This blog is about RPGs, and apart from exceptions (like Odin Sphere) I usually stick to that... but this is like playing Vampire: The Masquerade, following strictly the rulebook and dice rolls, or enjoying the story, the roleplaying session and forgetting about dice rolls and other "distracting elements".
I'm hooked to Assassin's Creed (in the 360, because the PC version is delayed...). Not because it's roleplaying elements (almost none), but because of it's recreation of the crusades, of the medieval age, and the cities it represents...
You play as Altaïr (in Arabic, "the flying one", very appropiate ;), a member of the Hashhashin which becomes dishonored and degraded and has to make his way up again into the ranks of the sect, by killing nine men (in order to stop the Crusades).
The controls of the character are just fantastic, and very intuitive. You will be doing acrobatics and having fantastic combats with combos, counterattacks and special moves shortly after you start playing.
Our protagonist not only is a master acrobat, who can climb on most surfaces up to the top of any tower, church, guard post... (almost everywhere), he is too a master fighter and assassin, so you can choose to silently kill your enemies (with the hidden knife, with throwing knives) or go for a direct attact with your sword.
The game is themed in three historically represented cities, Acre, Damascus and Jerusalem, plus Masyaf, the home of the Hasshashin. The three cities are really huge, and full of people, buildings, and small details that make you feel really there. Also, the game engine is very powerful and allows to have fabulous panoramic views in which you can see very very far and plan your way, sometimes even without looking at the map (which I love... usually you not only depend of your automap for locating quests but also for getting directions of where your destination is), by guiding yourself with the different buildings.
One of the things that have impressed me much looking the Wikipedia for some info about the game has been how realistic are the ingame cities... Below are real photos of Jerusalem and Masyaf; If you play the game you'll agree with me that the game's representation is quite accurate, while maintaining the fun factor of having a "medieval Spiderman" :)
The game is not perfect, and has it's flaws, like few variety of missions (I'm halfway through the game and I start to feel bored of doing the same 4-5 types of missions over and over...) or not perfect AI (sometimes guards let you do "forbidden things", they do not hear you noisy falling down just behind them,...), but overall is like wathing a good film... you'll enjoy the journey of Altaïr and feel like a true medieval age assassin.... Or quite similar (the game has some surprises I won't spoil ;)
I hope to finish the game this week, because both The Witcher and Mass Effect are awaiting me too...
Update: After having just finished it, decyphered the "messages" and all the ending stuff, if anyone wants to read more about the ending (WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS), check out this post. Solves a lot of mysteries and questions... I didn't thought the argument could be so deep, too bad that gameplay gets a bit repetitive :/