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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Eagles, Apples, and Blood

With only two assassinations to go, I sat down with Assassin's Creed over the past couple days and kept playing until the deeds were done and the game was finished. So - was Assassin's Creed worth playing? Most definitely: yes! The game's style, game-play, and story all deliver a solid gaming experience unlike any you've experienced in any other game. Although parts of the game may get a little repetitive, Assassin's Creed's style, addictive game-play, and interesting storyline make this a must-play title.

I was also pleasantly surprised by how well the game's difficulty ratcheted upwards throughout. The game is challenging from start to finish without being too difficult. It's like watching a movie from the edge of your seat: no matter how crazy things get on-screen, you've no doubts that you'll see things through to the end. Although some of the investigations in the game may frustrate you, failure is never arbitrarily handed out in cheap fashion. Think things through, develop a plan, and follow-through: these are the keys to victory.

Assassin's Creed is one of the best games that I played in 2007. Don't believe any of the negative reviews: the game is pure gold and well worth a $60 investment. I look forward to playing it through a second time.

In any case, let's recap the last of the achievements that I picked up while finishing off Assassin's Creed.

The Blood of a Scribe [25 GamerPoint]: Another bad man in need of a close shave. This assassination had a nifty little twist thrown in that I really enjoyed. It made things a little trickier though I was well prepared for the "catch" since I'd completed all of the investigations available to me. Taking out The Scribe turned out to be one of my better assassinations to date!

Defender of the People:Jerusalem [20 GamerPoint]: Altaïr managed to save the last of the Holy Land's citizenry from the evils of corrupt soldiers. Strangely enough, I was awarded this achievement when there still remained one citizen in need of help. I love it when game glitches award me gamer points before I've earned them!

Fearless [25 GamerPoint]: Scaling all high points in the game is not that difficult when you first begin playing Assassin's Creed; however, it does get a little tricky towards the end of the game. While attempting to reach one high point, I suddenly found myself running from a guard who'd taken offense to something I did; I think I tried to kill him, if my memory serves me correctly. In any case, when I finally reached the pinnacle of a particular high point, Altaïr was attacked and pushed off his perch and into the streets below. Although Altaïr survived the fall, it took me a little while to get him back into position at the High Point again.

Disciple of the Creed [30 GamerPoint]: This achievement was awarded because I managed to assassinate all my targets with a full DNA bar. Funny thing though: I know for a fact that this is not true. My last target, The Nemesis (see below), had taken a solid chunk out of Altaïr's hide before I was able to finish things off. And I'm pretty sure that my very first assassination of the game did not go all that smoothly either.

According to Xbox360Achievements.org, the Disciple of the Creed can be unlocked in two ways. The first way is to make sure that all the white bars on the synchronization bar are filled and the DNA strand is spinning around them when you assassinate your target: I failed this miserably. However, lo and behold, there is a second method to picking up the Disciple of the Creed achievement. Simply accomplish the following tasks prior to taking out your assassination target:

  • Climb all view points
  • Save all citizens
  • Complete all investigations (i.e. pickpocketing, informants, evesdropping, and interrogations)
Luckily for me, I was thorough enough to have completed each and every investigation and side-mission prior to attempting any of my assassinations! My patience and work ethic were rewarded with 30 wonderful gamer points!

Hungerer of Knowledge [20 GamerPoint]: Whenever you find yourself watching a cut-scene in Assassin's Creed, pay attention for the visual glitches that occur. When you see such a glitch, be sure to press any button on your controller. This triggers a camera change and allows you to continue watching the scene unfold from a different perspective. I managed to catch at least 85% of all glitches that occurred over the course of Assassin's Creed's cut-scenes and was awarded 20 GamerPoint for my efforts!

The Blood of a Nemesis [25 GamerPoint]: Altaïr has an in-game nemesis? Of course he does! But I'm not going to give you any details regarding his or her identity. You'll just have to play the game yourself. I will say that this last assassination is quite epic in its scope and involves a lot of fighting in a cemetery, on the rooftops, and in many other exciting locations. It was lots of fun and quite challenging! I would have preferred more than 25 GamerPoint for my effort but I'll take what I can get!

Conversationalist [20 GamerPoint]: Desmond has questions, Lucy has answers. Play the game and you'll know what I'm talking about. Just be sure to speak with Lucy every chance you get. And just remember that when Lucy tells you it's time for bed, she's done speaking...

The Eagle and The Apple - 1191 [100 GamerPoint]: 100 gamer points! Now that's what I'm talking about! I was hoping that I'd understand the Eagle and The Apple reference by the end of the game...but I don't. Well, maybe a little if The Apple is referring to what I think it might be referring to...

Visions of the Future [50 GamerPoint]: I picked up this last achievement right before the credits began to roll. All I'll say is that there will most definitely be a sequel to Assassin's Creed and I can't wait!

I should mention that there are still eight achievments that I'll need to clear before I put Assassin's Creed away. There are seven achievements relating to finding a large number of flags hidden throughout the game's landscape. As much as I'd like to find all of these flags myself, there are a number of maps available (courtesy of Xbox360Achievements.org) that show the locations of each hidden flag. Now that I've finished off the game's main storyline, I'll be able to jump around from location to location in order to grab all the flags that I've missed so far.

Finally, there is one last achievement relating to finding and killing 60 Templar soldiers scattered about the world. I've taken out about 30 of these soldiers so I'm half-way there! Of course, I'll also make use of the same nifty maps as above to aid in my efforts.

In any case, I'll leave the remaining 8 achievements for another time. Right now, it's time say goodbye to Altaïr and hello to Mass Effect's Commander Shepard!