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Assassin's Creed tells a story of Altair, an assassin targeting Templars in the Middle East during the Third Crusade. The Templars that appeared in the game are all based on historical figures, and settings are based on major cities from that time period.
[ Game Mechanics and Controls
|| Ubisoft Montreal
| Web site
|| Xbox 360
| ESRB Rating
|| MATURE. For blood, strong language and violence.
This game has an engaging story, but is unfortunately structured so that it appears more repetitive than it really is. Of course it is possible to complete the minimum number of investigations and move the plot forward, but I think there could be more variety so that players will actually want to do more investigations and learn more background events. I enjoyed walking, climbing and hopping from building to building, and the crowd around my character reacts in a way that adds immersion to the game experience. Learning about the historical figures is also an unexpected benefit.
Overall for me this game entertains more than annoys, and I can't wait for the developers to address all of the obvious issues and bring me more stories.
Game Mechanics and Controls
- Climb walls or buildings, the main character moves in all directions with fair amount of freedom.
- Counter attacks allows epic battles of one against dozens of enemies.
- Riding horse to go to another city far away is great.
- All the different actions, throw knives, sword fighting, picking pocket, blending in the crowd, etc., are performed easily using digital pad, the trigger-locking mechanism and context-sensitive buttons.
- Synchronize map at top of tall buildings is an easy way to identify all objectives.
- Animation is very fluid. This is most visible when climbing walls or the way the horse behaves. It does have a minor drawback of actions executing with a little delay, but I think they are fine in the contexts they are used.
- Cities are huge with many people going about their own business. They notice what Altair is doing and interact. It's also great that the life-like cities encourages players to develop situation awareness so that they can perform their tasks.
- Shadow effects are pretty good. Aliasing is visible when object is far away, but everything casts shadows on everything, adding much to realism.
- Interesting story with excellent voice acting. The accents can make it difficult to hear some dialog (especially because I can't turn up the volume, since baby is sleeping...), but they definitely add to the atmosphere.
- Each memory section ends with strong story elements that leads to the beginning of next memory section.
- Before completing the main objective of each memory section, some investigations are required. This normally involves finding tall buildings, find your way up to the top and synchronizing your view. Then more objectives (some required, many optional) will be revealed. Investigations involve picking pocket for important maps, interrogating people with information, or eavesdropping for hints. I like these side objectives because by doing some or all of them, the city changes. For example, if I save a citizen from the soldiers, their friends will in turn help me hide when I am in trouble. For some people it may be useful as part of their exit strategy.
- The background setup involving Animus and re-living ancestor's memory means two stories can unfold simultaneously, as well as allowing cool futuristic graphical user interface elements to blend with Middle Age settings.
- The plot twist towards the end of the game injects interest, and is an excellent storytelling technique. The ending definitely opens up many possibilities for this franchise to deliver more material.
- Texture swapping creates a very distracting artifact that is rather annoying.
- I wish subtitles are available.
- There is an introduction before I can visually see the assassination target. During this introduction it seems I have to walk up to the target for the cutscene to trigger, as all buttons are disabled. But if you are on the roof like I did the first time I tried, then there is no way to drop down to the ground level (B button doesn't do anything), and no way to trigger the cutscene. I ended up reloading memory and used surface street instead. I think this element is done this way because while cutscene is playing, you can still move the character around and mess with camera angles, so the developers had to disable some action buttons so that you won't assassinate the target during the cutscene. Why not just make player give up controls during cutscene? With the glitch system, there is some interaction already while player is watching the cutscene. So being able to move the character doesn't add much to the game, in my opinion.
- Many of the secondary tasks is very repetitive, down to the dialog from the people you help. It doesn't help that many of them look exactly the same, so adds to that deja vu feeling.
- Collecting flags is wrong. Making them achievements is the worst.
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