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Assassin's Creed (PlayStation 3) artwork

Assassin's Creed (PlayStation 3) review

"The idiot guards conspire to make one point very clear: Assassinís Creed is a game set amongst a flock of intolerable dumbness."

Rashid wasnít a bad man, but life had not been kind. Job opportunities around the holy city of Jerusalem were few and far between, so he had enlisted as a guard. With the English crusaders constantly nibbling away at his nationís security, guards were in great demand and he had a family to feed. His eldest son had been slain by the foreign infidels and his daughter plagued by illnesses that living in abject poverty could only worsen. His wife had been against the idea, but heíd argued his case. Needs must.

He had worked hard during training, forgetting common sense and embracing the ideal of what his employees felt made the most vigilant guard. He learnt that thereís nothing suspicious about a man armed to the teeth with daggers, throwing knives and broadswords, but anyone who jumps should be sliced to ribbons. He was taught a strict ďdo not judge a book by its coverĒ philosophy on guarding; guilty men are not given away by their appearance but by their demeanour. A man on a horse is guilty if he moves any faster than the slowest speed possible -- even if heís sheathing a bloody blade, so long as he does it slowly, heís an innocent man. Guilt is in the speed, not on the man. Rashid didnít understand this, but he trusted the word of his taskmasters.

It was to be his demise. Rashid was a fair man, and someone not interested in strong-arming civilians in clear and open shows of power abuse, or accosting women and dragging them off to have his way with like some of the other guardsman. He just wanted to do his duty, draw his coffers and return home to his worried family. Upon seeing a group of praying philosophers, he immediately spotted that one was not like the others; his white robe was ragged, stained with dried gore and the weapons slung across his back were plain for all to see. These wise men were not known for their prowess with blades or crossbows, but this man carried them with an air of unmistakable malevolence. But he carried himself without pace; his head was bowed, his hands grasped in prayer and he shuffled without any trace of speed within a crowd boasting better-maintained robes and a distinct lack of weaponry.

He shuffled right behind Rashid, produced a blade from the loose confines of his sleeve, and stuffed it right into his spine, killing him instantly. Then he gloated about it in an American accent.

Sahid met a similar fate, but perhaps his was more deserved. Patrolling the market with a group of thuggish guards, he spotted the chance to make a bit of money. Surrounding a trader, he accused him of committing theft then had his comrades surround and beat him down while he kept watch. He thought nothing about the dangerous-looking guy who took a keen interest in his assault, but, why would he? Sure, the guy was armed to the teeth, but he wasnít jumping or running. It was a bit of a surprise when he effortlessly killed one of his friends then pulled a sword on the remaining corrupt guardsmen.

Unique training took hold of the troop upon the first signs of actual danger. Weapons were drawn, the enemy was circled and then they, very carefully, ensured they attacked the man one at a time, giving him ample time to counter-attack or start slicing into their ranks. The man was easily able to overcome their advanced numbers, even going so far as to kill one man with repeated shoves to the chest. As he lay dying at the manís feet, Sahid listened to his intended victim thank his murderer in the exact same voice belonging to every citizen of Jerusalem. His last thoughts were that his assailant could only be more American in nature and accent if he had a bald eagle perched on his shoulder and was eating a cheeseburger. Before he had time to wonder what the hell America was, Sahid died, leaving the mysterious stranger alone to scale a nearby building just because.

The idiot guards conspire to make one point very clear: Assassinís Creed is a game set amongst a flock of intolerable dumbness.

Ubisoftís ambitious game tries to hide its myriad of shortcomings with a confident swagger thatís easily devoured by the complete ineptitude of almost everything prat-falling constantly around it. AltaÔr is an arrogant assassin with a jarring American accent set within a crowd of humble assassins sporting poorly-disguised Muslim ones. He also mingles with Templar Knights, who speak with a French twinge and help the native guards in a move that makes as much sense as having the German army show the Russians an under-defended short-cut to the heart of Berlin in a Word War II game. And by Ďmingleí, I mean Ďopenly slaughters in a way thatís certainly not suggested by his career as an assassiní.

