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Assassin’s Creed Review

May 29, 2008 Leave a comment

AssassinsCreed_Dx10 2008-05-11 23-06-32-53Assassin’s Creed was released last year on the X360 and on the PS3, and just last month, the PC Version was released (while I was in the US).

At first impression, the game looks like the old Prince of Persia game (the DOS version), no magical gimicks, no special (super) attacks and all from the later versions of the game. Assassin’s Creed is what Prince of Persia should be in spirit; (almost) free roaming, lots of roof climbing, sword fights and more.

The game starts with a scene reminiscent of the old "Quest World" (The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest on CN when I was a kid) where a guy named Desmond is being connected to a virtual reality machine which calls on his cellular memory to display his ancestor’s world in the past. However, due to the synchronization problems with the system, he gets booted out and after some prodding, reconnects and the tutorial begins.

The tutorial lets the player practice some basic moves such as pushing (gently) people aside, running, walking, doing stealth kills and AssassinsCreed_Dx10 2008-05-13 23-46-20-87hiding from enemies, all done inside the virtual world. Soon after that is done, the game begins.

The graphics in the game is tight, it pretty much pushes the power of the video card to its full potential when playing this game. From the clothing, to the building design, to the numerous effects seen in the environment quite pushes the graphics card considerably. Though, one thing I’ve noticed is that the environment is a bit bland inside The Kingdom (aka the generic world map in between cities) with vegetation, rocks, houses, strewn across the map. However, once you go into one of the cities they take on a character of their own. Masyaf (the home city of the Assassins) has this bright sunny/misty atmosphere that looks peaceful, while Damascus is very bright, and hot. While in Acre (where I am right now), the atmosphere is dark, moody and quite de-saturated, the same thing could be said about the place where Desmond is held captive, quite dull, spartan like furnishings (though the POV when in Desmond’s world is through the lens of a security camera). Some other cool effects were the chemical compound like grid appearing at certain points of the game, or as they say, a ‘glitch’ in the system provides us with a different perspective than Altair’s

AssassinsCreed_Dx10 2008-05-11 23-17-21-55 Other things that are nice with the game would be the sound quality. For sound, it mixes in well the techno style aspect of the game with sci-fi sounding effects while navigating the menus, mixed with the sound of typical middle age walled city filled with people talking, walking around, selling stuff. Also audible cues are easy to hear. Some examples include guards shouting a challenge when Altair’s cover’s blown (hence, a call to run away), or shouting that one of their mate’s dead. Even people will give us tell tale clues about our cover (if it’s blown) like arguing with us, noting our climbing/jumping/falling if they happen to see us (and may alert any guard present).

Gameplay with Assassin’s Creed is pretty much exciting, until midway into the game where it becomes repetitive: go to city/investigate/kill target/escape formula. But that is if we chose not to partake of the games list of side-quests. There are side-quests requiring us to find flags within a city or taking out Templars everywhere, to even investigating the reason why Desmond is kidnapped and uncover more of the story. Some tasks include saving innocents who are being harassed (usually) by the guards. Doing so usually gives us moving cover in the form of monks, or vigilantes who’ll block your opponents. Others like a race on top of the roof to your next location grants information, as well as pickpocketing or spying in some contacts for information, which will make things easier for you to complete the mission. Too bad there’s no multiplayer game available (thought there’s still that next release). Killing Templars can be quite an adventure on its own, just be sure to have that counter kill if you’re in for a head on fight.

And speaking of which, to keep ourselves from getting too bored killing our prey; They added some smart cool moves for Altair to use. He has the ability to execute a number of stunts while on the move, from running up a wall to reaching ledges and climbing up to roofs and jumping in between tops is part of his basic routines. Along the way, he’ll re-learn some of the more masterful moves such as counter killing, catching ledges while falling, and using long range attacks. The counter-kills are nice. They help in making quick work of guards who attack you. A successful execution will give you a short cinematic where Altair evades the attack or parries it and either throws in a punch or kick, to quickly dealing a deadly blow to the opponent. Another move to master would be doing stealth kills on an opponent with the hidden blade.

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AssassinsCreed_Dx10 2008-05-11 23-10-45-29 AssassinsCreed_Dx10 2008-05-11 23-46-52-70 AssassinsCreed_Dx10 2008-05-11 23-27-52-73

And quite to say, I’m at least satisfied with the game, though the hype was kind of misleading at first. People say that the game requires systems as powerful as Crysis to run, but with mine I didn’t see any to note. Though I did overclock this computer of mine to 3.2GHz, I didn’t notice too much lag when I am playing the game. In fact, I’m using the minimum Processor from Intel the Pentium D 805 to play it. However, I have 4GB for RAM and some of it is being used by Windows Vista to boost the available video memory from 256MB to 1GB. And by the way, the game makes EXCELLENT USE OF THE X360 Controller (plugged into the USB port). It sure made playing easier than using the keyboard!

