Console owners have been playing Assassin's Creed for half a year now and most both love and curse it. Now that I’ve played the PC version for a while, I think I understand why so many gamers developed a love-hate relationship with it. The game is not easy and it is incredibly taxing on those who lack patience. With the phrase “patience is a virtue” in mind, I plowed through Assassin's Creed and found the experience to be both breathtaking and rewarding. Read on, I will tell you why.
You play Altaïr, a 12th Century assassin who has fallen into disgrace with the brotherhood that employs him after failing to fulfill his assignment. Wait, that’s not entirely true. You actually play modern-day bartender Desmond who takes part in a scientific experiment to travel back in time along the strands of DNA in his body. The machine that makes this possible, the Animus, is able to bring back the memories of his predecessors and lets Desmond see through the eyes of his forefather Altaïr. Stripped of his powers, Altaïr seeks to regain his position by taking on a mission to assassinate no less than 9 powerful public figures. With each successful attempt, he will gain back some of his skills and, above all, the trust of the brotherhood.
Upon starting the game, Assassin's Creed will take you by the hand and guide you through several hours worth of gameplay. This lengthy tutorial may sound tedious but most of it is done in a fairly unobtrusive way and knowing your moves is paramount to winning the game. You may not immediately be comfortable with how to blend in with the crowd, hide in haystacks and use the cool sleeve-hidden blade, but once you are you will know that it was worth the effort.
Altaïr moves very smoothly and so does every other character in the game. There is an astonishing amount of animation to be found and it seems that even body language has not been forgotten. Good examples of just how far the animators have pushed the graphical limits are horses. In so many other games, horses appear to be dead with rigor mortis just set in, but not in Assassins Creed. Here they look very much alive and feel responsive to your commands. We can only guess at the amount of time that it must have taken to get the game up to this level.
Assassinating a member of the elite isn’t easy. Like a true assassin, you will need to scout the area, find out your victims habits, time table and so on. An ill-prepared assassination will most likely fail. The preparations can take a lot of work and it is fair to say that this is what the game is all about. The actual kill is over in seconds but everything leading up to that will take a very long time.
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