Assassin’s Creed On PC: Whaddya Reckon?

By Jim Rossignol on April 11th, 2008 at 9:49 am.


Assassin’s Creed, expanded and revised for PC, is now out there in shopping land. We had been hoping to get round to some serious Assassin’s Creed discussion this week, but the RPS team are too busy trying to sort out missions to San Francisco or Shoreditch to actually get around to it. Therefore I’m going to throw this one open to the comments and see what you all think.

I’ve already had a good old shake of the game on 360, but I expect I’ll get around to it on PC too. While I’m in agreement with most folks about the horrible, horrible cutscenes and the ill-advised backstory, I did genuinely enjoy the running/climbing/hiding/fighting parts of the game. There’s so much value in Assassin’s Creed that I think it amplified our indignation about how awkward the rest of it was. It’s my feeling this it was a beautiful, slightly clumsy game that became a victim of its own hype. And I don’t think anyone would deny that we’d like to see that city tech used for something more satisfyingly RPGish.

I’d really like to hear from people who’ve played this game on PC, but console-based opinions are also sort of valid. Go!

[Also, read Tim's review on CVG.]

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48 Comments »

  1. Rook says:

    Still waiting for my copy to be delivered. Hopefully when I get back from work.

  2. Tacticus says:

    Been playing it for a few days quite enjoying. the control system needs to be done better though

  3. Seniath says:

    Picked this up on 360 on release, managed about 5 assassinations before realizing that, as fun as the running, jumping, climbing trees was, the actual game was just too shallow. Which is a real shame, as the engine is a piece of beauty, and deserves better.

    I imagine, come summer and the associated freedom, I’ll go back and finish it off. For the time being, it languishes on my pile of games I never got round to finishing.

  4. drunkymonkey says:

    I think I lost interest in it when I found out you had to hold down “Y” (at least, on the Xbox 360) to eavesdrop. So arbitrary…

  5. cliffski says:

    a console game shallow? say it ain’t so!

  6. Joonas says:

    The PS3 version was a technical travesty, horrible tearing and jerking framerate essentially killing my interest in playing it very far. The running and climbing was a lot of fun… for two sessions. I think I played through the first city, but then promptly lost interest.

    I do wish they make a proper sequel, the seeds of a very strong game are there.

  7. Optimaximal says:

    They have sorted a few niggles in the translation to PC, such as the need to hold buttons to eavesdrop. Now you just sit on a bench, target and listen.

    The sci-fi storyline and the whole ‘animus’ interface are annoying, especially how you have to go through all the ‘disconnect’ sequence just to leave the game but otherwise I’m really into it, trying to get all the missions done in an area before moving on etc.

    It also looks gorgeous…

  8. Chaz says:

    I really enjoyed it on the 360, even though it did feel a bit shallow. Fortunately the running jumping, horse riding and the sheer spectacle of the wholesale slaughter that was the combat, was very entertaining. I also think that the graphics are the best thing I’ve seen on the console so far. Standing on top of the cathedral at Acre and looking out across the entire city really is truly an impressive spectacle, even more so when you consider you can run from one end of the city to the other with no loading pauses.

    Providing they don’t mess up the PC control system I don’t see why it would be any different an experience than its console counter parts.

    Would be nice to see them use that engine for something a bit better though as it obviously has a stack load of potential.

  9. Monkfish says:

    Apparently, once you start playing THERE IS NO ESCAPE.

    Well, there is really, but it takes 11 steps.

  10. Kieron Gillen says:

    Cliff: Stop baiting Charles!

    KG

  11. Dot says:

    I’ve picked it up on Steam, as an impulse buy. It’s…ok-I really like the general freerunning feel of the game but there is a whole giant load of wasted potential there though-and it seems overall too easy in terms of difficulty.

    Oh, and as the quitting complaint goes, I’m surprised it seems that noone has figured out that Alt-F4 is the way to quit the game in a single step without any problems.

  12. jamscones says:

    Is this actually out in the UK? Gameplay have de-listed it, and Amazon UK have its release set to Nov 4th!

