Review by websterboy604

"Ambitious...too ambitious?"

After playing through Assassin's Creed, I can definitely say it's one of the most ambitious games I've ever played. Ubisoft really pulled all the shots with this one, from the expansive gameworld to the highly atypical story. The end result is a game that I feel is a must play, if only to experience an incredibly unique (and flawed) gaming experience.

Story--- The story in Assassin's Creed is one that I don't want to speak much about, suffice to say that you the player will experience the game from two distinct angles, both past and present. The way in which the story is presented is unique, in that there are few instances in which the player will not have some control during Altair. During the game's "cutscenes", which are all in game, the player can usually move Altair, change camera position as well as push a button at certain points to see aspects of the event that would otherwise be missed. It's an interesting premise, one that is successful, if a bit limiting. Most of the characters throughout the game are very dynamic, and their true intentions, as well as personalities, will evolve and present themselves as the game progresses. My biggest gripe with the story is the ending. While the ending of Assassin's Creed is very detailed upon closer inspection, it is essentially a cliffhanger, one that is a set up for a second installment. All in all, the story is very creative, philosophical...if a bit convoluted and upsetting towards the end.

Audio/video presentation- The audio presentation in Assassin's Creed is a mixed bag. On the one hand, most of the voice acting is very solid, with dialog in numerous different languages. On the other hand, lines of the citizens are repeated far too often, and the voice of Altair is lacking emotion and seems out of place. The music is nothing too impressive; what is present is generally very good, but there are not too many pieces throughout the duration of the game. The most impressive aspect of the audio is the crispness; I played via Dolby 5.1, and the dialog was very legible, and the sound of swords clashing against one another sounded just right. The video presentation is a mixed bag as well. Ubisoft was very ambitious in creating the world of Assassin's Creed, and it shows both positively and negatively. The positive aspect of the visuals are the sheer size of the environments, lack of slowdown (for the very most part), great animation and impressive architecture. While the visuals are very stunning on numerous occasions, the big world comes at a price. Pop up is everywhere; characters will pop in, textures, shadows and even whole objects. The incessant pop in is understandable given the size of the world, but I would have preferred less detailed textures and shadows if only to diminish the jarring pop up. Clipping is a constant problem, as is collision detection; it seems like no object in the game has any collision detection...if you hit it with your weapon, nothing will happen. In conclusion, the audio and visual presentation in Assassin's Creed is a mixed bag, but is for the most part very impressive.

Gameplay- I won't go into detail about the particulars of the gameplay, as you can read the game's instructions for that. I found the gameplay in Assassin's Creed to be, once again, a mixed bag. The most impressive aspect of the gamplay is the way in which Altair navigates the environment. Whether it be on foot, through the numerous citizens of the three cities you explore, or via the rooftops, the navigation in this game is something to be experienced. I feel that years from now, while critics and gamers may look back on Assassin's Creed with mixed feelings, the joy of climbing the top of a tall building and then doing a leap of faith off of it will remain a positive memory. The combat is, by an large, very enjoyable. While it seems simple at first, it actually requires the player to time attacks carefully, counter when given a chance, and to utilize the surround environment efficiently. The combat isn't difficult, and is actually very simple if all the player does is counter, but if one goes out of one's way to enjoy it, it is a positive aspect of the game. Assassin's Creed has gotten lots of criticism for being too repetitive, and I can see where those opinions are coming from. Throughout your quest to assassinate your target, you will first need to investigate in order to learn their whereabouts/weaknesses/etc. This investigatory process would not be such a chore if it were not for severely repeated objectives such as pickpocketing, interrogation and eavesdropping. The good news is that usually only two or three of these objectives need to undertaken. Ultimately, the gameplay in Assassin's Creed is groundbreaking and heartbreaking, given the game's advertising, hype and massive budget.

Replay value- Assassin's Creed is a fairly short game with few extras available once completed. There are flags scattered throughout the cities and kingdom, but the only reward for collecting them is achievement points. There aren't any compelling sidequests or extras, so I would suggest a rental as opposed to a purchse

Closing thoughts- Assassin's Creed is a game I'm very glad I played. It's revolutionary in a lot of ways, but also flawed in numerous ways. I would suggest that those serious about gaming and experiencing something new give it a try, if only to experience the (mostly) impressive world created, superb navigation and interesting (if convoluted and inconclusive) story.

Story-7
Audio-8
Video-8
Gameplay- 8
Replay-6

Pros-
*Incredible navigation via rooftops, ground and horseback.
*Impressive gameworld, both technically and artistically.
*Interesting and philosophical story
*Fun combat that is deep if one makes it

Cons-
*Lots of graphical issues, such as clipping and popup
*Conclusion is detailed, but unsatisfying.
*Repetitive tasks. While not time consuming, they are not inventive or changing throughout the course of the game.
*Limited replay value

"Nothing is true. Everything is permitted."


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 12/10/07

Game Release: Assassin's Creed (US, 11/13/07)


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