Assassin's Creed Review
Written : Tuesday, December 18, 2007
By: Alan Baxter (GT: Bax x360a)
So many games these days are hyped up to be the next best thing, bringing innovative ideas and gameplay to their respective genres. The 2007 gaming year has consisted of many hyped games, with the likes of Call of Duty 4, Bioshock and Halo 3 among others. Fortunately for us gamers, most of these games have lived up to the astonishing amount of hype, and provided us with many hours of entertainment. With Assassin's Creed being released after these games, it had a lot to live up to and prove it deserves to be among the gaming elite. A huge amount of exposure has surrounded Assassin's Creed ever since it was announced a little over two years ago. Ubisoft Montreal were under a lot of pressure to produce a title which would rise above the other unique and inspiring games released this year. The question is, did they flop under the pressure, or rise above it to create a title that will live on in gamers' memories for years to come?
Ubisoft Montreal sought to create a game that was unique from the many others available on the market, something that hadn’t been done before. In order to help them make this dream a reality, they produced a new game engine from scratch which Ubisoft have named “The Scimitar Engine”. The Scimitar Engine was designed to allow the player total freedom within the gaming world, allow many interactive characters to be present on the screen at one time, and of course give the designers the ability to create jaw-dropping graphics. Each of these was done incredibly well in Assassin's Creed, as I will explain in further detail later in the review.
What a view! You can see for miles.
Assassin's Creed is set in the year 1191, when “The Third Crusade” occurred within the cities of Jerusalem, Damascus and Acre. The Third Crusade took place between the years 1189 and 1192, and began due to Christians and Muslims fighting to take control of what was known as “The Holy Land”. During this era of history, the religion you believed in played a huge role in your lifestyle, from the way you were treated to what your everyday activities would be. The Third Crusade has become a very important event in history due to allowing the English to discover such materials as salt and silk, and also ending feudalism which occurred during the Middle Ages. Feudalism was when people were born with a permanent position in their society, such as made to be a peasant, or perhaps chosen to have a more important role such as a Templar. The peace treaty signed at the end of The Third Crusade eliminated feudalism, and allowed people to live the way they wanted and make their own decisions. With such an interesting history, Ubisoft believed that the time of The Third Crusade and the environments it took place in would make the perfect setting and storyline for their next blockbuster hit.
During the Third Crusade, the very first assassins group was created. The aim of this society, known as the “Hashshashin Sect”, was to murder people for preaching about other religions, to carry out an act of revenge, or simply being paid to complete the request. During the time period Assassins Creed takes place in, an assassin called Altair Ibn La-Ahad, shortened to Altair, was a member of the Hashshashin Sect; and this is who Ubisoft decided to base their main character around. The game is set in the year 2012, and begins with a man named Desmond Miles waking up on top of a machine called an “Animus”, where he realizes he has been kidnapped by an organization known as Abstergo Industries. The two main leaders of Abstergo Industries, Dr. Warren Vidic and a woman named Lucy, explain to Desmond that he is an assassin, and that they need to look into his memory to find important artifacts from the past. Desmond does not know how to respond and is in a state of shock, as he proclaims he was just a normal bartender until he was taken and placed into the building holding him hostage. Dr. Vidic and Lucy go on to explain that a machine Abstergo Industries has created, called The Animus, will allow the company to look into the memory of the person laying upon it, and therefore this is how they will look into the past of Desmond and discover the acts of his ancestors. At this point in the game you might be thinking, why have they chosen Desmond and his ancestor, and why is Abstergo Industries looking for these artifacts from 900 years ago? All questions you might have at this point in the game will be answered as you progress through the tantalizing story line.
