Game Reviews XBox 360 Assassins Creed 1 (Xbox 360)
 
Assassins Creed 1 (Xbox 360)

Assassins Creed 1 (Xbox 360) Hot

Editor rating
 
2.5
User rating
 
0.0 (0)


Accessibility At A Glance Assassins Creed 1 (Xbox 360)

2.5

   
Precision > Yes You will need precision to play
One-Handed > No Avoid this game
Deaf Gamers > Yes You should have no issues with this game
Subtitles > Mostly Character text is present but not ambiant
Colorblind > No Some challanges, but playable

About the Game

Class
Commercial
Genre
Maker
Ubisoft
Release Date
November 13, 2007
Multi-player
Yes
Licence Category
commercial

 assassins Creed down

An open world and a unique historical setting do not automatically make a game great, particularly if the open world exists largely to send players on a snipe hunt for collectible objects and force players to use awkward free running controls. And this is the precise problem with the first Assassin's Creed game.

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Assassins Creed 1 (Xbox 360)
Assassins Creed 1 (Xbox 360)
Assassins Creed 1 (Xbox 360)

Editor review

Assassins Creed 1 (Xbox 360) 0000-00-00 00:00:00 Scott Puckett
Overall rating 
 
2.5
Mobility 
 
1.0
Visual 
 
7.0
Hearing 
 
1.0
Scott Puckett Reviewed by Scott Puckett    November 29, 2014
Last updated: April 30, 2012
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews

Assassins Creed 1 Accessibility Review

An open world and a unique historical setting do not automatically make a game great, particularly if the open world exists largely to send players on a snipe hunt for collectible objects and force players to use awkward free running controls. And this is the precise problem with the first Assassin's Creed game.

Set in the Middle East during the Crusades, players take on the role of Altaïr, an ancestor of Desmond Miles (the role the player takes on in contemporary times) and a skilled assassin. Very few games seem to be set in that time and place, and what makes Assassin's Creed truly interesting is how it plays with the history of the Hashashin and Hassan-i Sabbah, the Old Man In The Mountain and the leader of the sect which gave us the modern word assassin.

Unfortunately, an interesting setting does not necessarily result in an interesting game. Assassin's Creed plays much like other open world games which offer free running over terrain (The Saboteur and Prototype both followed Assassin's Creed and used similar, yet less complex, controls). Players travel to a location, perform a task such as saving a citizen or eavesdropping on a conversation, then travel somewhere else and gather more information until they have collected enough data to allow them to embark upon an assassination mission. That pattern seems to hold true for the entire game.

Then there are the technical problems with it – such as complicated control schemes, requiring players to push the left stick forward, hold the right trigger down and press the A button at the same time to run while climbing or vaulting, depending on the context. Then there are the beggars and lunatics wandering the streets – the beggars simply won't get out of a player's way and the game doesn't provide a way to appease them. Killing them results in a massive loss of health, while ignoring them is a significant frustration which hinders forward progress.

Likewise, players will find themselves randomly attacked by citizens who appear to be mentally ill. These attacks break a player's stealth and can easily force the player to restart the mission they were doing. Like the beggars, there is no way to deal with these attacks without breaking stealth. Simply put, Assassin's Creed places significant obstacles in a player's way with no practical way around them. The game equates difficulty and challenge with annoyance and frustration when really, these obstacles are not only nothing more than bother for the sake of bother, they are also a significant impediment to accessibility.

Players who enjoyed Prototype or The Saboteur, both of which were also open world titles with free running, might find Assassin's Creed interesting for the setting, but there are simply too many technical issues with this game to recommend it, even for renting.


Accessibility Issues / Concerns:

I can't in good conscience say that Assassin's Creed is the single worst game I've ever seen for accessibility – although I really, really want to – but it is certainly in the top five.

The most prominent accessibility concern is the lack of subtitles and the lack of an option to enable them. Without subtitles, Assassin's Creed – a heavily story-driven game – is effectively unplayable for deaf gamers. Without subtitles, it's little more than a bloodbath of stabbing and waypoints for unclear purposes. It's simply serial murder with no context or reason. I would strongly advise deaf gamers to ignore this title entirely.

The second critical issue – and one which is just as much of an obstacle – is the complexity of commands and amount of precision required. Gamers with use of only one hand will find Assassin's Creed frustrating due to the number of controls used simultaneously – as one example, free running is activated by holding the right trigger while pressing the A button and using the left stick to move. That is also how to make a horse gallop. Furthermore, that isn't toggled on – players have to hold down the right trigger and A button to continue moving. Combat often involves holding down the left trigger to target an enemy and right trigger to block while moving at least one stick, if not both, and also pressing one or more of the A / B / X / Y buttons. In short, a fight early in the game against a standard enemy can easily use both triggers, both sticks (to move and look), and one or more buttons. That's when the game is supposed to be easy. The lack of even one alternate controller layout, much less any sort of player-assigned configuration, just makes things worse.

