There was plenty of hype when Assassins Creed was announced for the Xbox360 over two years ago and, it's great that I can now play the "Director's Cut" version on my PC which contains a few new mission types such as assassinating archers. Turning up the settings to full and running the game at my monitor's maximum resolution of 1440x990 plays fine until you start taking the "Leap of Faith" from high buildings. I managed to get around an average of 30fps in really crowded areas.
The free roam environment is fun and the scale is simply amazing. Even from a distance the crowds can be seen going about their business down on the ground and the cities feel like they're brimming with life. I like how there's optional side missions to do that affects how well you may manage your main mission such as finding view points to fill in the map, saving citizens to have extra help, interrogating people for more information and pickpocketing. Sometimes it may feel repetitive but once the main assassination's over, you can see it pays off and that can be very satisfying.
All the detail comes at a price though because even on my SATA II drives levels take almost thirty seconds to load.
Controls are smooth with the keyboard controlling movement and the mouse controlling the camera but, I don't see why they had to name the mouse buttons "Button 0" and "Button 1". It can be pretty confusing and surely not a lot of code is needed to change them to "left" and "right". Despite that, it's amazing how smooth one can just leap onto any structure that looks like they can be climbed. Combat is quite a smooth experience too, requiring timed key presses later in the game to counter and dodge enemy attacks. Very satisfying walking up to unsuspecting guards and assassinating them with a single stab before walking away unspotted.
The other complaint I have about Assassins Creed is that you can't skip the cutscenes so if the game just happens to crash or you simply want to replay a chapter (or "memory" as it's referred to in the game), you're forced to re-watch them. And why does one have to log back into a profile before they can find the "Quit" option? I know you can just use Alt+F4 to exit applications but still, I expect "Exit Game" to do what it says. It's poor menu design.
As far as the story goes, it's about a man named Desmond Miles who was supposed to be in hiding for reasons unknown to him. He is captured and brought to a lab, forced to lie in a machine named, "Animus" so that memories of his past ancestor, an assassin can be extracted from his genes to locate an ancient treasure. Quite an interesting concept considering how every living thing possesses some features of their ancestor be it physical or psychological. There's a number of philosophical issues the game discusses, mainly to distinguish between right and wrong which is very thought provoking.
Assassins Creed has been a fun experience although not quite as great as the Splinter Cell titles. Still very much looking forward to the second game.
- Vast and lively free roam environments.
- Smooth experience scaling rooftops and buildings.
- Flexible objectives.
- Quick transfer to cities later in the game.
- Replayable "memories".
- Thought provoking dialogue.
- Long loading times.
- Can't skip cutscenes.
- Objectives can get repetitive.
- Poor system menus.