Guest Review – Assassin’s Creed


Assassin’s Creed

Here’s writer Neil’s second piece

“Nothing is true, everything is permitted”

Assassin’s Creed by Ubisoft was a pioneering title in the whole parkour/sandbox genre of games. The story begins with a brief tutorial with the player taking control of Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, an assassin from the 12th century in the Holy Land. After a few minutes the screen whites out, and we are introduced to our second playable character: Desmond Miles, a bartender in the year 2012. When we first meet Desmond, he is inside a machine called an Animus. T

he Animus is a machine which reads the subjects DNA for memories of their ancestors. This serves as the main plot device in the main story. It is revealed that Desmond has been kidnapped by Abstergo Industries, a pharmaceutical company. They are using him to find a so called “Piece of Eden”, a clue to which is buried deep within his genetic memories. However, whenever Abstergo try to access the particular memory they require, Desmond and the Animus desynchronise. So, in order to build up synchronisation we have to follow the story of Altaïr. What’s that? Convenient for the story? Sure is!

Gameplay consists of several different varieties; Free-running/parkour, intelligence gathering, combat and stealth assassinations.

The bulk of the game consists of free-running, and travelling between the four main cities in the game; Masyaf, Jerusalem, Acre and Damascus. The free-running aspect of the game incorporates impressive motion capture programming as well as real world physics which gives it a very natural feel. If a wall, ledge or foothold looks slightly too far away for it to be feasible in a real world context, then the chances are the same is true in game. However, with the game being set in the middle of the third crusade, buildings are run down enough for walls to be generally easy to scale.

A slight dampener on the free feel of the game is the “inaccessible memories”. Basically these are areas that you can’t access at that point in the game. If you stray too far into these areas Desmond will lose synchronisation with Altaïr. The programming is very unforgiving in this respect, even triggering desynchronisation if knocked into one of these areas by an enemy.
At the start of each mission, Altaïr will have to prove to the head assassin in each town that he is well enough prepared for them to allow him to be able to go in for the kill. This means intelligence gathering. Generally this comes in three flavours; intercepting/stealing documents, interrogating witnesses and eavesdropping. After a few missions this can get very repetitive, and seems to just have been incorporated to draw out gameplay.

The game does allow for players who prefer to go all out and attack things head on, however. With two mêlée weapons to choose from, a sword and a dagger (each having pros and cons depending on the situation), combat works well within its own confines. Although it can feel artificial, with enemies essentially waiting in line to be dispatched by the player, rather than attacking all at once or with any real strategy.

Each mission culminates in a stealth assassination, using Altaïr’s hidden blade. There are obstacles to be climbed and guards to be avoided when approaching your target, with each assassination having different short cuts available for those who can find them. Essentially though, whether you decide to take the stealth route, or charge in is of very little consequence.

After each assassination, you are confronted by numerous guards and forced to either outrun or kill them all before you can go about your business.

Aside from several issues with the pace of the game, the story is pretty decent, albeit clearly only paving the way for the sequels, for which this game is a good jumping off point. That in itself would be a very good reason for you to purchase and play through this game, however you’ll have to take it with a pinch of salt. My suggestion, rent or borrow rather than buy if you can.

Price: XBOX 360: £6 (CEX)
PS3: £6 (CEX)
PC: £5 (CEX)

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. corneilius5188
    Jul 28, 2011 @ 13:08:54

    Not my best work, I’ll admit.

    Reply

  2. Trackback: Should I Buy? – Beneath A Steel Sky | buythatgame
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