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Assassin's Creed (PC)

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Manufacturer: Ubisoft / Genre: Action & Adventure

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    10 Reviews
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      05.06.2010 14:23
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      They could have made it twice as fun by spending half as much time and effort.

      As a medieval assassin you travel from city to city investigating a complex plot by eavesdropping on conversations and pick pocketing documents before ultimately finding your local target and dispatching them.

      There are two main elements to game play: free running and fighting.

      Free running is the art of getting from A to B via the most direct route; over roof tops. The environment makes this more engaging as cities have a complex and realistic design but there isn't a great deal of skill involved, if you just hold down all the action buttons and point forward you generally get though.

      Fighting is done with any one of four weapons including your assassins' blade and your limited supply of throwing knives. Again fighting is quite easy, from early on you can take on more than five armoured guards at a time and still be confident of success and this takes away from the strategy because it isn't necessary to plan your hits in the way it suggests on the back of the box.

      The skill which Assassins' creed tests (or intends to test) is coordination, fighting especially is all about pressing multiple buttons at the opportune time.

      There are lots of good things about the game; there is a huge amount of freedom in where you go and what fights you pick and everything is very realistic from the sprawling cities with diverse populations of interactive characters to the choreography of the sword fighting.

      Unfortunately the game has one significant draw back which manifests itself in every element of the experience.

      Assassins' creed is unrelentingly slow, not just in its performance (I am playing on a brand new PC and it still struggles sometimes) but also there is a purposeful, in built slowness in everything you do.

      There is a ridiculous amount of dialogue which you can't skip over, you might spend literally twenty minutes listening to some old man putting your task in a context which frankly I don't care about, your reward for this patients is to be allowed to fulfil some arbitrary task like walking over to a bed and pressing any key to lie down and then there is another ten minutes of chit chat. Adding a skip button would automatically add another star from me.

      I frequently go away to make a drink and come back to it still in video mode telling me something which will be summed up in two lines of text on the objectives screen anyway.

      What is really annoying is when you load the game up again only to find yourself stuck behind a wall of speeches that you've already slept though once.

      The plot is horribly convoluted with a crisis crossing story about some bloke in a lab who talks to a doctor and then goes into a machine and then talks some more to a king. The amount of memory this unnecessary double life takes up must be jaw dropping and all you get for it is hours of boredom.

      The menu system is also needlessly slow and complicated, ending or reloading a game involves clicking though about five different screens. A prime example of this stupid system is the in game fighting tutorials where you are told simply to press escape to leave but really you have to press escape, select exit tutorial, select that you are sure you want to exit the tutorial and then wait for it to load again.

      Probably the worst impact of this cult of slow is the journeying from one city to another. Moving about inside a city is fun because there is beautiful, scalable archetecture and plenty of guards to molest, but riding from one city to another is a hopelessly inane task. There is a long, empty road which has occasional bends to stop you from just taping down the forward button.

      In conclusion there is some fun sword fighting and some great environments but this cannot justify the sheer, unrelenting tedium of the intermediate stages.

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        21.03.2010 23:28
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        A wonderful game held back by its incessant cut-scenes and mediocre voicing for the main character.

        Assassin's Creed would be one of my favourite games if it weren't for the few but significant flaws the game is marred by. Intense, engaging gameplay, gorgeous graphics, wide open cities, well-oiled combat mechanics, fairly intriguing storyline and fantastic voice acting from all but one of the game's characters make Assassin's Creed a truly unique and endlessly enjoyable experience, but it's tainted by mind-numbing detours from the gameplay.

        ~ [ Installation ] ~

        Installing this game is straight-forward and doesn't require any online activations or the like, although the disc is required to be in the drive during play. Assassin's Creed probably represents one of the last modern games to be devoid of intrusive, Orwellian anti-piracy measures. The sequel, as any gamer with even a modicum of interest in the series will know, sports one of the most draconian and unstable DRM systems in gaming history. The days of game installation as simple as that of Assassin's Creed are over.

        ~ [ Storyline ] ~

        If you are in any way familiar with the writings centred around a secret cabal of power-hungry elites known as the New World Order and the Knights Templar, bent on creating a one-world state, you will already be pretty keyed up on the basic storyline of Assassin's Creed.

