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109 of 118 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars TIPPING THE SCALES OF POWER WITH YOUR KNIFE
This is on of the most anticipated games to be ported to PCs. For this, the Director's Cut edition was produced, adding some content over the console versions (mostly rooftop action missions), and care was taken to make the gamepad to keyboard/mouse-transition as seamless as possible. For the most part it was successful.

This is a TREMENDOUSLY BEAUTIFULLY GAME...
Published on April 13, 2008 by NeuroSplicer

versus
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK...
A few reviewers summed up this game very well. I just wanted to nod my head in agreement...

Excellent Graphics, Nice open ended gameplay, Good voice acting. Play control is not too bad (takes a while to get used to).

Boring, repetitive missions and slow story line. Game gets old after a few hours.
Published on May 3, 2008 by E. Medina


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109 of 118 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars TIPPING THE SCALES OF POWER WITH YOUR KNIFE, April 13, 2008
By 
NeuroSplicer (Freeside, in geosynchronous orbit) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This is on of the most anticipated games to be ported to PCs. For this, the Director's Cut edition was produced, adding some content over the console versions (mostly rooftop action missions), and care was taken to make the gamepad to keyboard/mouse-transition as seamless as possible. For the most part it was successful.

This is a TREMENDOUSLY BEAUTIFULLY GAME. The first thing that grabs you is how REAL the city environments feel. The graphics are just OUT OF THIS WORLD! You will need a very good PC to enjoy their full potential (minimum requirements provided below), but real skies, dynamic shadows, facial expressions and realistically flowing robes are only beginning to describe it! Run on a roof and the other citizens will gather around and comment on your crazy behavior! Throw someone on a vendor's cart and he will come after you complaining about his ruined produce! And the city is alive well beyond your character. If only BIOWARE could take some lessons for its next BALDUR's GATE...

Adding to this is the wonderful sound! From the crowd murmurs and the NTCs cries for help, to the whistling of the wind and the well-chosen background music, a good sound-card and speakers set is recommended to truly enjoy this game. If you have a 5.1 speaker system (I do not) I can imagine the experience to become even more immersing.

As to the gameplay, you control Altaïr ibn La-Ahad ("The Flying One, Son of None"). He is a member of the Assassin Brotherhood that sides, well, with both...sides, during the 3rd Crusade. In a story twist, he is also your ancestor, the game being your/his flashback memories. This is a twist I could do without, but I would guess it lays groundwork for the sequels.

The Third person perspective works beautifully and will never loose your interest. Most missions require sneaking and murdering in the shadows. Others will have you eavesdropping for passwords or pickpocketing documents to gain access into target buildings. Some will have you sharpen those sword skills. Still, the game does not avoid its share of stupid "keep this...suicidal character from getting killed" missions. Keep in mind though that ASSASSIN's CREED is rather a strategically thinking action TPS, not a hack&slash fast-paced one.

Controlling your character with a keyboard/mouse takes a lot of getting used to as you have to manage running, climbing, fighting as well as modifying your actions from low to high visibility. The keys are remapable but their complexity will never let you forget you are playing a game. Now for some bad news.

These are the official MINIMUM Requirements:
* Pentium D 2.6GHz (YES, Dual Core!) (or AMD equivalent)
* 1GB RAM (WinXP) or 2GB (WinVISTA) (3GB RECOMMENDED!)
* nVidia 6800 (or Shader Model 3.0 compliant or ATI equivalent)
* Dual-Layer DVD-ROM (or BluRay disc)
* 12GB HDD Space (although my install folder was no larger than 7GB)

As one can see, this is worse than CRYSIS! What I cannot get is how on earth ASSASSIN works on only 512MB of RAM of the XBox, yet it is recommended to have...3GB of RAM on a PC! Sure, the extra content is nice but who did the porting, unpaid interns? Has ANY PC optimization been attempted at all?
Keep also in mind that (as with CRYSIS) in order to fully enjoy the game, barely meeting the minimum requirements means you will barely experience the game. I refuse to deal with WinVISTA so, obviously, this review pertains to DirectX-9. The game is also DirectX-10 compatible, something I cannot comment on though. And now for some good news.

UBISOFT has been recently hit with a $5million class-action suit for hardware (OK, "allegedly") damaged by StarForce bundled with its games. Since, they have announced to be abandoning its StarForce partnership - so let's all rejoice: unlike other UBISOFT games, ASSASSIN's CREED does NOT sport StarForce! Instead, a much milder SafeDisc is used.
It is a pity it took litigation to finally listen to their own customers (suing StarForce would make much more sense, but try finding them in Russia!), but let's count our blessings.