With Desmond realizing that he will not be able to escape from the grasps of Abstergo Industries, he has little choice but to decide to comply with their wishes, and therefore lays back onto the Animus. “A wise decision” Dr. Vidic proclaims, and follows by telling Desmond that the human body not only holds memories of the present time, but also memories of their ancestors; the Animus lets them decode these memories and read the subject's mind. However, the subconscious mind of Desmond does not let him jump straight into his Ancestors' memories, and therefore a series of tutorial events will follow. This is a nice way for the user to learn the controls of the game whilst playing as Desmond’s ancestor, Altair for the first time. The Animus tutorial is certainly needed due to the control system in Assassins Creed seeming complicated when first explained, and possibly taking up to thirty minutes and a fair bit of practice to get accustomed to. After the tutorial is complete, which teaches you about high and low profile moves, the combat system, social icons, how to blend into the environment and a feature called eagle vision, you begin to play the first memory of your ancestor. This is where the story becomes explained, and you are clear about what tasks you need to complete throughout he game. The memory begins with you, playing as Altair, and two other Assassins located in a maze of underground caverns beneath the city of Jerusalem. The reason you and the other two Assassins are here is to recover the Order’s treasure from the Grand Master of the Templar Knights, Robert De Sable. As you progress through the underground labyrinth, learning to interact with the environment and carry out stealth assassinations, you will eventually come across Robert De Sable and his merry men leaving the underground maze with the treasure. A cut scene begins where Altair arrogantly proclaims this is where he will take back the treasure and end the life of the Order’s greatest nemesis, only for the other two assassins to give him intelligent advice on waiting for a better opportunity to strike. Unfortunately, Altair’s arrogance overcomes him and he jumps down to confront Robert De Sable and his guards. Your character wastes little time in making an attack on the enemy, only for De Sable to overpower you with ease and throw you through a wooden structure, leaving Altair struggling to rise to his trembling feet. Robert De Sable decides to spare the life of Altair, and demands that Altair deliver this message to the leader of the Assassin Order, Al Mualim; that he and his men will take over and conquer the Holy Land, and kill all those involved within the order.
The breathtaking leap of faith.
After the shock of Altair, who comes across as an arrogant yet highly successful assassin, failing to complete a task which was crucial to the Order controlling the Holy Land, another shock is about to strike the gamer which sets up the rest of the Assassin's Creed adventure beautifully. Al Mualim was obviously not happy with Altair for failing to take back the treasure, and therefore summons Altair to come forth for an important, life-changing meeting. In this exchange of words, Al Mualim explains how Altair did not follow the creed the way all assassins should, and how he has let the Order down due to his actions. The result of this is Altair being stripped of his rank in the Order, and being demoted to the lowest rank, aptly named Novice. Al Mualim offers you the chance to redeem yourself and regain your status, once again reaching the rank of Master Assassin. In order to re-achieve your assassin ranks and the respect of the Assassins Order, you are given the task and responsibility of assassinating 9 men who are playing pivotal roles in trying to take the Holy Land away from Al Mualim and the Order's religion, and going against his plans of bringing peace to the cities of Jerusalem, Damascus and Acre. Interestingly, the producers of the game state that the 9 men you assassinate during the game were actually real people during The Third Crusade, all of whom died or disappeared in the year 1191; the year the game is set. In this respect, not only does Assassins Creed contain an enthralling story line, it also lets you play through and recreate a piece of history, albeit a tad fabricated.
With the task of assassinating these 9 leaders in an attempt to restore peace and tranquility to The Holy Land, you set of on your journey. However, the game is not as simple as going to a certain place and killing a target, followed by traveling to another place and just killing a person. The game is realistic in a sense that you need to complete tasks in order to find out more about your target, such as their wrong doings, and most importantly, where you’ll be able to find them and strike the killing blow. The first place you visit for a clue of where to look is called an Assassins Bureau, with one of these located in each city. The Assassins Bureau is also the place where you take a piece of paper with the targets blood on it as proof of the successful assassination, and therefore these Bureaus play an important role in the game. As you venture towards the location that the bureau told you to look in, you will firstly need to find and climb what is known as a “View Point”. Each city in the game is split up into a rich, middle and poor district, resulting in 9 different districts overall. With 9 different large districts to explore, the game provides a massive kingdom for you to search and explore throughout your experience with the game. Each district will contain anything between 5 and 12 View Points. You use these points to view the city in which you are present in, and help find the location of tasks that you need to complete in order to gain information about your target. If you want to view an entire city, you will have to climb to great heights. To reach a view point, you must use your unique agility skills to climb on top of buildings, towers, castles and anything else you can see. You are able to interact with every piece of the environment as long as the building you want to climb has objects that Altair will be able to grasp onto and pull himself up, such as jutting stones, ledges etc. then you will be able to speed up buildings and reach great heights in no time at all. Altair's agility is one of the main selling points in Assassin's Creed, allowing the player to explore these 3 huge, beautiful cities in any way you see fit, with no restrictions. Jumping from rooftop to rooftop, flying off ledges, and throwing yourself through marketplace stools is incredibly fun. In fact, you would be able to sit down with the game for a few hours and totally enjoy the experience without even thinking about the main storyline and who you’ve got to kill or what tasks to complete. The game's exploration is terrific in this sense and provides many hours of fun, during and even after you’ve completed the main storyline. The storyline helps to keep you engaged by often switching between the present day of controlling Desmond, and then back to Altair’s memory when getting back onto the Animus. The segments when you play with Desmond help to explain and develop the storyline of the game, whereas the majority of the gameplay takes place while controlling Altair.