        The game tales place in two time periods; 2012 and 1191 AD. The 2012 portion of the game takes place entirely within a research laboratory - Abstergo Industries, based in the United States - in which a genetic memory decoder device known as the Animus is being used. Your character for this period, Desmond Miles, is being held against his will in this laboratory while two scientists monitor his ancestor's genetic memories via the Animus in an effort to discover information regarding the location of a long lost artefact known as the Piece of Eden. When Desmond is placed in the Animus, and when genetic memories are located and recreated using virtual reality, the player takes control of his ancestor (Altaïr ibn La-Ahad) in 1191 AD, during the Third Crusade. His ancestor is a member of an elite sect of assassins which operates in the Middle East's Holy Land, namely Masyaf, Jerusalem, Damascus and Acre, all of which are explored during the game.

        The Piece of Eden is sought after by numerous antagonists who are based loosely on real people from the period. Altair is instructed by his master, Al Mualim, to assassinate key players in the conspiracy and the story unravels further as the game progresses, and as such is in possession of knowledge regarding the artefact, which is why the scientists at Abstergo Industries are so interested in his descendant, Desmond. Being a story centred around a massive conspiracy you can probably guess that nothing is what it seems.

        ~ [ Gameplay ] ~

        Assassinations take place at the end of long investigative activities based in one of the four main cities. You travel to the city in question, complete various tasks and gain information which eventually gives you the knowledge you require to seek out the victim; you can't simply go and find the target and kill him.

        When you first arrive at a city your map will be largely blank. The map can be expanded, and new tasks located, by climbing towers which are located at various points around the locale. When you climb these towers and press the appropriate key a short cut-scene is played out and your map is updated.

        The tasks which can be performed to gain information necessary for the completion of your mission include interrogations, pick-pocketing, eavesdropping, racing/timed meetings/timed assassinations of NPCs, escorting NPCs and the destruction of illicit market stalls. Another objective which isn't required for the completion of a mission but will help you in the long run is rescuing citizens from being brutalised by heavy-handed guards; when you rescue them they provide "muscle" for you which helps you escape during chases by the helpers holding back and fighting with the guards.

        The game doesn't have a health bar, but something called "synchronisation". If you get hurt, Desmond's synchronisation with his ancestor's memory becomes weakened, eventually breaking completely, requiring you to start again from the last checkpoint. Completing tasks in the game will increase the size and strength of the synchronisation bar, giving you longer life and faster recovery from injury, so even though you only need three or four completed tasks before the assassination becomes available you will be rewarded for putting in extra work before each assassination.

        Movement in the game is based largely around the ideas of parkour, a very disciplined and strenuous activity which involves fast, fluid and precise climbing and jumping. However, the climbing requires very little work from you; all you have to do is hold the appropriate button and move forwards. Horses are also used for travelling long distances between cities.

        The combat in the game evolves over time. The more you progress the more moves and weapons become available to you. The combat looks amazing when it happens, and it's incredibly fun to engage in. At the beginning you have a very basic set of attacks and blocks, primarily the use of your hidden blade for close-quarters stealth kills and a sword for taking out one or more enemies in full-on sword fighting. Later moves unlocked include dodging, counter attacks, knife throwing and better sword work. The combat is dependent on how good your timing is; you tap the attack button at just the right moment to unleash one of the various moves in your repertoire. At first it's a pretty frustrating experience, but with a moderate degree of practise you'll find yourself taking on half a dozen enemies at the same time and not getting hit once.

        Enemies have three states of awareness. The first is complete obliviousness, not aware that you are anywhere near them. The second is awareness of your presence, but not much more than that - if you misbehave when they're in this state you'll be in trouble. The third is awareness of your presence and the fact that you are an assassin, at which point they start bearing down on you. When you are being chased you can evade confrontation by breaking the line of sight (i.e. climbing a building or turning a corner) and then hiding in a hay bale, a rooftop garden box or mingling in with a group of scholars. If the enemies see you climb a building they'll start throwing rocks at you, and if you get hit you'll fall. If they see you enter into a hiding place they'll drag you out.