Ratings

Assassin’s Creed:

System Requirements: 

Minimum Requirements:
- CPU: Intel Pentium D (2.6 GHz)/ AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ (Dual core)
- System Ram: 1 GB
- Operating System: Windows XP / Vista
- Drive Type: DVD Drive
- Free Disk Space: 12 GB
- Video Card: 256 MB DirectX 10.0 Graphics Card or DirectX 9.0–compliant card with Shader Model 3.0 or high
- Video Card Features:
- -Video Ram: 256 MB
- -Video Card 3D Acceleration: Required
- -Video HW Transform & Lighting: Required
- -Vertex Shader Ver: Required – 3.0
- -Pixel Shader Ver: Required – 3.0

Recommended Requirements:
- CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ / Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2 GHz
- System Ram: 2 GB
- Operating System: Windows XP / VistaAssassin27s_Creed
- Drive Type: DVD Drive
- Free Disk Space: 12 GB
- Video Card: 512 MB DirectX 10.0–compliant video card or DirectX 9.0–compliant card with Shader Model 3.0 or high
- Video Card Features:
- -Video Ram: 512 MB
- -Video Card 3D Acceleration: Required
- -Video HW Transform & Lighting: Required
- -Vertex Shader Ver: Required – 3.0
- -Pixel Shader Ver: Required – 3.0

Categories: Uncategorized

The Sidewinder

May 18, 2008 Leave a comment

Following up from the old Habu mouse released more than a year ago, I finally was able to get a hold of the Microsoft Sidewinder Gaming mouse.

I’ve been looking for a nice gaming mouse for some time now. Before, I used an A4Tech office mouse with 2x button (for those quick double taps) in FPS games, however, I ended up having cramps on my right hand. In short having a bigger mouse size is one criteria for a new mouse. Next up, apparently my mouse is a bit too sensitive at times and I notice that sometimes my pointer doesn’t move as I’d want it to move. Third would be the mouse build, which should last me a few years, since my old mouse had scuffs after a year of use and my other wireless mouse kept running out of power.

I was aiming for the Habu, but it’s already quite old by today’s standards so I have to narrow down the search to the Sidewinder mouse. Luckily I managed to order one and have it shipped home and from the moment I got it, or opened it (after I arrived from the US), it was great.

What made the Sidewinder great? From the Siderwinder Website: (www.microsoft.com/hardware/gaming/productdetails.aspx?pid=100) I’ll go and include my reviews based on the features.

· Ergonomic Shape – yes, the Sidewinder fits perfectly on my palm making my grip solid on it.

· On the Fly DPI Switching – The Sidewinder has 3 buttons on top for changing the DPI Settings to the preferred level. It can be customized through the Intellimouse Software for other ranges. However, switching it will be a bit awkward, since the buttons are just below the mouse wheel.

· First Ever LCD on a mouse – Seriously, I didn’t get this for this feature.

· Cable Anchor and Accessories Storage Box – Less trouble with getting the mouse snagged and stores the extra weights and mice feet.

· Quick Launch Button – Launches the Intellimouse settings window in Windows XP, but launches the Games Explorer Folder on Vista. Others say it’s better to load the Intellimouse, I say it’s better to run the games immediately. Also not that too intrusive when clicking it (not loading the Intellimouse app nor launching the Games Explorer Window suddenly.

· 5 Programmable Main Buttons – Flexibility in making things easier to work on with the mouse.

· Advanced Gaming Software – Honestly I haven’t tried this one yet on setting custom commands. Probably I don’t play too many RTS games lately.

· Replaceable mouse feet – hmm I don’t get the idea of changing mouse feet at all.

· Wide Metal Scroll Wheel - with grooves too so my index finger wouldn’t slip at all.

· Vertical Metal Side Buttons – This I prefer better than the horizontal one since it makes clicking easier since the thumb tends to move up and down rather than left to right when holding a mouse.

· Adjustable mouse weights – This I get the idea. If the player’s got slightly stronger hands (probably the other hobby is going to the gym), add more weight. Else if the player’s having a hard time moving the mice, well lessen the burden of the poor gamer!

And there you have it, the Sidewinder Mouse – It surprisingly functioned well for a mouse that’s been recently created by Microsoft. Plus points, it works well for a gaming mouse with loads of features as well as the ease of its size. Minus points, it doesn’t work for left handed mouse users and there’s some features that shouldn’t have been included.

Mouse Button locations:sidewinder-mouse

*There’s just one button there that I have no idea what it’s for. It’s near the Vertical Oriented Mouse Buttons.

Categories: Uncategorized

Lego Indiana Jones The Original Adventures Demo ready for Download

May 14, 2008 Leave a comment

To those who’d like to play as Indiana Jones in his full Lego glory (like that of Lego Star Wars) don’t fret. At the GamesforWindows website, the demo for this game is now ready for downloading!

Click on the link here: http://www.gamesforwindows.com/en-US/Games/Pages/LEGOIndianaJonesOA-b.aspx to download the game.

Expect some Lego humor from this game as well!

Categories: Uncategorized

Assassin’s Creed on the PC… it’s fast

And I thought that this game would require some serious hardware to run. After installing it and running it, I noticed that it runs quite fast on a 2 year old system (almost 30fps). No Core 2s or Phenoms needed for me to run it. Though one thing that I’ve noticed was that having 4GB of RAM does help.

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Review of this game coming soon!

Categories: Uncategorized
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