  13. Ravenger says:

    Got mine this morning, but will have to wait until tonight to try it. I got the extra-special version that comes in a tin, as it wasn’t any more expensive. All you get extra (apart from the tin) is a set of art cards, so it’s not that special – apart from the holographic sticker with the issue number that proves it’s a limited edition. Oooh, shiny!

  14. Dot says:

    It’s not out in UK because of a semi-amusing mishap involving Ubisoft forgetting to properly obtain some age related rating stickers. You might just want to import it if you want to play it.

  15. crozon says:

    got mine yesterday, and 5 hours later, i quite like it. in fact after trying the game on a controller and mouse and keyboard, i gotta say i prefer the mouse. surprising i know. no crashes so far, no lag or slowdown, nice port chaps

  16. Chris Evans says:

    Well considering the required system specs and my PC specs I ain’t able to get it, which is a shame as I am really quite interested in seeing what it is really like.

  17. Optimaximal says:

    It’s not out in UK because of a semi-amusing mishap involving Ubisoft forgetting to properly obtain some age related rating stickers. You might just want to import it if you want to play it.

    That only seems to apply to the metal case Limited Edition. The standard DVD case inside it has the 15 certificate.

    I got mine from Play.com yesterday.

  18. Lou says:

    I’ve been playing it for a few hours, and I don’t like it at all. It’s just incredible shallow and directionless. It feels to me like they had the engine running and the artwork done, and then they quickly came up with a few minigames.

    This game could have gone into many directions and would have been ace – as a more Prince of Persia-like game, as a Hitman/Thief-like game, as a game with more RPG elements – as it is, it’s just hollow.

    Even then, I think I could enjoy it more for what it is if it wasn’s such an obvious case of wasted opportunities. I am normally quite good at judging games on what they are, not what they could have been, but it doesn’t quite work when I play this.

  19. Ravenger says:

    That’s interesting about the rating stickers. The tin definitely doesn’t have a rating symbol on it. The DVD case does, but the Disc doesn’t have a BBFC logo either. I thought they had to be on the disc too?

  20. Okami says:

    I played it on a friend’s PS3 for a while and had the same beef with the game everybody else has. It’s repetitious, there’s a lot of wasted potential in the game, etc..

    What irked me most was, that swordfights are so easy. You can hold off half a dozen guards forever, slowly whitling down their health. There’s really no thrill involved in the stealth sections, since getting caught by guards won’t bring you into a life threatening situation, it just means more tedium.

    This all said, I was rather looking forward to the release of the pc version. The game’s absolutely gorgeous after all, the things it does wrong only stand out so much, because it does so many things right.

    Then I read about the minimum system specs.

    Now all I’ve got to say about it is: stupid dumbed down failure of a game that only the most primitive of console jerks could ever like. Ohhh! Those stupid stupid console people are destroyng teh gaming OMFG LOLZ.

  21. Homunculus says:

    I’ve recently managed to get ahold of a copy of Thief Gold, and after much faffing about, got it working, albeit only in hilarious 640×480 chunk-o-vision.

    This has provided an apt contrast with Assassin’s Creed, which offers gorgeous, convincing locations but very little leeway for creative solutions to objectives. Which makes me wistfully yearn for a marriage of the two.

  22. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    I’ve said my piece numerous times on the game so I won’t go over it again, suffice to say that I find it good but flawed (my main gripe lies with the ending, which is so throroughly unsatisfying that the Penny Arcade apologia for it makes me think they played a different game).

    As a matter of interest, how well does the game run on PC?

  23. Lou says:

    As a matter of interest, how well does the game run on PC?

    I was expecting it to run a little better than it does. C2D 6750, 8800GTS, 2GB. It’s absolutely playable in 1680*1050 with everything except AA maxed out, but it’s often not ideal – and using AA kills the performance, which is particularly annoying as it is a game that profits greatly from it. It looks rather pixelated without AA.

    That’s in DX10, btw. I haven’t found a way to force it into DX9 mode – but then, from what Ubi said, it looks the same anyhow, with DX10 allegedly having better performance.

  24. Gylfi says:

    I agree with just about everyone. Climbering and capering around in a gorgeously depicted environment is fun, but a typical oak-hearted Pc gamer will get tired of it in a couple of hours.

