Once French developers Ubisoft finished with the Prince of Persia Sands of Time trilogy, they announced a new game franchise titled Assassin's Creed. The game has been out for some time but the question is: Is it good? Let's find out shall we.
- well performed voice acting
- intricate storyline
- character models and animations are spectacular
- environments are beautiful and massive in scale
- repetitive side missions
- enemy AI can be idiotic
- story can be convoluted at times
- sitting on a bench to escape enemies
- limited throwing knives
- poor people begging strange killers for change
- using scholars to hide
- main character has an American accent, despite being middle eastern
- collecting of pointless flags
Graphics: The graphics are very well done. The shadows of cast by the clouds blocking the sun look natural and seeing entire cities without any frame rate issues is very satisfying. There will be occasional clipping, but this does not occur very often. Textures in the environments and character models stay true throughout the gameplay experience without any pop ins or outs.
Gameplay: The design of the gameplay is different, I'll give it that. Each button controls a different part of Altair. The gameplay can take a little getting used to, but is fluent and intuitive enough to keep players practicing at it. You are required to complete a ecrtain number of side missions before the final assassination. These consist of pickpocketing, eavesdropping on conversations of guards, and interrogating certain individuals for info. And this is all that you will ever do before killing your actual target.
The assassinations themselves are a great deal of fun, and take some skill when determining how and when is the appropriate time to make your move. You need to create a strategy for where you will attack from and escape to. Many times however the sense of adrenaline from being chased by guards will encourage players to improvise their methods of escape. There is also a mechanic called the "chase cam" that is oddly reminiscent of watching an episode of COPS during high speed car chases.
The combat is tense at first, but once you gain the dodge and counter attack abilities, there isn't any reason to use anything else. I literally counter killed every guard I faced, while the other guards just stood there doing nothing to prevent the deaths of their friends they apparently didn't seem to care for.
Story: The story, like I mentioned above is intricate in the sense that it is something people have seen before, but it is a different way of putting it into execution, which makes it interesting enough to make you want to see what happens. At times, it can also be quite confusing, leaving you scratching your head in bewilderment as to why they chose to present the story the way they did.
WTF moments: All of these aspects raise certain questions that continue to irritate me. Why is it that the scholars can conceal your identity, when you are clearly distinct from them? They seriously have no similar attire to yours apart from the white robe. I figured the blades and small amounts of armor would be a dead "I'm an assassin" give away. Also, why do the poor people never ask anybody but you for change? You don't even carry any gold in your inventory, so why are these little pests so persistent to annoy you when every city you go to has hundreds of other citizens walking around in broad daylight? Which leads me to another issue; It is ALWAYS broad daylight. Come on Ubisoft, the lighting effects in this game are good, you could have done a day to night cycle, but no it wasn't convenient enough for you was it? And you use hay bales and rooftop gardens to escape capture, but benches are also available for the same function. It reminded me immediately of old Bugs Bunny cartoons where all I needed was a newspaper and a fake moustache. And what is the deal with the limited throwing knives? I assumed that I had obtained the weapons in order to use them, yet at first you can only carry five at a time, so when you run dry you have to go pick pocket a certain type of citizen to collect more. The only reasoning that I can think of for this to make it more difficult to attain the eagle eye achievement, and that is just simply arbitrary silliness. One more thing; what is the point of collecting those useless flags? They don't do anything, and are scattered in so many random places in each area that it can take days or even weeks to find all of them. This is just another case of including something just for the sake of achievement points.
In conclusion, Assassin's Creed is an enjoyable experience and if you can ignore the poor design choices, it can be truly immersive. But I don't blame you if this isn't your cup of tea.