Gamers with precision concerns will also experience significant challenges. Remember, free running requires pressing the left stick to move while holding the right trigger to sprint and the A button to move around and over obstacles. While the game doesn't let players fall off edges when they aren't running, it will let players run off the edge of a building or cliff without stopping them when they're sprinting. This problem is exacerbated by the clunky controls – if you're trying to evade a guard and you're running toward a beam which you can run across, you must actually land on the beam. Landing on either side typically leaves you hanging off a building or falling. There is no shortage of accessibility issues which occur with basic game mechanics, even in the earliest stages and levels. Players can change targets – even to targets that aren't hostile – by inadvertently moving the stick in an unintended direction, and it's easy to miss ledges and other landing areas while free running across rooftops.

The laundry list of precision problems is so extensive that it's easier to say what players with precision concerns are likely to find accessible – the answer is walking. And even that can present problems, given beggars and lunatics getting in the player's way, attacking them and alerting guards to their presence.

Simply put, for gamers with use of one hand, gamers with precision concerns and deaf gamers, Assassin's Creed is about as inaccessible as a game can be without someone actually trying to think of ways to make a game less playable by disabled folks.

The problems don't end there. The map is expansive, yet the game offers incredibly limited fast travel options, most of them only available after the approximate mid-point of the game. So far, the only time I've been given that option is after completing a lengthy assassination mission and when leaving Masyaf, the effective base camp for players, for another city. The rest of the time? You're riding a horse, if you're lucky, and walking if you're unlucky. Checkpoints can be scarce and require a player to either find an object, complete a task or change zones. Any one of those activities can take 10 minutes or more.

And yet the list goes on – there's no difficulty setting. As noted above, beggars and lunatics exist solely to make things frustrating for the player because there's no practical way to deal with them. They don't make Assassin's Creed more challenging, they simply make it more pointlessly difficult and ensure that players will have to repeat missions simply because of a random NPC. That isn't value, nor is it a good way to use a player's time, nor is it good game design.

It's nothing more than a mechanic of frustration which exists to arbitrarily lengthen the campaign until the player is lucky enough to avoid one of these obstacles. Thinking of the time spent replaying missions after failing them as a direct result of the mechanics of frustration as time playing Assassin's Creed is fundamentally insulting – that isn't play, it's backtracking and retracing steps for absolutely no good reason. It's like considering traveling from one place to another as playing – in incredibly compelling worlds, traveling can be a part of the experience, especially if the game offers fast travel options. In the case of Assassin's Creed, traveling is as frustrating as the beggars and lunatics, doing little more than artificially extending the time the player spends engaged in miserable activities.

The only good news is that players with vision concerns shouldn't encounter too many problems, if any. Most settings are beige, and Assassin's Creed doesn't typically use color for meaning. When using Eagle Vision, hostiles and potential hostiles are in red, while citizens are generally displayed in a color somewhere between silver and blue. When not using Eagle Vision, the current target has a sort of silver-blue shimmer around them. However, the game is very drab which is sensible since it largely takes place in desert cities, but low-vision gamers may experience challenges with that.

I'm writing this review before finishing the game, but after quitting it for the second night in a row in frustration directly resulting from the game's mechanics causing me to fail. Why am I blaming the game? I'm blaming it because I assassinated all five targets in the time allowed, did not break stealth and only failed the mission because two lunatics blocked my return path to the mission giver and attacked me, alerting guards to my presence which resulted in mission failure. And that was about the seventh time I tried that mission tonight.

If that sounds like fun, then Assassin's Creed is definitely something you should try. If it sounds like the miserable, detestable experience I found it to be, then I'd suggest saving your money.



Review Hardware:
Xbox 360 Slim Console
32” LCD HDTV w/HDMI cables
Razer Onza Tournament Edition gaming controller

Accessibility Scores:
Mobility: 0
Visual: 7
Hearing: 0

Original Purchase Price: $29.99

Recommended Purchase Price: If you must play it, rent it.



At A Glance:

Precision: Precision is a nightmare. It's easy for players to attack civilians instead of soldiers, run off rooftops and other obstacles, and so on. Failing a mission requires starting it from scratch and there is no way to adjust difficulty levels. Furthermore, the game includes NPCs who will actively impede and attack players, regardless of the player's activity. Recommend rating of 0 out of 10.

Deaf Gamers: Assassin's Creed is not subtitled. Recommend rating of 0 out of 10.

One-handed: Assassin's Creed uses multiple buttons, triggers and sticks at the same time, but offers no alternate controller layouts. Recommend rating of 0 out of 10.

Subtitles: Assassin's Creed is not subtitled. Recommend rating of 0 out of 10.

Color Blind: Assassin's Creed doesn't really use color for meaning, but the color palette is consistent with desert cities which may present problems for low-vision games. Recommend rating of 7 out of 10.

Checkpoint / Save System: The game saves after finding a collectible object, completing a mission or changing zones. Unfortunately, activating one of those triggers can take 10 minutes or more. Recommend rating of 0 out of 10.

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Scott Puckett
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