A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of chatting to Jade Raymond from Ubisoft Montreal bout Assassin’s Creed and now I’ve finally got to play it and just finished it in time for the review.
Now the game’s out I’m going to tell you the big secret as you find out at the start of the game anyway. You play a bloke called Desmond who’s being held against his will and being regressed to see what memories his DNA holds. When you go back in time you then play as a cloaked ancestor assassin called Altair who, in a nutshell, has to go on 9 missions to kill 9 dudes in their kingdoms.
You get your mission, ride on horseback, sneak through the gates, do some detective work and then make your kill. That’s the crux of the game, so let me go into a bit more detail. It’s a mix of exploration and combat. When fighting you can use your sword, a stealth blade for sneaky kills, knives, your fists and throw daggers. You can also run away from the guards to find safe zones like hay bails and crowds and with the press of a couple of buttons do some free running, climbing up walls, jumping across rafters and generally acting like that bloke from the opening chase of Casino Royale.
To find your target, you must do three of six tasks which range from pickpocketing information, beating information out of someone, eavesdropping on conversations or doing tasks for fellow assassins. Once you have the knowledge of where to strike, you must kill your target in full view of everyone and escape to a safe place.
There’s too much in this game to describe to you in this review but it’s fair to say it’s an incredibly accomplished game. This game could have felt clunky to play but for the majority of the team Altair moves freely through the cities – and these places are big. When you climb to high points the view’s amazing and there’s no loss of frame rate which is a feat in itself seeing as the scenery and characters are incredibly well detailed.
Desmond’s subplot is also intriguing and I think there may be a sequel on its way set in the modern day – I hope so that would be very cool indeed.
The game can occasionally get repetitive when riding from city to city, although after you’ve been to a city there is a useful menu shortcut, and sometimes Altair can start running up a wall when you actually mean to run away from combat due to the context-sensitive nature of the controls but these by no means frustrate or take away the joy from the game. Also, you’re basically doing the same thing throughout the game so if you want constant variety this may begin to grate on you after the 5th kill.
I completed this game in ten hours but it will last you much longer if you do all the missions and collect all the hidden flags in the game. It’s a fantastic single player game with a compelling story which keeps you playing. It’s almost perfect in what it attempts so it gets a well deserved 8 out of 10.