Product Type: Ubisoft PS3 games
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The Original Assassin Who Came Before 47 But Didn't Really
Assassin's Creed (PS3)
Member Name: caseybrady1992
Assassin's Creed (PS3)
Date: 14/06/12, updated on 06/09/12 (48 review reads)
Advantages: Groundbreaking graphics and gameplay; the scenery and soundtrack
Disadvantages: Repetitive nature; the franchise has not quite been perfected, here
Release date (UK): November 16, 2007
Platforms: PS3, Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360
Assassin's Creed is quite possibly the most popular, successful and highest-achieving video game franchise of the 21st Century. Since the first game (which I am reviewing today) was released in 2007, there have been five major instalments to the series (the fifth being released later this year) and a range of subsidiary games released on alternate consoles. The success of the franchise has also spurred on a number of novels and the possibility of a film. However, the series made quite a rocky start with 'Assassin's Creed', the original game, but still managed to receive an overwhelmingly positive response upon its release, due to its groundbreaking nature in the context of the gaming world.
Four years later, and I, having purchased two Empire magazines prior, notice that if you subscribe, not only do you get the 12 monthly magazines, but also a copy of 'Assassin's Creed: Revelations'. Now I've heard a lot of positive, albeit fleeting things about the games, but not much else. I know that they are stealth games, which is right up my street, and after a bit of research, I decide that for ú39.99, it's not a bad deal! I actually get the bundle as a Christmas present, but a few weeks before, a classmate informs me that the series has quite a strong story to it, and that you should really get the first three games before you play 'Revelations'. So that's what I do. I purchase the three games: 'Assassin's Creed', 'Assassin's Creed II' and 'Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood', and when I get back from university, I make my start on the first...
It's a tough one to call. I have fond memories of the game; I felt that the effect it had on me was quite positive, but in all honesty, the game isn't fantastic. The downsides lie with repetitive gameplay, underdeveloped ideas and a generally inexplicable miss - all of which I will elaborate on in due course. Firstly, it's important to explain the plot of the game.
You are Desmond Miles, in present day, a New York bartender who has been kidnapped by an organisation known as 'Abstergo'. The nature of your kidnap unfolds, and you are forced to use a...well, it's a time machine. But scientifically speaking, the 'Animus' retrieves memories imprinted in your genetic information and allows you to relive them. 'Abstergo' are in search for something and it is your job to travel through time to find it. So that's what you do.
You are Alta´r Ibn-La'Ahad, in 1191, a Palestinian Assassin in the Third Crusade. The gameplay begins with the player leading two other Assassins to prevent Robert de SablÚ, an actual figure from the Knights Templar, from stealing an artifact. In the process, Alta´r ends up breaking the three rules of the 'Creed': never kill an innocent person, always be discreet and never compromise the Brotherhood. Despite this, leader of the Creed Al Mualim, offers Alta´r a chance to redeem himself; he must hunt down and assassinate nine men, which is ultimately the premise of the game. It takes you to four locations: the home of the Creed, Masyaf, as well as Jerusalem, Acre and Damascus, where you will find the nine men in question.
It's a wonderful concept; you have four towns with a gloriously oversized 'Kingdom' in between. The player can mount a horse when leaving Masyaf and explore the vast landscape to their heart's content. One of the most revolutionary aspects of the game is the graphics, which are fantastic, and show their true colours in your exploration. The scenery is sublime, and as a player, you are required to climb high buildings to synchronize Desmond with Alta´r and his surroundings. So while you're up there, just take a few and drink in the beautiful sights in front of you. Of course it's no substitute for the real thing, but until one of you finds a way to travel back 800 years and climb buildings like it's a flight of stairs, it'll have to do. The three towns that you must travel to (Jerusalem, Acre and Damascus) are split into three sections, each of which becomes available depending on your target. There are three targets in each of the three towns, and for your first three, you must travel from Masyaf to the said location on horseback each time, and as fun as that is, this is where the repetition starts to ever so slightly kick in. Luckily, the designers foresaw this and after your first three assassinations, you can 'quick travel' to the towns. Or, if you really want to, you can make your way there yourself.
For each kill, you must explore the town for things to help you on your mission, and this is where the game becomes massively repetitive. There are only a limited number of types of sub-missions, such as eavesdropping on a conversation, or pick-pocketing somebody, and when you have to do a number of these nine times over, you're just bored silly. The assassination sections themselves are nicely designed to an extent, but are nonetheless flawed. To brand the game as a 'stealth' one is pushing it a bit, although there are elements relating to the genre present, such as the 'blend' method, where you can go by unnoticed by walking with a crowd. The repetitive nature hinders the story somewhat, in that if this was ever made into a film, it'd be the most tiresome thing you've ever seen. But as the game progresses, there is a crescendo effect and things do start to alter slightly, but you are almost relieved when you reach the final chapter.
The pros of this game lie in the graphics, the gameplay to an extent, and in the music. Jesper Kyd, known for his game soundtracks for series such as 'Hitman' and 'Splinter Cell', is a favourite of mine, and although this isn't the best musical offering of the series, it certainly brings the game together. A further pro is the storyline of the bigger picture, which is only introduced in 'Assassin's Creed'. There are hints at it, but it is only right at the end that things start to unfold...
'Asssassin's Creed' is a learning curve. It's an enjoyable game for a limited period, but it was also innovative for its time. The nagging flaws are teased out as the series progresses, causing 'Assassin's Creed II' to be a distinctively different game, and ultimately a better one. In fact, all of the games following the first have been a lot better. But I can't help but feel a slight sentimentality about this one. I can't quite put my finger on it - perhaps it's the era in which the game is set, my favourite out of those explored in the series, and it's a shame that 'Assassin's Creed II' moved onto another (Renaissance Italy). Conclusively, however, to fully enjoy the other games, it is important to play this one. The story begins here, and despite the grinding repetitive elements, it doesn't make for a disastrous game - 'Assassin's Creed' is quite good, and has set the trend that many have aimed to follow.
Summary: A decent but flawed game