Review by MetalIceWolf
"Beautiful but deadly."
Assassin's Creed comes from Ubisoft, the creators of the popular Prince of Persia series. Though it's completely different from them (thankfully.) Ubisoft Montreal has made a brilliant action game where you play the role of an assassin. You'll explore detailed and lively holy lands while pickpocketing people, collecting flags, ease dropping, fighting guards, and of course, assassinating people. Sounds like a great concept for a game, right? It definitely is, and Ubisoft has done an excellent job of portraying the life of an assassin during the time of the crusades.
I was really impressed with how the story progresses. You'll spend 90% of your time as Altair, the main character, who is tasked with the challenge of assassinating nine targets given to you by your master, Al Mualim. The story starts with a fully powered Altair, but he is stripped of his ranking, and is thus forced to regain his title (and his abilities and weapons) by completing the missions he has been given. You'll learn more about your target's background, and your own, by communicating with the people of the holy lands, and that includes discovering interesting things and questioning your own motive and the minds of others.
The other 10% of the game is spent playing as Desmond Miles, a captive being held in a lab of sorts, experimented on, and used to activate this device known as the Animus, which allows Desmond to live out the life of his ancestor, Altair. The only thing you can do as Desmond, however, is walk around and interact with a few of the things in the area and the two people around you. Since this side of the story takes place in 2012, it offers a sci-fi feel to the plot, which made for very interesting and entertaining times. Overall, I was very impressed with the story of both Altair and Desmond, and the way the game ends was awesome.
Controlling Altair is extremely easy. I never had a problem with the controls, they're perfect. Clinging to ledges, climbing towers and buildings, throwing knives and slashing your blade against the neck of a guard....it's all well-executed. Countering during fights make for some nice cinematic, bad-ass appeal. Locking on to people, sneaking up behind them to assassinate them, jumping the 'leap of faith', it's all well done. Pressing the triangle button puts Altair in the special Eagle eyes mode, which will highlight characters, red being enemies and yellow for your assassination target, for example. I have never had a hitch with the controls, especially with how simple they are.
Graphics are beautiful. The people, cities, environment, even the horses.....everything looks great. The game looks and feels amazing, it's certainly eye candy. Performing a leap of faith looks awesome, as does climbing the tallest tower and viewing the area around you. Altair looks great, especially during the cinematic sequences, and while attacking with counter, which I mentioned before. One thing I really liked was the ability to move around during cutscenes, and to change your angle with just a push of a button. Overall, the graphics are amazingly well-done.
Assassin's Creed has plenty of memorable tracks, including that awesome one heard throughout the game (I'm talking about 'Enter the Animus Remix', for those wondering.) The sound effects are very realistic and well done, clanking of swords especially and the screams of your killed victims. The songs really suit the game and the environment, so it's like you're really living and experiencing what life was like back then. Voice acting is great, though Altair's American voice may seem out of place, I still liked it. I loved both the music and the sound effects, Ubisoft did an awesome job in that department.
The gameplay is incredibly fun. I was addicted to it for a long time, I couldn't stop playing until I had beat the game. There's just something immensely satisfying in exploring the cities, climbing high places, jumping around, and of course, tracking down your target and killing him. You'll spend your time navigating the holy lands in search of your assassination target. The game is free roaming, and set in sandbox areas similar to GTA. You'll first need to climb view points in order to uncover the areas of which one of four options (of obtaining info on your target) are discovered. Pickpocketing requires you to sneak up behind someone and press a button to grab their map or whatever they have in their pockets. It's really simple but fun. Informers give you a special objective, either collecting a certain amount of flags within a time limit, or killing a certain amount of guards (without being seen) in a time limit. Personally, I didn't like the informer missions, though they are the most time consuming of the bunch. Interrogation requires you to sneak up behind someone and, when they're alone, punch the lights out of him until they give you the info you want. The last type is ease dropping, which is by far the most simple: sit on a nearby bench and listen in on someone's conversation.
Once you've collected enough info (either 2 or 3 of the stuff mentioned above), you will then head to the Assassin's Bureau, and after that you're off to assassinate your target. Your weapons arsenal consists of a short blade, hidden blade, long blade, and throwing knives (limited to 15.) After killing your target, the whole city is alerted of your actions, and so you must quickly dash to the Assassin's Bureau again. You have to do the exact same thing for every assassination. In fact, you'll be doing the exact same thing throughout the whole game. The first two assassinations you do are the same as all of the others, basically, and this is why many bash the game for it's repetitiveness. But, personally, I found the game extremely fun and I didn't get tired of it, despite doing the same tasks over and over.
Aside from the main goal of killing those nine targets, you can also just explore the world around you, climbing places (which is really fun), or collecting flags, saving citizens, finding and defeating templars and finding more view points. Completing objectives such as citizen saving allows you to increase your life bar (one extra for every fifteen objectives cleared.) Aside from those things, there isn't that much to do. There is no reward for collecting all of the flags (and there's a lot), which is a shame, but the game does offer the main point of gaming: fun.
To sum this game up, it's beautiful and fun. While it may be repetitive and boring to some, it will be awesome and worthwhile for others. No other game lets you explore the holy lands and live life as an assassin in the year 1191. It's really a "love it or hate it" game, and since I loved it, I'm giving it a high score. People unsure about this game can safely rent it to see if they like it, but if what I mentioned sounds good to you, then go ahead and buy it, especially since it's cheap now.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 07/24/08
Game Release: Assassin's Creed (US, 11/13/07)
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