One of the games that I’ve failed to be mentioned from my festive haul is Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed. In between Halo practise and demon slicing I’ve been scaling the holy land in search of truth, justice and tall buildings that I can swan dive off of.
Set around Jerusalem and the Crusades, the main bulk of the game sees you scampering around after a handful of nasty men. You learn their whereabouts by eavesdropping on, interrogating and pick pocketing locals, allowing you to the get close enough to then dispatch them.
As you first search out your leads in the bustling streets, these core features are at interesting and novel, however, when you realise that you must do these same three actions over and over again for each of your targets things start becoming a chore.
The saving grace is the exploration as within each city you can climb or traverse anything that you can get your hands (or feet) on. Every sill, beam and brick can be scaled, letting you rise above the streets with ease and cross the beautifully conceived city via the rooftops.
Combat, too, can be an enjoyable affair as you can take on hordes of guards at once. Although the skills earned throughout make things far too easy as time progresses, the ability to throw guards through market stalls or vault walls effortlessly means you can execute fights scenes straight out of Hollywood.
For me, though, not even the free-running can disguise what is an interesting concept but stretched far too thinly. The depth is simply not there and the storyline, although intriguing, is not enough to make me want to continue this repetition.
Sorry, to clarify, one of the storylines is intriguing, the other infuriating. This dual thread is wholly unnecessary and only serves the purpose of allowing Ubisoft to stamp the word “franchise” all over the product and shatter any sense of immersion the player had in his world.
Having said all of that, though, I did like what it tried to do and so for the highpoints that Assassin’s Creed achieved I think it should be commended. Put this one down as a damn good first try.