Review by AmazoLK
"Assassin's Creed is one of the best games of 2007."
There are games that you either love, or you hate. Assassin's Creed, a new next generation game developed and published by Ubisoft, is a perfect example on how there can be so much different opinions on one game. If you have ever heard of the Hitman series, you pretty much know what the main deal is with this game: assassinate specific target in order to complete your task. But unlike Hitman, Assassin's Creed takes place not during present time, but at 1191 AD, a long time ago. Assassin's Creed was hyped up as a true next-gen gaming experience, and Ubisoft really wanted to stress that this is going to be a really great game. But does it really take a leap forward in the next-gen, or does it just stay stationary?
You play as Altair, an assassin and a warrior known across the globe as a true assassin, and is feared by most. Like I said before, the game takes place in 1191 AD, and the Third Crusade is tearing the Holy Land apart. There are 9 targets that you must take down across 4 different and unique cities like Jerusalem and Acre. But what do all of these people have in common, and why must they be assassinated? That's for you to find out. There's also a whole other part the story, but giving it away would spoil the whole game, even though you do find out about this in like the first 10 seconds of the game. There's also a huge cliff hanger ending, which obviously means there will be a sequel in years to come.
But what is so next-gen about Assassin's Creed? Well, Ubisoft really wanted to stress that each place will seem like a real breathing city, like it would've been in real life. And like Ubisoft said, there are people everywhere. Every ally you go down has merchants trying as hard as they can to sell things to make a living. The next ally would have 3 drunk guys trying to cause trouble, and the next ally would have beggars trying to get some money for food or anything, and around each corner is a guard. This is really cool about Assassin's Creed. No matter where you go, there is someone there to see you. You will almost never be somewhere where someone isn't. The only thing that's not so great about this is that barely anyone are actually doing anything. Sure, drunk people are standing outside of a bar because they're drunk, but they will stand there forever. People will just walk around doing nothing. None of the buildings have doors, you can't enter any houses what-so-ever.
The climbing in Assassin's Creed is the most fun part of the game, and this is also introduced as a next-gen part of the game. While controlling Altair, you can hold the A button to blend in with the crowd so the guards don't get suspicious of you. While not holding anything, you will be in normal mode, and the guards usually wont be suspicious of you, but of you knock someone over by an accident, they will take notice. Holding the B button will allow you to gently push people out of the way. So say a women is holding a pot on her head, if you gently push her out of the way, she wont drop the pot, but if you walk into her, she will jump out of the way and her pot will smash on the ground and the guards will take notice.
You can also hold the right trigger (or R2 on the PS3) and Altair will go into high profile mode, and this is where Assassin's Creed becomes a blast to play. While holding the right trigger, you will start to sprint, and while holding both the trigger and the A button, he will start running. The A button will make you jump on things, and it will also make you climb walls. Pressing the A button down with make you jump, but if you hold it down and run of a ledge, he'll jump automatically. Every building in each city actually look like they would back that long ago, but you wouldn't actually think you could climb each and every one, but in Assassin's Creed, you can. Every little divot sticking out of a building is climbable, not matter what. If a window is below a merchant's stand, you can climb it. You can also jump from building to building easily. Just hold both the trigger and a the A buttons, and just control where you want Altair to go, and he'll go there, even if it means jumping from a roof to another roof.
Climbing is probably the main part of Assassin's Creed, and at the top of each tall building is a high point, where you need to go in order to scope out the whole area you are in. You can see where all of the things that are happening around the city, and these things are necessary in order to assassinate each target. There are a bunch of different things you can do: pick pocket, interrogate, save a civilian, get information from an informer, or eavesdrop on a conversation. All of these aren't exactly necessary to complete all of your assassinations, but you are definitely better off if you do complete them.
Combat is a necessity in Assassin's Creed, even if you're mostly trying to sneak around. You have 4 fighting styles: fists, sword, short sword & throwing knives, and your assassin's knife. You fists are mostly used for interrogations, and the assassin's knife is used to silently assassinate guards and your targets. You short sword and regular sword are used for fighting guards, and when you have you short sword equipped, and you're targeted at a far away enemy, Altair will throw a knife at them, which is a one-hit kill. While fighting guards, which you will mostly fight many at once, is actually a lot easier than it looks. Holding the right trigger, while locked on to a target with the L trigger, will block enemy attacks. Pressing the X button without holding the block button will swing your sword, and pressing it while holding down the block button will do a counter attack, but in order to perform a counter attack, your enemy will have to swing first, and you must try to reverse him. If you swing your sword and the enemy blocks, you can quickly press the X button again, and Altair will do a combo attack. After eliminating a bunch of guards, sometimes the rest of the guards will run away in fear.
It's not easy to die in Assassin's Creed, which really isn't that bad, but accidentally falling off a building and dying when you hit the ground can sometimes get irritating. Altair has a health bar at the top left of the screen. When you get hit, you lose a bar, and after all of your bars are gone, you will have to run for your life because if you get hit one more time, you'll die. Beside the health bars is a Synchronization metre which will blink red if a guard is suspicious of you. When the guards know you are an assassin, the whole metre with turn red. When the guards can't find you the metre will go orange, and by hiding in a bail of hay, or sitting on a bench, it will turn green. Climbing on roofs is the easiest way to not bother anyone, and it is better to do this so guards wont get suspicious of you.
Did I mention that Assassin's Creed looks awesome? Ubisoft must have taken a very long time to try to make each and every part of the game look amazing. Every building in each city is great, and even the Kingdom which is the world in between each city is also beautiful. All of the characters have superb animations, and the blood effects are intense. But I did notice that no matter how long you play, it will never be night time. It's not that bad, but weird. There are some collision detection problems her and there though, and sometimes guards will get stuck on a ladder and such, but those things are forgivable because of such a beautiful and breathtaking environments. The sounds is also top-notch. All the music is great and always fits the mood. When you're getting chased by some guards, there's intense battle music in the background. When you're starring right at your target while he talks to the crowd, there's a perfect melody playing in the background like something is about to go down.
Assassin's Creed will probably take most players about 15 to 20 hours to complete, but it really is an estimation because it never tells you in the game. There are a ton of side missions to do like collecting flags (which there are 100 of in each main city) and 60 Templar's scattered around the world for you to kill. Mix all of these in with the main quest, and a bunch of clever achievements, you have a meaty package. I don't like how there are so many flags to collect, but they're fun to collect, and the Templar's are a blast to try and kill.
Overall though, Assassin's Creed is an outstanding game. If you were to ask me which side I was on, I would say the good side, because Assassin's Creed is an amazing game, and I hope it's only a taste of what Ubisoft has in store with this newly made franchise. The combat is fun, climbing and jumping across buildings feels great, and the story is as epic as they come. There are some gripes here and there, but overall, Assassin's Creed is a great buy and shouldn't be missed by anyone with a 360 or a PS3.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/29/07
Game Release: Assassin's Creed (US, 11/13/07)
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