Once you’ve reached one of the main view points in the game by using your climbing abilities to your advantage, simply press the Y button on your controller. What follows is a truly breathtaking experience, every time it occurs at each different view point. The camera will spin around Altair and the view point, showing a 360 degree view of the city you are in. The view points in this game really do show off Assassin's Creed's incredible graphics. As the angle spins around, you can see the whole span of the huge city, scouting out buildings located miles away. The draw distance in this game and the detail is unbelievable, and has never been done to this extent before. After you have recovered from the memorable experience of seeing the city from the perspective of an airplane, you might not fancy climbing all the way down again as this might be a tiresome experience; let alone risking falling all that way to your death. One move that Altair has in his repertoire will come in handy in situations such as this, and it is known as a “Leap of Faith”. This is where Altair dives off the edge of a building, falling through the air at a great speed, only to land in a haystack located near the bottom of the viewpoint. This move looks great in motion, and is very fun to keep recreating numerous times, also helping the game flow by reducing the tedium of descending buildings; a very good addition to the game if you ask me! As the stack of hay aids your fall and you lay hidden from the rest of the world, your map will now be updated, showing you where certain tasks are. Complete these tasks to gain valuable information about your assassination target. Before the game allows you to progress to your target and attempt to assassinate him, you must complete 2 of 6 tasks available to you, and in the latter assassinations, you are required to complete 3 of 6 tasks before you can restore pride in yourself and the holy land. The tasks you must complete include pickpocketing people to gain useful information and letters, eavesdropping on conversations between people, interrogating people by beating them until they will tell you the information they hold, and also helping people known as “Informers”.
Interactive environments and citizens, awesome!
The pickpocket tasks require you to travel to where the people are, and lock onto your target by using the left trigger. After listening to a brief conversation between two people, mainly about delivering certain letters to people, your target will walk off alone into the distance. Follow him without being seen, and when the opportune time comes, simply hold down the B button. This makes Altair’s arm stretch out and reach into the person's robe for the letter. After this is completed, a box will come up to the left of the screen explaining what you have found. For example, you may learn that your assassination target will be attending a local event in the next few days. Using this information, you know where you will be able to find your target. Interrogation tasks are similar to pickpocketing, except you must wait and follow your target until they approach an area with no other civilians around. If you start attacking your target in broad daylight, the surrounding civilians will become interested and possibly start to panic, therefore alerting one of the many guards scattered around the cities. This is not a clever idea, as the guards will try to intervene and save the citizen, resulting in a fight erupting between you and numerous guards. The way people within the cities react to your every movement is incredible. When you start to climb a building, you will hear the citizens say things such as “why is he doing that?” and “only a crazy man would do such things”. The people located within the cities can have a huge impact on the gameplay. If you’re sprinting around recklessly, barging into people and disrupting them from their daily flow then they will become unhappy and likely to alert the local guards on patrol. Also if you assassinate a guard or civilian, the public will report the incident to a guard who will then begin searching for you. Eavesdropping is the simplest task you will be required to perform; sit on a bench, lock onto your target, and press the Y button to listen to their conversation. This will allow you to gain information about the target without alerting anyone, and therefore with no risk involved at all. Lastly you may be required to help informers. An informer is a person who sets you on a certain task to help them out, and if you successfully complete this task, they will tell you information about your Assassination target. Some tasks you will have to complete include killing people who are trying to murder the informer, and also finding flags that the informer has lost around the local area. In general, the tasks you complete to gain information are enjoyable, but only for the first two or three times. After this, you will be stuck performing the same tasks over and over again, and the repetition may become boring and tiresome. With only four tasks to complete during each assassination, with each task not hugely differing from the other, repetitive gameplay becomes an issue which may put some people off of continuing the adventure.
