Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
N Amer - 11/01/2007
E3 2007 Preview
Last year at E3, one game had everybody talking. Assassin’s Creed, currently in development at Ubisoft Montreal, wowed gamers with a sneak peak at the hybrid stealth-action. This year marked our first hands on with the game, and from what we played through, the game could be what everyone is anticipating and more.
Assassin’s Creed places you as Altair, an assassin in medieval Jerusalem during the third crusade. The E3 demo started us out at the very top of a bell spire with nowhere to go but straight down. After a leap of faith into cart filled with hay, we were able to mix in as a member of the crowd.
The crowd dynamics were a very interesting concept in the game. Whereas other action titles will allow you to walk right through other people, usually knocking right into them without losing the slightest bit of momentum, Assassin’s Creed actually makes them an obstacle to overcome. Knock into a lady with a jar on her head, and she’ll drop her jar on the ground, making quite a commotion. Beggars will hound you on the street, requiring you to shove them out of your way in order to get past.
Once you figure out a means of navigating your way through the crowd, then you’ll have the guards to contend with. In order to get to the target, we had to create a diversion to sneak past the guards. This meant chucking a different guard from a high building in order to create chaos and distract them. After that was done, it was a literal hop-skip-jump to the other side of the wall in order to get to the target.
The game’s stealth kill system is also quite easy to get. Using your assassin’s blade, you can sneak up behind guards and stab them quickly and quietly in order to get past, or you can take them on with your other three weapons: a dagger, sword, or throwing knives. The combat in Assassin’s Creed is counter-based, allowing you to strike back and perform interesting finishing moves after your enemy attacks. There is also a combo system that you can use, but the counters provide a better pay-off and don’t leave you open for attack.
After finding the target and a cutscene, the game enters chase mode, where you have to run down your target before he can escape. The crowd really becomes an obstacle here, as you’ll have to navigate through them, often knocking them right over, unless they’ll slow you way down. Once you catch up to him and engage your assassin’s blade and you’ll finish the job, leading to another cutscene where the dying man will reveal to you some more pieces of the story.
However, that’s not quite the end of the stage. Now you must elude the guards who are on high-alert after what you just did. Therefore, it is necessary that you haul ass to get away from them, get out of sight, and hide amongst the crowd. However, even if you manage to evade them long enough, they’ll still be on the look out for you, requiring you to “blend” into the crowd (done by pressing the A button) until you can make it to the Assassin’s Bureau and truly finish the mission.
Assassin’s Creed is looking like an innovative and exciting action game that could live up to its lofty hype. Check it out this holiday.