A game like Assasians Creed is a hard game to figure out. It is a game that people love or hate, and the reasons behind it are because of a few simple gameplay elements that would eventually hinder it. Yet, so much was done right, people sometimes forget about it and not fault the game for these minor flaws.
This makes Assassins Creed hard to write about. Hell, i'm kicking myself right now because I don't know how to rate it. I guess that makes me indecisive, but let's do this systematically.
First off, the storyline is very good. Not to spoil much, but I think it's clear to most that the game is more than it seems, and this is incorporated very well. There is also a cinematic quality to the story that makes it almost a movie, where you can manipulate the camera angles to do that as well. I have tought about filming this without the huds and making a movie out of the game, and that says something.
Graphically the game fits the story, and it really chugs the system. It looks great, thats for sure, but there is so much slowdown on the 360 and on the minor hiccups during play can cause misteps and falls of doom. It also is a frequent crasher, which is something that I don't think is just limited to my disc. This is actually a major problem, because if the game keep chugging like this, the likelyhood of it crashing goes higher. With so much detail in the game though, I think it is inevidable.
And you will notice this detail. The minute you climb a tower in a major city and view the entire city from there, you see the scope of the games scale is enormous. Without a doubt the game looks beautiful, and this is perhaps one of the better parts of the game, the sandbox-like play. While it may take a while to get to it, you can wander the cities and the countryside for hours on end, listening to the townsfolk in each city argue the reasons for the crusades or sell you a potted plant. You can even push beggars away, steal knives from thugs, and, for the more sadistic gamers, backstab guards randomly in the street.
The gameplay is similar to Prince of Persia, where you have numerous tricks up your assassins sleeve to fight, blend, and escape capture or death from the persistant city guards. You can climb building, run and tackle guards or people, fight with throwing knives, a sword, a daggar, counter attacks, combo attacks, hide in between vigilantes or scholars who will protect you, even throw guards off buildings if you like to. No action is done twice, every fight you get into has a different method in doing so. One example was when I fought three guards on a rooftop of a castle, throwing two off the castle before killing the third. There is even one place in the game where I literally fought forty crusaders in a giant fort with a mine pit in the center of it, and won. This strong combat element in the game is without a doubt fun, and is a major saving grace for the game.
Why? Simply put, the other aspects of the game are a major letdown. First, the voice acting is not that strong. I have heard worse, but I have also heard better. It's just average. The music in the game is much better though. Seconly, the games core elements, assasinations, are done in an archaic and linear way. You find a high spot, look for one of four different methods to gather information on an assasination target, go to his location, wait after the cut-scene, and then go get him. No strategy, per-se, no puzzle solving, no challenge, either.
This is the games downfall. The constant redundancy of the tasks you have to do, and the staleness of the targets you need to kill, seem like an afterthought, which is a major problem in the game. The story is driven by this, the entire gameplay is tailored for it, yet everything you do up to these assasinations is near boredom. The combat saves it, because always after you kill your target, you need to fight off a dozen guards to just get away from a fight.
This is what makes Assassin's Creed a tough game to rate. On the one hand, it has great gameplay elements, good graphics, a nice story and fantastic sandbox gameplay. On the other, the core gameplay is poor, the voice acting average, and the graphics make the game chug hard. While the good far outweighs the bad, it is a shame that Assassin's Creed did not become the pinnacle that it should of been. Knowing Ubisoft, there is a likely chance of a second game in the future. I hope they change the flaws, because if that occurs, I think the game will be better in the long run.
Final Score- B