        One of the game's biggest shortcomings is its long-winded and unavoidable cut-scenes. For instance, the beginning of the game puts you through a sort of training which gives you a handle on the game's storyline, its gameplay mechanics and the interactions with NPCs. The problem is, this takes about 45 minutes of solid gaming to get through. The NPCs never seem to shut up, and you can't run more than 100 yards without another NPC coming up and starting an unskippable conversation with you. It's like the developers didn't want to miss a single chance to have you inundated with mind-numbing chat.

        Likewise, when you interrogate someone you have to first stand and listen to them preach to the crowd, and the preaching is long and rarely varies, and then the interrogation itself takes a similar length of time to get through. When you are ready to assassinate someone you must first go through a long cut-scene with the person you are taking orders through, and for each target when you arrive at their location, and when you finally kill them you are treated to yet another cut-scene during which they chat with you about their motivations before dying. If you fail the mission you have to go through all of that again.

        The flow of the gameplay is interrupted not only by these horrid cut-scenes but also by Desmond being taken out the Animus for breaks, which involves more cut-scenes/conversations before you are allowed back into the game again. Excruciating.

        Annoyingly, if you complete the game's story missions without having completed all of the side missions you won't get a chance to go back into the game and complete them or indeed roam around freely. When the game is over it's over.

        ~ [ Voice Acting ] ~

        The voice acting is impressive, and the quality of it makes the endless cut-scenes that little bit more tolerable. Even the peripheral characters give fantastic, authentic performances. However, Altair's voice work is rarely anything but irritating. For some reason he's the only person in 1191 Middle East with an American accent, and I'm not sure if it's the accent or the writing for the character but everything he says sounds so out of place amongst the high quality writing/acting of the other characters that it completely ruins the atmosphere created by them.

        For some reason the audio quality of the voices of the NPCs who populate the various cities in the game is quite low. The quality resembles an MP3 which has been ripped at 64Kbps; there's a certain fuzziness and hollowness to it, like it's either been recorded too loudly or has been compressed severely. The audio during the cut-scenes is unaffected by this, though.

        ~ [ Soundtrack ] ~

        The game boasts a dynamic music system, by which the music will change depending on what's happening. For instance, if you're being chased or are fighting off a group of enemies the music becomes intensified, with thumping percussion and screeching strings and woodwinds. When you escape the danger the music becomes mellowed and ambient. The music is all produced by authentic Middle Eastern instruments and includes some throat singing, and it sounds fantastic. It's one of the best soundtracks I've heard in a video game, and the fact that it was written by Jesper Kyd (famous for his wonderful soundtracks on the Hitman games and others) should come as no surprise.

        ~ [ Graphics/System Requirements ] ~

        The graphics are beautiful, and boast a fair amount of photo-realism. The characters and landscapes are all highly detailed, and the architecture is realistic and well-researched. Each of the four main cities has a unique "hue", ranging from bright, sunlit sand-coloured locations to bluish-grey depressive ones. There are no dynamic weather or daylight systems to speak of, with each city having its own weather/time of day set. None of the missions takes place at night, however. Kinda strange considering assassins would surely prefer darkness when carrying out their deeds.

        The system requirements aren't as high as you might expect from games like Crysis, but the game does require its fair share of juice. The minimum requirements are as follows:

        [Operating system]: Windows XP or higher
        [Processor]: Intel Pentium Dual Core 2.6GHz or better/equivalent
        [RAM]: 2GB
        [Graphics card]: at least 256MB on on-board RAM, Shader Model 3.0 or higher, compliant with at least DirectX 9.0
        [Sound card]: compliant with at least DirectX 9.0
        [DVD-ROM]: a DVD-ROM drive capable of reading dual-layer discs
        [Hard drive space]: at least 12GB

        The game supports full-screen anti-aliasing, but this option is disabled if your resolution is quite high (1600x1200, for instance).

