Nerdsworth Academy


An assassin walks through a broken wall.

Assassin’s Creed: First Impressions

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Happy (belated) Turkey Day all,

Assassin Leader

You must go and slay these 9 bad people because you have been a bad boy.

Today I’m going to get right into it. Last weekend one of my gaming buddies recommended that I play Assassin’s Creed 2. When I told him that I haven’t played Assassin’s Creed 1, he recommended playing through that instead. Seeing that the game was relatively cheap on Steam ($20), I picked it up and gave it a shot.

Obstacle Course

Traversing difficult terrain like this cavern wouldn't be possible without going into high-profile mode. Doing that turns you into an acrobatic cat, and makes this room a fun tutorial on the use of your skills.

The basic premise of the game is that you play an assassin tasked to destroy the bad people. You do this by using your skills of blending in with the populace to get close to the target, then using a quick strike to take them out. After taking out the target, you must then evade any body guards or town watchmen who might want to question why your tunic is dripping with blood. The game takes place in I believe the 12th century CE, during the Third Crusade. Basically, it’s Grand Theft Damascus.

I've found that being patient is critical. Moving too fast for even a moment can tip people off that you aren't just a scholar chanting as he walks down the street.

My first foray into the game world lasted perhaps two hours and for the most part was enjoyable. I particularly liked the control scheme used to determine what kinds of actions are performed. There are two modes for your character: low-profile and high-profile. Low-profile moves are normal, and I mean normal for those people who aren’t assassins. They don’t draw attention. An example of a low-profile move is a gentle push that will help you maneuver through a crowd. On the other hand, high-profile moves are acrobatic and generally badass, but tend to draw unwanted attention. Drawing weapons and jumping between extending beams are examples of high-profile moves.

Don't Look Down

Don't look down! Assassin's Creed is a very vertical game. Climbing to great heights gives your character the ability to see good hiding spots around town. Then, rather than climbing down, you perform a 'leap of faith' into a bale of hay on the ground.

Overall I’ve been impressed. The movement scheme took a little getting used to, but I think that it won’t be a hindrance to my enjoyment of the game.

Arrival at Damascus

I arrive safely at Damascus, after giving some guards the slip. They aint got nothin' on my ride!

Honestly the most annoying thing about the game so far is its console-esque checkpoint system. While it hasn’t been a big deal yet, there was one scene that I had to replay a half a dozen times because I hadn’t quite figured out how to climb up walls yet. No big deal, but it is a little annoying to replay the same 30 seconds or so of gameplay over and over.

The only other thing that has bugged me about the gameplay so far is that some of the guards have peculiar behavior. They don’t seem to mind at all when I trot by on my horse, but if I gallop for even a couple of seconds they think I’m up to no good (which I am), as opposed to just in a hurry. It just feels a little weird given that there aren’t any posted speed limit signs.

The graphics are great. The horse animations in particular blew my mind; definitely the best horse animations I’ve seen in a game.
I can’t really comment on the missions themselves just yet as I’ve only gotten through the beginning tutorial part of the game. The plot is likewise mostly obscure, so if I continue playing through the game I will definitely comment more on it. So far the plot is that I’ve been a naughty assassin and now must re-earn my stripes by killing a bunch of people. Oh, I suppose the one cool part about the story that I should talk about is how there is a parallel story that takes place in our time (or in the future, it isn’t clear or really relevant).

The Assassin Headquarters

Graphics-wise Assassin's Creed is quite impressive. Here we see the headquarters of the Assassin's Guild. Or Guild of Amiable Assassins, or whatever.

The protagonist in the now-future is a descendant of the assassin, who, through the modern miracle of memory-sucking technology, is re-living the deeds of his assassin ancestor.

It’s an interesting twist on what I thought the game would be about, but I can’t say yet if it’s going to be an effective storytelling tool or not.

So far I’ve been impressed with Assassin’s Creed, but I haven’t experienced too much of the story or actual assassination gameplay yet to be certain of its excellence.

Anyway, I’ll try to do at least a couple of more updates about AC, and possibly AC2.

Till then, cheers,

-S


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