So, overall, this is a well made and beautiful, immersing (although quite short) game that needed more work in PC optimization (where it looses 1 star Overall) and character control (where it looses 1 star for Fun).

As Altair himself would have put it: "Nothing is true. Everything is permitted."
Well, not everything - and certainly NOT StarForce.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected, April 15, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
When I first saw the trailer for this game, it looked like it had potential. But then I started to see all the negative reviews when it came out on PS3 and 360. How it's repetitive and there's not much actual assassinations and you waste time doing other things. So it was pushed from my mind.

But I have to say, this game is really fun. I didn't know this type of game was possible on the PC. The last time I remember having this type of intuitive control and ability to jump and move around anywhere was Mario 64. And this game takes that fluid character control and ups the ante by 1000x and increases the graphics, adds hundreds of people and lets you kill anyone. I don't know what to say, it's just extremely fun to just run around, walk around, climb, jump across roof, fight random civilians and the guards. It's just perfect. Well, closer to perfect than any game I've played yet.

Anyways I had some concerns with people saying you'll need a gamepad for this. I have a PS3 for Blu Ray, not games, but a friend brings over AC sometimes and personally I prefer the keyboard/mouse combo. With a controller you just feel so constricted and you never forget that you're the one guiding the character on screen. With keyboard/mouse it's easier to get past that and move as if you're in the game. But I understand it's preference and if you're a console person you might feel differently.

I don't know of all the improvements made from the console versions but I noticed at least 4 new side-quests. There's one where you stealth kill archers and guards for your fellow assassins, one where you have to race to another informer within a certain amount of time, one where you "escort vip", and one where you need to throw someone into merchant stores. Adds a bit of variety while you stack up enough investigations for the main kill.

I love the fighting in this game. I thought it was a little dull but once you get Counter, oh my god. Insanely fun and engaging combat sequences. I like that Ubisoft put in a lot of variety to what kinds of moves the Counter skill can pull off. It's just satisfying to watch the incredibly cool maneuvers this guy pulls off against 20+ enemies closing in on him as he spins and ducks and slices. One of my favorite has to be the one where he gets down and stabs a foot then charges up and impales a blade into the skull. Such a pretty game.

Graphics are incredible but yeah the specs are pretty high. I'm running it at max settings with 2x anistropic, 4x anti-aliasing, at 1920x1080 resolution with great fps on a 3.2GHz C2D, 2GB DDR2 800, 8800GT 512, system.

I don't usually buy single player games because of the lack of replayability. So unless it's a great experience, I'll stick with my mutliplayer. Bioshock was a huge letdown for me, but AC was a pleasant surprise. Bioshock had an interesting story but AC has the FUN gameplay. Games I usually go for are CoD4, TF2, etc. All PC of course. Consoles are for kids or for street fighter or rock band sorts of games. Assassin's Creed on PS3 was kind of lame but the PC experience is well worth it if you've got a system to run it.

It's not a perfect game. There isn't an option to save so you'll have to sit through long speeches again if you die. There are some little things I might nitpick about. But from the games available on the market, it's definitely one of the best. I'm excited about other games with this engine because the movement and combat are just so damn fun.

The only keys I customized were the weapons(which is pretty much preference) and I made "Q" eaglevision and "E" target. Works great.