AltaÔr is, in fact, a complete prick who thinks nothing about his factionís lethally-enforced moral code and often engages in wholesale slaughter for kicks and giggles, but why wouldnít he when the combatís little more than a joke? He has a host of assassinations he needs to make in order to right his fall from grace in the eyes of his brotherhood, but, rather than rely on stealth and guile, these kills more often than not come through leaving nought but a trail of bloody corpses in his wake and completing a looping cycle of inane tasks. Tasks like eavesdropping on people talking far too loudly about topics that will see them captured and killed in seconds by people in the know, or pick-pocketing people who will initially yell out ďI HAVE A VERY IMPORTANT DOCUMENT IN MY BACK POCKET! JUST IN CASE YOU HAVE SOME REASON TO STEAL IT!Ē

If thereís any saving grace to Creed it can be found in AltaÔrís ability to run the hell away, where he can scale building fronts and climb vertical edifices to either flee from pursuing guards or get vantage points on the area. Though AltaÔrís climbing pace can be best described as Ďcasualí, bombing across rooftops and scaling huge towers is easily the gameís highlight, so this, like everything in the game, is repeated until the once-cool prospect of playing Parkour across slightly-changing towns comes with sighs of resignation. Especially after those guards -- once nothing but incompetent at all they do -- shed their uselessness and show that they share the exact same freerunning skills as our angsty assassin-trained lead does. Any shop front you scale or gap between buildings you leap can also be performed by the 12th Centuryís equivalent of your local mallís rent-a-cop.

It doesnít help either when so much of the game is played out in inescapable cut-scenes that either detail AltaÔr making sure youíre fully away that heís a dick or the unwelcome and poorly-implemented link with other dicks hailing from modern times. Here, equally-obnoxious characters whittle on about ludicrous soft-sci-fi theories and over-branching conspiracies that stretch back centuries just so the game can finish on a conclusion so insulting and obsolete that it devalues anything and everything youíve accomplished during your many hours of gameplay. Itís a laundry list of errors, flaws and downright bad storytelling and execution that Assassinís Creed simply canít saunter past, no matter how much faux confidence it injects into its swagger.

Even basic game flaws vie to produce banana skins. Itís bad enough that, when AltaÔr falls into water, he drowns because the eraís greatest assassin has no idea how to swim, but other danger greater than a few inches of liquid await! While exploring the small village kept within the Assassinís territory, a slight slope showed signs of clipping, which soon gave way to the entire side vanishing, leaving, instead of a grassy knoll, a strange section of skyline. A section that AltaÔr promptly fell into, causing him to plummet down and perish within an infinite hole that shouldnít exist and was never meant to be.

Itís hard to strut with confidence when infinite chasms keep appearing randomly at your feet. Assassinís CreedĎs appeal is short-lived, buried in a landslide of infallible dumbness, and far too based in humdrum repetitiveness to ever right itself on its own merits.

EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (February 04, 2009)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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If you enjoyed this Assassin's Creed review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

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zippdementia posted February 04, 2009:

I applaud you. I think I gave this game much too high of a score on first review. I'll have to read your review again and see if I can come up with anything to justify my position and shoot down yours, ultimately an easier task than rewriting my review ^_^
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honestgamer posted February 04, 2009:

Assassin's Creed has some issues that do prevent it from being a complete joy to play (particularly its often repetitive nature, which was duly noted), but the bulk of the complaints leveled against it in this review--including the stupid soldiers and the American accent--are explained away by the brilliant plot. Of course, EmP's analysis makes clear that he doesn't share my admiration for the narration, so it's hardly surprising that he would feel such disdain for the overall game.

One of the things that's most remarkable about Assassin's Creed is how smoothly and completely the plot and gameplay are melted together, so hating one is bound to leave a person hating the other. This review certainly will reflect the opinion of a fair number of gamers out there. I'm just glad that enough people out there who were able to appreciate the plot that Ubisoft felt justified in continuing the series. A sequel is coming in 2010 and I for one can't wait!
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EmP posted February 04, 2009:

We'll just have to disagree on the brilliance of the plot. I found it to be hackneyed soft-sci-fi at its worst mixed in with so much historic inaccuracy that it combined to make something more akin to a badly-researched fanfic than something I'd expected a narrative-driven video-game to be centred upon. The ending was perhaps the (second) worst conclussion I've suffered during my long association with games. And all this could have been forgiven if the gameplay had been of good quailty, but it wasn't. Perhaps, if I was feeling generious, the bad AI and dumb accent could be explained by the plot BUT this doesn't stop the AI being bad and the accent being dumb. So and so was crap because doesn't stop so and so from being a game-wrecking experiance just because it's weakly justified.

People liked this game; I get that. But I didn't. Now you all know why!
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bloomer posted February 04, 2009:

Johnny Cairo disliked it equally. I extremely recommend the line of his review that begins 'If there is a moral to the story of Assassin's Creed...'

