-- Assassin's Creed
Release Date: 16-Nov-2007
Developed By: Ubisoft
Published By: Ubisoft
ESRB: Rating PendingOfficial WebsiteWhere to buyAdd reviewOverview
The game takes place during the Third Crusade, exact year 1191. The gamer plays as a member of the assassin sect Hashashin known as Altaļr (Arabic, "Flying Eagle") whose objective is to assassinate the nine historical figures who are "architecting" the crusades, and the suffering of the people. As the gamer finds and kills these targets, their conspiracy is unveiled. The player will be able to travel through three cities, Jerusalem, Acre, and Damascus. The environment is completely interactive, from the people to the historically accurate cities. These cities are populated by many people and the way the player controls Altaļr affects how people around you react to your presence. For example, when going through a crowd, if you lightly move someone out of the way, it will not have a significant effect. However, if you throw someone to the ground and kill them, the crowd may unite against you and you will then have to find a way out. Similarly, if you shove a person aside, they may shove you back. If you climb walls, civilians will gather around, attracting unwanted attention from guards.
One of the most talked about features of the game is the ability to get around the game world. Influenced by the Parkour phenomenon and its freedom of movement, the player will be able to grab onto and climb "any object that sticks out more than 2 inches", which means exploration of the cities, rooftops, etc. will be possible on a greater scale than in any previous game. The game will also be completely free-roaming, which has led to comparisons with Grand Theft Auto, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Shadow of the Colossus, and other games.
Assassin's Creed was featured in E3 2006, where a new system of gameplay was revealed. Only three trailers have been released so far. The title's in-game graphics, as exhibited at E3, more closely resemble the quality shown in the few screenshots that have been released, as opposed to what has been shown in trailers.
(Much of the following is borrowed from the preview of Assassin's Creed in an issue of Game Informer) Another feature is the intuitive control scheme. Assassin's Creed will employ a new idea that can best be compared to playing marionette of puppeteers to Altair's actions. Developer Jade Raymond states, "What I really like about this concept was that once you understand the controls, you know how to play the game. You don't ever have to look at what the button combinations are. You can invent them as you go along." On the PS3 controller, the left analog stick will control movement, and the right will control the camera. However the actual buttons are quite different from normal. X will correspond to the feet, Square will dictate arm movement with your weapons, Circle will use your arms without weapons, and Triangle uses your head. Also, one of the right triggers will act as a shift between violent and gentle intensities.
If you just use the left analog stick by itself you will run, but if you hold the intensity button with it, you will walk. Also, if there is a person in front of you, you can press the arms without weapons button (Circle) and violently shove them out of the way. Holding the intensity button will gently move them out of the way. If you are navigating the rooftops and see a set of overhanging building struts, you can hold the X and jump from each one the other. Or you can press Circle and grab one and swing to each. When you approach a low wall you have many choices on what to do. If you run towards it and press the legs button (X), then you will hurdle it. Say you are in the same situation but you press the arms without weapons (Circle), you will throw you arms down and vault it. When walking around the crowded areas, you may hear groups speaking the native tongue of the city. The player can press Triangle to use Altair's head and translate to English. There is also an "intuition" mode that displays Altair's target as surrounded by a bright aura, thus making them easier to single out.
Combat in Assassin's creed strives to be somewhat realistic. Unlike most games, Altair cannot take repeated sword blows and neither can his opponents. Rather, whenever Altair or another character would have been hit by a lethal blow, they will clumsily block it, be at a disadvantage, and lose stamina. After enough stamina has been lost, they will no longer be able to block the fatal blow and will be mortally wounded. During the X06 gameplay trailer, a producer from Ubisoft stated that combat would mostly rely on not becoming surrounded, being patient, and waiting for an opening to strike, rather than hacking away offensively.
Assassin's Creed aims to bring a new kind of gameplay to the next-gen console experience: that of "social stealth". Crowds, as previously mentioned, play a large part in the gameplay of Assassin's Creed. They can be either a help or a hindrance to Altair. In one segment, Altair blended in with a group of priests in order to get closer to his victim. This was possible because Altair looked very similar to the white-robed priests. After Altair's target was assassinated in full view of a busy town square, the crowd erupted into chaos. The developer from Ubisoft mentioned that running into a mob could get Altair knocked to the ground, thus allowing his pursuers to catch him.
Altaļr blends right in, thanks to Social Stealth.
Ubisoft Montreal did confirm that a demo of the game will be released before the game hits stores. However, they did not state as to what form the demo will come in.
There is one known difference between the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game. The Xbox 360 version includes a feature to "feel" for a grip when climbing. The rumble of the Xbox 360 controller will increase as the player is closer to losing the grip on a wall. This won't be available on the PlayStation 3, as the controller does not have rumble.
News has also circulated about a 'sci-fi twist', due to information from developer interviews, and some effects visible in trailers of the game. It is theorized that the historical setting may be a simulation, or perhaps some sort of genetic memory, for purposes of training or other gain, being undertaken by an unknown group in the present or near future. During a trailer shown at E3, the screen would glitch and go fuzzy at times, and at one point where Altair is killed, the screen fades to black and then shows a head's up display with the words 'computer offline'. Ubisoft has confirmed that Assassin's Creed will be part of a trilogy, and has also stated that one or both of the sequels may have a futuristic setting.
On September 28, 2006, in an interview with IGN, producer Jade Raymond confirmed that Altair is "a medieval hitman with a mysterious past" and that he is not a time traveler. The 'computer offline' message may be a computer that is decoding these memories, and death in the memory is some kind of glitch in the system. This is consistent with this particular design team, as in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, death was interpreted as a mistake in the Prince of Persia's recounting of his story to Farah. In an Xbox 360 gameplay demo at X06, a screen appears with the words 'memories /01' in the center with "hard drive" on the left and "options" on the right after the character dies. Above memories it says "animus" and under it are the words "access your genetic memory". The word "shutdown" can be seen in the lower right-hand corner, and the outline of a person can be seen past the words, almost as if the person was standing over someone on their back, and you can also see on the right-hand side a light bulb and a grate on the ceiling. Also, in the upper-left hand corner on the screenshot, it reads "in progress" so this maybe something involved in the development. A picture of this screen can be found here.
On December 13, 2006, in an interview with IGN, Kristen Bell (who will have her voice and likeness lent to the game) talked about the plot. According to the interview, the plot centers on genetic memory and a corporation looking for descendants of an assassin.
Altair carries a number of highly specialized weapons for his role as an assassin - weapons noted from the trailers include a sword (X06 gameplay demo), a small crossbow that doubles as a small battle axe, and throwing daggers strapped on his chest as well as his concealed mechanical dagger attached to his left arm, which emerges from under his wrist. This technologically advanced mechanical dagger is made to retract so that the assassin remains inconspicuous.
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