I know it's not a game I'll play again and again like CoD4 but it's a 4.5 for a single player. Downfall is the repetitiveness but the gameplay engine is just spectacular.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous environments, chases over rooftops and fun swordplay in this game (PC version), August 10, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I bought this game on Steam.
The video game was amazing. Here are the pros and cons that I saw:
PROS:
1. The outdoor environments are huge and all beautifully detailed. You also get to ride on horseback.
2. The buildings, mosques and churches and other architecture are amazingly realistic and I think these along with #4 below "made" the game. These really made it feel like you were in Jerusalem or Damascus. FREAKING amazing. I think this game is a landmark video game just because of the quality of the graphics for the buildings. Even the golden domes on the mosques shine with the sunlight. The game should get an award for this.
3. You will have many hours of fun because of the swordfights. Every time the player levels up, he acquires new swordfighting and combat skills. This makes combat always interesting and there's always something new to try out on your targets.
4. Both the "Bourne Identity" movies and the new James Bond movies have scenes where the hero has the climb walls and jump from roof to roof all with just his bare hands. In this game, YOU are Jason Bourne doing all that stuff. This and #2 "made" this game. When you're jumping from roof to roof and you're being chased by 12 guards while archers are taking aim at you, the feeling is exhilarating.
5. When you are in a city, you have a lot of freedom about where to go and what to do. It feels like "GTA" with horses and not cars. There is even a meter that indicates how "wanted" you are by the guards.
CONS:
1. The "Save a citizen" quests feel very repetitive after you've done a hundred of them.
2. You cannot swim. If you land in the water, you die. Why? If the hero is able to pull off the roof jumping stunts, why can't he swim?
3. You have to pick the pockets of armed thugs to replenish your knives. There is no assassin's store.
4. There is not enough variety in the dialogue spoken by NPCs. It becomes irritating to hear the same thing said over and over by towncrier-type NPCs.
Note to the folks at UBISOFT:
UBISOFT, be careful that the depiction of the Christian religion in your video games is fair compared to the depiction of other religions or beliefs. There are people who seriously consider that when choosing to buy your high-quality games or high quality games from another company.

ADDENDUM: ABOUT THE MEMORY LOG!
When I was at almost the last mission of the game, I discovered the MEMORY LOG. Remember all the Quests you did (getting flags, meeting informants, pickpocketing etc.)? They all get logged in the MEMORY LOG. To get to it press Escape and then click on MEMORY LOG. You can click on each memory in your DNA memory to view the maps and other "intel" you gathered on your target. Unforunately for me, I only found out when I was about to assassinate the second or the last guy...
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars TIPPING THE SCALES OF POWER WITH YOUR KNIFE, April 19, 2008
By 
NeuroSplicer (Freeside, in geosynchronous orbit) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This is on of the most anticipated games to be ported to PCs. For this, the Director's Cut edition was produced, adding some content over the console versions (mostly rooftop action missions), and care was taken to make the gamepad to keyboard/mouse-transition as seamless as possible. For the most part it was successful.

This is a TREMENDOUSLY BEAUTIFULLY GAME. The first thing that grabs you is how REAL the city environments feel. The graphics are just OUT OF THIS WORLD! You will need a very good PC to enjoy their full potential (minimum requirements provided below), but real skies, dynamic shadows, facial expressions and realistically flowing robes are only beginning to describe it! Run on a roof and the other citizens will gather around and comment on your crazy behavior! Throw someone on a vendor's cart and he will come after you complaining about his ruined produce! And the city is alive well beyond your character. If only BIOWARE could take some lessons for its next BALDUR's GATE...

Adding to this is the wonderful sound! From the crowd murmurs and the NTCs cries for help, to the whistling of the wind and the well-chosen background music, a good sound-card and speakers set is recommended to truly enjoy this game. If you have a 5.1 speaker system (I do not) I can imagine the experience to become even more immersing.

As to the gameplay, you control Altaïr ibn La-Ahad ("The Flying One, Son of None"). He is a member of the Assassin Brotherhood that sides, well, with both...sides, during the 3rd Crusade. In a story twist, he is also your ancestor, the game being your/his flashback memories. This is a twist I could do without, but I would guess it lays groundwork for the sequels.

The Third person perspective works beautifully and will never loose your interest. Most missions require sneaking and murdering in the shadows. Others will have you eavesdropping for passwords or pickpocketing documents to gain access into target buildings. Some will have you sharpen those sword skills. Still, the game does not avoid its share of stupid "keep this...suicidal character from getting killed" missions. Keep in mind though that ASSASSIN's CREED is rather a strategically thinking action TPS, not a hack&slash fast-paced one.

Controlling your character with a keyboard/mouse takes a lot of getting used to as you have to manage running, climbing, fighting as well as modifying your actions from low to high visibility. The keys are remapable but their complexity will never let you forget you are playing a game. Now for some bad news.

These are the official MINIMUM Requirements:
* Pentium D 2.6GHz (YES, Dual Core!) (or AMD equivalent)
* 1GB RAM (WinXP) or 2GB (WinVISTA) (3GB RECOMMENDED!)
* nVidia 6800 (or Shader Model 3.0 compliant or ATI equivalent)
* Dual-Layer DVD-ROM (or BluRay disc)
* 12GB HDD Space (although my install folder was no larger than 7GB)

As one can see, this is worse than CRYSIS! What I cannot get is how on earth ASSASSIN works on only 512MB of RAM of the XBox, yet it is recommended to have...3GB of RAM on a PC! Sure, the extra content is nice but who did the porting, unpaid interns? Has ANY PC optimization been attempted at all?
Keep also in mind that (as with CRYSIS) in order to fully enjoy the game, barely meeting the minimum requirements means you will barely experience the game. I refuse to deal with WinVISTA so, obviously, this review pertains to DirectX-9. The game is also DirectX-10 compatible, something I cannot comment on though. And now for some good news.

