Introduction

Most people don't like leftovers. A second round of heating can result in overcooked foods that are dry and/or tough. There's nothing worse than a high-quality filet mignon that's been overcooked. However, not all leftovers are bad, and some foods can even taste better the second time around as flavors are allowed to mix and mingle another night in the refrigerator.

If you'll pardon the terrible analogy, the same can be said of video games that are ported from one system to another. A half-baked port can leave users wondering why the developers even bothered to make the effort. Halo, Halo 2 anyone? But sometimes you get a game that translates well to another platform, and with a few enhancements and upgrades it can even surpass the source material. Perhaps more importantly, plenty of people don't have access to all the various gaming platforms; if someone missed a game on the original platform it might just be worth checking out the ported product.


Today we'll be looking at Assassin's Creed (AC for short) for the PC, a port of a game that launched over six months ago on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Reviews were decidedly mixed on the console version, with some publications declaring it one of the best games of the year and others labeling it as merely okay. As usual, what you actually think of the game will depend a lot on what you're looking for, and there are certain to be users that will love this game and others that will hate it. We'll discuss the gameplay and the pros and cons of the game momentarily.

One of the other interesting tidbits about the PC port of AC is that it's one of the first titles to launch with support for DirectX 10.1... sort of. Version 1.0 does indeed support DirectX 10.1 features, but Ubisoft decided to remove this functionality in the 1.02 patch. Whether it will make a return in the future is unclear, but signs point to "no". Given that we're late to the game in terms of reviewing AC, we are going to spend a decent chunk of this review looking at the technology side of the equation and what it means to gamers.

Basic Plot and Gameplay
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  • geogaddi - Tuesday, June 10, 2008 - link


    ...now, what did i do with that babelfish...
    Reply
  • ssgoten00 - Monday, June 02, 2008 - link

    AC was only an average game overall. Graphics presentation was it's strong suit but gameplay was lacking and the game seemed to drag on as the player progresses through the game. Undoubtedly the repetitiveness was the worst part of AC. Not simply the fact that is seemed like some tasks were a redue of previously accomplished tasks but the shear fact that tasks were repeated verbatim with same characters and voices, only changing dialogue to create variation. Some characters players will have to kill multiple times under the guise of actually killing different characters in the game. AC was also disappointing in the fact that it mislead gamers in presenting its self a a somewhat stealth game. Nothing could be further from the truth. In AC players will often be forced into full on combat with multiple opponents to progress in the storyline. In vary select situations players have the choice of using stealth as a viable option. Ironically the last 5 or 10 minutes at the very end of the game are the most compelling. After the credits roll players are left in the main room to explore and decrypt code and hidden messages. It's unfortunate AC's developers couldn't have spent more time on puzzles that actually pertained to gameplay. Out of a possible 10 I give Assassin's Creed a 6.0 barely coming in at par, bordering on subpar. Reply
  • Donkey2008 - Monday, June 02, 2008 - link

    It does have a Thief feel but after playing it on Xbox, I found it to be more Thief meets BloodRayne meets Splinter Cell with some of the best graphics I have seen in a while. It is sorta repetitive,but the violence cut away any boredom I had. I enjoyed it a lot.

    But I guess they could have done what other Rockin high-profile companies do and make an even more repetitive game exactly like its previous versions, but with a much worse soundtrack. Throw in some terribly low-res character models and reuse the same, bottom-of-the-barrel, cartoon-looking cutscenes and they would have a perfect 10 as well.
    Reply
  • poohbear - Monday, June 02, 2008 - link

    this is the kind of game reviews i'd like to see, wherein hardware is tested w/ a game to show performance. I mean, you guys ARE a hardware site and there are'nt many sites that do game reviews w/ hardware testing shortly after. I dont think u should do game reviews without hardware testing cause there are a ton of game review sites, but your niche shines when you do these hardware and DX analysis. cheers and thanks for a very informative article. Reply
  • DesertCat - Monday, June 02, 2008 - link

    The article talks about wanting to check the performance of Assassin's Creed on a Phenom processor (and its 4 cores). I can speak to that to some degree.

    I have a Phenom 9600 (2.3 MHz) on an AM2 board (Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe) with an EVGA 8800GT OC (650 MHz). I play at 1280x1024 so I play in a letterbox mode. This processor is enough to run the game at acceptable frame rates but I would tend to think that a fast dual core would do just as well (like was found with the Intel processors in the article).

    With the performance hurting TLB patch enabled, I noticed one area where frame rates truly took a nosedive: when doing the "look" pan from the top of one of those towers. I didn't have an fps counter on at the time, but I'm guessing it was in the 12-16 fps range based on the chunkiness I experienced. I got similar slow framerates when diving from those spots into the hay (especially the really high towers).

    With the TLB patch disabled on my Phenom, those two low fps spots were much better. I'm guessing that those areas were in the low 20's of fps. The rest of the game was smooth as silk and probably above 40 fps. I do not, however, see high utilization on any particular core when I've checked.

    If I was to point to areas that really stress a system in AC, I would say that the tower pan shots are the most common. (*minor spoiler ahead*) King Richard's speech from horseback about 3/4 the way through the game is also very intensive.
    Reply
  • aguilpa1 - Monday, June 02, 2008 - link

    I know I've had it for a long time? Reply
  • emboss - Monday, June 02, 2008 - link

    The word you *are* looking for is possibly letterboxing? Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Monday, June 02, 2008 - link

    I was going to mention that as well. Anamorphic means the pixels making up the image are stretched either horizontally (as with wide-screen DVDs) or vertically when displayed. If the game were anamorphic, it would be like it running on a monitor at 1920x1080 but being rendered internally at some other resolution such as 1440x1080 and stretched to the displayed 1920x1080.

    The correct description is what you said originally, that it allows only a 16:9 aspect-ratio view, so if I ran it on my monitor (1600x1200 native) the game itself would only use the central 1600x900 of that.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, June 03, 2008 - link

    Sorry - I saw the original comment and thought I corrected it. Missed the other two occurrences. I wasn't thinking and just used the word after reading the thread on widescreengamingforum.com about AC. (I was hoping someone had found a way around the locked letterbox view.) Reply
  • AnnihilatorX - Monday, June 02, 2008 - link

    This review is great! I have never read a game review that includes all the analysis, benchmarks, gameplay video conveniently presented.

    Excellent work!
    Reply

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