I'd rather type the whole thing but it could be considered a spoiler if you haven't played the game, and still care (I think the haters would recommend not caring in this case ;))
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Suskie posted February 04, 2009:

Yahtzee summed up my feelings for this game perfectly: "Give it a chance, but I can't blame you if you end up trying to fire it into the sun."
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WilltheGreat posted February 04, 2009:

It's worth noting, however, that EmP was caustic and British long before Yahtzee was.
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wolfqueen001 posted February 04, 2009:

Haha. Alright. This was a good review. The first half illustrates the idiocy of the guardsmen in a narrative fashion before the review even really starts. This is an interesting and effective approach, but it can have some issues. Mainly that the way you explain the things don't come through as clearly amid the fluffy writing. However, you pull it off well enough anyway, and the creative approach is appreciated. It was also amusing in places, especially when the idiocy is obvious. Your expression with this makes me wonder if you had invented the background stories to the guards or whether they were actually in the game. Either way, it was pretty clever.

The rest of the review reads and is explained well, too, but it sort felt like it was missing something. This might have something to do with the fact that the first half was so narrative-oriented that the lack thereof in the second half sort of gives the appearence that your arguments aren't represented as strongly. It may also have something to do with your deliberate avoidance of explaining plot things to illustrate its poorness. However, as someone interested in this game despite its flaws, I'm glad you didn't.

The only other thing I didn't like was that it just kind of... ended. =/ It doesn't really feel like a conclusion. It almost feels like you're not done arguing, especially since the bulk of your points appear in the latter half of the review. But, then again, the lack of any sort of standard "wrap-up" conclusory paragraph lends itself to being different, so it's not necessarily a bad thing.

Anyway, this really was a good review, so no complaining about how I don't like your stuff! =P

I did come away with a sense that the game's bad and why, and you do so in a rather entertaining manner, too. I agree with your assertion that this is your best review of the year so far. I'm glad you're happy with it; I am, too.

Also, I didn't understand the Parkour reference, haha
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zippdementia posted February 04, 2009:

I can't say I liked the plot of Assassin's Creed. Or rather, the plot didn't bother me so much as the presentation of said plot (c'mon, eight minute dialouges for each death, plus unskippable BORINGNESS at the beginning of each mission?).

I do hold to what I said in my review though: play this for the sand box nature of running around and pissing guards off.
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Lewis posted February 05, 2009:

Do I smell another Doom 3 / Resident Evil thread?
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bloomer posted February 05, 2009:

I doubt it. People who like Assassin's Creed are happy with those who don't, those who don't are happy with those who do. If I smell anything, it's love.
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bobb10 posted July 09, 2009:

You, sir, are the idiot here, not the creators of this game. First of all if you actually PLAYED this game the fact of it not being "historically accurate", as you put it, comes up. They explain just because something is written in a book, or there is a story about something doesn't make it history. The Animus is the truth not the books and writings of others.

Also, you complaining about the guards being about to scale buildings and jump gaps like an assassin, well think about that for a minute. How fun would the game actually be if all you had to do is jump a gap and the guards go "Okay I give up you can run away now." because then you would cry like a little girl about that.

You also comment on not being able to perform assassinations with stealth or guile when you most certainly can. If you are actually GOOD at the game you can assassinate a target without killing any guards at all. At the same time if you don't want to be slow and careful you can always run in and create a blood bath; it's the players choice.

Another hole in your rants about this game is saying the combat is a joke but then complain about guards being about to follow a trained assassin across gaps and up building. So you want these "local mallís rent-a-cops" to be able to stand up to a trained assassin in combat but not be able to jump very far? Hmm, yup, that sounds like a great game huh?

In my opinion your review was nothing more than an upset rant about a decent game. It's not perfect but no game out there is.

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True posted July 09, 2009:

Okay. First off, no, Emp that is not a pseudo name for me trying to build hype for my review by creating the illusion that someone else is making the same arguments. I'd come up with something cooler like Nightmare, or DragonForceFan187.

And second, Bobb, since you're new here I'm going to give you a few pointers about Honest Gamers. The first is we don't insult Emp. He does have the worst taste in music I've ever seen, he can't seem to differentiate between z's and s's ... that looks funny. You know what I meant though. He's English. We ignore it. But he's a demi-god amongst most men and a reviewer to be reckoned with. If he made the criticiSm, he most likely had good reason. He's cynical, but he doesn't make unjust assessments.

