Review by Snowy_One
"A great concept that has, sadly, been... Assassinated."
Assassins Creed is a simply beautiful game that allows you to step into the shoes of Altair, an assassin in the times of the crusades, and embark on several missions to assassinate several high-profile targets. A wonderful concept in theory that was, sadly, bogged down by poorly defined locations and repetitive missions. Despite this, it is a wonderful game to play and still a great game.
Gameplay - This game controls very smoothly and wonderfully. Altair moves well and is very easy to control. From simply weaving his way in-between streets full of basket carriers to running across the various rooftops, Altair will almost never have a problem with his movements. I say almost for a good reason though. In order to run, or move fast in general, you must hold down the right trigger. Normally, this isn't a problem, since most games either make your default movement speed the fastest, or give you only short, controlled, bursts of speed that you are usually eager to reserve for the proper moment. Neither exists here and as such, you will naturally desire to move fast. As such, your finger may start to ache a bit as you vault across the rooftops.
Sadly, despite that Assassins creed moves well on the control, this is squandered on repetitive missions. Each time you get an assassination target, you will head out to the target city and visit the local Assassins headquarters. Once there, you will find out about several missions that you can do to help you gain information on your target. Sadly, they all fall into one of five mission categories. Eavesdropping, the easiest where you sit on a nearby bench and simply listen in on two people. No, really. That's it. No challenge at all. Pick-pocketing, where you steal a letter or map from a target via hiding in a crowd and then quickly rushing by and can usually finish in twenty seconds. Interrogation, where you find someone with information and beat him up with fisticuffs (I personally don't recall the city guards interfering as you do this). Flag-finding, in which an informer asks you to follow a trail of flags and retrieve them. And lastly, Guard Assassination, where an informer requires you to kill several marked guards. That's it. Five missions that get repeated ad infinitum throughout the game with the occasional 'Rescue Citizen' mission thrown into the mix where you kill between three and five guards who are roughing up a citizen.
When it comes time for you to properly assassinate your target, the game is thankfully more creative and usually offers at least one way to assassinate your target besides storming in sword swinging. Not that it would matter. Combat in this game is, quite sadly, too easy. Once you learn the 'counter' ability, you can win basically any fight in the game. After learning this technique, it's literally possible to kill the hardest boss without taking damage. Later on, you gain the ability to throw knives, which instantly kill most opponents at long range and are very accurate. You can even counter and throw knives without switching weapons.
Overall: Smooth controls, but repetitive gameplay and combat that's sadly too easy. 7/10
Story - The story in this game is quite interesting, with a huge twist that will impact how you perceive what's going on in the game happening right off the bat. To make it better, with every target you assassinate, you will get to see a little cutscene in which Altair and his target converse and the target tries to make what he was doing sound admirable. At first, they seem crazy, but later on, as you near completion and confront the final boss, it all comes together beautifully. My one qualm is that the story seems a tad repressed at times, which is really sad since it's probably the best thing in this game.
Overall: A wonderful story filled with twists that is sadly repressed at times. 9/10
Graphics/Sound - This game is beautiful. There is no two-ways about it. Every bit of it looks so astounding that you can almost feel the heat of the sun radiating off the Damascus rooftops. Every building is wonderfully detailed and feels unique and the streets and wilds between the cities feel just as incredible. It's too sad really that, despite everything feeling so unique, everything here also feels so... indistinct. When I am rushing across the rooftops, I often get lost and confused as to where I am because everything looks the same dirt-hue. Very few buildings are different, and it's difficult to make out where I am while navigating crowded city streets. It feels so disorientating when playing because it's so easy to lose track of where one is simply because the developer decided not to include many distinct buildings.
Sound-wise, the game is also wonderful, with voices sounding realistic and may of the sound effects having the kick that is lacked in so many other games. Sadly, there is only so many times one can stand to hear the same lines over and over again while climbing a building before they find themselves wishing that they could toggle the voice clips off.
Overall: Wonderful visuals and voicework marred by repetitiveness. 8/10
Play Time/Replayability - This is not a long game. Assuming you are planning to go through on the bare minimum required to defeat it, you can beat this game in a day or two. Even if you decide to complete all the missions, it will not likely tack on an extra day to your playtime. However, if you decide to collect all the flags and assassinate all the templars, your playtime will skyrocket up as you go and hunt each and every one of them down.
Once you've beaten the game, however, there will be little draw to play through it again. All the loose ends feel tied up and everything in the game should feel complete. It is a rare feeling to be sure, but satisfying none the less. 8/10
Final Recommendation - This is hard to say. It's a beautiful game to be sure, but it is marred by repetitiveness and that can kill a game. I don't think there will be anything wrong with renting it, though if you buy it, 20-30 USD would likely be a appropriate price range for this game.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/18/09
Game Release: Assassin's Creed (US, 11/13/07)
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