Totally mindblowing-ly good. Firstly, this game, unlike several others in the past, lives up to the hype. Whether you are a PS3 or an XBOX 360 owner, this most certainly should enter your collection. Anyway, lets leap into the review.
Upon entering the disc, you will be utterly confused. At first, I thought the version I had already broke before I even started it. Turns out that this opening few moments demonstrates the fundamental layout and storyline for things to come. This jerky, blurry motion with all sorts of DNA and scrolling data is an example of the games "glitches". These "glitches" are a way of connecting your character (a boring simpleton nobody with no defining characteristics worth mentioning) and the games star, Altair. These will come into play later in the review so momenterally, I shall move on.
You, Altair, an Assassin must return to the richly detailed and absorbingly atmospheric cities of Damascus, Acre and Jersualem as you perform the deed of executing the most feared and powerful rulers of the cities evil underworld. As a basic rule of thumb, you must perform atleast 2-3 investigations before you allowed to take on the task at hand. These investigations take on an all to familiar trend towards the end but are all enjoyable. To locate these investigations, it is necessary to scout out the locations by climbing a "view point" usually, a dizzyingly high building with an eagle flying around it. After you have conquered it and syncronized (updated) your map, it is time for the "leap of faith" off of it. Amazing how lucky Altair is as there is always a conviently placed stack of hay or straw near by for a nice, smooth landing...
Once you have found your investigations, you must follow orders in order for information. Think of these tasks as side missions in other big name games:
They roughly involve sitting near two very suspicious looking characters and listening in on a converstaion.
Kicking the living daylights out of rats (snitches and brown nosed local loud mouths) to get information. I particularly like it when the local scallywags join in on the fight, more often then not ending in a 5 on 1 battle for the info.
Performaing tasks as a sort of blackmailing, including racing to get flags and stealthily assassisinating characters for info.
And, pick pocketing. Chav culture even existed when Jesus was around then, I knew it.....
After this has been completed, the big event has been unlocked. These main Assassin mission's are truly spectacular. The opening scenario FMV really sets the scene and builds up the tension and with it, creates one hell of an atmosphere. The main targets are normally closely guarded so being hidden and blending into your surroundings is absolutely vital. You are then led around the area, stalking your prey until the moment arises. The hidden blade drops out ready for that all important strike. You are then greeted by, what looks like an intimate moment shared between Assassin and Prey, usually defending their actions. After that is done, a wipe of a feather around the throat for proof of the fallen target then you are faced with some really quite peed off guards.
I'm not going to ruin the bosses or the scenarios, but my absolute favourite was the 8th target (I think it is eight) which basically has you creeping past guards, flying over piers and boats, tossing the drunks out of them until you find your target patrolling a nearby ship. Simply, climb up and pounce. Truly glorious.
As far as the main twist goes, the eagle vision works well, the "glitches" are a nice little extra but the actual machinery and going to bed pointlessly ruins the experience for me. Not enough to ruin the game though as that is brilliant.
As far as stand out achievments though, the ability to control the camera in some way in every movie is great and the fluidity between Movie and Game and the seemless integration really shows off the next gen power. There are some points that show some lack of development in movies and the bit that really irritated me was when two guards were throwing piles of books onto a fire, the fire pile getting no bigger during the 3 minute FMV and the pile of books that were being tossed into the fire getting no smaller.
Still, lovely game, outstanding graphics, great intuitive gameplay with a shallow learning curve and what every great game needs, a great final boss battle.
This game is hurled straight at the top 5 games on 360. It is up there easily with Gears Of War as an absolute must have.
Thanks for viewing the article, if it has swayed you to buy it and you agree with what I say then please, vote so I know.