        ~ [ Replayability ] ~

        All of the assassinations are basically the same, in the sense that you carry out the same list of tasks in each city and eventually kill the target. However, I'm resisting using the word "repetitive" here because that would imply boring, finite gameplay; although the game requires similar tasks to be completed there's never a dull moment (save for the cut-scenes) and fighting several enemies at once becomes more and more fun the better you get at it. If it weren't for the cut-scenes I would have played this game through umpteen times already. If the game's replayability is to be looked upon unfavourably I would argue that the cut-scenes are the sole reason for it.

        ~ [ Conclusion ] ~

        If you can somehow (how?) ignore the life-sucking cut-scenes and the horrible acting and accent of Altair you will enjoy this game immensely. Don't be expecting a Middle Eastern GTA clone; the game isn't as open and free as GTA, nor does it have as many non-storyline side missions to keep you occupied, so ignore any comparisons which may be drawn by game reviewer websites. If you come to the game expecting a unique, fresh and engaging experience you won't be disappointed. I would have awarded the game the full five stars had it not been for the endless hours of standing around being talked at. Maybe one day Ubisoft will release a patch which gives you the option of skipping these dialogues, and if so, five stars it shall have!

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          27.01.2010 18:51
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          Great fun once you get into it. Worth buying for such a small price tag.

          When the game was first released, it received an incredible amount of hype. Was this hype well-placed with Assassin's Creed? Well...

          True, it is unlike any other game I have seen before. It is new and exciting, and brings a whole new gaming experience to the table. However, it does have its down-sides.

          When I bought Assassin's Creed, I eagerly installed it and began to play. The beginning was rather puzzling, as you start off as a scruffy-looking man in jeans and a hoody in a science lab. After a fair bit of scientists rambling on about stuff we don't really care to understand, you get to the good stuff... Assassinating!

          Next, you're in a cave on a mission with two other assassins, searching for a special artifact. After a few minutes, you encounter the enemy. At last I thought I was going to do some killing! But only resulting in my plans being foiled.

          After a while, you find yourself on horseback, running around discovering places... Which was tiresome to say the least. The beginning dragged on for so long that I eventually stopped playing and didn't touch the game for months, thinking that it was a total bore and waste of money.

          So there's one bad side of the game; a really long, boring start. However, after a few months, I decided to give it another chance. After gritting my teeth and battling my way through the beginning, I soon found myself in a city. Here I could climb buildings, jump from rooftops, scale the highest buildings I could find, and best of all, assassinate people!

          Once the beginning was over, the hype behind this game began to become apparent. I hadn't played a game quite like this before, and I was loving it.

          The battle scenes were great, as the game truly immerses you in combat, giving you the ability to react in real time to whatever attacks are thrown at you. You can also choose a number of techniques, such as blocking attacks then immediately counter-attacking, grabbing someone and throwing them to the ground, or simply going in for the kill.

          In order to complete the game, you have to carry out a number of assassinations given by the leader of the assassins. I found this thoroughly enjoyable, but soon found it really repetative. The entire game pretty much consists of this same thing; taking orders, assassinating, taking orders, assassinating... *yawn*

          In your spare time, you could run around on rooftops, discovering the city and doing little deeds here and their... But nothing major.

          The final criticism I have for Assassin's Creed is this weird double storyline thing going on. One minute, you're having fun assassinating and free running through the city, only to be interrupted by those annoying scientists in the lab again. This is because, during missions, they randomly just pull you out of the Animus (you'll discover what this is when you play) and have to go to bed and return in the morning to continue playing.

          Although this intrigueing and rather unique storyline has been quite cleverly implemented into the game, I personally found it completely unnecessary and very frustrating!

          Overall, the game is very entertaining and worth buying. However the beginning is incredibly boring, the game is very repetitive, and those bloody scientists just wont leave you alone!

          So, did Assassin's Creed deserve the hype it received? Yes. It's different to any game I've played, and was made very cleverly.

          I give Assassin's Creed 7/10

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          15.12.2009 19:04

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          Dull and repetitive gameplay

          Assassin's Creed is, in my opinion, one of the most overrated games of the current gaming generation; it is a perfect example of style overcoming substance, making for a game that is absolutely visually stunning, but has empty gameplay mechanics that are incredibly repetitive and as a result it really isn't as much fun as it should be.

