isn't any variation in the missions. There's an intro to the game, where it's a little different, and an out-tro, where it's a little different. Other than that, you do the same thing nine times for all the games missions. Basically: go to a city, check into the Assassination Bureau, run to all the towers to update your map, go to the objectives, assassinate target, then do the next mission. It would have a lot of potential if they varied the missions. At all.
Aside from your actual mission, which is to assassinate your target, there's obviously normal combat. Combat in Assassin's Creed basically consists of mashing X and hitting RT for counter kills (once you have access to that skill) until everything is dead. There's other ways to fight, like with throwing knives and the short blade, but the game doesn't really encourage you to ever use these because counter kills are so cheap. You also have the hidden blade, which basically can get you one or two kills every time you do a save citizen mission, but that's about it, since it's useless when people are aware you're trying to kill them.
Next is the stealth part of the game. You have a little icon next to your HP that will flash different colors depending on how aware the people around you are of you. Basically, nothing (white) is good. Yellow means you're being watched. Little beeping red means an informed guard is watching you, huge flashing red means someone is chasing you trying to kill you. After someone's trying to kill you, it can turn yellow after you break their line of sight, letting you know it's okay to hide (in a hay stack or a little box on rooftops), after which it will turn blue, letting you know it's okay to come out again. It works fine enough. I don't have problems with it. It is horribly unrealistic how guards become aware of you though. Out in the overworld, you can just be walking normally, even pressing A to BLEND, and they'll be like KILL HIM for no apparent reason, and then you either have to run really fast to get away or kill them off. I never used the overworld once I could warp places because of this reason because it pissed me off. In town, you can be sprinting all out past guards, and as long as you don't hit them, no one asks questions. If you bump them though, they then need to kill you. They also need to kill you if you're on roofs. Roofs are more convenient for getting places, so it gets in the way that the game discourages you from traveling that way.
This next thing mainly just me complaining, but I feel it's kind of relevant. When you're walking around in the streets of the cities, there are two types of characters that will approach you. One is a poor beggar lady. She will not leave you alone until you run away from her. It's really annoying because she gets in the way of WALKING. The second is a thug, I think. Basically, guys that walk around without shirts on and just start shoving you whenever you're near them. These guys do basically the same thing as the beggars in that they prevent you from walking and they're annoying. While I understand that Ubisoft was trying to add an amount of realism to the environment here, it doesn't really work. These types of characters will only beg or push YOU (meaning Altair) around, and won't bother any other people walking around in the game. It's extremely unbelievable. Combine this with the fact that they get in the way of basic movement processes, and it's something dumb and stupid that could have easily been left out of the game.
I have one more thing to comment on for gameplay. Normally this would be irrelevant, but it gets in the way so much I feel the need to mention it. After you finish objectives, the game fixates your camera angle on the person or place you just finished the mission for until it is done saving. So like, if you save a citizen, you talk to them, and then they have to talk for five minutes, and then the game has to save, and all this time, your camera angle is stupid so you can't see anything. This is relevant because there are dead bodies laying around. If you don't get out of there before more guards come circle around and see the bodies, they will then feel the need to come and kill you. If you can't see where you're going because of the camera angles, it's pretty hard to walk away. It got in the way pretty much every time I had to do this and it was heavily annoying.
Basically the gameplay feels pretty polished overall, but the easiness of the combat, and the repetitiveness of the missions really hold it back overall.
Graphics are the best part about this game. Seriously. The game is freaking gorgeous. I don't have an HDTV or anything, so I can only imagine what they must look like when viewed properly, but still. Wow. There is so much attention to detail. Buildings have cracks and knobs and all sorts of details on them. Streets are lively and full. And even when looking really far away, the graphics are really clear and detailed. This is one of the redeeming features of climbing up all the view towers to complete your map. It's kind of tedious, but when you're up there, you get the reward of viewing the complete map around you, and it's gorgeous seeing the city/landscape from that high.
There are very few loading times in this game, and even though they are kind of long, the few of them there are, and the amount of stuff it loads with each load are pretty worth it, so you won't mind them too much.
The attention to detail on character models is slightly less than that of the landscapes and environments, but it's still pretty good, so you probably won't even notice. The main character, Altair, is at the very least a well-done character. And everyone fits pretty well into the environments, so I have no complaints here.
Of course, there are a couple of graphical glitches here and there, but it's nothing detrimental, and you definitely won't care due to the graphical awesomeness of the game overall. It's a visual treat.
I don't really have much to say about the sound for this game. Everything fits pretty well. There's not a terrible amount of music you'll be noticing, but most of the sound effects and stuff are very good. The voices mostly fit. The Middle East accent is in place and seems well done for all the characters. The only character that doesn't fit this is Altair. He has a Midwestern accent for some reason (which is really strange, considering that I think this game takes place before America existed), but everyone else fits pretty well. The other thing would be that the minor characters (meaning the random people that walk around on the street) all say the same thing and sound exactly the same. This includes most of the save citizens. It gets kind of redundant when you hear the same thing every time you do a save citizen mission. But like I said, mostly this is well done, and there's not really anything that gets in the way here.
The one thing I have to comment on though, since I don't know where else to put this, is that you can't enable subtitles at all. I never play a game without subtitles. For one thing, reading something makes it impossible to miss what someone says, because of it not being clear what they said, or because you just couldn't here. And for another, subtitles are a lot easier to understand when you're easily distracted. It was kind of detrimental for me that I couldn't turn them on at all. So that's a minus.
Basically, I'm really confused as to why anyone would want or feel the need to replay this game. After you beat the game, you're done. There's not really that much you would need to go through again for. The story's done, the gameplay's repetitive, and there would be nothing to do. The only extra quests the game offers are collecting a bunch of random flags from around the world and in random places in cities. These get you achievements if you're playing on a 360, and nothing if you're playing on the PS3. Basically, they're not worth getting at all, considering how many of them you have to get for a stupid achievement. So yeah. There's not really any reason to ever replay the game.
Final Rating (7/10)
Worth playing? For sure. And especially now that the game has been our for a while and you can pick up the game used for under $20 at your local Gamestop. I definitely wouldn't pay more than that for it though. The game, while fun at first, is not only extremely repetitive in the gameplay department, but is also a fairly short game. It'll last roughly 15 hours, I think. There isn't any place that actually clocks your playtime, but I think this is how long it took me. That's not long enough to warrant paying more for $20 for it.
Basically, if you can rent it, that's a good option. You could probably beat it in the amount of time you have for rental. If not, buying it used for under $20 is still probably worth it. It's a decent game. Not the best you've ever played, and not the worst.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 02/03/09
Game Release: Assassin's Creed (US, 11/13/07)
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