When you have acquired the amount of information needed about the target via completing tasks, it is time to visit the local Assassins Bureau in order to obtain a parchment where the targets blood will be placed. After this, Altair will rest for the evening at the bureau, and when awaking in the morning, will be free to now attempt murdering one of the 9 main people leading The Third Crusade. Unfortunately each assassination is a replica of the next, as in its simplest form, you travel to the location and kill the person. However, due to the games total freedom and the ability to interact with the environment, there are many different ways that you can approach each assassination. Will you choose to burst through the front door with a wailing sword taking on the target's bodyguards, or do you choose the stealthier approach where you sneak across the rooftops, taking out nearby guards with throwing knives. This alternative gameplay adds many an hour to the game, and encourages you to play through the game numerous times so you can experience killing each target in a number of different ways. The mood you’re in at the time decides how you play the game; what other video game can say that? Whatever choice you choose, after you’ve killed your target, there’s bound to be a lot of angry guards who worshipped the person you just murdered, and therefore want your blood. This is where your agility skills come in handy again, as you scurry away from the scene in any way possible, sprinting over the rooftops or just barging your way through the streets, knocking over the innocent public. Whatever your choice, you must lose the pursuing guards by any means necessary.
Assassin's Creed has a system which allows you to detect whether you're being chased, watched, or if the guards are unaware of your presence. When you are being followed by a guard or engaged in a fight, a symbol in the top left of your screen will flash a strong red colour. If you cleverly manage to break the sight of the guards so they no longer know where you are, this symbol will turn to a flashing yellow colour. It is when this symbol is yellow that you need to find a place to hide for a few seconds. If the guards see you when you’re trying to hide, the symbol will instantly turn red again and you’ll have the challenge of escaping and breaking their vision once more. Scattered around the 3 cities are hiding places where Altair can go when being chased and watched by the guards. The places where you can run to and hide include sitting on a local bench which allows you to blend in with the public, blend in with a group of scholars you unlocked by helping save a citizen, diving into a haystack, and also diving into a roof garden located along the rooftops. As soon as you enter one of these locations, the symbol in the top left corner of the screen will start to flash blue; this signifies that the guards do not know where you are but are still searching for you. If you wait a few seconds later, this symbol will turn green, and this represents that the guards have resigned to the fact that they will not be able to find you. This stealth system can work very well at times, but it also has its flaws. An example of this is when you battle and kill guards; if you are unable to flee the scene before a citizen can report it to a guard or a guard happening to walk by sees the event, then you will have to either face up and fight these new guards or try to break the line of sight and hide again. This can be pretty frustrating when you’re just trying to complete a task to get information about your target and not in the mood to fight guards you have no business with.
Hmmm, where is my next target?
The game can also become very frustrating even when your status is set to green, as when you’re exploring the city, you will likely be interrupted by a beggar or harasser every so often. One or two women will approach you saying “please, can you spare any coins, my family needs food” and will not give up easily; if you attempt to sprint away, you risk being exposed to nearby guards. Even worse than the beggars are the harassers. The number of them seems to increase towards the end of the game, and they often give away your position to the guards. On numerous occasions, I have attempted to sneak up on a target only for a harasser to come along and push me into a civilian; this make it look like I have attacked a civilian, or if I’m especially unlucky, I will get pushed into a guard. The addition of beggars and harassers is a nice touch to the game and helps add realism to the title, but can lead to some frustrating and unnecessary headaches.