          The game pits you as Altair, an assassin who spends the majority of the game performing assassination missions with the onus being on stealth and being undetected. The game has you sifting through crowds and finding ways to circumvent the security detail of various political figures, then finally slashing their throat or killing them in any number of ways. The game has a very compelling plot thanks to a twist that was not announced in any advertising and so was a genuine surprise; I won't spoil it, but it demonstrates that there is more to this than just an archaic, Medieval action adventure game. It has something to say about memory and the psychology of its characters, but again I can't really say anymore about this without giving it away.

          What bothers me, though, is that the game's mechanics are VERY simplistic; you start a level, and then have to perform a number of activities that will allow you to read a target undected, such as diving from a spire and sneaking through a crowd. While the moment of assassination is generally quite intense, the gameplay leading up to it gets very repetitive very quickly, and I'm surprised that so many players let it get away with this.

          That said, it is visually AMAZING; the character models are superb, and most impressively, it manages to craft an epic scale (particularly when you're on top of the spire), that has a great draw distance and is well-optimised to even modest gaming rigs. From a presentational perspective, this game cannot be faulted: it has a great artistic style and faithfully recreates the likes of Jerusalem, while also boasting good voice work and fun sound effects.

          It's a shame that the makers felt that such a bare-bones treatment would fly with players, but sadly, too many players have been dazzled by the visuals while not realising just how robotic and repetitive the gameplay is. I expected a lot from this, and found it to be one of the most woefully disappointing releases of 2007.

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          11.09.2009 18:27
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          Average game

          Assassin's Creed may have fancy graphics but the repetitive gameplay makes for a very mediocre game.

          You play as Desmond Miles a man who has been kidnapped by a company known only as Abstergo Industries to be used as a test subject for a device which has the ability to recall ancestral memories (The Animus). While plugged into the device you have the ability to see through the eyes of your ancestor Altaïr Ibn La-Ahad an assassin who belonged to a clan of assassin's during The Third Crusade.

          The gameplay is really quite tedious. Apart from the actual assassinations which are fairly fun, the game mainly requires you to do a selection of missions eavesdropping, interrogation and pick pocketing. These missions are more or less the same and are all fairly easy.

          Graphics are the only real highlight in the game. The detailed environment, vivid lighting and high quality textures all help to create a beautiful dynamic world brimming with life.

          Game runs smoothly on my comp (Intel Q6600 Processor + Nvidia Geforce 8800GT). With the graphics cranked up to the max, the game looks terrific.

          The game has a pretty intriguing ending that leaves you with a lot of questions (clearly a setup for sequels).

          Overall I found the game to be pretty bland and fairly simplistic. Great graphics do not equal a great game.

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          09.08.2009 12:32
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          Hopefully Assassins Creed 2 takes this to the next level.

          I am not really a guy that plays games on computer, due to my love of the playstation and their excellent games. However after being given this game as a gift, I was eager to try it out. Of course I stumbled upon a problem that my laptop was not powerful enough to buy it, but I was in the process of buying a new computer anyway. Once my powerful system was bought I popped this CD in and the fun started. I will come to the specs needed later.

          Initially once you start the game you have a short tutorial mode which just teaches you the basic controls. Like how to wield your knife and walk through a herd of innocent people without making them drop whatever they are carrying. The background story is that evey person can access the memory of their ancestors and they have a reasoning for this which isnt worth explaining here. Basically you access your ancestors assassin roots through a concept called the animus. It is like something out of the Matrix where you are linked up to a machine and can go into a virtual world, where you are then in control.

          So one in this world you have to report to your master who sets you missions to assassinate different people. To complete the job you have to do some investigations first and reach high view points so you can see surroundings and hence eventually find the right person to kill. After completing each job you get more skill and hence become a much more powerful assassin.

          The gameplay is awesome at first. You can run along rooftops in free running style and hang of ledges and it all feels so natural. The swordfighting seems great as well and there are different combinations as well as the options to handfight, silent kill or use throwing knives. However after a while you do realise that game is a bit repetitive and you are essentially doing the same thing every mission. This is the only downside to the game and if it was not for this and they added a bit of variety it could have been one of the best games ever created for me. I do highly reccomend that you check it out though.


