Version: Xbox 360
Release Date: November 13, 2007
A secret organization has kidnapped Desmond to force him into something called the Animus. There he can relive the memories of his ancestor Altair in the Middle East during the Crusades, 1066 A.D. Desmond will learn the secret origins of the Assassins, along with the answer to a few historical mysteries along the way.
Fun Factor 1.5 of 3: I’m starting with Fun this time as that seems most important to talk about with this game. The problem is, this game starts out fun but slowly makes it all kinds of horrible. It’s fairly simple gameplay, you can climb walls, hide from guards in various locations, fight guards with a fairly easy-to-learn blocking/countering system. But the game just starts ruining all of these things.
It’s like a tabletop-RPG, narcissistic Dungeon Master who makes you play as a character he made for you, but then when you’re actually good at playing with that character he starts changing everything to counter you. Getting away from the guards too easily? We’ll make it so any guard can sprint and stab you in the back when they catch up to you. Also, did you realize you could get away by climbing up to a viewpoint? Then all viewpoints are now really low and there’s guards on every roof looking to shoot an arrow in you. You like blending in to get away? We’ll make every non-guard a “taunter” that smacks you so it’s very obvious you’re an assassin to any nearby guard who are now immediately set to recognize you at all times as soon as you get close enough. Oh, is he running through the street? Must be an assassin. Climbing a wall? Definitely an assassin. Standing still? ASSASSIN!
When the game starts out, I liked the combat quite a bit, but this too is not absent of that steamrolling DM. You get good at blocking? We’ll add a move to every attacker that let’s them grab you and throw you, also stronger hits that break your block and leave you open for a free hit. Good at countering? We’ll create several moves that you can’t counter. By the end of this game the only thing I actually had fun doing anymore was getting those viewpoints, but even those lost their flair as I mentioned above they’re extremely low to the ground, outside of a few, and don’t even seem like you would get much of a view at all, really. I think the game designers confused raising the difficulty with just making the game much more frustrating.
Playability 2 of 4: The controls are fine, outside of combat. Countering is very iffy if it’s going to work most of the time, it doesn’t help that guards start attacking both slower and faster in different instances which seriously throws off my rhythm. The problem outside of that is that your essentially doing the same things over and over again, and none of them are really worth it. With every assassination you have to do a bunch of side missions, up to six, that are either 1) Sit on a bench and listen to some guys. 2) Listen to some guys talk and then walk up behind one of them to pickpocket some document. 3) Listen to some dude talk so you can follow him somewhere secluded to beat him up. 4) Meet the informats who either make you get a bunch of flags in under a time limit, or assassinate someone in the city while staying low profile. Which I would have originally recommended these over the others because they are actually kind of fun, but what with guards becoming so ready to pounce on you any time they see you no matter how innocent you’re acting at the time, I quickly switched to doing bench-listening and pickpocketing missions as the way to get through these points as I don’t like it when things are pointlessly frustrating, I’m sure most gamers would agree with me on that.
Story 0.7 of 1: The story is okay, but only the stuff set in the present is interesting. This is because almost everyone in the past is just full to the brim with exposition and have you tell you everything in the most monotone way possible. It’s….boring is what it is. The stuff gets very interesting at the very end of the game, but I’d probably say anyone interested in jumping into this series should just watch the ending on YouTube and skip to Assassin’s Creed 2.
Sound and Graphics 0.9 of 1: Outside of the monotone voice acting, this is only area I’d say this game gets right. Things are very good looking for a game from over ten years ago. Though a lot of the character models are overused, each main character and assassination target has their own distinct look and are very different from one another. The music and sound design hold up well also.
Replay Value 0.1 of 1: Okay, there’s a bunch of flags that you can collect to unlock achievements but that’s the only thing they’re there for. And really the game doesn’t give you any incentive to collect them anyway. My point is this is the only thing you’d play the game for after it’s over. I don’t think I’d recommend giving it a second playthrough.