The combat system is easy to use effectively; possibly a bit too easy. When you find somebody you want to kill, you simply lock on to them by pressing the left trigger. The X button will be the button you attack with, whether you’re using your fists, hidden dagger, sword, or throwing knives.. Every assassin who was a member of the Hashshashin Sect has had their middle finger on one of their hands amputated. In the finger's place, a hidden dagger was placed which the assassin would easily be able to hide and draw when needed. Altair possesses this dagger, and you are able to lock onto your target, walk up to them without being seen and simply hit the X button. A flesh piercing sound will reign as your dagger slips into your victim’s throat, and his body falls slowly to the ground as you calmly walk in the opposite direction. Stealth assassinating guards is often the best way to kill them. If you get into a sword battle with a guard, it is very likely that other guards will join in the fight and their numbers will greatly increase; whilst this is a good example of artificial intelligence by the game, it can be frustrating when you’re not actually looking to fight and you just want to progress in the game. By pressing X with the sword, you will perform a quick, light attack, whereas if you hold X with the sword, you will perform a stronger more powerful attack, which takes a longer time to pull off. Your enemies will normally just keep blocking your attacks, and therefore your best option might be to let them attack you and hit them with a counter attack. A counter attack is performed by pressing the right trigger and X buttons together as soon as you see the enemy start to swing for you. If you time this correctly, a mini cut-scene will occur where Altair performs one of 4 or 5 special assassinations; for example sticking his sword into an enemies stomach, or kicking their knee to force them to the floor, followed by stabbing them in the back. These short action sequences may seem impressive for the first hundred times you perform them, but after a while they will grow boring and you’ll just want the game's fighting to be over with as quickly as possible. The only other main action in the combat system is the ability to grab your opponent and throw them into objects or to the floor. This is especially effective after you have made contact with a few hits, as it is an easy way to finish them off.
Face to face combat with the sword can become very repetitive in Assassins Creed, and this will make you want to avoid getting into troubles with the guards. This could be seen as a positive thing, due to Ubisoft wanting you to carry out assassinations using stealth tactics, but I’m sure they would not have purposely put a flawed combat system in the game in order to achieve this. When you are battling a large amount of opponents in a small space, or even just one guard in a small alley, the camera angle can often become frustrating. At times, you will not even be able to see the fight commence, and this will leave you open to attacks from the enemy and render you unable to use the counter-attack technique, as you frantically try to turn the camera around via the right thumbstick.
The ability to kill enemies from a distance with throwing knives is a nice touch to the combat, and offers variety to the other repetitive fight situations. Some gamers may feel that there is not enough challenge though with the combat system as a whole, as all you have to do is lock onto a target using the left trigger and then press the X button to perform the act you desire. It would have been nice to have a system where you have to guide each individual knife into a certain area of the targets body, similar to the bullet time move in the game Stranglehold, instead of the dagger digging into the enemies’ neck everytime without fail. A nice touch to the game which helps the combat system is the ability to use a skill known as “Eagle Vision”. You are able to activate Eagle Vision by pressing the Y button, and this highlights certain people on the screen; your assassination target is highlight in yellow, with guards highlighted in red, and allies of yours highlighted in blue. This system is a good way to identify whether there are any guards in the area you may want to dispatch stealthily before approaching your main target, or simply to differentiate enemies between civilians. Although Eagle Vision can be a useful tool, you’ll likely find yourself not using it on many occasions through the game as it is generally easy to tell the difference between enemies and civilians, and therefore Eagle Vision seems more like a cheap gimmick than a useful tool which adds to gameplay.
