Assassin's Creed Preview - 03/02/07

Assassin’s Creed has been effectively swamped in hype, rumour and speculation ever since it was first announced. Having been thought a Playstation 3 and PC exclusive, it was recently confirmed as coming to the Xbox 360 too, and coming as a cross between Splinter Cell and Prince of Persia, with dashes of Oblivion and Zelda, Assassin’s Creed has lots in its favour.

You play in a third person view, amidst stunning graphics and intense realism of sound. The main character that the story revolves around is Altair, a disgraced master assassin, embarking on a quest to restore his prowess in the Assassin Order. Failing to kill the Templar Leader and bring the treasure of Templar home, Altair was demoted, uninitiated, and deemed an outcast amongst the Assassin Order. So, he’s a pretty depressed assassin, which is never a good thing for anyone who gets in his way.

The leader of the assassins gives Altair the chance to redeem himself spectacularly in 1119 AD. He is sent to venture out into the historically accurate Holy Land and kill more historically accurate men who were said to be exacerbating and exploiting the hostilities of the Third Crusade. The game develops, surrounding the conflict between Richard Lionheart and Saladin over Jerusalem. Through this, the Crusaders fight bravely, and as Altair you must do all you can to assassinate the most prominent members in exploitation, specifically taking advantage of the war.

Yes, Assassin’s Creed will be remotely educational, but more in the vein of Call of Duty’s education than anything else. For example, everyone knows the MP40 and BAR, Bren, and so on, from just playing Call of Duty for a few weeks. Many will also know some of the historic battles, or at least be able to picture them vividly after fighting an historic battle on their PC or console. Assassin’s Creed is hoping to do the same. The captivating graphics, hugely deep storyline which already looks set to feature some of the most involving and realistic characters in videogaming, and presentation of the game in general should make this a hit when it launches later this year.

Some of the key features Ubisoft frequently mention include the ability to disguise yourself as a member of a crowd. These crowds play a huge part in the vast, fortified cities of the realm, and every single individual is sculpted painstakingly to react to your every movement. Bash into them, and you’ll get a stern glare, try and carry out an assassination, and as well as the town guards converging via horseback on your position as quickly as they can, the villagers or townspeople will flee – some of the braver members in the crowd even trying to bring you down themselves. Not everyone will react in the same way, as in life, many will simply be glad to be rid of their opportunistic leaders.

Altair will travel the countryside attempting to locate his targets, and it’s in this way that the game follows Oblivion’s example. Beautiful environments teeming with life and all in properly brilliant graphics, rather than Oblivions good visuals spread thin over miles of terrain. Quite how much freedom you will be given is unclear, but already we’ve seen the ability to climb buildings for a better viewpoint and generally explore almost all the aspects of one city, present in the game.

A bold realtime combat system will also feature, allowing the assassin to not only take out his targets with the trademark crossbow and evade detection on the way, but also to fight his way out of tricky situations, rather than simply giving up at the first detection by the enemy. The genre isn’t exactly stealth, and for that we’re thankful. A game like this needs choice of decisions – if you want to go hurtling into Jerusalem, crossbow firing all the while, then you should be able to, even if it means your target may well have fled the city by the time you get to the destination.

Ubisoft Montreal are well known for their captivating and tense gaming. Tom Clancy and the aforementioned Prince of Persia series are mainstays in almost everyone’s gaming collections, and Assassin’s Creed is already shaping up to be one of the games of the year. The storyline and sheer enthusiasm that the game is being created with shows the potential here, and it already looks like one of the few games to truly boast next-generation graphics, and gameplay.

We wait expectantly for further details, and rest assured you’ll get them here first.


Ubisoft Montreal
PC - PS3 - Xbox 360