          Now I need to tak about the specs first, which you have to consider when purchasing any game for the PC. Remember these specs are just minimum and ideally you will have a little bit higher for comfortable and smooth gameplay.

          The proccessor is dual core 2.6Ghz and 2gb ram is the minimum that is needed. The video card has 256mb of ram. If this sounds like a foreign language you then go to the website www.systemrequirementslab.com and it will check your system specs against any popular game and give you a quick analysis of whether your system can run the game or not. Thanks for reading.

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            01.02.2009 16:40
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            Amazing game to enjoy again and again

            Assassin's creed is allot like the Prince of Persia series. It is very beautiful, loaded with cinematic highlights and the game is almost all environmental puzzles.

            Instead of telling you about the gameplay (which would be a better review on game review site) I will tell you what I liked about it.

            The graphics are mind blowing. You really can see extreme detail in everything. If you own a monster gaming rig, this is a MUST buy for visuals. You can explore five regions in ancient middle east including Jerusalem and the Kingdom where you ride on horseback. You can interact with people and of course climb buildings.

            So far I don't think I have really been in many buildings, since the main game seems set outside, but what you can do is traverse rooftops and then do leaps of faith and freefall down into a haystack or something.

            Steath and waiting for the moment to strike is what makes this game good. Basically it's a totally open world, so explore and check out the cool locations.

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            13.11.2008 20:02
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            A spectacular game

            First and foremost, the Creed:
            1. Stay your blade from the flesh of an innocent
            2. Hide in plain sight, within the crowd
            3. Do not let yourself fall from high

            It is the core of the assassin's brotherhood of the Hashashin. It should be noted that the game is based on real historical events and characters.

            The main action frame is in 1191AD in the cities of Jerusalem, Acre and Damascus. Residing in these cities are nine men the player (Altaϊr) has to kill. Altaϊr has a sword, throwing knives, a short blade, a hidden blade and his own fists at his disposal. Altaϊr is an assassin, which means your murders must be as stealthy as possible.

            In this context, Ubisoft introduces a new concept - no creeping in the shadows, but rather the idea of "a blade in the crowd". You hide among the people in the streets.

            After all, in the game, combat is not the primary way of dealing with things. Altaϊr is better off dealing quietly and gracefully, like an eagle in the skies (Altaϊr means "eagle").

            There is no unreachable destination in Assassin's Creed (meaning within the city walls of course). There is an awesome freerun system which allows you to climb anywhere anytime. When you begin climbing a building, people in the streets stop to look at you and comment on what you are doing.

            The game has a spectacular plot, which should not be revealed for the sole reason of the player's guaranteed enjoyment.

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              03.10.2008 20:54
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              1. Stay your blade from the flesh of an innocent
              2. Hide in plain sight
              3. Do not compromise the brotherhood
              - The Assassin's Creed

              Freerunning, Parkour, call it what you will - it has always fascinated me. People running up walls, leaping fearlessly from building to building, traversing a city on foot with not an obstacle that cannot be overcome? Incredible. Beautiful even. I'd love to be able to freerun.

              But one thing puts me off: the fear of an unpleasant concrete-related death.

              This is half of the reason why Assassin's Creed is so wonderful - half the game is the skill of learning to freerun using your keyboard and mouse. Only it is the Middle Ages, you are in the Holy Land, and people with swords keep getting upset and trying to hasten your demise. Unsurprisingly the other half of the reason why Assassin's Creed is so wonderful is the part where you deal with the people with swords. You are, after all, an assassin.

              -------------------------------------------------
              Give me names and I'll give you blood
              -------------------------------------------------

              Altair Ibn La-Ahad ("flying eagle and son of none") is the ancestor of a bloke called Desmond. The story involves a machine called the "Animus" that allows Desmond to access the 'genetic memories' (literally memories) he holds of the life of Altair in his DNA (yeah, they made that bit up) by re-enacting sections of Altair's life, presumably in his head. All this is in aid of some shadowy experiment that a company called Abstergo is conducting: and Desmond isn't really given much choice in the matter. In the Animus he is Altair, risking his life hunting targets in Jerusalem, Acre and Damascus; outside of the Animus, he is Desmond, 800 years later, trying to figure out what on earth is going on.

