Product Type: Ubisoft Xbox 360 games
Newest Review: ... the actual assassin missions (of which there are nine main ones) are extremely intense. Since these are high value targets, you can... more
Emptiness Keeps It From Being Great
Assassin's Creed (Xbox 360)
Member Name: Lions
Assassin's Creed (Xbox 360)
Advantages: assassination missions, storyline
Disadvantages: giant world is filled with nothing to do and no one to interact with, simply too boring
Assassin's Creed is a very strange game, that was hyped up to be a massive open-world free-roaming experience from Ubisoft. Well I'm here to tell you it's not. However, it's not an entirely bad game either. In fact, it's about as close to bipolar behavior as you will ever get in a video game. This is to say that it's very hot and cold. It's high points are awesome, exciting, and epic. It's low points will make you wonder what the developers could have been thinking when they made the game.
Let's begin with the high points of Assassin's Creed. To start, it has a fantastic story; one that is, in my opinion, a "editor's choice" in all of gaming if there ever was one. Being somebody who's very interested in history, I found the time period and setting (Crusades) to be fascinating. In addition, some of the big cities like Jerusalem are modeled very closely to their real-life counterparts of the time. As for gameplay, the actual assassin missions (of which there are nine main ones) are extremely intense. Since these are high value targets, you can't simply use your sword or throwing knives like you would other enemies. Instead, you have to stalk them and take them out quietly with your hidden blade. The feeling of hanging underneath a railing, waiting as your prey comes near, and them leaping up on them and stabbing them with the dagger attached to your wrist underneath your cloak is badass and awesome. If the rest of the game was like this, this would undoubtedly be in possession of a Game of the Year award by now.
Unfortunately, there's just not enough of that "good stuff" to make Assassin's Creed worthwhile. In order to work your way up to these assassin missions that are so loved, you'll need to suit yourself up for a bunch of boring mundane tasks. These include things like listening to speeches and sitting on benches to eavesdrop on conversations. I like to read other reviews, and one of the ones I read seemed to describe it best. With all of your skills of a professional assassin, it seems that the majority of the game is running around to sit on benches. Oh yeah, that running around thing.. that gets annoying too. While I am in full support of games that want to allow the player to explore and do the main quest at their leisure (like Elder Scrolls for example) this game has none of that "desire to explore" aspect to it. This is because there is simply nothing interesting to see, and no reward for seeing it. What we have is a bland world with the same gray colors that seems to go on forever. And the only thing this bland world is filled with is people whom you can't interact with unless you feel like randomly killing dumb NPCs by button mashing your sword. Honestly it gives me shudders just thinking of the boredom that ensues as you endlessly gallop on your horse, trying to navigate towards a city filled with about as much to do with the shitty open world that surrounds it. And that in itself is what absolutely kills this game. Had the developers simply concentrated less on making a HUGE world with NOTHING to do, and had instead created a smaller world with some side quests that involved something other than sitting on benches, they would have a marvelous product on their hands. Instead, they've created a hyped up product that delivers no entertainment other than the 9 main quest's assassination missions (each of which lasts about 5 minutes).
Assassin's Creed is the type of game that you pick up at a very generous bargain bin, or for a weekend rental. It's not an entirely bad game, the controls are generally okay, the movement is cool and fluid, and the few assassination moments are as epic as video games can get. However, in the end you feel lonely in this dreary humorless world with nothing to do in it. The great storyline is probably just enough to keep you interested until the end, but after that it is highly unlikely that anybody in their right mind would want to revisit main character Altair's empty world.
Summary: If you're lucky the story will keep you interested enough to finish one playthrough.