Thursday, 26 June 2008

A note on: Assasin's Creed

I really didn't want to like Assasin's Creed. After the hype, and then the reviews I wanted to detest it as an example of graphics over gameplay. However, after sufficient badgering from Richard, I gave in and decided to give it a go. I wasn't able to get over my misgivings enough to actually buy it, so instead I swapped Portal with Jezz and got it on loan.

My one line review would have to be: "So next gen, so not next gen."

Where it succeeds is that the world they've created is incredibly solid and very beautiful, a real technical marvel. Also, free running around the world is excellent and rarely becomes tiring. The assassinations of the title are sweet and can be approached in a whole host of different ways.

Where it falls down for me is where most "realistic" games fall down - it totally fails to traverse the uncanny valley. The cities, although well populated, have very little variation in the character models; all NPCs use the same 20 snippets of dialogue and you perform the dizzying climb up the exact same tower structures many, many times. Other immersion-breakers were: "desynchronizing" (dying) if you set foot in a puddle, repeating the same tired investigation missions over and over again and some cockpiss-pot poor AI. Finally, the bolted on sci-fi story was ridiculous and unnecessary; why couldn't I just have been a bad ass-asin taking names and kicking faces in the middle ages?

Despite all my moaning, I was enjoying Assasin's Creed - right up until last Sunday night. I was finishing of memory 6 and running late for playing co-op Halo 3 with basement and andyw so I switched off my console after seeing the game auto-save following the particularly laborious chapter ending cut-scene . On reloading my save game, I've discovered that somehow turning off after that particular save has broken the sequence of the game and left me trapped in a small area (Arsuf), with no NPCs and no way of returning to the main game. I've raised a problem on the Ubisoft website so we'll have to see what they say.

Broadly, I'm in agreement with the Zero Punctuation review, however I do think my broken save game after 20 hours of play time investment has made me even angrier than he is.

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