UBISOFT has been recently hit with a $5million class-action suit for hardware (OK, "allegedly") damaged by StarForce bundled with its games. Since, they have announced to be abandoning its StarForce partnership - so let's all rejoice: unlike other UBISOFT games, ASSASSIN's CREED does NOT sport StarForce! Instead, a much milder SafeDisc is used.
It is a pity it took litigation to finally listen to their own customers (suing StarForce would make much more sense, but try finding them in Russia!), but let's count our blessings.

So, overall, this is a well made and beautiful, immersing (although quite short) game that needed more work in PC optimization (where it looses 1 star Overall) and character control (where it looses 1 star for Fun).

As Altair himself would have put it: "Nothing is true. Everything is permitted."
Well, not everything - and certainly NOT StarForce.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Game played in the last five years., May 31, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This game is so life-like in its historical representation that it will emerse yourself in 1191 Crusades of the Holy Land. Here you follow the memories of Altair, the head Assassin as he conducts himself on nine missions (Not to mention a hundred side missions that you can enter freely of your own will). I can see this game engine use in other simulations, like Shinobe of Japan, or even a Bourne Supremacy game. The details are amazing, masses of people interact and the slightest mishap will draw you into an incounter. Fight or flee. Its your choice. One aspect of fascination is the computer's prediction on weather you will make a leap from one rooftop or not. Precision was taken to allow a sense of fear as the computer predicts based on your angle and speed. This changes with just a mili-second of decision. It is very real aspect to the game. Even the horses move with realism... A must have.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK..., May 3, 2008
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
A few reviewers summed up this game very well. I just wanted to nod my head in agreement...

Excellent Graphics, Nice open ended gameplay, Good voice acting. Play control is not too bad (takes a while to get used to).

Boring, repetitive missions and slow story line. Game gets old after a few hours.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't care how nice the can looks, dog food will always taste like dog food., April 15, 2008
By 
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Well this game has finally made it to PC. After nearly half a year of conversion ,PC owners can now find out why the Xbox and PS3 community loves/hates this game so much.

The gameplay is about the same as console games, and since I previously wrote a review for the xbox version, I hesitate to repeat all of it. To sum up gameplay; guards attack you for going to fast, it is wrong to punch the retards even if they started it, no matter how many guards you are up against they will still come at you one at a time like a bad martial arts movie, cinematics and conversations are unskippable, but it looks really good.

The big change I noticed in the PC version is the ability to warp to locations. No longer do you have to walk all the way back to the mountain after each and every kill. But, there were penalties for this new found gem of gameplay.

First, the game is locked in wide screen mode. I played on a wide screen display but for most "normal gamers" out there this would be annoying. I noted in one review a person swore they changed it. Sadly, they altered the resolution, not the aspect. They played the tall, skinny version of Assassin's Creed.

I used my own controller setup so I cant tell you how nice it works with a mouse and keyboard. From the 2 seconds I used it in the intro I can tell you this, get a controller. I use an adapter which turns my PS1 controller into a USB connection. Worked wonderfully.

It is nearly impossible to quit this game. The Youtube video of the sums it up nicely. At minimum, you need to make about 10 keystrokes over about 2 minutes to exit. Impressive since I never found out how to quit and had to exit using alt+F4 every time. I would also not recommend trying to minimize the game. It will never restore and you will have to end it in task manager.

Aside from that, it was a decent port. I didn't have the video artifacts or crashes that many complain about. I ran it on a dual core 2.4, 8800GTS Video and with just 2 gigs of ram. Maxed my settings completely without a hitch.

The new content was a bit of a let down given that it was shamelessly tacked on. I figured Ubisoft would come through with their marketing promises and include naked pictures of Jade Raymond in hopes of selling out even more, but alas more disappointment to follow. A couple of extra mission types are tacked on. Talk to an informant, kill archers, race across town and that sort of stuff Nothing really new, and nothing that adds to the story or enjoyment.

