First Look: Assassin’s Creed

I have heard some of the most mixed messages about this game. Around half the responses were that this was a good game for about 3 hours and then recommended stopping. Others seemed to have double-scooped their kool-aide and whenever a bad word is about to put against this game, they slip into their own little assassin mode. So, naturally I wanted to check this game out.

The basic story is that a machine has been invented, called an Animus, that allows anyone to experience “genetic memories”. These memories are able to be played back with the the person acting out the memories of their ancestor. Gameplay takes place primarily as Altaïr, the ancestor, but also as Desmond in the lab containing the Animus.

Let me just say that I like their dedication to the in-game fiction. Loading a save file, pausing the game and even battles all demonstrate that the player is interacting with the Animus. It’s neat. There is a feeling of being in the world of Altaïr, an assassin in the year 1191, but being interrupted with matrix-like overlays at times. Even the cut scenes have the occasional “glitch”.

This dedication comes at the cost of extra translation in order to do standard things though. Pausing the game breaks the Third Crusade world and leaves the player with choices. Do I want “Exit the Memory”? Or is it “Memory Log”? Saving the game is “Interfacing with the Animus.” These labels continue to slightly annoy me as I try to remember what each phrase actually means.

This game also really reminds me of latest Prince of Persia, which as it turns out, was made by the same studio that made this game. The climbing animation and the general feel of the parkour is practically the same. This is a good thing, at least for me. The enjoyment I got from the free-running of Prince of Persia is present here as I have Altaïr jump from rooftop to rooftop.

Annoyances:

  • There is a constant need to “blend” — slowly walk with your head down — or hide.  Just being near any guard instantly puts them on alert.  This, of course, is completely understandable as Altaïr, wearing a cowl and weapons, pretty much looks like a badass constantly. I get making the player feel awesome but the alertness of the guards is slightly ridiculous.
  • You can ride horses. Only not fast. Riding a horse in real useful way will instantly alert the guards. Only assassins know how to ride horses.  Obviously.

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