Assassin’s Creed

As promised, today I will review the 2007 game, Assassin’s Creed.  You have probably heard about the most recent title in this series, Assassin’s Creed 2, hailed as an outstanding and innovative standout game.  It is a huge improvement over what Assassin’s Creed built in its first game.  But even though it is not as good as the second, there are a lot of things which give Assassin’s creed its worth.

The first thing you notice in the game is its visuals.  They are striking.  This was sincerely the most beautiful game I had ever seen environment-wise.  The cities entered were lovingly rendered in a crisp, colorful, and highly realistic fashion.  The people in the game have realistic movements whether fighting, walking, or holding a conversation.  Altair’s robe was especially fun to watch.  Though most guards shared a face, it wasn’t something that detracted from the gameplay.

The climbing was my favorite part, and I found myself running around rooftops and exploring every nook and cranny just to see everything.  In this game, every building can be climbed, and it is a pure joy to do so.  There are three different parts of a city in this game, and each part was a distinct area.  The was poor, middle, and rich.  They all had a different feel and look, and I really loved to explore them.  Rich is shiny and well-maintained, poor is dank and crumbling, and middle is clean but without the polish of a rich section.

Climbing and moving was a breeze.  Using a ‘puppet’ system, different buttons controlled different parts of the body.  The X controlled weapons, A controlled jump and running, Y controlled vision, and B controlled grabbing pushing.  Anyone who has a 360 controller knows that these controls are arranged according to position of body part.  I had no problem figuring out the controls, and the buttons to climb made it easy.

The weakest points and my biggest complaints in this game are the information gathering missions and the fighting system.  There are a few weapons to choose from.  The throwing knife was my favorite, but there was also the broad sword, the assassination knife, and your fists.  Fighting enemies took a lot of practice and frustration to get right.  In the end, I found myself just running and hiding from guards to avoid fighting.  Assassinating people was easy, and I loved taking a running start, jumping, and sticking them in the neck with my knife, leaving the onlookers screaming and running.  The counterattacks and combo kills were cinematic and fun, but combat was so broken, I barely ever saw them.

The information gathering missions were essential to assassinating your final target.  Three missions are required out of many.  These range from listening to a conversation, pickpocketing a man and gathering flags, to assassinating some targets for an informant.  Unfortunately, the missions are sometimes boring and nearly always lackluster.  They get old fast, and by the end I only bothered to do the minimum three so I could get to the assassination itself.

The assassinations were fun and really stood out.  Each one took place in a new and interesting location with a different challenge.  They contrasted strongly with the bland and repetitive missions leading up to that point in that I enjoyed every second.  One standout mission took place in a harbor.  Of course this brings up the fact that gymnastic and elite assassin Altair flops about in the water before being dragged under by what I assume is a hungry seal when he falls in, but I digress.  Hopping around from boat to boat before chasing your target is fun and challenging.  It illustrated the potential of this game.

The story isn’t the strongest point of this game, but it isn’t the weakest, either.  The premise promises twists and turns, but gives a mediocre telling of a much bigger tale to be told.  Still, since I played this game after the second title game out, I treated the story as an epilogue to the larger tale.  In the end, I found the story satisfying if not revolutionary.

No, this game is not as good as the second one, but I think it deserves a play through.  Repetitive and sometimes bland, it still had a charm that made me keep coming back and eventually finishing it.  This is a fun game.  Rent it or buy it for cheap, if you like exploring or killing, action or the second title in this series, I recommend it.  You may not play it exclusively until it’s finished, but I believe it’s worth it.

This game scored 7.75/10 stars

I’d like to add one additional part to the review, a separate score for the game based on a female positive standing.

I actually think this game did an okay job with women.  The main character is not a woman, but one of the main NPCs is.  She is strong, intelligent, not sexualized, and plays an important role.  Also in the game is a strong female fighter whom I will not further discuss to prevent spoilers.  Women do not have a large presence in the games, and there is a few minimal moments with women as sex objects, but overall, this game isn’t offensive.  While women do not have a big role in the game, their presence is felt and not in a way that degrades them.

This game scored 8/10 respected women based on its female depictions.

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