Review by Gaming_Force
"A great game despite its flaws"
When I recently decided to buy an Xbox 360, I had two games in mind: Halo 3 and Assassin's Creed. Although I had not heard much about the latter, I had read about it in a certain video game magazine, and I somehow knew I was going to like it. Although the flaws of Assassin's Creed are certainly present, they are outweighed by the astounding storyline and most of the gameplay. What flaws you ask? Let's take a look at the full scope of things.
The story of the game actually takes place in the year 2012. The name of the main character is Desmond Miles, who has been kidnapped and brought to Abstergo Industries, a company which's true intentions are a mystery. They are working on a project called the Animus, a machine that's able to read the memory of the user's ancestors, which were recently discovered to be recorded in one's genetic information. The industry is particularly interested in Altair, an Assassin during the Third Crusade and Miles' ancestor. Desmond can follow Altair's actions when utilizing the Animus. As Altair, the plot consists of assassinating nine historical figures in order to calm tensions produced by the propagation of the Crusades.
While the story of the game has been somewhat attacked by reviewers, criticizing the confusion it supposedly provokes, let's be realistic: Ubisoft suffered no remorse when exploiting the eventual arrival of a sequel, although I'll leave this for you to find out about. Nevertheless, the most important part of the storyline is ultimately resolved, albeit being somewhat predictable. The storyline is at the least a suspenseful point in the game, as Assassin's Creed relies greatly on this aspect, and delivers a very entertaining plot which simultaneously concords with many historical facts and curiosities. The plot is one of the best aspects of this game, and one that is certainly worth highlighting.
This is an amazingly beautiful game in terms of graphics. Every single building, landscape, horse, citizen, guard, bench and stand is almost perfectly textured. Basically every interactive element is uncannily realistic, let alone all that is untouchable. Even with the craze nowadays for good graphics, Assassin's Creed does not fall short, but quite the opposite. It presents a feat of artistic elements that are undoubtedly nearly unflawed. Its great visual features certainly add worth to the game as a whole.
This is one aspect in which the game falls short. The main problem is, I believe, that the volume of the different points is very unbalanced and inflexible. For example, if you wish to hear the saved citizens praising your work you might want to turn down the effects and music volume, but you're left with uncomfortably loud shouts from nearby bystanders shocked at your skill with a blade, which drown out the feeble voices of whoever you helped. Such things are certainly lamentable, especially in a game which's other features leave almost nothing to ask for. Additionally, the comments made by peasants and guards alike are very repetitive, especially the annoying public speakers which pretend to be charismatic while appearing every 20 seconds.
Nevertheless, I admit that I partly base my thoughts on this aspect on the fact that English is not my main language, and I prefer to turn up the volume to understand the dialogue, primordially because my console is hooked up to a television with one bad speaker. But however subjective my comments are, they remain sincere and fairly accurate. On the positive side, the voice actors did a great job, however strange it may seem that Altair is among the few characters that have an accent that is absolutely out of place, and the frequency of the music is reduced in an efficient way that adds to the general atmosphere. Aside from that, don't expect much from Assassin's Creed in terms of sound. And I hate to be a bother, but much of its problems could've been solved had the makers taken the time to add optional subtitles. Let's just hope the game industry learns from this mistake.
There are two aspects I will take into account when rating the gameplay of this game. One is it never gets old to explore around the land, find an occasional flag and assassinate one or two Knights Templar. Additionally, the controls are very handy; the fact that the buttons are assigned to a respective body part (for example, A for legs and Y for head) was a nice move by the producers. I personally didn't get tired of roaming around any city, and tried to do so as much as I could before assassinating my main target. Then, when you decide to finish off one of your targets, it is always good to recheck everything you have learned from your investigations to end his life discreetly. Actually killing them is somewhat easy, as is escaping, but if you wish to do so like a true assassin, you will need to observe your surroundings to take your victim by surprise.
Let me add emphasis to the fact that the aspects I just mentioned are the positive ones, and they greatly outweigh anything I may hereunto explain. The game, as a whole, is repetitive: it consists of the same objectives over and over again. You'll find yourself constantly investigating, then assassinating, then investigating, then assassinating, which gets somewhat tiring. And mind you, I would not mention this were it not for the fact that it is so obvious. Still, I will not exaggerate, for optional objectives such as saving citizens, climbing view points, killing Knights Templar and finding flags greatly give the game a feeling of diversity. But what makes up for this repetitiveness most of all is undoubtedly the storyline, for like the true assassins of the Medieval Ages, Altair does not merely kill for the sake of it, but for a purpose that is truly uncovered as the story unfolds.
Mainly what I'm saying is that there is indeed quite a flaw in the gameplay, but it is muffled, so to speak, by the part of it that isn't, as well as by the story, which always maintains a suspenseful atmosphere. Hence, I believe the gameplay can be generally summarized with two words, one of which serves as a necessary adverb; greatly entertaining.
Replay value- (6/10)
The thing with Assassin's Creed is that it is very much like a movie. The story is told so elaborately and elegantly, and unfolds with such precision that it seems to be based on a film. This is good in many ways, for the game has a coherent transgression which helps define its quality. But since the storyline pertains to such a crucial aspect of the game, it affects somewhat negatively its replay value. What I mean is that if you decide to complete it a second time, a great part of the game's momentum would perhaps cease to exist, very much like it is not the same to watch a movie a second time, because one already knows the plotline. For this reason, the replay value is not among the top rated aspects of Assassin's Creed.
Nevertheless, you may want to hunt for flags and Knights Templar (although this can get exceedingly tedious) and finish up any other optional objective you may have left off after you complete the game. Also, when thinking about the graphics and general gameplay you may suddenly have an urge to play. Still, I assure you that if you liked this game as much as I did, you'll be kicking into it again as soon as the sequel is announced.
The best aspects of Assassin's Creed are, I believe, the storyline and the graphics. The gameplay also delivers, although because of the general repetitiveness the overall score went down from a nine to its current rating. The sound is a very lamentable downside because the volume is all but unbalanced, which could've easily been fixed. However, it is a very worthy game despite its flaws. As to how you should acquire it, I recommend you rent it and decide whether you want to buy it. For me, Assassin's Creed remains an example of what an exhilarating action adventure game should be.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 02/25/08
Game Release: Assassin's Creed (US, 11/13/07)
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