    Besides, videogames shouldn’t just be about silly childish fun of good looks, sexy characters.. it should be more about interesting interaction and human exploration… as any cultural media already is.

  25. Cigol says:

    When they sat around coming up with the concept I’m sure it sounded lovely but somewhere along the line they must have realised it wasn’t working.

    The control scheme, the free running, the animation… all of that’s brilliantly executed.

    I actually think, watching the recent teaser that had an Assassins Creed April Fools gag, that Metal Gear Solid is somewhat like the extreme opposite. The gameplay is superbly entertaining (what little you get anyway) and the controls are mostly awful and mechanical.

    Please converge…

  26. James says:

    The most primitive of console jerk, ahoy!

    I’ve mentioned it in here once or twice before, but I liked the thing. Quite a bit, in fact. The storyline was passable, sure. The cutscenes were a pain in the arse, especially considering you have to sit through them every time you want to replay an old mission. Those two niggles aside, I found the rest of the game quite enjoyable, perhaps in the same way a slightly brainless action movie can be enjoyable.

    I think I dodged the repetitive feeling that most other people seem to have had by the amount of time I sunk into exploring the cities and killing the Templars. I had an honest shot at the flags too, but those were a little too irksome even for my completionist nature. I spent so much time in between the actual missions doing tangential stuff that the admittedly repetitive nature of the missions didn’t get to me as much.

    The combat was boring at times, that much I’ll agree on. Too easy by far. Later on in the game I worked out that you could use the wristbladey-thing in melee combat, but only for counters, which added a fun dynamic for a while. I think the wristblade counter animations were probably worth the price of admission, considering they’re some of the most brutal attack animations I’ve seen in a game.

    So yes, I can see why people found it repetitive and boring. I personally found it well worth my money. Now I’ll just scuttle back to my private land of low browed console gaming.

  27. Crazy Horse says:

    My only complaints are the combat, and the oft mentioned repetitiveness. The combat animations are very satisfying, but the combat itself couldn’t be easier. You can take on 20 guards without breaking a sweat, once you get your counter. I have found no use for the hide spots.

    If your considering getting it, I’d suggest waiting for a price drop. It’s not worth $50, maybe $30.

    Oh, and as the quitting complaint goes, I’m surprised it seems that noone has figured out that Alt-F4 is the way to quit the game in a single step without any problems.

    You actually can’t. At least till you get past the first menu.

  28. dr_demento says:

    I absolutely loved it (on 360). Sure, the minimissions got repetitive, there was no such thing as stealth and it would have benefited greatly if Ubisoft hadn’t been constantly forcing the story down your throat…. *but* the sword combat was easily the best I’ve ever seen, the settings were stunning, the animations were superb, the crowd stuff worked great and the free running was brilliant.

    It would’ve been better if, having built a game with mechanics which get the player to butcher their way through all the guards before brutalising the target, the designers hadn’t thought “needs more stealth levels”. The plot and other windowdressing suggests stealth is the way you’re meant to do things, but it just doesn’t work ingame.

    The counterkills are sweet, too.

  29. Chris R says:

    OK… to recap: The faffing about part is great, the story not so much. Still pretty fun game.

    Now….. How does it run on the PC? We need more posts like Lou’s. Anyone play this with a 8800GT on XP?

  30. Zhal says:

    I’ve only played 360 version, but to me AC was what defines a game that’s not fun. I define fun through challenge and Assassin’s Creed had none of it. I don’t find it any way attracting that I can freerun around just by pressing couple of buttons and forward. There should be some actual challenge to it, like when jumping from plank to plank you’d have to actually press the feet-button to make the jump. And if the button isn’t pressed you’d drop and would have to press the hands-button to grab the plank if you don’t wanna fall from it.

    Combat had a good point at actually feeling physical, but counter system was just too easy.

    The Social Stealth system was a bit too overlooked. You could just bow your head and go almost anywhere. And the funny thing is that you could kill anyone with wristblade in “stealth” mode and no one would notice you, even though they were right next to you. :D

    Enough ranting and I’ll just say that the game has incredible engine and I hope there will be other games than AC2 that will use the engine.
    The game looked incredibly beautiful, especially in towns thanks to emphasis on the architecture.

