So, a classic themed sandbox. Developed by Ubisoft Montreal, this game should be extra-fine. Is it or is it not? Let's find out.
The story is based on a bartender, Desmond Miles. He had run away from his assassin family in order to lead a simple life like everybody else does. He is kidnapped and forced to re-live his ancestoral memories.
Desmond wakes up on a machine, the Animus. Upon waking, he immediately confronts two employees from Abstergo Corporation (modern face of the Templars). He was kidnapped and is now forced to use the Animus to reveal his ancestor’s memories buried in his DNA.
He plays the memory of his ancestor, Altair ibn La-Ahad, an assassin during the time of the Third Crusade. The assassins have a stronghold and have a master, who they term as the Mentor. The Mentor currently is Al Mualim. During the kickoff of the story, Altair is seen stopping Robert de Sable (a Templar) from extracting an artifact from a temple. In the due course of stopping him, Altair breaks all three tenants of the Assassins’ Brotherhood. As a result, Al Mualim demotes Altair and offers him a chance to redeem himself by assassinating nine corrupt officials.
Altair begins his quest. With each assassination, he finds out that none of the targets were feeling guilty about their evil deeds and that they were not afraid to see the death at their door-step. After each assassination, Al Mualim grants Altair a rank and authorizes him to use his abilities and weapons. After all targets have been eliminated, Altair learns that each of them was Templars and that they were searching for ‘Pieces of Eden’, similar to the artifact Altair saw while stopping Sable from stealing it in a temple. Altair confronts Robert de Sable in front of King Richard and eliminates him. In his dying breath, Sable says that a tenth Templar still remains, whose identity was kept concealed from Altair. The tenth Templar revealed to be Al Mualim himself.
When Altair reaches back to the assassin stronghold, he finds Al Mualim in possession of a Piece of Eden that is able to control people’s mind. Altair begins to spear his way through innocent citizens and finally confronts Mualim. Though Altair is overwhelmed by the tricks Mualim performed with his artifact, he was able to kill him. When Altair reaches to investigate the artifact, he sees a globe of the Earth with several spots.
When his purpose served, Desmond quits the memory and gets out of the Animus and finds that the Abstergo Corporation is a face of the modern day Templars. He learns that this Corporation is now using the locations on the map that Altair used to find more Pieces of Eden, believing to control people to avoid the possibility of the end of the world in 2012. Desmond is saved by Lucy, one of the employees of the Corporation who put Desmond on the Animus. Lucy turns out to be an assassin in disguise. After being left alone in his room, Desmond discovers that he too can use sixth sense like his ancestor, Altair. He uses this sense to study numerous messages left by a Subject 16, previously used assassin subject for the Animus. These messages foretell the end of the world, as Subject 16 saw.
So there goes the story. Short, but splendid, I know. And this game has a lot more…
In the first place, I would like to annotate about the gameplay itself. In my very candid and personal opinion, I think there may be nothing more to desire of in the way the game plays. I was surprised to actually notice that some gamers don’t like the way they play this game. I think it’s great. I’ve never played a game this good about a sophisticated character since Thief. So here’s basically what happens. You carry three weapons – a hidden blade (my favorite), a sword and throwing blade. You can select your weapons easily and engage in combat. You can take down guards silently or do it the old heroic way, by obliterating them to death. I prefer the silent way but you will have to engage the sword action too under some circumstances. Both are pretty good but you have to develop a habit for using all kinds of combats because the turn of events are just not too kind to let you decide a fate of your own.
About the graphics? Well, they are awesome. I liked it and I think I don’t have any complaints. Although I’ve read somewhere that the graphics in Assassin’s Creed are not as optimized as they could have been. Nonetheless, I find the visuals very good. Not that they extra-ordinary, but you will be able to live with it, hell, you’ll love the way thinks look!!! Sound..?? That’s amazing too! The crisp sound of the shiningly brandished swords to the dull sounds of humdrum caverns and dull narrow paths, the environment in the game feels lively. Then there is the astounding environment itself. You really feel like you are playing in the 1400’s. I just can’t explain how incredibly designed the map is.
About the concept..? I was skeptical. Not that extracting broken and abandoned pieces out of a memory makes sense and actually is unique, I don’t get how, and more importantly why, was Altair’s memory inside Desmond. I know it’s all in the story and of course it answers my question, I just don’t happen to like what I see. But, hey, it’s subjective and I won’t be cutting any marks for that! Moreover, I happened to see another downside. The cut scenes are not skip-able and become chaffing. I know this way I get to know the story but what if I don’t want to know! Every corner I reach, there is a 25 minutes video playing explaining the same stuff I would have gotten to my knowledge sooner or later anyways. I think that’s annoying, but some would say, getting to know the story is better and that they kinda get a rest from playing too much. So I leave this controversy over to the belief that it too is subjective and won’t be deducting any marks for that too!
Let’s just get to the downsides. The main disappointment – lack of new turns of events. You are just given nine targets to kill in the game. You take your goal from the brotherhood, reach a destined city, take out the enemy, return to the brotherhood, and gain a rank, and pickup another goal. This starts to feel very boring after a while. Though the game allows much more to do but basically, this is what eventually everything will narrow down to. This IS very boring and steals the interest in playing the game and discovering more.
Then there are the AI quirks. I am not going to leave this unattended. There are lots of them, at some point, you feel that AI problems are a part of the game. They are very irritating and sometimes won’t let you win.
Then is the AI. It is buggy, sometimes frustratingly buggy.
Time for a quick wrap-up. I think in a sandbox game, AI is still ordinary and the technologies have not advanced so much that the AI bugs can be removed altogether. I was in fact surprised to see that in a big and long sandbox game, there are so few bugs as compares to others. But even so, I would say that the story is awesome, but I was unable to get the last bit and draw a healthy conclusion.
So what is concluded so far?--That this game is awesome. There are many problems with this game and to my surprise, most of them weren’t solved even with patches. Even so, this game is fun and unique and will quench your 1400’s thirst by providing a long single player. It’s not just worth a shot, it’s worth a play.