Ubisoft Assassin's Creed
- It features lifelike A.I., which really helps flesh out the expansive world; fluid play mechanics and a compelling narrative come together to form an outstanding gaming experience. Altair is as interesting and memorable a character as Ubisoft's other stars, Sam Fisher and The Prince of Persia.
- The world can feel a little <i>too</i> expansive at times; the gigantic environments can be overwhelming; fighting mechanics take practice to master.
The enormity of the game will probably turn off gamers expecting a fast-paced action title but remember that an assassin's greatest tool is patience. Approach this game with that frame of mind and you will be rewarded with one of the best gaming experiences around.
Price$ 109.95 (AUD)
For the most part, non-playable characters that populate game worlds act and behave in a very artificial way but every onscreen person in Assassin's Creed has a presence and gives off a sense that they are unique individuals; this in turn helps flesh out the game's expansive world. As you move through the city streets you will be approached by beggars who will grovel and plead for money, merchants who proudly display their wares, menacing guards, and every other kind of citizen you would expect in the game's (mostly) ancient setting.
But you'll really notice the intelligent A.I. when you're out on the hunt for your next assassination target. Say you're roaming around on the rooftops, tailing your mark. You run into a guard who engages you in a scuffle. You dispatch him but his body falls to the crowded street below. As you'd expect, the citizenry will break out in a commotion and begin screaming, causing any nearby guard to come running.
The upside is that this then clears up different avenues of approach and allows you to get closer to your mark without fear of reprisal. The downside, of course, is that puts the city on high alert with every arm of the law looking for you. Get the guards riled up enough and you will be greeted with a swarm of blades if you so much as sneeze in the wrong person's direction.
But if you do happen to find yourself in a scuffle, know that the fighting mechanics in the game are based on timing, meaning you can't just hack 'n slash. While you can repeatedly swing your sword by hitting the X button, learning the nuances of battle, like dodging, countering, and using your combo attacks, are the key to making it out of the fray alive. Just as there is no set path to completing you assassination objectives, there is no set way to finish a battle. If you so choose you can simply run away, provided your free-running skills are good enough.
Of course, the minor skirmishes in the game don't compare to the rush of hunting down and slaughtering your assassination targets. Like everything else in the game, there's no set path to doing this. You have a lot of freedom to set up your kills and the end results are satisfying; also thrilling are the post-kill escapes that you have to pull off, outwitting and outrunning guards who are anxious to bring you down.
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