              As with all games which seek to glorify the business of assassination (Hitman, Splinter Cell, Metal Gear Solid...), Assassin's Creed is very suave and artistic. The graphics are beautiful, the settings (mainly sprawling medieval cities) are impressively chaotic in terms of architecture, and populated by believable inhabitants - city guards, merchants, priests, crusaders, and people going about their daily business. Furthermore, people react realistically to your actions - start scaling a building in plain view and people will tell you to stop being so silly. Murder someone, and they will call the guards. Jump on their heads, push them over or start a fight with them and they will be most upset.

              In general, people will tolerate your unusual antics, but anger a guard or climb on the roofs (you're not allowed on the roofs for some reason - but just let them try and stop you!) and you risk provoking a fight. These, if not ended with a swift sharp object applied to the guard in an inventive place, can very easily get very nasty. For you that is - they're pretty much always nasty for the guards. And this is where the very clever close combat system comes in.

              ------------------
              Close Combat
              ------------------

              Assassin's Creed has probably the best (most realistic) system of sword fighting in any game to date, and as such, combat deserves it's own section.

              Altair is armed with four different weapons: throwing knives and a dagger, his assassin blade, his sword, and his fists. The assassin blade is a retractable knife fitted into a special glove on his left hand. Unfortunately its use requires the amputation of the ring finger of that hand, but hey, it's worth it.

              Combat is fought using a number of particular skills, which Altair picks up throughout the quest. This allows the player to learn the fairly complicated system one section at a time.

              Fighting is split into two sections. The left mouse button governs offensive actions, the right mouse button defensive. The basic offensive action is a wild swing with sword/dagger, or if the opponent is far away enough, you can use a throwing knife. Any opponent more skilled than a basic guardsman will be savvy of the methods of dealing with this sort of flailing assault, so it will be necessary to catch them off guard. A swift step towards them allows Altair to move under their guard, knock their blade to the side and give them a good blow to the shoulder while they are exposed. A good guard however will at this point dodge, or even better, counter attack. A further form of attack then is to grab your opponent and give them a good shove - preferably off a high rooftop, but of course the gesture can be reciprocated, and high rooftops are not always handy.

              Holding down the right mouse button will put Altair in defensive mode; he will automatically do his best to parry the attacks of guards, but can't parry blows coming from behind him. From here he can anticipate the attacks of the guards, and, if the timing is right, use their momentum against them and counterattack. In a large group of enemies this is really your only tenable source of resistance - any other attack will result in a sword-blow from behind.

              Usually however it is a combination of these attacks that secures victory for Altair. And Altair is normally victorious. Early on in the fight, your less experienced opponents can be counterattacked or simply caught off guard. Slowly the less skilled die off, until you are left with skilled opponents that must be dispatched using cunning - feint an attack at one and switch quickly to the other to catch him off guard, or dodge his lunge and catch him when he is off balance. You can even point ("look over there! Whack!"), but I don't find this is very effective.

              Finally, if all else fails (and when faced with thirty armoured knights it normally does) you can always run. Altair is good at running.

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              Freerunning
              ----------------

              The game is cleverly designed to allow Altair a vast range of escape/city crossing possibilities. Obviously a network of ground level streets crisscross each city, but dense and multileveled buildings also crowd around, complete with plenty of latticework, scaffolding and protruding beams to be deftly climbed. To a certain degree Altair can run up walls and then grab on to the top or to some other handhold, and then climb from there. When he reaches roof level he can sprint off across the city, leaping gaps, wobbling across beams and clinging to ledges. You orientate yourself (i.e. put objective markers on your map) by scaling giddyingly tall structures, of which there is no shortage in the cities, and having a look around. Dive into a haystack to elude the guards - but make sure they don't see you go in, or you will be persuaded out with the point of a sword.

