Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Assassin's Creed precedent [Updated]

I'm playing this new game which was first released on xbox 360 and ps3 then on pc. First lets talk about graphics, and after that gameplay.


The graphics look really good. Let me correct that.
The graphics look really good
on a computer which will be released sometime in the next decade.

QQ: What's the problem with that?
A: Graphic scaling.

There just isn't any. Playing on your max resolution with all effects turned on you'll get an extremely slow slide show (albeit nice one). If you turn some of the effects off, the game looks very dated (like games 8 years ago, but with greater poly count if anyone is interested). There are no shadows, no lightning, and generally everything looks overly bright and washed out. And still fps is low. Hell, even WoW looks much, much more better and runs at 60fps most of the time. This problem is even more pronounced with game's plentiful use of some kind of motion blurring and camera focus blurring which you can't turn off.

On the next two screenshots you can see the difference in graphics.

High quality

Low quality

I must say though, that animations are excellent. True, there are some problems here and there but generally, everything is very fluid, smooth and life-like. I have never played a game which has so simple but effective wall climbing, roof jumping, crowd avoiding techniques. There are many youtube videos demonstrating this so I won't bother to post mine. I have no doubt that they took parkour as inspiration.


The main mechanic of the game is this: Do 3 jobs (pick pocket, assassination, rooftop race etc) in a city and then assassinate the main target who is usually heavily guarded. After that return to your master, get some new move and repeat again.

I was kinda disappointed how easy is to get to the main assassination target after doing first few jobs and everything else is just a rehash of the previously mentioned mechanic.

Nevertheless assassinations in themselves are kinda rewarding and spectacular in contrast to rogues in WoW;) This is probably because you have two modes of assassination. "Low profile" in which when you kill someone by stabbing him with your concealed, elongated, offhand dagger nobody will notice (except if you are watched). The other is "high profile" mode when you can do the same but Altair does it in very cinematic, flying trough the air mode. When you do the killing like that you will probably immediately be discovered and chased after. His killing technique actually looks realistic because he grabs the victim close to him with his right hand and at the same time stabs it in the throat with the dagger hidden in his left bracer. Throat is actually a great target because many people at that time were wearing mail body armor which that dagger probably couldn't penetrate. There are additional benefits in stabbing the throat. Victim probably can't scream, his arteries going to the head are probably severed which leaves a massive blood loss which causes victim to die fast.

Altair has additional weapons of choice. There is a short sword (dunno actually what is it used for), throwing knives (a bit unrealistic), and a normal one handed light sword. The latter one is best used for defense against guards which are plentiful in the cities. I read about guards in other reviews and most of them said that Altair can't defend properly against them and the best thing to do is to run and hide. That is only partially true because Altair can take on many guards at once and be victorious. Of course to save time it would be best to run if there are 10+ guards on you. But that doesn't mean you can't defeat them. Running away is just a time saving option. Did I say I'm impressed how smoothly and life-like Altair moves between the crowd?

Story is actually two leveled from what I have seen this far (I have still not finished the game). On one level you are playing an assassin somewhere around 1100AD, and on the another level you are playing the same guy, but some Brian Average on whom two scientists are doing some DNA experiments. I guess they just wanted to justify those DNA sequences which are plentiful on every AC screenshot. I just don't get why did they introduce all that Descartes world in a world thing, instead of just doing that 1100AD world. The world they created would just get more realism and credibility. All the dialog in the game in top-notch, and actually not dull to listen. Somebody who wrote those dialogs must have a at least passing interest in philosophy and/or religion. I know this because of the general quality of the dialogs and philosophy established phrases/sentences. All those dialogs are about the target you are trying to find and consequentially kill.

As you were reading this you may actually ask yourself why have I mentioned word "precedent" in the title of this post? Sure, the game puts graphic to Crysis-like levels (and requirements too), story is ok, animation is absolutely fantastic, controls are ok (suited for consoles unfortunately) when you get used to them, but why precedent?

There is an easy answer to that. Time needed to exit the game to windows is no less than a full minute(!). I have never seen something like that. True, trough the history of games there were games you could exit in like one second, and there were games who needed couple of seconds/clicks. But not this one. You need to first exit the current 1110AD world. Then the game loads the current/futuristic laboratory. Then you have to select that you want to exit the game. Then you get profile selection screen. After you log-in to your profile then you can select to exit the game. This doesn't take less than a minute. You can watch all of this on my video showing this crap. I don't understand how people can put up with it. Yes, you can always use alt-f4 but that is not a good way to exit the program because the memory won't be released.

So to celebrate this completely wasted time I made this special award and gave it to Assassin's Creed.



  • Great character animations
  • Good dialogs (and monologues)
  • Great graphic presentation overall
  • Excellent graphic
  • Good storyline, excluding the present day part
  • Somewhat easy character control, but more suitable for consoles though
  • Good music and sounds

  • Extremely slow graphic, bad graphic scaling as a cause
  • Small variety of quests
  • Extremely long time to resume/start/exit your game
  • Some weird cuts and forced pauses in the game. (would take 30 min to explain here)
  • Swordfighting is a bit clunky and hard to control.

Almost finished the game. But almost. The last part of the game consisted of waves upon waves of soldiers zerging you all at once. On the last wave you have to defeat at least 20 soldiers at once, all with your sword of course. And frankly, that is just a bad design and a cop-out. I did the latter and just uninstalled the game. I actually did imagine a better finish than that. In any case, the game itself is not that long, true, there are some side quests you can do but they are pretty much all the same. All that is a pity because they could do a much deeper game than it is.

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