Gaming Under $20: Assassin’s Creed

Hidden blades, throwing daggers, and swords, oh my! With Assassin Creed III coming out this October I thought we’d look back at where it all started. Take a step into the Master Assassin Altaïr’s boots and see what being an Assassin really means… And maybe review a game along the way for kicks.

You start out as Desmond Miles, who is being held captive by Abstergo, a company who basically rules the world. You have the ancestral line of an assassin, Altaïr.  While you are being held captive, they study you and your ancestor extensively. They have a machine called the “Animus” which can synch you to your ancestors’ lives. Think of it like the Matrix – minus the giant needle in your head. Once inside the Animus you follow in the footsteps of Altaïr by completing missions, killing contracts, and saving civilians. Following in his footsteps earns you “synchronization” (or health); straying away from his path will lose that health, and if you go too far – such as killing a civilian or going to an area you aren’t supposed to yet – you will die.

Once you have the basic controls down you are thrust into Altaïr’s life in the 12th century. You start by spying and then chasing a target through a cavern. Your arrogance, however, not only loses the target but gets another assassin killed in the process. You are sentenced to death by the Assassin’s leader, Al Mualim. However, he instead strips you of your Master Assassin rank making you nothing more than a child and you must work your way back up to the top. Altaïr must first prove himself again if he wishes to leave Masyaf, the Assassin’s home. After he does this he is given contracts in the Holy Lands which are mainly Jerusalem, Acre, and Damascus. When you are leaving Masyaf you are given two options: You can either fast travel to the city you have been to, or you can travel through The Kingdom (a neutral open area between the cities) to the place you want to go. If you want the achievements/trophies and you don’t mind sucking, oh, about three to four hours out of your life, take the long route. By the way, that is three to four hours if you are using a guide to find all the effing flags. If you are doing it on your own, more power to you and good luck. Once you are in the target’s city you can’t just go assassinate the guy. That would just be too easy. You have to talk to that city’s Assassin head and get his permission. Wait there’s more. To get his permission you must eavesdrop on five people, pickpocket three, and collect flags for two assassins. I made those numbers up but you get the idea. It’s just a bunch of monotonous work for you to do. The flags were especially annoying. “Hey go collect my flags because I’m too lazy to do it. Oh, and did I mention I’m timing you? You’d better hurry.” What an ass. After you do all that, you can finally go kill the target. Once you kill him, though, you have to get the heck out of the city because every guard instantly knows he’s dead and you did it. You get one to three contracts per memory fragment. You return to Abstergo for various reasons, like the Animus overheating, prolonged exposure is bad, etc. Then you are shut in your room. You can eventually explore the office/lab or you can sleep and start the next session. This repeats until the last memory fragment which is something entirely different that I won’t go into for spoiler reasons. But until you get there it’s get contract, do all that crap to get his permission again, kill contract, and repeat. It’s a very repetitive game.

Other than the repetition the game play is fairly smooth. The graphics are stunning and the music follows through the game beautifully. There weren’t many, if any, glitches that I noticed. The mechanics of the game are almost flawless. There was a little frustration on the free running physics when he would jump the opposite direction I wanted. The combat, however, was amazing and it improved with each game. You can’t fight with the hidden blade in this one but you do get throwing knives, a dagger, and a sword. They have some striking combos and counters in the first game, all of which look incredible. There is just something satisfying about jumping off a building onto someone and stabbing them with a hidden blade. That isn’t sadistic or anything, right?

I’ll be honest I loved this game. I could look past the repetition to enjoy the storyline and combat aspects. However, I know most people don’t, won’t, or can’t. If you want the storyline for Assassin’s Creed, rent the game or read a wiki on it. Sadly, the game isn’t worth buying. It has next to no replay value, and you can get all the achievements in one play through if you know what you are doing, two if you don’t. There’s no multiplayer, so it has no lasting appeal after beating it with the repetition being so overwhelming.

For $14.99, Assassin’s Creed is Not Worth It.

By Alex Kirn

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