Today I'll be reviewing Assassin's Creed for the PC, released April 08, 2008 (North America) this game was a highly anticipated title for not only the PC, but also the PS3 and the Xbox360. Slap this baby in your DVD drive and once you've got it installed you'll see why it was so highly anticipated, or at least you'll think that you see why. At first, Assassin's Creed comes off as a very promising title with a lot of awesome potential, but that's also where the problem starts, its always just that and nothing more, potential. More about that later, let's take a look at what the game is actually all about.
Assassin's Creed is more or less a stealth-action game, with the emphasis being mostly on action. You play as an assassin named Altair who works for the assassin's brotherhood, defending the then-in-turmoil holy land from would be Christian usurpers during the Third Crusade (sort of). That's right, actually there's a huge twist in the game's plot and it also happens to be the biggest twist of the entire storyline, and it has to do with your own character's very identity. I won't bother to explain it now but suffice it to say that Assassin's Creed gives away its biggest and only real interesting story aspect not more than 15 minutes into the game, really setting itself up to be boring right then and there.
Now let's get on with some action, the game is sort of broken up and winds up playing out in chapters, the core quest of the game being a list of 9 men who you need to assassinate in order to complete your main quest, sounds easy right? sounds exciting right?, think again. In order to complete the assassination of each man you'll find yourself having to head into town, go the the "Assassin's Bureau" listen to some dialog that you probably won't care about, climb a bunch of view towers to figure out where you need to go investigate by either Interrogating, Eavesdropping, or Pickpocketing some poor saps (depending on whatever the mini-map icon calls for) and you will rinse and repeat these menial tasks something like 27 or more times before you've killed all 9 of these "bad men", of course there are some other things that you can do along the way, such as rescue citizens from guards who are harassing them, look for various city flags, slaughter town guards, climb extra view towers or do the occasional "informant" quest, come to think of it, yes..this game is really...really...repetitive, but for every 15 menial tasks that you accomplish (flag fetching not included) you'll receive and additional bar added on to your life, meaning that you can then take one more hit than you could before.
All of that said, believe me the game does have some noteworthy points about it. For example, the combat mechanic starts out really simple but later on develops into actually being a lot of fun, the animations from Altair's arsenal of counter attacks are fluid, smooth, realistic and are usually pretty damn brutal. Oh, and did I mention, the graphics are top notch (provided that you've got the hardware for it) this game is frickin' beautiful but very demanding, my machine barely handles this one. The "free-running" aspect of the game is also pretty fun, while checking it out as I played my cousin commented that he felt more like we were watching an action movie as I fled, leaping over rooftops down into the streets and hurling busy peasants out of my way while being chased by a flock of angry guards. Finally given that the game is essentially a port from the Xbox360, Ubisoft did a fantastic job of updating the controls for the PC, using the mouse and keyboard in the way they have it set up feels a little un-natural at first, but once you get used to it you'll have Altair working like a holy land defending killing machine.
All in all, Assassin's Creed harbors some good ideas and is definitely a start for what I can almost guarantee will be a continuing franchise, some say that it was the saving grace for Ubisoft as a developer. I say this game has its flaws but is definitely not one for the trash heap, and if they can improve on this formula and throw in a little more seasoning, we could be looking at an incredible sequel. If you're planning on buying it, definitely worth waiting for the price to drop at least, in fact if you're going for a console version, just rent it.