    Edit: And why games these days need to have somekind of system where you aren’t actually dying? :( Bioshock was a BIG let down on that and now this…

  31. Radiant says:

    The controls on Assassin’s Creed are lovely and you’re right it is an almost polar opposite to Metal Gear Solid.
    MGS: Great cut scenes, great gameplay but terrible controls vs AC: Awful cut scenes, awful gameplay but great controls.

    Another comparison is Metroid Prime on the Wii; the controls on that are god damn atrocious BUT the levels and the gameplay are constructed to fit the controls which make them [the controls] flawless in that environment.

    Has anyone done a post mortem interview with any of the two people, clambering to be, responsible for A.C?
    I’d love to hear why they made the decisions they did.

  32. Radiant says:

    Oh and lets not get carried away with hyperbole.

    The sword fighting was garbage.
    What was the difference between the two swords?
    Nothing; ok maybe the timing but you still attack everyone the same way.

    It didn’t even have the variedness of enemies as say God of War and the fighting system doesn’t even sniff the panties of Ninja Gaiden.

    Also after getting a dressing down and being stripped of your rank in the opening mission for making to much of a bloody mess you then end up having to murder AT LEAST 5 people in order to complete the millions of ‘save the citizen’ tasks it asks you to do [along with the other 'missions'] over and over again.

    At the worst you end up murdering the entire street, cops and all.

    As far as the assassin game genre goes Hitman 2 did it before and did it infinitely better.

    Platform genre wise it’s phenomenal; the control is awesome but as an amalgamation of all these other genres it falls flat on its face.

  33. Rook says:

    E6600@2.6/3GB Ram/8800GTS640@550 Retail Version.

    Runs really well, at the moment I’m playing at a solid 30FPS at 1920×1200 with every detail I can find turned up to the max except multisampling.

    I’m pretty impressed that they’ve made the control scheme adapt to the mouse and keyboard quite well, I have a 360 controller, but really I only break it out for racing and arcade titles and I’m happy to leave it aside at the moment.

    The voice acting of the main character though! Obviously a big fan of David Duchovny in XIII, completely copying that special phoned in kinda bland he had going on.

  34. YogSo says:

    * Homunculus: I’ve recently managed to get ahold of a copy of Thief Gold, and after much faffing about, got it working, albeit only in hilarious 640×480 chunk-o-vision.

    You should definitely get DDFIX. It was firstly designed for Thief 2 only, but it has evolved and now it supports Thief/Gold and System Shock 2 as well. With it, you will be able to play Thief Gold in 1280 x 1024 resolution.
    /Off-topic end.

  35. Steve says:

    Is there going to be a demo?

  36. Homunculus says:

    Yeah, it’s DDFIX that lets me play it at all – previously, as soon as I entered and exited the map or options screens, it’d crash with the texture memory error. Altering the resolution to anything higher than 640×480 simply has no effect, even though I’ve got, say, 1024×768 selected in DDFIX, cam.cfg and selected in-game.

  37. Ravenger says:

    I’ve played this for an hour or so, getting through all the tutorial stuff. Still in the first village, and from a graphics point of view it’s impressive, not played far enough into the game to make a definitive judgment on the full gameplay though.

    I’m running it on a 19″ CRT at 1280×1024, but the annoying thing is that it’s widescreen only, so you get big black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.

    I’m guessing it runs about 35-45fps, and thats on an Q6600 processor, 2GB RAM and an 8800GTS G92. I’ve left antialiasing off because it hit the framerate too much, but everything else is at max.

    I’m guessing because Fraps can’t update the framerate properly because the counter is displayed in the black bars, which don’t seem to be updating properly, and smearing the numbers.

  38. yutt says:

    Hey guys, I hear everyone on the bandwagon dislikes Assassin’s Creed. Let’s climb aboard!

  39. c0wb0ys7y13 says:

    Iv already played through over half the game on PC (never played it on consol) and I think the game is great! The game had alot of hype, but i bought it because i like to 1) stab people, 2) climb on stuff, and 3) run on rooftops. The game fills all 3 of my qualifications! I hear people bash the game alot because they wanted a godly game and they just got an awesome game. I liked prince of Persia and Theif, and this game just seems like a mixture of the two.

