Assassin’s Creed is a very strange kettle of fish indeed.
Originally released for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 towards the end of last year, it has taken several months for this third-person action title to come out for the PC.
There’s nothing particularly unusual about that, nor about the fact that very little in the way of extras is included with this ‘Director’s Cut’ edition, other than a handful of mini-game missions.
More out of the ordinary is the game’s setting. The majority of the game takes place in the year 1191, during which the Third Crusade is tearing apart the Holy Land.
It’s a controversial backdrop for a computer game but it's one that's handled surprisingly well. Sections of the game that take place in modern day are less effective, however, and the two elements fail to mesh satisfactorily.
The visuals are exceptional. They’re every bit as good on the PC as they were on the console editions, though we recommend making sure your computer’s spec is up to the job.
You may also want to consider investing in a controller: the game can be played with a keyboard and mouse, but it’s much better with a console-style gamepad in your hand.
Even then, the control system is a little quirky: it can be a joy to fling your agile protagonist merrily around the rooftops, but getting him to do what you want in the heat of a battle can occasionally be a bit frustrating.
What really sets Assassin’s Creed apart, though, is its odd gameplay structure. There are essentially nine levels (three cities, each with three districts each and an assassination target for each district), and each level is split into three segments – information gathering, assassination and escape.
What will strike you after playing only a couple of these levels is that, while it might seem open-ended, the game can be extremely repetitive in practice. Essentially, you’ll be doing the exactly same thing nine times over, and whether or not you can forgive this flaw will largely depend on how much you enjoyed doing it the first time.