Assassin's Creed Hands-on Preview

Written by Joe Martin

October 13, 2007 | 15:35

Tags: #360 #alex #altair #assassin #assassins-creed #hands-on #medieval #montreal #platform #ps3 #quantum #sands-of-time

Companies: #ubisoft

Life is a Dream

Now, whether in real-life or in a computer game there are certain consequences one might expect to happen when you kill someone in front of his loyal, medieval troops. Screaming, running and the desperate clashing of steel – these would be the normal responses.

Instead, we watched as Altair and his target shared what Patrice called “The Killing Moment”.

The background and Templars all faded to white. The dying man in Altair’s arms was laid on the floor and Altair leant over him. The two discussed philosophy and political viewpoints, with Altair pointing out that the man had invaded and starved the people of Acre.

I did not starve them, I put food into storage for the tough times ahead in an effort to protect them. My men are here to serve them!" cried the dying lord, fluctuating suddenly between lying on the floor, standing and struggling with Altair.

Regardless of motive, your actions have been cruel and without merit. Your time has come to an end!” said Altair gently, releasing the body and standing back up. Before he had even had a chance to dust himself off, the world had faded back in and the Templars were descending on Altair.

Assassin's Creed Hands-on Preview That was unexpected...
Click to enlarge

Patrice was tight-lipped about the significance of this scene which seemed surreal and bizarre. My initial reaction to it was slack-jawed amazement and bewilderment, but this was later replaced by a slowly-formed appreciation for a scene which bought more of the ethical element to a game built around the idea of political assassination.

However, the more I thought about it later on, the more I became uncomfortable with the idea of all these surreal dream-like killings and futuristic elements. The final straw came when later, in the hands-on segment of the preview (which I swear I’m getting to), I ran into an invisible wall and the game told me “Memory Access Error” in a way which made it clear was actually an intended part of the game design.

Did a game with an already strong plot about a disgraced assassin in the middle ages fighting for the liberation of his country really have to be filled with all these sci-fi twists and random, tangential sequences which did ought but to break the flow of play?

Assassin's Creed Hands-on Preview That was unexpected...
Click to enlarge

I doubted it and, although I have to admit a part of me liked these twists, I got the distinct impression that they had been forced in by some Ubisoft higher-up who wanted to give the game more of a hook or “just jazz things up a little”.

Why does Assassin's Creed have to become part Quantum Leap – a guess of mine which I formed based on all the obvious memory/DNA/time-travel elements. Wouldn’t it be great to just have a game which didn’t need to use time-travel as a context for these kinds of escapades?

Of course, right then I didn’t have time to come to these conclusions. I was far too focused on the fight which broke out when Altair faded back into what I, for lack of any history knowledge and a better phrase, am going to call the ‘medieval realm’.
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