The combat system will be put to more use as you explore the vast cities of Assassins Creed, and occasionally you will be take the role of the local hero. Every so often, you will hear the cries of citizens being bullied by the guards, usually being accused of stealing and therefore about to lose their lives. Assassins are totally against the idea of an innocent civilian losing their life, and therefore the game gives you the option to save the citizens from the wrath of the guards. This is easily done by locking onto a nearby guard and engaging in battle with him and his colleagues, and successfully defeating them. Lock onto the citizen you just saved, and you will be rewarded in one of two ways. One reward is unlocking the use of “Scholar Blending”, where you are able to blend in with Scholars in the city to hide from guards and reach heavily guarded areas; a very useful tool to have. The other reward is unlocking friends of the citizen you helped, and these friends distract the guards and block them off when you’re being chased. All you have to do is run past your allies, and they will ensure you can break the line of sight of the guards and give you enough time to find a suitable hiding place. Both of these features are enjoyable additions to the game and enhance the gameplay, and therefore you will find it extremely beneficial to save citizens when the opportunity arises.
I briefly mentioned earlier in the review about the graphics of Assassins Creed, but I will now extend on them in this section. Simply put, the graphics are stunning and will never fail to amaze you every time you load the game up. The buildings you climb are extremely detailed, with nearly every wall looking different from the other. When standing on top of a building or at a view point, you are able to see for miles and appreciate the incredible scale of the cities in Assassins Creed. Not only are the cities in the game extremely big and will take many hours to fully explore, but so will the kingdom which links the cities together. When you want to travel to another city in the game, you will have the option of simply just appearing outside of the city gates, or the more realistic option of traveling there the good old fashioned way. A horse is never far off, and you can hop on these with ease. The horses look stunning in Assassins Creed, which so much detail put into every inch of their bodies. Whilst exploring the cities of the game or busting your butt to get away from the guards, you will notice special little features that make the game just a little bit more enjoyable and make you really appreciate how much effort Ubisoft have put into this title. As you’re running along the rooftops, every so often a flock of birds will be perched on a ledge; as you run towards the edge and leap of it, the birds will spread their wings and fly off into the distance as they see you coming to avoid being trampled on. Other beautiful little ambient features include bits of hay flying up when you complete a Leap of Faith into a haystack, or sunlight glistening on the ocean below when you’re looking down from a view point. There have been a few outstanding graphical games released this year, with Bioshock and Call of Duty 4 coming to mind instantly, but Assassins Creed is up there with the best of them, if not exceeding them in the graphical department.
Ouch, thats going to hurt in the morning!
With next generation games, not only do the graphics help to enhance gameplay, but now a game's audio also has a big impact when a developer is attempting to create atmospheric scenes. The audio in Assassins Creed really helps to involve the player in the game, and helps to change the way you play the game. An example of this is when you’re climbing a building, a strange act for the normal man. The citizens will pick up on this and make comments about your actions. If these strange actions continue, they are likely to notify a guard who will take appropriate action; normally asking you to get down from there. Other beautiful touches are added to the gameplay via the audio as well, and an example of this is when you kill an enemy and quickly flee from the scene. If you hide around a corner, if a few seconds time you hear another guard come over to inspect the situation, and ask the surrounding people in a threatening voice “who did this?!?”. Do you have to bottle to make yourself clear and allow the guard to join his former friend sleeping with the fishes, or continue hiding and take a more stealthy approach? The voice acting in Assassins Creed is also very well done, with each different assassination target having distinctly different voices. After playing and hearing Assassins Creed for a few hours, you will be able to see that every possible effort has been put not only into the graphics and storyline, but also the audio section of the game.
Assassins Creed is entirely a singleplayer game with no multiplayer options at all, but don’t let this fool you. The game does not need multiplayer due to the incredible and unique single player experience it offers to the player. Multiplayer modes would not fit with the story and concept of the game, as the developers encourage you to play with stealth in mind. If a Deathmatch mode or something similar was added, everybody is likely to go in with all swords blazing instead of hiding in the shadows and picking off their opponents one by one. It just wouldn’t work.
