Editor’s note: We have agreed to run the “Dear Gamer” column as a service to our readers whose older children play video games. Please note that these reviews in no way serve to recommend the games or products reviewed and that they are intended for informational purposes only. Along with reading these reviews, we recommend that parents consult theESRB ratings for games prior to making any purchasing decisions. LMH
Assassin’s Creed is an Adventure/Platformer Game. The player begins the game as a man named Desmond. Desmond is abducted by a company who goes by the name Abstergo. Abstergo needs Desmond to go into a machine called the Animus so they can find an artifact hidden by his ancestor. The Animus is a machine that reads ones ancestor’s memories, through their DNA, allowing them to relive their lives. When the player goes into the Animus for the first time, they find themselves reliving the events of Desmond’s long deceased ancestor, Altair. When the player starts to relive Altair’s life, he currently is on a mission for the Brotherhood of Assassins. The Brotherhood of Assassins is a group of…. well Assassins and they task themselves with the job to stop corruption and evil whenever possible. Now admittedly, the way they take care of the corruption and evil is pretty harsh. Anyone who is said to be doing evil or harm to others are marked for death and ultimately, assassinated. The mission Altair is on for the Brotherhood of Assassins ends so horribly, Altair is consequently stripped of his rank because of it. The player is now sent across the lands of the Middle East, during the time of the Crusades, to complete missions to climb back through the ranks from acolyte to master assassin….again. With no choice, Altair goes off to complete the missions he is given. During these missions, the player visits well known cities such as Damascus and Jerusalem. Many real life buildings are recreated in the game, which gives the game a realistic feel. In the beginning of the adventure, Altair is self-righteous and stubborn, but he begins to become more humble during his climb back through the ranks. This is largely due to the conversations Altair has with the men he is sent to kill. All of Altair’s missions center around killing a person of power who is “abusing” the people. The crimes seem very cut and dry; one conducts experiments on unwilling citizens, another enslaves citizens, and yet another taxes his cities people into poverty. The twist comes, when Altair gets to talk to his target. After the death blow to the target, the game launches into a cut scene, where Altair talks to the dying man, he has just stabbed. The Assassins Code requires Assassins to speak to their target offering repentance for their sins in their dying moments. However, the men Altair is sent to kill speak not out of repentance but out of righteousness. They are convinced, they actually are helping the people the Assassins say they are hurting. Unless you have a strong moral line, I would not play this game. The moral twists and turns are one of the things that make the game fun, but unless the player is secure in their morals the game could actually taint the player’s moral compass.
The game is a very fun Platformer game (a platformer game is a game that requires a lot of jumping to get to place from place). The main attraction to the platforming is the parkour (parkour is a form of travel which uses your momentum to leap, swing, and vault from spot to spot). In the game, the player is able to scale buildings, using footholds and beams, can quickly jump from building to building, or just run in the streets using market stands to do sudden turns by swinging around them. What I like about it the most is the realism of the parkour. If a player falls, from a height the player’s character will try to duck and roll to protect himself. The player can only use visible footholds, when climbing buildings. No scaling flat walls like spiderman here. The guards in the city react well to a player’s actions in the game. If the player is seen climbing up a wall face or running through crowds, guards will take notice of the player, and the games suspicion meter goes up. If it gets to high, the guards will chase the player and try to kill him. It may sound harsh, but if you think about it, killing someone on the spot, during the crusades, wasn’t actually too uncommon, especially if the guards are constantly looking for a “murderer” who scales buildings. All in all, the environment reacts pretty well to the player’s actions. The controls are relatively smooth, though every now and then the player’s character will jump in the wrong direction, when climbing. I also really enjoyed the graphics of this game. The textures are smooth, they load fast, and the only graphic bug happens, when the guards fall down, after they die. Sometimes their limbs go a little funky, when they fall down, but it is a rare glitch.
There are essentially no positive lessons learned from the game that I experienced. It is a game which was made to be fun; however this fun comes with some moderately intense violence and a morally confusing story. It really is a good game, but it is not a good enough game to warrant exposing your children to it at a young age. The youngest age, I would recommend this game to be 17 or 18 years old. Now keep in mind, your children’s limits are known by you and you alone. If you think they could handle it at a younger age then that is your choice but my honest opinion about Assassin’s Creed is that your child will most likely not be ready for this game until at least age 17.
ESRB RATING: MATURE
ESRB LINK: http://www.esrb.org/ratings/search.jsp?title=Assasins+Creed&fromHome=fromHome
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Copyright 2012 Michael/a.k.a. Lasersniper