              Surprisingly enough, the guards are also generally rather good climbers - nowhere near as fast, fearless or skilled as Altair, but still good enough to give a good chase. And when they can climb no more, they knock Altair down with a hail of rocks - or arrows - both of which have a tendency to spoil your day.

              Freerunning is immensely satisfying. Altair interprets your commands (generally simply "go that way"), doing all the fiddly bits himself, with boundless energy and fluidity. I suppose his life frequently does depend on it. Furthermore, when travelling between cities you get to ride, and can even fight from horseback should you feel like it. This gives the game a decent amount of playability even ignoring the intriguing storyline that is steadily revealed as you perform more assassinations.

              ---------------------------------
              Talk to me, or talk to God
              ---------------------------------

              In fact you get two stories: the story of Desmond and the story of Altair, which are unsurprisingly, but cleverly, linked. The result is a game that is undeniably brilliant in pretty much every way; the graphics are fantastic, the story is starkly beautiful and cleverly structured, and the smoothness of the movement and fighting is a real pleasure to behold.

              The graphics are powered by the aptly named "Scimitar" engine, which incorporates elements designed to realistically coordinate characters' hands and feet with the environment for plausible running, climbing etc. (Admittedly Altair stretches the bounds of plausibility, but only in a good way). The graphics are, as I have already mentioned, very good, requiring therefore a fairly good, but not mind-boggling, graphics card to cope (my middle-of-the-road card generally worked fine, but there was the odd crash).

              The soundtrack too, composed by Jesper Kyd, features dark orchestral music with plenty of choral elements, and is pretty good. Apparently this is his strong point, and incidentally he did the music for Hitman as well. The voice acting too is pretty impressive as a final icing on the cake, and indeed the game has been nominated for, and won, numerous awards for just about every one of its elements.

              Watch the (slightly violent) opening video here: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=pNbbxHrp9R4 - not actual gameplay but there is little actual difference, (other than the crossbow, which was replaced by the more plausible throwing knives).

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              Minimum Requirements
              ------------------------------

              - Windows XP (Service pack 2) or Vista
              - Intel Pentium D 2.6GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+
              - 1GB RAM (XP) 2GB (Vista)
              - 8GB Hard disk space
              - 256Mb DirectX 10.0 Graphics card, or DirectX 9.0 with shader model 3.0 or higher

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              Recommended Requirements
              --------------------------------------

              As above except CPU recommended as Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+, or better.

              Comments

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              • More +
                29.09.2008 20:26
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                Go for the Steelbook PC edition of the console versions.

                Assassin's Creed: Directors Cut for PC released a few months after the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions. The game is about an assassin named Altair who is reduced in rank in the assassin's guild for breaking the three tenants. He then is sent on a quest to slay several leaders who are perpetuating the Third crusades which is tearing the land apart.

                The games top features, besides being a but-kicking assassin, is the huge open ended world. Much of the time Altair is climbing buildings, church towers and cliffs to peer down on his unsuspecting victims. This offers the player the chance to climb anything and everything he/she can.

                The graphics are one of the best in any adventure game for the PC. All the visual stops are pulled out as photo-realistic knights and peasants pass by, beautiful sunrises over the golden mosque in Jerusalem will knock your socks off.

                Assassin's Creed: Directors Cut offers several unique additions to the console versions. Firstly they have added a few more variety of missions which is was a large complaint from the console versions...that missions were dull and repetitive. The other is unique keyboard and mouse control schemes. For those who prefer a console controller Assassin's Creed: Directors Cut fully supports the Xbox 360 controller for Windows XP and Vista.

                The game's unique story unfolds in an interesting way. I won't spoil it for you, but if you must know anything about the story it's that it is intended to be the first of a trilogy, so expect the ending to be a bit of a cliffhanger.

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            • Product Details

              It’s easy to see why there was so much fighting amongst the console manufacturers to try and make Assassin's Creed a format exclusive. Where early launch titles may have disappointed this game not only looks like a next generation game but it plays like it too. Taken at face value the story casts you as an Arabic fighter in 1191, out to assassinate the nine Western leaders of the Third Crusade. There is more to the story than that though making it more than simple historical adventure it first seems.