Scattered around the 3 main cities, Jerusalem, Damascus and Acre, along with the smaller city of Masyaf and the kingdom inbetween the cities, you will find a huge amount of flags available to collect. 20 flags are located within Masyaf where the leader of the Assassins Order Al Mualim is located, with 100 flags located in each of the kingdom, Jerusalem, Damascus and Acre. With a total of over 400 flags to locate, it will take you many hours to achieve the incredible feat of collecting all flags within the game. The flags can be found all over the world, normally in places you would not normally look; the rooftops, hidden alley ways etc. You will not actually unlock anything relating to the game for collecting all the flags however, which is a shame. Unlocking a new ending would have been a huge incentive for many players to complete this time-consuming task. You are rewarded in some way though, as you unlock achievements for collecting all flags located in each city. 105 gamerpoints, and therefore 10.5% of the games achievements are achieved by having excellent exploration skills and a great deal of patience. I know that I will never collect all the flags within the beautiful environments, due to not having enough patience to sit down and explore every nook and cranny the developers have created. It is a nice touch though that gamers are rewarded for exploring the game; something Ubisoft encourages by to allowing you to free-roam whenever you see fit. The flag collection can add anything from 10 hours upwards to the gameplay of Assassin's Creed, and therefore however annoying finding the last few flags might be, it was a clever addition to the game.
The flag collection only makes up roughly 10% of the 1000 gamerpoints in the game, so i’m sure you’ll be keen to know what you’ll have to do to in order to achieve the other 90%. Many of the achievements are story related and are rewarded for simply assassinating the 9 main targets in the game. The achievement hunters' eyes will light up with joy after the final game credits have rolled, due to a nice 100 gamerpoints achievement popping onto their screens for completing Assassin Creed. If the indulging story line and outstanding graphics were not a big enough motivation to complete this title, then surely the 350 plus achievement points you will earn for just completing the game will tip you over the edge, and leave you screaming for more. The achievements will also encourage you to fully use the combat system, as you are rewarded for assassinating 100 guards with the hidden blade, killing 75 guards with the throwing knives and also for obtaining 100 kills by using the counter attack skill. Other achievements will also ensure you use all the features within the game, due to earning rewards for performing 50 leaps of faith, using Scholar blending 20 times and pickpocket 200 throwing knifes from thugs. Assassins Creed's achievement list consists of both easy and fun achievements you can work towards, and time-consuming ones which will test your exploration skills and patience. If you are aiming to acquire the full 1000 gamerpoints, you are likely to put no less than 35 hours into Assassins Creed; and I’m sure you will enjoy every single hour.
A lot of time and effort has been put into the audio in Assassins Creed. The games audio reacts to how you play, and makes you think twice about the decisions you make. This is the first time I have come across a game which uses audio to affect gameplay, and Assassins Creed does this incredibly well.
The 4 cities and the kingdom in Assassins Creed look superb, with every building carry incredible detail and looking different from the next. The scale of the cities is spectacular, and the view points allow you to see for miles; I wish I had these breathtaking views out of my bedroom window! Last but not least, the new Scimitar Engine that Ubisoft developed allows a huge amount of characters to be on the screen at one time. This feature helps to make the cities feel believable and extremely realistic.
The Assassins Creed adventure will take you around 15 hours to complete if you just do the minimum amount required to assassinate your targets. If you decide to complete all tasks, view points, and save all citizens before each assassination, it will take you at least 20 hours to complete the game. Add upon this the daunting feat of collecting all the 400+ flags scattered around the vast world, and you have another 20 hours of gameplay. 40 hours of gameplay is an extremely good amount of gameplay for an action-adventure game.
The game is nicely presented to the gamer, with barely any menu system which allows you to quickly get into the game. When you enter the Animus, you can clearly click continue game, or choose a memory block to access if you feel the need to repeat a part of the game. The loading times may become annoying after a while, but there have certainly been worse in other titles.
Assassins Creed has a solid set of achievements, consisting of easy achievements that you will acquire by simply completing the stunning single player experience, and hard, time consuming achievements such as collecting all the flags located in the game. If you’re thinking about achieving the full 1000 gamerpoints, expect to play the game for around 40 hours.
Assassins Creed was a highly anticipated title with a huge amount of hype surrounding it for a number of years. Fortunately, I can say that the game lived up to the hype. Stunning visuals and unique gameplay is offered to the gamer, but is slightly let down with a bland combat system and gameplay that can become repetitive after a while. These two disadvantages of the game do not take away from the fact that this game is an epic title, and definitely something to tell the Grandchildren about.