Review by Okii_Inu
"Assassin's Creed, Less than Meets the Eye"
Assassin's creed, what an interesting game. First of all this is not a fanboy review. I did not hype up Assassin's Creed (from now on will be displayed as AC) for myself. I found out about the game through a friend and got it the same day. AC seemed interesting enough to me, and the pretty graphics were more than enough to convince me to buy it. Looking back, I might have made a different choice after playing it.
First and foremost let's get this out of the way. AC looks great! I use a 40" HDTV, and I couldn't be happier with how the game appears. The frame rate is amazing, the textures superb, and the characters (especially Altair) come to life. I spent a good 20 minutes just admiring how cool Altair looks during the tutorial. It really is quite amazing to see the game in action, it does feel alive.
The Cities are just as good as the characters as well. All of them are relatively large with hundreds of NPC's that mostly look as good as Altair himself. The landscape looks great from all of the bird's eye view points (for those that do not know you need to get to these "viewpoints" and scan them in order to find objectives throughout the game). Even as I load the game up now, the graphics continue to amaze me. This is the first game I've seen that made me feel like I was actually falling during the "leaps of faith".
The only reason I didn't give this section a 10/10 is because at times the game can glitch causing a very awkward world. In fact, one time the entire ground disappeared and I found myself running through buildings for a good 2 minutes before the game corrected itself.
Ok here we get into the beginning of the problems for AC. I went into this game hoping for an engaging story. I mean, the game even comes with a warning for those that might be offended by its historical setting (Jerusalem during the crusades). But, I was greeted with something a bit underwhelming. I started out the game listening to every word intensely hoping to gain some incite into the story, yet as the game progressed I found myself feeling saddened by the apparent lack of story. The game can essentially be played with little or no interaction or knowledge of the story. I found myself sometimes wishing the characters would just shut up so I could get on to the more exciting parts of the game. Don't get me wrong, I love stories and am a big fan of heavily story based games, but AC just didn't deliver the cinematic, engaging experience I had hoped for it.
What a disappointment. The game could have been so much more than it is. The combat system, while it seems engaging and fun, becomes unbearably repetitive after a couple hours. Once you gain the ability to counterattack, there really is no reason to do anything else unless you feel like amusing yourself with other attacks. I have been surrounded by over 10 guards before and just sat there counterattacking each one, all of who conveniently await for their comrades to die by my hand before taking their turn to strike at me. It almost felt like the enemies drew a number before the fight and waited their turn to attack. And, as I said, the counterattack solves all of your problems for combat. It simply just becomes a repetitive show of mass murder by Altair after the first couple of fights because the same animations for counterattacks are highlighted throughout the entire game. I just didn't feel compelled to even try to fight the guards after my third or so assassination, as I felt it more fun and challenging to just run away.
This is not even considering the Assassination missions that are also a big flop. Each assassination comes in 3 parts, the investigation, the assassination, and the escape. Two of these three parts are ridiculously repetitive, and the third is over so quickly it just isn't fun. The investigation involves you finding out information about your target. While this sounds fun and new, it is far from that. Each assassination has investigations that have you doing the same actions in different cities. One of these investigations even has you collecting flags around the area in a specified time period. A master assassin running around collecting flags? I'm sorry this isn't some kiddy platform game. That especially was a bad call by the developers. Sadly, even the more fun ones just become a chore after you've done them 4 or so times for each assassination.
The Assassinations themselves again could have been so much more engaging. Initially I took my time surveying the areas with my targets and planning out an escape path. It was thrilling at first, but I soon realized that it didn't matter at all. You essentially can just bum rush your targets and hack them up with your sword. Don't worry if guards attack you because as I stated above they are easily dealt with no matter how many are on you.
Finally the escapes are just as, if not more, repetitive than the investigations. After you've killed your target, and listened to a 5 minute dialogue with Altair and the target's "ghost?", you just need to either fight off the army of guards attacking you or simply run away. Never fear because running is just as easy as fighting. You just need to run far enough away from guards that your indicator tells you its ok to hide, then just sit on a bench, jump in some conveniently placed hay, or hide in a booth. I found it sad that guards would be in my line of sight and still be unaware as to where I had disappeared.
Overall, the gameplay could have been so much more. The assassinations and the combat system seems just tagged on to a pretty game in order to make it somewhat playable.
If you've saved 1 civilian, you've saved them all. All of the objectives throughout the city are easily done and become tedious more so than fun. I got really bored saving all the civilians because each time the fights were uninspired and the civilian dialogue just bored me. The other objectives, including finding more...you guessed it, flags, didn't inspire me to keep trying. The most fun I had was finding all the viewpoints throughout the game, and even then, that became repetitive and boring.
Don't worry, redoing the assassinations doesn't matter because they all turn out the same way, whether you hack up your target or actually assassinate them the way Altair would. Sadly, I felt no incentive whatsoever to boot up the game after the 20 or so hours I spent on it.
AC was a beautiful game with a story and gameplay tagged on the side. The game definitely could have been so much more than it is. And for all those perfectionists out there, the game will keep you occupied much longer than it did me. The problem is the game just doesn't compel the gamer to try at all. I felt like I was watching a movie with a great cast that I just couldn't force myself to care about. The game fails on some key issues that force its score down.
Rent or Buy
I bought it, but I wish I would have gone with my initial instinct to rent it. The game is a DEFINITE rental at best. The eye candy will keep you entertained for a couple hours before you realize the thin game underneath.
Sorry Altair, your game just doesn't deliver. =(
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 11/20/07
Game Release: Assassin's Creed (US, 11/13/07)
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