Ubisoft’s first Assassins’s Creed Game released in the year 2017 and firstly available on Playstation 3, XBOX 360 and PC. You will play here as Desmond a present teenage kid that was captured by Abstergo and forced to used the machine called Animus, then you also play the role of Altair a skilled assassin in the past where his special skills is to stealth, effortless run, swift killing strike and fearless parkour in the three Third Crusade-era cities, Acre, Damascus and Jerusalem, and the countryside connecting them, are not only beautifully realized on a visual level, feel convincingly organic and teem with virtual life, but are also entirely built around Altair’s abilities. Their surfaces are covered in outcroppings and grilled windows, struts and beams.
Rooftops and handholds are placed a leap’s distance apart, making the process of traversing them, even in the midst of a headlong rush to avoid pursuing guards, remarkably, and pleasurably, assured. This is because Altaïr micromanages negotiating it all for you. Hold down the right trigger and sprint with a face button and he’ll happily leap from joist to joist with you simply pointing him in the right direction. Hanging from a window ledge, he’ll smoothly clamber up and down with direction from the left stick. But this is no attempt at dumbing down. Quite the opposite: it allows you to focus on the middle and far distance, assessing routes, risk and the bigger picture.
It’s therefore a pity that the bigger picture isn’t quite so inspiring. For all Altair’s characterful finesse, he has only a few different ways to meaningfully interact with his world. For each of the nine marks he’s tasked to assassinate, Altair must gain at least three pieces of information to find out where he should perform the hit. This is gained from scouting the city by climbing the highest towers to survey the crowds and unlock a small assortment of missions: pick-pocketing, intimidating (giving someone a beating until they squeal), eavesdropping (sitting on a nearby bench to listen in on a conversation) and assisting an informer with a series of hits or, ludicrously, collecting flags.
The result is repetition, and most missions are simple to complete. Though Altair will be obstructed by the shoves of gibbering loons and beggars getting in his way, and attract the attention of guards if he causes pot and box carriers to drop their loads, there’s been little effort to use the crowds or tricky configurations of the 3D environment to increase the challenge. And for the actual kills, again, it feels like Ubisoft Montreal has missed an opportunity to create clever puzzles through guard patterns, architecture and crowd behavior to encourage exploration of his acrobatic and slaying prowess. The reality is a series of set-pieces that seldom allow you to get in close with Altair’s brutally insidious retracting blades the way you feel an assassin should.
Binding the action together is a story that exposes Assassin’s Creed’s much-heralded link with science-fiction at its very outset: the Holy Land circa 1191 is the construct of a machine called the Animus, which is able to read people’s ‘genetic memories’. It’s entertaining nonsense but, despite the laudable but ultimately rather empty idea to ensure the player always has some form of control during cut scenes, it sadly boils down to a lot of talking – and Altair’s dreary voice-acting.
Overlaying it all is an ambitious theme about the folly of fixed ideologies and the absence of universal truths. None of Altair’s targets, which come from both sides of the conflict, are wholly evil – a point made by a scene that appears once they’ve been slain. “You stole food from your people,” Altair accuses William de Montferrat, who replies that he’s actually been stockpiling it for an uncertain future. But while the story might promote personal choice and freedom to act, like BioShock, the game does not: Altair is locked firmly into his fate.
And his fate in the final section is squeezed down to a forced and protracted sequence of fights that seems to forget Altair’s raison d’etre entirely. Though sword fighting, a defensively pitched system based around delicate counter-attacks and dodges, works fine, it always feels as if Altair’s at his most natural in flight – the exhilarating rush to break the line of sight from pursuing enemies and find hiding places to wait it out until the panic is over.
Assassin’s Creed was released in November 13, 2007 and available in Mac, PC, XBOX 360 and Playstation 3.