Assassin's Creed (4 stars)

Assassin's Creed

(Ubisoft)

XBOX 360/PS3/PC

How refreshing to enjoy an interesting story well told: thanks to an imaginative, if slightly bonkers, flashback device, Assassin’s Creed tiptoes nimbly through the obvious modern politics of a story set in the Holy Land during the Crusades. And this setting is truly wondrous. Depicted in stunning detail, from dark, shadowed slums to soaring rooftop vistas, the Middle Eastern cities beg your character Altair to elegantly leap, climb, crawl and swing through every nook and cranny. But the environments are more than simply eye-candy. They are allies. Altair must use the streets, and importantly their occupants, to aid him in his deadly missions. Drunks and beggars pester, guards harry and chase, while vigilantes protect you and scholars provide safe haven. And though the virtual populace epitomises one of Assassin’s Creed’s main problems, namely the weirdly static nature of untriggered events, when Altair is in full flow the immersion is total. If you don’t notice the minor cracks in animation, storytelling and game design, then Assassin’s Creed will knock your socks off.

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