Second, we change the ugly cheesy puff av. There is a plethora of good looking girly avs in the data base. I know. I put them there.

And third, more of to Emp: Ha ha. I told you it was the next Chrono Cross.

It's still not a disguise, though.
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sashanan posted July 09, 2009:

The first is we don't insult Emp.

Now you tell me!
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darketernal posted July 09, 2009:

What a load of crap. We insult EmP all the time. It's part of the charm.
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EmP posted July 09, 2009:

Dear True Bob,

Thanks for taking the time to belittle my review. Iíd like to compliment you on your wise points and criticisms, but Iíve yet to see one. Youíve taken the time out of your busy life to slate my work, so Iíll forgo the overplayed ďOn no! Differing opinion!Ē card and give you the reply youíre probably looking for. Because I care.

The completely inaccurate history bothered me because the little snippet of text you flaunt like a band aid that covers all wounds is just that: a small snippet aimed at something specific. Even so, just because the game offers weak justification for something dumb, it doesnít stop it being dumb. That Creed couldnít even get the sides of the crusade right is dumb. That the protagonist has an American accent is dumb. I donít care if Arthur C. Clark turns up on my doorstep with a 15,000 word essay explaining how these things fit in with Creed and how suspension of fact is needed. Dumb stuff is dumb stuff no mater how you spin it. It didnít bother a lot of people, but it bothered me -- and this is my review, so I get to voice these things.

You contradict yourself with the guardís behaviour. Yes, I think itís dumb that fights boil down to people standing around and very carefully attacking one at a time. They're guards, and laying into people en masse is what guards do. Yes, especially when you keep in mind their incompetence at what they are meant to do, I think itís stupid that an incompetent guard can keep exact pace with the eraís greatest assassin. What I want, despite your inaccurate assumptions, is for the game not be almost broken in how it presents obstacles. You shouldnít wholly wallow in incompetence and then produce deus ex machina because itís convenient. The same guard you can kill with two shoves to the chest while his eight friends draw blades and watch should be able to vertical jump buildings? This is what makes a game fun?

Good sandbox action games like Crackdown tend to disagree.

The game would have been fun had the guards been able to fight you. The game would have made more sense had the guards shown lesser skill that you in free running and instead used their numbers. The middle ground was contaminated with what was easier to program rather than what worked better. Iím not about to praise that.

What have I missed? Maybe you can go around stealth killing everyone, expect for when you need to assassinate the majority of your targets which are brass, noisy and show you how youíre really expected to play the game. And why ninja it up when it's a hundred times easier to just kill everything effortlessly in your path? At least you can move at a faster pace than a snail that way since running of all things alerts guards when the huge broadsword on your back does not.

In my opinion, the game stinks. I can throw in some fact too: itís also often a buggy mess. Iím sorry you donít agree and Iím equally sorry you seem to think yours is the only opinion that matters. Half of this website disagrees with me -- maybe more -- and while Iím glad you enjoyed the game, Iím also glad I took the time to tell the world why I thought it was complete crap.

Thanks for reading!
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WilltheGreat posted July 09, 2009:

The lesson here, kiddies, is not to flame EmP.

In particular, when you haven't a single review to your name.
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overdrive posted July 09, 2009:

Yeah, if you want to flame EmP, you should be like me.....a dude with MORE reviews AND who is a better person. An idol to be worshiped by you peons! BEG FOR MY SALVATION!!!!!
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Suskie posted September 30, 2009:

Has anyone else had problems with Assassin's Creed being buggy? I'm not a huge fan of the game but I've never encountered a single glitch.

I'm only bringing this up because until just recently, I'd only ever played the Xbox 360 version and figured that for whatever reason, it's the PS3 version (which EmP played) that suffers from this. I've since played the game on PS3, however, and I'm still not seeing it. I can't remember seeing complaints like these anywhere else, EmP, so I'm honestly wondering if your copy of the game is just fucked.
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radicaldreamer posted September 30, 2009:

I played the 360 version and I only encountered one glitch during my entire time playing. I was in a fight near one of those blue walls, performed a counter on an enemy, and the animation transported me through the wall. The result was automatic death. Other than that I don't remember any bugs or glitches.
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EmP posted September 30, 2009:

I fell through the floor on the PS3.

I became part of the wall on the 360.

I really wish I'd spent time with neither.

(Though, when I jumped into and became a wall in the 360, it unlocked a random achievment. One about killing 100 people without suffering a single death, I believe.)

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