Assassin's Creed: Hands On

  • Posted July 25th, 2007 at 07:49 EDT by

Altair, along with other assassins, has a pretty good life in the 12th century. He wears a cool robe, has a blade underneath his arm, pushes people around, and runs his ass off from the streaming rush of adrenaline after killing someone. We assume the role of Altaïr (Arabic, for “The Flyer"), a member of the Hashshashin sect, during the Third Crusade in 1191 AD. With his faith, comes the primary objective to assassinate the nine historical figures who are instigating the Crusades. If you’re looking for a game that’s filled with day to day missions that involve killing historical people or playing a game that requires the character to make quick shot decisions on killing them, Assassin’s Creed is your game. But if you’re looking for the definitive experience, part of a greater journey that you as an assassin can choose, you won’t find it here.



The E3 demo proudly shows Altair, standing on a roof high above Jerusalem. The city was recreated to match the 12th century depiction, containing various historical landmarks for example: The Tower of David, and the wondrous Jaffa Gate through which you make a sometimes daring trip through with your horse. The scope of the city's size is certainly inspiring, as each building is made up of numerous footholds and handholds that allow Altair to climb anything and everything---all part of the bigger “climb-all” philosophy. In total, the game will have three cities just as equally expansive as this one. The cities will comprise of Jerusalem, Acre, and Damascus.

The control scheme is pretty straightforward after reading the manual. This was a crucial aim that Ubisoft wanted to make clear since the beginning--the easiness in knowing what controller face map affects what part of his body. To truly make you feel more psychically fit like an assassin come alive, the R2 activates free run. As you free run, you build up immense momentum as you run. You will majestically climb along any wall by using the foot and handhold's after you run towards a wall with free run activated. For this effect, the animation was certainly perfected by using Spherical Dynamic Animation only in battle, which allows for midway changes in a sequence of a full animation, and therefore creates for a much more smooth transition from the environment to the wall scaling.



In many games from the past, the art and level design department have worked separately, until now. As you scale a building, you need to put full focus on the detail in every building, because as you get to higher ascents it is compulsory to look for handholds to continue your ascent, much like ordinary rock climbing. The beautiful animations make the climb fantastically convincing. Altair shifts his weight when he is going down, and it seems the symmetric model for his animations, which allow them to split the body into different structures, truly paid off. The game further offers plenty of other opportunities to explore the seemingly easy technologies implemented which results in decent graphics on an expansive scope. One example is the marked “Leap of Faith” or “Pigeon” spots. Basically, these areas contain many pigeons representing the symbolic view of pigeons from the debut trailer as Altair went down to kill the main instigator in a flight of faith for his cause: the stop of conflict and trepidation between both sides.

Sure. The demo contained several bugs, palpable by several animation issues, a few times where Altair got stuck, sometimes when the enemies did not die and the mission could no longer progress, and unrecognized, inactive footholds and handhold's, which most likely can’t be fixed due to the programming scheme of the wall objects. Despite all of these things, there are many things which can be mended by November, 2007.

Our demo with Assasin’s Creed started off with the objective to study Talal, a dirty slave trader that Altair has to kill, but at the right time. So, we’re told without mention by someone at the booth to head over to his marker by using our HUD radar, which allows this to be possible. After we study Talal, we find out that he always goes past a path with many guards, some even hired professionally. After we figure out that Talal ... (continued on next page)

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