In all, Assassin's Creed was a decent console game (if you tried not to think about it too much) and it is a functional game for PC. The user interface is terrible and the widescreen mode is obnoxious, but if you can tolerate that it will be enjoyable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Game - no problems with download or installation, April 9, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Assassin's Creed: Director's Cut Edition [Download] (Software Download)
After reading some of the other reviews about people having problems downloading and installing this product I was a little leery of buying this but in the end, the amazing price of $6.99 was too good to pass up. I figured it was worth the risk because the same game on Steam is $19.99.

I was able to download the game within about 3-4 hours on a standard DSL connection. Installation was flawless and the game seems to be running fine on my Windows 7 system. Perhaps some of the other problems that others have noted can be addressed with updates for graphic drivers etc.

This game has been well reviewed but at the $6.99 price that makes it worth 5 stars in my book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece and Worth the Price, August 16, 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Assassin's Creed is one of the best games I have ever played. The storyline is intense, the gameplay, controls, and combat magnificent, and the graphics top-of-the-line.

STORY:
Assassin's Creed is about a man named Desmond who is kidnapped by a company that wants him to go back in time and control one of his ancestors using the Animus: a strange machine that allows access to "cell-memories" (a common theory that memories are passed along down generations through cells in the body).

In the Animus, you take control of an assassin, Altaïr. You start the game with all abilities and weapons, but as you control Altaïr, his actions get him in trouble, and his rank and most of his equipment is stripped. I have not finished the game yet, but for most of it (as of now), the rest is spent assassinating 9 characters in the game's three cities. When you assassinate each one, you will be ranked up and get a new ability (or two) and a piece of your equipment back. Each time you assassinate a boss, they will speak cryptically. Altaïr begins to think perhaps something is up -- all of these men believe that what they are doing is right in every way, that they are saving people, not harming them.

GAMEPLAY:
As Altaïr, you have incredible agility and speed. You can scale buildings and jump from rooftop to rooftop in mere seconds. When you're in combat, Altaïr can perform deadly maneuvers with his two types of combat-ready swords. He also possesses a hidden blade in his sleeve that you can use to silently kill anyone. Be wary, though. If there are many witnesses around, they may catch on that you just killed someone.

Crowds add a sense of realism to the gameplay, with everyone reacting to you and what you do at any moment. If you run like a madman through the city streets, you may hear whispers of "he's going to hurt himself," or "what's gotten into him?" Scaling a building, you can hear "what is that man doing?". Every move you make is constantly being watched by someone, and if you act too suspiciously, the guards will catch on and begin to attack. Don't run into them, or they'll attack automatically. Beggars will follow you asking for money (though there is no way to do this, so if you're annoyed, either ignore them or switch to fists ("4" key) and give them a good ol' punch in the face). Drunks and mental patients will push you away when you get near, and thugs will attack you if you get into a fist fight with them or someone nearby. The AI is very intelligent.

NOTE: Guards will NOT attack if you get into a fist fight (unless you get into a fist fight with a guard).

When you are caught by the guards, their actions and your escape are exceedingly unique, in that, if you climb a building, so do the guards. If you run, guards along the way will attack or leave you be depending on how close they were to where you first got caught. Finally, your escape methods are different. You have to find hiding spots, but the way that it works is that there is an icon in the upper-left corner of the screen: when it is red and in the shape of a triangle, you are in full view of the guards and you have to keep running. If it's yellow and in the shape of a triangle, you're out of view of the guards and have to find a hiding spot fast. When the icon is a blue triangle, you're hiding and slowly becoming "anonymous", the word the game uses to mean "not in trouble and not suspicious". Finally, when the icon is gray and flashing green, you're safe. You can hide in many places, most of them being piles of hay, little "rooms" on rooftops, and benches where other people are sitting. If you're on a high building and below you on the ground is a hay bale, when you jump off that building, Altaïr will do a sky-dive maneuver and land straight in the hay.

Some people may be offended by the comments made in the game -- as it's taking place during the time of the Crusades and in Israel, Christians were largely persecuted. You will hear protestors on the street complaining of the "Christian King and his infidels". I also seem to remember hearing the "British King and his infidels" once, as well. Altaïr never explicitly shows what religion he follows and tends to remain neutral in his assassinations. The game also is not portrayed as being "pro-" anything. It also states at the beginning of the game right after the "Ubisoft" ad that it was created by a large group of people with diverse religious beliefs and customs.

