Assassin’s Creed is the new game from the development team that brought us Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.
The gameplay is generally a muddled experience. Your assassin, who has the agility enough to fly across rooftops and climb the faces of buildings, somehow loses his acrobatic skills in combat, where he stands in the center of his assailants and slowly exchanges blows with them. On top of this, you’re presented huge, detailed cities that call out to be explored, but have large portions of them blocked off for most of the game for no particular reason (other than to hide the fact that there’s nothing to do in them).
The story of Assassin’s Creed is similarly schizophrenic, featuring what could have been a unique period piece wrapped in a silly and predictable sci-fi plot. After a while you begin to wonder if the sci-fi conceit is there just to justify the fact that this middle-eastern assassin has the accent and appearance of a modern-day American. After all, it probably wouldn’t have done to have a game where the player took on the role of a Muslim warrior stealthily murdering political figures in an occupied Middle Eastern city.
At it’s high points Assassin’s Creed shows the elegance and possibilities of what context-sensitive controls can be when they are done well. Assassin’s Creed is at it’s worst when it seems confused about what it wants to be, compromised in what it could have been, or, as is sometimes the case, quite simply empty.