  40. Mickiscoole says:

    I love the hidden blade. Sooooo freaking awesome.

    @Radiant:
    “What was the difference between the two swords?”
    The shortsword has much much cooler counter animations, such as the one where Altair kicks the guy’s knee backwards, puts his arm around the guys neck and snaps it.

  41. Chris R says:

    Yahtzee pretty much sums up the game:

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/zeropunctuation/2694-Zero-Punctuation-Assassin-s-Creed

    I’ll get this because I do love faffing about in a game like this, running around stabbing random people, etc, etc, etc. I did that for hours in Thief 3 in the “city” areas between missions…

    It’s the same reason I like all the GTA games (IV looks amazing), and why I am looking forward to Prototype.

  42. Ravenger says:

    There seem to be a lot of people on the Ubisoft forums who can’t even install the game due to an error copying one of the game’s files. I see that IGN had the same problem with their review version.

    Looks like the disc’s either been incorrectly mastered (it’s a dual layer I think), or the copy protection is conflicting with some DVD drives. It installed ok on my PC, but it took a long time.

  43. malkav11 says:

    It seems decent enough…runs reasonably well with the shadows and multisampling at bottom and everything else maxed at 1024×768 for me (Athlon 64 2 ghz dual core chip, 2 gigs Corsair DD2 RAM, SLIed 7600GTs.). The SF metalayer is for whatever reason a bit more frame-rate droppy than the huge expansive cities full of people (go figure).

    I’m not as sold on the default PC control scheme as some people seem to be, but it works well enough so far…I just haven’t really had any high-stress situations where I might have trouble hitting all the right things in sequence, which I’m worried about.

    Is there any point to the flags on the PC version, since there aren’t any achievements?

  44. H says:

    I’m enjoying it so far (on PC), but I find it’s not so much a game as interactive entertainment software. I feel a bit like I’m just exploring and uncovering historical episodes of a History Channel interactive website.

    I’ve never played a game with a mount before where I’ve just turned the horse around and around over and over. It looks so lush.

    The swordfighting is a little pants, especially against the templars, but I think the hidden dagger works well. The only grumble I have on that side of things is that I couldn’t use it against aware opponents; you’d have thought it would have done as a last ditch slashing weapon, no?

    There’s some bad clipping in places and some slightly iffy animation; like when two people interact and touch, often a hand disappears inside one of the toons (and not in a good way, eh?).

    I also noticed during “cut scenes” and animations that the sound pitch changed a few times up and down. It gets a bit annoying after a while.

    I’m enjoying it, but I wish there were more to do. I want to explore, talk to people, enter houses, start fires, rob, hide bins, etc etc. I suppose I want Grand Theft Auto: Crusades.

  45. Pidesco says:

    I just got it, and I’d like to say that on my aging PC, it runs quite well. I have 2Gbs of RAM, a 7600GT, and a P4 at 3.0Ghz, and my PC runs the game maxed out at 1024*768.

  46. richmcc says:

    I think it might have been the gamey-est game I’ve ever played. In a bad way. Like if you’d gone back to some kind of imagined past where games are like telly people say they are (gotta get that high score! etc.) and then zipped forward in time to release a single NEXT-GEN title.

    Far too many arbitrary things to do, purely because the game runs out of things for you to do. A shame, because it is gorgeous.

  47. SuperNashwan says:

    I simply found myself agreeing with the popular sentiment that for such a beautiful game world it’s immensely disheartening to have such a limited interaction with it. It’s a shame because by now you’d hope developers might have cracked that problem, what with games like Deus Ex showing how to fake openness in a linear game, or Far Cry/Crysis manageably constraining it. Maybe it’s still to come because I’ve only played three assassinations but I’m guessing that as you progress nothing changes and nothing you do has a tangible impact on the world, as in say Outcast? I mean, even saving the citizens would be slightly more rewarding if they’d start to recognise you if you do it enough, like some medieval Batman.

  48. malkav11 says:

    Confirmed that the flags do absolutely nothing. So unless you’re *really* OCD, I recommend not bothering with them. There are, after all, about 600 of them to find.

    I may track down and murder some more Templars though. That’s a lot more satisfying even if it’s nearly as pointless.

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