Finally, the game uses a unique "synchronization" method in gameplay. Synchronization is basically Altaïr's health bar -- when he's fully synchronized, he's at full health and can use the special "eagle eye" ability. You lose synchronization in a few ways, either by falling from heights, getting hit when in a fight, and killing innocents. When Altaïr dies, you are "desynchronized" and must restart from the nearest Checkpoint (luckily, there are many checkpoints along the way -- you are never left wanting for one).

CONTROLS:
The controls take some getting used to, but are extremely imaginative. On the default settings, the shift key controls the "non-fighting" hand, the space key controls the legs, the E key controls the head, and the left mouse button controls the fighting hand. Holding down the right mouse button will allow you to perform a number of actions, such as run and block.

GRAPHICS:
The graphics are simply spectacular, but you need a very powerful graphics card to use them on the highest settings. I get fairly high FPS, even on the highest possible settings, using my EVGA e-GeForce 9500 GT 512 MB DDR2 PCI-E 2.0 Graphics Card 512-P3-N954-TR. Every texture is rendered incredibly and that coupled with lighting, bloom, shadow, and multisampling make the game have a very realistic feeling.

BOTTOM LINE:
This game is a must-have, though if you are easily offended by comments against Christians, be warned as there are some not-so-nice comments made that are supposed to help the game be more historically accurate.

As I stated above, the graphics are spectacular but require a fairly good graphics card to run with a decent framerate.

The storyline is innovative and creative, exploring parts of history that not many know of. The combat is difficult, but satisfying, and the stealth-action genre has received another great addition to its collection.
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32 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Please do not buy this game, September 1, 2008
By 
V&A (California, USA) - See all my reviews
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
The best games have the power to take you into another world; one that is richer and stranger than your own. It may be fascintating, beautiful, or frightening, but when you enter into it you feel that you are really there.

Building this world often starts with the graphics, and Assassin's Creed cannot be faulted here. The effects are gorgeous, and the textures and details are wonderfully rendered. But if this is to be a properly immersive experience, where you, the player, become part of the world, then the interaction and gameplay become just as important, and it is here that Assassin's Creed fails so abysmally.

The basic character controls are stupidly, pointlessly, clumsy, and making the character do what you want becomes an excercise in keyboard-punching frustration. The tasks that your character has to carry out are infuriatingly hard, not out of any inherent difficulty, but because of the ridiculously obstructive game mechanics.

As well as the simple difficulty in controllng the character, many of the assignments that you have to carry out are deliberately set up to irritate you. When trying to follow a man in order to pick his pocket, beggars will accost you (but not him) and refuse to let you go. (They want money. The game system doesn't let you give them money.) Random deranged lunatics will stand on street corners and block your passage (but never anyone else's).

Many of the little details that seemed so convincing to start with soon become annoying. The street-corner preacher that you walked past in Damascus is also there in Jerusalem, saying the same thing over and over again. The suspicous guards, who are alerted when you walk too quickly, seem like a vivid detail to begin with, but when the game's ludicrous plot forces you to walk past them again, and again, and again, it soon gets tiring.

The character that you control has lots of special moves. He climbs like a cat, and can clamber up to the highest tower in the city, where he can scan the streets below for activity. The first time he does this, it is genuinely breathtaking, as the camera suddenly pans around the assassin, perched on hie eyrie. The tenth, or the twentieth time (becasue you have to do this in order to fill in your map) it become pointless and tedious.

If all of this is beginning tonsound irritating, bear in mind that you will have to do it over and over and over again, as you continually return to one of the three game cities in order to carry out yet another misison that is a bit harder, but basically the same, as the last one.

I genuinely wanted to like this game. I am fascinated by the period, and I loved the idea of mingling in the throng of a crowded Middle Eastern street. But the truth is tht Ubisoft spent a lot of time on designing the scenery, and no time (and even less thought) on designing a real game.

Yes, the game has its scenic moments. But for every time that a dusty flock of pigeons rises into the air as you crawl across the rooftops, there are dozens of stupid, contrived and frustrating exercises that will quickly drag you back out of the game world, and leave you annoyed and angry in front of your keyboard.

Ultimately, a game has to be played, not looked at, and the gameplay is so terribly, terribly, bad that nothing else really matters. It is, as I say, a shame, because I wanted to like the game, but that simply isn't possible.

Please do not buy this game. Please do not buy this game because you think you can handle a few annoyances for the sake of an interesting world. Please do not buy this game becasue the graphics look good and the trailer is spectacular. Please do not buy this game becasue you love the Middle Ages, and you think that any game set there cannot be all bad. I bought this game for precisely those reasons, and I was brutally disappointed.

Please do not buy this game.
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