Damascus has the true feeling of an Islamic city filled with enormous golden domes that shine in the afternoon sunlight and mosque towers that seem like they touch the sky. Acre - the recently captured port city has a darker feel to it with the slowly fading reminders of a past siege, and finally Jerusalem shines like the jewel of the Holy Land it is with it's mix of Islamic, Christian, and yes...even Jewish influences in its structures and population. There is no doubt in my mind that Assassin's Creed
is one of the most visually awe-inspiring games to have ever come out.
Graphics = (an easy) 10/10
Now, using simple common sense in knowing the game puts you in the shoes of an assassin you would think that the greater population would think it silly to complain about how the game is nothing more than assassination mission after assassination mission. Yet - I'm beginning to have my doubts about the brain power of man...Anyway...Assassin's Creed
doesn't play as your normal...well...assassin game. Where in games like Hitman: Blood Money
and the stealth action game Splinter Cell
it helped to be quiet, sneaky, and essentially a shadow AC
throws a different kind of gameplay at us.
While by all means the game can be very much played in the same stealthy kind of way that Hitman
is, you're not soley restricted to it in terms of completing your mission. In fact, there are many times when being stealthy isn't the answer at all. You'll find that just jumping from roof top to roof top will get you in some major trouble when you come across archers on guard duty. When being persude, the game gives you a few options which can be used in order to disppear back into the faceless streets of the city. First there's the most prominant ones which are the hay bales and the curtained boxes. Entering either of these while out of sight of the persuing enemies will cause them to lose your tracks almost immediately and thus they will give up. While hiding your character remains there until it is safe once again, however if you're seen entering either of these two hiding places you'll immediately jump back out and continue the chase.
Other ways in which you can lose the enemy is by saving citizens throughout the cities. By helping people in distress, usually being beaten/mocked/or pushed around by a group of soldiers, you'll either gain vigilantes or a group of scholars in the area. The vigilantes will sieze pursuing guards by their arms and attempt to hold off the enemy - giving you the chance to either run or gain an easier kill. The scholars, on the other hand, are dressed in almsot the same fashion as your character. By blending in with them you will be almost invisible to any enemy looking for you.
Lastly, there's always the option to fight. The combat mechanic is one of the more impressive and exciting aspects of the game. During fights your character has two stances, the regular stance and the on-guard stance. Obviously, not being on-guard leaves you open to any and all attacks but allows you to run off more easily. While on-guard and locked onto an enemy you have multiple ways to attack given your progress in the game. As the game moves forward more weapons and abilities become available to you. Your main ways to strike are the following:
- self explanatory, can be blocked or dodge by enemies. Holding the strike button (X) gives you a more powerful but slower attack while pressing it repeatedly gives you faster, less effective swings. The counter ability isn't granted from square one, instead it's earned after the first mission or two. Essentially, by timing the pressing of X when an enemy comes into strike, your character will act out one of a few counter moves which either results in the gruesome death of the enemy or a swift kick/punch to the enemy knocking him down.
- while not in on-guard mode the step action (A) makes your character lunge at the enemy, sometimes causing him to lose balance. When the Break Defence ability is unlocked you can use the step action plus the X button to knock your enemies sword out of the way - leaving him exposed. While on-guard pressing this button at the right times makes your character jump out of the way of an enemy attack.
- fairly self explanatory, by pressing the grab button (B) your character will grab a nearby enemy and then throw him in a given direction. By pressing the same button when an enemy grabs you, you will break the assault and either punch/kick the enemy away from you.
These abilities work great with either the long sword or the dagger equppied but are almost nonexistant for the hidden blade and your fists, although supposedly you can in fact counter with the hidden blade but fighting against a sword with it will do you no good. During battle enemies will usually fight till the last but if your intimidating enough sometimes one or two will become scared and run off - leaving a perfect opportunity for you to get a nice running hidden blade kill.
Besides combat, AC
has great exploration and side mission possibilities. First off, the mechanic to essentially be able to go anywhere and climb anything makes the game very cool. If it looks like it can be grabbed and climbed on to...well...it can. The side missions take different forms, six different forms to be exact. Informant, Evesdrop, Pickpocket, Interrogation, Eagle View, and Save Citizen to be exact. The first four help you collect pieces of information on your targets throughout the game. When a sufficient number of this information has been collected you then can report back to the Assassin's Bureau to recieve permission to carry out the assassination. Completing Eagle View objectives helps you better locate these four investigation missions on the map, by climbing indicated tall buildings and pressing the Y button your character scans the area around him looking for clues on where to begin his investigation. The Save Citizen missions were already discussed above. While completing every single one of these six missions in every city is not required it does add an enormous amount of time to gameplay but does become rather repetitive after some time has passed.
Simply put - AC
has some great combat, exploration, and side mission mechanics to go along with its amazing graphics and visuals. The only downside to this is the repetitiveness of the four investigation side missions. They hardly ever vary in purpose and are essentially the same no matter what city you're in at the time.
Gameplay = 8/10
The sounds of this game are amazing! Whether it's the hustle and bustle of the busy markets or the eerie silences disturbed by the ramblings of the angry drunkard in the alleyway, this game immerses you fully in environment it has constructed. The music is also well composed and used throughout. The only draw back here is the voice over for the main character. It just sounds too...American...to out of place with the rest of the game.
Audio = 5/5
- Replay Value
Before playing Assassin's Creed
I had no question that the replay value of the title would be strong, much like how it is with Hitman: Blood Money
. The thing is that I was wrong, the game doesn't allow you to easily go back and forth between missions to play through them again. This is a massive blow to the game in my eyes, but there is also no doubt that this is a title that will probably be completed, put away, and then taken out again and completed another time by many players.
Replay Value = 3/5
The story is quite well put together but also pretty complex and draws you in. Simply put you are not actually the assassin in the 1200s. In reality you are Desmond Miles, a bartender in the year 2012 who is taken by a research coporation and strapped into a machine called the Animus. The Animus has the power to access the Desmond's genetic history and thus unlock the past thoughts and memories of his ancestors.
The ancestor which the coporation is most interested in is an assassin by the name of Altair in the Holy Land during the 1200s. At the time Richard the Lionheart marches towards Jerusalem with his Crusading armies while Saladin comes to meet him from Damascus before he can get to the Holy City. In the midst of all this Altair is sent on a mission by his master, after being stripped of his rank and pride for a mistake earlier, to kill nine men. Three each reside in the cities of Damascus, Acre, and Jerusalem. Altair sets out on this mission to regain his pride and rank at first but then realizes there's something more powerful and secret that's not being revealed to him, but eventually that secret comes out as the game continues onwards...
Story/ Plot = 10/10
Assassin's Creed is a game which is one in a million. Whether you play it for the hype, the subject matter, the story, or the awesome game mechanics know that you're playing something that the gaming community has never seen before. AC is totally original and a nice breath of fresh gaming air in the midst of Halo spin offs and never ending WWII FPS titles.
While there are negatives about this title, I think they are only felt due to the fact that the game gives off this air of perfection. Because everything else in the game in looks nice, feels nice, and handles nice, it becomes obvious when something graphically glitches or something sticks out that the developers didn't fix or forgot about.
Overall, like I stated this is a must play title for any Xbox 360 and PS3 owners. If not b/c you had interest in it in the first place than at least to see what all the hype was and is about the game.
FINAL SCORE = 36/40 or 90%