When it was first released onto the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 towards the end of 2007, Assassin's Creed caused quite a commotion. The game was heralded as the pinnacle of next-generation gaming and it was only a matter of time before the game was converted onto the PC format. Now, almost six months after the game first appeared on consoles around the world, has it been worth the wait?
Assassin's Creed is perhaps a classic example of sacrificing game-play for eye candy. While it can't be disputed that the game does indeed look gorgeous, it is sadly lacking somewhat in coherent gameplay and one cannot help but feel that the gameplay hasn't been addressed with the same levels of importance as making the game look or sound as good as possible.
However, while the visuals look good, the same cannot be said for the voice acting, with some poor lip-synching and accents. Ambient sounds on the other hand, such as the barking of dogs or the cries for help from peasants is well done. The orchestral music score is excellent and subtle and seems to catch the mood of the game well.
In Assassin's Creed, the player takes on the role of Altair Ibn La-Ahad, a member of a secret guild of assassins. The game revolves around Altair's demotion in the guild and his subsequent rise to power, which is attained by assassinating a series of historical figures. The gameplay unfolds by way of flashbacks via Desmond - a descendant of Altair's - who just happens to have Altair's genetic code stored within him. The plot is intriguing: Altair must find and kill nine public figures by order of his master and as each one is dispatched, the common thread which links the nine becomes more apparent, leading to the discovery of Desmond's captors. However, while the gameplay is engaging, the ending is somewhat convoluted and confusing, which suggests a sequel in the future.
Assassin's Creed seems to take inspiration from other games as well, such as the stealth elements of Thief: Deadly Shadows and Splinter Cell, the puzzle elements and platforming of Prince Of Persia and the 3D combat of Oblivion. However, it is a mix that works surprising well, even if the control system is rather fiddly and displays a few more issues in terms of movement and control than evident on the console versions. The game has probably been designed to be played using a gamepad, with the keyboard and mouse a probable afterthought.
Assassin's Creed requires a desperately powerful PC to run. If you don't have at least a dual-core processor, a couple of Gigs of RAM and a DirectX 10 compatible graphics card in your PC, then you're unlikely to get anything out of the game. Even if you do, Assassin's Creed could have, and should have, been a lot better. The PC conversion fails to address the flaws that were evident in the console versions, and while it will while away a few hours, players might well feel that the hype was less than deserved.
Assassin's Creed makes a decent stab at things, but it's no killer.
Windows XP / Vista with DirectX 10 (included on DVD)
2.6GHz Intel Pentium D, AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ or equivalent dual core processor (2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ or equivalent recommended)
1GB RAM for XP / 2GB for Vista
8GB HDD Space
256MB Graphics Card (DirectX 9 compatible with Shader Model 3.0 or DirectX 10 compatible)
Sound Card (DirectX 9 or 10 compatible, 5.1 sound card recommended)
Keyboard, mouse, optional controller (Xbox 360 Controller for Windows recommended)
Supported Graphics Cards at Time of Release:
ATI Radeon X1600* / 1650*-1950 / HD 2000 / 3000 series
nVidia GeForce 6800* / 7 / 8 / 9 series
*PCI Express only supported
BBFC Classification: 15+
ESRB Rating: M