First among them was ‘Assassin’s Creed’ whose gameplay we saw live for the first time during the X06 presentation. Sadly it wasn’t available on the show floor but what we witnessed was truly revolutionary.
AC is set during the Third Crusade and we were walked through a typical assassination mission. It began with the principal character mounting his horse and using a map to find a find the city in which his target was located. Graphics were smooth and animation fluid but it wasn’t until we got to the city itself that gasps were drawn.
Every city in AC is studiously recreated from ancient maps and they are flooded with inhabitants going about their daily business. Bump into residents and they all react differently: some with fear, others with petulance or anger yet either way your secrecy is threatened. Likewise the game environment is completely interactive – walls can be scaled and roofs jumped. Still, doing anything usual like clamber up the side of a large building in the middle of a busy street and the crowd will stop, stare and point.
Perhaps more than any title I have seen AC is about learning how to interact with the world around you and how use it to your advantage. For example, our player did indeed manage to assassinate his target but he did it in a town square and the city gates were quickly sealed before he was surrounded by guards and cut down. Damage in AC is closer to real life than most titles with a serious wound to the chest or face resulting in certain death so everything is about planning. Don’t even think about going in sword flashing.
Assassin’s Creed won’t be Xbox 360 only, but it is already a great showcase for the console’s power and a fantastic example of a second generation title. Perhaps the first must have game of 2007?